Up Close and Personal

Written by Bruce Onder

Crouched in the thick shrubbery that ringed the secluded mansion, Nikki Haiku checked her Orioncomm. It was midnight – time to execute her part of the plan.

Dressed in a black body suit, Nikki divorced herself from the cover the foliage provided and sprinted as silently as possible toward the large oak tree that towered high above the second story window. She covered the distance in record time and plastered herself against the tree. If all was well with the rest of the group, Carlo should be disabling the cars and Randall should be dealing with the alarm systems. Now, a quick climb into the branches and a swing over to the bedroom window –

Nikki froze as a beam of light bobbed toward her from the side of the building. The guard should have eaten the drugged pizza by now! Still the light advanced, swinging back and forth across the lawn. In seconds, she’d be discovered, and that had to be prevented at all costs.

Nikki steeled herself for combat as the guard turned the corner She knew he’d be armed, and she’d only get one chance to take him out quietly as the flashlight beam danced around the corner and focused on her, she made her move…

“Surprise action,” Jodi stated as the Admin explained Nikki’s situation. She rolled the dice, easily making her skill check at -20. “What can my ninja do now?”

The TOP SECRET/S.I. game rules have been streamlined to allow for creative combat situations such as the one described above. The special techniques for the various hand-to-hand styles, though, are hard to follow without some study of the rules they involve (Players Guide, pages 77-79).

Herein is a detailed description of each combat technique, including standard results for success, failure, and Lucky and Bad Breaks. The Admin is encouraged to replace such results in unusual combat situations. For example, a ninja character doing a Leap into combat atop a sky-scraper might fling herself over the edge of the roof if she rolls a Bad Break of 99, or may knock her opponent over the edge if she was merely trying to capture him!

Attack/Defend: An agent skilled in this technique can both attack and defend in a single turn at full skill level if the primary skill check at -20 succeeds. An unskilled combatant makes an attack/defend sequence at half skill level (Players Guide, page 63).

Success: The agent maneuvers and mentally prepares for both an attack and a defense. One attack and one defense roll are allowed at full skill checks.

Lucky Break: The agent is exceptionally prepared to use this technique, and as a result automatically succeeds in this technique in the next round. This Break does not apply if the agent switches techniques.

Failure: The agent is not prepared or positioned, and makes the attack and defense at half skill level. The technique may be attempted in the next turn as usual.

Bad Break: The agent is overextended, and only the first half of the sequence (attack or defense, whichever comes first) can be made at half level. The second half of the sequence fails.


The agent skilled in blindfighting uses other active senses (smell and hearing) to locate all opponents in a 10′ radius. This check can be made as often as needed until it succeeds. Option: An agent with the Acute Smell or Hearing advantages (Players Guide, page 14) can add these bonuses to this technique check at the Admin’s discretion.

Success: The agent fights at half skill level (not the usual quarter skill level for other agents) for the duration of combat.
Lucky Break: The agent accurately predicts his opponent’s initial action and makes his first attack at full skill level.
Failure: The agent fights at quarter skill level, as a normal fighter would. The technique can be attempted again next turn.
Bad Break: The agent has lost his opponent; no attack can be made this turn.


The agent is skilled at landing blows at certain points on an opponent’s hand, wrist, and forearm that cause the hand to open by reflex. No damage is caused, however.

Success: Any object held by the opponent falls to the nearest surface. The Admin must decide the probability that the object breaks or (if a firearm) goes off. On a quarter skill check or less, both of the opponent’s hands open and all items are dropped.
Lucky Break: The agent actually snatches the item or kicks it into his own hands if so desired.
Failure: The attempt misses, and the opponent is made aware of the agent’s intentions. No other action can be made.
Bad Break: The agent is overextended or stumbles, and he makes his next initiative check at -5.


The agent can inflict holds that cause damage. The body location rolled is the area held, although such rolls can be bumped according to skill level.

Success: The agent inflicts 1 wound or 1d4 bruise points to the held body location. The agent makes full skill checks on successive turns to inflict further damage.
Lucky Break: The opponent must make a CON check or pass out for 1d8 minutes. The hold is so well applied that any attempt to break it is at quarter (and not half) skill level.
Failure: The victim eludes the hold attempt.
Bad Break: Poor execution allows the opponent to reverse the attempted hold. The body location is determined randomly on the agent.

Instant Defense

The agent can react quickly enough in surprise situations to make a last-second defense. No attack may be made, however.

Success: The agent, through finely tuned reflexes, manages to recover enough presence to block the attack.
Lucky Break: The agent reacts so quickly as to gain an attack immediately after the block. Only unconsciousness or the death of the agent will prevent this bonus.
Failure: The agent did not react quickly enough; the defense was ineffective.
Bad Break: The agent froze in surprise and makes his next initiative check at -5.

Instant Stand

The agent can recover his stance from a prone position and still make a normal move.

Success: The agent stands and can execute a normal move at no penalty.
Lucky Break: The agent moves so swiftly and unexpectedly that the opponent must make an INT check or be surprised.
Failure: The agent stands but he completely fails to act.
Bad Break: The agent slips, returning to his original prone position, and may not act that turn.

Knock Down

The agent is skilled at striking vital equilibrium and balance centers of an opponent’s body.

Success: The opponent is knocked to the ground directly in front of the agent. Normal damage applies.
Lucky Break: The opponent is dazed temporarily and loses his next action, in addition to the result under “Success.”
Failure: The attack misses.
Bad Break: The agent is overextended or stumbles, making his next initiative roll at -5. The attack misses completely.


The agent is skilled at jumping and leaping to the extent that a leaping attack can be choreographed with high precision. An unskilled character can leap or jump 5% of his movement score (MOV) vertically and 10% horizontally.

Success: The agent can leap up to 10% of his movement score vertically and 20% horizontally. The agent can still make an attack or move.
Lucky Break: In combat, the leap actually becomes the brunt of the attack. On a successful attack roll, the opponent is knocked back 1d8 feet in addition to the normal damage delivered by the attack.
Failure: The agent manages only an average leap (as per an unskilled character). In addition, the leap cannot be combined with another action.
Bad Break: The agent makes an average jump, but slips upon landing and suffers a leg wound for 1d4 -1 bruise points.

Multiple Attacks

The agent is skilled in superfast fighting styles that result in multiple attacks. An agent with a level 1 fighting style still attacks only one opponent, so this technique is not usable until the agent has at least a level 2 in some attack style.

Success(es): The attack in question hits.
Lucky Break: The next attack in this multiple attack sequence is made at the same level as this attack (i.e., the -10 cumulative penalty is not assessed for the next attack). However, any attacks after that suffer the normal penalty.
Failure(s): The agent misses the target on this attack. He can continue with additional attacks this turn (if any) with the standard penalty applied (-10 per attack, cumulative).
Bad Break: The agent is overextended and loses all other attacks this turn.

Multiple Defense

The agent is skilled in warding off several attacks from multiple directions. A character with a level one fighting style still defends against only one opponent, so this technique is not usable until the agent has at least a level 2 in some attack style.

Success(es): The defense succeeds.
Lucky Break: If defending against an armed opponent, the weapon is released from the opponent’s grasp; otherwise, the next defense in this sequence does not incur its usual -10 penalty.
Failure: The attack was not blocked. The agent may continue with his additional defenses (if any) at the usual penalty (-10 per defense, cumulative).
Bad Break: The agent is overextended, and all later defenses are lost.


The agent is skilled at striking precise nerves which result in reflex disruption (stunning). An exceptional strike (-40) results in a knock-out blow.

Success: The opponent is stunned or knocked out. A stun (-20) results in inaction when the opponent would normally move next. A knockout (-40) means the opponent is unconscious for 1d8 minutes.
Lucky Break: The opponent is laid out for 2d10 minutes.
Failure: The attack misses.
Bad Break: Because of poor execution, the agent stumbles or is overextended. His next initiative check is at -5.

Surprise Action

The agent is skilled at “the art without form.” Seemingly random actions can have a stupefying effect on nearby opponents.

Success: The agent is allowed to make a surprise attack (Players Guide, page 77) at full skill level, and he may deliver the blow to any area desired. All opponents within a range of 10′ are surprised and inactive for the rest of the round.
Lucky Break: All opponents who witness the move, regardless of distance, are surprised for the rest of the round.
Failure: The attack surprises no one, but a normal attack is allowed at full skill level.
Bad Break: The so-called surprise action was so poorly executed that all opponents within 10′ will expect similar “surprises” during the rest of the combat; if the agent attempts another surprise action during the combat in question, all opponents receive an INT check to predict such a move.


The agent is skilled in the art of using opponents’ weight against them. The opponent must be held Players Guide, page 77) before the throw attempt.

Success: The held opponent is thrown 1d8 feet in any direction the agent wishes. Landing on a hard surface incurs 1d6 points of damage to a random area.
Lucky Break: The opponent must make a CON check or be knocked out for 1d8 minutes (full bruise damage to the head).
Failure: The agent fails to lift or divert the opponent, but he keeps the hold. No damage from the continued hold accrues this turn, however.
Bad Break: The throw attempt loosens the hold, and the opponent slips out.

Vital Areas

The agent is skilled in hitting the most painful and damaging spots in any area of an opponent’s body.

Success: The agent damages the desired body location for 2 wound or bruise points.
Lucky Break: The pain caused to the opponent renders him disoriented; his next initiative check is made at -5.
Failure: The agent misses.
Bad Break: The agent is overextended and makes his next initiative check at -5.

As the flashlight beam danced around the side of the house and focused on her, Nikki made her move. Calculating the distance to the guard as within range, she launched herself into an unorthodox ninja move – a forward somersault. Allowing the momentum of her acrobatics to carry her back up into a standing combat stance, she landed a hammer strike to the guard’s unprotected head. He dropped like a rock, out cold.

Nikki reached down and switched off the flashlight. With a quick grin, she turned back to the tree…

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