RPGs that time forgot... Live and Let Die

Live and Let Die
Tag Line: Is death in the cards for more M.I.6 agents?
Makers: Victory Games Inc.

What is it?
An adventure for the James Bond 007 RPG based on the movie of the same name.

Neat Stuff
-James Bond adventures are all beautifully packaged, with several booklets and color hand-outs. They're the only adventures I know of that come in their own thin box!
-Though immediately recognizable as Roger Moore's Louisiana voodoo adventure against the 7up guy, there are notable differences to keep even Bond afficionados guessing.
-There's a nice booklet with all the maps in it, so no need to keep flipping through the adventure for them.
-Some great hand-outs, including fake receipts, maps of the area, the necessary tarot cards, black and white photographs and this magazine ad:

...all in a handy Top Secret envelope. These are excellent for the team briefing and beyond.
-The art throughout is crisp, clean and exciting. Art doesn't seem that important until you suffer through products with amateurish drawings.

Bad Stuff
-Though there are differences, I wouldn't recommend Bond adventures to Bond experts. There may be key differences, but the important beats are of course there. Mr. Big is still the bad guy, etc.
-James Bond 007 is a strange rpg in that the source material features a single (super) hero, but most role-playing is done in groups. Live and Let Die was apparently written for 1 to 3 players (which is still on the small side) and even then, the more players you have, the less jeopardy they're in. I found the finale to be a bit too easy for a 3-player group, for example.
-No opening stunt? One thing these products don't try to emulate is the Bondian opening. It doesn't really try doing the whole Q gadget scene either.

"Unless the characters have either taken her deck (thus removing her powers) or Seduced her (also eliminating them), the -4 Ease Factor modifier to Stealth attempts is in effect."

How I've used it
After really enjoying the Dr. No adventure, my Dream Park players pretty much gave me a mandate to get more James Bond. So I did, getting everything I could off eBay at the time. Since Live and Let Die was 1) the first Bond film I ever saw, and 2) had just enough cross-genre material (thanks to the "supernatural" elements) to make it interesting for Dream Park, that was chosen as the next adventure. The plan was to play it, and later that week, to watch the original film as a group. Great idea. The players went it with only a vague memory of the movie, but still managed to hit certain (optional) beats, like running a boat into a wedding or walking on the backs of 'gators. So when they saw the movie, it was all "YAAAA! That's me!!" A fun experience, though it wouldn't have worked with Bond fanatics, clearly. Props to my peeps, Bass, Cass and Rocky.

Oh, and I threw in an opening stunt, starting the adventure by throwing them out of a plane... after their parachutes.

In conclusion
James Bond adventures are all handsome products with beautiful hand-outs and art. Live and Let Die is no different. At the very least, it shows that a merely ok movie can make for a perfectly good role-playing game. JB007 might have gone a bit far by licensing specific films(/books?) in addition to the main character/setting, but I thought they worked great with players that didn't know enough to spoil themselves, and yet, had the opportunity to see another version of their adventure afterwards.


Michael May said...

I didn't have this specific adventure, but I had the main book and the Q Manual in high school. Our RPG group was big into Bond and we badly wanted to play this game, but we couldn't figure out how to make it work with a larger party. Which I suppose is why I never got around to buying anything past the first couple of sourcebooks.

Still, good memories. Thanks!

Siskoid said...

It wasn't that hard once you actually did it, though groups of more than 3 or maybe 4 would indeed be a problem.

You sacrifice some of the Bond flavor (the single glamorous superspy), but do end up with a damn cool spy game.


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