RULES UPDATES + FAQ
If you have rules questions or comments, join other Top Secret NWO players in the Facebook group, or email us directly.
This page will be updated occasionally with answers to the most commonly asked questions.
An errata page has been compiled for owners of the box set and hardcover, and can be downloaded here: https://goo.gl/4bzVUG
The PDF version has been updated to incorporate the changes.
- Car Chase Rules
- Character Creation
- Gameplay Rules
- NPC Archetypes
- Specialized Skills
- What's in the box
ICON operates covertly, meaning that their operations are deniable and cannot be traced back to their true source. Agents are forbidden to reveal their status as ICON operatives without direct orders from a superior such as a station chief, and a station chief will not give such an order lightly, if at all.
Agents operate under cover identities, and are subject to any laws their cover would suggest. While many agents do carry weapons in areas they may be prohibited by law, for example, they do so at the risk of being detained by authorities if the situation arises.
As a game administrator, this is important to keep in mind, and may lead to unexpected turns to your mission, such as the need to avoid contact with local police, or even escape them, should events come to that. Of course, it is possible to operate under some official cover such as a law enforcement officer, diplomat, or military personnel, so long as no one probes your cover too deeply…
Mission points can be spent to improve skills or raise attributes. Once spent, they are lost—but a player may choose to save up mission points when they don’t have enough to make the desired improvement at that time.
On page 8, in Character Creation, the text says to choose a pre-generated character from the archetypes list (Appendix A). But Appendix A isn’t the archetypes list!
This reference was left in from an earlier revision and not removed for the final book. The NPC Archetypes (p. 102) are a chapter, and no longer an appendix.
Furthermore, the archetypes should be primarily used for NPCs. If you are using them as player characters, The Administrator recommends lowering their abilities to preserve challenges for the players.
What happens if the rules call for me to step up a d12, or step down a d4?
If you are called upon to step up a d12, you may add an additional die as appropriate. Stepping up one die type (⇧1) would add a d4 to your pool. ⇧2 would add a d6, and so on.
If you are told to step down a d4, simply remove the die from the die pool altogether.
The one exception to this is during character creation, when choosing your weak area for tradecraft. If your character already has a d4 in a tradecraft area, it may not be chosen as their weak area.
During their training, ICON agents learn all of the basics of tradecraft, including all the skills and proficiencies listed in the rulebook.
“Each field of tradecraft provides the agent a base ability to use any skill related to that field.” –Core Rulebook, p. 24
However, agents choose certain areas in which to specialize, which provides them with bonuses when using those skills.
The player mats included with the box set are a player aid, and while not necessary to play Top Secret NWO, they can speed play by making it easier to grab the dice you need during the game.
The player mats can be used with a dry erase pen and wiped clean. During the game, write the die types used for each attribute, tradecraft score, or asset, and keep the dice on your player mat in the appropriate space so you can quickly grab the ones you need.
The vehicle cards can be used with a dry erase marker and will wipe clean. You can write the stats for your vehicle on the card for quick reference.
There is a speed track across the top and bottom of each vehicle card. Use the orange sliders that came in the box—or a paper clip or similar item if you don’t have sliders—to keep track of your speed. The larger font represents inches per round, which is the number that matters for game purposes. The smaller font represents miles per hour, and is provided as a reference, to help players visualize the real-world speed of the vehicle.
Yes, tradecraft dice are based on attribute dice, and can raise when an attribute is increased.
Specialized skills are expressed as steps, meaning a ⬆1 rating for a skill raises that tradecraft die type by one step when using that skill.
No. Each fighting style uses one skill slot. Page 76 states “each fighting style uses one proficiency slot.” For clarity’s sake, this is changed to “skill slot” in the PDF.
When choosing “hand to hand combat” as a skill, the agent must choose one fighting style. Additional fighting styles must be learned using mission points.
Fighting styles are an exception to the tradecraft rules in that agents do not know any fighting styles until they specifically train in them. Agents who have not studied hand-to-hand combat can still fight unarmed, but receive no bonuses.
Pages 24 and 100 contain errors. “Improving specialized skills” was written before proficiencies were finalized, and did not get updated before publication.
Page 24 should read:
As each proficiency is improved, the character sheet should be marked with the appropriate step level for that proficiency. The maximum any proficiency can achieve is ⬆5.
The mission point cost of improving a proficiency within a skill is equal to the existing step level x2. For example, raising the lockpicking proficiency within black-bag ops from ⬆2 to ⬆3 would cost 4 mission points.
Page 100 should read:
Adding a new specialized skill: 4 mission points
Raising a proficiency one step: (Current step x2) mission points. For example: raising from ⬆3 to ⬆4 costs 6 mission points (3 x 2).
Surveillance is mistakenly listed in the rulebook as both a SIGINT (p. 68) and a HUMINT (p. 37) skill.
Physical surveillance (tailing another person or vehicle, eavesdropping in public without special equipment, etc.) is a HUMINT skill.
SIGINT is only for electronic surveillance, that is, signals intelligence.
One of these tables should be for Sticky Foam. This will be corrected soon.
Pepper spray should read “Each released capsule or canister reduces reflex by ⬇2 for (d4 x 15) minutes if the spray contacts the eyes, nose, or mouth. The affected agent may roll pulse + combat to avoid additional blindness and uncontrollable coughing. A gas mask will protect the agent entirely. Other methods, such as a handkerchief or dust mask, may provide an asset die to avoid blindness and coughing, but will not protect against a loss of reflex. Range is 10 feet.”
Psychochemical should read “Each released capsule or canister causes confusion and reduces suave, intellect, and reflex by ⬇2 for 1d10 minutes.”
On page 77, under “Ranged Combat,” the printed rulebook contains an error. The error has been corrected in the PDF, and is as follows:
Die rolls for the defender:
If the defender is aware of the attack, they roll reflex + COMBAT + defensive modifiers
If the defender is unaware, they roll defensive modifiers only.
On page 85, in “Underwater Combat,” the rules refer to a swimming specialized skill. This skill is not included in the list of specialized skills and proficiencies. This was an oversight, and will be corrected in an upcoming rule addendum.
When choosing your weak area for tradecraft, if your character already has a d4 in a tradecraft area, it may not be chosen as their weak area.
The description for Vulture Drones describes a “Life Level” of 1-10. This should read “health.”
An action point is really just a measure of time, specifically, a quarter of a second. Feel free as the Administrator of your game to make a ruling for anything not covered.
Here are a few actions players have asked about. The times listed here are suggestions, and subject to the Administrator’s judgment.
- Falling prone – 8 AP
- Standing up – 8 AP
- Drawing a weapon – 4 AP
- Dropping a weapon and surrendering – 12 AP
- Change from running to shooting position – 8 AP
- Reloading – this assumes it is a trained ICON agent or trained NPC reloading. To change a magazine, 12 AP. To reload a revolver using a speedloader, 2 rounds. To reload a revolver one cartridge at a time, 6 AP per cartridge.
- Changing weapons – one round, assuming the other weapon is ready at hand.
- Getting into a vehicle – one round
- Starting a vehicle – one round
The box set for Top Secret: New World Order includes four orange sliders and one blue slider. These are for the vehicle cards and the Administrator’s Screen, respectively.
The orange sliders are tighter, in order to fit snugly on the vehicle cards. Use them to track the vehicle’s speed.
The blue slider is sized to fit the Administrator’s screen, and is used on the tension track.
⬆5 is the maximum number of steps a skill proficiency can raise a die type.
Each agent token can be used as a marker to represent a player character or an NPC. You can flip the token over to show that the person has been incapacitated or even killed. Due to a printing error, some agent tokens show a different agent’s outline when flipped over. This has no effect on gameplay, but embarrassed Jayson to no end when he saw the final product. On the bright side, years from now this will be proof that you have the collectible first printing of the game!