Notes from an older RPG prototype from the LiveJournal Years. The game is tentatively titled Redacted: a role-playing game about Cold War espionage.

Cold War espionage. Spy game. In Redacted, your character sheet is a dossier that looks like a memo or personnel file. You start off with one sheet and, after each game session, you add another sheet of information; your write-up of the previous game session. As you play more sessions, your character dossier gets larger and larger. When you attempt tasks in the game, you start redacting things from your dossier—take that big black Sharpie marker and start marking out words. The more you redact, the better your chances of succeeding. If part of what you redact is relevant to the scene or action, you get a bigger advantage.

For instance, part of your dossier reads:

Seth Taylor, 5′ 3″, was caught on June 14, 1985, breaking into Masters Electronics on Fry Street.

If there’s a part in the game where it would be beneficial to be small, like crawling through ventilation ducts, you just redact the height. If you need a bit extra, you can also redact the word “was” and “caught”:

Seth Taylor, 5′ 3″, was caught on June 14, 1985, breaking into Masters Electronics on Fry Street.

Later on, you need to infiltrate a Soviet instillation, so you redact “breaking into”. If it’s located on a city street, you could also black out “Fry Street”. To give yourself an extra boost, you’ll also take the word “on”. Your character sheet would contain:

Seth Taylor, 5′ 3″, was caught on June 14, 1985, breaking into Masters Electronics on Fry Street.

And later, you need a quick bump to the dice (or whatever) when knocking out a guard, so you remove “1985”, even though the year doesn’t have anything to do with knocking out a guard:

Seth Taylor, 5′ 3″, was caught on June 14, 1985, breaking into Masters Electronics on Fry Street.

If you are redacting from the top sheet, each word you redact gets you one die to roll. If the word is relevant to the task/action/scene, you get a bonus to the roll. Any sheet in the dossier can be used, but the further down you go, the more you have to redact to get you a die: On page two, every two words redacted is one die. Page five, every five words. And the words have to be contiguous.

There also might be some sort of superbenefit if you stamp a page. Something like take a big rubber stamp and stamp a page (cannot be the top page in your dossier) to automatically succeed in a task, but then that page is locked in — no further redactions on that page. There also may be temporary bonuses which are short notes that you write on sticky pads.

One Comment

  • Seth

    This is kind of interesting and thematic – only I’m not sure it’s fully realized here. So what if you have things redacted? It seems like it would be cool if you get some benefits while info is still visible as well, otherwise it costs you nothing to redact all the words in your dossier… or maybe there’s more o it and you DO want to redact only what you need to in order to succeed at the next task.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *