But that's cool, because I love Diego and he and I get along famously (though he's not quite ready for the gaming scene...some day, some day). I even got a couple naps in myself, which is always a good thing. Plus we got to walk around in the stinging, icy, fast-falling snow. I put five layers on the kid and he fell asleep in the Baby-Bjorn. I tell ya', he just wants to be snuggled and rocked.
[which is a good thing, because if he'd inherited the wife's penchant for motion sickness we'd ALL be in trouble!]
Being out and about in these conditions, not to mention seeing nothing but white outside my window all day, led me to thinking about an old Top Secret adventure: Operation: Whiteout. Written by none other than Merle Rasmussen, creator of Top Secret, Whiteout appeared in the July 1984 issue of Dragon magazine, one of the first I ever owned (I still have it, but it's so old I'm missing the cover, which is why I can't cite the issue number).
Operation: Whiteout is a very cool adventure: players infiltrate an installation in Antarctica to find out to what extent a group of neo-survivalists might be up to nefariousness. Similar to TS:0 (Operation: Pisces, included with the TS game), it provides a site based adventure with many numbered encounters, a list of NPCs, and several pre-gens. It's non-linear in design, and while there is a plot (so to speak), there's no designated timeline of events to push the action. PCs are able to work in their own fashion and the bad guys will go about their daily business. It's pretty cool, a good example of what a nice Top Secret adventure should look like.
On the other hand, looking at it makes me think: wow, that is a crapload of work Mr. Rasmussen put into it. Lots of specific rules for Antarctica (including weather tables, vehicles and movement rates, random crevasses and systems for identifying them and what happens if you don't, etc.), plus the installation itself, complete with individual named and statted NPCs (close to 50...all with varying degrees of knowledge about the operations, day and night encounter areas, job occupation, etc.). A tiny little microcosm world of adventure...and if the PCs do what they're supposed to do, in an intelligent manner, they'll bypass most everything Merle bothered to write-up. He's just accounted for a ton of different possible contingencies.
Just thinking about what went into the writing of this simple Dragon magazine adventure makes me exhausted. It would take hours of research on the scientific outposts in Antarctica alone (not to mention the history of the continent and various international treaties) to do this...and 1984 was long before the internet and wikipedia. Wow.
I don't know if I'm just lazy or if Rasmussen is just uber-dedicated.
Between that and re-reading Haven: City of Violence the other day, I've got Top Secret on the brain (or so it would appear). Maybe I need to run a game of TS. Last Thursday I played a board game down at the Mox which was fun but less-than-satisfying. I could probably be up to snuff on Whiteout by tomorrow...assuming anyone comes out in the snow (I doubt I'll be driving to Cafe Mox...I wonder who I can get to show up at the Baranof).
Top Secret...gosh, maybe I need to do a series of post on that. I wonder if I'll be going to work tomorrow...