Back in high school, I ran a fairly length Top Secret S/I game. The game started out as your typical spies for Orion vs. spies for the W.E.B. and everything moved along quite well until I bought the counter terrorism source book. I don’t remember the title and I’m too lazy to run down to my office to pull it off the shelf. Regardless, it was a great supplement, but it was not a good fit for the current campaign. Well, I didn’t care. I had spent my hard earned money on the book, and I was damn well going to use it.
It lead to the end of the campaign through a TPK (total party kill). All my fault, too.
What happened was the terrorists in the source book were geared towards demolitions, combat and stealth and not much else. The Orion spies were equally potent, if not more so, but they had spread their skill selections out across things like driving, flying, diplomacy, carousing, stealth, B&E, combat and a multitude of other things. While the PCs were very powerful spies, they just didn’t have what it took to take out the Bad Guys that were solely built for killing people.
I’m still very happy to own the book (I actually own every book published for Top Secret S/I), but I wish I had saved it for a different campaign with different characters that were intentionally built to be the combat specialists required to do counter terrorism in the modern age. To the GMs out there, learn from my mistake. Just because you bought a book, you don’t have to whip it out midstream in a campaign and incorporate elements into the current game. Sure, you can do that, but do it with more intelligence than what I used back in my youth.