Though we are over fifteen years removed from the Cold War, our world continues to feel its impact. Many illegal immigrants in the United States come from Central American nations whose economies were wracked by superpower-fueled civil wars. Taliban fighters conduct resistance in Afghanistan with arms once used against Soviet occupiers – furnished in large part by the country that they now oppose. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Arab armies still fight with Israelis, as they have since 1947. A Russian journalist in 2006 died from exposure to radioactive material that may have been provided by a Russian intelligence agency. And the most recent Oscar-winning foreign film details the life of a Stasi snoop in 1980s Germany.
The first role-playing games could not avoid the times, either. Top Secret was one of the first games TSR offered to an audience enamored with swords and sorcery. The James Bond 007 game united cutting-edge mechanics and a super spy franchise dating from the 1950s. Cyberpunk-themed games extrapolated the continuing existence of the USSR as an important part of their back-story, as did just about every post-apocalyptic game of mutants and strange powers.
Those games did not have to introduce the Cold War to its players; it was a simple fact of life. Even now, many people consider this time safer and less-confusing than today – even though it didn’t feel that way, either. This book attempts to dispel that notion, providing an exciting backdrop for espionage-themed games using the d20 rules. There is room for gritty conflict, tension and suspense, as well as high-profile personalities and exotic locations.