Checkmate – The White Queen [Top Secret: New World Order]

The White Queen

Author: Chad Parish & Jayson Elliot
Publisher: Solarian (formerly TSR Games)
Page Count: 40
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF (DTRPG) – $3.95
Print – Included in Top Secret: NWO boxset

Dr. Vasily Belyakov, head of Russia’s Biowarfare Division and recent defector, has been abducted from his safe house in London’s Harringay district. Evidence points to a team of freelance professionals hired by the Russian government. A white queen chess piece was found in a tenement building across the way in a room overlooking the safe house. It is the calling card for the White Queen, an individual the agency has little information on. Dr. Belyakov has essential information on newly weaponized strains of bacteria. It’s up to the United Nations covert organization, International Clandestine Operations Network (ICON), to retrieve Dr. Belyakov and deliver him safely back into western hands.

The White Queen is an introductory adventure for Top Secret: New World Order Roleplaying game. Players assume the roles of special agents working for ICON, an international organization nonaligned with any singular government. Their assignment is to locate and retrieve Dr. Belyakov before he is returned to Russian authorities.

The adventure begins with the player characters gathering at ICON’s London division headquarters located in the Apsley House, a neo-classical building on the edge of Hyde Park at the agency’s request. After passing through security, they are escorted to Dame Edith Weatherby’s office. As the station chief, it falls to her to brief the agents on their mission, treating them to a movie cliche-style briefing.

The agents receive details of Dr. Belyakov’s abduction and ICONS suspicions of the elusive White Queen. They also receive their first lead. The agency has discovered the White Queen hired Andris Milic, a.k.a., “The Serbian,” to extract her team from London. Luckily “The Serbian” values money more than loyalty and is willing to divulge the location of Dr. Belyakov for one million Euros. Agents will transfer half the payment upon receiving the information and complete payment once the data is confirmed. A rendezvous with “The Serbian” has been arranged at the Café Kafka in Riga, Latvia. The agency has a plane on standby and a cover story for the agents to enter Latvia unnoticed. Once the agents have Dr. Belyakov, the USS Raleigh, an Ohio class submarine waiting outside the harbor, will extract the team and their package.

The White Queen is for new Administrators (Gamemasters) and players to experience what Top Secret: NWO offers. Skill usages are called out or suggested in critical parts of the adventure, and page numbers to the main rulebook for essential rules. Flavor text blocks and special Administrator notes help alleviate nervous Administrator jitters. Set in the modern-day and designed for three to six agents (easily scaled up if required) plus an Administrator, the adventure can efficiently be completed in a single session. It may be used as part of a long campaign or a standalone adventure.

As an introductory adventure, The White Queen provides several opportunities for players to experience much of Top Secret: NWO gameplay, like ranged weapon combat, vehicle chases, intelligence gathering, and more. The adventure is not very long but is filled with exciting gameplay opportunities. It even comes with an optional element to add to the experience that ramps up the difficulty and pressure on the agents. The identity and backstory for the White Queen and other vital NPCs appearing in the adventure are detailed in the Administrator section. Her capture is not part of the agent’s assignment, providing an adversary for the agents in future adventures.

Physical copies of the adventure come as part of Top Secret: NWO boxset, but pdf copies are available at DrivethruRPG for a reasonable price. The physical booklet is reminiscent of TSR modules of the 80s. It features a detached stiff cardboard cover with black and white maps in its inner pages and a separate 36 page saddle-stitched black and white booklet. Its layout and artwork are very basic and not very exciting but helpful. The maps are nicely illustrated and feature detailed floor plans for ICON’s London Headquarters for use in further adventures.

The White Queen provides a great introduction to Top Secret: New World Order. Its story is simple for new Administrators to follow, and helpful hints aid along the way. The adventure encompasses many of the rules players and Administrators will use in future assignments. It is well thought out and proves an exciting assignment for player agents to tackle. The inclusion of the London ICON Headquarters floor plans gives Administrators a base of operations to launch future assignments. Overall I think The White Queen accomplished its goal of providing new players and Administrators with an accessible introduction to Top Secret: New World Order.

~Stephen Pennisi

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