DANGER PATROL: Help me invent special abilities

edited June 2009 in Story Games
While going through some old boxes in the garage, I came across this old roleplaying game box. It says DANGER PATROL across the front, with a heroic image of a guy wearing a jetpack shooting a raygun at a radio-controlled gorilla who is smashing a rocket-car in half. Cool graphics. The date on the back says it's from 1957, but that can't be right.

Anyway, it looks like the game came with all of these pre-made character cards. There's a list of them in the "contents" on the back of the box, but I can only find one of the cards. Here's what it looks like (my scanner isn't working so I remade it in Illustrator):


Thanks to some rules that have survived in the box, I can make sense of most of that. You rate your character by how skilled they are at the different character roles. The main one, at the top, is your best thing, rated at 8. Then you rate the other roles 1 to 7.

What I need help with are the special abilities. They're in the right column on the Commando card. Stuff like "Expert Marksman" and "Covering Fire" and such. I think I can re-create the cards for the other character roles (Agent, Daredevil, Detective, Explorer, Flyboy, Professor, and Warrior) but I'll have to come up with special abilities for each one since I don't have their cards.

Can you help me invent cool special abilities for each role?

Here's one I just made up for the Agent (who is sort of a super-spy type, based on the game art):

Cunning Ghost: +1 hit when deceiving or sneaking.

Any ideas? Ideally, I'd like to have 5 special abilities for each Role.


  • edited June 2009

    To The Rescue (or Here I Come To Save The Day!): Your death-defying stunt saves the day, and you live to enjoy it. At least this time. [ ] (little box checked off after the use of this ability, refreshes each game day)
  • edited June 2009
    Oh hey, I just found another thing. It's a "Danger Meter" card. I guess when you take Danger, you record it on this card (the instructions say to slide a paper clip along the bottom to keep track of how far along your danger level is... clever).


    Anyway, it looks like the conditions are on here. The ones on the top are the "special conditions." Each role is immune to one of those, according to the instruction booklet.

    Agent: immune to Hunted.
    Commando: immune to Disarmed.
    Daredevil: immune to Off-Balance.
    Detective: immune to Tricked.
    Explorer: immune to Lost.
    Flyboy: immune to Overrun.
    Professor: immune to Broken (must mean broken technology)
    Warrior: immune to Weak.

    So that explains the immunity thing on the Commando card, with the little infinity symbol next to it.
  • Daredevil

    A Single Bound: +1 hit when you aren't touching the ground.

    Center of Attention: You can force the enemy to attack you instead of an ally. You both take danger
  • Any clues as to the difference between Commando and Warrior?
  • Back when I was in high school, there was a ratty old copy of Danger Patrol at my game store. I always thought it looked cool but I never got to play it.
  • Roger: The picture of the Warrior is a tough-looking chick kicking a thug in the head. I think it must be the hand-to-hand combat type. Probably some toughness stuff, too, since they're immune to Weak.

    Ben: Was that the 1989 re-issue? I heard it used percentile or something.
  • Dude, I was in college by then ;)

    No, this must have been the old one. It looked like it had survived a basement flood. Should have picked it up...
  • edited June 2009
    I waited for that game to come out and never thought it did. I have an old wallpaper from when it was being developed. It was Shooting Iron, the people that did the best "Talislanta" Edition ever.

    As I recall,t he idea was you made the characters by picking a type and a profession like "Atomic Ranger" or "Mystical Detective" and the combo came together all Ars Magica-like to give you the full picture of your PC. Somewhere there must be some adjective cards as well.
  • I wish I could help you John, but I'm no good at making stuff up. I think my Dad used to play this game, though. He used to tell some wicked bedtime stories. I guess I could share some stuff from those.

    The professor was my favorite. He was always improvising some kind of device he could use to overcome his weaknesses.
    Kit bash: substitute professor for another trait

    The detecitve was always poking her nose into stuff better left alone.
    Nosy: +1 hit when investigating misdeeds

    The explorer would usually save the day at the end with a bit of esoteric lore. I never could figure out how he knew that stuff.
    Esoterica: re-roll your dice (one check box only)
  • edited June 2009
    Detective -

    A Fount of Fresh Insight: Give an ally a reroll on any search or investigation check (you see things they miss)
    Master of Disguise: take a Danger to remove the "Hunted" condition

    Professor -

    Trivial Pursuits: give an ally a +1 on Professor rolls (as you bore/inspire them with additional details)
    Skeptical: take a Danger to remove the "broken" condition (as you ignore the danger at your peril)

    Flyboy -

    Got it in for Womp-Rats: +1 hit when shooting small or precision targets
    Turn and Burn, Twist and Shout: +1 on piloting rolls when "overrun"
  • You know, you could probably do worse than giving everybody the "substitute mainstat for another trait, if you narratively justify it." Perhaps with limited per-session use.

    "I'll use Agent to fulfill the Professor requirements of the challenge, finding out the information by my network of contacts and some surreptitious espionage."

    Of course, this is usually the case in most RPGs anyway (what stat you use is based on how you approach the problem), but could be useful in, as the quote above assumes, a game with formally-defined challenges of some sort.
  • edited June 2009
    I emailed my dad and he said the Professor used to have an ability that went something like:

    Former Student: Turn an ally into an enemy or an enemy into an ally. You both take Danger.

    I think it was playing Danger Patrol and the Shab Al-Hiri Roach that led my dad to ultimately pursue a career in academia. I'm not sure what that says about him.
  • Posted By: JuddGI waited for that game to come out and never thought it did. I have an old wallpaper from when it was being developed. It was Shooting Iron, the people that did the best "Talislanta" Edition ever.
    Methinks there's a ruse going on here, and most of the people in this discussion are already in on it. And I really hope that's true, because that would be awesome.
  • Whoa, waitaminute. Wasn't there a Metagaming Microgame named Danger Patrol? 1979, I think. It had the type and profession stuff, basic counters for robot goons, ether terrorists, and Martian cultists, plus a hex map that could have been a rocket deckplan...or maybe a dirigible. They were supposed to put out Advanced Danger Patrol, but Metagaming went under before it could be released. The cover showed a minotaur in a ripped up flight suit busting up soldiers on a ship's bridge or something.
  • Posted By: Jonathan WaltonFormer Student: Turn an ally into an enemy or an enemy into an ally. You both take Danger.
    Nice one, JW.
  • edited June 2009
    Posted By: E.T.SmithMethinks there's a ruse going on here, and most of the people in this discussion are already in on it.
    It's all true. Exhibit A: John's Garage
  • edited June 2009
    There were about twenty shelf-worn copies of this game in a remainder bin at Alcove Hobbies in suburban Detroit in the early eighties. I think they had one dollar stickers on them. I remember thinking "that doesn't look very realistic" so I skipped it.

    Just Keep Pounding On It: +1 (or whatever) to repair a vehicle in motion.

    Hapless: Give your team re-rolls (or whatever) by bumbling into the enemies hands and taking the "Captured" condition.
    Ivory Tower: Give yourself some mechanical bonus by inflicting Danger on a team-mate.

    Multi-Task: Make a single roll to accomplish two unrelated non-combat actions.
  • The game looks neat, but I don't know if it ever hit the UK. Unless 'The Unending Empire' was a sourcebook, coz I know I saw that in a secondhand shop a while back. It might have had a 'DP' logo against a heraldic background or something like that?

    It definitely had something like 'That's over. Now where are we?' that let you switch Hunted for Lost, and 'That guy's rifle' that let you swap Disarmed for Overrun.

    And wasn't there a 'female' template of some kind that let you pick conditions you could cure in others? 'Girl genius' fixing Broken, 'Femme Fatale' for Lost?
  • edited June 2009
    Posted By: Jason Morningstar
    Multi-Task: Make a single roll to accomplish two unrelated non-combat actions.
    Are you not confusing that with 'Orders From The Top - add a bonus to your teammates, but lose an equivalent amount'?

    You're right about the agent being important for coordinating teams, though. That much I remember.
  • Explorer
    Miles Ahead: You get +1 on a roll for getting somewhere quickly or without harm. Unfortunately not everyone can keep up with you, give another player the Lost condition.

    Evasive Manuvers: When you control a vehicle you can push the vehicle to the limit. You get +1 to a roll, but someone always forgets their seatbelt: give another player the Off-Balance condition.

    Over Their Heads: You can talk your way out of anything by deliberately obfuscating and prevericating while having a discourse in a deliberately academic manner. You get +1 to get what you want when talking (not fighting) with someone stupider than you (which is most everyone). Everyone else has a hard time keeping up, give another player the tricked condition.

    I think everyone had an ability like this in the original edition, but they also had some caveat. Something like "if no player will willing take the condition caused by your ability, you can't use it" I think. This is all second hand of course, I'm pretty sure my grandpa played this thing.
  • Damn, I can't wait to find a copy somewhere. Off to Ebay I go. Sorry I can't help with your request, as I don't really design anymore.
  • What's the significance of the varying arrow lengths on the Danger Meter, any idea?
  • Thanks, everyone. These are great! Keep 'em coming!

    Ralph: The different symbols on the danger meter represent different bennies you get as your meter goes up. The arrows are Free Actions (which let you take extra turns, I think). The blank boxes are "danger dice" (extra dice you can add to your rolls). The boxes with the little white square are "power tokens" which you spend to activate special abilities. I think you have to spend the power tokens to use the special abilities that don't have check-off boxes.

    It looks like the idea is to get your danger meter higher so you can earn more bennies. But when your guy takes a hit, you have to mark a condition at the level of your danger meter. So if your meter was up to the fourth section (on the 22nd box) and you got hit, you'd have to mark K.O'd or TRAPPED (or write in a new condition on the blank line, I guess).
  • Wow. I remember being so worked up for this game way back when. Shame the company that had it didn't do more with it.
  • Hey, check it out... http://www.dangerpatrol.com exists! There's nothing much there, though. I did find some art tucked away in a directory. Looks like a mix of older and newer stuff, but maybe by the same artist.




  • I'd certainly like to find out more about it when you have put it together.
  • edited June 2009
    I once knew a guy who was working on the german edition of that game. Unlike the very viable CoC/Chaosium/Pegasus setup, this never came to pass. I heard it was because of creative differences about what the special abilities should look like.

    I actually found an email from around 1995, where stuff was outlined like this:

    He couldn't have survived that: A Daredevil cannot be Vaporized until this runs out(2 boxes)
    Grenade Juggler: Get 2 Danger for a re-roll (3 boxes)
  • Thanks, Harald. Those are good abilities.
    I think I saw some art for the German edition at GenCon one year. Shame the game never happened.

    Here are some more:

    Steady: Give a passenger +1 to a trait for one roll.

    Studied the Schematics: +1 hit vs. any technology.
  • I found some more on an old backup tape … actually, it wasn't the tape but notes on it's packaging. I don't know why some of this is striked out. Since I'm translating this back from german, they may be a bit off.

    It's a Trap!: Cannot be ambushed. (2 boxes needs to be activated)

    Conference Circuit: If you have a science-type opponent, get a +1 to hit against them because you've seen their talks. You both may gain 1 Danger from getting stuck in a scientific dispute (1 box, needs to be activated)

    Two-Fisted: You're hard to disarm, unless they break your knuckles (2 boxes)
  • All I can say is that this had better not be a tease, because I've been waiting fekking years for this.

    • I recognize this dialect... - speak the local language
    • Eureka! - experience a flash of insight
    • According to my research... - make declarations about something which are true and useful to you
    • Reverse the Polarity - sabotage technology
    • Occam's Razor - use Science to kill.
    • My Mechanical Pal - make friends with robots.
    • My latest invention - whip out a gadget or device perfect for the situation
    • Love me for my brain - use Science to be sexy
  • Bailywolf: I guess someone could reconstruct it from the tidbits we have here. Since all records as to who wrote this have vanished, let's hope it's not some guy with a lawyer as a business partner …
  • Flyboy:

    Hang on, this could get rough!
    - bonus to dangerous vehicle maneuvers
    C'mon, baby--WHACK! - temporary suspension of vehicle's Broken condition. Alt. name: Spit and Baling Wire
    Chicken time! - bonus to obtaining Overrun on opponent
    Spandau Ballet - +1 when using vehicular weaponry

    I got a hunch - gain a flash of insight about an open case or relevant person
    Clued in - +1 when searching a location for information
    I've had worse - once per session, uncheck Bashed, Stunned, Injured, or KO'd
    I know a guy... - obtain a favor from a contact
  • I think the Professor's best trait is:

    "My God..." +1 to anyone else's action if you spend yours dramatically taking your glasses off.
  • Posted By: Matt WilsonI think the Professor's best trait is:

    "My God..." +1 to anyone else's action if you spend yours dramatically taking your glasses off.
    How about "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses." to ignore a certain amount of damage.

  • edited June 2009
    All I can say is, my Two-Fisted Explorer rocked ("Hey Doc, I found a bomb. What do you want to do with it?"), but I cannot _believe_ I passed up the chance to be an Atomic Detective.

    Just saying the phrase "Atomic Detective" spikes my dopamine.
  • I have been waiting for this all my life, but did not know it until I read the OP.

    What about the gear? The Flyboy clearly has a flying helmet and scarf. The Explorer must have a pith helmet and safari suit. The Professor has the glasses already mentioned, and a lab coat with useful stuff in the pockets. The Agent has disguises and clever miniaturized devices. The Detective must have a magnifying glass....
  • I dunno. Magnifying glass for the Detective sorta pigeonholes that role IMO. I'd like to keep the Spade/Marlowe option open.

    Though if anyone's seen the new Sherlock Holmes trailer....
  • Once a game you can go from without a check to over-run and when you come to, you will be tied up with a villain ready to brag about their cunning plan. Roll X vs. Y in order to change Overrun to Hunted and escape.
  • How about "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses." to ignore a certain amount of damage.

    I dunno, seems to me that "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses." would allow the Professor to take the blow in place of another PC. Because we all know they always hit the guy who says that square in the face. :)
  • As far as equipment, my mystic professor was rocking the tweed and khaki Danger Patrol uniform.
  • I like the blanks for uniform style. One commando may be unlike another.
  • Posted By: HexabolicI like the blanks for uniform style. One commando may be unlike another.
    I'd like to see a paper doll style thing for this so you could draw your own uniform onto your character.

  • So that's what those are for! There were some little blank paper doll things in the box, but I didn't think they were for the game. Cool!
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