The James Bond: 007 Role Playing Game was written back in the early 1980s, and while it remains an excellent engine for espionage roleplaying, some of the mechanics are getting a bit like Roger Moore in A View to a Kill — a bit too long in the tooth.

One thing I’ve noted is that the firearms damage ratings, much like the structure points for electronic do-dads and performance modifiers for modern vehicles, do not take into account well the serious improvements in technology. I thought I would address the first in this post.

There’s one way to correct for this: hit the interwebz and find out what the ammunition the character is using has for muzzle energy. For instance, most modern 9mm is going to be running in the 330-360 ft/lbs. range. Using the Q Manual as a guide, you’ll see that most 9mm firearms of service weapon size (4″ to 5″ barrels) should be throwing lead with a DC of G. The Walther PPK in either .32 or .380 would have an E. Both 10mm and .40S&W run in the H range, etc… +P and other hot loads push this even further, but should lower the S/R by at least one due to recoil, and depending on the weapon, might increase the JAM rating, as the weapon takes a heavier beating than was intended.

For instance, running .32 +P through a Kel-Tec P32 is pretty inadvisable. It might do alright for the occasional firefight, but a steady diet with kill the weapon pretty fast. You might kick the JAM from a 98+ to a 97+ and add a GM Information tag that the weapons suffers a malfunction on 99 and 100, instead of just 100. Another good rule of thumb is that if the pistol has longer than a 3″ barrel, bump the DC up one. This holds pretty true for rifles, as well.

Now if game balance is your thing, you might find a close analogue to a weapon being used in the Q Manual or Black Campbell’s own Q2 Manual (and yeah, you’ll find it pirated on other sites…it’s my work) and riff on that. I’m planning a new gear manual in the future that addresses some of the changes the world has wrought on this venerable game system.