In Spycraft 2.0 all companies, cults, societies, and other factions — including the Agency, in the default espionage setting — are Organizations. Player characters can also develop their own organizations using the Science (Economy) check (see page 150).
Each organization possesses 5 Power Ratings — Goals, History, Image, Sites, and Tools. An organization is completely described with just these 5 numbers, but the GC can further expand upon its capabilities by “unfolding” each number to reveal additional details.
Factions: All Factions — including the Agency — are considered organizations, and possess the same set of statistics, with the same game effects. Characters who belong to a Faction benefit from its organizational effects, as described throughout this section.
Few organizations grow or prosper without a clear vision and a strong hand at the helm. This Power Rating measures the effectiveness and preparations of the organization’s entire upper echelon (not the power of its individual leaders). At any time, an organization may act upon a number of different objectives equal to its Goals Rating. These objectives provide the organization with purpose and immediate, tangible effects as shown in Table: Organization Goals. Once per session, the organization’s upper echelon may choose to grant 2 Action Dice per goal to 1 of the organization’s members, which must be spent to either prompt one or more of the goal’s listed events or boost one or more of the goal’s listed skill checks, as appropriate. When a goal is chosen, the GC may add 1 or more specific means that the organization adopts toward achieving it (e.g. if an organization chooses Greed, it might renew government contacts during the following quarter). Means don’t provide further mechanical benefits, but rather flesh out the organization and suggest ways to help or hinder the organization’s efforts that may eventually become roleplaying opportunities.
|Table: Organizational Goals|
|Conquest Surprise||Combat events|
|Counter Shoddy/Worthless||Item events|
|Destruction||Endangered Bystanders events|
|Enlightened Evolution||Critical successes|
|Grail||Surprise Chase events|
|Meddling||Under Review events|
|Megalomania||Opposed skill checks|
|Reconstruction||Rival Approach events|
|Revelation||Undesired Attention events|
|Terrorism||Marked for Death events|
Conquest: The organization hopes to overrun a large geographical area through influence, armed might, or overt threats. Counter: The organization has well defined opponents it works constantly to undermine and disgrace. It is skilled at attacking the enemy’s supply lines.
Destruction: The organization is driven by a desire to destroy. This target of this fury can be as broad as the entire world or a precise as one deeply despised landmark. These reckless acts of mayhem frequently put bystanders at risk.
|Behind the curtain: Forging History|
|Organizations are very much like NPCs. Some are used once and discarded, and others become the focus of play for many missions, or perhaps even seasons. Developing a complete history is time-consuming, but it can provide material rich in roleplaying potential. The Game Control is encouraged to flesh out the history of important organizations in his setting, even beyond its turning points. Especially if the PCs are closely associated with an organization, a well-rounded history provides ready answers about its place in the grand scheme of things. Further, a campaign featuring recurring foes, rivals, or allies can be developed beyond the rules skeleton and pay off time and again.
When creating an organization, the GC or players should ask how it came to be the way it is today. How old is the organization? Is it a new rising star, a crumbling giant, or an even older body that’s faced its share of growth and decline? Reading the list of turning points may be useful for brainstorming other, less important moments in the organization’s existence, and delving into the ideas behind each of the other Ratings can yield even more information.
This Rating focuses on major turning points that have shaped the organization’s mindset and ideology. The number of turning points that provide a mechanical benefit is equal to this Rating, with options shown on Table: Turning Points. Like goals, turning points shape the organization’s current capabilities. A resistance group that derives its sense of identity from a decade of persecution behaves differently than one that gathers around the water cooler to rehash its greatest successes. Each turning point provides characters affiliated with the organization a +2 morale bonus with each Action Die result to boost a specific skill check, as shown on Table: Turning Points.
An organization may have many more important events in its past than it can have turning points. Indeed, aged organizations almost certainly accumulate far more events than their History Rating implies. Turning points are the highlights, the first things anyone talks about when discussing the organization’s past. Once turning points are chosen, the GC may elaborate on them, attaching dates or other particulars. These details don’t provide additional mechanical benefit, but help ground the organization in the setting and storyline and provide opportunities for players to explore and discuss the group during their missions. It’s even possible that the PCs might become involved in recent turning points, creating additional plot hooks. In particular, when PCs achieve a Triumph, the GC may shift their organization’s turning points to reflect the momentous event.
When choosing turning points for a “modern” organization, the GC may wish to go out of his way to include recent major events — people tend to identify most strongly with whatever happened last, particularly if it happened to them or while they were part of the organization. Corporations are an extreme example, with an almost myopic focus only on the events of the last fiscal year. Conversely, the more an organization is rooted in tradition, the more turning points will be clustered around its beginning, creating a sense that the organization’s founders faced the great trials and that all that’s happened since is simply an extension of their great accomplishments. Religious institutions are powerful examples of this emphasis, with many taking their cues almost exclusively from turning points hundreds or thousands of years ago.
|Table: Turning Points|
|Turning Point||Supported Skill Checks|
|Betrayal Sense||Motive/Detect Lie|
|Changing of the Guard||Networking/Mediation|
|Coup Sense||Motive/Resist Manipulate|
|Dark Days||Resolve/Resist Intimidate|
|Rise from the Ashes||Resolve/R&R|
|Triumphant||Choose one skill check*|
|* This should be the same check as the Triumph that created the turning point.|
Betrayal: The organization suffered badly when betrayed by an ally or member. Its members still seek to avenge this event. Changing of the Guard: The leadership or one of the organization's particularly elite units was wiped out or retired. This transition likely signaled an accompanying shift in goals or methods. This turning point is often remembered for a major parallel transformation.
Coup: A new leader took power in the organization, likely by force. This has hardened the survivors and solidified the method of choosing new leadership (either to prevent a new coup or to secure the usurper’s power base).
Dark Days: The organization survived a period where nothing seemed to go its way. This sobering example of poor fortune has prompted better planning for rainy days and a reliance on fallback positions and hidden reserves.
Enemies: The organization’s greatness is defined by the quality of its enemies. This turning point marks the beginning of hostilities s that have become a point of pride for the organization’s members.
Great Leader: The organization reveres one of its leaders as the paragon of its ideals and culture. New leaders are encouraged to emulate this model, and members hope for the return of such excellence in coming years.
and the agents’ accomplishments. The organization has grown by taking slow and steady steps — a trend all of its leaders hope to see continue.
Prophecy: The organization received information that informs its expectations about future events. This is not strictly a religious or supernatural turning point — many modern corporations commit to action based on pragmatic Analysis and forecasts.
Rise from the Ashes: The organization was shut down at some point — or perhaps disbanded or utterly destroyed — yet it managed to renew itself, rising again from ruin. This has great appeal, often convincing members of the organization’s near-immortality.
Respected: The organization has received accolades from other organizations or individuals for which it harbors great respect. In closed societies like the Intelligence community, such a nod of approval can be a rare and treasured thing, all the more valued because outsiders can never understand the organization’s actions as its rivals do.
Revolt: At some point the organization’s membership overthrew some or all of its leadership, probably replacing them with champions of its rank-and-file. This turning point serves to reinforce the bonds between the organization’s leaders and members, discouraging management tyranny.
Rivals: The organization competes with a counterpart, though perhaps not overtly. This rivalry drives the organization’s members to excel, motivating them to outperform the opposing group and prove their superiority.
Triumphant: The organization experienced a spectacular success, far beyond all reasonable explanation. Whether it snatched victory from the jaws of certain defeat or simply transcended the common notion of the impossible, this one shining moment has justifiably become a cornerstone of the organization’s pride.
An organization’s image is the reputation it has gained through action, practice, and deliberate effort to spin the available facts. The higher an organization’s Image Rating, the more effort it pours into shaping public opinion, actively spreading its credo or creating a veil of secrecy to hide its unpopular deeds. An organization’s Image Rating determines the public’s awareness of five facets of its operation: Goals, Methods, Leaders, Members, and Sites. The awareness of each facet defaults to “Recorded” (i.e. the organization neither hides nor advertises it, and information about it is available through common public sources). Any character with an interest in the organization is automatically aware of all of its Recorded facets, and most people with sufficient interest can look them up with little difficulty. An organization may allocate some or all of its Image Rating to increase or decrease public awareness of each facet of its operation, as shown on Table: Image Rating Effects. This establishes the DCs and error ranges of Investigation/Canvass Area and Investigation/Research checks made targeting the organization, as well as the Power Rating of a possible bonus cover identity or legal immunity Tradecraft pick afforded to each of its leaders and members.
Organizations with renowned goals work to remain constantly in the public eye. They hold press releases at every phase of each major undertaking and appear frequently in the media, often on an international scale. This doesn’t mean that the public approves of these goals, only that they’re a regular topic of conversation. Most organizations with renowned goals want to be famous or notorious, such as major corporations and terrorist groups. Organizations with prominent goals either have more modest, less eye-catching objectives, or are less successful in conveying their message.
Organizations with secretive goals not only hide their objectives, but also try to conceal the organization’s very existence. Secret goals are little more than rumors, even among the organization’s members, and must be pieced together from careful analysis or high-level infiltration of the organization’s leadership. Secretive organizations periodically release misinformation, to protect their privacy, and to throw truth hunters off the trail.
Organizations with mysterious goals are even more obscure — few consider the group anything more than an urban legend, and any information about its goals is contradictory and confusing. Conflicting reports, copycat events, and even deliberate misdirection are employed to ensure that no one knows there is a goal, much less what it is.
The public’s awareness of an organization’s methods is quite separate from its goals. Approval for a corrupt environmentalist group’s goals might crumble if the public learned of its methods away from the cameras. Conversely, some underworld organizations thrive on the fear generated by their well-publicized means, never having to reveal their aims.
Organizations with renowned methods have strong patterns of conduct that frequently make the news. Their actions are immediately traceable.
Organizations with prominent methods are largely consistent and identifiable.
Organizations with secretive methods are deliberately low-key, and attempt to distance the group from any notable action. Organizations with mysterious methods often appear as little more than a collection of unrelated incidents with no clear modus operandi. Only highly knowledgeable investigators have any chance of linking such methods and the organization using them.
Renowned leaders aren’t just public figures, they’re celebrities constantly in the public eye, regularly appearing on television and in major magazines. They actively endorse their organization in public and strive to raise its visibility at all times. Combined with their organization’s support, their public presence routinely provides them with protection from legal action.
Prominent leaders tend to be respected community members and occasional celebrities (appearing on talk shows or in print once or twice a year). They can usually muster enough public support to prevent or derail minor legal proceedings.
Secret leaders are not identified within the organization’s own files and often act through code names, cut-outs, and proxies. Mysterious leaders are often entirely unknown to each other, commanding the organization only though coded transmissions. An organization with more than one mysterious leader communicates s through several isolated layers, or divides its responsibilities so thoroughly that communication is rarely necessary.
Renowned organization members are heroes of the cause and fringe warriors espousing its ethos to anyone who’ll listen. Prominent members don’t hesitate to announce their affiliations and often wear organizational symbols as part of their day-to-day wardrobe. Secret members make no mention of their affiliation and actively deny it if pressed. They often maintain cover identities s to hide their activities or operate in small cells to avoid knowing too much about each other.
Mysterious members often exist entirely outside society, with no official records save those of a carefully developed cover identity. They rarely possess knowledge of each other or the organization’s upper echelons; it’s entirely possible that they don’t even know the organization’s name or identifying logo, seal, or symbol.
Sites are the crown jewels of any organization’s resource network (see below). Renowned sites are internationally famous locations, vying for titles like ‘World’s Finest’ and ‘Most Respected.’ They’re usually situated in or near major cities and benefit from the good will of civil police in addition to their own on-site security details. Prominent sites are often located in urban areas and may hold tours, or release commercials or documentaries about their accomplishments. Secretive sites are concealed from the public eye and official oversight. They may be based in remote locations, maintain a façade of normalcy, or practice tight security measures to prevent leaks. Mysterious assets are shielded by the most extreme security imaginable and only brought into play under dire circumstances. Their host locations are remote, camouflaged, or exotic (e.g. the bottom of the ocean or the far side of the Moon).
Organizations can possess dozens or hundreds of offices and other locations. On the other hand, Sites are an organization’s most essential locations, the linchpins of the organization’s logistical structure, where it develops resources and advances its goals.
Each Site is a physical location housing the infrastructure for a specific type of Request check, as shown on Table: Site Benefits. So long as a Site remains operational, it grants each member of the organization a +4 bonus with appropriate e Request checks, and reduces the time needed to acquire the requested gear or benefit to 1/2 standard (rounded up).
As an organization grows, it gains access to a wider variety of gear, as represented by its Tools Rating. Without applying its Tools Rating, an organization’s members may only choose from Caliber I and Caliber II gear in each of the 7 gear categories. For each point of Tools Rating, the organization may increase the available Caliber in 2 different categories by 1 each.
Example 1: KW Pharmaceuticals possesses a Tools Rating of 3. It chooses to improve its highest-end Survival Gear options to Caliber V, Electronics to Caliber IV, and Vehicles to Caliber III (a total of 6 increases — double the organization’s Tools Rating).
Example 2: International Expeditions is a front for a major espionage operation with a Tools Rating of 10. The organization chooses to provide Caliber V gear in every category except for vehicles, which it can provide at a maximum of Caliber IV (a total of 20 increases — double the organization’s Tools Rating).
Once an organization’s Tools Rating is distributed, it cannot later be changed.
Organizations regularly spawn, absorb, and become attached to other organizations, forming elaborate structures of authority and responsibility. The U.S. Government, for example, isn’t generally treated as a single organization but a web of thousands of branches, agencies, bureaus, offices, and postings. Spinning off new organization subsidiaries is discussed in the Science (Economy) check. Further, characters may find themselves loaned out, traded, quitting, or joining up with new organizations as a campaign unfolds. They may even find themselves being headhunted by other organizations as part of an Rival Approached event (see page 402).
In all of these cases, the critical rule that always applies is that no character or team may belong to, or benefit from, more than 1 organization at a time. Those belonging to a subsidiary branch of a larger organization benefit only from the subsidiary, not theparent organization, and those belonging to the parent organization may not also belong to any of its subsidiaries (though they may be assigned to work with them, which has no mechanical effect).
Here are several examples of The Agency at different power levels.
Goals: 2 (Counter, Reconstruction)
History: 4 (Betrayal, Dark Days, Enemies, Great Leader)
Image: 5 (recorded goals, secretive methods, secretive leaders, mysterious members, secretive sites)
Sites: 2 (Classroom, Hospital)
Tools: 5 (E–III, G–III, R–IV, S–IV, T–IV, V–II, W–IV)
SERvANT Of A mINOR POwER
Goals: 5 (Conquest, Credibility, Meddling, Protection, Takeover)
History: 5 (Accomplishment, Growth, Dark Days, Enemies, Great Leader)
Image: 4 (prominent goals, recorded methods, secretive leaders, prominent members, prominent sites)
Sites: 5 (Airstrip, Hospital, Law Offices, Motor Pool, Prison)
Tools: 6 (E–IV, G–IV, R–IV, S–IV, T–III, V–IV, W–III)
TRANSNATIONAl Intelligence SERvICE
Goals: 4 (Counter, Grail, Revelation, Stability)
History: 7 (Allies, Enemies, Foolishness, Great Leader, Respected, Rise from Ashes, Rivals)
Image: 7 (renowned goals, prominent methods, mysterious leaders, secretive members, secretive sites)
Sites: 7 (Armory, COMSEC Center, Law Offices, Media Studio, Prison, Records Office, Training Ground)
Tools: 7 (E–IV, G–IV, R–IV, S–IV, T–IV, V–IV, W–IV)
Goals: 7 (Greed, Meddling, Megalomania, Redemption, Secrecy, Stability, Visionary)
History: 7 (Decline, Enemies, Golden Age, Great Leader, Growth, Triumphant, Victory)
Image: 9 (mysterious goals, secretive methods, mysterious leaders, mysterious members, mysterious sites)
Sites: 10 (Armory, Advanced Garage, Advanced Lab, Classroom, Hot Lab, Motor Pool, Prison, Records Office, Satellite Network, Training Ground)
Tools: 10 (E–V, G–V, R–V, S–IV, T–V, V–V, W–V)
Further, the GC should consider increasing one of one of The Agency’s Ratings by 1 every three to six months of game time, reflecting the organization’s growing capabilities and the agents’ accomplishments.
|Table: Agency Rating Pools|
|11–20||Self-starter Agency or large organization cut off from support and surrounded by enemies|
|21–30||Frontline Intelligence Agency for a minor nation or supporting Agency for a major world power|
|31–40||Frontline Intelligence Agency for a major world power or well-supported transnational Agency|
|41+||Global Agency or conspiracy powerhouse with seemingly limitless resources, touching every level of society|
|Behind The Curtain: The Agency|
|In the espionage genre, player characters are assumed to work for a large organization — “The Agency” — that determines the team’s targets and takes care of their interests and logistical support. We recommend each Game Control use the organization rules to develop his own Agency to fit his setting and vision of the game. The total number of points the GC assigns to all of The Agency’s Ratings dramatically affects the game’s style and difficulty, as shown on Table: Agency Rating Pools.|