🎨 Creative [NECRO] 101+ Espionage Plot Ideas

MoonHunter

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25) Your Control Agent, that voice on the phone or comm unit from back at HQ, has gone missing. This left you in a lurch for a little while in the mission, but someone else took over (and nearly got you killed because they were unfamiliar with you or the mission.

25b) The Agency can not comment on what happened to your control. But a short time later, your control contacts you. (I mean, it is not like they don't know all your phone numbers, contact points, emails, and aliases. They are in trouble. They need your help. Do you "request some time off" or just go rogue to help them? They have saved your butt in the past.

25c) They are being blackmailed to give out secrets. The evidence that has been fabricated is pretty damming, They need you field types to help them find who is actually doing it and why. You need to find the initital evidence pieces or the source material for the "evidence". All you know is a guy called "Mr. Smith", where Control is supposed to contact him next, and a dead drop.
 

MoonHunter

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26) You mission is to being to surveil a high value target who might want to defect. They are not ready to defect, you should not make contact or scare the subject in any way. You need deep surveillance, so the security forces monitoring the target might notice you. This is to make future operations easier. You have three weeks. (Note: Do not get blatently caught. If you are going to be captured either bluff or break your way out. In fact, you are authorized to make "too much noise" if you need to.)

26b) Your team is a stalking horse. You are going to attract attention to yourself and your target. You will because you have to do deep surveillance (which doesn't make sense for you given your briefing). While most of the security forces are watching you watching the subject, another team is going to penetrate and retrieve a moderate value subject what has vital information.

26c) The other team might rescue you on the way out, or you might have to rescue them.
 

celebrityomnipath

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What would make this plot difficult today is that in all respects modern forensics are vastly superior. One would have to fake DNA, fake a background identity for the individual that would pass scrutiny, and fake a cause and time of death that would be believable. Though the fact that it would be difficult is also what would make it interesting to play.
Well Operation Mincemeat was about faking the existence and death of high-ranking army brass, DNA isn't really a problem as you can just insert the DNA records into your own records, or just put that they were adopted on their burth certificate so it can't be checked against their relatives.

A lot of this shit would be easier these days as I bet that the spooks have a whole bunch of fake Facebook profiles and that pre-aged and set up to be associated with a cover.

Faking the cause of death would be an ass today though, but letting bodies rot can work fuckign wonders.

2b) Same idea but instead of USB, the virus uses heat from one computer to talk to the one next to it. It wouldn't directly affect the plot, but this idea is just plain cool(and amazingly factual). Computer speakers are another means of communication.
As I recall, the heat thing and the sound thing (who the fuck leaves speakers and mike active on a computer that processes secret data?*) only actually work if you pre-install the spyware on the machines, it lets them send messages out at an incredibly slow bandwidth, but it doesn't help you put them there in the thirst place. Which means this shit is probably already installed on the motherboards the spooks buy from China, but anyway.


*People who buy all-in-one PCs that's who!
 

Adam Reynolds

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Well Operation Mincemeat was about faking the existence and death of high-ranking army brass, DNA isn't really a problem as you can just insert the DNA records into your own records, or just put that they were adopted on their burth certificate so it can't be checked against their relatives.

A lot of this shit would be easier these days as I bet that the spooks have a whole bunch of fake Facebook profiles and that pre-aged and set up to be associated with a cover.

Faking the cause of death would be an ass today though, but letting bodies rot can work fuckign wonders.
They actually don't do that nearly as much as you might think. The problem of needing to fake identities digitally is actually a serious problem. The issue is one of cost. You can't just create backstories overnight the way you used to to get people into foreign countries.

As for DNA, I was more thinking about a version in which you are killing an already known person.

Though cause of death is the most serious problem. In the historical case of Operation Mincemeat, it was only though a religious objection and diplomatic pressure to prevent the Spanish from doing a proper autopsy that it was successful. Had they done so, they would have undoubtedly proven the true cause of death to not be drowning. This leaves the possibility of straight up killing a person for this purpose. You could contrive a reason they would die anyway. Perhaps it was a prisoner that had been put to death.

Letting the body rot would take time, time that would defeat the point in the first place. For a deception campaign, time is rather valuable. The longer it goes on, the more likely that it would be discovered. Especially in the era of modern media and journalism. If the CIA couldn't sortie the Glomar Explorer without detection, I doubt they could get away with fake killing someone for an extended period of time.

You also then run into the problems of needing to defeat forensic entomologists and anthropologists that can determine postmortem intervals to some degree. So that would leave you with two bad options: Option one is that you leave the body in a position for a period of time, meaning that someone could find it before it decays to the point at which you want it discovered. Option two is that you move the body and hope that no one finds evidence that you did so.

As I recall, the heat thing and the sound thing (who the fuck leaves speakers and mike active on a computer that processes secret data?*) only actually work if you pre-install the spyware on the machines, it lets them send messages out at an incredibly slow bandwidth, but it doesn't help you put them there in the thirst place. Which means this shit is probably already installed on the motherboards the spooks buy from China, but anyway.


*People who buy all-in-one PCs that's who!
Like the USB vulernability in Stuxnet, it would work best as a zero day exploit. The idea is that the heroes are the first one to have used it and so it isn't well known in the setting. To be honest, it's a bit of a stretch, but its a cool enough idea to be worth doing regardless.

The heat vulnerability isn't targeted at something like what Stuxnet was, it is targeted at organizations that have two computers next to each other. One for internet, one for internal networks only. It doesn't matter how slow it is if it is capable of running continuously for a long period of time. And once it gets inside the internal network, which likely has less security, it would be free to spread among the computers within it.
 

Jere

Allohistorical
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Here's a Motif and Type Index I often use to help brainstorm around

Plot Types
The Spy goes over
The big job
The hero as victim
Journey into fear
To catch a spy

Characteristic Episodes (motifs)
Initial ennui
Assassination (attempted assassination)
Abduction
Close call
Confrontation
Disguise
Disguised encounter/confrontation
Narrow escape
Chase
Evasion
On the run
Capture
Interrogation
Torture
The drop
Exchange
The plant
Planted misinformation
Doubling/turning
Turnabout (the hunted becomes hunter)
Betrayal
Counterspying
The tag

Dramatis Personae
The Hero’s Company
The hero agent
Control
Control’s immediate subordinates
Control’s satellites
Romantic interest

The Adversary’s Company
Enemy agent
Enemy control
Enemy control’s henchman
Enemy agency entourage or natives of country hostile to hero
False romantic interest

Ambiguous Personae
Defectors (can defect to either side)
Double Agents
Plants (whose ultimate loyalties may not be apparent)

Neutrals
Neutrals may initially have innocent intentions but are usually exploited by one side or the other and eventually become unwilling helpers or dupes
 

MoonHunter

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27) An arms dealer is moving weapons out of Mexico into the US and from there to North Africa (who will eventually sell it to people in the Middle East). He is purchasing the weapons and moving it into the US with a cartel who dabbles in human trafficing. The weapons are being brought in with smuggled immigrants (using them as a meat shield if needed).

Using a chop shop, they are going to use some higher end cars (Limos) to smuggle the weapons into North Africa, via a boat shipment.

The spies need to be careful and not have their covers blown by all the law enforcement types that will sniffing around the various criminal activities. They need the weapons to get to North Africa and who is the buyer. The End Buyers of the weapons are your target. (After that deny them the weapons by any means you desire).
 

Daily Alice

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The Top Secret: SI game had as a supplement a two-volume Covert Operations Sourcebook giving accounts of actual Cold War operations. Nowadays, a bit of Web searching and a trip to the library will probably garner more (plus a look at many more recent affairs).

In terms of Mission:Impossible as I remember it, a lot of caper/heist and con stories ("Rififi," "Topkapi," "The Italian Job," "The Great Train Robbery," "The Sting," "The Spanish Prisoner," "The Departed," etc.) would seem good inspiration. So naturally would the TV series itself, and others such as Danger Man, The Avengers, The Saint, Man from UNCLE, I Spy, It Takes a Thief, The Unit, etc.
 

deflagratio

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One of Mission Impossible (the tv show's) gimmicks was that outside of the leader/handler, the rest of the team were being blackmailed into being a part of the missions. There was a core team but they started as a list of people who owed the CIA favors. The guest star of the episode was either a civilian expert or a criminal trying to get out of a prison sentence. The civilians often are not used to danger and flexible situations the mission dictates while the criminals are only doing it begrudgingly and try to figure out how to stick it to The Man.

A fun trope from the TV Show is one of the main characters was a master of disguise but everyone looks like him. Every character he ended up having to disguise himself as just so happened to be played by the same actor. Could be a fun discriptive technique.

Remember compartmentalization. You only need to know what someone thinks you need to know. No one has the whole plan so if captured the plan can't be ruined. Something happens and you have to abort. Everything seems fishy and some of the team get captured. The newest member of the team says he has instructions on what to do when this happened. No one else knows about these instructions and your handler is out of contact.
 

MoonHunter

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28) Safehouse
Every Agent should have a safehouse (or several) in areas that they operate in. This safehouse should not be known to even their friendly agent friends. (You get some ear marked money for this from the agency.)

What happens when your apartment gets blown up, or there was a fire in the building, or just fumigated? You hang out at your safehouse for a few weeks. (I mean I can't afford a hotel for that long on my salary.) So now you have your friends over or you stop by your place to pick up some things with them in the car. (They discover that protocol is broken.)

So what happens when shit hits the fan. Now you don't have a safehouse with stocked supplies. Do you risk "going home"?

What happens when one of them uses your safehouse? ("we were compromised... so I used yours") and ate your food and took your bullets?

What happens when this occurs at the same time. And the people using your safehouse get attacked by the agents looking for you at your "home".

Now two missions have spiraled out, and you have a lot of clean up and explanation to do.
 
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