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real spying?

briansommers

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Validated User
I'm looking to get info on "real" spying - no james bond stuff, nothing, I plan to do it solo with mythic - and probably writing it out for a solo adventure, etc.. but I'm not sure how to go about it..

I have spycraft 2 and that looks almost to james bond-y, I want the mundane boring spy stuff., not sure how to game it out or where to get the info?

thanks
bs
 

KingTurnip

Deontic Regulator
Spione by Ron Edwards may be up your alley. I'm not a fan of his style, but you may find the work useful
 

Ryan Samuelson

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Validated User
GURPS Espionage has quite a bit on real world spying. Although the author admits that most of real espionage is actually quite boring work and not something that most role-players would actually want to do.
 

Eltharon

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Real espionage often envolves building a close relationship with someone (who has information you need) over an extended period of time, getting dirt on them, building trust, and then using the dirt you have on them as a reason for them to turn over that information (at which point it becomes much easier to extract information from them, because whatever dirt you had on them before is overshadowed by the fact that the "mark" is now a traitor). Counterspying often involves feeding false information through leaks before arresting the spy.
In other words, the process of spying itself would be pretty boring to RP...I certainly wouldn't be terribly interested. What happens when the game is up, and the FBI/KGB is after you could be a fun game, though
 

DainXB

Iron Typist
Validated User
In terms of information about more-realistic spying, read John leCarre novels for inspiration.

If you are looking for a more 'poor-mans-James-Bond' feel, watch 'Burn Notice' :). There are gadgets, but they're home built-built and low-tech.

In terms of rules sets, look for something that delves heavily into relationships -- 'A Dirty World' comes to mind as a possibility.

Good Luck!
 

MoonHunter

Game Guru-Thread Shepherd
RPGnet Member
Validated User
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_agent Might as well start with basics
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Espionage_techniques Again with the basics

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/index.html Learn from the people who do it.

http://www.espionageinfo.com/ Easier to follow, smaller bits of data

http://www.experiencefestival.com/espionage_-_espionage_technology_and_techniques
Ignore the source, click the first two recomended article links

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html

To be honest, most real world espionage is truly boring. Roleplaying, a little. Lots of Spot/ Perception rolls. Some Shadowing/ Stealth rolls. A few knoweldge rolls. And these are far and inbetween. In truth, an agents life is supposed to be totally boring. It is when an agent's life gets interesting that they have done something wrong.

Oh this is supposed to be good
http://www.alibris.com/search/books/qwork/9573521/used/Spycraft Manual: The Insider's Guide to Espionage Techniques
 

Jesse

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Validated User
Spione by Ron Edwards may be up your alley. I'm not a fan of his style, but you may find the work useful
A second Spione as being an excellent source of information on real-world cold-war era spying.

Jesse
 

briansommers

Registered User
Validated User
mmmm.. well maybe this isn't for me afterall.. - I kind of like the poor mans bond, I love burn notice - the thing about what makes it seem so real is the naration, it all seems to make sense to have it explained to you then you see it happen, my wife loves this show as well.....maybe what I want - especially for solo play would be more of an assasin for hire kind of thing..

also, being a sniper in a S.W.A.T. element would be I thing good to game, to some degree, not sure how that would work either...
 

MadCow

Master of all evil bovine
Validated User
Real espionage often envolves building a close relationship with someone (who has information you need) over an extended period of time, getting dirt on them, building trust, and then using the dirt you have on them as a reason for them to turn over that information (at which point it becomes much easier to extract information from them, because whatever dirt you had on them before is overshadowed by the fact that the "mark" is now a traitor). Counterspying often involves feeding false information through leaks before arresting the spy.
In other words, the process of spying itself would be pretty boring to RP...I certainly wouldn't be terribly interested. What happens when the game is up, and the FBI/KGB is after you could be a fun game, though
In which I submit that Spycraft 2.0 is actually perfectly suitable for this role. PCs don't roleplay out all the boring parts, that's what the Dramatic Conflicts are for. Each maneuver played can be worth days (or even weeks or months) of game time, and once the results are in then the regular RPing (combat, arrest, heist, whatever) begins.
 

Cloud Divider

Registered User
Validated User
I'm looking to get info on "real" spying - no james bond stuff, nothing, I plan to do it solo with mythic - and probably writing it out for a solo adventure, etc.. but I'm not sure how to go about it..
As others have said, "real" espionage is rather less exciting. For what it's worth, you may want to look into the history of some real spies. Robert Hanssen, for instance. There's plenty of others. Aldrich Ames. Hanssen's a more interesting story, though.

There's a few articles on wikipedia about tradecraft - the various tricks of the trade (dead drops, codewords, and the like).

Overall, what you're looking for pretty low-key. Find a game system that really lets you play off of social, emotional, ideological, and psychological elements of characters. You want to be able to play out stuff like coercion and blackmail. Something like HeroQuest, or FATE 3/Spirit of the Century.

Actually, the more I think about it, maybe even something like GUMSHOE, with a few tweaks. If you're not familiar, in GUMSHOE, you can make a normal roll using your skill - or you can also spend points (based on your skill) to improve your result - really handy in cases where you really want to succeed (like getting the contact to succumb). I'm not doing it justice here - check some reviews of games that use the system (like Esoterrorists and Trail of Cthulhu). GUMSHOE would also decently handle the occasional action sequence (chase or gunfight), using essentially the same mechanics.

Can you give some more information as to what you're looking for, game-wise?

I'm not sure there'd be enough "cool stuff" to really keep folks interested long-term, but more power to you if you think you can pull it off.

Good luck!
 
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