Author Topic: I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...  (Read 1047 times)


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I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...
« on: July 20, 2011, 07:29:56 AM »
Coming up in a few weeks here, I'm going to be running a short 5 or 6 sessions Spycraft mini-series, to fill a break gap. Because it's for sure limited run, I want to crank the volume to 11 on everything. I'm starting them at 5th level, and I plan on hitting the ground running. The thing is, other than a few broad strokes, I'm having a hard time with the espionage portion of the storyline...

I plan to start off in media res, with some of the team on a commercial plane defusing a hostage situation (think the hidden ending of Call of Duty Modern Warfare), and the other part in engaged in freefall combat with an enemy (sorta like Shoot Em Up, only maybe a little less crazy). As things reach a crescendo, the "camera" will fade to black and we'll jump back 72 hours. I'll then introduce them to the Agency, and its near-futuristic setup. I'll lay out the mission, which at first will look absolutely nothing like a situation that would turn into an airborne hostage crisis (still hammering this part out, see what I mean?). We'll then go through the usual setup, gear selection, and play through everything like a normal adventure. Eventually, we'll end up back where we started (and I'm not worried about it being seen as railroading, 'cause as soon as the players realize they saw the ending first, they'll automatically be looking for it the whole time, whether I push them that way or not. They're predictable like that).

Once we're back to the present, we'll finish off the big sequence, but there's a catch. The whole plane thing was a smokescreen to cover up something much nastier, and somehow (I'll have to do some creative winging here, but I'm used to that) the team ends up getting burned. End session one.

Session two I basically want to try for a Burn Notice kind of vibe, with the "helping the downtrodden" thing. I may even just rip off a favorite episode, I dunno. In the end, it brings the team to the attention of a backer who wants to "sponsor" them to remedy the wrongs that were done that got them burned. I figure to make it more interesting he'll be some sort of a more disreputable type...

From here is where I'm kinda blank. I want the next few sessions to be really awesome espionage mission kinda stuff, all self-contained but leading towards the big season-ending plot (again, Burn Notice style). But I'm kinda blanking on good high-end espionage missions. Anyone got any suggestions, things I can read or watch, stuff I can blatantly rip off?

Sorry it took me so long to get to the point... How does what I have sound? What would you do differently? Where can I get some cool espionage setups?


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Re: I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2011, 07:49:17 AM »
Well, things to watch, or ones I would for a similar feel, keep watching Burn Notice.
Check out Leverage, maybe not as espionage but it is the whole helping the down trodden.
See if you can find  the classic Equalizer and maybe a little A-Team for comedic value.
For straight espionage, i'd go back to some of the old Mission Impossible shows.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 09:03:04 AM »
My Own Worse Enemy is available on Hulu. 
Also movie wise I would take a good look at Sneakers and Spy Games.


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Re: I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 08:04:38 PM »
Speaking of Hulu, if you're not adverse to subtitles IRIS is supposed to be very good. I've only seen a few episodes but they've been very well done and the production values are much better then most Asian drama's I've watched.

That it spent over $20 million for 20 episodes likely has something to do with that.
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Re: I've got the crazy action, I need the espionage...
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2011, 01:00:30 PM »
The driving force behind Burn Notice is Michael's obsessive need to find out who burned him and get back in.  So in order for that to work as such, your players are going to need to be on the same page with you, and want to get back in.  So, I would suggest before the game starts you talk to them all individually and find a way to bring up what they would do if their character got burned.  Or, if you're worried that would be to obvious, then talk to them collectively after the first session.
If they want to find who/why and get back in, then you're good to go.  If they wouldn't care so much and just roll with it, that could be a bit of a problem.

As far as suggestions for dialing up the espionage, I would strongly consider that their new disreputable backer is someone who they worked against in the past.  There's lots of ways to go from there, especially if their disreputable friend isn't an out and out villain.  He could turn out to be the good guy with the former agency being the villains (think Alias).  Or the characters could try to bring him down from the inside as an offering to their old agency in order to get back in (Somewhat like Burn Notice).  Or the whole thing could be a covert op that was intended to bring down the disreputable man (think The Departed).  Or maybe nobody is really the good guy and nobody is really the bad guy and the characters just need to work with whoever will have them against some larger threat (Mass Effect 2, but probably with less aliens and space travel).

I think the most important aspect of getting an espionage feel into a game is to have the players be unsure of who to trust.  The whole practice of stealing and keeping secrets grows out naturally from there.
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