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Old 03-02-2019, 05:25 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

Im currently in the early process of running a X-Files style game with the supernatural replacing the aliens. What I want to do is eventually move the characters away from the FBI into a group dedicated to stopping a supernatural Armageddon.

My problem, and question, comes with what kind of group. There are three options; first a private group that operates with no governmental help or support. Second, a secret government agency that has funding and oversite. Or lastly a hybrid organization, they receive funding and limited information from the government, but little in the way of actual authority.

There are pros and cons to each and Im looking for insight and opinions.

All the characters have some sort of supernatural background that will eventually manifest, if that helps.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2019, 06:55 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

Well, there are actually a few divisions within that which would be important, so I would divide them into a local government group, a state government group, a national government group, an international government group, a corporate group, a religious group, an academic group, and a nonprofit group. Each would have their own scope, resources, etc.

For example, an academic group might involve a loose network of social scientists who were investigating the relationship between the occult and criminal activity. They would include anthropologists, criminologists, psychologists, and sociologists. They would have some resources, such as forensic laboratories, and would likely include some people with a surprising variety of skills, but they would have rather firm financial limits.
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Old 03-03-2019, 08:01 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2004
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

How cinematic will the campaign be? IMO any remotely semi-realistic campaign will be or very fast switch to "government". Governments simply control to many resources. Eve if they wouldnt notice the problem/group, any sensible group will try to get the government in as soon as possible.
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Old 03-03-2019, 04:13 PM   #4
Maz's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Denmark
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

I've run similar before.

Mostly with a government-organisation.
A) A problem can be that realistically there is going to be a lot of bureaucracy and A LOT of rules for what and how you may do things.

This can get in the way of your plans because you might actually want them to dot something but the players want to follow the rules (yea I know, not really a likely scenario with most RPG-players).
More likely the players are going to do all sorts of crazy things that should get them arrested or at least removed from active duty.

You might just choose to gloss over all that (as most fiction does anyway).

B) Another problem with a government-organisation, is "how much support to give the players". It can be really difficult to figure out how much manpower and hardware the players should have access to. Can they get heavy assault weapons, how about a bazooka to kill that demon that "no-weapon-forged-can-kill". How about a really, really powerful computer? How about a team of hackers? or satellite surveillance? How about fake ID.
Be prepared for your players to constantly ask all this and more.

C) The main benefit of having a government-organisation, is that they have a clear superior that can give the morders and tell them where to go and when. This is very, very nice tool as a GM. Want them to go on a mission in egypt to look into old stories about mummies? Just have their CO tell them that's where next weeks mission is.

D) Another benefit is that you can turn the organisation into the bad guys themselves. When the PC's start displaying supernatural powers the government-organisation might turn on them. This is a classic plot-point for a reason. When the PC's have worked with them before they are much more invested in them and tied to them, than if it's just an "Evil government-organisation" who hunts them.

A corporation-group usually have many of the same pros and cons as a government-organisation. although they tend to be able to be more loose with rules and laws. Witch can make the players act more freely.

A small private group. Usually the "one master who employs the PC's". This works well as you still have a clear "superior" to the PC's. But you do not have to make excuses for why they can't just get their own private apache helicopter. And getting access to some information or hardware can be a quest in itself. It's usually also much easier to manage as a GM as you only have to make a single character and a few quirky close helpers. Where if you have an entire government organisation you tend to turn most of them into faceless NPC's who are only there for their skill-set. yea. It really depends on what focus you want on the game. And honestly I think you should talk to the Players. You do not even have to do it out-of game if you don't want to break sense of disbelief. You can have it happen in-game. Where a single person offer them a new job, to come work for him. And around the same time have them aware that a specialized unit in the government is in the works. (The only problem with taking it ingame is that the characters might not agree, and so end up splitting up! If you force it upon them, then they can make in-character-complains, but they are at least still together).
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Old 03-03-2019, 07:51 PM   #5
Jareth Valar
Join Date: Aug 2013
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

OK, here's the scoop that may help. Sorry if this is TMI.

Characters were built on 350 points but with Attribute caps at 14 and Skill caps at 16...for the most part (our former "miss-spent youth" character started with a REALLY high climb with just 1 point, lol).

Books used: Basic (obviously), Martial Arts, Tactical Shooting, Social Engineering (all 3, though definitely Pulling Rank), Boardroom and Curia, Horror, Mysteries, High-Tech, Bio-Tech, Psionic Powers, Low-Tech...kinda (hasn't really come up yet in play but one character is a SCAdian/Ren-Fairer)

Basic options being used for the game world are:
* Benchmarks for Skills and Attributes come mostly from Kromm's post HERE
* Know Your Own Strength (Pyramid 3/83)
* The short term Fatigue rules from The Last Gasp (Pyramid 3/44)
* A Full Complement (Pyramid 3/65)
* Speaking in Tongues (Pyramid 3/54)
* Appendix Z: Survivable Guns (Pyramid 3/44)
* The Fifth Attribute (Pyramid 3/120)
* Modified Combat Reflexes to not Include the Defense bonus
* Modified Trained by a Master to not include the option for Cinematic Skills
* No outright Cinematic Advantage, Skill or Technique. Only available with Unusual Background and only if it can be explained away without breaking the illusion of reality in the world. POSSIBLE to buy when the characters are fully immersed in the supernatural, but not guaranteed available
* Psionic Powers only with Unusual Background and none to start with that can't be explained as odd but plausible (Sense Psi with vague, etc)
* Magic is mostly book/ritual. Ritual Path Magic I think (haven't read myself)? Anybody can accidentally/deliberately cast a spell from the correct type of tome.
* Magic/Psychics/Supernatural is real but very hidden and controlled.
* Conspiracies do exist (just had a run in with Trinity from Tomb Raider reboot) and there is an overarching meta that I am not privy to.
* Currently the characters are part of the FBI and relegated to "the Basement" aka X-Files. One character has a degree in Occult studies and basically gets all the cases regular agents "can't be bothered with", cases with obvious occult/weirdo leanings and/or cold cases.
* Characters all actually come from bloodlines with ties to the supernatural world, but for various individual reasons have no true knowledge of such...yet.
* Session 0 set the fact that the characters will be immersed in the overarching meta eventually and may/may not stay with a government agency.
* Game is set in early 2000's (Dec '02 currently)
* All 3 characters have some level of Independent Income (2 are Wealthy, 1 Comfortable...which has the best story behind it, IMHO) and no REAL need for a job, but....story driven reasons behind doing so.

There are probably quite a few things I missed but I believe that pretty much sums up the game.

Oh...BTW, am a player in said game world. lol
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Old 03-04-2019, 01:20 AM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

I'm aiming for TV Action hero level when they discover the truth. For the most part they won't be saving the world every adventure, but the overarching plot is either continuing to guard the world from groups that want to bring about the supernatural Apocalypse, or deal with the aftermath of failure.
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Old 03-04-2019, 07:24 AM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Udine, Italy
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

Originally Posted by Kesendeja View Post
Or lastly a hybrid organization, they receive funding and limited information from the government, but little in the way of actual authority.
This obviously gives you the best of both worlds. But keep in mind the reason why these arrangements exist. It is plausible denial. When the mission goes wrong, the team and maybe the whole organization will be left in the wind while the government denies any involvement. Worse, the team is more easily considered as expendable.
Michele Armellini
GURPS Locations: St. George's Cathedral
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Old 03-04-2019, 05:02 PM   #8
Black Leviathan
Join Date: Sep 2018
Default Re: Help with an Anti-Conspiracy Group

My suggestions would be;

FBI. The players are part of an obscure department within The Bureau. They have a case history that gives them information. They have a mandate that they may or may not be invested in. They have an administration that holds them accountable to restraint in the field, financial accountability, and strict bureaucratic constraints. Gaining organization support or assets will require the players to produce evidence of a credible threat greater than the skepticism their department has traditionally experienced.

Arcana U. Players are part of an academic organization within a very old college, the sort of department that is largely invisible because of the arcane funding system of the school. Players have access to an immense library of the supernatural and lots of discarded scientific equipment maybe some pseudo science gear but very very little money. Characters are free to go nuts and shoot cultists in the face so long as the law doesn't catch them and ruin the school's good name. Gaining organization support will be trivial, but their ability to help will be limited to mobilizing other schools and conspiracy groups.

The Foundation. Players are part of a privately funded hunter group funded by a shadowy cabal, possibly even secretly funded by a supernatural group or individual. Players will have limited and purposed access to lore and much of their work will be gathering and documenting that information by chasing clues. Characters have very little accountability or restriction so long as they produced results. They could even been bailed out of jail for serious felonies if they're an asset to the group. The foundation is well insulated so it can be implicated in anything without harming the founders but likewise players who screw up can be cut out with no consequence. The Foundation has lavish access to resources, players can fly anywhere and stay in nice hotels with fat per-diems but they likely won't have access to restricted or esoteric gear. Like if Knight Rider was also a vampire hunter.
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conspiracy, fbi, setting, x-files

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