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Old 03-30-2023, 08:28 AM   #31
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Security Clearance

Pulling a bunch of up-thread ideas together, here are some potential modifiers for SC:

Enhancements
Irrevocable (+50%): No matter how badly you screw up your Security Clearance can't be revoked. You might still face other sanctions, however, such as loss of Rank or having minders assigned (treat as Enemy Group (Rival)) to keep you from screwing up again.

This is "superhero Security Clearance," where no matter how sketchy the hero's actions are or how badly they damage security they still retain their clearance.

Unlimited (+50%): For Security Clearance 3 only. You don't just have access to your own organization's secrets, you also have access to any secrets allied organizations keep. As long as you don't violate protocols too badly, people associated with friendly allied organizations will provide secret information as needed. The GM might require you to buy a Contact or Contact Group if you can learn secrets from allied organizations "in the field" without having to make formal requests for assistance or having to go the the allied agency's headquarters.

This allows a James Bond type spy to immediately gain access to the CIA's files, "Five Eyes" secrets, etc.

Upgradeable (+25% or +50%): For Security Clearance 1 or 2 Only. For +25%, your Security Clearance can be one level higher than normal when the GM feels it is appropriate. For +50%, it can be two levels higher. Access to higher levels of Security Clearance is on an "as needed" basis and only limited to immediately applicable secrets. A character with Security Clearance which normally worth no points (due to Rank or other traits) can have Upgradeable Security Clearance 1 for 3 points, or 5 points for Upgradeable Security Clearance 2.

This enhancement is common for low Rank characters who normally only have access to lower level secrets, but technically have a higher security clearance.

Limitations
Grudging (-25%): You only have a Security Clearance because circumstances demand it, even though you wouldn't normally be eligible for the advantage. In order to learn useful secrets you must get a Reaction Roll of Good or better from someone in the organization. If you fail by 2 or less you can try again in a week, otherwise the secret remains off limits. The GM can apply penalties to your roll if you request too many secrets or secrets which aren't applicable to the job at hand or bonuses for secrets which your handlers believe it is advantageous for you to know.

This limitation is suitable for characters of unknown loyalty or reliability who somehow manage to get a Security Clearance. It is mostly limited to cinematic games, but might be a realistic limitation in Special Ops campaigns where operators must cooperate closely with local forces or translators.

Limited Access (Variable): This the equivalent of the Accessibility limitation. You only have access to a limited number of secrets or secrets pertaining to specific topics. This worth -10% to -20% if your limited access usually doesn't interfere with your ability to acquire useful secret information, -30% to -50% if it occasionally interferes, or -60% to -80% if it severely limits the usefulness of your Security Clearance.

Realistic low-level characters often have this limitation, since their clearance only applies to knowledge of specific operations or equipment. Very limited low-level access can be treated as a Perk. (e.g., a Rank 0 soldier with Top Secret clearance limited to maintaining or using a specific weapon system).

Revoked (-50%): You used to have a Security Clearance but recently lost it. Even so, you retain knowledge of one or more important secrets. You must make an IQ roll or IQ-based skill roll to recall details about a particular secret, however, and your knowledge becomes increasingly less useful over time.

This limitation is common for retired military and civilian intel analysts as well as "retired" spies. It is usually combined with a Quirk level Duty which prevents the character from discussing secrets with people who lack appropriate clearances. In some cases, there might be more restrictions, such as regular monitoring by current employees of your former organization, travel restrictions, or the possibility that you can be temporarily recalled to duty.

Wrath of God (-10%):
You face extreme legal or social sanctions should you ever reveal secrets granted to you due to your Security Clearance. Just mishandling secret materials might result in severe penalties even if no harm was done. If you screw up, you instantly lose your Security Clearance and gain disadvantages equal to its original value, usually in the form of loss of Rank and a bad Reputation. If you have a Duty to the organization which grants you the Security Clearance at the very least you should expect to lose your career and go to prison. In organizations known for their brutality and intolerance of failure, you might be executed or forced to commit suicide.

This limitation is appropriate for realistic intelligence analysts and military NCOs/officers who know high level secrets.

Perks

Formerly Cleared
You once held a Security Clearance due to Rank or job duties, but lost it. You retain limited knowledge of secrets you had access to in your former life, but conditions have changed sufficiently that few of them are valuable. Roll vs. IQ-4 to recall details about a particular secret. Failure by 4 or less means that your recollection is accurate, but the nature of the secret has changed sufficiently that the information is useless, possibly dangerously so. You might remain in touch with former colleagues who are willing to "read you in" on more current secrets on a need-to-know basis if you can contact them and get a Good or better Reaction Roll. Buy such characters as Allies, Contacts, Patrons. The GM can also "temporarily reactivate" your clearance if the plot of the adventure demands it. Finally, you may "permanently reactivate" your clearance at any time by buying levels of Security Clearance.

Low-Level Security Clearance
You have access to a single secret or group of less important secrets which would normally require a Security Clearance. This might be general knowledge of a big secret (e.g., the existence of aliens, magic, or psi, or a particular weapon) or detailed knowledge of a very narrow category of secrets (e.g., how to maintain a particular top secret device). As with regular Security Clearance, you will suffer serious consequences if you reveal your secrets. The GM can require this perk as a prerequisite for certain skills or skill specializations, such as Electronics Operation, Gunner or Mechanic.

Pending Security Clearance
You are in the process of being cleared for a Security Clearance above what your job duties normally require. You can claim Security Clearance 1 (or one level higher than your current Security Clearance level) on an as-needed basis, for the course of one scene, if you get a Good or better Reaction Roll from your immediate supervisors. You may also buy levels of Security Clearance at any time.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 03-30-2023 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 03-30-2023, 10:57 AM   #32
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Security Clearance

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Pulling a bunch of up-thread ideas together, here are some potential modifiers for SC:

Limitations
Grudging (-25%): You only have a Security Clearance because circumstances demand it, even though you wouldn't normally be eligible for the advantage. In order to learn useful secrets you must get a Reaction Roll of Good or better from someone in the organization. If you fail by 2 or less you can try again in a week, otherwise the secret remains off limits. The GM can apply penalties to your roll if you request too many secrets or secrets which aren't applicable to the job at hand or bonuses for secrets which your handlers believe it is advantageous for you to know.

This limitation is suitable for characters of unknown loyalty or reliability who somehow manage to get a Security Clearance. It is mostly limited to cinematic games, but might be a realistic limitation in Special Ops campaigns where operators must cooperate closely with local forces or translators.
Can see this also working with serious inter-service rivalries (e.g. Imperial Japanese Navy vs. Imperial Japanese Navy, Waffen-SS vs. Wehrmacht) or between co-belligerents/uncooperative allies (Western Allies and Soviets; any two WW2 Axis powers).
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Old 03-31-2023, 11:02 AM   #33
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Security Clearance

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
Can see this also working with serious inter-service rivalries (e.g. Imperial Japanese Navy vs. Imperial Japanese Navy, Waffen-SS vs. Wehrmacht) or between co-belligerents/uncooperative allies (Western Allies and Soviets; any two WW2 Axis powers).
That's a really good angle, although inter-service rivalry would work a bit differently than Grudging and the cooperation of allied agencies is a weaker version of Unlimited.

Extended Access (+25%): You can request secrets from one or more friendly allied organizations. While there might be delays due to bureaucracy or communications problems, the allied agencies always cooperate once you make a formal request for aid. You eventually get the information you want, as long as it doesn't exceed your level of Security Clearance. This enhancement is mutually exclusive from Unlimited.

This is the realistic version of Unlimited, suitable for people with Security Clearance who regularly work with allied organizations.

Grudging Extended Access (+15%): You can request secrets from one or more less-than-cooperative, nominally allied organizations. You must make a reaction roll of Good or better to access pertinent secrets. If you fail by 2 or less you can try again in a week, otherwise the secret remains off limits. The GM can apply penalties to your roll if you request secrets the controlling organization wants to keep to itself or secrets which aren't applicable to the job at hand. You get bonuses to acquire secrets which your nominal allies want you to know, but accepting them at face value might give you a misleading understanding of the actual situation. A successful use of an appropriately-placed Patron can substitute for a Good Reaction roll to pry secrets away from the controlling agency. Pulling rank usually doesn't work unless your authority extends to the allied agency.

This is the "beneficial" version of Grudging, where you have access to whatever secrets your own organization knows and reluctant cooperation from other organizations. It's the classic "American spy forced to cooperate with a Soviet spy" enhancement.

Inter-Service Rivalry (-25%): Your access to secret information depends on the goodwill of a nominally allied, but uncooperative, organization. You must make a reaction roll of Good or better to access pertinent secrets. If you fail by 2 or less you can try again in a week, otherwise the secret remains off limits. The GM can apply penalties to your roll if you request secrets the controlling organization wants to keep to itself or secrets which aren't applicable to the job at hand. You get bonuses to acquire secrets which your nominal allies want you to know, but accepting them at face value might give you a misleading understanding of the actual situation. A successful use of an appropriately-placed Patron can substitute for a Good Reaction roll to pry secrets away from the controlling agency. Pulling rank doesn't work unless your authority extends to the rival organization.

This is the limitation for put-upon intelligence liaison officers, like FBI agents forced to work with the CIA or vice-versa.

Many of these limitations and enhancements might work as Quirks or Perks for people with Rank but no special Security Clearance. They wouldn't matter so much for routine use of Rank, but they're nasty surprises or small benefits when you need to use Rank to access secrets.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 03-31-2023 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 04-01-2023, 03:17 PM   #34
Nedorus
 
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Join Date: May 2021
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Security Clearance

In a mini campaign I'm running right now, all player characters are part of the
holy, coistic inquisition in service of the hammer. Members of the inquisition are (informally) drafted from all ranks of priests as well as all ranks of the military arm of the church (Church of Harold that is).

Even though their "official" rank may be low and their status though elevated (e.g. the lowest rank militaries are considered knights and thus have the lowest nobel rank independent of birth) though not really significant, they have a "need to know access" to just about everything they want to.

The forbidden part of the secret library in the Capitol of Coistengern, the personal documents and letters of Duke SuchandSuch etc.
All they need to do is "request" the documents they "need" and they have access ... The guardian of that information may ask for a reason but answering that "the matter is secret" will usually shut everyone up... A VERY thorough guardian of information may re-check with a superior of the inquisitor but if they get a go from there ...

I understand this advantage to be just something like this... and a very good fit at that.

Of course I didn't charge for the entire "Inquisitor Package" as everyone in the group is a member... but it's in there.

Also, speaking about libraries ... I think Hermine having access to "the forbidden section" or to the time-travel thingy (forgot what it's really called, forgive me please) are also good examples of this.
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Old 04-01-2023, 04:27 PM   #35
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Security Clearance

To me, Security Clearance is a UBC and I treat as such. Usually in my games (if I require it) it's a Perk because it's only giving access to skills or lore, or sometimes equipment. It's quite often wrapped up in/with Patron, and thus very often free (based on being a Campaign Setting/Required Advantage).
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