Spy game Live RPG

Spy game missions

I am working on an idea of a live action espionage RPG, most of which would involve the transfer of information from pickups and drops.

I am looking for “styles” of missions for people to perform that would of course not involve any actual illegal activity but would emulate some of the actual skills and missions involved in actual espionage activities.

Any ideas for books I may want to look into for reference materials or real world suggestions for tasks that would be:

difficult to cheat at

within the skill set of a basically PC competent person with win2k or better, a digital camera, and a cell phone.

take no more than 30 min to perform

can be easily “spy themed”

For example:
email a picture of the front of the local County courthouse to controlagent1@spydomain.com. Several agents Could be assigned the same task with the first one responding getting a larger point score.

Any suggestions on methods to discourage any actual face to face contact like having agents assigned to intercept information sometimes and having intercept missions be worth lots of points and carry a penalty for the carrier of the intercepted info.

Planning on a small fee to play and prizes of useful game play items like cameras, cell phones, cool sunglasses, etc.

Additionally, anyone else think this sounds like something fun?

Sounds vaguely like Syndicate, a game that some of us Dopers are pining for a proper sequel to.

Sounds fun!

How about having two enemy “agents” who don’t know eachother attend the same (crowded) but small area i.e., a crowded train platform, museum, etc and their mission is to correctly identify the “enemy” agent and take their photo and leave without being spotted by the other.
Alternatively, have them show up to a meeting place on the grounds that they are going to recieve some package from a contact, but instead no one arrives. When they report back that no-one showed, thell them that the real mission was to test how much they remember about the location of the drop-off, the people around them etc. Then start grilling them about the number of windows in the buidling, the number of the bus-stop, etc etc.

Edit - revision to the first idea - have them go to the same fast food restaurant at the same time. Even “civilians” in restaurants like to sneak peeks at the others around them so this could be challenging.

Edit to the second idea. Rather than have no-one show, have someone show with a package and tell them not to open it under any circumstances until they get home. Once they get home, then they can open the package, find a letter that tells them to call you immediately and that’s when you tell them the true nature of the mission and hit them with the questions.

You could combine another mission with this one - i.e., part of his standing orders are that the agent cannot let anyone see him recieving the package. Unbeknownst to him, another operative has the mission to obtain photographic evidence of him recieiving the package. This sets up a nice, someone has to win, someone has to lose situation.

Part of being a good field agent is being able to charm someone into doing what you want them to do. For those without charm, spotting and exploiting human frailities is a necessity. So depending on how realistic you want to make the game, you could set up some convince/coerce/charm type situations. For example, you must get X person’s phone number, you must get X person to post a letter for you, get X person to lend you their bike, etc.

Another one which is actually pretty useful and suprisingly difficult to do is spot and evade a tail (I had a friend who was tailed for months by private detectives because he was the defendant in a lawsuit against a large plaintiff company). Tails usually work in groups of 3 to 4 people and keep in radio contact, so they can be very difficult to escape.

I love this idea.

Here’s a scenerio:
Three people.
One must drop a message to another either directly or through a deaddrop. The third is given a description of the first spy and must eventually get a picture of the second one.
Even more, I think there should be two teams. One has a goal (like get super secret plans to control) while the other tries to track this spy team to discover the identity of control. Photos and observations can be used to plan for the missions. In fact, you could even have a few moles to make it interesting.

drachillix, I have in front of me a hard copy of the International Fantasy Gaming Society’s rules for a spy LARP called Undercover. I don’t know if I can locate a soft copy at this point, but I can provide you with a hard copy at no charge. I doubt you’d want to use the rules as-is–they’re quite old, and we haven’t used them in years, but they might provide some ideas for your system. One point that’s even more important now than when the rules were written: You want to be very careful about terminology when playing the game in public. The Undercover rules suggest replacing loaded words with more obscure terms (“bomb” becomes “device” and “assassinate” becomes “sanction”, for example).

Additionally, the IFGS has a California chapter that’s working on a revival of the fantasy game–they might be interested in spy games as well. If you wanted to run your games under their umbrella, you’d have access to the IFGS event insurance and such (as long as you comply with out safety rules, which should be easy enough).

Feel free to email me for more info. If I can’t answer it personally, I can ask the board of directors or other officers of the organization.

I love this idea!

How about a ‘recover the stolen plans’ scenario? I don’t recommend planting anything in a public location these days, but instead of retrieving something physical, recovering the plans could consist of a close-up photo (via cell phone, for example) of an object?

For example, you could deliver a message to your ‘agent’:

Greetings, Agent 002:

Important documents have been stolen from the Embassy. Security was able to locate and remove the responsible party, but the documents were not in his possession. We suspect they’ve been hidden at <local business>.

Your mission is to recover these documents! You have <x minutes/hours> to do this task before the container they are in self-destructs and the documents are lost.

Warning: counter-espionage activity is on the rise. Be on the lookout for potential enemy agents. You must not be compromised.

Attached is a photo of the container to aid you in your search.

Send them off with a picture of, say, a specific mailbox in a crowded public location. They have to correctly locate the container based solely on the information you’ve provided and get a close-up photo of it within the timeframe to succeed.
Re: discouraging face-to-face contact in an interception scenario, I’m not sure how you could do it. Part of LARPing is face-to-face contact. I would think the best method to handle it would be to allow F2F contact, but have a ‘referee’ on-site whenever that sort of mission was being run who could act as a GM, allowing the agents to resolve ‘combat’.

For example, Agent A is tasked to deliver Secret Plans™ to Agent B. Agent B is standing by the fountain in the mall. Both agents need to wear a red tie so they can recognize each other.

Agent C is tasked to intercept the package, and knows where the meet is to happen and the recognition sign. Obviously, he cannot challenge both A and B at the same time, so he plans to either intercept A before he gets there, or tackle B after the handoff.

This sets up the scenario, and gives all three of them a chance to affect the outcome.

Suppose C decides to intercept A before he arrives. He steps in front of A as A is walking through the doors. At this point, he can try to bluff (“Our meeting point was compromised, so I came here”), or he can engage in ‘combat’. If the bluff works, no harm, no foul, except agent A loses points for being dumb. :slight_smile:

If ‘combat’ is needed, one or both agents call the referee on their cell phones. The ref is already stationed nearby just in case. He shows up and they resolve combat however the rules allow for.

That’s just one method. The problem is, I really see no way to handle a situation that requires F2F contact without actual contact. And allowing the players to resolve it themselves is just asking for trouble; you need oversight.

What bothers me is how muck time I’ve thought about this.

What about this plan?

1 Referee
Teams of 7 players: 1 control, 1 mole, 5 spies

Out of the 14 Players, the referee shall randomly assign to each team: 1 control to take charge of the team and knows the name of their mole and six spies including a mole from the other team.

Team Alpha is to secure the document and deliver it to control
Gold Team is to follow the document and identify (i.e. take a picture of) Team Alpha’s control. Alternatively, Gold Team may try to substitute a false document for the real one.

Although Gold Team does know what the document looks like, they do not know what the envelope looks like.

The document is time-sensitive. It must be delivered within one week after the start of the mission.

Direct contact is discouraged for the Gold Team. It is important to not let Team Alpha’s control know you are on to them.

A spy/mole shall be considered captured if a picture is taken of them in a deserted area and given to their control. The referee shall be the sole determiner of what “deserted” is given the circumstances of the “capture”.

When the spy is captured, they may turn the spy into a double-agent.
The picture is given to the referee via control and the referee informs the player that they are captured. If the capturing control desires, the referee can offer a deal for the player to turn allegiances. If control does not give this option or the player refuses, the referee informs all three parties (spy and two controls) that the player has been removed from the game.

Team Alpha may use person-person contact or dead drops but a lost document means Team Alpha loses.

Communication can be done via phone or email.

All players must maintain their cover, i.e. continue their daily lives as normal.

Clearly with the addition of the mole, information must be compartmentalized. Sure Team Alpha control could say, “Pick up a brown envelope here and deliver it to 007 James Bond Street. But of course the mole will let everyone know where control lives.

By the same token, a spy should work alone only if they can be trusted (which means no one should work alone :wink: )

Daily reports should be made to the referee. The referee is allowed to share information if appropriate. For example: spies would have a suspect under survelance 24 hours a day. That is impractical for this game so the referee may share that the Team Alpha exchange will take place at 7:00am so that Gold Team can have someone on site in time to tail them.

I would prefer that teams be as vague as possible, The Brotherhood, The Alliance, etc. I would prefer to try and set up a system where players would be able to perform missions alone until other players pop up in their city. A second player would by default be an opposing agent. This is part of why I want to minimize face to face contact is to avoid friends interfering or assisting in missions. In some ways I want the paranoia and in many cases the agent may be working for the “other side” and not know it.

If a given city or area has 4+ agents, friendlys could start to pop up.

All missions would be assigned by the referee, setting most missions to trigger at the same time at different locations would be one option to avoid collusion.

Levels of agents would develop where the agent has access to more information or more specific information. So if an agent wanted to know a piece of difficult to obtain information he could select “surveillance” of a location and GM’s can determine success based on die roll/opposing skill roll.

Success , target X left building @ 7am, returned @5pm.
Partial, target x returned 5pm but was not detected leaving.
Failure, target was not detected or incorrect target was followed.

Missions to photograph opposing agents would be some of the more advanced ones IMHO. Actual interception and identification will be a big deal. Once a cover is ID’d they will have a much harder time not being intercepted in the future.

Of course once friendlys become more common, a higher level agent might be assigned control responsibilities. He will be given missions with a broader scope and a way to contact other friendlies. It will often involve being in several places at once so.

“assassination missions” or combat situations could be dealt with by camera phones requiring multiple photographs of the target in a short period of time perhaps. Success determined by opposing skill rolls, higher level agents being less likely to be surprised successfully even if the player never saw it coming.

Any more ideas…

Thank you Balance you have email.

RPG and gaming friendly businesses would probably serve as excellent contact points for many things. Gaming centers, game stores, etc. I’m sure plenty of them may happily participate just for the extra exposure. They could be contacted and if willing asked to have an envelope handy for someone with the proper codeword or identification.

This thread seems to have died down. Are we going to get something going or just gradually stop talking about it?
I would be more than happy to coordinate something in LA if others want to participate. And that raises another question. How would we (if we wanted to) make mission cross-country?

Current count:
1 agent: Los Angeles

I am starting to work on proper rules and websites. It will be a bit before anything gets off the ground. Once I have the site setup with logins I will start collecting players.

Cross country action will eventually be possible via internet. scanning or photographing “information” and relaying to a friendly agent in another city, to be dropped to a third agent, etc, etc.

A variant on geocaching might be an interesting thing to include, possibly using encrypted coordinates for dropsites.

I might be able to turn up a few interested parties here in the Dallas area, and can referee (GM) and NPC here myself if anything gets going.

(I dropped you a PM with an alternate address, drach. I think my main account ate your message.)

I love you…

that could add a whole new layer…extract coordinates from website…lookup gps coordinates via terraserver/google maps.

I have some missions for example planting a device could be considered successful by having another agent make a “pickup” of the device.

Both agents could be considered successful because the successful pickup means the planting happened. Even if the other agent got credit for “preventing” it each side will hear a different story :smiley:

Such missions could also lead to anti-terror campaigns with agents trying to decode intercepts to find targets and attempt intercept of the device. If pickup confirmation is not recieved by the GM by HH:MM…
BOOM!!! :eek:

No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow.