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ID: 7557


September 28, 2013, 10:52 am

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Operation Slander


A journalist is preparing a story on Agency 17. Predictably, the Agency would like it if the story died...

Table of Contents

    "Arthur Bingham is a journalist who has been pursuing our organization ever since our conception as part of the post 9/11 United States response to foreign threats- it's time to make sure that Mr. Bingham doesn't leak our existence to the world."

    Arthur Bingham

    Operating under the guise of a journalist, Arthur Bingham is actually a NSA operative who has been attempting to investigate the rogue actions of Agency 17.


    Bingham is well suited to both his role as an NSA operative attempting to track down a shady counterintelligence organization as well his cover as a journalist. His curiosity drives him to dig deeper constantly- all told Arthur is a workaholic who frequently forgoes sleep in pursuit of his fact finding missions. Arthur is suitably paranoid for an agent, and his extremely perceptive manner means that the players might find it significantly difficult to trick, follow or otherwise conduct surveillance on him.


    Highly Skilled (Skill 15+) Proficient (Skill 13-14)
    Decent (Skill less than 13)
    Electronics Operation (Communications gear), Observation,

    Detect Lies, Electronics Operation (Electronic Warfare), Fast-Talk, Public Speaking, Search

    Computer Operation, Criminology, Diplomacy, Electronics Repair (Communications, Computer and Electronic Warfare), Holdout, Propaganda, Shadowing, Stealth
    Current Affairs (Politics), Driving (Automobiles), Filch, Guns (Pistol), Interrogation, Research, Savoir-Faire (Police), Smuggling, Streetwise, Intelligence Analysis, Psychology, Writing, Expert Skill (Political Science), Karate

    Strengths: Investigation, Tradecraft, Fact-finding, Knowing when people are bullshitting him

    Weaknesses: Combat, lacks sophisticated (IE: Programming) knowledge when it comes to computers

    Living Situation:

    Arthur is a bachelor who lives in a fairly expensive apartment in New York City. Located on the fourth floor of the sixth story building, his apartment has been upgraded on the NSA's dime for additional security:

    • The door lock is fine (-5 to lockpicking attempts) and is constructed of steel (DR 6, HP 3).
    • The door and frame have both been reinforced with steel to prevent forced entry. (DR 7, 30 HP). A very observant individual (Perception -5 check) might notice his apartment is the only one whose door lacks a peephole.
    • Arthur has a small floor floor safe that has comes with a good electronic keypad as its lock. (No modifier to checks to try and open it)
    • Arthur intentionally keeps heavy curtains over all the windows at all times to prevent the use of laser mics and to thwart people from peering into his apartment with visual observation devices.
    • The apartment complex itself has a small underground garage for tenets to use, which Arthur takes advantage of, although the garage is frequently left unguarded.
    • The building has two fire escapes located on opposite sides of the building. One of them goes directly past Arthur's apartment. Arthur keeps the window there locked at all times (Basic Weak Lock, DR 3 HP 2, +5 to attempts to lockpick it).
    • The roof access hatch is locked, and awkwardly placed for someone trying to pick the lock (Steel, basic lock DR 3, HP 2, DX-1 check required to position one's self in the right space required to actually attempt picking the lock, no bonus from lock quality to the attempt due to the tight confines)
    • Arthur drives a 2002 Mazda RX-7.

    Arthur's apartment is pristine save for one room which appears to be the office he uses for trying to analyze and organizing intelligence information. The walls are cluttered with news clippings and photos, and two tables are stacked with manilla folders. A desktop computer is set up in one corner, usually left on constantly.

    • Almost all of the intelligence info there is actually information he has dug up on Agency 17
    • Arthur's computer seems completely empty if given only a cursory examination. In truth, he inexpertly hides the more sensitive data on a hidden partition of his hard drive. (-3 to Computer Operations to discover this, -1 for Computer Programming)
    • Arthur keeps a loaded pistol in the drawer of his computer desk.

    The apartment has two staircases. One extends from the underground garage up to the sixth floor and is where the roof access hatch is located, while the other doesn't extend down into the garage and is located on the other side of the building. An elevator is also present, but it only goes from the ground floor to the sixth floor.


    • The safe contains multiple passports for Arthur. Each are for a different country, with one for somewhere on every continent (except Antarctica). Also included are multiple one-time pads for use conducting clandestine communications. It's clear that the pads are definitely US-Government issued, but which agency is not.
    • The hidden partition on the computer is filled with clandestine NSA communications detailing the entire effort of the US intelligence community to track down Agency 17. These are heavily encrypted (-5 to cryptography rolls to try and crack with specialized software, those without former knowledge or exposure to US cryptographic techniques have no chance of breaking it without access to supercomputer processing power). It isn't immediately clear if Arthur is participating in the communications or came across them in another manner.
    • Arthur's notes contain a lot of off the books investigative work into Agency 17. An Intelligence Analysis check can confirm that Arthur's investigations have been highly productive and accurate. Arthur's notes do not reveal his NSA ties.
    • Arthur caries and uses a cellphone that has been equipped with basic encryption software. Cracking the encryption will require either physical access to his phone or a day with a strong enough computer after isolating his phone's signal. (Electronic Operations, Electronic Warfare check required to learn the frequency his phone is operating on)
    • Arthur's current investigations involve talking with a Brittish diplomat, George Hardings, who may have information on a botched mission carried out by Agency 17 six months prior. During the botched mission, three members of the SAS were ambushed, killed, and had their uniforms stolen. Their cover was blown shortly after and all members of the Agency 17 team were killed in the resulting firefight.


    • Arthur usually stays up very late into the night, going to bed around 3AM
    • His alarm goes off promptly at 9:30AM.
    • Arthur will be meeting George Hardings during most of the day at a high-class hotel
    • At night, Arthur prefers to eat at a local bar where he is a favorite regular. It's a popular establishment, particularly with members of the NYPD and FDNY. He tends to spend a few hours there socializing.
    • Arthur never has physical contact with any of his NSA handlers or operatives.
    • As appropriate, Arthur may meet up with other sources or informants.


    • If spooked (whether he detects them following him, finds evidence of a break-in at his apartment, whatever), Arthur will establish contact with his NSA handlers and attempt to leave town.
    • Alternatively, Arthur might appeal to George Hardings to get him entry into the United Kingdom.
    • If confronted, Arthur will likely flee, but will react with deadly force if cornered.
    • Arthur is extremely good at seeing through false pretenses and attempts to socially engineer him could end very poorly. If he spots such a ploy, Arthur may play along with such an attempt hoping to lure the players into an NSA trap.

    Possible PC approaches:

    • Arthur is a particularly hard target to blackmail. He has no close friends (and short of trying to threaten a lot of NYPD and FDNY personnel, his favorite bar isn't an option), no family that aren't all the way across the US, and his cover as an independent journalist means that he has no job to lose.
    • The significant obstacle to killing Arthur is ensuring he isn't spooked in the process given his finely honed perceptive capabilities.
    • Framing Arthur for a crime may appear to work at first, but given his position within the NSA, this will turn out to be a temporary solution.
    • Kidnapping Arthur is possibly one of the best methods of neutralizing him given his secluded lifestyle.

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    Comments ( 8 )
    Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

    September 28, 2013, 1:37
    My thanks to Chaosmark and Muro for their suggestions and thoughts on fire escapes, windows and some other stuff.
    Voted caesar193
    September 28, 2013, 6:46
    I belive you changed the british diplomat's name from George Harrison to George Hardings. Unless they're different people, in which case I would like some more info on this Hardings character.

    Beisides that, this seems like an excellent mission for the PCs. An evil newspaper type trying to sell your Agency's secrets but is really one of your ostensible allies, etc.

    The one thing that I can see that could be improved on is the stat piece. I don't mind stats, as they are somewhat useful in getting a broad idea of how you want this guy portrayed, but in a couple of places (like door hardness) you forgo describing how tough the door is with words and simply say HP: 30. As I said, stats are fine by me, but I would like words to tell what the stats do.

    Also, though I took a guess and said it was GURPS as you"'ve used it before, I believe it may be helpful to other people to start it off by saying something like "all stats use the GURPS system" or whichever one it really is.
    September 28, 2013, 10:49
    I was wrapping this up at around 2AM right before bed and I'm sure the Hardings/Harrison slip was a result of that. :D You are correct that it is GURPS that this mission was written for, and since I'll likely have this up as my GM notes during play, the stats are vital to my own use of the submission in-game.
    Voted Pariah
    October 1, 2013, 18:51
    Firstly very good dossier, now onto the questions I thought of while reading through this...

    How paranoid is he exactly? I mean suitably paranoid to check for tails but does he put a piece of hair across his door to see if there have been intruders? (Black bag job) Does he check the undercarriage of his car for bombs/random GPSs? (GPS on the car ala the FBI) Is his car alarmed? (Bug the interior) Does he have a live in landlord or is there an office that closes at 5? (Break in there and borrow the master keys.) And, if all else fails, an RX 7, even in a neutral color is still a flashy car, given a well trained team, trailing him for a day or two wouldn't actually be that hard.

    Potential solutions:
    Columbian Solution - wire up a brick of SEMTEX to his car and firebomb his apartment.
    Vehicular accident - assuming he follows a predictable route to and from the newspaper office, have a dump truck lose its brakes and T bone him in an intersection.
    Suicide by cop - Make sure he sees you tailing him a couple times during the day and the have SWAT raid the wrong apartment. Accidents happen, and a man who's sure the boogie man of the intel world is out to get him will undoubtably be on a hair pin trigger.
    Voted Gossamer
    October 3, 2013, 9:32
    Like Caesar said, a whole lot of stats. I didn't mind so much in the last one, but in this one it seemed more prevalent. I've never used Gurps, but that seems like a whole heap of skills for one man to have.

    The apartment and the rest was nice, the schedule seemed a bit unforgiving, seeing as it was tailor made for the specific day the PCs decide to tail him, but what if they lose him on that day, then what? I couldn't find much in the way of motivation for him either, except that he's a workoholic, how would he behave if the PCs just decided to talk to him in a non-confronting manner?
    Voted valadaar
    October 8, 2013, 19:52
    A great workup, but he seems rather vulnerable to those that would simply blow him up.

    In which case, his clues would go poof too, so there is that.
    October 10, 2013, 0:36
    My current playing group lacks an explosives expert, and the heavy curtains were added explicitly to prevent sniping (also, laser mics).
    Voted Murometz
    March 13, 2014, 22:27
    I do enjoy a sub with dossier-style info.

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