Tradecraft

Glossary

  • Acorn: Asset, sometimes only a potential asset.
  • Barium Meal: Easily traced “chicken feed” intel (or outright disinformation) provided to a possible leaker or mole.
  • Black-boxed: Refused information on sources of intel or the reason for an assignment. “You have no need to know” is a classic black-boxing.
  • Brush pass: two agents exchange an item as they brush past each other. This might be literal or by dropping the item where the other can see it.
  • Cannon: The black-bagger who steals back the bribe, bait, or nugget (q.v.) from an asset or target.
  • Car toss: a brush pass where one or more of the parties is in a vehicle.
  • Clancy: Someone who has read too many Tom Clancy novels; an unrealistic wannabe.
  • Cut-out: messengers tasked anonymously for one-time meets or passes, who get details from burner phones, classified ads, or the Internet, and thus can’t identify either end of the chain.
  • Dead drops: a message left where another agent can find it later without any physical contact between agents.
  • Digital dead drops: post information on the Internet: in a chatroom, forums, Craigslist, or just a seemingly random set of URL numbers.
  • Dry Clean: To lose a tail; to escape (or avoid) surveillance.
  • Dubok: Russian for dead drop.
  • False Flag: To recruit an asset ostensibly for an organization not your own: e.g., the Russian SVR agent claims to be a CIA agent when approaching the American businessman in France.
  • Flip: Turning a contact into an asset. Traditionally, assets flip for one of four MICE: Money, Ideology, Coercion, or Ego.
  • Floater: Asset to be used only one time, possibly entirely without their knowledge.
  • Ghoul: Analyst who searches graveyards and death records for suitable false identities.
  • Jarking: British slang for bugging, tracking, or subtly sabotaging weapons.
  • Legend: Fictitious history and documentation of your cover identity.
  • Litter: Seemingly innocuous material (theater tickets, ATM receipts, American nickels, etc.) carried in your pockets or baggage to support your legend. Also, pocket litter.
  • Nugget: Bait or reward offered to a potential defector or asset.
  • Parole: Password or countersign.
  • Playback: To reverse the flow of information, usually after turning an opposition asset: the opposition gets bad intel, you get good intel.
  • Reactive Target: Someone who expects your approach and responds with violence.
  • Safe house: location safe from enemy surveillance. Network roll with difficulty 4 (5 or higher for towns) or Heat, whichever is higher.
  • Sleeper: An asset left alone in place, ready to be activated for a high-value operation.
  • Steganography: concealed messages inside text, images, or other media.
  • Svinya: Literally, “swine.” Russian intelligence slang for “traitor.”
  • Trail Your Coat: Attempt to attract the attention of an asset or enemy agent.
  • Uncle: Headquarters.
  • Walk-in: Classically, a foreign national who “walks in” to the embassy (or CIA station), delivers intel, and sometimes (more often in the Cold War) wishes to defect.
  • Walking Back the Cat: Retracing or replaying an operation in reverse

Techniques & Maneuvers

  • Adversary Mapping: by mapping the links between groups and people, agents gain a dedicated pool for ops against targets within the map. Generally 2 points per connection, 3 if an avenue of attack presents itself.
  • Alibi (prereq: Disguise 8+): You are so skilled at mimicking another person’s mannerisms and appearance that you can, in disguise, convince a mark or his associates that something plausible did or didn’t happen as needed. Once per session, you can spend 1 point of any Interpersonal ability and 3 points of Disguise to convince your target.
  • Asset Running: after flipping an asset, you can use an interpersonal spend to get information from them (or 2 points to get them to do something risky).
  • Familiar Foe: you can designate one (ever) named opponent as someone you’ve faced off against in the past. Gain a 3-point dedicated pool for use with any Investigative ability, when that ability is used to uncover something about the Foe. both you and your foe lower difficulties against the other by 1 and initial damage dealt in a fight is reduced to a maximum of 1 (or 1d6-2 for firearms).
  • For Your Eyes Only: (prereq: Surveillance 8+) After succeeding in a test of Surveillance against a target, you can compose a deep-level dossier on the target by spending 3 pool points of Surveillance and 1 pool point of an appropriate Investigative ability: Human Terrain, Notice, Photography, Streetwise, or Tradecraft. This takes 1-3 days on average. The dossier grants access to a team 1-point dedicated pool usable as any Investigative ability against the target and to a team2-point pool for any General ability use against the target. If the target is not on the adversary map the team can add him to it. You may invent crucial details about your target that you turned up in your surveillance. If the GM approves add 1 point to each pool per detail, up to a total of 3 Investigative pool points and 4 General pool points.
  • Mark and Strike: (prereq: Infiltration 8+) When you succeed in an Infiltration test to surprise or ambush an unaware target,, you may spend Infiltration as well as combat ability points on your first attack.
  • One-Two Punch: (prereq: Hand-to-Hand 8+ or Weapons 8+) After two successful blows in a row (either in successive rounds or with Extra Attacks, Jump In, etc.) against the same target, you can spend 3 Athletics pool points to narrate a devastating attack dealing +2 damage. Refresh 1 point in the combat ability you used for the second blow.
  • Perfect Drop: (prereq: Sense Trouble 8+) Once per session, when determining initiative, you can spend 3 points from your Sense Trouble pool to treat your rating as if it were 3 points higher than it is, thereby getting the drop on your foes.
  • Special Weapons Training (Prereq: Shooting or Weapons 8+) You can spend 6 build points to grant yourself superior training in one particular make of firearm or weapon: for example, a Walther PPK, .357 Desert Eagle, or Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. In your hands, this weapon increases its damage by 1. You may take Special Weapons Training in one light and one heavy firearm as well as one type of knife and one other make of weapon.
  • Signature Wheels (prereq: Driving 8+): you may spend 5 build points to grant yourself one make and model of car from which you can pull top performance. While driving your Signature Wheels, every full 2 points of Driving you spend count as a 3-point spend. You may take Signature Wheels in one sports car and one other make of ground vehicle.
  • Thrown Clear by the Blast: spend 4 points of Athletics to move damage suffered from an explosion up a row or 6 points to move over a column. This cannot negate all damage.

Tradecraft

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