control inspired fate thing notes # The Setup Welcome to Division 17, the shadowy government agency that keeps things normal, or at least _looking_ normal, for most of humankind. Your badges read as appropriate for whichever country and assignment you're in, because you definitely do not answer to Interpol or MI5 or the CIA or the FBI or any national government. The sources of your funding and authority are shrouded in mystery, but within the agency you've seen enough people helped, enough questions answered, and enough compassion for innocent civilians to satisfy you that your job is worth doing. The players are field agents of Division 17. In internal documents, they are classified as Autonomous, meaning they do not need permission from a supervisor to act, and Tier 3. Third tier agents are the bread and butter of the Division, investigating disturbances to determine if they warrant intervention, and in most cases resolving the disturbances themselves. Tier 2 agents are hardened veterans reserved for handling disturbances that are an existential threat to humanity, and Tier 1 agents are top secret and almost mythical in status, rumored to have godlike powers of reality alteration. That's probably bullshit, though! It would be really nice and less scary if it was bullshit. Carl, who you worked with on the Amsterdam case, can throw a car with his mind, and he keeps getting turned down for a promotion to second tier! Probably bullshit, yeah. # Agent Creation ## Orientations These are equivalent to approaches or skills, and rolled to act during an assignment. Spend 6 points to raise from zero. No orientation may be higher than +3. You may reduce one orientation to -1 to get another point. * **Administration** (leadership, logistics, and earning the cooperation of other agencies and institutions) * **Archives & Records** (researching or recalling relevant information from past events, discerning patterns and connections within existing data) * **Maintenance** (non-paranatural skilled labor, including sanitation, mechanical repair, and computer science) * **Observation & Development** (discerning new and actionable information from material evidence or ongoing events, inventing or repurposing technology or phenomena to meet a new use case) * **Public Relations** (interacting with individuals and locals and earning their cooperation) * **Threat Response** (neutralizing active threats directly and by ameliorating their harmful effects) ## Aspects ### High Concept An overview of the agent's whole deal. Make it multifaceted but easy to understand, possibly by including two or three descriptors. Examples: "High-Strung Science Nerd" or "Reformed Apocalypse Cultist" or "Over-Eager Rookie" ### Background Who the agent used to be, before all this. If the High Concept includes an obvious background, make this a different, unexpected corner of it. Examples: "Former Televised Robot Fight Champion" or "Black Sheep of Wealthy Extended Family" or "Former Child Sleuth Who Solved an Actual Murder" ### Awakening The sort of paranatural event that made the agent aware of the world behind the world. It should reflect being prepared for similar events in the future and the lasting effects on the agent's psyche that such things always have. Examples: "Once Stranded in Surreal Parallel Dimension for Four Years" or "Talked Out of Initiating the Apocalypse by an Elder Being" or "Best Friend Since Childhood Is a Ghost" ### Career A notable prior case that is still relevant to the agent's current work. Must be different from Awakening, since you can't become an agent and *then* be exposed for the first time to paranatural events. Didn't necessarily go well, but also not necessarily badly, but should not have direct loose threads that still need resolving. Phrase the aspect to describe the lingering effect, and if you want to give more specific details on what happened, do it in a text bio. The lingering effect should be potentially helpful or harmful in relevant situations, and may edge into one or the other more strongly. The GM should be lenient on accepting justifications for invokes and compels, because that's more interesting than it just never coming up. Examples: "Still Pen Pals With Rescued Pyrokinetic Child" or "Fearful Vigilance Regarding Telepathic Wildlife" or "Fellow Agency Trainees Thankful for Rescue from Cruel Wizard's Dungeon, Wizard's Widow and Children Still Kind of Pissed Though" ### Off-Duty A hobby, leisure activity, or conspiracy theory that the agent keeps returning to between assignments. Shouldn't get in the way or have much overlap with any of the other stuff. Can be mundane, should be low-stakes. Examples: "Moderator of the Largest Internet Woodworking Forum" or "Constantly Filling Sketchbooks with Life Drawings" or "Takes a Group of Adorable Disadvantaged Children on Monthly Camping Trips" ## Stress Boxes You get 6 1-point stress boxes in a unified track. No separate mental/physical. Orientations do not affect this. You can increase this only with a stunt; As suggested in the rules, a stunt can just be 2 more stress boxes or another mild consequence slot. Maybe that's gear or maybe that's being buff or maybe you have chitinous subdermal armor plates or a paranatural talisman of protection. Get weird with it, that's always more interesting than just wearing a bulletproof vest. ## A Note on Paranatural Agent Abilities You can have them! If you want your character to be a firestarter or mind reader or secret alien, you can Do That. If it's part of your aspects it can basically just function as narrative permission to use your Orientations in a particular way, and is not necessarily a mechanical boon. You can also implement these abilities as stunts! Some general guidelines for paranatural agent abilities: * Your abilities shouldn't give you an unfair advantage over the other player characters * Your abilities shouldn't make the GM's job harder by easily bypassing common obstacles * Your abilities shouldn't be so obvious or difficult to conceal that your character is significantly limited in how they can operate in public ## Example Appropriate Stunts Yeah, stunts! You get three! They can be gear or specialized skills or contacts or whatever, that's up to you, but heres a few possibilities: * You are so good at inventing gadgets that when you create an advantage with Observation & Development, you get an extra free invoke from it * You used to be a hardline "there's got to be a logical explanation" skeptic and know exactly how to talk to that sort to convince them weird shit truly is going down, so you get +2 to Public Relations overcome rolls when persuading someone who refuses to believe in the supernatural * You have sick telekinetic object throwing powers and get +2 to Threat Response attacks when there are objects around smaller than a compact car that you can pelt a foe with * Your hobby of off-trail wilderness hiking has given you a pretty rad sense of direction, and you now just always know the direction to the nearest main road from wherever you are, without having to roll anything * Your contacts in online paranormal/conspiracy circles are always keeping an eye out and can point you in the right direction, so you get +2 to overcome with Archives & Records to find the information you need to progress the investigation Please name the stunts something relatively snappy, like maybe even snappier than an aspect, and then also explain the mechanical effect and justification. It's easier for me to retain this sort of thing if there's a title and not just a description. # Deep Lore ## The Control of Information You've never met the Director, let alone the Advisory Board that his memos refer to as setting the agency's agenda, but you may have gotten his direct permission in writing to make an exception you know in your heart is right to official procedure, or you may have been reached out to personally in the worst time in your life and trusted with the information that the Division exists and can help you if you're willing to trust them back and cooperate. The official terminology centers around variants of the word "paranatural," but in break room conversations the phrase that gets thrown around most is "the world behind the world." Underneath the world most people are aware of, strange forces are at work and their motivations and methods are only beginning to be understood. Most people have enough stress that it would do them no good to be made aware of all this, and extensive psychological research underpins the current procedures on how much can be revealed to civilians directly affected by paranatural disturbances. Paranatural vigilantes and criminals have clashed before, doing horrendous collateral damage because they don't have access to the institutional knowledge that the Division has accumulated and leverages to keep the world safe. The cooperation of civilian experts can be essential, however, and grants of support are often used to incentivize them to do things "the right way." ## Agency Technology Level of complexity or advancement is wholly irrelevant to whether a piece of technology is vulnerable to paranatural forces. Division 17 uses redundant layers of dissimilar technology for secure storage, from printed paper files to magnetic tape backups to crystal formations that absorb and disperse psychic memories when shocked electrically. The Division assigns each agent a secure smartphone and laptop, and every field team is given a specialized camera for documenting events as they would appear to each of the 7 known senses. Technology is, if anything, significantly more predictable and controllable than any manifestation of paranatural forces yet discovered. ## Is Magic Real? Paranatural abilities sometimes manifest in forms that resemble magic, and those who use them sometimes self-identify as wizard or sorcerors. So far, there have been no recorded methods for consistently replicating or transferring these abilities between people. So-called spellbooks and arcane tomes do not have reproducible effects between attempted users, and paranatural abilities cannot be taught. More often, an individual with powerful paranatural abilities will leverage them to convince followers to serve them, dangling false promises of sharing the abilities. In particular, instances of the "wizard's apprentice con" are frequent enough that the Division has a dedicated task force keeping an eye out for them. ## Vampires? Werewolves? Many iconic pop culture monsters were inspired by one or more real cases, but once they are embedded in the popular psyche, other cases are more often falsely assumed to be a reoccurrence. Agents are advised to not make assumptions based on similarity to past cases or theories. That "vampire" might simply be a serial killer who has a paranatural sensitivity to daylight and garlic, and that "werewolf" might be a harmless, friendly mutant housepet. That psychic kid on the Twilight Zone who sent people to the cornfield was a very real case, though. She can alter reality to her will in a radius roughly the size of Chicago, and after undergoing counseling and training she is one of Division 17's finest Tier 1 agents, and is on the fast track for appointment to the Advisory Board. ## The Use of Violence Firearms draw significant unwanted attention and carry a greatly increased risk of collateral damage, serious bodily injury, and death. Carrying concealed firearms risks conflict with local authorities, and carrying firearms openly intimidates locals and makes a bad first impression. Field agents of the Division are trained extensively in the use of improvised weapons (to be procured on-site in an emergency) to disarm and disable violent threats whether they are humanoid, animal, or irregular in form. Most agents carry either no weapon or a discreet concealed blade, and are directed not to initiate violence, but also not to hesitate to intervene and neutralize a threat to the lives of civilians or Division personnel. In exceptional emergencies, a strike team utilizing threat-appropriate weaponry may be deployed to back up field agents. Any confrontation involving an agent directly will require a written report submitted within 24 hours of the agent reaching safety, and if the agent used violence they will need to explain their reasoning. Disciplinary action is rare unless the agent was self-admittedly reckless or a complaint from another party (internal, civilian, or other) is lodged. In cases of exceptional misconduct, the agent may be required to present their defense in a tribunal overseen by the Director and the Advisory Board. Such cases are *exceedingly* rare, with the most recent having occurred in 1986, when a former agent executed a captive paranatural entity, motivated by a belief that it was "too dangerous to be allowed to live." The former agent was expelled from Division 17 and confined to the city of Vancouver, where they had lived prior to recruitment, until their natural death from pneumonia in 2004.