The Initiative:Main Page
Welcome to the Initiative, folks. You've all been selected for your excellence in your varied fields, and just as importantly, for your discretion. Because what you're about to hear is Top Secret, and it is vital, I repeat, vital that the wider public does not learn of our existence, let alone our purpose. The alternative would be chaos, hysteria and rampant paranoia, making our job all but impossible to do. And once the genie is out of the bottle, it cannot be put back. Now, given your backgrounds, some of you probably already suspect the truth, but for those who haven't, let me put it to you as plainly as I can. Aliens exist, and they've been visiting our world and kidnapping people for at least the last seventy years, and quite possibly for far longer than that. We don't know for sure, and I'm afraid that's something you're going to have to get real accustomed to. What we do know is this: the saucers are real, folks, and they're up to no good. We're on the front line in what could very well be a fight for the survival of the entire human race, and all the indications are that we're running out of time real fast.
This is the wiki page for The Initiative, a Spycraft 2.0 PbP being played on the RPGnet forums.
Of course UFOs are real. The military scientists that were tasked with investigating the numerous reports of mysterious flying saucers and foo fighters in the latter stages of WWII were quick to recognise that reality. There were simply too many strikingly similar reports from credible witnesses and trained military pilots to dismiss them all as optical illusions, hoaxes, hallucinations or cases of misidentification. There was widespread consensus that the extraterrestrial hypothesis represented the most plausible explanation for these occurrences – all that was missing was the physical proof. On July 7th, 1947, they got it.
The recovery of the remnants of a clearly extraterrestrial craft at Roswell represented a historic discovery, and one with potentially critical strategic import in the context of the growing coolness between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, the military was swift to cover up its find, lest it be blackmailed by the international community into sharing a technological goldmine. The resulting project was run in absolute secrecy, revealed only to those who absolutely had to know, and hidden even from much of the top brass at the military.
As a result, when Project Sign was launched later that year to formally investigate the possibility of alien visitation, it too was kept in the dark. Of course, as time went by, it became clear that Project Sign's investigations could only harm the national interest, and it was transformed into Project Grudge with the clear objective of 'debunking' the idea and brushing it under the carpet. Unfortunately, this didn't work – the obvious bias of the Project was raising too much criticism. A more subtle approach would be needed – an outwardly impartial and scientific process that would meet with no success and allow the issue to fade away quietly. Afterwards, the remaining adherents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis could be dismissed as crackpots. Thus was born Project Blue Book, and it was largely successful in its objective of relegating the idea of UFOs and alien visitors to the realm of science fiction and paranoid nutjobs.
In the meantime, work on examining the wreckage of the Roswell saucer and the dead aliens continued out of the public eye, yielding considerable technical advances and opening the eyes of American military scientists to stunning scientific possibilities, helping the United States take an early lead in the arms race. However they had relatively little to work with – the crashed saucer was more debris than spaceship, with little in the way of functioning technology. The real treasure trove was the recovery of the corpses known as the “greys”. By the 1960s, the initial spurt of technological progress had slowed and all but trickled to a halt. Nor had they had any further success in recovering additional craft, with the first attack on a UFO meeting in abject failure, after which American aircraft were never able to intercept one again. After 1961, the number of sightings the US military considered genuine dropped abruptly and it was theorized that the aliens had withdrawn for now. The remaining sightings were still investigated, but by now the inevitable leaks had led to the mythology of UFOs taking on a life of its own, rendering the vast majority of sightings extremely suspect, with hoaxes abounding.
It was around this time that American spies discovered that the Europeans had a project of their own investigating UFOs, and that they had their own recovered spacecraft, of a different kind to that at Area 51. After initially contemplating espionage, it was decided that diplomacy and cooperation were the only realistic option. Thus was born the Combined Alien Research Initiative (CARI), or as its agents refer to it for short, the Initiative. Operating under the auspices of NATO (although it was later expanded to include Japan and Australia in order to better monitor what was realistically a global phenomenon), the Initiative's combined efforts led to new advances, and an improved understanding of alien technology, but as the drought of alien sightings continued decade after decade and research petered out, funding was slowly cut back further and further.
In 1993, it was finally shut down altogether, and its personnel redistributed to their respective countries. As far as the bean-counters were concerned, the aliens weren't coming back, and it was questionable whether they had ever even been hostile enough to represent a threat in the first place. The alien artifacts had been studied to death, and there was little left to be learned that could not be done under the banner of existing agencies. Nevertheless, there were those from the Initiative who believed that this was a mistake, and had long pressed their belief that the aliens would return some day, and that we could not afford to assume they would be peaceful when they did so.
In 2007, they did just that. On August 15th, one of the long-range passive sensors at the mothballed Initiative base in the Swiss Alps picked up a contact and passed it on to NATO command. 23 hours later, the United States reported the loss of a spy satellite. More soon followed, and a fresh wave of UFO sightings was reported (and naturally dismissed by the by-now well trained media). The aliens had returned, and though the governments of the world ensured that the general population was none the wiser, it was clear that the aliens did not come in peace. The Initiative was reactivated, its bases reopened and new and old personnel recruited. The old timers had been proven right, and soon the long-theoretical technology they had worked on in the past also proved its worth, when Initiative fighters successfully intercepted and shot down their first saucer. The technological superiority of the aliens was still incontestable, but the gap had been narrowed. The fight was on!
The Initiative: What you know about the agency you work for.
The Greys: What you know about the aliens, or "the Greys" as they are often called.
Alien Technology: What you know about the technology of the aliens.
Goals: 5 (Protection, Secrecy, Stability, Grail, Reconstruction)
History: 3 (Decline, Accomplishment, Rise From The Ashes)
Image: 4 (Secretive Goals, Secretive Methods, On Record Leaders, Secretive Members, Secretive Sites)
Sites: 10 (Advanced Lab, Airstrip, Armoury, COMSEC Centre, Firing Range, Military Depot, Motor Pool, Prison, Records Office, Satellite Network)
Tools: 8 (E-V, G-III, R-IV, S-V, T-V, V-IV, W-IV)
Elite Ops: Each time a player character gains any non-Skill feat choice, he may choose a Basic Skill feat instead.
Faction: All PCs work for The Initiative, and gain Reputation rather than Net Worth. Charisma-granted gear picks may be chosen from the Gadgets, Vehicles, Tradecraft, or Resources categories.
Omni-Competent: All skill check result caps are lifted. Further, all checks become active. Finally, each skill check penalty suffered is reduced to 1/2 standard (rounded down, minimum –1).
Tense: All stress damage is doubled. Further, no character of any type may take 10 with any skill check.
Thriller: The number of Challenges required to complete each Complex Task increases by 1 (this may increase the number of required Challenges past 10). Further, during a Dramatic Conflict, the effect of every Lead result decreases by 1 (minimum 0).
Cast of Characters
Nathaniel Hazard, played by mathey.
Wladyslaw Kalinowski, played by Mikko Kauppinen.
Dr Arnold Michaels, played by Phantom Stranger
Ossian O'Ryan, played by TygerTyger
Felicia Pike, played by djymm.
And GMed by Illegible Smudge.
Mission Gear Picks
Nathan: Feat Training IV (Officer), Skill Training IV (+2 Blend, +2 Intimidate, +2 Sneak), Low Profile Armor (Average) III with Camouflage (mountain) and Knee and Elbow Pads, H&K UMP .45 III with Concealment Case (briefcase), Tactical Sling, and Fixed Suppressor, Improved Knockout Poison IV(3 doses), EMP Device (Gadget III, 4d6 blast, 1 use, housing: wristwatch), ballistic glasses (from Arnold), mountain pattern fatigues, clear goggles, heat pack, skis and snowshoes
Wladyslaw: .338 Lapua FN Ultra-Ratio Mini-Hecate bolt-action rifle (IV) with FMJ ammunition, Reworked Action I, Rugged, and Patrol sling, Low-profile armor (III) with Camouflage (mountain), Knee and elbow pads, and Nomex underwear, NBC gear I, wheeled construction vehicle (II) with Weatherproofing (Arctic) and Structural reinforcement, basic headset radio, clear goggles, road flares, mountain pattern fatigues
Arnold: EP-7 Energy Pistol (Represented as Cal IV Miniature Gear Pick Franchi SPAS-12, housing: EP-7 pistol), CI-9 Covert Insertion Grey Noise Generator (Cal IV Sensor Mask, housing: Walkman-sized device clipped to belt), Portable Sonar Unit, Biohazard Suit (Personal tailoring, weight reduction, trauma plates, pair of ballistic sunglasses), Electronics Kit III (loaded onto the team vehicle),
Ossian: Portable radar unit IV, Cover identity IV (military - RAF air commodore), Camera III (commercial-grade video), Laser-resistant survival poncho III (8 damage resistance vs. laser damage), Tractor-trailer + 3 semi-trailers (Vehicle III, advanced stability add-on), 1 reserve Resource pick
Action Dice Pools
Nathan: 3 (d4+2)
Wladyslaw: 3 (d4+2)
Arnold: 4 (d4)
Ossian: 3 (d4)
Felicia: 3 (d4)
Games Master: 13 (varies)