Agencies and Alignments
Written by Merle Rasmussen
Nearly every nation has at least one intelligence-gathering agency to keep tabs on its neighbours. Keeping track of all these organizations is a difficult task even for secret agents. Real-life spy agencies are, of course, an important part of the TOP SECRET game — but the game world also has a few other organizations with which player character agents should be familiar. These groups may serve as agencies for player character agents or as deadly foes to be fought across the world.
Most of these groups have been mentioned in previous TOP SECRET game modules. Depending on how the adventures turned out, the organizations may or may not still exist. However, defunct spy agencies or terrorist groups have a nasty habit of turning up again if one or more members of that group can escape and manage to re-build the network.
Information about these agencies is presented in several categories, all of which are defined below. It is assumed that this information is commonly available to player character agents, but not necessarily to the general public.
Nature of agency: The basic nature of the organization.
HQ: The main headquarters for agency operations.
Established: The year the agency was founded.
Activities: Domestic counterintelligence means that the agency is responsible for counterespionage inside the borders of its own country. Foreign counterintelligence means that the agency is responsible for counterespionage outside the borders of its own country.
Policies: The major laws and philosophies of the organization.
Objectives: The major goals of the organization.
Areas of involvement: The places in which the agency is known to operate or where its jurisdiction extends.
Allies: Agencies often share intelligence data formally and informally with one another, when it suits them to do so. Associated agencies do not necessarily share intelligence because of publicly recognized treaties.
Additional data: More information on agency structure, operations, covers, and past history is given here.
Bureaus: If the word “All” is present here, the following TOP SECRET game bureaus may be active within a particular agency: Administration, Investigation, Confiscation, Technical, Operations, and Assassination (see DRAGON issue 82, “New Avenues for Agents” for an explanation of the newest bureaus).
Alignment profile: An agent trained by a particular intelligence agency will very often develop political opinions that are shared by a majority of fellow agents in the organization. The range of personal opinions an agent has relating to political systems, political change, and economic systems is called his alignment profile. Characters’ alignments can be determined by choice or by random roll using the table below. To determine a non-player character’s alignments, roll percentile dice. Any value outside the agency profile should be disregarded and the dice rerolled.
Though a player character agent may have political opinions that do not match those of his fellow agents, serious problems will occur if an agent adopts an alignment profile that is markedly different from that of his agency. Would an agent who is an avowed capitalist supporting the violent overthrow of the Soviet government get far in the KGB? Not likely.
Political alignment refers to one’s belief in whether governmental authority should be spread out to all of a country’s population (“democratic”) or kept in the hands of one person (“autocratic”), or some belief between those two extremes. The terms “democratic” and “republican” have nothing to do with the American political parties of the same names.
The “change” alignment measures one’s opinions on political change; those with “radical” beliefs think that change should be rapid and far-reaching; those who are “reactionary”, want no change at all.
Finally, economic alignment measures one’s beliefs in private enterprise (“capitalist”) or in government control of business (“communist”), or some position between those two extremes.
Generally speaking, characters with similar alignments will get along well together, since they understand each other’s political and economic views. Characters with opposite alignments will usually not get along well over prolonged periods of time. When a player character has to work for an extended period of time with an NPC agent of a different alignment, find the numerical differences between their alignments. The average of these three differences — political, change, and economic — is the percentage chance that there will be trouble between the agents, usually brought on by the NPC agent’s intolerance of the PC agent.
For example, a PC agent’s alignments are 10/33/55, and a NPC agent’s alignments are 10/44/95. The differences are 0, 11, and 40, making an average difference of 17. If the Administrator rolls 17 or less on percentile dice, these two agents will clash at some point during the mission. The nature and results of the difficulties may be administered as desired.
Operations: Missions in game modules in which the described agency was involved. This includes separately published adventures, adventures in DRAGON Magazine, and unpublished material from the soon-to-be-released TOP SECRET Game Companion set.
Nature of agency: Supranational intelligence organization
HQ: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA
Activities: Military intelligence, strategic intelligence, electronic intercept, foreign counterintelligence
Policies: Agents are forbidden to reveal their connection with the organization unless express permission is obtained from the Administrator prior to a given mission
Objectives: To rid the world of offensive characters, to set right the wrongs, to bring honour to the organization, and to improve individual agents. These objectives supersede national priorities. (In fact, some major spies from both the Soviet Union and the United States are members of this group.)
Areas of involvement: The Earth, the Moon, and the space in between
Allies: UN Security Council
Additional data: Cover businesses for “The Agency” include International Trade and Lending, Inc., and New World Distributors.
Alignment profile: 01-00/01-00/01-00
Operations: Admin. File 001 Sprechenhaltestelle; TS 002 Rapidstrike; TS 003 Lady in Distress; TS 005 Orient Express; TS 006 Ace of Clubs; and the “Whiteout” mission (DRAGON issue 87).
Anti-Imperialist Army (AIA)
Nature of agency: Terrorist group
HQ: Tripoli, Libya
Activities: Hijacking and destroying trains and aircraft, ransoming passengers until ALA’s demands are met, embassy bombing, and performing many other terrorist activities.
Policies: The AIA considers all “colonial” (i.e., European and American) nations to be its enemies.
Objectives: To free political prisoners, fight for the rights of the oppressed, “correct” corrupt governments and bring their crimes to world attention.
Areas of involvement: Europe and Libya
Additional data: Personnel are known for spectacular terrorist attacks, which are characterised by extreme violence, brutality, and a certain flair for gaining wide media attention.
Alignment profile: 82-00/01-06/07-94
Operations: TS 005 Orient Express
Nature of agency: Spy ring operating throughout Western Europe. Blackbird operatives work for no known side.
HQ: Headquarters are apparently mobile and constantly on the move.
Activities: Steals information from various governments and sells the information to the highest bidder.
Policies: Money talks; use computers to best possible benefit.
Objectives: No political goals; operates out of self-interest only. Avoids all media attention.
Areas of involvement: Western Europe and European rail networks
Additional data: Highly involved in computers and rail transport
Alignment profile: 20-81/07-94/01-06
Operations: TS 005 Orient Express
Nature of agency: International criminal organization secretly financed by several multinational corporations
HQ: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Activities: Known to have hired French mercenaries to kidnap the President of the U.S.A. from Pineton, Maine; and, regularly perform kidnappings, extortions, hijackings, skyjackings, and high-tech theft.
Policies: Prevent national governments from restricting free trade and “private business” and believe in laissez faire economics.
Objectives: To promote all policies stated above
Areas of involvement: North America and many French-speaking countries
Additional data: Using all resources available to them, both the American and Canadian governments are actively involved in a major manhunt for all personnel belonging to this organization.
Alignment profile: 07-94/07-94/01-19
Operations: Mini-module Executive One (with Administrator’s Screen)
Children of Neptune (CON)
Nature of agency: Ultra-survivalist group bent on continental or world domination through colonisation, nuclear blackmail, and “hemisphericide”.
HQ: Atlantis II (Whiteout Base), Antarctic Peninsula
Activities: Drug trafficking, the selling of military secrets, and the counterfeiting of Swiss francs
Policies: These people are interested in health foods, environmental protection, unlimited use and ownership of firearms, and fighting in other people’s wars as volunteers. They also oppose all forms of government interference and refuse to pay taxes of any sort. They vote conservatively.
Objectives: To build future-survival cities in Antarctica, on the ocean’s surface, and on the ocean floor; and, to construct a nuclear-powered floating drydock for the assembly of armed floating out islands.
Areas of involvement: The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, Alulu Island in the west central Pacific Ocean, and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Allies: The Exterminators
Alignment profile: 95-00/82-00/82-00
Operations: “Doctor Yes” (DRAGON issue 4Cool, “Mad Merc” (DRAGON issue 56), “Whiteout” (DRAGON issue 87)
Nature of agency: Mercenary assassination team once employed as guards by Doctor Yes
HQ: Council Bluffs, Iowa, USA
Activities: Protection and assassination missions as desired by patrons
Policies: Money talks; they work for the highest bidder.
Objectives: No political goals except those of employer
Areas of involvement: Worldwide, particularly Pacific Basin
Additional data: The three known members of this group (Dale Craig, Chuck Morris, and Bruce Nee) are reputed to be training assassins for unknown private and international agencies. All three members have $3500 rewards offered for their capture. They wear company emblems on their jackets, and use armoured vans supposedly operated by a pest-control company.
Alignment profile: 01-81/07-94/01-06
Operations: “Doctor Yes” (DRAGON issue 4Cool
Headquarters of Education Against Revolution, Terrorism, and Sedition (HEARTS)
Nature of agency: An association of western espionage agencies
HQ: Ace of Clubs Luxury Resort, upstate New York, USA
Activities: Training secret agents for Western intelligence groups
Policies: Maintain the Ace of Clubs (a front that appears to be an exclusive adventure sports and gambling resort for members only). All monies earned from the operation of the frontare to be turned over to HEARTS.
Objectives: To provide the most complete and rigorous training for Western agents possible. The resort also serves as agents’ R&R spot.
Areas of involvement: Ace of Clubs Luxury Resort only
Allies: Most Western intelligence agencies will support HEARTS to the fullest extent of their powers.
Additional data: The resort may become the target for future terrorist, espionage, and saboteur activity.
Alignment profile: 07-19/07-94/07-81
Operations: TS 006 Ace of Clubs
Nature of agency: Moderate-sized criminal organization
HQ: Located in Florida or Georgia, USA
Activities: Extortion, grand theft, protection rackets, vice, and gambling
Policies: No political ethics; solely concerned with making money through criminal operations and through legitimate businesses (used as fronts).
Objectives: To expand their criminal operations throughout the Southeastern United States, taking control of extortion and protection, “businesses” in particular.
Areas of involvement: Florida, USA
Allies: Very loose ties with other criminal syndicates, but no close allies.
Additional data: Hydra employees have been carefully trained to take charge of their section of the syndicate if their superiors have been “rendered inoperable”. This requires a high degree of trust among the Hydra personnel, and they are less likely to turn in their fellow organization members to police forces than other criminals might be. A large number of wanted gunmen and assassins are employed by Hydra as bodyguards and killers.
Assassination, Confiscation, Operations, Technical
Alignment profile: 82-00/07-94/01-81
Operations: “Wacko World” mission (DRAGON issue 79).
International Security Bureau (ISB)
Nature of agency: A multinational Western organization
HQ: Paris, France
Activities: Handling defections of important personnel from behind Iron Curtain
Policies: Given free rein to operate without interference from other Western agencies. Its multinational nature allows ISB to conduct operations without having to implicate a specific nation.
Objectives: To place defectors in “productive position” within Western nations
Areas of involvement: Eastern Europe
Allies: NATO, government of Switzerland
Additional data: The ISB has six sections. Section Mercury is the Eastern European Operations section; Section Venus monitors the Sino-Soviet border; Section Mars handles defectors from the military of the Soviet Union; Section Jupiter takes in defectors from the diplomatic corps; Section Saturn is involved with scientists and intellectual dissidents; and, Section Pluto tracks Soviet space missions, manned and unmanned (not necessarily for defections).
Bureaus: Assassination, Confiscation, and Investigation
Alignment profile: 01-19/07-94/07-81
Operations: TS 004 Fastpass
Nature of agency: Terrorist splinter group
HQ: Liverpool, England
Activities: Terrorist bombings and assassinations with political motivations
Policies: The group is a radical communist organization that espouses the destruction of all Western governments, but it also does not approve of most Communist governments, however. The Red Dawn promotes anarchy.
Objectives: To bring about a repressive British government by committing acts of terrorism, forcing the government to adopt more radical and authoritarian measures to deal with the situation. Hopefully, the populace of Britain would then overthrow the government and install a system based upon communist anarchy.
Areas of involvement: Primarily the United Kingdom, though some terrorists have traveled to other countries to commit their crimes.
Allies: Numerous small radical terrorist groups throughout the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, and (possibly) the United States; Eastern bloc involvement possible.
Additional data: The Red Dawn is noted for several acts of senseless violence directed at innocent bystanders as well as at political figures. It is regarded as extremely dangerous and may soon become a “most wanted” terrorist organization. Its members are fanatical to an extreme.
Bureaus: Administration, Assassination, Confiscation
Alignment profile: 01-06/01-06/95-00
Operations: “Wacko World” (DRAGON issue 79).
Terrorist Revolutionaries for United Military Power (TRUMP)
Nature of agency: International terrorist revolutionary group
HQ: Leningrad, USSR
Activities: Attempted takeover of the Ace of Clubs Luxury Resort (see above). Also, to keep Western espionage from becoming more efficient, spread “disinformation” and train Eastern-bloc secret agents.
Policies: Any means, including violence, that achieve TRUMP’s goals are acceptable to its members.
Objectives: TRUMP is obsessed with putting the entire world under military rule.
Areas of involvement: Democratic countries are TRUMP’s first and foremost targets.
Allies: AIA, GRU
Additional data: Original name was Today’s Revolutionaries Under Military Persecution.
Alignment profile: 20-94/95-00/20-94
Operations: TS 006 Ace of Clubs
Tiger Team Alpha
Nature of agency: Private contractor with NATO.
HQ: Rome, Italy
Activities: Testing the security of supposedly safe computer systems.
Policies: Personnel work only on computer systems, not for personal gain or fame.
Objectives: Dependent on terms of contract
Areas of involvement: Industrial nations using computer technology
Additional data: This company employs people who are infatuated with computer technology, including hackers, and computer criminals as well as various electronic wizards. Unofficial motto is said to be: “Impossible things take five minutes more.”
Bureaus: Technical and Operations
Alignment profile: 01-19/07-94/01-81
Operations: TS 005 Orient Express
Table of Alignments