Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

There are things out there, in the weirder reaches of space-time where reality is an optional extra. Horrible things, usually with tentacles. Good thing there's a bureaucracy to deal with them. Based on the Laundry Files novels by Charles Stross. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-laundry/
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Zedicius
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Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:00 pm

Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by Zedicius » Fri Jul 28, 2017 2:03 pm

Oh boy, this can go any number of ways. Bit of a long text here guys.

Summary

I've run several different games over the past few years with a number of different systems, including Call of Cthulhu and Cthulhu Dark Ages and though I've never hosted a Delta Green game before, I am quite interested in the concept. Of course, I am also a big fan of The Laundry Files series. I love the world and how it's subtly different from the original Cthulhy Mythos. I love the different factions and agencies and most of all I love the way it handles magic as a form of maths. And now I'm itching to try and combine the two in to a workable campaign. Unfortunately, even though I love the world, I think it might be The Laundry itself that's going to put a hamper on things because it's such a dominating presence in the UK.

Essentially, I'm trying to create more of a Delta Green style of game, using the setting of the Laundry (possibly mixing the lore of the two slightly). The Laundry exists, but the characters aren't necessarily attached too it. Here goes.

The Basic setup For those who want some background information about the campaign

Players are associated with (mostly during their spare time) the Institute for Atypical Border Studies (IFABS), a private organisation masquerading as a Think Tank erected by an old philanthropist who remains unseen most of the time. IFABS' main base of operations is located at Rudloe Manor, created shortly after the Royal Airforce's secret UFO think tank was decommissioned. Agents (coined 'Associates' officially) are contacted by landline or pager (this is 1995, so commercial mobile phones are barely a thing) and either called to the manor for a full briefing, or a team-leader is quickly informed by phone if time is of the essence. New characters will have had at least one supernatural encounter before, which is how they got in to contact with the Institute in the first place, although as the game goes on it becomes clear that the organisation is far more aware of 'outside threats' than what's initially led on to believe.

Adapting to the setting

Those who have read the Laundry Files novels can probably already see my problem. It seems highly unlikely that The Laundry will allow some independent paranormal research organisation to roam around and fight monsters without some form of oversight. Sure, it's known to work with 'external assets', as well as agencies from foreign countries though 'external assets' are generally agents operating in places where they shouldn't be, so I'm not sure to what extend the Institute could be considered an external asset.

So far, I've come up with a couple of excuses;

1) Institute members are forced to take 'The Oath', subjecting them to the magical geas that forces them to serve queen and country. However, like other Exteral Assets, their Oath is slightly more flexible and those subjected too it aren't told about the magical effects enforced on them (unless they somehow manage to figure these out themselves).

2) Although they are 'allowed' to perform minor investigations, anything that goes beyond certain parameters should be reported to The Laundry immediately. The Institute is considered something like a neighborhood watch and an 'experiment' by The Laundry, one which they can mop up if things ever get out of hand. The Institute is also required to send reports on a regular basis. Considering the nature of the game, In practice this is difficult to enforce, as when some form of paranormal activity is found it's usually too late to call The Laundry and action needs to be taken immediately, with or without The Laundry's consent.

3) The Institute is granted most of it's independence thanks too it's wealth and knowledge. Thanks too it's significant monetary wealth and some degree of occult power it has managed keep it's current position by bribing the occasional official and by covering up certain events from The Laundry. The Institute is a lot more powerful than initially suspected, though whether it is evil or genuinely altruistic is currently unknown.

Oof. That's all I can think off at the moment. Thoughts and ideas anyone?

Hermes Serpent
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by Hermes Serpent » Fri Jul 28, 2017 3:34 pm

I rather think that this falls under some sort of Public - Private Partnership Initiative in the form of ensuring value for money as proposed by the Blair government.
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SBRPearce
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by SBRPearce » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:50 pm

Well, to start, it's your world and your game. You could posit a somewhat weaker, less well-funded (ha!) Laundry. Perhaps a power play in the late 1970s drafted most of the computational assets out of SOE into GCHQ, leaving the Laundry a remnant organization tasked mostly with keeping tabs on moldy, doddering and self-destructing trad sorcerors. To such a body, the idea of an unofficial, semi-deniable relationship with a private partner which enjoys better funding and more freedom to act would be a godsend. Your Laundry contacts could be useful for "deep background" and appropriate introductions, while being generally impotent enough to leave the Associates front-and-center in most situations. They would also have to exercise a fair degree of restraint and circumspection RE: the authorities. Instead of a government Warrant Card that can magically command the cooperation of police and other officialdom, they'll have - at best - a telephone number to reach someone who, after much consultation and back-channels muttering, can get you sprung from the nick and the charges erased (or at least set aside and conveniently forgotten.)

This lesser Laundry would also not be in the same position vis-a-vis the European partner organizations as the Laundry in the original series... In fact, if the Laundry played it very hard during the War and later got gutted, it could be something of a whipping-boy to the other OCCINTEL bodies in Europe. In that case, it might be easier for Her Majesty's Government to conduct OCCOps in Europe through a cut-out organization - your Institute.

And then there's the question of who the group's mysterious benefactor really is...

wickeddarkman
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by wickeddarkman » Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:12 am

The original story on delta green is that it's a lot of splintercells that revolted to the governments way of doing Things. It is supported by freelancers and friendlies within the larger system.

Why not do exactly the same with your Group.

Make it into small Groups that does not fully support all that the laundry stand for, but let them have a larger connection within it that always tell the mahogany row that he has them under control which should be enough to make the other boardmembers accept your splinters existance.

You could let that contacts status Count as what the Group can recieve from the laundry, and if they fail missions this contact falls in status, they lose access to special stuff and they will one day lose contact with the member if his status becomes low enough. Most players don't care about their own status, but they may care about someone elses.

Zedicius
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by Zedicius » Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:10 pm

wickeddarkman wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:12 am
The original story on delta green is that it's a lot of splintercells that revolted to the governments way of doing Things. It is supported by freelancers and friendlies within the larger system.

Why not do exactly the same with your Group.

Make it into small Groups that does not fully support all that the laundry stand for, but let them have a larger connection within it that always tell the mahogany row that he has them under control which should be enough to make the other boardmembers accept your splinters existance.

You could let that contacts status Count as what the Group can recieve from the laundry, and if they fail missions this contact falls in status, they lose access to special stuff and they will one day lose contact with the member if his status becomes low enough. Most players don't care about their own status, but they may care about someone elses.
So, External Assets, basically :)

wickeddarkman
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by wickeddarkman » Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:51 pm

Not totally :D they can lose their man on the inside, which will suddenly turn them into a rogue and illegal Group that will get hunted Down and either get geased or put into some high security cultist prison...
That rarely happens to externals.

If the players does a good job, they could become externals though :D

thorr-kan
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Re: Creating a custom campaign, looking for input & possible pitfalls

Post by thorr-kan » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:22 am

Zedicius wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:10 pm
wickeddarkman wrote:
Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:12 am
The original story on delta green is that it's a lot of splintercells that revolted to the governments way of doing Things. It is supported by freelancers and friendlies within the larger system.
So, External Assets, basically :)
No, Disposable Assets.

EA is usually fairly powerful and get some respect. PCs are more like Rodney Dangerfield in the respect department. :)

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