By Rob Wieland
Good spies are great at thinking on their feet. Spies sucked into the blood-soaked world of Night’s Black Agents must adapt even further. Tradecraft is the name given to the tips, tricks, and improvised equipment that keep agents alive to fight another day. Changing these techniques to hunt vampires requires lateral thinking, the right equipment and the devil’s own luck. When you’re a spy who becomes a vampire hunter, you use every advantage you get. This article contains examples on how to adapt tradecraft techniques to be more effective against vampires and their minions. Each entry also includes alternate General and Investigation skills that can be used besides Tradecraft. Examples of skill spends are also included to stoke the imagination…or give the Director ideas on how to fight back.
Situation: Tracking when someone leaves a location in a car without surveillance
Tradecraft: Purchase a cheap analog watch. Remove the wristband. Make sure it is set to the correct time and working. Wrap the watch in duct tape to protect the face.Locate the subject’s vehicle in the parking lot or garage. Put the watch underneath one of the car’s tires. Return the next day to retrieve the watch. It will have the time the target left in their car.
Alternate skills: Mechanics, Urban Survival
- Retroactively set the watch during an earlier visit. “Yeah, while you were flirting with that security guard, I found Stavros’ Lexus and wedged this under the tire.”
- Confirm the target leaves when it works best for the brilliant plan. “Natalia leaves 30 minutes before sunset. If we want to get the hostile before sunrise, that’s our window.”
- Putting together the vampire’s itinerary for the evening. “Thursday nights he…it feeds at the discotheque. Creature of habit.”
Situation: Faking an injury
Tradecraft: Skewer a few pieces of cardboard on a thumbtack. Put the tack in your shoe for a small nagging reminder of pain of an ankle injury. Taping a flexible metal ruler on the back of your knee to alter how you walk for a knee injury. Simulate a back injury by wearing a back brace reversed to give yourself a stooped over look.
Alternate skills: Disguise, Diagnosis
- Convince an opponent to underestimate your condition. “Go easy on me? I’m still feeling the effect from last night’s bout.”
- Give a distinct detail walking into a place that is easily lost walking out. “No, the guy we’re looking for has a limp.”
- Lure a vampire in thinking you’re a weak victim. “The old fake limp gets them everytime. Get the pliers and the cloves of garlic.”
Situation: Concealing liquids on your person
Tradecraft: Go into any big box store and pick up cheap sample bottles. Alternately, raid the hotel mini bar and empty the small liquor bottles in your preferred method. Refill the bottles with more volatile liquids, like acid, gasoline or holy water. Small bottles such as these can get into otherwise secure locations such as airplanes.
Alternate skills: Weaponry, Chemistry
- Let you walk into a secure room with gasoline. “Just hand sanitizer, boss.”
- Burn your way through a lock. “When they said extra strength formula, they probably didn’t have this in mind.”
- Stuff a bottle full of holy water into a vampire’s mouth. “Here’s a juicy treat for you, asshole!”
Situation: Monitoring a negotiation
Tradecraft: Acquire two cell phones. Call one phone and leave the connection in place. Hide one phone on your person and carry one into the negotiation. At some point during the negotiation, leave to go to the bathroom. While out of the room, use the phone still on you to listen to the conversation going on in the room, since the negotiators will think you left your phone with them.
Alternate skills: Conceal, Electronic Surveillance
- Reveal a bit of info they thought you didn’t know. “Marceau is going to be quite upset you lowballed him to cover my costs.”
- Get the location of the stash. “Go to the warehouse and bring him his cut from the diamonds.”
- Detect who in a rival organization is a vampire if they don’t register on electronic recording devices. “I saw four people in there but only hear three. Guess the CEO’s a really old rich white guy”
Situation: An easy to reach wall safe
Tradecraft: Shut down the electricity in the location. Unscrew the plate covering a wall socket. Disconnect the wiring. Stash the items of value in the wall behind the socket. Replace the socket and screw it in for security. Items roughly the size of a deck of cards can be fit this way as well as small firearms.
Alternate skills: Preparedness, Architecture
- Pull a weapon from a cache at the safe house. “I couldn’t find a cookie jar I liked so I keep the guns here.”
- Stash something on site for later. “These night vision goggles don’t fit in this tuxedo pocket.”
- Booby trap something valuable by reconnecting the wires. “Okay, it’s behind the wall socket. You got what you wanted, now leave.”
Situation: Commandeering a webcam
Tradecraft: Many laptops come complete with webcams. Multiple programs exist to allow remote control of webcams. Loading these programs can be as easy as bringing a thumb drive to visiting a website for a few moments while the owner is away.
Alternate skills: Digital Intrusion, Electronic Surveillance
- Turn the laptop into a motion sensor. “Target leaves at 8 AM, returns at 4 PM”
- Record a sensitive meeting. “Now, that’s an internship.”
- Get the layout of the vampire’s lair. “Looks like the coffin is hidden in the closet.”
Situation: Seeing in darkness quickly
Tradecraft: Eyes adjust to darkness over a 20-30 minute period. Wearing red tinted glasses help your eyes adjust ahead of time. Wear the glasses and remove them when you enter the dark area.
Alternate skills: Notice, Outdoor Survival
- Eliminate or reduce darkness penalties. “They can’t see? They can’t shoot back!”
- Tracking a subject in the evening without needing lights. “Keep the headlights off.”
- Attack a vampire using red filtered flashlights to reduce glare. “He can’t target us.“