For Your Eyes Only: The Double Tap Outline

Calling all agents: This burst transmission contains the classified outline for Double Tap: The Night’s Black Agents Expansion Book. Use this intel at your discretion.

Which is to say, read it, share it with your Night’s Black Agents game group — or the people who would be your Night’s Black Agents game group if they just had this one thing cleared up … You see, if we get some really good ideas here in the comments, there’s a bit more room in the book for them. Not a whole lot, mind you: it’s already fully loaded. But, if I may mangle the metaphor a bit, it’s not fully locked.

And if you have specific ideas for stuff to go into the sections that are already in the outline, well, feel free to add those in comments too. Where we may or may not STEAL THEM AND GIVE YOU ONLY A MEAGER “BLACK LEVEL AGENT” CREDIT FOR YOUR TROUBLE. That’s just how we roll, here at P.E.L.G.R.A.N.E. For example, I’ve only got two vampiric monster ideas (the Assyrian/Babylonian ekimmu and our old pals the zalozhniy) for that “More Monsters” section, so if you’ve got a favorite bloodsucker you’re hankering to see, sing out.

Seriously, we’d especially like to hear from people with Night’s Black Agents campaigns: what do you want to see more of? What works? What might work? Tell us. We’ll get the intel to those who need it most.

DOUBLE TAP

THE NIGHT’S BLACK AGENTS EXPANSION BOOK

Outline by Kenneth Hite

 

Introduction

(500 words; Hite)

What this book is and how to use it.

 

Agents’ Companion

Abilities

(25,000 words; Wieland)

This section mirrors the similar section in the Trail of Cthulhu Keeper’s Resource Book (pp. 4-37 in that book), providing expanded information and examples for the various abilities.

Investigative Abilities

For each Investigative ability, this section provides:

  • Specific ability uses and techniques, thriller-color infodumps, and “ability focus” material, in whatever ratio seems right for that ability: e.g., grifts for Reassurance (or Bullshit Detector!), how a séance works for Occult Studies.
  • At least three example benefits from spends (NBA, p. 46).
  • At least one example TFFB (NBA, p. 108-109).
  • At least three vampiric traces and clues that the ability can pick up (similar to the “Investigation” sub-section in each monster writeup in Trail of Cthulhu, and the “Sample Clues” sub-section for each Ability in the Keeper’s Resource Book). If applicable, use the vampire type glyphs here to identify each clue by the type of vampire (Supernatural, Damned, Alien, Mutant) most likely to leave such a clue.

General Abilities

For each General ability, this section provides:

  • Specific ability uses and techniques, thriller-color infodumps, and “ability focus” material, in whatever ratio seems right for that ability: e.g., pickpocket techniques for Filch, ways to defeat security systems for Infiltration, scrounging and improvisational use of scenery with Preparedness, the “Mozambique Drill” Shooting technique.
  • If the ability can be used investigatively, some of the other material for Investigative abilities above (benefits, vampiric clues, etc.)
  • At least one new cherry for each ability except Shooting. If you’re on a roll, add more than one. Multiple cherry rules, as follows: When a General ability reaches 8 rating points, pick the cherry you want to use. It does not change. You can add a second cherry (if available) when you have 14 rating points in that ability, a third at 20 rating points, etc.

Achievements

(2,000 words; Plant and Hite)

Adapts Will Plant’s See Page XX article.

Hite to provide specific rules for the Achievement system plus mechanical guidelines and benchmarks where needed.

 

Adaptive Tradecraft

(2,000 words; Wieland)

Incorporates and expands Rob Wieland’s See Page XX article.

 

Firearms

(3,000 words; Kulp and/or Hite)

In playtest, the most common request was for a big list of guns, even though the requester (usually) knew that it had no real reason to be there. In this section, we provide a big list of guns, both those seen in thriller movies and in actual use by clandestine and covert operators.

The compiler of this list should ensure that every firearm from the Bourne movies and Ronin, at the very least, is included, as is every firearm normally issued to the Spetsnaz, GSG 9, SEAL Team Six, and other major special operations forces. Doubtless, other absolutely iconic weapons will occur to the compiler. The Internet Movie Firearms Database will be your savior.

The model for this list of guns is the firearms table in Trail of Cthulhu (p. 186).

Damage

Weapon

Shots

Used By

Notes

+1 Colt M1911 .45 ACP automatic pistol; Kimber makes a clone M1911 8 US Marine Corps MEU(SOC), Delta Force, FBI HRT, Greek Army, Thai Royal Army, badass but graying U.S. patriots Pistol-whipping someone with it does +0 damage; Stopping Power

The Notes column is for any other rules effects; other interesting, inspirational factoids about the weapon; and a place to list the weapon’s associated gun cherry, if any.

The reason that there was no big list of guns in the corebook is that, damage modifiers and type of weapon (pistol, rifle, shotgun, SMG, assault rifle) aside there is no rules-mechanical difference between guns. This section also adds some difference back in in the form of gun cherries.

A gun cherry is a special feature of the weapon, drawn either from its real-life performance characteristics or its military legend, that provides a bonus of some kind when the user rolls an unmodified 6 and succeeds. (This also addresses another common playtest concern: players who rolled a 6 after spending a lot of points felt their good roll was “wasted.”) More than one weapon can have the same gun cherry; no weapon should have more than one.

Each gun cherry has a trigger event (usually the roll of an unmodified 6, usually on Shooting) and an effect, e.g.:

Stopping Power

Trigger: Roll an unmodified 6 on a Shooting test that hits a foe.

Effect: The foe’s action moves to the end of the ranking order in combat.

Note to the author of this section: try very hard to avoid extra damage as a gun cherry modifier. Extra damage, even on a 6, is an expensive bonus in the NBA game economy: see, for instance, the Critical Hits option on p. 73. That said, a gun cherry for an exceptionally accurate weapon could easily drop the cost of a Called Shot by 1 (on a 6, immediately refresh 1 spent Firearms point), giving a damage bonus on the back end, as it were.

 

More Gear

(2,500 words; Adamus and Lindke)

Follows the basic pattern of the Spytech section of the NBA corebook (pp. 96-100). Provides brief descriptions and salient rules effects of both actually existing equipment, including:

  • 3D printer/fabricator (useful for Forgery, too!)
  • countersound generator
  • harpoon (and rules for running its cable around a Jeep winch as in Vampires: Los Muertos)
  • more drugs or toxins (use format from p. 81 for these)
  • parasail
  • scrambler, etc.

and cinematic gadgetry, including:

  • Mission: Impossible style face mask
  • burning/cutting hand laser
  • jet pack (with rules/stats compatible with the NBA Vehicles section on p. 101)
  • digital stealth (e.g., the “ugly shirt” from Zero History)

In cases where there is a cinematic version of an existing gadget (a parasail worn under your coat, for example), provide both, as with the Climbing Hoist on NBA p. 98. Signpost cinematic spytech in the description.

Either in this section or the Guns section above, a list of possible anti-vampire ammunition loadouts for conventional firearms and tranquilizer guns, by type of vampire. Also, provide a basic notion of the point spends (Vampirology, Chemistry, Shooting, etc.) and time needed to create such a loadout.

If you want to take a swing at a rule for Q-style gadgets and “joke shop” spies, go for it. Otherwise, Hite will do it. Most likely in the form: Describe, ideally in the form of a flashback, the implausible gadget you claim to have been issued. Spend 12 total points from Preparedness and whatever ability the concealed gadget uses (e.g., a bomb in a pen would cost 12 points from Preparedness and Explosive Devices). You now have, on your person, a gadget meeting your specs. For wilder games, lower the cost to have a gadget: Daniel Craig has a laser-watch for 12 points (Preparedness and Shooting); Sean Connery has a laser-watch for 9 points; Roger Moore has a laser-watch for 6 points.

 

New Thriller Maneuvers

(2,000 words; Lindke)

Provide 10-12 new thriller maneuvers, both combat and otherwise:

Verbal Trauma Unit

Prereq: Medic 8+

Once per session, a player with a Medic rating of 8 or more can gain a 3-point refresh in that ability by uttering a brief narrative description of his or her actions surgically sliced from medical drama:

  • “He’s tach-ing! Very thready pulse, shocky, eyes dilated … flesh cold and moist … Damn it to hell, I won’t lose another one. Not today!”
  • “I pop the top from the syrette and smoothly insert it into her armpit, right where the axillary vein goes over the trapezius.”
  • “My hands greasy with blood, I tear the duct tape with my teeth and then whip it around Jensen’s thigh. My eyes are far away, however, seeing only the basement in Sarajevo where I first felt life slip through my fingers.”

At the Director’s discretion, descriptions so bloodily graphic or antiseptically detached as to amount to vampiric porn may earn a 4-point refresh.

These utterances needn’t be improvised; players can crib from Gray’s Anatomy (book or show) in advance, then adapt their medical doubletalk to the injury.

 

Other Thriller Contests

(8,000 words; Hindmarch)

This section adapts the Thriller Chase Rules in the NBA corebook (pp. 53-60) to other abilities besides Athletics, Driving, or Piloting, and to tension-building sequences other than pure chase scenes. For the first three types of sequences below, follow the pre-existing Thriller Chase dynamics and rules as closely as you can, while adapting them to the specific challenges of the specific contest. You don’t have to rewrite the rules; reference to the Thriller Chase Rules is not just allowed but preferred.

Also, each type of sequence should:

  • Provide examples of Raises and Sudden Escapes in the contest, and versions of Ramming and Swerve.
  • Provide specific example uses of Investigative abilities (p. 57), especially by other players besides the main runner/hacker/infiltrator/watcher.
  • Provide at least one (and ideally more, depending on local color) thrilling element list (p. 54).
  • Feel free to introduce Thriller Maneuvers (like Parkour and Gear Devil in the corebook) specific to this type of contest

Digital Intrusion

Models the contest between the hacker and the system’s defenses/security professionals.

Infiltration

Models stealth-mode computer games as well as heist movies: infiltrator vs. security.

Surveillance

Models the contest between watched and watchers: Bourne in Waterloo Station.

Manhunts

Hunting for your target in a large area; the example here is Harker’s posse tracking Dracula down in London, or the CIA tracking Bourne from a single sighting in Moscow. This system is intended to model the players as the team of hunters vs. a single vampire or Renfield or terrorist. This probably works better not as a straight port of the Thriller Chase but as a player-facing mod of the Extended Chase (p. 90-91), to be played out as a micro-game before a session that opens or closes the target’s Hot Lead.

 

Standard Operating Procedures

(2,000 words; Kulp)

These are specific player tips for what to do when you:

  • don’t know what to do next
  • feel like there’s nowhere to turn
  • hit a new location
  • uncover a profusion of new chaff and detail
  • uncover a strong single new lead
  • deduce or sense vampiric activity but have no confirming data
  • encounter resistance getting information out of someone
  • are hunkered down and are afraid to unhunker
  • etc.

In other words, logjam-breakers and practical advice for stumped or demoralized players to help them proactively dig themselves out of trouble and get the story moving again. Cast them as specifics, special cases, and expansions on the Bucharest Rules (pp. 116-117).

 

Director’s Companion

 

Cameos

(3,500 words; Adamus)

Twenty-five instant NPCs suited to the spy thriller genre. Each writeup should include: important abilities, a physical description, a story hint in the text, and the preferred Interpersonal method to win their cooperation. Then three things they can provide as an asset (for the vampires or for the agents), three clues they possess, and three handles for roleplaying them.

Longshoreman

Athletics 9, Conceal 5, Hand-to-Hand 6, Mechanics 2

Tanned by the weather, grizzled Erik wears a slick vinyl parka over dull clothes. He holds himself ready, a bit hunched over. His eyes size you up behind his cigarette smoke; he’s done enough off-the-books deals and seen enough strange cargo come in to know you’re not here by coincidence. He’s had to cover for too many weaklings to have patience with them at his age; only if you seem tough will he pay attention, but not if you try to bully him (Athletics or Hand-to-Hand used as an Interpersonal ability).

As Asset: Access to cargo before inspection; access to ships; use of heavy cranes

As Clue: Saw a coffin unloaded; knows who the mafiya stooge in the union is; knows which warehouse the Chechens use

In Play: Squint against the sunlight off the water; hunch your shoulders like you’re about to pick up a heavy object; steal a quick look over the player’s shoulder to see who’s backing him up.

 

Establishing Shots

(3,500 words; Kulp)

Twenty-five instant locations common to urban settings or spy thrillers (the Remote Farmhouse could work, too). They can be campuses (Touristy Graveyard), buildings (Glass Skyscraper), events (Political Rally), single rooms (Drug Lab), or streets (Red Light Street).

Each writeup should include a quick “Stock Footage” description, followed by the Cameos you might run into there (if you’re not writing the Cameos section above, put in who you think might fit; I’ll edit to make it work), three clues, and any sensible rules effects (e.g., Red Light Street provides 2 free pool points for setting up a safe house). Then three elements of the location to use in a fight, and three elements of the location to use in a chase. (Type of Thriller Chase in parentheses: Open, Normal, Cramped)

Nightclub

After you get through the metal detector, your eyes adjust. Multiple levels break up the enormous warehouse-like space. Sound is deafening, lights dazzling or dim. Two brilliantly lit big bars dominate the ends of the room, the middle is a dance floor broken geometrically by tables occupied by lounging douchebags and their parasitic girlfriends. VIP spaces up on the balcony and in a raised dais on one end provide architectural reinforcement of social status. The bathrooms are down the hallway; no, farther down than that.

Cameos: Dealer, Party Kid, Thug

Clues: Traffickers talk while high or boasting; cold spots or missing mirror images; infrasound creates mesmeric trance in susceptible patrons

Rules Effects: People are here to be seduced; if you have Flirting, get 1 free pool point to spend here. Noise, motion, and darkness add 1 to visual and auditory Difficulties.

In a Fight: Bouncers and thugs have guns; bottles in the bar; cute hostages

In a Chase: Slide down the bar; foam drops down obstructing vision; jump off VIP area balcony onto dance floor (Cramped)

 

More Monsters

(2,000 words; Hite)

Adds four more monsters from the world’s store of vampiric and quasi-vampiric terrors.

 

Nosferatu

(2,000 words; Hite)

Another fully statted sample vampire type, with servitors and forensic spoor.

 

Pulling Them Apart

(2,000 words; Palmer)

Incorporates James Palmer’s See Page XX article on how conspiracies turn on themselves.

Adds graphic for the Vampyremid

 

Solitary Heroes

(1,000 words; Wieland)

Notes and advice on running an NBA game with only one player character.

 

Variant Eras

(2,500 words; Hite)

Character generation modifications and rules specifics for running NBA in other eras besides the modern day.

  • Victorian (1880s-1890s)
  • World War II (1930s-1940s)
  • Cold War (1960s-1970s)

Addenda

 

Complete Cherry List

Names and summaries of all General ability cherries, in this book and corebook

Mental Illness Flow Chart

Graphic representation of the Mental Illness rules on pp. 82-84 of NBA corebook

Mode Index

Index for both books of all the rules and game-play changed by the various modes

New Thriller Options

Thriller options (and gun cherries) added in this book, in the same format as pp. 218-219 of NBA corebook

Complete Vampiric Abilities List

Names and summaries of all vampiric abilities

Vampyremid

The escalating conflict Vampyremid from “Pulling Them Apart”

46 Responses to “For Your Eyes Only: The Double Tap Outline”

  1. huth says:

    Off the top of my head:

    – Pelesits, kun krak, homunculi or familiar spirits
    – Penangallan, either as it’s own thing or as a new variation of the Strix (and other new variations on the corebook builds)
    – Vampire plants or supernatural flora
    – Sample vampire-related (or vampire-killing-related, or simply vampiric) artefacts, building them as useful Tools and not just Banes, Blocks or McGuffins.

  2. Gary Moore says:

    How about alternatives to vampires (and thus throwing your agents a curveball) such as werewolves. Plenty of stereo types to play with from movies such as Wolfen, Dog Soldiers, The wolfman (original or the Bonkers Anthony Hopkins one in the remake)and the godawful Van Helsing etc.
    I like the idea of with the firearm cherries, very clever and well thought out

  3. Yob-Sodoff says:

    I’d like to see the Martians from H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds statted up for Victorian-era NBA. I have an idea for a campaign in which Martian scouts are sent ahead of the main invasion force to gather intel on which targets need to be destroyed from orbit by the invasion force. PCs are alerted when otherwise healthy, disease-free individuals are discovered dead and drained of blood. Professor Moriarty, Doctor Jekyll, Colonel Moran, and other Victorian-era fictional villains are all part of the Conspyramid of course!

    • Gary Moore says:

      That would be awesome. Plus if you gave the martians and the agents steampunk science to play with. Better yet have a Colonial nba setting. Fight the conspiracey on the Afghan steppes, the plains of africa or with lancers in india

    • SunlessNick says:

      If this idea is used, seek out a short story by Wells called the Crystal Egg. The eponymous crystal is a surveillance device, one of an indeterminate number, each twinned to one on Mars – they allow telepathic individuals, Martian or human, to look into one and see out of the other. The Martians seen in the story are 100% consistent with those of War of the Worlds, which means the view of Mars itself works as the latter’s homeworld.

  4. Per the suggestion of a Victorian Nights black agents, above, I’d love to see a section briefly exploring other historical eras (frex, Elizabethan England, napoleonic wars, Barbary wars, crusades, reconquista, etc.). Maybe a little on how to spin the game for eras before the advent of the modern espionage infrastructure.

  5. Yob-Sodoff says:

    Vampyremid is too close to Vampyramid. I get it that you are using “pyre” but in print it’s going to cause confusion.

  6. Gareth says:

    Examples and variants for Vampyramids – if my Conspiracy is primarily sorcery-slinging necromancer vampires, how does it handle stuff like Frame Agent compared to a conspiracy of blood-drug-addicted CIA spymasters?

  7. huth says:

    Also, node cameos.

  8. selfcritical says:

    How to work rival conspyramids against each other, particularly for mirror or Yojimbo play. Thinking through the consequences of being the in the middle of two conspiriacies that are bad for humans fighting for territory and influence, and how operations work in that context.

    An adaptation ruleset for doing harboiled revenge movies A La Get Carter, Payback, and Brubaker’s Criminal. A city-contained conspyramid that you work your way up to get your F*%king money back from Unmade Men.

    To give the three-way conspiracy rules above context, a setting hack where the burned Spy pc’s have to work their way up the conspiracy while avoiding the unwilling dupes of the Ordo Veritas, and the Esoterrorists who are willing to tear down the walls of reality to have the power the conspiracy already has.

  9. selfcritical says:

    Ok, I just thought of one that really DOES need to be added.

    David Icke style reptilians. You can’t really have a complete alien conspiracy without blood-drinking, shape-shifting lizards from outer space that infiltrate human nobility.

    • SunlessNick says:

      They also work equally well as occult ancients.

      • selfcritical says:

        I have to confess I have no idea what to do for Banes/Dreads for that variant(whether ancient astronaut or pre-human occult force)…I’d probably default to something like “some hippie shit” like certain crystals or hermetic sigils.

        They probably have some manically over the top Compulsions though.

  10. Things I’d love to see in Double Tap:

    1) Lots of TFFB examples. I’d hope for 2 or more very different TFFBs for each of the less actiony Investigative Abilities, as they can be hard to improvise on the fly. Accounting, Art History, Cryptography, Forensic Pathology, etc.

    2) A big chart of suggested Preparedness difficulties, possibly broken out by game Mode. Alternately, I’d love consolidated streamlined info on item acquisition, and/or an equipment chart, because it’s currently scattered throughout several places in the books.

    3) Explicit discussion of using Spends to Ret-Con details. There are a few implied options in the books, such as in the TFFB section, but the only really obvious examples of players retroactively filling in actions or details are Preparedness and a couple of the Cherries. NBA PCs have, in theory, tons of time-saving tools that will let them trim back the boring over-planning sequences, but most players will never figure that out without prompting.

  11. ChainsawXIV says:

    I’d advise caution with regard to the the additional cherries. One of the virtues of the cherry system as written in my opinion is that it employs a positive incentive to discourage overspecialization. Well rounded spies are more fun, more engaging, and easier to GM for. Consider one or more of the following:

    – New cherry is gained at (Starting + N) points, insuring it’s always gained in play. N starts small and increases with each cherry gained.

    – Additional cherries are purchased, with cost equivalent to two to four dots. Cost growth or score requirements on a per-cherry basis graduate access.

    – Cherries gained as described, but only one cherry is active at a time. Player must spend points to change active cherry, or pay a surcharge to use an inactive one.

    On a related note, consider cross-ability cherries. This could work especially well if you use the prerequisite concept in the second point above, creating ‘advanced’ or ‘specialty’ cherries. May be a bit fiddly, and there are a lot of combinations to handle, but maybe it doesn’t have to be comprehensive.

  12. selfcritical says:

    Using the chase system for resisting/thwarting/eventually escaping interrogation would be cool

  13. SunlessNick says:

    As well as eras, alternate theatres might be worth a look: the Middle East, the Far East, South America, war-torn Africa. Though perhaps they’d need more room than this book would have.

    Other contests that come to mind are recruitment and shadowing.

    Establishing shots could include ships large enough to have rooms and hallways, like a freighter or ocean liner.

    For more monsters, a mutant type could come from the ranks of the intelligence and criminal underworld itself – professions and lifestyles that require so much soul-deadening callousness, deception and commitment, that they can in rare cases deaden the soul in a literal sense – so spymasters and crimelords that have lost their humanity and have to take it from others to function. Suitable for a campaign where getting out is what enabled to you learn you were working for vampires all along.

    The Ekimmu link strongly to the Middle East, which fits in well with using it as a theatre or source of mundane trouble. Another that could do that, and would serve for the damned category of vampire is Azhi Dahaka. In this case, he might be the only vampire, or only able to make much lesser minions – but the complications that mythology ascribes to wounding him make a pretty good metaphor for the chaos that can arise in the power vacuum from a major organisation’s fall.

  14. Rob says:

    In the monster section, what about the the hunter-killer, man-shaped robots from the future – sent back by a ruthless AI to subvert the military, key software houses and big business in order to bring about its own creation.

    In general, when describing new actions perhaps a few notes as to when or who used/introduced it, for example this interrogation technique has been used by that agency since the 70s. Might help with games set in different periods.

    I would second ‘cross-ability cherries’ – a good reward for broad-based PC.

    Finally, some advice for when you run out of spend points and the combat or chase is not over.

    • gary moore says:

      ruthless AI? Ah I see you’ve encountered windows 8 then………..

    • Yob-Sodoff says:

      I’d say ‘no’ to cross-ability cherries (at least I would not use them in my game unless it was a game with only 1 or 2 PCs). I think specialist PCs are better – gives everyone their chance to shine. The team as a whole needs to have everything covered, with individual PCs covering their own specialties really well.

      • ChainsawXIV says:

        As I envisioned them when I first mentioned the idea, cross-ability cherries would be alternate cherries you could select if you met an additional prerequisite. For example, an alternate Shooting cherry for disabling vehicles with small arms if you also had good Mechanics, or an alternate Athletics cherry for moving-vehicle stunts if you also had good Driving.

        In that respect, they’d actually be a kind of super-specialty, reinforcing the what (I think) you’re describing and giving players more special shticks to play with.

        The key I think is to strike just the right balance. As it stands, a typical group of four will just about cover the cherries (though in practice there will usually be gaps and overlap), and that means everyone has plenty of different opportunities to stand out. Simply adding higher level cherries will tend to widen the gaps by encouraging overspecialization. Cross-ability cherries would give players more cool options without breaking that paradigm.

  15. Pieclone says:

    I’m not keen on the idea of spreading out from “Vampires” to Werewolves/Robots/Aliens/Ickean Reptoids. These here sonsabitches be vampires, son and I’d hate to see a valuable sourcebook for the Vampire Spy Thriller start adding Reptoids and robots. Vampires I can sell to my players but Vampires + Werewolves + Aliens + Atlanteans and we’re playing Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

    (Regarding the suggestions below please note that I prefer to run NBA in Burn/Dust/Mirror Mode and like to provide a lot of accurate detail and realism).

    More Sample Background options for characters:
    The samples given are absolutely fantastic for creating background colour but more options and suggestions will help folks decide what their agent’s skill-sets are, and help them create their agent’s history (familiar cities, spoken languages and so forth).

    Appendix of Intelligence Agencies, Police/Federal Agencies and Criminal Groups by Nationality:
    e.g. Look up Italy and you’ll see NOCS, Caribinieri, GIS, ‘Ndrangheta, Camorra etc. You can use this to look up appropriate information/articles online. This sort of information is also useful for setting up RSS news feeds which personally I love to do because it’s so easy to mine them for gaming material.

    An expanded bibliography/”influences” section for flavour and setting agent expectations:
    I’d heartily recommend the International Spy Museum Podcast in addition to a number of more technical or inspirational texts.

    Ken mentioned in the Sources section that it was hard to find decent tradecraft information – I might recommend the book “Spy – A Handbook” by Harry Ferguson (written by the ex-SIS and Customes agent for the BBC reality series where civilians were trained for an intelligence role). It’s certainly simple in parts but does cover agent handling, surveillance and counter-surveillance, “going grey”, DLBs and brush-passes. I picked up a copy after despairing at the lack of available information and was pleasantly surprised.

    “Global Intelligence: The World’s Secret Services Today” by Paul Todd and Jonathan Bloch gives a decent assessment of the changes in Intelligence Services in the post-9/11 world and shows the change in focus from the Cold War era into the “War on X/Y/Z” era. It covers regional and technological changes as well as the different focus of Intelligence Agencies in the current world climate.

    I’d finally recommend “The Money Launderers” by Bob Blunden for those interested in following the money, Lester Freamon style. It’s very easy to read with great examples of the different levels that money laundering exists at and information on how specific criminal groups launder their cash. It’s great for setting the scene and I do so love to drop a bit of real-life detail into games.

    More Monsters:
    NBA’s Children of the Dragon don’t quite work for me so I use a combination of Strigoii Mort (undead) and Moroii (mortal). The Strigoii Mort will share its un-life with the Moroii, each possessing part of the soul of the other making them effectively invincible when encountered alone. With one half of the partnership active during the day and the other at night they can weave their influence at any time and reduce the chances of being caught out in their lair. In addition the Strigoii Mort has a representative who can move throughout the world of mortals without suspicion who can act with the partnership’s best interests at heart. Only by identifying the two halves of the pairing can the players ensure that they can be killed at the same time and that the death is permanent.

    Alternate Eras:
    I’m sure Ken would relish the opportunity to make suggestions for an Elizabethan-era NBA (as suggested above). Why, the School of Night demands it!

    Gats and Gear:
    Might I suggest if Ken ends up writing the firearms section that he get in touch with Hans Christian-Vortisch if he hasn’t already done so? Hans wrote the GURPS Gun-Fu and Tactical Shooting books in addition to several supporting firearms books for CoC and is “somewhat of an expert” (2pt spend of British Understatement there).
    I also like to see a focus on more appropriate firearms for different regions for local flavour. Agents shouldn’t just assume they can get hold of a brand new suppressed .45 ACP USP Tactical in Minsk for example. They are more likely to end up with a 25-year old Makarov PB.

    Outside of immediate recommendations for “Double Tap” I thought I might share these here for everyone:
    When in locations other then Western Europe I like to provide appropriate equipment and vehicles to set the scene so in addition to using the IMFDB for firearms, I like to use the Internet Movie Car Database (http://www.imcdb.org/). That way when my agents are in the Czech Republic and go to pick up some CZ100s from their local arms contact they can head back to their Škoda Octavia vRS and have a clear image in their minds eye of what they are looking at. They then know they’ve got a sturdy, reliable vehicle with decent performance and importantly four doors for quick encamp/decamp.

    Ash trees in Europe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_dieback#Ash_dieback
    I use Ash as the wood that’s good for capping vampires in the hood and was surprised to see a 90% projected mortality rate for the Ash in the UK. Clearly Vampiric influence is behind this. Look at the spread from Eastern Europe! MEPs in the pocket of Old-Old-Old Money are reacting slowly to stop the spread. By doing so they ensure their paymasters can live without the fear of a couple of 9mm Fraxinus Excelsior rounds through the chest.

    Finally, take my money and give me more NBA!

    • Selfcritical says:

      RE: reptoids…..the mythology around them has them drinking blood, ritual fetishists, infiltrating royal bloodlines. Kind of hard to get more vampire conspiracy than that

  16. smeagol972 says:

    I loved reading NBA and the Zloazhniy Quartet. What I’m aiming for, though, is a Bourne-style campaign, without any supernatural element (or perhaps right at the end of the campaign, as a final revelation).

    As a consequence, I would love to have further advice on how to play such a campaign against a Treadstone-like conspiracy, and also a lot of “spy tricks” for players, such as those we see in the movies (and also realistic “spy toys”).

    Actually, I’d love a to see a supplement that covers “action spy themes” like what we get to see in the Strike Back TV shows, or the Medal of Honor (Warfighter) video games: mechanics for team(gun)play, different intrusion methods, etc.

  17. smeagol972 says:

    Oh, and also I’d love to see a futuristic (near-future like in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, set in 2025) setting that covers those nice gadgets as seen in the videogame. That’d be especially sweet.

  18. committed hero says:

    I second – and am surprised to be only seconding – the pennangalan (had to make my own).

    Additional vehicles, especially if the book addresses earlier eras of play: assault boats, tandem-rotor helicopter, ultralight aircraft, tilt-rotor aircraft, SWAT rescue vehicle, passenger and/or vehicle ferry, hovercraft, RV, yacht, and skis.

  19. selfcritical says:

    We need alternative MOS benefits for Shrink and Medic.

  20. Mark Ziff says:

    Just as some one suggested, expanded weapons, how about the same thing with vehicles?
    Like the table in Trail Of Cthulhu?

  21. Alan B. says:

    To me, the core book’s pretty comprehensive. I’d like to see a few more “Quick and Dirty” cities (perhaps Moscow, Minsk, Kiev, Warsaw, Berlin, Rome…), as well as info for running Cold War-era (say, 1960s) campaigns. There was a Polish anti-communist insurgency that was active up until 1963 (see doomedsoldiers.com), maybe it wasn’t just the communists they were fighting..? One idea for other eras would be to create a NBA version of the ToC “Out of Time” adventure book. =)

  22. SunlessNick says:

    Not really related to Double Tap, but there’s a thread on RPGnet – in response to the hint about a werewolves vs partisans sibling to NBA – about mashing different underworlds up with different classic monsters. Thought it might be of interest to Pelgrane regulars. (And make a kickass Shadows over Filmland style companion if someone can be persuaded to make Ken an offer he can’t refuse :) ).

  23. Justin F says:

    I’ve developed an idea for an alternative vampire type.

    The Blood

    Sometime in prehistory an alien pathogen arrived on earth. Perhaps a meteorite fell in a high plateau in the Himalayas. A contaminant, a life-form or radiation from the unique meteoric iron perhaps – changed the tissues of a man who came to explore the plateau. His body cells gradually changed into an alien type, becoming vital and adaptable, able to transform into any tissue type, enabling incredibly rapid healing, extended life-span, feats of great strength and enhanced senses. But this came at a cost: the man no longer felt any fellow-feeling for other humans and the alien tissue needed fresh human tissue (especially blood) to metabolise and renew itself.

    As the centuries passed, the pathogen slowly spread through the human population, with the elder ‘Immortals’ being less human and more alien. They developed power over the human mind and the power to move matter with the will alone – the will of The Blood itself. They can move objects without touching them or float through the air; send themselves into people’s dreams or shed their human skins, taking on a viscous form. The most ancient of all the entities have no resemblance to human beings whatsoever, appearing as lakes or fountains of blood or as globules suspended in the air by force of will alone; and having vast reservoirs of psychic power.

    The Theosophists may have heard legends of the underground colonies of these entities. And the Nazis may have succeeded in reintroducing this strain of ‘pure blood’ into a number of Europeans.

    Stats would be similar to Renfield or Linea Dracula Assign for Linea Dracula for relatively new hosts and standard Linea Dracula vampire for more mature hosts. The ancient Titans are liquid entities that would need to be defined.

    They could be the truth behind many or all vampire legends. They might be vulnerable to silver, wild roses, garlic and perhaps certain types of meteoric material. They don’t have fangs but puncture or cut their victims for blood using blades, tools or sharp fingernails

  24. Spence says:

    I’d like to see expanded threat creation that lets you move away from vampires to other unnatural threats.

    I understand that a lot of players are still agaga over Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. But to many old time gamers those three dead horses had been beaten to death years ago. Right now I am planning a game using NBA, but not using vampires. I’m going to make up what I need that is not available in ‘Creating A Vampire’ and the other Gumshoe books I have.

    • Nicklas says:

      It’s not like that needs much extras, I think the vampire generation chapter can be applied as it is to create quite a lot of supernatural beings. You can make a mummy, enhanced human clones made by evil scientist, and even corny Stargate aliens.

      Even with just the core rules my vampires are transdimensional alien “spirits” that need to be attached to a physical body — to us they’re almost immortal, to them they’re lost immortality and are bound to flesh both of which they hate. The v-word is never mentioned.

  25. Daniel Fidelman says:

    What I really need from a companion are tips for running and higlighting the different mods as a GM. I feel it wasn’t present enough in the core rules.
    Especially achieving the Spy-vs-Spy Mirrors mode.

  26. Mark Ziff says:

    Can we have more vehicle stats like you did in Trail of Cthulhu, any one remember Victory Games James Bond rpg? Yes? Good in the suplement Q Manual they had a formular for working out stats for vehicles 0-60 in this you get that, top speed the other then you get another add, etc yo get the idea. It let you pick up any off the shelf car/bike mag & hey presto you could include any of what you wanted in your game!

  27. Stuntlau Perez says:

    how about the Tlahuelpuchi?

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