16.0.0 Intelligence & Counter-Intelligence Operations

Some conflicts between FOTS nations are played out in a shadowy world of espionage, sabotage, covert and clandestine operations, intelligence and intrigue. Such operations are run much like research and development projects, with a certain amount of funding each turn per project, various modifiers, and a chance of success based on these factors. Also like R&D projects, these operations may suffer critical failures, which cause the loss of all entities working on that project and all its funding to date, and they may enjoy miraculous successes on a roll of 1. 

 

16.1.0 Special and Standard projects

Covert ops are distinguished by their source of effective RP's.

Special projects are ones that have all effective funding provided by RP's.

Standard projects include Operation Points (OP's) in their funding. Operations Points come from specific entities – Spy Networks, Bureaus or Agencies, and sometimes operatives in foreign states. Operations Points from these entities are usually available only for limited usage. For example, a Spy Network in a foreign state contributes OP’s only to operations in or against that state; they cannot be used freely somewhere else. Within these limits, OP’s are spent just like RP’s.

 

Special projects may be Open or Specified (see below); Standard projects must be Specified as well.

 

16.2.0 Open and Specified projects

Open projects are defined by players and GM's on each occasion. Only the player's imagination and GM tolerance limit what they may achieve. Players should note that the more ambitious or unlikely the project, the higher the modifiers against success. An Open project, like an R&D project, goes on from turn to turn so long as it receives continued funding, with a chance of success based on RP’s spent to date.

 

Specified projects have effects based on rules for each sort of project; the role of player or GM imagination and interpretation is limited in Specified projects. Specified projects are listed below, grouped by general type. Specified projects differ from Open projects also in that they do not benefit from RP’s or OP’s spent to date – each Specified project is attempted or not and funded fully each turn.

 

Certain technologies may introduce additional forms of Specified project to do with that technology, e.g. Specified projects to introduce a bioweapon at a certain location as a project made possible by possession of biological warfare technology. These projects will be described in the technology description.

Most Specified projects have no inherent penalty or bonus to effective funding based on difficulty. As such, new GM’s and players are encouraged to regard these projects as about as effective or ambitious as an Open project with a +/-0 difficulty modifier. More ambitious than these and there are likely to be penalties; much less ambitious and the Open project may have a bonus.

 

16.3.0 Summary of project types

Special Open project - classic FOTS espionage operation

Special Specified project - uses RP's and/or OP's; follows the rules for a Specified project of its type

Standard Specified project - uses only OP's; follows the rules for a Specified project of its type

Standard Open project - not allowed

 

(Special Specified projects are likely to be rare too - you throw RP's into there directly instead of investing them in a source of continuing OP's almost certainly because you're in a hurry. One non-hasty reason to do Special Specified ops is if you're getting some RP's toward some covert ops function from a tech like durable covert assets.) 

 

16.4.0 Operation Point sources

16.4.1 Spy Networks

Spy Networks are organizations established in a specific foreign state for use against it. GM’s may also allow them to be established against specific state-like entities, such as charter companies or an ongoing rebellion. A Spy Network by investing RP’s, with a minimum initial investment of 100 RP’s. Additional RP’s can be invested in the Network later. A Spy Network generates the total of its RP funding in Operations Points for use in projects against that state each turn. Those projects may be of any offensive type. For instance, if the Saurian Alliance had a Spy Network in the Pyronian Empire and had funded it with 600 RP’s to date, that network would generate for Saurian use 600 OP’s each turn for operations against the Pyronians.

 

Spy Networks may be located and neutralized, or even turned against their owners, by counter-intelligence operations. They may also be abandoned by their government.

 

GM’s tolerant of the additional complication may allow a state to establish multiple Spy Networks in a given foreign state. A single critical failure would compromise only the Network(s) contributing to that project, and a single enemy counter-intelligence success would neutralize only one of the Networks.

Spy Networks are usually established against states with which there is at least ambassadorial exchange. In case of Spy Networks established without a similar degree of contact between the states, GM’s should provide large penalties to all of the network’s operations and large bonuses (or even free successes) to counter-intel operations by the target state.

 

16.4.2 Specific Bureaus

Specific Bureaus are established to support a specific operation type - Military, Research, Economic, Political, Diplomatic, Counter-Intelligence/Conversion, or Cryptography. They exist in the relative safety of one’s own state. A specific Bureau is commissioned by investing a quantity of RP’s, at a minimum initial investment of 50 RP’s per Bureau. Additional RP’s may be invested in the Bureau later. The Bureau generates it RP value in OP’s each turn, for use in operations of that specific type. For example, if the Saurian Alliance had a Military Operations Bureau that had 250 RP’s spent on it to date, it would have 250 OP’s available each turn for military intelligence gathering and/or sabotage projects in any location.

Specific Bureaus are generally safe from causing diplomatic or political repercussions by their mere existence, and are difficult to attack. A government may “turn off” a Bureau – decommission and reduce to 0 RP’s invested - virtually at will, though there would be little reason to do so.

 

16.4.3 Agents

Agents (which include moles or plants) are individuals reasonably loyal to you hidden inside the mechanisms of a foreign state’s Military, Political, Diplomatic, Research, or Economic community. There is no direct RP cost to acquiring them. Rather, agents are planted/recruited by a successful placing/turning operation. The agent thereafter is a sort of specific extension of the Spy Network in that state. The agent generates 100 OP’s each turn toward operations of its type in that state. For example, suppose the Saurian Alliance used its Pyronian network and its home-based Military Intelligence Bureau to launch a place/turn agent operation with 850 OP’s total, and suppose it succeeds. That network now has an agent placed in or near the Pyronian military, which provides it 100 OP’s more each turn specifically and exclusively for military intelligence gathering or military espionage operations against the Pyronians.

 

Agents are generally lost with their networks, in some fashion or another.

 

16.5.0 Specified Operation Types

16.5.1 Counter-espionage/Conversion Specified Operations

Find Spy Networks – success means one found and disrupted; critical success, one found, turned, and now working for you.

Counter ongoing operations – success means one discovered and disrupted; critical success, one found, turned, and put to your use

General security – no roll required - OP’s are evenly divided among enemy projects and reduce their RP’s/OP’s on a 1 for 1 basis. If some projects are reduced to 0 effective RP’s this way, the extra points are not lost but instead reduce the effective RP’s of the projects with the largest remaining effective RP’s.

General security development – 20% bonus to further counter-espionage/conversion operations

Conversion – a success causes the next Find Spy Networks or Counter ongoing operations success to be treated as a critical success

Internal Affairs – (also known as counter-counter-intelligence) discover one “friendly” turned Agent or Network

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

Counter-insurgency – d10 occupied colonies in a specific sector make no resistance activity rolls this turn

 

16.5.2 Military Specified Operations

Military intelligence gathering

Discover fleet strengths and locations – d10 most powerful, one missed if result 6 or higher. GM’s may rank fleets level of power by weapon rating totals, RP’s invested, or by overall impression.

Discover fixed location unit groups’ strength and locations – d10 most powerful, one missed if result 6 or higher; includes minefields

Discover ground unit strengths and locations d10 most powerful, one missed if result 6 or higher

Acquire unit designs, numbers in class – d10 most prevalent by RP’s in service, one missed if result 6 or higher

Discover location(s) of occupied, rebellious colonies– d10 wealthiest, one missed if result 6 or higher

Discover supply depot sizes and locations includes caches of fighters, gunboats, munitions, etc., and mothballed units

Discover training facilities and locations – d10 largest, one missed if result 6 or higher; includes training camps, simulator craft, academies, etc.      

Place/turn enemy agent

General military infiltration – 20% bonus to further military ops in this state

Acquire list of graded officers – d10 most active or senior, one missed if result 6 or higher. Activity is based on GM impression of who’s doing the most with their command lately.

Acquire targeting system data – acts as a DEFENSE 15 wildcard tech bonus against this state

Acquire defense systems data – acts as a TARGET 15 wildcard tech bonus against this state

Acquire sensor frequencies – allows a cloaking effect against the units in a specific sensor as a wildcard tech

Acquire fleet orders – current turn’s orders for one specific fleet in a known location

Acquire commerce raider plans – commerce raiders the enemy state is operating in your territory suffer 40% penalties to victim loss rolls for d10/2 turns, 1 turn minimum

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

Acquire sector data – includes survey data and colony locations for a specific sector

Military sabotage

Fund rebels – 500 RP’s put in their hands; this funding is not drawn from any treasury but simply “appears” through unspecified and likely illegal means

Fund partisans – 500 RP’s put in their hands; this funding is not drawn from any treasury but simply “appears” through unspecified and likely illegal means

Destroy military spacecraft d10 attacks of 3d10 damage to some specific fleet’s ships/bases; targets within a specific fleet are random

Destroy military ground units – d10 attacks of 3d10 damage to ground units at a specific planet or in a specific formation; targets on the planet or in the formation are random Assassinate a graded officer (20% difficulty penalty) – one known, specific graded officer killed

Sabotage supply depot (20% difficulty penalty if target is in a unit) – d100% of specific known supply depot contents/value destroyed; includes caches of fighters, gunboats, munitions, etc., and mothballed units

Destroy training site (20% difficulty penalty) – one known, located training facility destroyed; little or no damage to students/recruits; includes training camps, simulator craft, academies, etc.            

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

16.5.3 Research Specified Operations

Research intelligence gathering

Tech theft – one specific technology known to be in target’s inventory copied

Acquire tech list – full list, 10% missing or incorrect

Acquire current projects list – full list, 10% missing or incorrect

Acquire list of science stations and similar – d10 largest concentration by expense

Acquire list of graded scientists – d10 most active or senior, one missed if result 6 or higher. GM’s can determine activity through total RP’s of project under the graded scientist’s management, or through sheer simple impression.

General research infiltration – 20% bonus to further research ops in this state

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

Place/turn enemy agent

Acquire survey data – includes d100% of survey database

Research sabotage

Compromise research – acts as a critical failure on a project

Destroy research facilities – d100 lab bays and their units destroyed

Assassinate a graded scientist – one known, specific graded scientist killed

      Scientific community scandal – 10% R&D funding penalty for d10/2 turns, 1 turn minimum

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

 

16.5.4 Economic Specified Operations

Economic intelligence gathering

Acquire current shipping schedules – next turn’s commerce raiding on this target gets a 40% bonus to victim loss and piracy take rolls

Acquire list of most wealthy colonies – d10 wealthiest, one missed if result 6 or higher

Acquire list of colonies, locations – full list, 10% missing or incorrect, no details

Acquire list of shipyards and repair yards – d10 largest concentrations

Acquire list of colonies with heavy industry – full list, 10% missing or incorrect

General economic infiltration – 20% bonus to further economic ops in this state

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

      Place/turn enemy agent

Economic sabotage

Colony damage – 2d100 points of damage to a colony

Facility damage – one known, specific facility destroyed

Inflict income penalties – as per steps of economic damage due to deficit spending

Trigger shipyard strike(s) – d100 as a percentage of shipyard bays suffer worker strikes – no building progress this turn

Destroy yard facilities – d100 shipyard and/or repair yard bays and their units destroyed

Smuggling – 1% of target state’s RP production taken from this turn’s tax income and reaches you instead

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

 

16.5.5    Political Specified Operations

Political intelligence gathering

Discover SR/PSR values – reveals both, 10% chance of one being +/-10 points off

Discover society values – 10% chance of d10 values being completely wrong

General political infiltration – 20% bonus to further political ops in this state

Locate occupied/rebellious colonies – full list, 10% missing or incorrect, includes garrison size but not composition

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

Place/turn enemy agent

Political sabotage

Lower SR’s – 10 point SR penalty for a successful op, lasts d10/2 turns, 1 turn minimum, -30 maximum loss

Lower PSR’s – 15 point PSR penalty for a successful op, lasts d10/2 turns, 1 turn minimum, -30 maximum loss

Foment local rebellions – d10 random colonies in random sector beset by 3d10 RP’s worth of rebel units each; on a critical success, maximum number of colonies, maximum rebel forces, choose specific sector

Encourage resistance – every known occupied colony has one additional check for resistance activity this turn

Fund rebels – 500 RP’s put in their hands; this funding is not drawn from any treasury but simply “appears” through unspecified and likely illegal means

Fund partisans – 500 RP’s put in their hands; this funding is not drawn from any treasury but simply “appears” through unspecified and likely illegal means

Assist governmental corruption – 2.5% loss to overall government income for d10/2 turns, 1 turn minimum

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

 

16.5.6 Diplomatic Specified Operations

Diplomatic intelligence gathering

Discover treaty relations with other state(s) – lists each treaty, 10% chance of one error or omission

Tap communications – that turn’s email traffic with select ally handed over; 10% chance of omission(s)

List nations with exchanged ambassadors – provides a list of states with which the target state has exchanged ambassadors, along with those with which a state of war exists

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

Place/turn enemy agent

Diplomatic sabotage

Create “incidents” – next successful covert op against this state will falsely implicate a third party. GM’s may but are not obliged to allow a player to use a create-incident project as an Open operation strictly within the bounds of diplomatic damage.

“Expose” faked ops by a third party – appears to be a critical failure of some third party’s covert op against that state

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

 

16.5.7 Cryptographic Specified Operations

Break target’s military codes – 100% funding bonus to all military intelligence gathering missions and 50% funding bonus to all military espionage missions against that target state next turn only

Break target’s intelligence codes – counts as a counter-intel success against that state’s operations against you this turn

Break target’s technical base codes –100% funding bonus to all research intelligence gathering missions and 50% funding bonus to all research espionage missions against that target state next turn only

Break target’s governmental codes – 100% funding bonus to all political and economic intelligence gathering missions and 50% funding bonus to all political and economic espionage missions against that target state next turn only

Break target’s diplomatic cypher – 100% funding bonus to all diplomatic intelligence gathering missions and 50% funding bonus to all diplomatic espionage missions against that target state next turn only

Revise codes – no roll required - OP’s evenly divided among enemy projects and reduce their RP’s/OP’s on a 1 for 1 basis. If some projects are reduced to 0 effective RP’s this way, the extra points are not lost but instead reduce the effective RP’s of the projects with the largest remaining effective RP’s.

Cryptographic advance – 20% bonus to future cryptographic operations

Code security advance – 10% penalty to effective funding of hostile espionage/covert ops projects

Support Open operation – one specific Open project in this field receives a 20% bonus to effective funding; project must be either ongoing or started the turn after for this bonus

 

16.6.0 Attitudes toward Espionage

In the real world, generally friendly states will nevertheless conduct intelligence operations on one another. Many of these will be entirely innocent, passive activities, such as working with publicly available information to analyze military or diplomatic postures. An ally might well be more reassured to discover through their own operatives that you are (e.g.) deploying forces to check the advance of one of their enemies on their frontier than merely to hear your declarations of support. Relations between states do not fall directly from the closest of alliances to blood feud, and in these spaces, covert operations may suit both sides better than would war.  

Many quiet, low-level intelligence operations, if detected, will cause no great harm to national relations. FOTS players may – or may not – take these as models for how to regard discovered or suspected intelligence operations in game.

 

 

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