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Old Jul 20th, 2022, 11:17 PM
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The Coldest City



Application Closed





The GameI had been looking for an interesting way to spin up a BitD campaign. Silver lining of getting Covid is that I had lots of time to watch some movies and get inspired...

The Coldest City is a game powered by Blades in the Dark about a crew of covert spies, trying to accomplish the goals of their clandestine organization and disrupt the balance of power in an ongoing cold war. They will have to stand strong in the face of their vicious opposition and handle a fragile web of untrustworthy informants, devious intrigues and deadly lies. We play to find out if our agents can thrive in the shady game of espionage.

While the public may never know about their impact, their actions shape the political landscape and outcome of the Cold War.



The RulesetThe Coldest City will be using the Blades in the Dark Ruleset, with some slight tweaks to account for the fact that your team is comprised of spies and the like, and not scoundrels. The official SRD for BitD can be found here. The game itself is very easy to pick up and new players are more than welcome. While there will be some deviations from the core rules, these are slight and will be explained once we are in game.


A Cold War

From 1948 to 1949 the Soviets imposed a total blockade of West-Berlin, denying its citizens food and electricity. The 1950’s saw the gruesome proxy-war in Korea, the Suez Conflict and the brutal suppression of both the Hungarian freedom movement and strikes in East-Germany.

In 1961, the Berlin Wall was built, and Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit Earth. The same year, the world watched disasters unfold at the Bay of Pigs and one year later held its breath when the US and the Soviets faced-off during the Cuban naval blockade. After decades of conflict, U.S. Combat Forces entered Vietnam in 1965. Three years later, liberalization hopes in Czechoslovakia were crushed when the Warsaw Pact invaded the country. Meanwhile, skirmishes, civil wars and revolutions broke out in many developing countries.

In 1969 the US succeeded in landing the first humans on the moon. The 1970 and 1980s were dominated by the years-long conflict over the installation of long-range missiles in Europe. They also saw the Soviet War in Afghanistan, the end of the SALT II agreement and a long list of damaging embargoes. Reagan funded CIA operations to train and arm anti-communist extremists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nicaragua. US troops also intervened in Lebanon, Grenada and Libya. In the last half of the 1980s, Gorbachev’s ambitious reforms brought great unrest to the established power structures within the Soviet Union and its satellite states.


Rising Tensions across East and West Berlin

By the 1980s, the Soviet Union faced acute economic problems and major food shortages, and when a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power station in Ukraine exploded in April 1986, it was a symbolic moment in the expected collapse of the communist bloc.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the comparatively young Soviet leader who took power in 1985, introduced a reform policy of "glasnost" (openness) and "perestroika" (restructuring).

It was on 9 November 1989, when half a million people gathered in East Berlin in a mass protest. East German leaders planned to calm the mounting protests by loosening the restrictions on the border, making travel easier for East Germans. The intended changes were meant to be fairly minor, however the notes about the new rules which were handed to the Soviet spokesperson, Günter Schabowski, were written in such a way that would have been misinterpreted as a complete easement of border restrictions.

Unfortunately, Günter was killed while en route to make his announcement, and the supposed notes he had been handed were never found.


Satchel

While tensions rose in November 1989 in East Berlin, a STASI (the Soviet Ministry for State Security) officer, code-named Spyglass, was attempting to defect to West Berlin, promising to provide a list he had compiled of all Soviet double agents working in each of the other nations' intelligence agencies stationed in Berlin.

The task of retrieving the List, hidden on microfilm contained within a wristwatch, fell to MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton. Unbeknownst to MI6, Lorraine was working as a double agent for the Soviets under the code name Satchel, and she herself was one of the agents whose identify would have been exposed had the list reached the West.

Lorraine eventually recovered the list and, when attempting to turn it over to her Soviet handler, was instead killed, having become a liability. Unfortunately for the Soviets, the Stasi agent had committed the entire list to memory. Thinking him not a priority since the List was in their possession, did not attempt to stop him, and he successfully defected.

The information he provided,once vetted, shook the intelligence community. Numerous American, British, and French agents were suddenly painted as targets overnight, and tensions rose even higher in Berlin as this silent war waged for several days. It was several days later that Satchel was revealed to have been a triple agent, and actually working for the CIA. This revelation strained relations between allied forces as well.


Communist Catharsis

With growing protests in East Belin, coupled with the defection of Spyglass and ensuing loss of Soviet double agents, this gave those opposed to Mikhail Gorbachev and his "softer" policies, enough ammunition to strike. On 9 November 1989, In a coup d’état, hardliners within the communist party and KGB took control of the country, and assassinated Gorbachev. Across the Soviet Union and its satellite states, the KGB identified and purged corrupt officials. This is now known as the communist catharsis. Independence movements who dared to revolt against the regime where swiftly crushed with military action.


CHARACTER CREATIONChoose a playbook. Your playbook represents your character’s reputation within the intelligence community and beyond, your Special Abilities and how you advance.
  • UNIFORMS are dangerous and ruthless soldiers.
  • SUITS are calculated and devious masterminds, tailors of the truth.
  • OVERALLS are fast thinking hackers and engineers.
  • TUXEDOS are charming and slick conmen, continuing the romantic past of the spy trade.
  • TURTLENECKS are silent and cold hitmen.
  • TRENCHCOATS are resourceful and well-connected traffickers.

Choose a Background. Your background includes your origin and one or two words about your former life, before you became a spy.

Some Examples:
  • East-German, Defector. After defecting from East Germany, the BND recruited me after recognizing my knowledge about the border and skill in evasion.
  • American, Top level-student. At the age of 18, the CIA seduced and recruited me from Harvard.
  • Russian, Child of a functionary. Born into an influential Russian family, my father pulled the necessary strings to get me into the KGB.

Choose a cover identity Add a specific detail that describes your cover.

Some Examples:
  • Set up under the cover name of Thomas Wiesel, I spend most of my days in the office of a cheap travel agency in the outskirts of West-Berlin. For my neighbors, I am a hard-working loner.
  • Set up under the cover name of Jane Bergin, I work at the US embassy as a cultural attaché. For my neighbors, I am a music-loving foreigner.
  • Set up under the cover name of Yelena Kuznetsova, I pretend to be the spouse of an international art collector. To my neighbors, I am an arrogant trophy-wife.

Assign four action dots. No action may begin with a rating higher than 2 during character creation.

Choose a special ability. If you cannot decide, choose the first ability on the list.

Choose a close friend, an informant and a rival. Mark one who you consider to be a close friend, a long-time ally, family relation, or lover. Mark one who is a rival, enemy, scorned lover, betrayed partner, or something similar. Mark one who is an informant you run, someone you have leverage over or who willingly started supplying you with information.

Flesh each contact relationship with a sentence or two.

Choose a secret. Every spy has a secret that they want no one outside of their most inner circle to know about. Not always because of its horrible nature: the personal life and habits of an agent represent a weakness that will be used against them. It is their Achilles heel.

Choose one from the list below. You may add more specific details now or when you think they are necessary or appropriate during the game:
  • Addicted: You are addicted to something that soothes your fears and worries, for example drugs, excessive luxury, or sex.
  • Burdened: You are burdened by dark deeds of your past, for example a heartbreaking betrayal, a horrifying atrocity, or a grave mistake.
  • Corrupt: You have become corrupted by your lust for wealth or power, for example through embezzlement, illegal side-businesses or selling information.
  • Obsessed: You are unhealthily obsessed with a personal goal, for example status, a fanatical ideology or revenge.
  • Rooted: You have a strong bond to loved ones who may never know about your real work, for example your partner.
  • Trapped: You are entrapped in the schemes of another party, for example a foreign nation, a secret society, or a powerful individual.

Record your name, alias, and look.


THE APPLICATIONApplications should include the following:
  • Name
  • Cover Identity
  • Look
  • Playbook
  • Background
  • Starting Special Ability
  • Close Friend, Informant and Rival
  • Secret

Application Deadline: 8/12
Party Size: 4-5
Posting Rate: once per week
Crew Type: You will be using the Spies crew sheet
Restrictions on duplicating playbooks: None. If the best four apps are four tuxedos, then that's what I will go with.
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Last edited by Silent Rain; Aug 4th, 2022 at 11:41 PM.
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Old Jul 20th, 2022, 11:18 PM
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Old Jul 20th, 2022, 11:32 PM
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Umm...wait...what? A spy-focused FitD game with cold war influences that I've never even heard of? There is precisely zero chance I won't be applying to this.
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Last edited by PopCultureBard; Jul 20th, 2022 at 11:56 PM.
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 07:43 AM
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Placeholder! Working on app for a TUXEDO...

PS. Wow, what a fantastic presentation of a game! This is 1989 - going into an alternative 1990s, right?
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 09:10 AM
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Silent! This is another fun one to watch! I would've loved to join here and finally learn BitD, but I'm afraid I won't have the bandwidth for it.

Have fun though!
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 09:38 AM
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Hey Bard! Looking forward to what you come up with.

Quote:
This is 1989 - going into an alternative 1990s, right?
Correct.

Sorry to hear that, ElderOblex. App is open for a few weeks in case anything changes.
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Last edited by Silent Rain; Jul 21st, 2022 at 09:38 AM.
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 08:00 PM
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SO I have no idea how this would work, but it reminds me of a detective noir type game that I did here years ago.

Just FYI what is the year that the game will be situated in? Range is fine, just thinking of a potential backstory.

Edward Slater
right-aligned image

Name: Kevin Slater
Cover Identity: Red Shadow
Look: ???
Cover Identity: Set up under the cover name of Francois Legault, I spend most of my day as a professor of Architecture at the Technische Universität Berlin, the British controlled prefect of the city. To my neighbours and collogues, I'm known as a man with a taste for German composers, French spirits, and an English dry wit.
Playbook: TURTLENECK
Background: Canadian, recruited into CSIS after earning his Doctorate in Historical Architecture at the University of Toronto.
Starting Special Ability: TBD
Close Friend, Informant and Rival: TBD
Secret: He has a vigilante type streak, which in the past has presented issues. He also have a taste for more forbidden fare in the city's night life.

Last edited by creed; Jul 21st, 2022 at 10:10 PM.
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 09:20 PM
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Hey Creed. The game will take place in the early 90's.
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Rain View Post
Hey Creed. The game will take place in the early 90's.
Awesome. That will make things easier. So I have a VERY basic app above. Any questions please let me know and i'll elaborate.
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Old Jul 21st, 2022, 10:00 PM
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This looks awesome!
Unfortunately, I don't think I have the time for another game right now.

Good luck!
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 02:55 AM
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Name: Saori Nishimura / Agent 888 “Mitsubachi”
Alias: Sara Nishida / Tammy Chang
Look: See picture
Playbook: Tuxedo
Background: Japanese junior intelligence operative with the Naicho secret service, promoted to Special Liaison Officer to the CIA and MI6 due to fluency in English, Chinese and Russian, and also particular infiltration and “persuasion” skills.
Cover Identity: Sara Nishida, working for a corporate consultancy helping Japanese businesses to form trade links with the West (standard cover). Tamisen “Tammy” Chang – a silk trader from Hong Kong, when infiltrating enemy agents/establishments (deep cover).
Special Ability: Icebreaker / The spy who loves you - leaning towards icebreaker
Close Friend: Looking for a fellow player character!
Informant: Mr Fat, a Chinese businessman operating in London, infatuated with her. They meet at exclusive clubs.
Enemy: Matthaus Brehme – East German spy who has decided to make her life difficult after she gained his trust and affection then spurned him on a previous mission. He is embarrassed to be out-foxed by a junior agent, but does not intend to kill her, yet. He requires a measure of professional revenge, first.
Secret: Her grandparents believe she is doing a normal job for the Japanese Embassy in London. She cannot tell them the truth, and must maintain a façade including sending falsified photos of “fun” trips around Europe.

BIO:
Saori is a serious, conscientious and dedicated servant to the secret service organisations of both Japan and her allies. She is typically thoughtful and humble before her fellow agents, very eager to please. Some would say she is a little dogmatic in her belief in the moral supremacy of Western democracy, and is as yet inexperienced in the areas of making “grey area” decisions in operations.

But she is a confident and persuasive communicator, and can be very charming.

Saori’s parents were a police officer and prosecution lawyer, who both fell victim to a suspected North Korean spy operation in Japan. Orphaned, she was raised by her grandparents and the local police chief - who was a close friend to her father. The case of her parents was never solved – covered up by international politics. The chief built up both her parents as heroes, and instilled a sense of justice in her. She is driven by an aspiration to and need to avenge her parents with every operation. Saori graduated Law at university before becoming a police detective. She was successful in undercover operations for intelligence gathering – playing her part in “hostess bars” catering to foreign criminal masterminds.

A natural with languages, she was soon recruited by the Naicho and assigned as SIGINT liaison officer with allied agencies from the US, and UK. However, her abilities have brought her more and more into HUMINT field operations.

Though proficient with firearms as part of her basic training, Saori more often relies on unarmed martial arts to defend herself – as she is most often serving undercover inside an enemy organisation when the fighting starts. This means she must usually undergo rigorous searches. She therefore rarely carries a weapon.

__________________________________________________ __________________

@Creed - wanna be friends?
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 11:48 PM
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Hey all. Thanks for those that submitted applications, but I am going to put a pin in this game for now. I know there has been interest for a small group, but I would really like to get a full group on this one. Stay tuned for a revised game app that I think (hope) will garner more interest.



Application Closed


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