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OFFICERS, AGENTS AND OTHER SPIES

OFFICERS, AGENTS
AND OTHER SPIES
As a player you will take on the role of a person caught up
in the horrifying events of World War Cthulhu. Though your
character may be an intelligence officer, an agent, an assassin,
a bureaucrat or otherwise, all characters in Call of Cthulhu
and World War Cthulhu: Cold War are called investigators.

The ten steps of character generation are:

Your investigator is part of the Western intelligence services,


but also part of something else. After an encounter with
something inexplicable and chilling, they have been
approached and pressed into working for Section 46 by N,
a mysterious spymaster dedicated to eradicating the horrors
of the Cthulhu Mythos, or by one of his associates. All steps
within this character creation chapter should aid you in
creating an agent in Ns battle against this alien, eldritch evil.

STEP TWO: Investigators Age (page 28)


Your investigator can start play at any age, and the age you
choose can affect their attributes.

The steps within this character creation chapter should aid


you in creating an interesting and rounded character, ready
for play.

STEP FOUR: Identity and Name (page 29)


A name and where your investigator is from.

STEP ONE: Generate Characteristics (page 28)


Begin by determining your investigators key attributes, rating
features such as strength and intelligence.

STEP THREE: Other Attributes (page 28)


Those characteristics that were rolled in Step One, in
combination with age, determine other factors, such as how
quick your investigator can move and how resilient they are.

STEP FIVE: Occupation, Skills and Trust (page 29)


Choose an occupation. Decide whether your investigator is a
career intelligence officer or if they had a previous occupation.
Assign skill points and determine Trust.

CREATING YOUR INVESTIGATOR


Copy a character sheet from the back of this book or download
and print it from Cubicle 7s website (www.cubicle7.co.uk).
Now, get a pencil and some dice handy. You may need to do
some erasing or changing things around, so its a good idea to
initially write faintly on your character sheet, or else to make
notes on another piece of paper and transfer the information
to the character sheet when you are finished.

STEP SIX: Intelligence Agency Training (page 30)


This is where your investigator receives the training they will
need to be an effective intelligence officer.
STEP SEVEN: Create a Backstory (page 32)
By now you should be getting a feel for who your investigator
is. This is where you can go into more detail about various
aspects of their background.

This character creation system replaces the one from the


Call of Cthulhu rulebook. You can use a traditional Call of
Cthulhu character in World War Cthulhu: Cold War, though
be advised that such investigators will have fewer skill points.

STEP EIGHT: Brush with the Mythos (page 35)


An encounter with something strange led to your investigators
recruitment into Section 46. This is where you define what
the nature of that encounter was.

Pg. 41 contains suggestions for bringing existing Call of


Cthulhu and World War Cthulhu: The Darkest Hour characters
into the Cold War setting.

STEP NINE: Recruitment (page 36)


Your investigator has been recruited into Section 46 by the
shadowy N. This is where they receive the conditioning that
will help them battle the agents of the Mythos.

The process of creating your investigator is presented in


eight steps. The process is thorough, and should produce
an interesting and rounded character ready for play. If you
prefer a speedier method, you may wish to use the QuickFire Method (see pg. 37); it lacks the depth and detail of
the full version, but will get you up and running with the
bare-bones of a character, which can be further developed
during play.

STEP TEN: Equipping your Investigator (page 38)


Determine what gear your investigator possesses.

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WORLD WAR CTHULHU: COLD WAR

CHARACTER SHEET SUMMARY


1. Characteristics
The investigators key attributes, typically rated
between 15 and 90.

and Magic Points are determined by a their


characteristics and age.
4. Identity and Name
Key details about the investigator.

2. Investigators Age
The investigators age can affect their attributes.

5. Occupation, Skills and Trust


The investigators occupation determines the skills
they are trained in. Their Trust measures the faith
other agencies put in them and vice versa.

3. Other Attributes
The investigators Move, Sanity, Hit Points, Luck

4
1

5
6
2

3
10

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OFFICERS, AGENTS AND OTHER SPIES

6. Specialism
After recruitment, the investigators agency will
train them in a specialist field of intelligence work.

9. Injuries, Phobias and Spells


During their conflict with the Mythos, an
investigator will be changed in some way. During
play, record these changes here.

7. Backstory
Various details about the investigators
background.

10. Gear and Possessions


Equipment and other belongings the investigator
possesses.

8. Encounters with Strange Entities


Prior to recruitment into Section 46, the
investigator had a brush with the Mythos the
first of many, no doubt.

11. Fellow Investigators


Record the names of your fellow investigators here.
You may need to call out for help during a mission!

10

10

11
5

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INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES

INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES
INTELLIGENCE AND
THE COLD WAR

classic espionage novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, thats


HUMINT. The true tale of notorious British double agent
Kim Philby feeding top-secret information back to the
Soviet Union? Thats HUMINT too.

Secret intelligence, espionage and covert operations were


intertwined with the Cold War like a thread through a
tapestry. Just as the role of secret agents is critical to World
War Cthulhu: Cold War, so too were real-life spies crucial
to the conduct of international affairs from 1945 to 1991.

The popular conception of intelligence gathering and


espionage is the trilby-hatted agent loitering in an alley
in Berlin, awaiting the arrival of a shady contact carrying
microdots and codewords. Most Cold War espionage is not
like that.

But as the Cold War progresses, serious money is devoted


to more technical forms of espionage. The big gun in
all of this is Signals Intelligence (SIGINT). SIGINT can
be broken down into two main disciplines: monitoring
communications (COMINT) and monitoring electronic
emissions, such as radar (ELINT). For the Western powers,
SIGINT became hugely important because of the Soviet
and Eastern European agencies (particularly the Soviet
KGB and the East German Stasi) skill at rooting out spies
and double agents (with a few notable exceptions, such as
Oleg Penkovsky who was eventually executed and Oleg
Gordievsky, who had to be smuggled out of the USSR in
the boot of a car). Huge, well-financed, secret organisations
such as the British General Communications Headquarters
(GCHQ, based in Cheltenham, England) and the American
National Security Agency (NSA, based in Fort Meade,
Maryland) were created to handle SIGINT.

However, the popular image does have some basis in truth.


Spies, agents, turncoats and moles all come under the
heading of Human Intelligence (HUMINT). When we read
about Jim Prideaux travelling to Czechoslovakia in order to
get information from a defecting general in John Le Carrs

As technology advanced, so too does the use of space


as an arena for spying. Several countries especially the
United States invested heavily in Imagery Intelligence
(IMINT). From the 1960s onwards, satellites of increasing
power and sophistication were lofted into orbit in order to

This chapter outlines intelligence in the Cold War, discussing


the different forms of intelligence gathering, intelligence
agencies around the world and offering insights into some
of the ways in which intelligence agencies function in the
1970s.

Forms

of I ntelligence

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WORLD WAR CTHULHU: COLD WAR

observe both ally and enemy alike. By the 1970s, the giant
American KH-11 satellites can photograph individuals from
hundreds of miles up in orbit.

clandestine agencies have found themselves exposed in


the full glare of the media. The walls of the secret state
are crumbling, and a new generation of journalists many
inspired by the Watergate Affair that brings down US
president Richard Nixon seek to make the secret world
accountable to the public that it supposedly serves.

The use of technology went both ways. Both the Soviet


Union and the Western allies seek to gain by hook or
by crook examples of the latest enemy technology to
take apart and study, a process known as TECHINT. A
prime example of this is the defection of Soviet fighter
pilot Viktor Belenko in 1976. Disillusioned with his life, he
flew to Japan in the very latest MiG-25 interceptor aircraft.
This gave Japanese and American analysts the ideal
opportunity to examine a supposedly fearsome weapon,
that turned out to be a lot less formidable than other forms
of intelligence had indicated.
Finally, there is a form of intelligence that does not rely
on satellites or defecting pilots. Throughout the Cold War
and up to the present day, states rely heavily on Open
Source Intelligence (OSINT). By reading newspapers
and monitoring TV and radio broadcasts, a considerable
amount of information can be collected.
For example, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
monitoring station at Caversham Park in Berkshire,
England, had a dual function. On the surface, it allowed the
BBC to keep track of news happening all over the world.
Underneath, it also served an OSINT function too, passing
information back to the British Secret Intelligence Services
(SIS).

In the 1970s, Western intelligence gathering is dominated by


the United States of America. Most famous (and infamous)
of the US intelligence organisations is the CIA. The CIA
has wide-ranging responsibilities, from running spies and
covert operations, to orchestrating spy plane missions. But
it is an agency in crisis.

INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY


AGENCIES AROUND THE WORLD

Accusations of abuse of power, infiltration of domestic


organisations (such as the anti-Vietnam War movement),
the actions of James Jesus Angleton (its paranoid head
of counterintelligence see opposite) and attempts to
assassinate heads of state (such as the persistent attempts
to do away with Cubas Fidel Castro) are investigated by
Congressional committees. This results in CIAs dirty
laundry being very publicly aired. The agency is also
responsible for serious lapses, most notably the failure to
predict the coup in Iran that ousts the autocratic Shah (an
important US ally) from power in 1979.

This section discusses and outlines some of the major


domestic and foreign intelligence and security organisations.
This is by no means an exhaustive listing, and the selection
tends to privilege the groups that investigators in World
War Cthulhu: Cold War are most likely to come into contact
with. There were and are many, many intelligence and
security agencies out there, and covering them all would
require a book many times the size of this one. If you are
interested in the wider world of intelligence in the Cold
War, the bibliography on pg. 232 is a good place to start.

The CIA is not, however, the only major US agency active


during the decade. The Defense Intelligence Agency
(DIA) handles military intelligence; the National Security
Agency (NSA) is responsible for SIGINT; and the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) has responsibility for
satellite IMINT. All of these agencies and many more,

The Western A llies


For Western intelligence, the 1970s are a period of crisis
and change. This is especially true of the American
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), an organisation that was
suddenly thrust into the limelight. In Britain too, formerly

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WORLD WAR CTHULHU: COLD WAR

KEEPER OF
ARCANE BRIEFINGS
chapter (pg. 76) and the Beyond Top Secret chapter (pg.
114), as well as the scenario to be played, if using a prewritten scenario. The other chapters of this book can be
consulted as needed.

From that day on my life has been a nightmare of brooding


and apprehension, nor do I know how much is hideous truth
and how much madness.
H P Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth

For your first game, we recommend a scenario that gets the


players right into the thick of the action early. Begin with a
dangerous situation, then let the investigators regroup in a
safe house for a slower build-up to occult intrigue.

Experienced spies know the Moscow rules, shared wisdom


about operating in hostile environments (see pg. 51). They
hold the keys to success and survival. Rule Three states
Everyone is potentially under opposition control. This is a
terrifying enough thought when dealing with an opponent
who plays by rules you can understand. When you are
fighting a secret war on two fronts, and your other enemy
is ancient, inhuman and impossible to second-guess Well,
there is a good reason that most investigators die horribly or
succumb to madness.

PRECEPTS OF PLAY
K eep it Realistic
Espionage is a grim, dangerous business even before you
introduce the horrors of the Mythos. For all their training
and experience, the investigators are only human. They will
make mistakes, get injured, lose their grips on reality and,
on occasion, die. Their investigations will take them to dark
places, force them to deal with unpleasant people and take
risks, but there are limits.

GETTING STARTED
When starting a new World War Cthulhu: Cold War game,
players may select one of the archetypical investigators
presented on the Cubicle 7 website, or else create their own
using the rules in the Officers, Agents and Other Spies
chapter (see pg. 25). Investigators may come from many
walks of life. They may already have been part of SIS or an
allied agency before joining Section 46, or they may have
been willingly or forcibly recruited from the police, military
or civilian life. Though they have all had a brush with the
Mythos, their depth of knowledge will vary hugely, and they
might be walking relatively blindly into the horror. Whatever
their background, they have something in common: they are
all brave, determined, resourceful individuals who are willing
(or, at least, appropriately motivated) to carry out Ns orders.
The investigators do not necessarily know each other well
before the operation begins, but may have crossed paths
professionally.

The investigators are not James Bond: there are no


monologuing villains with comic-book schemes, no secret
bases with conveniently placed self-destruct mechanisms
and no laser beams hidden in watches that will cut through
restraints in the knick of time. This is an unglamorous, secret
world where letting your opponents know who you are will
most likely get you killed. The Keeper should make the world
feel absolutely real, reinforcing the sense of danger wherever
possible and never sparing the investigators the horrors of the
shadowy world in which they operate.

K eep

them

Paranoid

Players should glance at the Tradecraft (pg. 50), Covert


Actions (pg. 132) and Intelligence Agencies (pg. 15)
chapters to give themselves a working understanding of the
espionage environment. We assume a basic level of familiarity
with the Call of Cthulhu rules and style of play.

When on missions, the investigators should live in a state of


heightened awareness, never sure who to trust and who may
betray them. Double agents, informers, counter-intelligence
officers, trigger-happy mercenaries, ideological terrorists and
nosey policemen pose constant threats to life and liberty.
Investigations should be full of lies, half-truths and unwanted
revelations.

The Keeper should familiarise themselves with this chapter,


the overview of Intelligence Agencies and Section 46 (pgs. 15
and 22), the relevant material from the Intelligence Theatres

Assets may not be who they seem, allies may manipulate


investigators in pursuit of their own agendas, and even friends
will betray one another if the right pressure is applied.

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KEEPER OF ARCANE BRIEFINGS

Muddy

the

Waters

Many of these threats cannot be fought by normal means,


or are so dangerous that attempting to do so is suicide. This
does not mean that the investigators will not or should not try,
simply that they will not always live to tell of it.

While the two missions that make up most scenarios are


usually different, they take place in similar worlds. An
informant selling secrets about the locations of Stasi safe
houses may also be on the payroll of the Black Brotherhood,
or vice versa. The investigators may discover that the terrorist
group in the crosshairs have also been carrying out attacks
against the Esoteric Order of Dagon, mistaking them for
ideological enemies. Unleashing the ancient horror the
investigators have been sent to destroy may prove the only
distraction available to stop their capture by the KGB.

The Keeper should play fair, which also means being impartial.
Roll dice openly, with consequences clearly spelt out. Resist
the temptation to fudge results to spare the investigators.
They operate in a dangerous world and they know the stakes.
If they survive, or better, succeed, this will be a hard-won
victory, and all the sweeter for it.

The Keeper should always look out for opportunities to


present moral conflicts, offer expedient alliances with terrible
people or confound expectations about where the loyalties of
an NPC lie. If the investigators ever decide they know exactly
whats going on, they should be frightened that this means
they have overlooked something horrible.

Draw

from

SECTION 46
Section 46 is the ghost of the wartime Network N, one
mans quixotic crusade against the Mythos. From his club in
St Jamess, N continues to draw on collaborators to monitor
the activities of Western intelligence, secretly using their
operations as the means to carry out covert investigations
and attacks against occult threats.

History

The material in this book takes place over the course of


a decade of turmoil and change. During the course of
campaigns, regimes will rise and fall, intelligence services
will orchestrate coups, armed conflicts will start and end and
political ideologies will shift, and the roles of and trust in
intelligence services will change. By dipping into the history
of the different theatres of the Cold War, Keepers can help
bring them to life for the players, presenting the investigators
with a complex world in flux, where todays ally may be
tomorrows enemy, and a safe haven can turn into a war zone
with little warning.

In the game, Section 46 serves several purposes.




G athering

the I nvestigators

Investigators in World War Cthulhu: Cold War are all part


of Ns secret conspiracy. Section 46 draws the initial group
of investigators together, and provides a way to introduce
replacements in the event of an investigator dying.

Thats not to say that you should get hung up on or be


constrained by historical accuracy. This is a game, not a
textbook. The best spy fiction takes liberties with the real
world, inventing new factions and conspiracies to create
memorable drama. And sometimes even the best Keepers
make mistakes! When that happens, either move on and
accept it, or retroactively change the offending details, but
try not to let your games pace suffer for the sake of accuracy.

Be Tough

Gathering the investigators.


Missions against the Mythos.
Dispensing occult lore and clues.

Missions Against

the

Mythos

While N no longer commands the same resources he had


during World War Two, he still has enough informants around
the world to keep him apprised of the machinations of the
Mythos. He knows the bars in West Berlin where dangerous
artefacts are traded alongside state secrets. He knows the
Polish mathematicians whose researches risk opening the
human mind to horrors it was never meant to understand.
He knows the location of the hidden lake near the Nizhnyaya
Tunguska River where pale abominations rise by moonlight.
He knows the pirates of the South China Sea who trade
captured sailors to Deep Ones in exchange for safe passage.
He knows the secret places hidden even from those whose
business is secrets.

but Fair

World War Cthulhu: Cold War is designed to be a grim and


gritty game, in the purist mode of Lovecraftian gaming. The
odds are stacked against the investigators, and while they will
rarely be involved in open combat with their more human
enemies, assassination, disappearances and unexplained
accidents are all very real risks. These risks are even greater
when facing the forces of the Mythos, which have none of the
restraint or professional courtesies of the world of espionage.

N uses his dwindling contacts in the intelligence services to


find operations, agents or other assets that can be co-opted

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