Investigation System


*UNISON*’s control center springs to life, responding to a new threat against Global Security! Control reviews incoming data, and decides where to deploy the team’s best agents and resources to protect the world from powerful new threats.

The Investigation System is a turn-based system that is suited for table top or electronic play. The players elect a Mission Control Agent (a.k.a. “Control”) and collaborate as a group in order to unravel new mysteries. This system is effectively a mash-up of several Savage Worlds rules constructs, most notably the Mass Combat Rules, and blends in elements from familiar board games like Battleship.

The entire field of the investigation is represented with a 9×9 grid (81 squares, of course!), where clues, encounters and traps are hidden by the GM. As each ‘day’ of the investigation unfolds, Control and the UNISON team learn more about the threats they face and must make crucial decisions about where to deploy field agents, support resources and how to avoid exposure!

Investigation System Links:

1) Setup – How to setup for the Investigation System
2) High Level Game Play – The basic of how this game play unfolds
3) Phase 1 – Actions
4) Phase 2 – Progress Roll
5) Phase 3 – Spend Progress Points


High Level Game Play:
1) The PC side must elect an investigation leader. This person will make the key progress role each round.
2) Each player (including the leader) can contribute to the general investigation, or attempt a contact (See Below). Generally, this is the stage where any accumulated progress points will be spent.
a. General Investigation – Make a role against Notice, Investigation or applicable Knowledge skill. Untrained use is permitted as normal (1d4+WD -2). General results add to the leader’s progress role, and/or cause fatigue to the PC’s.
b. Make Contact – Once the team locates something of interest, they can attempt to make contact, or otherwise recover it. This requires rolling 1d6 on the skill list for this site. The deployed agent must succeed in a skill check against this randomly determined skill in order to complete the contact. Again, this introduces some randomness. Untrained skill use is also permitted per normal.
i. Special – sometimes traps may be discovered. They can be disarmed with the secure item action, using the Lockpicking skill.
ii. Exposure – Failure in the skill check may mean exposure for the agency’s activities. See ‘Exposure Penalties’ below.
3) Progress Role is made by the Investigation Leader. This is against Investigation, and includes all modifiers (Situational and assistance from General Investigation roles above). Results are generated, and can generate an amount of ‘Progress Points’.
4) Fatigue is resolved, and results on the grid (if any are revealed).
5) Each round could be considered a day’s worth of activity. Rounds continue until the team locates what it came for, or is unable (through fatigue or injury) to continue. GM fiat may also be introduced to move the overall plot of the adventure forward.

Tables For Roles and Modifiers:

1.1 Modifers (All are cumulative)
+ 1 to +3 for support (e.g. branch offices, field agents, contacts, equipment, nearby facilities)
1 to -3 for terrain or other environmental (e.g. Weather) factors
-1 to -4 based on the complexity of the investigation.
for situational modifiers per the GM.
+1 to PC’s roles based on how many levels beyond novice they are (e.g. Seasoned = +2)

1.2 General Investigation Results
Failure – Nothing goes right. Fatigue check (Vigor) is made at -4
Success – You add +1 to the progress role but must make a fatigue check at -2
Raise – You add +2 to the Progress Role and make a fatigue check (no modifier)
Two Raises You add +2 to the Progress role, make no fatigue check and gain a Benny.

1.3 Make Contact Results (Requires: Deployed Agent at Site)
Failure – The item is destroyed or lost, or triggered if it is a trap. If lost, the GM could chose to relocate the item to another hidden spot on the grid. Fatigue at -4.
Success – The item is recovered through a good amount of hard work. Fatigue -2.
Raise – The item is recovered and you add +1 to the Progress Role. Normal Fatigue check.
Two Raises – as above, but no fatigue check is required, plus you gain a Benny.

1.3.1 Exposure Penalties
When an agent fails a skill check while making contact, the amount that the roll was missed by is important – it becomes an Exposure Point Penalty. E.g. – Blizzard fails a check by 3, and this generates a 3 point Exposure penalty. When exposure points accumulate, it becomes MUCH harder for an intelligence agency to make quick progress. Please refer to the chart below to determine the consequences.

Levels of Exposure:

Exposure Point Penalty Agent Effect Agency Effect
1 or 2 Points Agent is not compromised, but is being tracked by local opposition (Police, Mafia, Media, etc) None
3 Points Agent`s cover is compromised, and can no longer Make Contact. 1 Wound or Fatigue. +1 Progress Point Cost
4 Points Agent has gone off the map, and can no longer be contacted. +2 W/F
Must execute recovery. +2 Progress Point Cost
5 Points Agent may be in custody. +3 W/F. Must execute recovery. +4 Progress Point Cost
Points Agent presumed MIA. Must Make Contact then Execute Recovery to determine the agent’s fate. +8 Progress Point Cost

1.4 Progress Results
Failure – The whole team make a Fatigue check at -2. No progress is made.
Success – The team earns 1d6 Progress Points (See Below).
Raise (and for each raise) The team earns another 1d6 Progress Points.

1.5 Progress Points Chart (Points are base costs, subject to Exposure Penalties)
- Use acquired Intel: The agency can elect to sift through its accumulated databases and hard evidence to stay one step ahead of the enemy. Instead of using Progress Points, the Agency will can use a corresponding number of Intel points instead. Not all Intel is created equal, however. The options below have all been denoted with a B, P, T, F, L, for the different types of Intel. This will correspond to the types of Intel points you can use. This option is quite useful in the opening round of some investigations.
- Target Analysis (B, P, F): Is there something at a particular grid coordinate? GM will answer yes or no. This represents a fairly high-level run through police records, travel records, financial activity, shipping manifests (etc) that could help pinpoint a team’s investigation.
- Deploy Agent (F, L): In order to make contact at a specific site, an agent (PC or NPC) must be deployed. This expenditure represents the costs in resources and time to deploy an agent. Experienced agents can be more costly to deploy. The cost to deploy an agent is equal to her level bonus (E.g. Novice = 1pt, Seasoned = 2pts, etc).
- BURN Notice (B, P): A very effective way to reduce exposure, but one that can have unpredictable, long-term consequences, a Burn Notice will cut all ties and effectively isolate the agent from Agency contact. He/She is disavowed, off the grid, and can no longer be assisted by the agency or protected from legal or hostile threats. Remove 2D6 points of exposure.
- Deploy Support (T, L): An agent will typically be deployed with standard weapons, cover documentation and resources needed to accomplish their mission. This option allows the deployment of more specialized resources to assist the agent. Examples: Vehicle support (Spy Car), Gadgets/Q Branch, restricted/heavy weapons, etc. NEW – See the table below for new Deployment Options)
- Go to Ground (B, F, L): One PC removes all fatigue conditions and 1 Wound as he/she takes some downtime. The Agent also lies low, letting the heat of recent exposure events die down. 1D4-2 Exposure Points can be reduced in this way, but only if the Agent has not been compromised E.g. Earned 3 or more Exposure Points.
- Buy a Benny (B, F): (one per round per PC)

- Focused Analysis (P, F, T): Pick a row or a column – the GM will reveal the number of targets in that row or column (but not the precise location of the targets)
- Call The Cleaner (P, F, L): Roll 1D6, and remove that number of exposure points. This can represent everything from the use of spin doctors, evidence that suddenly goes missing, bribes or even the dreaded sulphuric acid and bathtub routine.

- Target Trace (P, T, F): Pick one grid spot. The GM will reveal presence of items at that grid coordinate and all surrounding ones. This is similar to Target Analysis, and reveals the presence of interesting contacts, clues or sites.
- Recover Agent (F, L, T): Resources are used to locate and recover an agent who has become the victim of exposure. In extreme cases, another Agent will have to be deployed to Make Contact before the original agent can be recovered.

- Initiate Major Operation (F, L, T): Some sites or threats require a major operation to take down. Under the cover of a police or military organization, the Agency moves against the threat. In many cases, this could be a role played scene, or the use of the mass-battles system can be invoked. The Agency should have access to the required resources to launch this major operation.
- Agency-Wide Resupply (F, L): Remove fatigue conditions from all PC’s and NPC’s on the team.
- Call in a favour (P, F, L, T): To access resources beyond what the Agency can supply, one must call upon various favours. This option is most similar to the ‘old’ Spycraft’s option of the same name, and would cover, things like police/military cooperation, indirect strikes, shutdown of a border or a power grid, etc.

- Advance or Close the Investigation: The Investigation is considered complete, or enough has been learned to progress to the next part of the story. Note any fatigue or injury conditions will persist to the next phase of the adventure. This could result in the agency learning the location of the enemy’s next strike, prompting them to race against the clock to stop the bad guys, or it could lead to an event similar to a Major Operation, with special forces units attacking the Evil Villain’s Volcano base.

NEW – Deployment Options

Cost Option Effect
2 Spy Car +2 Driving, +1 Cha
2 Gadgets +1 General, or +2 one time bonus to any skill
2 Dossier +2 one time use to a Smarts based skill
3 Safe House Can pick a different skill for a challenge
3 Field Support/Branch Office +2 General Bonus

Resources Important to Intelligence Agencies:

Raw Intel
Regardless of its source, the Intelligence community runs on data. It can be electronic data, signals intercept, human intelligence, etc. For our purposes, we’ll track the following broad types of data:

Bulk: The Internet alone testifies to the sheer volume of data in the world today. Many Intelligence Agencies collect huge banks of data that might not fit into any, more significant category, but could someday prove more valuable.

Personal: What is the target’s background, connections, criminal history, known associates, media exposure, etc.

Financial: Nothing is more correct than the old saying “Follow the Money”. Points of financial data represent knowing where various parties not only keep their savings, but where they are spending.

Tech: Industrial espionage is an old profession, beyond just stealing designs and patenting them before your competition. Tech data represents the kind of technology secrets that scientists, corporations and governments will go to extreme lengths to protect.

Logistics: When and where has a target deployed her or her physical resources? For an individual, this would provide data like how many cars the target owns, the location of known domiciles, etc. For large entities, it can represent the deployment of soldiers, planes, ships and bases.

Uses of Intel:

Investigations – See Above

Acquire Funding – The agency can cash in 1 point of Intel for 1d6x $1M.

Acquire Technology – Cost varies, but the GM can take Technology Intel in exchange for granting permanent, technological benefits to the Agency. E.g. A new surveillance satellite, equipping all agents with special PDA’s, etc.

Acquire Logistics – The Agency can add to its assets vehicles, supplies or other forms of physical support. The GM will decide costs based on what is asked for via RP.

Recruit Agent – One point of Personal Intelligence can be traded to recruit a new, Novice-level NPC agent.
Player’s Investigation Grid

Agency Data Resources: B= 4, P = 2, F = 3, T = 6, L= 2


Modifers (All are cumulative)
+ 1 to +3 for support (e.g. e.g. branch offices, field agents, contacts, equipment, nearby facilities)
1 to -3 for terrain or other environmental (e.g. Weather) factors
-1 to -4 based on the complexity of the site.
for situational modifiers per the GM.
+1 to PC’s roles based on how many levels beyond novice they are (e.g. Seasoned = +2)

GM’s Investigation Grid: Projekt SchwarzeRegen

Hidden Items (E.g. 3 plot, 4 trap, 3 finds) Random Investigation Skills (Super Bad!)
1 Bulk Data 1d6 1 Persuasion 1 WC Opposes
2 Ecology Conference (Trap!) 1d6 Tech 2 Shooting 2 Destroy 1 Support
3 A Recon AWACS went down in Grnland 3 Driving 3 N/A
3 B Salvage from Coast of Labrador 4 Fighting 4 Trap one NPC
3 C Attack on Montreal 5 Tracking 5 Destroy 1 Support
4 Theft of records from Bletchley House 6 Notice 6 N/A
5 Research on neuro toxin 7 Knowledge (History) 7 N/A
68 A ReichsMarshall Klinkmann Lives! 8 Roll 2x 8 WC Opposes
69 B Chase /confront/kill Klingmann
70 Abandoned airfield in Norway

Investigation System

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