Archetype of the Week: The Spook

Category: Archetype of the Week
Created on Friday, 07 May 2010 Written by Steve

The spook is an agent of some shadowy (usually government) organization, or at least he claims to be. While some spooks freely identify their agency affiliation, many prefer to remain vague about the organization they work for and their position within that organization, possibly as a means of intimidation. Spooks present themselves as straight-faced, ultra-competent G-men with absolutely no sense of humor, rarely breaking character or admitting surprise at even the most ludicrous turn of events.


Likely Stories
Spooks can be found wherever there is a conspiracy (or potential conspiracy) and are therefore often found in games with Fortean elements--such as UFOs or monsters--that are kept secret from the general populace. They are also frequently present in more mainstream espionage tales and super-hero stories, often as supporting characters. 

The Name Game
Spooks never use their real names and often make that fact glaringly obvious by using common names like John Doe or Jim Smith. Code names are also used on occasion.

The Numbers
The Spook's most important Number is Nerve, which is necessary to exude the calm confidence required of his vocation. A good Brain can help him figure out what's going on before everyone else in order to better pretend he knew the full story all along. An average or better Body Number is useful for the more mundane aspects of the job, like chasing down bad guys and shooting at people.

Suggested Jobs:
ATF Agent, CIA Agent, Company Man, Conspirator, Double Agent, FBI Agent, G-Man, Handler, Intelligence Agent, Investigator, Interrogator, Liaison, Man In Black, Monster Hunter, Observer, Operative, Provocateur, Sector Seven Agent, Shade, Spy Master, Troubleshooter

Suggested Gimmicks:
Car-Fu, Citizen of the World, Clue Magnet, Contacts, Cool Toys, Danger Sense, Hard Boiled, Has Dirt On Everybody, Has Seen It All Before, Hide In Plain Sight, Man of 1,000 Faces, Nerves of Steel, Privileged Information, Support Network, 

Suggested Weaknesses:
Alcoholic, Chain Smoker, Enemies, Getting Too Old For This Shit, Red Tape, Post Traumatic Stress,

Suggested Skills:
Breaking and Entering, Demolitions, Disguise, Dodge, Driving, Eavesdropping, Escape Artist, Fast Talking, Firearms, Heavy Weapons, Intimidation, Self-Defense, Stealth, Surveillance,

WWPHITM?
Bruce Campbell, George Clooney, Michael Christofer, James Coburn, Jack Coleman, Robert Culp, Geena Davis, Benicio Del Toro, Johnny Depp, Peter Firth, Gene Hackman, Keeley Hawes, Ethan Hawk, Samuel L. Jackson, Famke Janssen, Angelina Jolie, Milla Jovovich, Tommy Lee Jones, Val Kilmer, Beyonce Knowles, Delroy Lindo, Lucy Liu, Carrie Anne Moss, Bill Murray, Al Paccino, Mitch Pileggi, Robert Redford, Zoe Saldana, Christian Slater, Will Smith, Gina Torres, John Turturro, Mark Wahlberg, Edward Woodward

Tag Line:
"No, ma'am. We at the FBI do not have a sense of humor we're aware of."--Agent Kay, Men In Black

Tools of the Trade:
Black suit, black tie, black shades, and a black car. There's actually very little to differentiate a classic spook from a Blues Brother, except maybe the gun. Spooks may also have additional specialized equipment for the job at hand, and a few even carry ID.

Where You'll Find Him:
Wouldn't you like to know...

Social Circle:
The spook is a solitary character who rarely interacts with anyone outside of work.

Sample Character
George Kaplan
Body:
12
Brain: 14
Nerve: 15
Job: CIA Agent (14)
Gimmick: Man of 1,000 Faces (11)
Weakness: Bumbling Minions (11)
Skills: Double Cross +3; Martial Arts +2; Golf +1
WWPHITM? James Coburn
Dumb Fact: Misses communism.
Tag Line: "We blow up space shuttles for breakfast. You and your friend Tommy are nothing more than... a late afternoon Triscuit. Ciao."
HP: 12
YY: 3

Inspirational Materials
Books & Comics
Green Arrow (Eddie Fyers)
Marvel Comics (Nick Fury)
The Men Who Stare at Goat by Jon Ronson
Unknown Soldier (Jack Howl)
Watchmen (The Comedian)

Movies & TV
Burn Notice (Sam Axe)
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (Jim Byrd)
Die Hard With A Vengeance (Bill Jarvis)
The Greatest American Hero (Bill Maxwell)
Heroes (Noah Bennet)
Hudson Hawk (George Kaplan)
Men In Black
Transformers (Agent Simmons)
The X-Files (The Cigarette Smoking Man, Alex Trebec, and Jesse "The Body" Ventura)

 

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Archetype of the Week: The Spook.
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