Cthulhu Dark to Nights Black Agents?

What would need to be changed or added to native CD to use it to play Nights Black Agents? Or is there a different indie/narrative systen you’d start with?

CD to Delta Dark Green + shooting people rules from Achtung! Cthulhu Dark?

Another contender might be … Operators with added horror?


When looking to drift CD the question I always ask is about the end state of the character’s experience. How long are they meant to survive? How long are they meant to stay even remotely mentally healthy? I know next to nothing about NBA…

Good question @shanel … NBA is intended to be more long term than CD … a series of linked ‘missions’, so I’d be inclined to look for more ways for PCs to ‘seek release from the horror’.

Then perhaps @Dissonance’s Cthulhu Dark Green is the right choice? Though even that IIRC has the eventual downfall of the player characters? Just slower?

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My guess is that characters will either lose it and then get killed by vampires or lose it as they are being killed by vampires … it’s a journey …

If you run NBA in Burn Mode the assumption is that they will necessarily lose their humanity in the end, so a hack of CD should work just fine. You would have to come up with some kind of rule that handles reducing Insight. Maybe you could split Insight into Stress and Stability (similar to Stress and Insight in Cthulhu Dark Green) or you could have the agents accumulate mental scars when their Stress Die hit 6 (which then resets back to 1) and they burn out with a certain number of scars? Obviously a robust combat system would be advisable but I think you got that covered with Achtung! Cthulhu Dark.


So … have been reading ‘Operators’ and I think ‘Nights Black Operators’ (NBO) might be worth a go. Operators has all the techno-thriller possibilities I think NBA needs but it’s very much at the Action Movie end of the spectrum so not a lot of mechanics for investigation.

Therefore … if the default Operators Skill list is: Talk (Soft); Talk (Hard); Shoot; Fight; Move; Infiltrate; Drive; Surveille; Steal; Conceal; Hack; Fix; and Treat … what, if anything, would need to be added to create NBO?

Could I get away with covering any ‘Investigative-technical’ skills in NBA that aren’t covered elsewhere with Hacking in NBO? Ditto the ‘Investigative-Interpersonal’ skills with Hard or Soft Talk, and then just invent a new skill called ‘Know stuff’ to cover any left over ‘Investigative-Academic’ skills and the hard science skills from ‘Technical’ in NBA?

What other changes would be essential? Could a bit of GM guidance ensure ‘Sources of Stability’ were encompassed by Operators ‘Inner Turmoil/Weaknesses’? Does that mean a more explicit Cthulhu Dark type Stability Track as well as the current Physical and Mental Heath tracks in Operators?

I do quite like the ‘Cover’ and ‘Network’ mechanics in NBA. Are they sufficiently important to port something across or can Nights Black Operators manage without them.

Thoughts welcomed, as NBA is another one of those games I’ve always wanted to get to the table though the rules have never floated my boat sufficiently to do so.

PS: For online play I’m not certain I’d use the Operator combat cards, simple rely on the quality of Gauntlet players to narrate on the basis of the die-rolls.

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@Kyle_Simons the author might have thoughts, as might @wiegraf who has run it on The Gauntlet.

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Thanks @shanel … paging @kyle_simons & @wiegraf - thoughts welcomed.

Hey, I definitely have lots of thoughts about this. Operators is geared more towards movie thrillers. It’s less concerned with mysteries, though I’ve run plenty of them in it. It just isn’t the focus because the mystery kind of emerges organically and in collaboration with the other players.

Instead of say, GUMSHOE/NBA where you throw out a ton of clues, see which ones the players latch onto, and then progress the narrative and mystery as needed, in Operators we get to the end of the scene and then we ask how we get to the next one. You could say that the narrative tissue connecting the mystery and plot is an afterthought there to get us to the next cool scene. That doesn’t mean that the connective tissue doesn’t turn out to be compelling and awesome, though. Does that make sense? In Operators my goal, as facilitator, is to be aggressive with my scene framing and keep a tight pace that feels like an action movie. I don’t really care what the players come up in terms of it fitting into my overarching narrative since my narrative is super nebulous and adjusts as we play. It’s much more like a Dungeon World front (we cut to scenes with the antagonists and show what they’re doing and planning on the open) than a campaign framework in NBA.

This is one of the reasons that I took out Investigative Abilities altogether. I mean, in NBA all I use them for is giving me an indication of which PC I should be feeding certain info/clues to really anyway. In Operators I can turn the question around and ask the player what they find with their skill set that brings us to the next scene so it’s both less work, keeps engagement up, and keeps a nice breakneck pace going. If it were me and I wanted to put rolling for investigating back in I’d use the skills that are already in Operators and either just give clues for stuff done outside of a skill or keep asking questions and following a scene until we got to something risky. There are lots of cool, intense moments that can come for rolling to extract information for sure and the dice roll usually helps with adding in complications.

It’s easy to run it in NBA though, I’ve run some Dracula Dossier with it. For a campaign without that communal touchstone of Dracula and those clues in it though you might need to amass more of the authority as the GM if you want to keep things more mysterious.

Sources of stability tie in nicely with Inner Turmoil, any scene where they’re brought in allows for recovery. You could go further with NBA style tracks for sure, especially since Operators is geared for one or two-shot play and then a reset for time in between movies. I haven’t run it with Delta Green style serious consequences for sanity and stuff, though, and I’m less familiar with DG but I bet you could port in a track fairly easily that progressed simply based on what they suffer. It’d make downtime choices even more difficult really as a player if you only had one scene to recover but had to choose from 3 tracks instead of 2 so you might have to think about whether you want to pace it for either a) more downtime opportunities or b) the inevitable grinding down of the player characters.

Cover and Network are cool but I feel like you could roll their implications into the fiction and as needed as die rolls come up. My inclination would be to let the players have narrative control over that stuff and roll as needed.

-= I’m writing this on my cell so I’m sorry for any mistakes! =-


Very helpful insights @Kyle_Simons - many thanks, partic. re. ‘investigative’ stuff. Using the existing skills covers most of the ground, just applying the skill to what they know/understand …

I’ve dumped ‘Notice’ and added ‘Noticing things’ to my Fate skill descriptions so adding an explicit option to ‘Find things out/Conclude things’ to the existing Operators set would make sense

I hadn’t thought to run anything as long as a Quarterly so the longer term stability effects are probably not worth worrying about.

Overall then … Run as is - always good advice.

Thanks again.


Hi, @Kyle_Simons - I never read rules properly until there’s a chance I’ll run them and even when I do I struggle to read them systematically … So …
Operators gives rules for recovering Stress by engaging with Inner Turmoil. Does that also apply to Consequences?
While I’m at it I can’t find where it says Consequences have mechanical effect … are they effectively only descriptive extensions of the Stress Track(s) which have narrative but not mechanical weight?

No I don’t usually have the players wipe away consequences until that movie is done and they’ve got some extended downtime. Consequences don’t hinder the player characters, like you say they’re just the last bit of the stress track with a little more flavour and narrative weight.

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I’ve posted 4 sessions of ‘Nights Black Operators’ on the Gauntlet calendar for August @Kyle_Simons. Could you, by any chance, sign-post me to an online character keeper? I can’t find ‘Operators’ in the Gauntlet Resource files, or in Roll20; or if there isn’t one out there then I’ll have a go at making one.
Thanks in advance.

@wiegraf did you happen to do a character keeper?

Yep, there’s one here that @wiegraf made: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19VXBqhxL8NSZChbJgJ9XW6QZLoZd5Y1to4oGMdvl8mM/edit?usp=sharing

Thanks to both of you.

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