Extraordinary Affairs

Copyright Clint Fell © 2013

Edited by Phillip A. Ellis for The Guild Companion

"The paranormal, the supernatural and the extra-terrestrial became his passions. He restructured his newspaper and changed its format to a tabloid of paranormal news, renaming it Extraordinary Affairs."

Extraordinary Affairs Publishing

Extraordinary Affairs Publishing was started by an adventurous entrepreneur named Dr. Richard Murphy. Dr. Murphy was born to a wealthy family; his father owned a successful newspaper in St. Louis, while his mother's family was involved in investment banking. Richard was a brilliant and assertive child who went on to follow his family's traditions. Richard chose to study abroad to widen his perspective and graduated with honors from the highly regarded Cardiff University School of Journalism. He went on to earn his Doctorate of Economics from the University of Chicago. Dr. Murphy earned a fortune during the Tech bubble of the 90s and added several web and print based magazines to his family's publications. During this time he also began to go on thrill seeking adventures around the world. After a failed adventure in the deep Himalayas, Richard was left seriously injured and returned home to spend time with his family while recovering.

While recovering at home, something happened that changed Dr. Murphy. Reports say a gas leak caused an explosion and fire at his family's mansion. Both his parents and all the servants were killed — Richard was the only survivor.

After the accident, Dr. Murphy was distraught. He seemed to blame himself and withdrew from his business activities. He sold his investment firm and all but his father's original newspaper company. Dr. Murphy shifted his attention to bizarre and unorthodox studies. The paranormal, the supernatural and the extra-terrestrial became his passions. He restructured his newspaper and changed its format to a tabloid of paranormal news, renaming it Extraordinary Affairs.

Extraordinary Affairs did not seem to ever catch on at the supermarket and after several years, Dr. Murphy changed its format to web only. Despite these changes the company maintained a large base of employees — especially reporters.

A detailed study of the organization chart for Extraordinary Affairs also shows some strange choices in staffing. Its business office seems understaffed, while it maintains a large staff of lawyers, health professionals (including veterinarians and surgeons), researchers, public relations staff and private transportations personnel.

Despite the unusual structure of the company it seems to stay in business. Other tabloids have on occasion claimed that Extraordinary Affairs uses its large legal staff and "public relations" team to lobby government favor and smooth over the improprieties of the publication's reporters in the field. But no one seems too concerned over these claims against a small niche publisher.

Amongst the paranormal researcher's community Extraordinary Affairs has developed a good reputation for balanced solid reporting and well researched background data. And with almost two dozen reporters traveling the world gathering stories, the Extraordinary Affairs News Teams are often present at fringe events and press announcements.

Story Applications for Extraordinary Affairs

Extraordinary Affairs can be used in a variety of ways in many different modern game settings. Here I will write about four of them: the Extraordinary Affairs campaign, Extraordinary Affairs as a serious ally or support group, Extraordinary Affairs as a crackpot support group, and Extraordinary Affairs as a villainous organization.

The Extraordinary Affairs campaign

In this version the company is the party's employer. Dr. Murphy encountered something that night in his parents' house. Perhaps something he brought back from the Himalayas. He survived and has used his fortune to build a company to expose the paranormal threat to the world.

Standing orders for his reporter teams are to search for the paranormal and investigate. If things prove to be dangerous save as many people as you can and survive to pass the information on to others.

In this version the company's large legal and PR teams are kept busy keeping the questionable actions of the reporters from getting the company sued, shut down, or imprisoned. The medical staff uses the veterinarians to gain access to drugs and equipment that would raise questions best left unasked — and the surgeons to help treat the inevitable injuries nameless horrors from beyond time inflict upon investigators. The research staff is constantly delving into old tomes and newspaper records for the tidbits of information the reporting teams need to "break" a story. The company's travel department is useful for moving relics, items, and people that may raise uncomfortable questions with unbelievable answers... Oh, and the cleaners on the facility management org chart may not be that involved with floor polishers.

Almost all the employees have had brushes with the paranormal and are committed to the mission of reporting the truth while minimizing the damages the paranormal can cause. No one gets paid all that well because a lot of the budget goes into efforts to protect the public and clean up the messes the investigators get themselves into.

Extraordinary Affairs in this interpretation will be treated with a healthy respect by others who are familiar with the paranormal - even if they would really prefer that their pet project not end up on the headlines of the website. Much of the sites paying readership are people involved with the paranormal or previously saved by Extraordinary Affairs investigators. This may mean the investigators need to keep a lower profile and work "undercover" to deal with some of their stories.

For this kind of campaign, rewards of wealth and power for the players should probably be kept smaller. Most of the rewards for the characters are going to be in blowing open the big story, letters of thanks from those they helped, and maybe their story being picked up by some of the big tabloids you see in the supermarkets. But that is not to say that the players won't have the opportunity to pick up the odd paranormal object, or a generous reward from a company or wealthy personage they helped. But to keep the campaign in check these should be exceptional rewards not common ones.

GMs will want to think about how the paranormal is seen by the masses, and why it is so hard to prove that it exists. If the stories Extraordinary Affairs covered were easily proven, then they would be covered by major media.

Extraordinary Affairs as a serious ally

In games where the paranormal exists, the party may not actually be working for the newsgroup - but an investigation team may be nearby with experience and knowledge to help.

This version of Extraordinary Affair has investigators who may not be quite as motivated or talented as the investigators of the Extraordinary Affairs Campaign, but they are still potentially helpful. If all the evidence indicates that the local daycare is being run by cannibal cultists bent on summoning up a demon horde - then a reporting team may be more than willing to track down the names and histories of the demons the cultists keep shouting every time a PC encounters them. The transportation and cleanup assets of Extraordinary Affairs could also be very handy for a party trying to move a lot of heavily armed people quickly across the country, or in preventing an unbelieving police force from investigating and tracking a party down after a scenario gets ugly. The police are sure to have some questions about why the daycare is on fire, half the kids are bleeding, and the whole staff is dead in the basement - it may be very convenient to have someone with political influence and good lawyers around to help you out.

GMs can also use Extraordinary Affairs for a nice non-tangible reward for the player characters. For a setting where the paranormal isn't common knowledge or is disbelieved, public recognition for heroics is hard to come by. So an article Headlined "Local Heroes save daycare from demon onslaught!" with a picture of the party can act as good validation that the party really made a difference and that their efforts are appreciated.

Extraordinary Affairs as crackpot allies

In campaigns where the paranormal doesn't really exist, or where a serious organization may take too much away from the PC heroics - then Extraordinary Affairs may be just a group of crackpot conspiracy theorist and UFO nuts. But even crackpots and nuts can be helpful.

This version of Extraordinary Affairs has investigators and support staff that are considerably less competent. The knowledge they have is mostly useless, and their resources are mostly squandered. Much of the staff doesn't actually even believe the stories they publish, but when a millionaire offers you a cushy job that doesn't involve much real work - who passes that kind of opportunity up.

Players could find Extraordinary Affairs very useful all the same. The most obvious uses would be as a distraction or a smokescreen. When a team of UFO nuts show up at the door of Evil Technologies Incorporated asking questions about their secret desert research base, a lot of security attention may be pulled away from a team impersonating copier repair technicians looking for very similar information. Alternatively maybe the team can ride along with the reporters while they investigate reports that a religious compound teaches its members to control bowling balls with their minds - who would suspect half the nut jobs were actually infiltrators from the Psychic Protection League?

GMs could use this version of Extraordinary Affairs as comedic relief, or a recurring joke. Groan inducing headlines of the parties exploits may appear (real or completely imagined by the stories' authors). This could cause further embarrassment or complications in later games when perhaps someone recognizes a player from a story that Extraordinary Affairs published.

Extraordinary Affairs as a villainous organization

In this version of Extraordinary Affairs, the company is actually responsible for some nefarious activities. This could be as simple as publishing defamatory (or perhaps true) articles about player characters - or could be as bad as terrorism, assassinations, or even world threatening paranormal plots.

Dr. Murphy's motivation for the company becomes a key point in this version of the publisher. Is he using the company to smuggle drugs or valuables with his political and legal teams protecting them from criminal investigations? Are his reporters really digging up blackmail information under the cover of tabloid paparazzi? These motivations work great for more realistic games, but for games with actual paranormal aspects, things can get even darker. Perhaps Dr. Murphy has been using his company to gather information and paranormal artifacts for more than a decade. Questions like "What does he want all this knowledge for?" and "What happened to Richard Murphy is those dark and mysterious mountains, and where did his companions go?" Another question of course is "What really happened to the Murphy household when he got back?" Answers to these questions could lie in the purely mundane or include alien abduction, mind control, or demonic seduction.

A villainous Extraordinary Affairs may be partially staffed by unknowing pawns, however much of the company is going to know something is going on. If Dr. Murphy is still gathering paranormal information then his reporters may be in the dark about their true mission, but his librarian probably isn't. No matter what the motivation is, the security and "cleaners" are almost certainly going to be problems for any characters that begin to cause the company trouble.

Organization chart for Extraordinary Affairs Publishing

Extraordinary Affairs is organized under the administration of Dr. Murphy himself. Dr. Murphy sits as the Owner/Operator and Chief Executive Officer for the company. Under Dr. Murphy are eight offices each ran by its own manager.

The Investigative Office is made up of its manager and the independent news teams. There are currently five operating teams of investigators. Each of these teams consists of between 2 and 6 investigators. These teams travel the world gathering and writing the stories published by the company.

The Shipping and Travel Office is made of its manager, the shipping and receiving department, freight master, pilots, drivers, and marine pilot (for Dr. Murphy's private yacht repurposed as a floating field office). It currently employs 11 people.

The Social Networking Office is made of its manager, public relations specialists, society authors, and government relations specialists. This office primarily tracks the doings of high society and maintains a good repore with those in power. The common office joke is that the Social Networking Office is all that keeps the Legal Affairs Office from getting swamped in work. This office employs between 10 and 12 people typically.

The Facility Management Office would normally be handled by the Business Office, except it also includes the security personnel and the cleaner teams (who have separate titles from the maintenance and janitorial staff also in the office). This office also employs a dedicated IT security specialist to protect the companies electronic assets. Ten people are employed in this office but temporary contract people are sometimes hired when additional work is required.

The Research Office supports the investigative reporters with as many hard facts and data as could be gathered on the nebulas topics Extraordinary Affairs concerns itself with. In addition to its office manager, a Librarian, several specialist researchers, and even a fabricator/machinist are employed by this office. During slow news periods these researchers are known to write trade journal like articles in their fields of specialty to be published by the company. This has helped solidify Extraordinary Affairs' reputation as both a news source as well as an outlet for professional discussion of paranormal topics. The company fabricator has been known to help with exotic equipment such as Kirlian cameras and TEMPEST/MKUltra hardened headgear.

The Medical and Safety Office offers some of the best medical care available in corporate America. With free services available from surgeons, general practitioners, trauma specialists, and nurse practitioners. A staff of 11 (including the veterinarians not licenced to work on humans) allows this office to easily services the approximately 100 employees in the company.

The Legal Affairs Office is another oversized office for a company the scale of Extraordinary Affairs. This office has its manager, four legal teams, its own legal secretary, and a contract specialist. But the questionable situations the Investigative reporters get into seem to keep these individuals quite busy.

The final office is the Business Office. This office is desperately undersized for its role. All accounting, sales, IT and web support, Human Relations, and Recruiting are handled from this office. In addition this office employs the Editors and Layout analysts for its stories as well. Approximately 11 people keep very busy operating the company's business side.

Character Write-Ups

Dr. Richard Murphy - Human Corporate — Shareholder Dilettante (10)
Owner and Chief Executive Officer of Extraordinary Affairs

Much of Doctor Murphy's background is covered in the description of his company. Richard's youth was dominated by his pursuit of corporate interests and thrill seeking. Richard became a amataur paraglider, a decent yacht racer, an accomplished mountain survivalist, and a moderately skilled mountain climber. All of this came to an end during his ill-fated trip to the Himalayas. Since his return and the death of his family he has focused on the paranormal and his company. He has maintained his ties with high society, but his reputation has suffered.

EP: +97
PEP: +31
Init: +10
DB: +2
BMR: 2.8
St: 56 +2
SD: 71 +6
Co: 66 +5
Qu: 51 +1
Ag: 61 +3
Re: 81 +9
In: 81 +9
Pr: 86 +10
Weapon Skills: Modern Ranged 1H (Pistol) +15
Armor: None
Talents: Skill Bonus (Public Speaking), Dilettante Level Bonus (Lore Paranormal, Lore Conspiracy Theory), Skill Flexibility (Climbing), Bonus Skill Ranks, Skill Specialization
Key Skills: Acting (1) +24, Audiovisual Recording (3) +33, Dancing (1) +18, Storytelling (1) +24, Writing (11) +70, Climbing (13) +61, Flying/Gliding (5) +34, Brawling (2) +15, Modern Ranged 1H (Pistol) (2) +15, Mental Focus (1) +17, Psi Energy Development (1) +31, Appraisal: Businesses (8) +58, Computer Operation (4) +38, First Aid (8) +58, Language: Racial (S) (8) +58, Language: Racial (W) (8) +58, Language: Other Racial (S) (5) +43, Language: Other Racial (W) (5) +43, Language: 0 (S) (3) +33, Language: 0 (W) (3) +33, Language: 0 (S) (3) +33, Language: 0 (W) (3) +33, Language: Latin (S) (2) +28, Language: Latin (W) (3) +33, Language: Greek (W) (2) +28, Machine Op: Multimedia (1) +17, Lore: Own Culture (7) +53, Lore: Cosmography (2) +28, Lore: Geography (7) +53, Lore: Paranormal (19) +96, Lore: Conspiracy Theory (6) +58, Perception (9) +60, Resistance: Magic (5) +53, Resistance: Stamina (4) +40, Resistance: Will (6) +52, Vocation: Journalist (6) +48, Vocation: Economist (6) +48, Duping (12) +73, Interrogation (6) +49, Public Speaking (19) +97, Trading (24) +103, Foraging/Survival: Mountains (8) +58, Navigation: Surface (12) +72, Riding: Horse (2) +19, Sailing (6) +42, Tracking (1) +20, Armor Skills (1) +10, Endurance (13) +97, Jumping (3) +20, Swimming (6) +35, Archeology (2) +28, Mathematics (2) +28, Psychology (1) +23, Xenology (5) +43, Stalking & Hiding (0) -16, Air Pilot: Airplane (4) +32, Driving: Ground Car (2) +22, Marine Pilot: Surface (1) +17
Resistance: Magic (5) 53, Stamina (4) 40, Will (6) 52
Languages: Racial (S8/W8): 58/58, Other Racial (S5/W5): 43/43, 0 (S3/W3): 33/33, 0 (S3/W3): 33/33, Latin (S2/W3): 28/33, Greek (S0/W2): -7/28

Luis Highway - Human Aristocrat — Commoner Spy (5)
Field Reporter for Extraordinary Affairs

Little is known of Luis's background, all indications point to even his name being a joke and fabrication. However his credentials were in order and the management at Extraordinary Affairs has been willing to overlook some of the questions about his past. Luis travels wherever he can find a story and isn't afraid to nose around in the darker corners of bad neighborhoods (or government installations) to find answers.

EP: +86
PEP: +23
Init: +8
DB: +11
BMR: 2.8
St: 56 +3
SD: 56 +3
Co: 56 +3
Qu: 51 +1
Ag: 61 +4
Re: 61 +4
In: 71 +7
Pr: 66 +5
Weapon Skills: MR: 1HP (Pistol) +37, Brawling +37
Armor: Ballistic Armor Vest
Talents: Spy Level Bonus(Forensics, Streetwise), Skill Flexibility(Writing), Bonus Skill Ranks, Skill Specialization, Enhanced Senses
Key Skills: Writing (10) +61, Acrobatics (1) +12, Climbing (3) +22, Contortions (1) +12, Brawling (6) +37, MR: 1HP (Pistol) (6) +37, Psi Energy Development (1) +23, Computer Operation (6) +41, Crafts: Cooking (1) +13, First Aid (5) +36, Language: Racial (S) (6) +41, Language: Racial (W) (7) +46, Language: Other Racial (S) (5) +36, Language: Other Racial (W) (5) +36, Language: 0 (S) (3) +26, Language: 0 (W) (3) +26, Lore: Own Culture (9) +53, Lore: Cosmography (1) +13, Lore: Geography (3) +23, Lore: Paranormal (7) +43, Lore: Conspiracy Theory (6) +38, Perception (9) +65, Resistance: Magic (3) +39, Resistance: Stamina (3) +31, Resistance: Will (4) +36, Vocation: Journalist (8) +48, Duping (7) +47, Interrogation (7) +47, Public Speaking (2) +22, Trading (2) +22, Navigation: Surface(1) +16, Armor Skills (1) +12, Endurance (10) +86, Jumping (1) +12, Swimming (1) +12, Xenology (3) +26, Camouflage (1) +16, Computer Hacking (2) +21, Disguise (6) +38, Electronic Bypass (3) +26, Forensics (8) +60, Locks & Traps (7) +46, Stalking & Hiding (7) +42, Streetwise (11) +74, Trickery (8) +48, Driving: Ground Car (1) +16
Resistance: Magic (3) 39, Stamina (3) 31, Will (4) 36, Electronic (0) -11
Languages: Racial (S6/W7): 41/46, Other Racial (S5/W5): 36/36, 0 (S3/W3): 26/26

Nicholas "Captain" Conner - Human Aristocrat — Commoner Pilot (5)
Chauffeur and Shipping Specialist for Extraordinary Affairs

"Captain" Conner is a flamboyant personality prone to retelling tales of his exploits around the world. The fact that many of these stories end with him racing and evading UFOs causes many to question the truth behind these stories. While Nicholas is officially a Chauffeur, he is also a pilot and has been involved in moving teams of reporters around the world as well as driving VIPs for Extraordinary Affairs.

EP: +91
PEP: -10
Init: +10
DB: +23
BMR: 2.8
St: 66 +5
SD: 61 +4
Co: 66 +5
Qu: 71 +7
Ag: 76 +8
Re: 53 +1
In: 56 +3
Pr: 51 +1
Weapon Skills: MR: 1HP (Pistol) +53, MR: 2HP (Hunting Rifle) +48
Armor: Ballistic Armor Vest
Talents: Pilot Level Bonus, Skill Flexibility, Bonus Skill Ranks, Skill Specialization, Instinctive Evasion
Key Skills: Storytelling (1) +9, Climbing (2) +23, Flying/Gliding (5) +37, Brawling (6) +43, CS&M: Combat Driving/Piloting (14) +69, Gunnery: Modern Direct Fire (5) +35, Gunnery: Modern Missile (2) +20, MR: 1HP (Pistol) (8) +53, MR: 2HP (Hunting Rifle) (7) +48, Computer Operation (1) +9, Crafts: Carpentry(1) +14, First Aid (5) +29, Language: Racial (S) (6) +34, Language: Racial (W) (6) +34, Language: Other Racial (S) (4) +24, Language: Other Racial (W) (3) +19, Machine Op: Tools (1) +14, Lore: Own Culture (4) +22, Lore: Cosmography (1) +7, Lore: Geography (6) +32, Lore: Paranormal (5) +27, Perception (5) +32, Resistance: Magic (1) +21, Resistance: Stamina (5) +45, Resistance: Will (3) +33, Signaling: Sensors/Countermeasures(4) +24, Vocation: Chauffeur (9) +47, Duping (1) +9, Trading (1) +9, Navigation: Surface (7) +39, Armor Skills (6) +43, Endurance (11) +91, Swimming (2) +23, Xenology (3) +19, Camouflage (1) +16, Dirty Fighting (1) +16, Stalking & Hiding (1) +17, Streetwise (2) +14, Electrical/Communications Engineering (1) +9, Mechanical Engineering (2) +14, Transport Engineering (5) +29, Weapons Engineering (1) +9, Air Pilot: Airplane (15) +81, Driving: Conventional (17) +85, Marine Pilot: Surface (11) +63
Resistance: Magic (1) 21, Stamina (5) 45, Will (3) 33, Electronic (0) -19
Languages: Racial (S6/W6): 34/34, Other Racial (S4/W3): 24/19

Bruce Flagstaf - Human Militaristic Soldier (5)
Senior Security Guard for Extraordinary Affairs

Bruce Flagstaf grew up an army brat and always knew he was destined for the military himself. Despite a promising opportunity to attend college on a football scholarship, he enlisted as soon as he graduated high school. Bruce completed two combat tours before transferring to a base security detail. While on this assignment Bruce first encountered Luis Highway. Bruce enjoyed the cat and mouse game between himself and Luis but it led him to question what he was guarding in the base. Luis recommended Bruce to the Facility Management Office manager when he mustered out. Since joining Extraordinary Affairs Bruce has become a senior security officer and seems destined to take over as chief of security one day.

EP: +69
PEP: -10
Init: +8
DB: +42
BMR: 2.8
St: 76 +8
SD: 61 +4
Co: 68 +5
Qu: 66 +6
Ag: 71 +7
Re: 51 +1
In: 56 +2
Pr: 51 +1
Weapon Skills: MR: 1HP (Pistol) +81, TH: Grenades (Frag.) +45, 1HE: Short Blades (Dagger)+45, MR: 2HP (Assault Rifle) +91, Martial Arts Strikes: +83, Martial Arts Sweeps: +73
Armor: Ballistic Armor Suit
Talents: Soldier Level Bonus, Skill Flexibility, Bonus Skill Ranks, Skill Specialization, Martial Arts Training
Key Skills: Acrobatics (2) +21, Climbing (8) +55, Sports: Football (4) +32, CS&M: Combat Driving/Piloting (7) +44, Demolitions (2) +21, MR: 1HP (Pistol) (18) +81, TH: Grenades (Frag.) (6) +45, 1HE: Short Blades (Dagger) (6) +45, MR: 2HP (Assault Rifle) (18) +91, Martial Arts Strikes (14) +83, Martial Arts Sweeps (14) +73, Computer Operation (1) +8, First Aid (8) +43, Language: Racial (S) (6) +33, Language: Racial (W) (6) +33, Language: Other Racial (S) (4) +23, Language: Other Racial (W) (3) +18, Machine Op: Sensors (5) +33, Lore: Own Culture (1) +7, Lore: Cosmography (1) +7, Lore: Geography (1) +7, Lore: Paranormal (5) +27, Lore: Tactics (5) +27, Perception (7) +41, Resistance: Magic (4) +34, Resistance: Stamina (7) +55, Resistance: Will (7) +53, Vocation: Soldier (2) +12, Vocation: Security (6) +32, Interrogation (6) +33, Navigation: Surface (1) +8, Armor Skills (5) +40, Endurance (6) +69, Jumping (3) +30, Swimming (3) +30, Locks & Traps (1) +14, Stalking & Hiding (1) +16, Streetwise (1) +8, Driving: Conventional (7) +44
Resistance: Magic (4) 34, Stamina (7) 55, Will (7) 53
Languages: Racial (S6/W6): 33/33, Other Racial (S4/W3): 23/18