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Spec Ops




Spec Ops: Operation Needle

OrcCon 2014 - February 14th and 17th

Squad Photo

Convention Booklet Summary

"The CIA Special Operations Group is the most elite and covert Spec Ops force in the world. As a member of this team, you find yourself once more putting it all on the line to get the job done, and get the whole squad home in one piece.

Set in the present, no magic, no aliens, just guns and guts. Please note that PC death *is* a real possibility!

No prior knowledge of GURPS necessary."


Looking over my past few convention games, I decided I wanted to run something a little more down-to-earth for OrcCon 2014. While mulling over some choices I saw the movie "Lone Survivor" and thought, "YES, that's what I want to run!"

More Information

  • Player Characters
    There are six pre-generated PCs, each filling a particular niche (as below).

    The player packets each contain:

    • Cover page
    • Mission Briefing/OPORD
    • 1-page simplified character sheet
    • 4-page full Phoenix character sheet
    • DR/Hit Locations chart
    • List of Maneuvers/Options
    • Notecards for tracking/using weapons and gear

  • GM Materials
    In addition to this packet, I also had a 4-page overview of rules I thought I might need reminders on (Cover, Spraying Fire, Suppression Fire, Opportunity Fire, Scatter, and Fragmentation Damage), but I didn't post that since it's just four pages of copy and paste from the GURPS Basic Set PDF.

    The GM Materials contain:

    • GM Control Sheet
    • Overview of Syria
    • Images of the facility and environs
    • List of common weapons and 120 enemy stat blocks
    • Hit Point and Luck cards (for the players)
    • Stand-up name signs (for plastic holders)


  • Inspirations: Act of Valor, Black Hawk Down, Lone Survivor, Zero Dark Thirty
  • Not-Inspirations: Movies starring Chuck Norris (Delta Force), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Commando), or Sylvester Stallone (Rambo)
  • I was intentionally vague about the exact mission for the game because I'm still finalizing some details, but it will definitely be something real life Special Forces get tasked with
  • I think it was a mistake to mention the word "CIA" in the description -- coupled with the vagueness of the mission overview, it has led to some confusion. The Special Operations Group (SOG) is primarily a military unit. The CIA has more than enough spooks for the spy stuff -- SOG is for military missions that require absolute deniability
  • Also confusing, both slots of this game are listed on the convention site as requiring "Experienced Players," but this is absolutely not true -- it should be set to "Beginners Welcome"
  • To clarify on the possibility of PC death -- I am absolutely not setting out for a deliberate Total Party Kill! Quite the contrary, the Player Characters are highly-trained and exceptionally tough soldiers. There is every reason to believe they will all survive. Having said that -- GURPS firearm combat, much like real life, can be pretty lethal. Special Forces aren't super heroes, and a bullet doesn't care how well-trained you are if it gets past your armor and into your squishy bits
  • A final caveat -- I have never been a member of the military, and all of my martial knowledge comes from books, the internet, and seeing way too many movies. It's very possible that some or all of the players will have more knowledge of military matters than I do. I'll do my best to keep things authentic and not break everyone's suspension of disbelief
  • Hope to see you there!
Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children.
-- Native American Proverb