A Walk in the Shadows
Sources of Stability
You must identify what and who keeps you sane when the stress of your life of lies, violence, and fear threatens to shred your psyche. These provide you with the strength, release, and hope to keep fighting the good fight and going back into the shadow world every day.
Damages or threats to your Sources of Stability trigger immediate, difficult Stability tests. If you cannot tap your Sources of Stability, you cannot refresh Stability during or between operations.
Name your three Sources of Stability, as follows:
This is a non-human representation of something or someone you value: a religious medal or crucifix, your country’s flag or your father’s dog tag, a picture of your innocent niece or a voice mail from your dead wife. Seeing it or handling it — a few minutes of meditation or reverence — reminds you of why you fight, why you must stay intact.
If you do so during an operation, you may immediately refresh 1 pool point of Stability; you may do this only once per session.
If you lose your Symbol, you lose 1 rating point of Stability at the end of the operation if it remains lost. Some Symbols cannot be so lost; if you rally at the sight of the Union Jack, you lose no rating points of Stability if someone burns a British flag. If, however, you used a flag patch from your mate’s uniform as your Symbol, you would lose the point if it got stolen.
The Symbol should ideally be connected somehow to your Drive, if only in your agent’s own mind.
If your Symbol is ever proven valueless — you uncover proof that Jesus was a normal man, your country is behind the terrorist threats, your dead wife faked her death to go over to the other side — you immediately lose 3 rating points of Stability.
This is the person you seek out for human contact, to make the pain and stress recede for the time being: your current girlfriend, a friendly bartender, your old handler. A name and identifying phrase are sufficient. You may not use fellow agents on your team; they go through the same stresses you do and remind you of the horrors you confront.
It’s permissible, but risky, for multiple agents to lean on the same folks as members of their support network. Relying on others is a source of strength, but also of danger. Once you come to the attention of evil conspiracies, they may use your loved ones against you. They may corrupt them, turn them to evil or inhumanity, or take the tried and true route of subjecting them to horrible tortures.
If you can spend six hours — of talk, quiet companionship, sex and sleep, athletic training, or other normal human interaction — with your Solace during an operation, you may immediately refresh 2 pool points of Stability; you may do this only once per session. This time must be safe from violent or unnatural interruption. If you spend at least a day of such interaction with your Solace between operations, you may fully refresh your Stability pool. Again, this time must be safe from violent or unnatural interruption.
If your Solace ever betrays or rejects you, you immediately lose 2 rating points of Stability. If your Solace is ever killed, you immediately lose 3 rating points of Stability.
This is the person and place you would flee to without thinking: your old trainer’s cabin in the Alps, your mother’s house in Scotland, your best friend’s apartment in Paris, a beachfront condo in Ibiza you’ve bought under another name. Simply knowing that such a refuge exists gives you hope that you can some day escape the shadowy world in which you dwell.
At the end of any session in which your place of Safety remains inviolate, you may refresh 1 pool point of Stability.
It is very poor tradecraft to actually flee to your place of Safety. Even if hostile intelligence and security services, or other conspiracies don’t already have the place wired, your flight there would put your would-be refuge in their crosshairs.
If you do get there, it counts as a haven where you can immediately refresh three General ability pools. Any Preparedness tests you carry out there have a Difficulty that is 2 points lower than normal. In the very unlikely instance that you get there unobserved, you can refresh your whole Stability pool there, as well.
If your place of Safety has an owner or caretaker, you can activate them as a free contact (without spending any Network points) with a rating of 6. This rating cannot be rebuilt with Network or experience points. You can only activate this contact once during the entire life of your character.