Under the Hood: Handlers and Operators

As we mentioned before, players in Glass Shadows take on multiple roles. Each player acts as a Handler, creating operations and affecting the course of their missions.  Players also take the role of an Operator, the people directly involved within a mission. Today, we’re going to discuss what what defines a Handler and and Operator.

In Role-playing terms, Handlers are the motivating force behind a campaign. The players use them to create stories that they would be interested in, and to affect the success of their Operators during their missions. A Handler is defined by their background and Agenda.  An Agenda contains the following “statistics”:

Motivation: What drives the handler?
Faction: Which faction does the handler supports?
Occupation/Cover: What, if anything does the handler does for a living, or at least pretend to do?
Interests: What types of things draw the handler’s attention?
Vice: Similar to an interest, what can the handler simply not resists indulging?

The player assigns a value to Motivation, Faction, Interests and Vice.  Motivation, interests, and vices, along with the overall Faction goals, help define what type of operations the Handler would design.  It is important for players to keep their Handler’s interest in mind while pitching an Operation, to ensure that their Handler will be “interested” in directly influencing the Operation. Handlers can grant bonuses to Operators based on their Agenda.

Operators have some additional characteristics including Attributes, Skills, Boons (advantages unique to the character), and Equipment. Like Handlers, Operators can use their Agenda during a mission to provide bonuses by pursuing their Interests and Motivations or indulging their Vice. Unlike Handlers, an Operator can be Unaffiliated, signalling they have no true interest in the background machinations of the various factions.

Players open new stories as Handlers, deciding the scope of the next op as a group before jumping into the mission as an Operator. Over the course of the campaign, a player may create a number of different Operators with radically different skills and backgrounds, or focus all of their attention on one Operator. The goal is to give the players and GM the tools to create an immersive world with various personalities and shifting goals and stories.

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