In Glass Shadows, the players take on several personas. The first player role is the Handler, someone within one of four factions competing to control the future of humanity. These characters work behind the scenes to advance their faction’s goals.
At the start of a campaign, the player selects their Handler’s faction, motivation, interests. This Agenda defines the Handler, what are they interested in, and what do they get out of working behind the shadows?
With each new story the player’s write down a short “pitch” for an operation. Operations are jobs, or mission they would like to play through. Their Handler’s motivation and interests should frame this pitch. The GM then reads all the pitches to the players and the group votes on which is the most interesting to pursue.
Once decided, the players will pitch ideas for Operators, those brave fools that will execute the op. The Handler selects another player’s Operator to be the lead. Once the Operators are created the Handler will reach out to this Operator to begin forming the team.
Players can create Operators by selecting an Agenda for the character along with an Archetype, Package, and Loadout. Each of selection frames the Operator’s key strengths, Boons, and starting gear. The process takes around 10 minutes.
The players also discuss how their Operators are linked together. The lead Operator then sets the scene and in-character play begins with the lead Operator meeting with the Handler, discussing the operation, and recruiting the other Operators. The Handler and Operators drive the opening narrative, as well as key scenes through the operation. The GM merely observes character interactions and asks questions.
The GM takes a more active role once the group is together. Describing scenes and placing obstacles designed to highlight the relationships, skills and abilities of the Operators, as well as introducing twists to the story. Skill tasks and combat resolution are quick and easy die rolls + stats and skill bonuses vs. target difficulty numbers.
Designed for quick access and ease of play Operators can be used for later operations, or if a new set of skills is required, the players can create new team members as needed. Building out a dynamic network of personalities and interconnections the people and faces that stand with you one day may be on the other side of the barrel the next. That’s just the way things work sometimes. Life’s cheap, buy a Tac Helm.