The Mole
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Basic Information

The Mole is a character who pretends to be on the good guys' side while actually serving an opposing faction.
Moles come in various types including the Treacherous Advisor and the Sixth Column.


See Also



Game and Story Use

  • A staple of espionage and conspiracy stories, The Mole can add some drama and possibly intrigue and paranoia to any story. The Mole can work very well in RPGs, provided you manage to convince the players that he's not it.
  • The Mole can be useful to justify (though only in retrospect) low-ranking and inexperienced PCs getting important missions: a higher-up mole is using his influence to arrange for this, hoping the PCs will fail these missions. Thus, he'll work to the PCs advantage for a while, exaggerating their qualifications to their superiors and generally keeping them out of trouble. They may even know and like him well. Of course, when they pull off one unlikely success after another and quickly rise in rank he may start to act against them, at which point reasons to suspect there is a mole start coming up and the mole-centric subplot begins.
  • In particularly paranoid settings, one of the PCs may be The Mole, unknown to the other players. This can be very hard to pull off and can cause some resentment, so be very careful before deciding to go with it.
  • Strictly a mole doesn't have to represent an opposing interest - merely one that isn't the PCs actual reporting line. Of course, in large organisations, once phenomena like "matrix management" kick in, it can be tricky to tell who is working for whom…
    • The mole may even be watching the PCs on behalf of their bosses.
      • A familiar is usually this type of mole … the character may be deluded into thinking it works for him, but it doesn't. It works for his patron and likely has a vested interest in making sure the two agendas don't come into conflict.
  • A mole may provide an unexpected lifeline, tapping resources available to his own superiors when the PCs are at the end of theirs.
  • Also, if the PCs ever fall out with their employer, the mole may be very well placed to aid their defection.
    • With the higher-up Mole plot, this might be the plan. The PCs get assigned critical missions that seem beyond their ability, but pull them off regardless. Eventually, they fail one due to either bad luck or sabotage (or simply get passed bad objectives), and the organization starts to label them as possible enemy agents. Hunted by their own employer, someone approaches the PCs and offers to help them defect. Eventually the PCs find out that the supervisor assigning them the missions, the saboteur, the person who turned their allies against them, and the recruiter were all the same person. Hopefully this lets them clear their names, and they aren't in too deep yet…
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