"Protecting America from the Truth, since 1951."
The Department of Special Affairs is the first line of defense against exceptional threats to the citizenry and national security of the United States of America. This unofficial Web site examines the men and women who make up this black agency, the operations they conduct, and the threats they face.
What is the DSA?
The Department of Special Affairs is a fictional agency of the federal government of the United States of America. It is the dramatic vehicle for its creator's Spycraft roleplaying campaign. For more information on Spycraft, the official SpyCraft site.
Throughout this sourcebook, setting material is presented in black text. Game mechanics and other content that goes "behind the curtain" is presented in grey text. Links, as you have seen, will be in blue.
DSA: Design Notes
The DSA setting is an attempt to tweak the Spycraft rules for a game with a higher level of supernatural involvement than the default setting allows. PCs are agents of the Department of Special Affairs, a black organization within the United States government dedicated to maintaining national security against paranormal threats. History and current events are much the same in the world of the DSA as they are in our world, with one key exception: the supernatural is publicly acknowledged as existing. It is, however, extremely rare, about on the level of bank robberies: events get news coverage on the local level, but rarely make the national reports unless they're particularly spectacular. Very few people are involved in them, but everyone seems to have a friend of a friend who once saw something happen. The government maintains a high level of denial in an effort to protect the public from Things Man Was Not Meant To Know.
The DSA operates under a thick veil of secrecy. It's about as well-known as the NSA in the early 1980s, or perhaps the NRO in the present day. The average man on the street has not heard of it, though those who indulge in espionage and supernatural genre entertainment have heard of it and may know a little bit about what it does. Most DSA operations are never acknowledged as having been performed by the Agency - other, more public, organizations take the credit. Most DSA agents are forbidden to reveal their actual employer, instead maintaining a set of cover identities in the military or other federal agencies.
Primary inspirations for this setting include Pagan Publishing's Delta Green, Eden Studios' Conspiracy X, the Men in Black comic/film/RPG property, and Microprose's X-Com game series, as well as the friendly government Web sites of the CIA, NSA, FBI, DEA, and State Department.
The setting is intended to be significantly grittier than four-color James Bond-style espionage. Death, dismemberment, and madness are constant risks for DSA agents in the field. The DSA and its sibling organizations in other nations are a very thin shield between mankind and the Things Out There. Still, this is a highly heroic game - the PCs are the best there is at what they do, even if what they do isn't very pretty.