Burn Before Reading

Burn Before Reading - A DG Scenario of murder and confusion

By Ross Payton

To continue the trend of scenarios about silencing former DG agents and friendlies, I present my homage/ripoff of the movie Burn After Reading. I've taken the basic setup of the movie and then veered off into DG terrtiory so the players can participate. I've also left out George Clooney's character because he isn't necessary to get the ball rolling. This scenario is set in Washington DC.


Osbourne, A disgruntled CIA analyst and one time DG friendly has quit after being demoted and wants to write a memoir of his experiences including his limited participation in a DG opera. His wife, Katie, plans to divorce him and copies the memoir along with his financial records and gives it to her lawyer. The lawyer's assistant accidentally leaves a burned CD of the memoirs at a local gym, where Chad and Linda, gym trainers, find and read it. They contact Osbourne and try to blackmail him. In order to convince him that they have his memoirs they read off part of it on the phone, a section of the DG opera.

Unfortunately for all of the above, MJ-12 runs a special version of Echelon. This surveillance program monitors all phone conversations for certain keywords, including mythos and MJ-12 related keywords. While MJ-12 is not
aware of the mythos per se, they do know that DG is interested in these cults and their mythology so MJ-12 is interested as well. Now, the MJ-12 surveillance analysts listen to the phone call and are throughly confused.
They know Osbourne has quit and they know he never had high level security clearance but his service records never mentioned anything related to what Chad and Linda mentioned. This is classified as a low priority mission, just
high enough to warrant physical surveillance of Osbourne.

Meanwhile, Osbourne contacts A Cell drunk. He rants about being demoted, bitches about how A Cell couldn't pull any strings to help and of course the black mailers. A Cell is also confused as this is the first they've heard of
the situation but worried enough to send a cell in. The players.

The Opera:

A Cell tells the players that a former friendly is being blackmailed by an unknown party about the release of mythos information. They must find the blackmailers and take the appropriate measures to stop them. Osbourne's information is given and the cell is given discretion whether or not they want to contact him directly. They have just enough time to make the meet if the cell is located in DC.


  1. Finding the Blackmailers: Technically skilled characters can get Osbourne's phone records and learn Linda's identity easily. Physical surveillance of the meet can reveal their identities.
  2. Watching Osbourne: Osbourne is an easy target to follow. A standard stealth skill check is sufficient.
  3. Watching Chad and Linda: Both are oblivious. No skill checks needed to follow them.
  4. Getting the memoirs: An agent can hack into Osbourne's computer or break into his house to read a copy of it.
  5. The Memoirs: The mythos content on the disc is minimal but should contain just enough juicy keywords to freak the hell out of the players. Describe a passage as "The cult's summoning ritual would call a demon king called Azathoth. I have reproduced the ritual in detail below:" and so forth. Feel free to go nuts with it. The disc does not cause any sanity loss or gain any mythos knowledge. However skimming the memoirs should scare the hell out of any mythos aware character. Osbourne was writing big to make his book seem more interesting to editors.
  6. Detecting the MJ-12 Team: Very dificult. Only allow it if a player states that they are looking to see if someone else is watching Osbourne and then make a halved spot hidden skill check to see if they notice the team.



Osbourne meets with Chad the next morning. They argue. Osbourne refuses to pay and threatens them with prison if they don't return the disc.
After that, he returns home and gets rip roaring drunk.
When his wife arrives home at 5 pm, she kicks him out.
He leaves to his yacht and she leaves to see her lover.
Osbourne returns later to get his clothes and may encounter Chad sneaking in the house, if the GM wants to spice things up.

Chad and Linda:

They arrange to meet Osbourne.
Chad tries to get Osbourne to pay but the deal falls apart.
After the meet, they go to Hardbodies the gym and plan their next move.
They then decide to try to sell the disc to the Scientologists as they seem to be rich and into the occult like that. They visit the local scientology center and demand a big payoff. The scientologists are confused but want to see more.
Linda convinces Chad to go to Osbourne's house and get more information.
Chad may be caught by Osbourne, which would result in a drunk Osbourne trying to kill the hapless gym trainer.


The surveillance team begins monitoring Osbourne just after the meeting with Chad. They will sit and watch but will intervene with force if any violence happens out in public. The team has two armed agents (9mm
pistols) watching at any given time until the matter is resolved.

Complications and Resolutions:

The players should freak out if they find that Chad and Linda are trying to sell mythos knowledge to the scientologists. Furthermore, Chad and Linda's idiocy is going to attract a lot of attention. Of course, the MJ-12
surveillance team will attack any cowboys that try to kill Osbourne, Chad or Linda publicly. It's a clusterfuck waiting to happen and none of the parties involved understand how this got started. It should be a rather…exciting
night at the opera.

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