A sinister and satirical tabletop RPG that combines the intrigue of paranormal investigation media with a cheeky, surreal sense of humour has launched one of the best looking Kickstarter campaigns of the year.
Triangle Agency is openly and unabashedly inspired by the 2019 video game Control, along with The X-Files and cult popular internet cryptid fiction forum, The SCP Foundation. The resulting roleplay tells stories of finding that mythical work-life balance amidst reality-eating anomalies and voices of reason that have every reason to lie to you.
Publisher Haunted Table described Triangle Agency as a corporate horror RPG that uses a dice pool of four-sided dice to tell fiction-forward stories in a modern-day universe controlled by unreliable narrators - so much so that they bicker amongst themselves on the pages of the core rulebook.
Everything about this game advertises a witty satire against late-stage capitalism and the role of corporate bureaucracy in our lives, but it’s run through with a biting edge that seems adept at balancing humour with moments of real horror - often perpetrated by the very systems and people who purport to protect their workers.
Players take on the role of Agents within the eponymous Triangle Agency, wrangling paranormal phenomena on behalf of their employers. One player will be promoted to General Manager (GM) and create and run the mysteries for their crack team of field agents.
Characters are composed of a bonded Anomaly that grants them a set of extraordinary powers, the challenges imposed by their real life and the job description imposed by the Agency. Each aspect provides tools for roleplay but also critical obligations. Alongside these characters, players will also embody a cast of shared non-player characters that hold special importance to the team.
Campaigns will run between 10 to 15 sessions, during which time the group will hunt down and capture anomalies that have latched on to reality via the emotions and thoughts of everyday people. Agents will need to track the breach, contain it within powerful Agency tools such as the Normal Briefcase, and then clean up any evidence that the anomaly ever existed. But troubling counterforces lurk the break rooms and empty conference rooms of this clandestine corporation, bent on convincing you that not everything is as it seems.
Triangle Agency’s system uses d4 dice to resolve challenges, where threes count as successes and everything else creates a chaos resource that the GM can use to introduce dangerous and disruptive elements to the story. More bits of the engine can be found in the freely downloadable Delta Test demo on the game's Itch.io page.
All of the rules for Agents and the GM will be contained in a 200-page hardcover book, which also comes with classified documents that are unlocked during play like a legacy board game. These might introduce new twists to the settings lore, open new character paths or otherwise throw a wrench into the well-oiled corporate machine. There’s also a 100-page book of 12 pre-written missions called The Vault, and Haunted table has brought on ten additional designers to craft this readymade campaign material.
“With Triangle Agency, I’ve put everything on the table: my love of paranormal fiction, my interest in (and concern for) how humans interact with rules and structure, and my distaste for the broad corporate relationship to art and humanity, to name a few,” said lead designer Caleb Zane Huett in a press release. “With Haunted Table, we’re trying to put our money where our satire is.”
“Every element of this game guides the player to answer what I think is the most interesting question in roleplaying: when you can do anything, what do you choose to do? What do you value? Who do you protect?” said designer Sean Ireland. “It's my hope that people who play Triangle Agency will walk away with a deeper appreciation of their own real-world superpowers. And then use those superpowers to help dismantle the horrors of capitalism.”
The Kickstarter campaign for Triangle Agency runs through July 6th, and Haunted Table expects fulfilment of the physical editions will begin in July 2024 - digital PDFs will go out in the spring of that year. More information about the artists and contributing designers, all of whom will enjoy profit-sharing off Triangle Agency as part of Haunted Table’s standard practice, can be found on the campaign page.