Bureau 13

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Bureau 13 is a fictional top-secret government agency which investigates and combats supernatural events, featured in the eponymous role-playing game (RPG) series. The Bureau's motto is "Protecting America from Everything". Stalking the Night Fantastic is a Bureau 13 horror game released by Tri Tac Games in 1983.

In 1991, the Bureau 13 series won the Gamers Choice Award at Gencon for best Fantasy Game. In 2008 a new d20 Modern edition was released. The series has a definite tongue in cheek attitude that is emphasized by both the background stories and the illustrations.


Bureau 13 (the 13th Bureau of the U.S. Department of Justice) was founded in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln to deal with supernatural and paranormal threats to the Union (and to suppress public knowledge of them). Its first agents were a motley crew of military personnel, Pinkerton detectives, civilian consultants, freed slaves, paroled criminals, and even Confederate prisoners of war. After the Civil War, the Bureau had access to a large budget and limitless resources. Safe houses and caches of equipment were stockpiled across the country. The headquarters in Washington, D.C., later became the East Coast office. A West Coast office was created in Silver City, New Mexico Territory, to speed up response times to threats on the frontier. After the Indian Wars and the settling of the West, Bureau 13 began to face threats outside the jurisdiction of the United States, and so the Bureau's agents served during World War I, World War II, and the Cold War.

On 7 July 1977, an attack destroyed the Bureau 13 headquarters and killed hundreds of agents. This was later dubbed the "'77 Massacre". This shattered the organization. Scattered groups of survivors took years to re-form. The remaining agents decided to go underground as a cell-based network. Gradually they began to create networks of "friendlies" - assets and sympathizers that would help the Bureau when called upon. As the number of original agents retired or died, the "friendlies" started to be promoted to agent status. Most agents encountered are usually civilians who received their training on the job.

The job of Bureau 13 is as it has always been. Investigate the strange or unusual, analyze the evidence to see if there is a supernatural or paranormal cause, and assess whether the cause is hostile or dangerous.

Role-play style[edit]

Bureau 13 tends to have a weird, humorous or satirical bent to it. Another factor is that the characters are usually mundane civilians rather than commandos or Men In Black. They don't usually have a lot of military or espionage skills.

Current games[edit]

Bureau 13
  • Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic (1st Ed.) [Tri-tac (1983)] - Core Rules.
  • Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic (2nd Ed.) [Tri-tac (1984)] - Core Rules.
  • Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic (3rd Ed.) [Tri-tac (1990)] - Core Rules. Has Phil Foglio art on the cover.
  • Bureau 13 Adventures: Hellsnight - Contains 7 new scenarios, new equipment, new vehicles and new "Friends & Enemies" information.
  • Bureau 13 Adventures: Haunts - Contains new scenarios, new equipment and tools, new vehicles and new "Friends & Enemies" information.
  • Bureau 13 (3rd Ed.): The Lost Files, Vol. 1 by Richard Tucholka [Tri-tac (1991)] - Loose-leaf packet full of recently recovered information from Bureau 13's files.
  • Bureau 13 (3rd Ed.): The Lost Files, Vol. 2 by Richard Tucholka [Tri-tac] - Loose-leaf packet full of more recovered information from Bureau 13's files.
  • Bureau 13: Scenes of Horror, Industry and Adventure
  • Bureau 13 (3rd Ed.): STALKING THE STEEL CITY by Bruce Sheffer [Outpost/Tri-tac (1992)]
  • Bureau 13 (3rd Ed.): SCREAMS IN THE NIGHT by Bruce Sheffer [Outpost/Tri-tac (1994)]
  • Bureau 13 (3rd Ed.): ALIENS AMONG US by Bruce Sheffer [Outpost/Tri-tac (1995)]
  • Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic (4th Ed.) [Tri-tac (1992)] - PDF file version of the 3rd Edition Core Rules.
  • Bureau 13 (4th Ed.): Black Powder - The Origins of Bureau 13 (1859-1889) [Tri-tac (2009)] - 19th Century setting detailing the founding of Bureau 13 and the real US Secret Service.
  • Bureau 13 (5th Ed.): Special Edition by Nick Pollotta & Richard Tucholka [Tri-tac (2007)] - Incorporates the world of Nick Pollotta's B13 novels.
  • Bureau 13 (6th Ed.): d20 EDITION [Tri-tac (2008)] - Has an expanded "Friends and Enemies" section.
  • Bureau 13: EXTREME [Tri-tac (2011)] - Details the X Teams - paranormal SWAT units that take out the big threats. Contains 5 new scenarios that are linked in the "Hearts" campaign. It is a much more gritty setting than baseline Bureau 13.
  • Bureau 13: BRASS & STEAM [Tri-tac (2013?)] - Steampunk rules.


Nick Pollotta has published five novels set in the Bureau 13 universe:

  • The original trilogy, "Bureau 13", "Doomsday Exam" and "Full Moonster" were published by Ace Books in 1990.
  • The Russian language editions were published by Armada Press of Moscow in 1994.
  • An extended version of the trilogy and a fourth novel - " Damned Nation" were published by Wildside Press in 2003.
  • "Bureau 13 Sourcebook" was planned but never released by Wildside Press.
  • "Damned Nation" was released in 2007 by ATS Press in Moscow.
  • A role-playing game called Era Vodoleya (Age of Aquarius) was published in Russia; it contains several references to Bureau 13. The game's protagonists, the Institution for Applied Exophysics, are actually a Russian counterpart to Bureau 13.
  • A secret organization named "Bureau 13" is mentioned in the Babylon 5 episode "Spider in the Web". However, when J. Michael Straczynski heard about the game, while Richard Tucholka offered Straczynski use of the Trademark the studio said No. .[1]

Video game[edit]

GameTek published a video game based on the role-playing game in 1995.[2] Depending on which agents the player picked and how they handled people they encountered, the mission would go differently.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dave Zimmerman. "The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5: A Spider in the Web". Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  2. ^ "GameFAQ's". Retrieved 19 June 2011.

External links[edit]