The International Detective Agency is a non-governmental crime-fighting organization featured in Adventure!.
In the last half of the 19th century, the idea of a private detective became very popular. The Pinkerton Detective Agency established itself as a model of a continental investigative agency, working cases anywhere in the United States. In the 1890s, it faced its first serious competition when the International Detective Agency formed in London, England. In the course of a decade, the IDA opened offices in places as far-flung as Macao, Johannesburg, New Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Istanbul and Paris. The Agency established minor offices across the world, providing the IDA with an international network of contacts and resources the envy of many governments and corporations.
The Agency is run from London by the Old Man. No one knows his name, and very few people actually meet with him. The rules and organization of the Agency are entirely of his creation. The regional offices each have their own Old Man, typically a veteran of police or detective work, though occasionally a lawyer can earn the position. Each Old Man directs the operation of anywhere from a handful to scores of detectives, or Irregulars. These Irregulars are picked based not only on their ability and experience, but also on their internal moral compass. Irregulars may not be nice people, or particularly “good,” but they are, to a man (and woman), immune to the lures of corruption.
The IDA was created in the late 1890s to combat the increasingly international nature of crime. Their goals are similar to those of Branch 9, but its methods and operations are not. The IDA is not bound to any governmental policy and is available to any private citizen able to afford its standard rate.
The International Detective Agency recruits its Irregulars from the police, from other detective agencies and from the ranks of prosecuting attorneys. Existing Irregulars compile a dossier on a potential recruit, focusing on his personal ethics and job skills. The Irregulars present the Old Man of the region with this dossier, and he makes the decision to approach the potential recruit or not.
New recruits undergo training in the Agency’s methods and procedures. They learn how and when to contact other offices, how to deal with various situations and how to work with other Irregulars without stepping on any toes. By the end of the training, an Irregular is one of the best.
The International Detective Agency provides Irregulars for bodyguard duties, auxiliary police assignments and as investigators for insurance fraud. An Irregular may also be involved in divorce matters, missing person cases and kidnap victim recovery. The IDA may also provide armed messengers, do background checks and consult on security matters. All this for $5 a day, plus expenses.
The IDA deploys its Irregulars solo or in teams of two or three agents. The number of agents assigned depends on the nature of the job. If an Irregular requires additional agents, these are made available when possible. The goal of any IDA investigation is success, not efficiency or profit. A happy client is a good thing. While there is no official dress code in the IDA, Irregulars tend toward clean suits. Somewhat scandalously, the IDA employs female Irregulars and encourages them to dress in suits (with low heels).
The IDA’s international nature allows it to pursue leads across the globe and across national boundaries. Its multinational recruiting allows it to combine the best of many nations’ investigation techniques. Thanks to the Old Man in London’s encouragement, the IDA has adopted many of the newest methods of identification, such as fingerprinting and ballistics.
- Adventure! d20, p. 32-33