Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game

Created by Arc Dream Publishing

Lovecraftian cosmic terror meets the War on Terror. The award-winning RPG setting comes thundering back in a new Cthulhu Mythos game.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

What has sunk may rise
about 5 years ago – Thu, Jul 06, 2017 at 11:21:17 PM

What Has Sunk May Rise, by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017
What Has Sunk May Rise, by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017

Greetings, Agents. This is Shane Ivey. I'm pleased to report that the Delta Green core rulebook is progressing swiftly. If you pre-ordered it, you have access to the PDF of the work in progress. We're revising the text from valuable reader reports and in-house copy editing, while our page designer works on the sections that are already finished.

Meanwhile, our extended team is working on other parts of this project. Delta Green's creators are reviewing Pelgrane Press' Fall of Delta Green. I'm working with our writers and editors to schedule production on Control Group, Deep State, PISCES, and the other books in the line. Dennis is well into the manuscript of Impossible Landscapes. And we're preparing a number of shorter downloads, such as a conversion of the lethal scenario "Music from a Darkened Room."

Hell Is Me, from "Music from a Darkened Room," by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017
Hell Is Me, from "Music from a Darkened Room," by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017

Stories from the Shire

Our old friend James Knevitt has launched a new podcast called The Best Character You Ever Had, and I was proud to be his second interview guest. We talk about my favorite RPG character, Kester Proudfoot from The One Ring, as well as gaming and writing in Tolkien's world, Western games, and of course Delta Green. Listen here.

The Yellow King RPG, from Pelgrane Press
The Yellow King RPG, from Pelgrane Press

The Yellow King

Our friends at Pelgrane Press have launched a stunning new project of obvious interest to Delta Green fans: The Yellow King RPG

Here's their summary:

Inspired by Robert W. Chambers’ influential cycle of short stories, YKRPG pits the characters against the reality-altering horror of The King in Yellow. This suppressed play, once read, invites madness. Or a visit from its titular character, an alien ruler intent on invading and remolding our world into a colony of their planet, Carcosa. Four books, served up together in a beautiful slipcase, confront your players with an epic journey into reality horror:  

  • Belle Epoque Paris, where a printed version of the dread play is first published. Players portray American art students in its absinthe-soaked world, navigating the Parisian demimonde and investigating mysteries involving gargoyles, vampires, and decadent alien royalty. Includes the core rules. 
  • The Wars, an alternate reality in which the players take on the role of soldiers bogged down in the great European conflict of 1947. While trying to stay alive on an eerie, shifting battlefield, they investigate supernatural mysteries generated by the occult machinations of the Yellow King and his rebellious daughters. 
  • Aftermath, set later in the same reality, in 2017 North America. A bloody insurrection has toppled a dictatorial regime loyal to Carcosa. Players become former partisans adjusting to ordinary life, trying to build a just society from the ashes of civil war. But not all of the monsters have been thoroughly banished—and like it or not, they’re the ones with the skills to hunt them and finish them off.  
  • This is Normal Now. In the 2017 we know, albeit one subtly permeated by supernatural beings and maddening reality shifts, ordinary people band together, slowly realizing that they are the key to ending a menace spanning eras and realities.

It already far surpassed its initial goal, so there's much more to come. Back it now, and pray the Castaignes look upon you with favor.

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Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game
about 5 years ago – Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 01:19:58 AM

“That cult would never die till the stars came right again, and the secret priests would take great Cthulhu from His tomb to revive His subjects and resume His rule of earth. The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy.”
 —H.P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu”

"On Edward Teller’s blackboard at Los Alamos I once saw a list of weapons—ideas for weapons—with their abilities and properties displayed. For the last one on the list, the largest, the method of delivery was listed as 'Backyard.' Since that particular design would kill everyone on Earth, there was no use carting it elsewhere."
 —Robert Serber, about Edward Teller

“Blessed be the torch.”
—Máximo Gómez

"Do Not Call Up," by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017
"Do Not Call Up," by Dennis Detwiller, © 2017

Dear backers:

If you pre-ordered the "Case Officer's Handbook," officially called Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game, please log in to BackerKit. You can find the complete manuscript in your Digital Downloads. 

(If it's not there, please wait. It may take BackerKit some time to distribute the link to all accounts. If it's still not there in the morning, please email shane.ivey@gmail.com. If you don't know how to log in to BackerKit, click here.)

You can pre-order the book here.

The manuscript is stil in copy editing, so please don't send corrections for typos and grammar. Wait until we send a version that we think has all those issues corrected.

We do welcome feedback on a few particular issues:

  • Factual errors and contradictions
  • References to things that aren't in fact in the manuscript
  • Abilities that seem like they should be listed under a given entity or Great Old One but aren't.

Please email feedback to shane.ivey@gmail.com. IMPORTANT: As the email's subject, please write "DGRPG manuscript feedback from [YOUR NAME]," giving your name or favorite cover identity. That will allow us to keep track of your messages.

Enjoy.

Shane Ivey and Dennis Detwiller
Arc Dream Publishing

Beyond the Door of Silence
about 5 years ago – Tue, May 30, 2017 at 10:47:20 PM

Shane Ivey here from Arc Dream Publishing. Here’s a moment from the book, and reports on what’s happening.

Michael Keravuori, The Door of Silence

In 2017, the lone survivor of Operation SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS, Col. Michael Keravuori (ret.), is 88, and lives in Scottsdale, Arizona on a modest military pension. He spends his Thursdays at the VFW, drives a restored 1971 Corvette Stingray, and plays a pretty mean game of golf.

He doesn’t sleep. That is not some metaphor. He literally doesn’t sleep, and hasn’t since the day of his last mission for Delta Green (Operation SKUNKED, in Colombia, in 1956). Something happened in the jungle, something that he can’t recall no matter how hard he tries. He doesn’t try too hard, anymore.

No one in the group knows that Keravuori is not right. Sometimes, Keravuori himself doesn’t even notice. If it wasn’t for the dreams, punctual as always, he might forget altogether. Even without sleep, the dreams come. During his last vision, he almost drove his car off the road.

In the dreams, a gong sounds, and with each sounding, a silence covers a portion of the world. A silence so deep that light and life vanish. In the end, the Earth is extinguished like a candle. Dead and black. A charnel house tumbling through the void forever.

Though he does not know why, Michael Keravuori is the man who swings the hammer, grinning.

Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game, © 2017

Status Report

Finishing the core book of this game line is like—I don’t know what it’s like. Is there a Guiness World’s Record for the slowest removal of a band-aid? Are there Guiness World Records anymore? Anyway. With Delta Green, our milestones have to do with quality rather than dates. That is as frustrating now as it was when we old-timers were waiting for the first DG book to come out in the Nineties.

I’m down to about two to four pages of text that need writing, short pieces filling in specific aspects of the setting and modern-day campaigns. Then I think it’ll be done. That’s a matter of days, at this point. Maybe Thursday, maybe Monday; probably not later than that. (College orientation for my kid will eat up a couple of days in between.)

Once we have the manuscript finished, we’ll make it available to backers who ordered that book in print or PDF, and we’ll welcome feedback. A project this big will generate a lot of opinions. We’ll allow three or four weeks to get notes, and then we’ll implement them along with corrections picked out by our copy editor. Then that section goes to layout. For publication of the final, finished PDF, we’re probably looking at late July.

Over on Pelgrane’s side, I understand The Fall of Delta Green is now in playtesting, so it’s coming along as well.

Gen Con

Join us at Gen Con 50! It’s August 17–20, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Arc Dream Publishing and Pagan Publishing will share Booth 431 in the Exhibit Hall. We’re near Paizo, Mayfair, and Cool Mini or Not.

 

We’ll host a 90-minute Delta Green Q&A panel at 7:00 Saturday night, in the Crowne Plaza, Grand Central Ballroom D.

Our friends at Pelgrane Press will hold a panel of their own at 2:00 Saturday afternoon, in the Crowne Plaza, Pennsylvania Station B. If you can’t make our panel Saturday night, you can probably corner Ken and company there to get the latest on The Fall of Delta Green.

I count 16 Delta Green games being run at the show, plus three Delta Green LARPs (a first for Gen Con!), two Fall of Delta Green games, and a game of Godlike. The bad news: Those all sold out fast. The good news: In most Gen Con games, somebody who bought a ticket fails to show up. Bring generic tickets to the game you want to join. If there’s an empty seat, the GM will probably let you in. (Warning: the Delta Green LARP is pretty pricey because it involves a LOT of interesting goings-on and locations. You’ll need a big pile of generic tickets for one of those.)

Next for Delta Green

Finishing the core book opens the floodgates. I’ll start juggling short projects while leading the teams that will go to work in earnest on the big projects. The short projects include four Redacted Files, “ARCHINT,” the new scenarios “Viscid,” “Wormwood Arena,” and “Iconoclasts,” and conversions and updates of older scenarios such as "Music From a Darkened Room" and Future/Perfect Parts 2–4. The big projects include Control Group (which has its second draft already done), Deep State, Falling Towers, PISCES, Impossible Landscapes, and Operational History. I can’t wait to turn the other writers loose. We’ll announce delivery dates on those as we go.

Recommendations

Several good friends of ours have great projects on Kickstarter and elsewhere right now.

TERMINATION SHOCK: Delta Green and Unknown Authors coauthor Greg Stolze is raising funds to produce 6+ hours of podcasts of his new science fiction game, Termination Shock. Greg says: “The phrase ‘termination shock’ refers to the outer reaches of a solar system, but it could (of course) also indicate the terror of a sudden ending. The setting for the game plays on both meanings.” If the project gets a substantial bump, it’ll unlock Greg sending backers a rough draft of the game to play themselves.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gregstolze/termination-shock

CTHULHU DARK: We’ve been fans of Graham Walmsley’s rules-super-light Cthulhu Dark RPG since it took up no more than two sides of a sheet of paper, not to mention is terrific analysis of Mythos gaming in Stealing Cthulhu and his Trail of Cthulhu scenarios. Cthulhu Dark is a bleak game about finding horrors and trying to survive them. The new book adds suggestions for creating mysteries and terrors, and four settings and scenarios. He’s joined by Helen Gould, Kathryn Jenkins, and our old friend Chris Spivey.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/78929588/cthulhu-dark

SHADOW OF THE DEMON LORD: Rob Schwalb’s gruesome fantasy RPG can be downloaded at a grotesquely corpulent bargain courtesy of Bundle of Holding. $14 gets four books. Another $12 gets another seven. I’m playing SDL weekly in my home game right now and love it.

https://bundleofholding.com/presents/DemonLord

The Delta Green Patreon

Join the Patreon and get frequent Delta Green awesomeness in between our official publications. Some recent bits:

Coming Up

We have a lot of projects coming, some to Kickstarter and some as ordinary preorders.

THE KING IN YELLOW: A big, gorgeous collector’s edition of Robert Chambers’ classic, annotated by Kenneth Hite and illustrated by Samuel Araya. Undergoing final checks of the cover stock and the Kickstarter page. All art is finished.

WRESTLENOMICON: A crazy card game of the End Times. They’re the end for us, anyway. It’s just another brawl for the Great Old Ones. Goes to playtesting in late June.

OLD ONES RISING: A compilation of The Unspeakable Oath issues 18–22, updated for compatibility with Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition and Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game. We’re correcting the layout now and it should be available in a couple of weeks.

THE UNSPEAKABLE OATH 25: A new issue at last! It goes into final editing next week.

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA, VOL. 1–III: Collections of new Delta Green scenarios and scenarios previously released only in PDF, revised and updated with new illustrations.

And a few big things that we can’t talk about yet. Watch this space.

 

AMA, S&S, and the Nameless City
about 5 years ago – Tue, May 09, 2017 at 08:49:14 PM

Shane Ivey here. In today's update: status report; Ask Us Anything; ChupacabraCon; Sigil & Sign; an excerpt.

Status Report

We're still closing in on the end of the massive manuscript for Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game, aka the Case Officer's Handbook. We will send its unedited portions to editing next week, and its edited portions to layout the week after that. Somewhere in there, we'll provide the full draft to KS backers who requested the Case Officer's Handbook in their rewards.

Ask Us Anything

Thanks in part to the enthusiastic folks at /r/DeltaGreenRPG and /r/NightAtTheOpera, Delta Green is May's Game of the Month at reddit.com/r/rpg! To celebrate, Dennis Detwiller and I will be there TODAY at 2pm Central time. Ask Us Anything! 

ChupacabraCon

I'll be at ChupacabraCon in Round Rock, Texas, this Friday and Saturday. I'll be speaking on panels about gaming and maybe running a little Delta Green. If you're at Chupa, find me and say hi.

Sigil & Sign

Our friends at Cubicle 7 and Make Believe Games are running a Kickstarter for a new kind of Lovecraftian RPG: Sigil & Sign, where you play servants of the Old Ones. Our own Dennis Detwiller and Greg Stolze are among the contributors. They are well past their core goal and have nearly two more weeks to add stretch goals. Check it out!

Sigil & Sign
Sigil & Sign

A Delta Green Excerpt: Irem and the Nameless City

The legendary, pre-Islamic Arabian city “Irem of the Pillars” appears in the Quran and the Thousand and One Nights, both of which describe its sudden destruction by Allah for the impiety of its inhabitants. Later mythographers located Irem variously in the interior of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Oman. A 1991 expedition identified an Iron Age frankincense trading fort at al-Shisr in Oman as Irem (or “Ubar”) after discovering its eight towers, fallen into a sinkhole some time around 400 CE. Alhazredic legend connects Irem to a prehuman “Nameless City” inhabited by ghostly reptiles, implying that the Adites of Irem somehow destroyed it. Alhazred supposedly composed the first couplet of the Necronomicon (“That is not dead,” etc.) dreaming of the Nameless City while in the ruins of Irem. Given the scale of NRO DELTA and other MAJESTIC operations in Saudi Arabia and Oman in 1990 and 1991 under cover of Gulf War deployments, it is conceivable that MAJESTIC discovered one or both sites. Follow-up operations by Delta Green during the Second Gulf War proved frustratingly indecisive, leading some officers to suspect that former MAJESTIC officials altered previously-collected intelligence in the confusion of the MAJESTIC War.

  • Prisoner testimony from the 1907 St. Bernard Parish raid places Irem near or at the center of the global Cthulhu cult. 
  • Miskatonic professor Nathaniel Wingate Peaslee may have entered Irem or the Nameless City in 1911, while under Yithian possession. 
  • The writings of occultist Randolph Carter describe Irem as a city on the border between reality and the Outside, with a mighty hand sculpted on the keystone of its main arch. Carter implies that Yog-Sothoth dwells there. 
  • The 19th Baron Northam mounted an expedition to the Nameless City in 1921 and returned to London a shattered wreck, seemingly decades older. 
  • A 1930 letter by Harry St. John Philby recounts his conversation with an old man in Yemen who had seen Irem in the al-Dahna desert in central Saudi Arabia, and worshiped there at underground shrines of Nug and Yeb. Philby himself mounted an expedition into the Rub’ al-Khali in 1932, and insisted that the Wabar meteor crater represented the remains of Irem. Philby may have been trying to throw later explorers off the scent of the true Irem. 
  • Philby’s son Kim may have compromised a PISCES mission to the Wabar/Irem site (Operation CALDERA) in 1948. 
  • Stephen Alzis once mentioned, on tape, that his birthplace was a “city of pillars,” though, when pressed, he either could not or would not recall the name.

Delta Green does not know whether Irem and the Nameless City are the same place, two separate dimensional extensions overlapping in one geographical locus, or two different haunted Arabian ruins. The Rub’ al-Khali desert could easily conceal more than one such site.

—Excerpted from Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game. © Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, and the Delta Green Partnership.

Why Agents can't have nice things
over 5 years ago – Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 11:57:34 PM

I posted this note on my personal Facebook feed a few days ago. It was a throwaway post for friends, not part of the book or anything. But it proved popular. If you didn't already read it there, maybe you'll enjoy it here. 

"Some #DeltaGreen players demand to know why their Agents don't get more help and resources. The Program is official now, right? Isn't it swimming in money and authority? I want a gunship and satellite coverage and a SWAT team on standby! 

"Why not? Because every request like that involves another dozen or hundred people in your operation—and all their coworkers and families when shit inevitably goes sideways—and your operation is SUPPOSED to be covert. 

"Here's a true story [from Top Secret America, by Arkin and Priest]. Case officers probably tell each other stories like this around the campfire. 

"In the years just after 9/11, the Department of Defense launched thousands of classified counterterrorism programs. Special-access programs, the purposes of which were considered deadly secrets. Just meaningless code-names on a list. Impossible to figure out. 

"Except: The DoD contracted out to get the work done, and the contractors—all carefully vetted for Top Secret security clearances—needed highly skilled employees. The contractors' HR reps posted job openings on sites like Monster.com, like always. To make sure they got the right people, they would post announcements like 'Senior Analytic Support Specialist based in Columbia, Maryland, to work on the following projects: ANCHORY, OCTAVE, PINWALE, ARCVIEW,' and so on. 

"Yeah. Anyone interested in cracking open secrets immediately can discern what PINWALE, ANCHORY, and so on involve, and where the work gets done. Wait, there were another five job listings for Project ANCHORY? I wonder what those new details will tell us? You think we can submit a bogus job application and get a call from the subcontractor to fill in the blanks? 

"No Wikileaks, no Manning, no Snowden, no hacking. Just a contractor with a job to fill. 

"So, no, your Agents don't get awesome toys and support. You don't get lawyers and licenses to kill. You don't get permission or immunity. You get to save lives, and if you get caught you get to take the fall. That's it. If you want to blame somebody, blame America. Because America sucks at keeping secrets. That's why we love it so."

—Shane Ivey

Investigative background preferred; comprehensive life insurance recommended.
Investigative background preferred; comprehensive life insurance recommended.

Update: Case Officer's Handbook

I'm sorry to say we still don't have a firm release date, but it's still getting closer, day by day.

For the last couple of weeks, Dennis and I have been focusing mainly on the "Entities" chapter, tightening up and consolidating material by other authors and filling in gaps here and there. It is, no surprise, a lot of work. We're not just revisiting stat blocks found in prior Cthulhu Mythos RPGs. We're creating entities from scratch, working from the primary sources: mainly Lovecraft, plus Campbell and Wilson for creations like the Shan and the Lloigor. 

We took the same approach to rituals and psychic powers in the Hypergeometry chapter, and to the Great Old Ones in their chapter. These versions of the game's monsters and spells come from the sources that best fit Delta Green's tone and themes, interpreted so they do what we like in play. We hope that makes many of them strange and surprising—even before the Handler takes our advice to change things up so the players never know exactly what's going on.

Here's one threat from the manuscript. Whatever your Agents have been up to, they probably have it coming.

Ye Liveliest Awfulness

“It is hard to explain just how a single sight of a tangible object with measureable dimensions could so shake and change a man; and we may only say that there is about certain outlines and entities a power of symbolism and suggestion which acts frightfully on a sensitive thinker’s perspective and whispers terrible hints of obscure cosmic relationships and unnamable realities behind the protective illusions of common vision.” —H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

The dead may be returned to life with the ritual known as Raise from Essential Saltes. But if a corpse has been so destroyed or eaten away as to be incomplete, what returns is a grotesque, immortal monstrosity that one witness called “Nothing butt ye liveliest Awfulness.” 

The awfulness is essentially human in structure but horribly malformed and misshapen. It is darkly discolored, perhaps thanks to the infusion of the stuff of Outside powers that were invoked to give it life. Some say its hideous proportions are eerily reminiscent of those powers and the dimensions where they lurk. 

Long before the awfulness can be seen, its nauseating stench can be smelled and its unnerving voice can be heard: dismal moanings, mindless whines, yelps and gibberings. The awfulness lurches and flops clumsily across the ground, or flings itself in spasmodic leaps, reaching with twisted limbs. 

The awfulness may be returned to ash in the same manner as anyone resurrected in the Raise from Essential Saltes ritual. Cruel sorcerers have been rumored to keep these remnants imprisoned as convenient victims for ritual sacrifice. Whether an awfulness is human enough for that purpose is up to the Handler.

STR 26, CON 20, DEX 10, INT 4, POW 6
HP 23, WP 6
ARMOR: See UNFORMED.
SKILLS: Alertness 80%, Athletics 50%.
ATTACKS: Grapple 55%; see RAVENOUS.
AGELESS: The awfulness suffers no ill effects from aging. Presumably it must feed, but some have been known to sit in torpor for years—or centuries, or millennia, or eons; who can say?—with no apparent harm.
RAVENOUS: In any turn after it has a victim pinned in its flailing limbs, the awfulness can tear with its ghastly teeth and suck down flesh and blood, inflicting 2D6 damage. If the awfulness has taken damage, it heals 1 HP for each HP that the victim loses to its feeding.
RAW POWER: The awfulness’ STR test or CON test succeeds on any roll except 100, and is a critical success on matching dice or any roll of 26 or lower for STR, or 20 or lower for CON.
UNFORMED: Slippery and scrabbling, not wholly related to any natural form of life, the awfulness is difficult to destroy. Any attack against it inflicts only 1 HP damage, except for fire, hypergeometry, or a weapon with Lethality of 20% or more.
SAN LOSS: 1/1D10.

© Shane Ivey and the Delta Green Partnership, 2017

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