It is the 1960s. The stars are coming right.

The United States declares war on poverty and sends half a million troops to Indochina; desegregates voting booths and shoots rockets at the moon. Everyone believes that if we put our mind to it and our backs into it, there’s nothing we can’t do to make the world better, for America and everyone else.

You know that this is a lie. You are an Agent of DELTA GREEN, an authorized but unacknowledged black program of the United States national security establishment, tasked to hunt and destroy the Cthulhu Mythos. You know that plans and ideals, peace and love, matter less than a single atom drifting in the galaxy. All you can do is rage against doom, burn out your mind and body, and damn your nonexistent soul keeping your family, your country, your planet, ignorant and safe for one more day.

Written by ENnie Award-winning designer Kenneth Hite, The Fall of DELTA GREEN corebook adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME from Arc Dream Publishing to the award-winning GUMSHOE system. It opens the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations both foreign and domestic, the last days of DELTA GREEN before the Joint Chiefs shut the program down in 1970.

Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies, in deadly one-shot adventures or a campaign spanning the years from hope to madness. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness.

The Fall of DELTA GREEN features:

  • Lethal combat and covert action in the 1960s, featuring assault rifles, flamethrowers, mortar shells, spy cameras, truth drugs, and getting rid of the bodies DELTA GREEN operations always seem to leave behind.
  • “Back in the World” vignettes that let you explore the human side of your Agent’s life—and often track their slow destruction by DELTA GREEN.
  • The rich world of the Delta Green Mythos, including a gazetteer of unnatural lands, the desperate truth of Hastur, and period takes on the top-secret MAJESTIC program, the Nazi Karotechia, the alien Greys, and the decadent Cult of Transcendence.
  • Detailed advice for making mysteries, magics, monsters, and DELTA GREEN operations.
  • Interoperability with Night’s Black Agents, Trail of Cthulhu, and The Esoterrorists: Use your favorite GUMSHOE rules to battle the unnatural in the 1960s!

The decade begins in sunny optimism, and ends in nighted disaster in the jungles of Indochina.

After the summer of the 1950s, now comes the fall—The Fall of DELTA GREEN.

Buy the regular edition

Buy the limited edition

Buy the PDF

Related Links

Stock #:PELGDG01 Author: Kenneth Hite
Artists: Jen McCleary, Gislaine Avila, Nyra Drakae, Kennedy C. Garza, Melissa Gay, Quintin Gleim, Jérôme Huguenin, David Lewis Johnson, Erika Leveque, Anthony Moravian, Ernanda Souza, and Karolina Węgrzyn Format: 368-page, two-color, smythe-sewn hardback

 

“My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.”

— “The Rifleman’s Creed,” as quoted in Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987)

Spy stories, war stories, and horror stories: The Fall of DELTA GREEN contains all of them. And all of them contain, encompass, even (ahem) fetishize weapons. While every player knows that bringing a gun to a tentacle fight may not always be the best idea, every player in their secret heart of hearts thinks to themselves, “But what if I brought a better gun to a tentacle fight?”

Herewith a few of those better guns, guns emblematic of the decade or just too cool to ignore. I weep at giving short shrift to the standard Communist bloc small arms (the Kalashnikov AKM 7.62mm assault rifle (d+0; L1 on full auto) and the Makarov PM 9mm pistol (d+1)), bypassing the fun Czechoslovak “Skorpion” SA Vz. 61 7.65mm submachine pistol (d+0; L1 on full auto but only at Close range unless fired from the shoulder with stock attached and extended), and avoiding the temptation to gun-neepery about the 1962 re-vamp of the venerable FN Browning Hi-Power 9mm pistol (d+1).

I’m less busted up at ignoring the ridiculous GyroJet 13mm rocket pistol (d+0 Point-Blank and Close, d+1 Near and Long, no Point-Blank damage bonus, natural 1 an automatic miss) despite its appearance in You Only Live Twice. If the finicky Stoner 63A 5.56mm LMG (L1* on a bipod mount) actually had any advantages besides being convertible to an assault rifle or carbine (30-round box magazine, d+0, L1 fully auto) I could convince myself to write it up. The Navy SEALs liked it a lot and carried it for 20 years after first deploying with it in 1967, which I suspect comes down to its 150-round drum magazine and low weight compared to the M60. DELTA GREEN probably has some use for a 10-pound assault rifle that can become a light machine gun in less than a minute (Mechanics test Difficulty 4, Diff 3 with Firearms or Heavy Weapons).

The gun writeups I did get to here include their potentially applicable “Gun Cherries” (Double Tap, pp. 74-75), any special rules to more closely model their action, and even a clue that Agents can plink with the relevant Investigative Ability.

AAI QSPR Tunnel Weapon .44 Magnum pistol

Do you feel lucky, Pickman?

For the extremely close-quarters fighting in the Viet Cong tunnels, “tunnel rats” needed a weapon that was silent (in a tunnel, echoing gun blasts deafened shooters and warned foes), deadly, and most of all easy to draw and fire in close quarters. Silencers made guns longer and clumsier, and a kludged-together .38 Special with an aiming light and suppressor (part of the 1966 LWL “tunnel kit”) was hard to draw, misaligned, and still too loud.

In 1969, Aircraft Armaments, Inc. (AAI) came up with something different. The Quiet Special Purpose Revolver (QSPR) milled a .44 Smith & Wesson Magnum revolver down and sawed off the barrel, for less bulk. Instead of a normal bullet, the gun fired a plastic-cased buckshot shell, using a “captured piston” system that essentially launched the shell at the enemy. Effective range was only 25 feet, but in the tunnels, that was enough. The piston system sealed off the gases, so the gun fired with no more noise or muzzle blast than a cap pistol. The tunnel rats didn’t trust another experimental gun, but the Rangers loved it for covert action and night ambushes. Only 100 QSPRs were ever made — unless DELTA GREEN ordered up a few hundred for anti-ghoul action and other night fights.

The QSPR does d+1 damage and cannot reach beyond Close range. Given its much lower stopping power compared to regular bullets, all Armor adds 2 points (-1 Armor becomes -3 Armor) against it at any range (not just at Close range as with regular shotguns). Treat QSPR shots as silencer shots (FoDG, p. 141), but foes without a positive Alertness Modifier get no bonus to hear them. Possible Gun Cherries: Handy, Smooth Action.

Carl Gustav “Swedish K” Kulsprutepistole m/45 9mm SMG

Sanitized sanitizer

This Swedish submachine gun dates from 1944 and features a simple, hardy steel-frame design. Low cyclic rate means low recoil, and even though it technically only fires full auto, squeezing off a one-round “burst” is easy for even new users. Its 36-round magazine has a slight trapezoid outline, making for a secure fit and smoother feed for ammo in filthy field conditions — Swedish and Irish troops used it in the Congo, and the Egyptian and Algerian governments licensed it for desert operations. A folding wire stock made it relatively compact (21 inches long) while still packing lots of firepower.

The Navy SEALs and the CIA loved the “Swedish K,” which could fire immediately after being submerged in water, and easily out-performed the balky early M16 models. The CIA even manufactured a variant with an internal sound suppressor for covert operations, and (Tradecraft) literally filed the serial numbers off (“sanitized”) whole shipments of “K-rifles” for CIA operators, MACV-SOG troops, and guerrilla armies around the world. This kind of behavior gets Sweden to embargo shipment of the m/45 to the U.S. in 1966, so the Navy hires Smith & Wesson to build a knockoff, the M76. (The CIA probably just starts buying them second-hand from Indonesia, which also licensed the weapon.)

The Swedish K does d+1 damage (L1 on full auto, roll of 1 fires on full auto regardless of your intent). CIA variants with the internal suppressor count as silenced (FoDG, p. 141). Possible Gun Cherries: Handy, Rugged Reliability, Smooth Action.

GE M134 “Minigun” 7.62mm LMG

Not on MY doorstep

To provide helicopters with more reliable (and heavier) firepower to cover landings and takeoffs, the Army tasked General Electric to scale down the Vulcan 20mm Gatling cannon to fire 7.62mm NATO machine gun ammo. This smaller, lighter six-rotating-barrel electric-powered gun (nicknamed the “Minigun”) enters the field in 1963 on helicopter door mounts and weapons pods. The standard mount comes with a self-contained 1,500-round magazine, but with a delinker (Mechanics test Diff 4 or 3 with Heavy Weapons to jury-rig) it can take up to a 5,000-round ammo belt.

Contrary to its later cinematic depiction, a single human cannot carry and fire the M134 simultaneously: not only would the recoil knock him down, the gun requires a power source and attached cable.

The M134 does L1* damage. Electrically powered and mounted, each 1 Heavy Weapons point spent firing it counts as 2 points. It can only be Shot Dry after two unmodified 6 rolls, and does three instances of damage to up to three targets if so. Possible Gun Cherries: BFG, Stopping Power.

 


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

“’Wait a minute!’ the man hissed. ‘Are you after more books like that? I know where we can get some.’”

— Ramsey Campbell, “Cold Print” (1969)

The 1960s were a great decade for occult books, featuring waves of bestsellers launched by Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels’ million-selling Morning of the Magicians in 1963. Some of those books show up not just on bookstore spinner racks but on DELTA GREEN task sheets — or in the dorm rooms, cult compounds, and forest cabins those task sheets point the Agents to.

The Black Diamond Séance

“A.K. Porlock” (1939; English)

In 1936, thriller writer Dennis Wheatley began writing a series of “murder dossiers” intended as party games. Containing all the clues and handouts needed to solve a murder mystery, the first one sold over 100,000 copies. Rival publishers Sandestin Press rushed out their own “Sensation File” series. This one, the third and last in the “Sensation File” line, contained instructions for holding a séance complete with an “occult ritual” intended to awaken the Black Diamond (a milled shard of obsidian included in a paper packet). Fortunately the War intervened and very few copies sold. The American reprint edition (from Harmonica Publishing) comes out in 1967, riding the booming interest in witchcraft and the occult.

Hypergeometry Potential: Contains one hypergeometric ritual, which awakens a Black Winged One and ties it to a nearby shard of obsidian. Fortunately, the American edition does not include actual obsidian, replacing it with colored glass.

Dedicated Pool Points: 1 for Occult, usable to hold or otherwise interact with a séance.

The Case For the UFO (Varo Press Edition)

Morris K. Jessup and unknown annotators (1957; English)

The pre-Varo edition

Jessup, an auto-parts salesman who studied astronomy in college (M.S., University of Michigan, 1926), wrote The Case For the UFO in 1955. Parties unknown mailed a triply-annotated copy of Jessup’s book to Admiral Frederick R. Furth of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in early 1956. Jessup recognized one of the annotators’ handwriting as that of “Carlos Allende,” a correspondent of his who had described witnessing the Philadelphia Experiment (Project RAINBOW). Captain Sidney Sherby of the ONR had government contractor Varo Press print thirty spiral-bound copies of the annotated volume (displaying each annotator in their own color of ink), including two Allende letters, and gave Jessup four of them. The annotations hint at many things that MAJESTIC does not want mentioned, even in such limited circulation; the fate of the twenty-six ONR copies remains unclear. Jessup died in 1959 in Florida, an apparent suicide by motor exhaust inhalation. Not all of his copies have been recovered.

Unnatural: 1 if the reader has experienced the ultra-violet, time travel, or communion with Yog-Sothoth.

Dedicated Pool Points: 1 for Fringe Science, especially MAJESTIC research into UFOs or Project RAINBOW

Dhol Chants

Unknown authors (c. 200 B.C.; originally Pyu?)

This set of chants supposedly “spoke themselves” as the “yin reaction” to the introduction of Buddhism to Burma in the third century B.C. The structure of the chants themselves indicates a Sino-Tibetan original, probably the extinct Pyu language of central Burma. Commentaries in Burmese date from some time around the Mongol invasion (c. 1300), and ascribe the chants to “men of Linggu.” The eccentric Sinologist Jerome Harkniss translated and edited a complete corpus of Dhol Chants and commentaries in three volumes in 1891-1899.

Unnatural: 2

Hypergeometry Potential: 3 (1 for readers illiterate in Burmese)

Dedicated Pool Points: 2 for investigations involving the plateaus of Leng or Sung.

Marvels of Science

James Morryster (1960; English)

Hasty edition in modern English of Morryster’s 1708 original Marvells of Science, bulked out with more “strange but true” facts from a variety of sources. Many of Morryster’s anecdotes involve devils, reptiles, birth defects, murderers, angels, sea monsters, and magnets. Morryster briefly quotes the Pnakotika when discussing the theory that time and Creation repeat themselves. The credited editor, Lois Gould, provides a lengthy preface siting Morryster in the intellectual disputes of the Royal Society, which mentions the Mathers and Ward Phillips. Originally a doctoral dissertation by Gould, the publisher (Stellar Press) cut the manuscript down and tarted it up with UFO and Bigfoot sightings.

Unnatural: 1 at most

Dedicated Pool Points: 1 for Fringe Science.

Randolph Carter: A Look Behind the Attic Window

Lin Carter (1969; English)

Unimaginative but completist survey of the fiction and poetry of Randolph Carter (1890-1928?), in a paperback original from Ballantine Books with a lurid cover showing ghosts and monsters cavorting across a dreamer’s face. It attempts to explicate and unify Carter’s various imaginary, dream, and theosophist settings and concepts, and includes two chapters of biography including a chapter on his mysterious disappearance in 1928. Contains a “Glossary of Randolph Carter’s Cosmos” listing and defining every place, entity, dimension, and so forth mentioned in his fiction, including several names of Unnatural import.

Unnatural: 1 if the reader has already entered the Dreamlands or otherwise had an Unnatural experience while asleep.

Dedicated Pool Points: 2 for any investigation involving the Dreamlands.

The Tablets of Nhing

Rebecca Aspinwall (1964; English)

This channeled magical text supposedly originates from the planet Yaddith. Rebecca Aspinwall drops out of Tulane Law School on the basis of her contactee experience and self-publishes her book the next year. In 1966 she sells it to Chaplet Books, who retitle it Love Visions of Nhing and, based on her “continuing revelations,” insert much sexier rituals such as “The Joining of Three Souls” and “The Orgy of the Spheres.” Aspinwall lives in Houma, Louisiana, although she often travels to college campuses to incarnate a new group of Joiners of Yaddith and draw reliable condemnation from church groups and anti-obscenity crusaders.

Unnatural: 1

Hypergeometry Potential: 1 (3 for self-published 1964 edition)

Dedicated Pool Points: 2 points for any investigation involving Yaddith, bholes, or Yog-Sothoth; also grants 1 point of HUMINT for New Agers and free-love cultists.

Überreste Verlorener Imperien

Otto Dostmann (1809; German)

Romantic prehistory of the Mediterranean world after the sinking of Atlantis, sporadically treating sites from Scotland to Romania to India wherever Dostmann believes the evidence supports his theories. His arguments range from linguistic and epigraphic oddities to antiquarian finds to folktales and songs. Needless to say, the Ahnenerbe reprinted it in 1940 as a triumph of German scholarship. The only other edition of Dostmann is the Spanish-language Residuos de Imperios Perdidos (Buenos Aires, 1954).

Unnatural: 1

Hypergeometry Potential: 2 (after undergoing a vision at one of the sites mentioned)

Dedicated Pool Points: 2 for Anthropology, Archaeology, History, or Occult involving the relevant region of the world (northern Africa, Europe, western Asia).

Villele, in his turn, was summoned to Paris. His boss asked him what he thought of the paratroops.

“There’s a lot of good and a lot of bad in them,” he replied. “They’re dangerous because they go to any lengths and nothing will hold them back … they’re beyond the … notion of good and evil.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

In case you haven’t heard, the lovely folks at Studio Deadcrows are successfully crowdfunding a French translation of The Fall of DELTA GREEN. For good and sufficient world-building reasons, Arc Dream remain shy of creating a full-bore French government DG- or PISCES-equivalent unit, but every so often people at the fringes of power touch the edges of the Unnatural. And some of those people have machine guns.

Thus Organisation Claude, not a government outfit like GRU-SV8 or PISCES, or even a deniable program like DELTA GREEN. No, Organisation Claude runs as a straight-up illegal operation on a cell system, behind and sometimes against the walls of the bureaucracy. Now where have we seen that model before? Oh, yes, in the days of the Resistance. And thus Claude began, as a ring of the Resistance within the arch-Catholic Confrérie Notre-Dame network active in the north of France after the end of 1940. Its leader “Claude Griffon” was actually a shared nom du guerre for any cell to use for propaganda, which didn’t stop Claude Griffon from being wanted by the Gestapo … and becoming a DELTA GREEN “friendly.”

In 1942, Organisation Claude provided the Resistance fighters and escorts for the OSS DELTA GREEN operations LIFEGUARD in Cap de la Hague and UPROAR in Fécamp, and the survivors of those actions sniffed out and destroyed a few other Karotechia operations on French soil. They resolved that such sacrileges must be fought wherever they emerged. Despite Gestapo manhunts and the ongoing toll of partisan operations — and nameless horrors — enough of Claude survived the war that when Captain Hugues de Marigny (b. 1917) joined the 1er Régiment du Chasseurs Parachutistes in 1948, he could bring the hard core of the Organisation with him to Indochina. More horror awaited there, but de Marigny survived Dien Bien Phu and a Vietminh POW camp and returned to … Algeria.

          Not pictured: Claude Griffon

In 1956, Commandant de Marigny joined the 3e Régiment de Hussards Parachutistes (3e RHP), newly organized to put down the NLF colonial revolution in France’s keystone colony. He fought terrorists and revolutionaries and the Unnatural all over Algeria, eventually becoming Lieutenant-Colonel in command of the regiment. He seeded new OC cells, or “commandos,” within the Foreign Legion and other paratrooper regiments — his cousin Étienne-Laurent in America had served in the Legion with Randolph Carter in WWI and provided crucial contacts on the Quai d’Orsay and elsewhere. Following the Salan coup attempt in 1961, the 3e RHP is dissolved and de Marigny retires as a Colonel.

De Marigny won’t work with the Communists, as he believes they would consider the Unnatural just another technology or turn it over to Moscow or both, but he has few other scruples. OC commandos, four to six men or women strong (de Marigny knew far too many female fighters in the Resistance to let chivalry guide him here), stand ready not just within the Legion and the security services, but inside the SAC (the Gaullist party covert ops unit), the OAS terrorist organization, and the Marseille Milieu.

Communiques from de Marigny come with the griffon flash of the 3e RHP and the signature “Claude needs you.” Somehow a plane frees up, and “training orders” sometimes get cut. Every so often an arsenal is unguarded, or a pier unwatched. Someone higher up — possibly even de Gaulle himself, who famously keeps personal control of extraordinary units — must be greasing the wheels for OC, but they’re even more anonymous than de Marigny.

De Marigny takes that and all of Claude’s other secrets with him when he commits suicide by pistol on 21 May 1981 at his ancestral home in Normandy, while watching the inauguration of President Mitterrand on television.

“What about orders?” an elderly captain inquired.

“No written orders. Do as you see fit. You’ll be covered by the general, you’ve got his word for this.”

— Jean Lartéguy, The Centurions

Regular DELTA GREEN Agents might run across OC commandos in France, or France’s former colonies in Africa, or even in Indochina or the South Pacific. Whether they consider them allies, stooges, or dangerous hyper-Catholic weirdos depends on the cell, and on the Handler’s approach. Only the oldest of OSS hands might remember the name “Claude Griffon,” but OC has an even more paranoid attitude toward security than DG does, so it’s unlikely to come up.

These action items might come up for DG overseas, or for a French-based OC campaign (for which, see the French-US 1960s agency equivalencies table below), or both:

  • France tests nuclear weapons at the In Ekker site (1961-1966) on the northwestern edge of the Hoggar (where “Medusa’s Coil” and “The Last Test” place Atlantean or even prehuman cities) in Algeria, then in convenient-to-R’lyeh Muroroa Atoll (1966-1970). Nukes plus hypergeometry, what could go wrong? Or is France trying to stop Something from coming out?
  • Jean-Luc Bruneau of the Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique heads up a UFO investigation portfolio personally authorized by de Gaulle in 1967. Before that he or the OC might investigate the Valensole UFO incident (1 Jul 1965) or the Cussac close encounter (29 Aug 1967).
  • The OC goes in all-hands during the May 1968 Hastur outbreak.
  • Newly extended nickel mines in New Caledonia (1969) could open up Pnakotic shafts or release spectral polyps.

Handlers might also wonder what the heirs of the Comte d’Erlette are up to, or the various French cults from Dreamhounds of Paris thirty years later. A few of the old Surrealists remain alive and kicking in the 1960s, offering a chance to combine blasts of inspiration with blasts of gelignite.

 

French Agencies :: US Agencies Table

Commandos-Marine :: Special Forces (Sailor)

Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) :: AEC

Deuxième Bureau :: DIA or ONI

Direction Centrale Police Judiciare (DCPJ; after 1966) :: FBI or FBN

Direction Centrale Reseignements Généraux (DCRG) :: FBI or USAIC

Direction de la Surveillance Territoire (DST) :: FBI; add Cryptography 1 to Investigative options

Direction de la Securité Militaire (DSM) :: AFOSI but may also be Soldier, Marine, or Sailor; add Firearms 3 to General options

Gendarmerie Nationale :: Soldier + FBI Special Agent (without Accounting or Investigative options)

Régiment Ètranger de Parachutistes (REP) :: Special Forces (Soldier), Parachuting as mandatory Special Skill

Service de Action Civique (SAC) :: CIA (DPlans Operative, PAD), USAIC, or Gangster

Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionage (SDECE) :: CIA or DIA

SDECE Groupement des Communications Radioélectriques (GCR) :: NSA

SDECE Service Action :: CIA Special Operations Division

Sûreté Nationale (Police Nationale after 1966) :: FBI or US Marshals


The Fall of DELTA GREEN adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME to the GUMSHOE investigative roleplaying system, opening the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations: the 1960s. Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness. Purchase The Fall of DELTA GREEN in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

The sonofabitch is in here somewhere. I saw him — I’m gonna get him.” – The French Connection

In 1968, in response to sinister influences that threatened to corrupt America from within and without, the Federal Government established a new agency – one that quickly acquired a reputation for ambitious operations overseas, for covert action, and for doing what had to be done, no matter the cost.

This new agency was the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, the BNDD.

And within it – the forces of DELTA GREEN.

Trail of the White Powder

Hunt the Unnatural across the world! From the opium fields of Laos to the skies above the Pacific, from Turkish smuggling routes to the secret heroin labs of Marseilles, follow the trade in misery and fight the horrors along the way. Expose the criminal underworld – and discover that it’s inextricably linked with other secret realms.

Eight Thrilling Operations!

Eight linked operations for The Fall of DELTA GREEN, each one playable as a standalone investigation or as part of an epic hunt for an infamous enemy! That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons, even death may die…

JADE PHOENIX * ALONSO * HORUS HOURS

DE PROFUNDIS * SECOND LOOK

PURITAN * MISTRAL

NEPENTHE

The Borellus Connection is a campaign for Fall of Delta Green, using the heroin trade and the United States Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs as a narrative spine. The campaign runs from South-East Asia to the Middle East to Europe, as the Agents uncover the sinister machinations of a necromantic cult.

  • Operation JADE PHOENIX (North-Eastern Burma): The CIA wants the Chinese-backed Shan warlord Li Bao Lung assassinated, and the Agents are tasked to escort a Marine sniper, Sergeant Adolph Lepus, to Li’s headquarters in the Wa state of northeast Burma, with orders to eliminate Li and return with proof of Li’s (and therefore Peking’s involvement in the opium trade. DELTA GREEN has identified one of Li’s advisers, Ming Yuan, as a Kuen-Yuin sorcerer; Li’s compound is a target-rich environment. The team must travel into Burma, avoiding detection en route, and penetrate the defences around Li’s compound to ensure Lepus has a clear shot on both targets.
  • Operation ALONSO (Saigon, Vietnam): The NBDD assigns the Agents to surveil a drug summit at the Continental Palace hotel between Unione Corse bosses and emissaries from Marseille. While there, DELTA GREEN wants them to ascertain the status of the Cthulhu cult in the Rung Sat region south-east of the city.
  • Operation HORUS HOURS (Hong Kong to Los Angeles, by air): Clues uncovered during ALONSO point to the existence of a heroin smuggling route running from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. The Agents have to hastily follow the couriers on the trans-Pacific flight via numerous stops and layovers, watching for the critical moment of the handover.
  • Operation DE PROFUNDIS (Bozuktepe, Turkey): Using a BNDD investigation into opium smuggling as cover, DELTA GREEN sends the Agents to investigate the suicide and disappearance of archaeologist Charles Whiteman. He was excavating a ceremonial site at Bozuktepe before mysteriously killing himself; his body vanished en route back to England. What did he bring up from the depths before he died?
  • Operation SECOND LOOK (Beirut, Lebanon): The Agents are sent in to surveil another drug deal and gather evidence; this time, an unreliable DELTA GREEN informant, Francois Genoud, is in the mix, and the Agents are ordered to remind him where his loyalties lie – but there’s more at stake here than they know, as sinister powers make a second attempt to uncover secrets of the Mythos…
  • Operation PURITAN (Munich, Germany to Prague, Czechoslovakia): The Agents follow Unione Corse heroin shipments into Munich, but while there, another DELTA GREEN case officer tasks them to investigate unnatural contamination of the CIA’s QK-ACTIVE propaganda broadcasts into the Soviet Union. Who is broadcasting elements of the Necronomicon from a CIA-backed radio station? Finding the truth sends the Agents on a desperate race into Prague.
  • Operation MISTRAL (Marseille, France): During the May ’68 riots, the Agents are sent to Marseille to investigate gang conflicts – and possible Unnatural activity in the troubled city.

and the mysterious Operation NEPENTHE…

Sinister Alchemy

Discover the essential truths of life and death. Face sorcerers with strange powers, or plunge through realms beyond comprehension. Choose your allies carefully, and trust no-one – not even yourself.

 “I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you can not put downe; by the Which I meane, Any that can in Turne call up somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use. Ask of the Lesser, lest the Greater shall not wish to Answer, and shall commande more than you.”


Designed by Kenneth Hite, written by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, the team that brought you the ZALOZHNIY QUARTET and the DRACULA DOSSIER are called up again to create a tale of sordid intrigue, cosmic horror, and desperate action against the Mythos!

Only 100 copies of the faux-leatherbound limited edition The Fall of DELTA GREEN exist. 50 are available to customers in the U.S. and Canada, and 50 are available to customers outside the U.S. and Canada. The books are faux leather with gold foil, and each one includes a sticky-backed bookplate signed by Kenneth Hite which you can add to your book.

Limited edition with bookplate

It is the 1960s. The stars are coming right.

The United States declares war on poverty and sends half a million troops to Indochina; desegregates voting booths and shoots rockets at the moon. Everyone believes that if we put our mind to it and our backs into it, there’s nothing we can’t do to make the world better, for America and everyone else.

You know that this is a lie. You are an Agent of DELTA GREEN, an authorized but unacknowledged black program of the United States national security establishment, tasked to hunt and destroy the Cthulhu Mythos. You know that plans and ideals, peace and love, matter less than a single atom drifting in the galaxy. All you can do is rage against doom, burn out your mind and body, and damn your nonexistent soul keeping your family, your country, your planet, ignorant and safe for one more day.

Written by ENnie Award-winning designer Kenneth Hite, The Fall of DELTA GREEN corebook adapts DELTA GREEN: THE ROLE-PLAYING GAME from Arc Dream Publishing to the award-winning GUMSHOE system. It opens the files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations both foreign and domestic, the last days of DELTA GREEN before the Joint Chiefs shut the program down in 1970.

Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies, in deadly one-shot adventures or a campaign spanning the years from hope to madness. Hunt Deep Ones beneath the Atlantic, shut down dangerous artists in San Francisco, and delve into the heart of Vietnam’s darkness.

The Fall of DELTA GREEN features:

  • Lethal combat and covert action in the 1960s, featuring assault rifles, flamethrowers, mortar shells, spy cameras, truth drugs, and getting rid of the bodies DELTA GREEN operations always seem to leave behind.
  • “Back in the World” vignettes that let you explore the human side of your Agent’s life—and often track their slow destruction by DELTA GREEN.
  • The rich world of the Delta Green Mythos, including a gazetteer of unnatural lands, the desperate truth of Hastur, and period takes on the top-secret MAJESTIC program, the Nazi Karotechia, the alien Greys, and the decadent Cult of Transcendence.
  • Detailed advice for making mysteries, magics, monsters, and DELTA GREEN operations.
  • Interoperability with Night’s Black AgentsTrail of Cthulhu, and The Esoterrorists: Use your favorite GUMSHOE rules to battle the unnatural in the 1960s!

The decade begins in sunny optimism, and ends in nighted disaster in the jungles of Indochina.

After the summer of the 1950s, now comes the fall—The Fall of DELTA GREEN.

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Stock #: PELGDG01L Author: Kenneth Hite
Artists: Jen McCleary, Gislaine Avila, Nyra Drakae, Kennedy C. Garza, Melissa Gay, Quintin Gleim, Jérôme Huguenin, David Lewis Johnson, Erika Leveque, Anthony Moravian, Ernanda Souza, and Karolina Węgrzyn Format: 368-page, full color, smythe-sewn hardback

Buy the limited edition

With The Fall of Delta Green having psychedelically burst onto the shelves of finer game stores everywhere and indeed of this very site, this column keeps on bursting the covers of that already overfull tome. This time, rather than throw more weird story meat out there for the Handler, it’s time to give the players some love. And what better form can love take than a steady government paycheck? No better form, in the 1960s or now, surely. So here are a few more Departments where Agents can hang their hats while they’re out hatlessly hunting the unnatural. All these appear in the same format as those in the core book; and as always, yes, some of these Departments are actually just agencies, offices, bureaus, commands, and so forth.

Ability ratings with asterisks add to the rating already in the template, if you pick that ability for your Agent.

Army Security Agency

Technically under the wing of the NSA, but commanded by a U.S. Army general, the ASA protects electronic transmissions by the U.S. Army and attempts to intercept enemy and hostile communications both in the field and from listening stations, satellites, and other technical means. The ASA also has responsibility for electronic countermeasures and electronic warfighting if needed.

Semper Vigile

In Vietnam, the ASA operates as the 3rd Radio Research Unit (509th Radio Research Group after 1965) out of Tan Son Nhut in Saigon, accompanying Special Forces and MACV-SOG units and providing ELINT to regular U.S. forces in country. ASA pilots fly Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) over the jungles, locating and targeting Viet Cong and NVA transmissions … and perhaps other phenomena.

ASA Officer

Prerequisite: Begin by building your Agent using the Soldier template (FoDG, p. 028). You may be Active Duty.

Points: 9 Investigative, 12 General

Foreign Language 1, HUMINT 1, Military Science 1, SIGINT 2, Traffic Analysis 1

Bureaucracy 2, Mechanics 2

Pick Three Investigative: Anthropology 1, Cryptography 1, Data Retrieval 1, Foreign Language 1*, Interrogation 1, Photography 1

Pick Two General: Athletics 4, Mechanics 4*, Pilot 4, Sense Trouble 4, Stealth 4

Bureau of Customs

The U.S. Bureau of Customs doesn’t just collect tariffs and man airport checkpoints (or the other 300 points of entry into the United States) looking for undeclared bottles of wine. Its Office of Investigations combats art and antiquities smuggling, human and narcotics trafficking, and illegal weapons sales both at home and overseas; in 1969 it gets an Air Interdiction Unit. The Customs Bureau also maintains and secures bonded warehouses in ports and airports where almost anything might be stashed away by someone.

Customs Investigator

Points: 11 Investigative, 23 General

Accounting 1, Law 2, Cop Talk 1, Notice 1, Streetwise 1

Bureaucracy 2, Conceal 2, Drive 3

Pick Five Investigative: Accounting 1*, Archaeology 1, Art 1, Cop Talk 1*, Criminology 1, Foreign Language 1, HUMINT 1, Interrogation 1, Law 1*, Notice 1*, Streetwise 1*

Pick Four General: Athletics 4, Conceal 4*, Health 4, Pilot 4, Preparedness 4, Sense Trouble 4, Stability 4, Stealth 4

Central Intelligence Agency

Division D Intercept Specialist

Within the CIA’s Directorate of Plans, Division D handles the collection of electronic and signals intelligence, sometimes in partnership with the Office of Research and Development. The Division’s work happens overseas, in embassies and foreign listening stations such as Kagnew in Ethiopia and Teufelsberg in West Berlin. “The Shop” (FoDG, p. 033) most likely operates under Division D, which does not scruple to access foreign transmitters as well as passively intercept foreign signals. In 1978, Division D folds into the Special Collection Service (SCS), a joint NSA-CIA program.

Points: 14 Investigative, 25 General

Agency 2, Architecture 1, Cryptography 1, Data Retrieval 1, Foreign Language 1, HUMINT 1, Notice 1, SIGINT 2, Tradecraft 1

Bureaucracy 3, Firearms 1, Mechanics 5, Stealth 3, Unarmed Combat 1

Pick Three Investigative: Architecture 1*, Cryptography 1*, Foreign Language 1*, Photography 1, Reassurance 1, SIGINT 1*, Streetwise 1, Tradecraft 1*, Traffic Analysis 1

Pick Three General: Conceal 4, Disguise 4, Filch 4, Mechanics 4*, Preparedness 4, Stealth 4*

Office of Scientific Intelligence Analyst

Tasked with collecting information about scientific developments that could affect national security, the OSI remains something of an odd man out within the CIA. It supports U-2 flights and (until 1965) analyzes Soviet rocket launches, it monitors nuclear tests and provides grants to cooperative universities. In 1963 it moves from the Directorate of Intelligence to the DDS&T; in the confusion and bureaucratic infighting that follow, DELTA GREEN uses OSI as a seine for any hint of hypergeometric research overseas or inside MAJESTIC.

Points: 13 Investigative, 20 General

Data Retrieval 1, Fringe Science 1, Military Science 1, Notice 1, Physics 1

Add One Scientific Specialty: Astronomy 2, Biology 2, Chemistry 2, Physics 2*

Bureaucracy 3, Firearms 1, Mechanics 4, Sense Trouble 1, Unarmed Combat 1

Pick Three Investigative: Agency 2, Data Retrieval 2*, Foreign Language 2, Fringe Science 2*, SIGINT 2, Traffic Analysis 2

Pick Two General: Bureaucracy 5*, Network 5, Preparedness 5, Sanity 5, Stability 5

National Underwater Reconnaissance Office

Established in 1968 to take advantage of the sinking of the Soviet submarine K-129, NURO remains entirely classified for thirty years. Staffed by CIA and ONI personnel, NURO uses mini-subs and “special project submarines” like USS Halibut and USS Seawolf to carry out undersea operations against signal targets such as undersea cables and to penetrate both enemy and neutral waters for intelligence gathering. Prior to 1968 the ONI has a handful of officers tasked with undersea intelligence, but no dedicated program as such; the Navy has the “Oceanographic Systems” Commands (COMOCEANSYS) that operate the SOSUS deep-water sonar array.

The amount of intelligence product on Deep Ones alone that floods into DELTA GREEN with the establishment of NURO nearly drowns the program. Much of the planning of the abortive Operation POMPEY (FoDG, p. 185) comes from NURO sources. Meanwhile, program investigators backtrack the opposition to NURO to pressure from Exalted Circle-connected admirals and bureaucrats; another promising lead the dismantling of DELTA GREEN shuts off.

NURO Analyst

For COMOCEANSYS operators and officers, the Sailor template (FoDG, p. 027) is a prerequisite for your Military Service. Both COMOCEANSYS and NURO personnel may be Active Duty.

Points: 11 Investigative, 13 General

Cryptography 1, Military Science 2, Notice 1, SIGINT 1

Add 3 to any two of these: Bureaucracy 2, Drive 1, Heavy Weapons 1, Mechanics 2, Pilot 1

Pick Three Investigative: Agency 2, Cryptography 2*, Data Retrieval 2, Foreign Language 2, Physics 2, SIGINT 2*, Traffic Analysis 2

NURO Frogman

If your game uses Special Training skills, NURO frogmen should take SCUBA.

Prerequisite: Sailor template (FoDG, p. 027) for your Military Service. You are on Active Duty.

Points: 8 Investigative, 22 General

Add 1 to any two of these: Astronomy 1, Foreign Language 1, Inspiration 1, Interrogation 1, Notice 1, SIGINT 1

Athletics 4, Demolitions 3, Mechanics 2, Preparedness 3, Stealth 4

Pick Two General: Demolitions 3*, Firearms 3, First Aid 3, Heavy Weapons 3, Mechanics 3, Pilot 3, Stealth 3, Unarmed Combat 3

 

 

“They have no time to think of surrender. Are they heroes — these Parisians?”

— Robert W. Chambers, “The Street of the First Shell” (1895)

Right about now, just about fifty years ago as I write this, France had no functioning government. I mean, more than usual. Charles de Gaulle, President of France for the last decade, had vanished from the Elysée Palace in the midst of strikes and protests that paralyzed – or vitalized – Paris and left France on the brink of revolution. Half a million protesters marched through the streets of the capital in the dawn light of May 30, 1968, chanting “Adieu, de Gaulle!”

Awake!

The “May 68,” as it has come to be known, began with a student strike in March at the miserable conditions at the University of Nanterre outside Paris. Some of the Nanterre activists (calling themselves enragés after the grubbiest left-radicals of 1793) fled to the Sorbonne in Paris; when the police closed Nanterre and entered the Sorbonne to recapture the rabble-rousers, 20,000 Sorbonne students rose in protest on May 6, 1968. Police brutality against the students in turn brought the unions and the Communists into the streets, hoping to tap into the energies of the enragés for their own causes.

A million people marched in Paris on May 13, setting off a series of general strikes and workers’ seizures of factories all over France. The students retook the Sorbonne and declared it a “people’s university.” Barricades went up, and paving stones flew at cops’ heads. By May 22, two-thirds of French workers were on strike. On May 27, the UNEF, the national student union of France, held a meeting at the Sebastien Charety stadium in Paris; the 50,000 attendees demanded the end of the French state, and the Socialists hurried to pledge their support the next day. On May 29, de Gaulle got into a helicopter and flew away.

We Have a Situation Here

“Where the real world changes into simple images, the simple images become real beings and effective motivations of hypnotic behavior.”

— Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (1967)

A plurality, and perhaps a majority, of the Occupation Committee of the Sorbonne were members of, or otherwise identified themselves with, the Situationist International. The SI believed in radical non-hierarchy – possibly because of SI founder Guy Debord’s distrust of the Stalinist tendency throughout the contemporary Left – but Debord provided the main theoretical juice for what the Situationists claimed they never called “Situationism.”

In a nutshell, Situationism expands Marxist theory of alienation from the workers to all of society. Ever since World War One, Debord wrote, “the Spectacle” of consumption and commodified objects by its very nature has dominated and controlled every act, thought, and word not just of the proletariat but of everyone who buys or watches. These illusory bread and circuses recreate the oppressive class order within themselves, and “recuperate” even seemingly rebellious acts as a necessary dramatic element within the Spectacle. Examining politics, culture, and capitalism as art produces awareness of the Spectacle but cannot escape it; psychogeography can map the effects of geography and the city on emotion and mind but cannot obviate them.

Only by random artistic inspiration and acts of parodic reinterpretation called “detournement” can the willful Situationists win “the game of events,” free themselves from the Spectacle, and call their own vision of true democratic equality into being. From 1957, when the SI emerged out of a radical surrealist movement, they (or at least Debord) grew ever more directly political.

Politically, to the extent they mapped onto the normal spectrum, the Situationists could be called left-anarchists. Debord mocked anarchists as “mystics of nonorganization,” a tag which could as easily apply to the SI. Their snark and individualism appealed to student radicals such as those in Nanterre and the Sorbonne. Those students dug up precursors to their new movement, from the dynamiter Ravachol to the Marquis du Sade to a certain anonymous playwright.

A Situationist cell in the Sorbonne reads a banned play, and acts. How better to rip the mask off the Spectacle, to separate the lying signs of capitalism from the true signifieds of feeling, than by weaponizing words that undermined so-called reality? They set the Pallid Mask against the mask of the Spectacle, attacking police from the new boulevards of the “Bablyon-Carcosa” they had seen emerging through the tear gas as the Seine billows outward into a great black Lake.

Operation CHARENTON

“Coming soon to this location: charming ruins.”

— Situationist Graffito, Paris 1968

Amidst the Situationist graffiti that rapidly covered the walls of Paris’ Left Bank, a program stringer notices a Sign painted in yellow, a Sign that Admiral Payton has made sure to brief his Paris operatives on since he saw it in 1955. Every DELTA GREEN asset in France gets the alert signal: A day at Longchamp. But how to find the center of an invasion inside a revolution? Payton suggests a random walk: seeking the Sign calls the Sign to you.

Payton learned from Operation BRISTOL that guns and confrontation only feed Hastur. So what to do about it? Detourn the Sign, spray-paint petals sprouting from it, create a yellow fleur-de-lis that angry leftists will be sure to obliterate beneath scarlet hammers, sickles, and stars. If you find copies of the play, destroy it, yes; if you see a street performance under black stars, disrupt it, absolutely. But until then, lean into the Spectacle; make it work for you. Behave like a character in a spy film, turn cosmic convulsion into cheap stereotype. Reinforce plastic reality, tread Carcosa as a stage set, recuperate the King in Yellow as nothing more than a revolutionary poster, and then rip him up.

Agents fan out into Paris, losing touch with each other in a city writhing between two masks. Your Agents doubtless play the crucial role, although other teams in other Iles du Paris report their own strange victories. A Gaullist rally 800,000 strong marches through Paris on the afternoon of the 30th. De Gaulle returns from Germany with the army’s support, orders the workers back with raises, orders the colleges reopened under proper prefects, orders the Spectacle restored. The Communists and Socialists go along, and he crushes them in the elections the next month. Only the normal despair and alienation breathes Parisian air again.

Or was the explanation different? Was Payton’s aim wrong, even if his ammunition was sound? Had the Situationists, alert to every nuance of falsity and screen memory, uncovered the truth about the world? Were they trying to awaken the world from its unnatural prison? After all, Debord’s description of the Spectacle sounds very familiar, to my ears:

To the extent that necessity is socially dreamed, the dream becomes necessary. The Spectacle is the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The Spectacle is the guardian of sleep.

Iä! Iä! Spectacle fhtagn!

by Kenneth Hite

For the last 20 years, I have considered the Delta Green setting—created by John Scott Tynes, Adam Scott Glancy, and Dennis Detwiller—the pinnacle of the possible for Cthulhu campaigning. Like my own Trail of Cthulhu, published by Pelgrane Press for its GUMSHOE system in 2008, Delta Green was licensed for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu RPG. It presented a secret war within the federal government, an illegal conspiracy of G-men dedicated to destroying the Cthulhu mythos. It gave its heroes assault rifles and CIA cover—which somehow only made their situation worse, made their investigations bleaker and more horrific.

According to Lovecraft’s story “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” government agents had raided that decrepit town, discovered the hideous Deep Ones lurking therein, and even attacked them with submarines. Tynes and company proposed that the raid and cover-up mentioned by Lovecraft spawned a secret government program—codenamed DELTA GREEN—that fought occult Nazis, hunted Cthulhu cultists, and eventually destroyed itself in Vietnam.

Officially disbanded in 1970 after the failed “Operation OBSIDIAN” in Cambodia, the program continued as an illegal “cowboy” operation until it was re-activated after 9/11. Just as DELTA GREEN revived in the new century, the Delta Green partnership and Arc Dream Publishing produced their own core Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game books this year. Those books bring the DELTA GREEN story up through the War on Terror, the surveillance state, and the rest of the present day’s horrors.

Over breakfast at Gen Con 2015, Dennis and Scott revealed their plans for this new RPG and invited me and Pelgrane aboard. Trail of Cthulhu had made its own waves in the Cthulhu world, and adding a GUMSHOE system Delta Green corebook would bring two fan bases along for the ride. None of us wanted just a simple translation, needlessly duplicating material. Trail of Cthulhu had shifted its default setting from Chaosium’s 1920s to the darker decade of the 1930s, which perhaps inspired Dennis and Scott to offer me a different decade than the original’s 1990s or the new edition’s now. We settled on the 1960s, the decade in which, like many well-meaning government programs, DELTA GREEN overreached and destroyed itself. By contrast with the “summer” of the 1940s and 1950s, and to foreshadow the program’s destruction, I named this new corebook The Fall of DELTA GREEN.

The result was a double translation: not just from the Delta Green: The RPG system to GUMSHOE, but from the modern day to the 1960s. I loaded up my iTunes playlist with everything from Bob Dylan and the Beach Boys to period Japanese and Cambodian pub rock, and tried to sink into the era. I hunted through 1969 geology textbooks for signs of sunken R’lyeh. I read sixties spy novels and nonfiction (especially the pioneering 1967 work The American Intelligence Community by USAF Brigadier General Monro MacCloskey) to build a sense of the “past possible.” In many ways, a world without the Internet or micro-transmitters becomes better for investigative games and spy fiction than ours: knowledge is once more valuable, and uncertainty lets horror grow.

Not that there was any shortage of horror in the modern day Delta Green: The RPG. Lead designer Greg Stolze introduced several systems designed to grind the heroes down: Lethality, Bonds, and Breaking Points. Lethality was just what it sounded like: some weapons killed you outright if you rolled lower than their Lethality percentage. On the one-die GUMSHOE system, Lethality became even more lethal, since the lowest possible Lethality percentage was 1 in 6, or about 17%. I put in a little wiggle room (some Lethality just left you crippled or stunned) but not too much: The Fall of DELTA GREEN also encompasses the Vietnam War, after all.

Breaking Points, fortunately, already replicated the staccato feel of disintegration I’d added to the Sanity and Stability tracks in Trail of Cthulhu. But Bonds were real evil genius. On the surface, they looked like lifelines: human ties the agent could call on to preserve her sanity. But once used, their disintegration added stress to the agent’s off-hours: explain why you missed your son’s birthday to chase UFOs. It took a good bit of tweaking the specific Stability mix to get Greg’s vision working in the GUMSHOE engine, but again, my version might even have wound up a little harsher. The monsters became tougher, too, up-armored from their Trail of Cthulhu incarnations for a new era of M16s and flamethrowers. And of course, I borrowed heavily from the extensive Delta Green discussion of hiding or destroying a corpse.

As with my other GUMSHOE designs, I added modes of play, allowing the Handler (the GM) to ease up or bear down on the agents, in this case by adding or removing Stability from the game economy. Following Greg’s skill consolidation, agents can focus more points on investigating human targets either socially or by stealth; I added the Agency ability to increase that flexibility further. But like Bonds, these seeming bonuses just push players further down the slippery slope to destruction. The Fall of DELTA GREEN, while almost entirely inter-operable with other GUMSHOE games like Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents, is its own rough beast: gritty and horrifying, with plenty of sharp edges for agents at the sharp end.

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I’ll wager we have some readers who can (unlike your humble correspondent) answer the question “Where were you when Kennedy was shot?” But can your Fall of DELTA GREEN Agents answer that question? How about when the other Kennedy was shot? When Dr. King was shot? Malcolm X? Ngo Dinh Diem? Medgar Evers? George Lincoln Rockwell? Rafael Trujillo? Patrice Lumumba?

                         A view to a kill?

Let’s spend some Interrogation and find out where indeed your Agents might have been when the shots rang out, some time in the 1960s.

You Heard It On the Radio

While you’re not likely to catch players unaware of November 22, 1963, and U2 lyrics make it possible that April 4, 1968 won’t come as an in-game shock, without Googling it tell me when Robert F. Kennedy was shot. (June 6, 1968.) If your campaign keeps a calendar, and you’ve tied it to historical events, it can be a real moment (just as in real life) when the Agents hear the news that “Senator Kennedy has been shot and killed in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California.”

Some assassinations just become news-crawl — unless your team is in the Dominican Republic when it happens, the assassination of President Trujillo isn’t likely to make too many waves. But you never know where waves might wash up, in the world of Delta Green.

You Worked It

Something like either Kennedy assassination draws in every Federal agent remotely connected to the area, if only to ask a lot of repetitive, police-work style questions at the airport or wherever. The manhunt for James Earl Ray, the killer of Martin Luther King, lasted two months, involved thousands of Federal agents, and covered five countries before he was finally arrested in London. (See Hampton Sides’ fascinating book Hellhound on His Trail for many many game-worthy details.) If your Agents are assigned to the South, to the civil rights watch (in any sense, from COINTELPRO to CHAOS to the Marshals Service), to any major port of exit, or to Canada, Britain, or Portugal (!) they get pulled off their DELTA GREEN case and put onto this one. Stealing time from some boring embezzlement case is one thing — but everybody’s boss is watching this one, because the whole world is watching this one.

On the other hand, your Agents might be able to falsify a connection between their DELTA GREEN case and the Ray manhunt — as long as they cover their ass in the cover memo, they can go beat up all the inbred Alabama cultists they want for two months. Alternately, your Agents weren’t supposed to work this case at all. They were in no uncertain terms ordered to stay off it, by their day-job supervisors or worse by DELTA GREEN. But something about it looks, pardon the word, fishy … Charles McCarry’s novel Tears of Autumn follows a CIA agent convinced the JFK assassination isn’t all the Warren Commission cracked it up to be, and it’s a great template for Handlers who want to dangle the possibilities of Hastur-cultism (say) around Sirhan Sirhan’s bizarre ramblings.

You Were There

Maybe it’s just coincidence. Your Agents were in Saigon looking for the Kuen-Yuin in October 1963, and followed some leads to some murky South Vietnamese generals, or got some unofficial help from a CIA friendly here “on another job,” or just stumbled into the anti-Diem coup because they heard shooting and like idiots or player characters everywhere ran toward it. Maybe some book-hound in Harlem was trying to peddle a copy of al-Azif to the Nation of Islam in February 1965. Your Agents work the case, you shock them with the Malcolm X killing — and now one of their crucial Network contacts is stuck in the middle of an expanding NYPD presence, which also makes it even harder for four White Feds trying to covertly knock over a Harlem bookstore.

Or maybe it’s something else, that you were following Georg the Karotechia hit man through northern Virginia when you heard the head of the American Nazi Party got shot two miles away — right when Georg slipped your tail. Do you try to re-acquire Georg, do you try to worm your way into the Arlington Police investigation (and risk blowing your cover), do you try to find out why the Karotechia wanted George Lincoln Rockwell dead and why they made this “John Patler” guy their patsy? Or is Georg up to something else entirely, and every minute you spend on a dead American Nazi endangers millions of live American non-Nazis?

You’re the Patsy

It’s too much to ask that one of your players decides to have his Agent be a former Marine radar technician and attempted defector now involved in fringe politics in New Orleans and Dallas — but you can still frame the Agents if you’re willing to do a little work. MAJESTIC certainly is. Maybe you have to invent an assassination of a U.S. Senator (besides Bobby Kennedy) or go overseas. The fatal plane crash of Enrico Mattei, the creator of Italy’s public-private oil combine ENI, in 1962 is generally ascribed to a bomb on his plane, itself variously ascribed to the CIA, the Mafia, the French SDECE, the Italian SIFAR, and OAS terrorists. MAJESTIC might have killed him as a payoff to U.S. oil companies, or to get access to ENI records on deep drilling or a newly discovered cavern in Arabia, or as collateral damage because their real target was the U.S. reporter William McHale who was also on Mattei’s plane.

MAJESTIC knew they needed a patsy so they laid a false trail to ENI and to Mattei’s plane, dropping chicken feed to DELTA GREEN analysts until a team of Agents — your team — gets dispatched to Catania, Sicily on a phony anti-Mafia case. Or perhaps your team was in Italy already and MAJESTIC fakes the documents and footage and suborns testimony to put them on the scene at the airport or underneath the flight path with a rocket-propelled grenade launcher. (Really, how hard is it to get an average group of player characters to head into the Lombard hills with a grenade launcher on no provocation whatsoever?) Even if the case remains officially unsolved (as the Mattei murder does) MAJESTIC can still offload any sub rosa backblast from its killing onto those poor neanderthal saps in DELTA GREEN.

You Did It

We can always go back to our fictitious Senator for this one. Senator Theodore Warrick (R-CT) is a Sentinel of the Exalted Circle Cthulhu cult, and is also being tipped as a possible Vice-Presidential candidate for the GOP in 1968. Your Agents have hard proof that Senator Warrick literally sleeps with the fishes, and a ticking clock before Secret Service protection makes killing him a suicide mission. This deserves to be a major set piece operation, with huge ramifications throughout the campaign. You could even move it to 1964 or 1960 and have it be the inciting event for your Agent team. DELTA GREEN can’t keep them even on its covert books, so it burns them Night’s Black Agents style, and sends them out to work under completely deniable cover, occasionally dead-dropping briefing files to them, as the FBI stays one step away from linking them to the Warrick assassination.

Or why fictionalize our senators? Really? Now, I’m not saying you should go full Ellroy and have your Agents on the grassy knoll with rifles. (I’m not saying not to do that, mind.) But let’s say that a DELTA GREEN hit team was on the grassy knoll with rifles, because a Massachusetts sailor President with strange physical debilities who sleeps with literally everything that moves is a bigger security risk than they want to take. And let’s say his Senator brother is running for President, and will definitely reopen the case if he wins. And let’s say that DELTA GREEN doesn’t want any file like that reopened. What do you do, hot shot? (Besides watch the magnificently surreal assassination film Winter Kills, of course.) What do you do?

 

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