Page XX logo (2015_04_01 16_53_09 UTC)

It’s the Fourth of July, and to those readers celebrating the declaration of independence of the United States of America, we wish you a happy holiday. To everyone else, happy summer! We’re celebrating some special occasions here, too – as well as having been nominated for four ENnies, we’re launching a pop-up shop, featuring a (currently modest) selection of Pelgrane- and GUMSHOE-branded goodness, which we’ll be extending if it proves popular.

New Releases

Articles

13th Age

The nominations for the 2019 ENnie Awards have been released, and we’re delighted to announce that Pelgrane Press has been nominated in four categories:

Beloved Pelgranistas Ken & Robin have also been nominated in the Best Podcast category, for Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

Congratulations to all the nominees! It really is a privilege to be recognised among such an outstanding – and this year in particular, wide variety – of games.

We’d be honoured if you would consider voting for us. Click on this link to vote for your favourites! Voting for the 2019 ENnies will be open until July 21st.

“Fly the ocean in a silver plane
See the jungle when it’s wet with rain
Just remember till you’re home again
You belong to me.
I’ll be so alone without you
Maybe you’ll be lonesome too, and blue.”

— Jo Stafford, “You Belong to Me” (1963 cover version)

In March 1952, U.S. Air Force General Charles P. Cabell established Project BLUE BOOK, tasking its commander Captain Edward J. Ruppelt with investigation of the UFO phenomenon. BLUE BOOK was meant to collate, investigate, and analyze UFO sightings and encounters, but not to theorize about the nature or origin of the UFOs themselves. In February 1953, the USAF issued AF Regulation 200-2: USAF personnel may only discuss UFO cases if they have been resolved; unresolved cases receive a Classified security rating.

Your Agent team. (Before the burning.)

General Nathan Twining (commander of Air Materiel Command during the Roswell crash; Air Force Chief of Staff 1953-1957; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 1957-1960) removed unsolved UFO cases with a higher potential classification (those with national security implications or touching on intelligence operations) from BLUE BOOK entirely, to the 4602nd Air Intelligence Squadron — a.k.a. Project MOON DUST, which is to say, MAJESTIC-12. (After some bureaucratic convolutions, the 4602nd AISS becomes the 1127th Field Activities Group in 1960.) Twining thus de-fanged BLUE BOOK almost before it got started, reducing it to a mere public relations office.

Or did he? If Twining was in fact on the DELTA GREEN ExComm (FoDG, p. 164) he may have run a double bluff. BLUE BOOK still gets huge tranches of UFO data, including the first reports of cases transferred to MOON DUST. Not even MAJESTIC knows which UFO reports might turn out to be Unnatural cases, so BLUE BOOK often has a 24- or even 48-hour jump on them. Although infiltrating program assets into MOON DUST itself remains very risky, MAJESTIC depends on the Air Force and its Foreign Technology Division (FTD) to support its operations — and DELTA GREEN can still get agents into the MOON DUST support system. MOON DUST itself falls under ACS/I (Air Force Assistant Chief of Staff/Intelligence); use AFOSI Investigators (FoDG, p. 030) for program Agents in ACS/I. The program (and the Handler) can easily second FTD assets to BLUE BOOK work, either as a contrived punishment or in response to angry accusations of UFO coverups.

BLUE BOOK operates under the remit of the FTD, based out of Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. The BLUE BOOK staff remains relatively small (roughly the size of the player group, as it happens), although every Air Force base has a designated BLUE BOOK officer to channel reports and to liaise with analysts and investigators.

Project BLUE BOOK Directors in the 1960s:

1958 – August 1963, Maj. Robert J. Friend
August 1963 – 1970, Maj. Hector Quintanilla

Foreign Technology Division

The U.S. Army began analyzing captured German aeronautical technology at Wright Field in 1917, and the USAAF did likewise in the Second World War, most notably perhaps the T-2 team at Wright Field that reverse-engineered a V-2 from crashed parts. Starting in 1944, Colonel Harold Watson headed units tasked to capture, salvage, or hunt down German aircraft and other items on the “Black List.” Even before V-E Day, Watson’s teams accelerated their efforts in Operation LUSTY, seizing prototypes and recruiting German engineers. Eventually LUSTY brought 16,000+ pieces, 200 scientists, and 1,500 tons of documents back to Wright Field; in 1951 under Watson’s general command, that collection became the core of the Air Technical Intelligence Center at the newly expanded Wright-Patterson AFB. Following the 1961 reorganization of military intelligence efforts that produced the DIA, the ATIC moved under the Air Force Systems Command as the Foreign Technology Division.

The mission of the FTD, and ATIC before it, is to obtain, assess, and analyze intelligence on foreign aircraft performance and technology. This incorporates traditional intelligence analysis, especially of aerial and satellite IMINT, as well as evaluation of foreign aircraft in flight tests at Wright-Patterson and (after 1962) at the Tonopah Test Range Airfield in Nevada. Beginning in 1968, FTD takes part in the HAVE DOUGHNUT MiG combat tests at Area 51. Needless to say, DELTA GREEN salivates at the possibility of inserting its agents into MAJESTIC turf like Area 51 on a “legitimate” basis. In addition to the main command at Wright-Patterson, FTD detachments operate from Edwards AFB in California, Ft. Belvoir VA, USAF HQ Europe (Wiesbaden), Yokota AB in Japan, and Buckley AFB in Colorado.

FTD Commanding Officers in the 1960s:

February 1961 – July 1964, Brig. Gen. Arthur J. Pierce
July 1964 – August 1966, Brig. Gen. Arthur W. Cruikshank, Jr.
August 1966 – November 1968, Col. Raymond S. Sleeper
November 1968 – July 1974, Col. George R. Weinbrenner

BLUE BOOK Investigator

11 Investigative, 18 General

You are a serving Air Force officer, but need not be on Active Duty. You can take either Pilot (FoDG, p. 027) or Soldier (FoDG, p. 028) as your previous Military Service template. Your Psychotherapy ability derives from your extraordinarily calming presence, useful when dealing with flying saucer cranks or suspicious MOON DUST officers.

Astronomy 1, Data Retrieval 1, Fringe Science 1, Reassurance 2

Bureaucracy 3, Psychotherapy 3

Pick Six Investigative: Agency 1, Cop Talk 1, Cryptography 1, Fringe Science 1*, HUMINT 1, Intimidation 1, Military Science 1, Notice 1, Photography 1, Physics 1, Reassurance 1*, SIGINT 1

Pick Four General: Bureaucracy 3*, Conceal 3, Pilot 3, Preparedness 3, Psychotherapy 3*, Sense Trouble 3, Stability 3, Stealth 3

FTD Analyst

10 Investigative, 16 General

Agency 1, Data Retrieval 1, Foreign Language (Russian) 1, Physics 1

Bureaucracy 2, Demolitions 2

Pick Six Investigative: Astronomy 1, Chemistry 1, Cryptography 1, Data Retrieval 1*, Foreign Language 1*, Fringe Science 1, HUMINT 1, Military Science 1, Photography 1, Physics 1*, Reassurance 1, SIGINT 1, Traffic Analysis 1

Pick Three General: Bureaucracy 4, Conceal 4, Demolitions 4*, Heavy Weapons 4, Mechanics 4, Pilot 4, Preparedness 4, Sense Trouble 4, Stability 4

FTD Recovery Specialist

You deploy anywhere in the world to recover crashed aircraft or aircrew, especially those hostile to the United States. Sometimes, you must investigate — or negotiate — to determine exactly what crashed, and where. You can use this template for DELTA GREEN Agents embedded in MOON DUST’s recovery program BLUE FLY, if you don’t mind a high-stakes campaign where exposure means “died in a training crash.”

Prerequisite: You must be on Active Duty with the USAF, but may use either Pilot or Soldier as your base template.

10 Investigative, 20 General

Agency 1, Chemistry 1, Foreign Language 1, Notice 2, Photography 1

Demolitions 3, Drive 3, Filch 3, Mechanics 3

Pick Four Investigative: Agency 1*, Anthropology 1, Astronomy 1, Chemistry 1*, Cryptography 1, Foreign Language 1*, Fringe Science 1, HUMINT 1, Interrogation 1, Intimidation 1, Negotiation 1, Notice 1*, Photography 1*, Physics 1, SIGINT 1, Survival 1, Tradecraft 1

Pick Two General: Athletics 4, Conceal 4, Demolitions 4*, Drive 4*, Firearms 4, Heavy Weapons 4, Mechanics 4*, Ride 4

FTD Test Pilot

With minimal tweaking, this template works for test pilots in other departments such as ARPA, CIA OSI, and NASA.

Prerequisite: Pilot template for your Military Service. You must be Active Duty.

8 Investigative, 31 General

Astronomy 1, Inspiration 1, Physics 1, SIGINT 1

Athletics 2, Health 3, Heavy Weapons 3, Pilot 3, Sense Trouble 4, Stability 4

Pick Four Investigative: Foreign Language 1, Fringe Science 1, Inspiration 1*, Military Science 1, Photography 1, SIGINT 1*, Survival 1

Pick Three General: Athletics 4*, Drive 4, First Aid 4, Health 4*, Heavy Weapons 4*, Mechanics 4, Pilot 4*, Sanity 4, Sense Trouble 4*, Stability 4*, Unarmed Combat 4


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.

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff for the 350th time, and you know what that means—LIGHTNING ROUND!!!

In the latest episode of their semantically customized podcast, Ken and Robin talk bespoke game terms, doomed Swedish balloonists, the expanded Yellow King Universe, and occult Buenos Aires.

Six Tips for Achieving Power Over the Revision Process

I was recently asked how to handle the sense of frustration that comes when a writer feels stalled out during a revision process. My answers were all pretty general, so in the interest of sharing, and of turning my development work for Pelgrane into a web article they’ve already paid for, I share these with you here.

These bits of advice address the momentary feeling of being in the weeds on a project. Chronic writer’s block is a different matter, best addressed elsewhere.

1. Accept the Weeds as a Phase of the Creative Process. Writing is mentally taxing. Revising, doubly so, as it lacks the flow state you can reach during primary creation. Learn to see periods of mental fatigue while improving a manuscript not as signs that something has gone awry, but the result of the effort you’re applying to the task.

Is it hard? Good! Good writing is hard. Good revising is hard. That feeling is a sign that you’re taking the task seriously, sharpening your self-critical faculty, and improving your piece. It can be hard to see while you’re in it, but you’re tired because you’re doing the work.

You may feel lost and bogged down when by any objective measure you are making steady, incremental progress. Self-assessment weakens when you’re tired and/or stressed. You’re doing better than you think.

2. Give Yourself a Break. Let yourself rest, intellectually and emotionally, by taking time to not think about the work. Pursue a relaxing, meditative activity. If weather and health permits, go for a nice long walk. Whatever you do to give yourself downtime, recenter yourself by resting and relaxing, then come back to the work refreshed.

3. Clear the Decks. Other, unrelated minor tasks may be impinging on your concentration by making you feel (again, likely incorrectly) that you’re behind on all manner of obligations. Find a few items on your to-do list you can easily move onto your done list, and knock them off. (Implicit in this is the suggestion that you keep a to-do list to track personal and professional tasks. It helps you see that you don’t have as much stuff weighing on you as you think, and gives you the satisfaction of ticking them off and making them disappear. I use a web/phone app called Toodle-Do.)

4. Get Enough Sleep. Easier said than done, and something I absolutely struggle with myself. But writing and revising are not so much about waiting for inspiration as waiting for a state of mental acuity. Experts disagree on what works, and what works for me may not for you. But one thing is guaranteed to mess you up: not blocking out enough time in your life for full, restful sleep.

5. Refresh Yourself While Working. When mental fog descends during a writing shift, go lie down with your eyes closed and the lights out. I use a sleep mask. Even if you don’t fully nap, a ten to fifteen minute quasi-nap will help regain focus. Also, try the Pomodoro technique, in which you work for twenty minute stretches punctuated by five-minute breaks. I don’t find this useful for primary creation, as it breaks flow, but have had good results with it on revision/development days.

6. Depersonalize the Task. This one’s a tall order, but the most helpful if you can swing it. Seek detachment from the idea of success or failure at the task as a measure of self-worth. Revision is a technical exercise, one that you get better at with time. (But never really defeat—welcome to the writer’s life!) Picture the dullest, least emotionally resonant task you can ably perform: unclogging a sink, cleaning a grill, labeling photo files. That’s revision. Keep judgment out of your rear-view mirror, whether it’s the imagined judgment of your editor or the voice of doubt in your own head. Yes, eventually your work will be evaluated, by yourself and others. However, to avoid rabbit holes during the process you have to seal that thought in a box and put it away. When you’re clarifying ideas and tightening prose you’re just scrubbing the gunk off that grill.

In the latest episode of their loose cannon podcast, Ken and Robin talk Australian plot hooks, Dai Cathay, post-Lovecraftan King in Yellow tales and Stanton Friedman.

In the latest episode of their unwaveringly as-advertised podcast, Ken and Robin talk switcheroo campaigns, Ronald Hutton’s The Witch, Derlethizing the King in Yellow, and what went wrong with Game of Thrones.

Pelgrane Press Seeks Administrative Assistant

rainbow-pelgrane_150We’re currently recruiting for an Administrative Assistant to provide fantastic customer service to our community, and help out with the multitude of administrative tasks involved in a small publishing company. The position is intended for a remote worker, and may involve travel to conventions, some overnight stays and weekend work where necessary.

Pelgrane Press is committed to building a culturally diverse company and strongly encourages applications from women and minority candidates.

Our Administrative Assistant will be responsible for ensuring a prompt, friendly and professional response to all queries from our customers and colleagues, over email, on social media, and in person.

They will manage and develop our supply chain, monitoring and maintaining inventories of products in our mail order and distribution warehouses to maximize efficiency, liaise with key fulfilment and print partners to ensure high service levels and stock quality, and work with the Managing Director on print quotes and print buying.

They will also assist the Managing Director with ad-hoc administrative and marketing tasks where necessary.

This is an ideal opportunity for someone who is looking for a permanent position in publishing within the roleplaying industry. As a small, growing company, there will be opportunities in the future to expand the role for candidates with drive and initiative. Game writing and design work are not part of this position, nor will this position afford opportunities in those areas.

The successful candidate will have a passion for roleplaying games, excellent organisational and communication skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, and the ability to set priorities under pressure. A solid grasp of Word and Excel are essential.

The position is permanent, with an initial six-month evaluation period. The position is 15 hours per week, and the salary is US$900 per month. The position doesn’t include health insurance, so if your country of residence doesn’t have universal health care, you will need to be able to demonstrate having your own health care provision.

The full job spec is here.

To apply, please send a covering letter via email with your CV attached as a PDF to Cat Tobin before Monday, June 24th 2019.

Last month we began our perilous exploration of that darkest of all Fall of DELTA GREEN labyrinths: the Federal bureaucracy. More specifically, and contra JFK, we explored what that bureaucracy could do for you — or for your Agent, as he deploys his Bureaucracy ability  in the course of the campaign. (See our previous installment for the standard Difficulties and disclaimers.) We’ve covered everything from Aircraft Access (you have a plane!) to Laboratory Testing (we found out what was in your plane!); this month, we press ever deeper in.

No sir, this spawn is far from form-less

Legal Pressure

When you’re sniffing around a cult leader or dodgy laboratory, this lets you open up a diversion — or even a second front — by putting other government hounds on their trail. This might take the form of an FBI loyalty check, an IRS audit, an FBN raid, an internal affairs investigation or squeeze on their government support, or anything else suggested by your warrantless search and inadmissible nightmare visions. (Just calling the local cops or arranging a roadblock is more in the Cop Talk bailiwick.) Even more than most of these string-pulling maneuvers, this can backfire. Trying to law-bully a MAJESTIC contractor, for example, likely triggers counter-pressure in the form of heavy GMC Bureaucracy shots aimed at the Agents and their ostensible superiors, which upsets DELTA GREEN very much. Response to clear evidence of criminality or treason: FBI, FBN, Customs, US Marshals (Diff 4); Justice Department, Treasury (Diff 5); AFOSI, DIA, ONI, CIA DPlans Counterintelligence Staff, other military or natsec internal security (Diff 4 for military/natsec targets; Diff 6 to tip off civilian authorities); other USG (Diff 6). Simple harassment or fishing expedition: FBI, FBN, Justice Department (Diff 5 for your own agency, Diff 7 for another agency such as the IRS or Customs); Treasury, U.S. Marshals (Diff 6); other USG (Diff 7+). Re-open a closed investigation: +2 to regular Difficulties.

MAJESTIC Access

Agents may want to enter MAJESTIC facilities, read reports, interview witnesses, and so forth in the course of their investigations. MAJESTIC doesn’t want them to, but we’re all still on the same team, right? Right? Each MAJESTIC Project has a “patron agency”: MJ-1 operates under the NSA, MJ-2 under State, MJ-3 under the NRO, and so on (FoDG, pp. 167-173). Working within (or through) those departments can open some doors, narrowly and briefly, for DELTA GREEN investigators. Access can be divided into three sorts: one-time access, white-badge (MAJESTIC) clearance, and black-badge (MAJIC) clearance. Most DELTA GREEN missions only require one-time access to “outer” MAJESTIC sub-projects, personnel, or materiel: you get badged in, escorted around by security, ask your questions or read your folder, touch the meteorite or look through the lens, and leave. One-time access: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 6); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 7); other MJ patron agency (Diff 8). Agents need white-badge clearance to even get supervised, temporary access to “inner” MAJESTIC sanctums like Area 51 or MOON DUST hangars. Temporary white-badge clearance: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 8); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 9); other MJ patron agency (Diff 10). Black-badge clearance looks behind the curtain; MJ-3 doesn’t grant it often. Temporary black-badge clearance: Relevant MJ patron agency (Diff 10); USAF, AEC, CIA (Diff 11); other MJ patron agency (Diff 12).

Military Transport

The U.S. military ships millions of men and billions of tons of materiel all over the Free World, and then some. Your Agents can hitch a ride on a truck convoy, fly in the belly of a C-130, or stage from a Coast Guard cutter. Point-to-point within the US: Military, USAIC, DIA, AFOSI, ONI, Defense Dept, NASA, NSA, ARPA, AEC, NRO, CDC (Diff 4); CIA (Diff 6); other USG (Diff 7). FBI, FBN, US Marshals, and other law-enforcement generally fly commercial and use agency motorpools; Diff 4 or 5 for regular travel, Diff 6 to get a military transport anyhow. From the US to a foreign destination: all +1 Diff except CIA (Diff 5; DPlans Diff 4) and State Dept (Diff 5). Foreign origin-US destination: all +2 Diff. Use the same Difficulties to just ship cargo. Add at least +2 Diff if a special mission has to be planned to accommodate you (search from a carrier, ride on a submarine, parachute drop, etc.).

NCIC

In 1967, the FBI launches the National Crime Information Center. This computerized database contains over 350,000 records of stolen vehicles and license plates, stolen or missing guns, and wanted, fugitive, or missing persons; all linked by teletype to state FBI offices and state police and investigative bodies. Accessing a record: FBI, US Marshal, FBN, Justice Dept (Diff 4); Customs, ONI, AFOSI, DIA (Diff 5); other USG (Diff 6). Deleting or altering a record requires FBI access and is at least Diff 9.

Project Jacket

Provides at least the high-level summary of a given project, its funding, end user, personnel etc. Sometimes you can back into a project jacket (or at least discover its existence) by researching seemingly innocuous government programs (cover programs, or programs with overlapping personnel or facilities) or facilities. Difficulties depend on project classification. Unclassified: Originating agency, Library of Congress (Diff 4); other USG (Diff 5). Sensitive: +1 Diff except CIA, ARPA, NSA (Diff 5). Confidential: +2 Diff except CIA, NSA, ARPA (tech projects only), DIA (military projects only) (Diff 6). Secret: +3 Diff except CIA, NSA, ARPA (tech projects only), DIA (military projects only) (Diff 7). Top Secret or code-word clearance: Requires specific action and investigation by Agents, as passive Bureaucracy can only turn up overlapping jackets and even that at +4 Diff.

Quarantine

Worried about unnatural contamination? Want to seal off a UFO crash site? Declare a quarantine, or a restricted zone! This requires some kind of trigger: lights in the sky or mysterious deaths might already be happening, of course! AEC, CDC (Diff 5); NASA, ARPA (Diff 6); USAF, FBI (Diff 7). Add +2 Diff and re-test for each 12 hours of quarantine; if the population or area sealed off is large, that adds another +2 Diff at least. Quarantine a block of Brooklyn or a hundred miles of interstate, you’ll get phone calls from your boss.

Spy Plane

Getting access to imagery or other intelligence product from an existing mission is easier than re-tasking a whole flight (+4 Diff or higher). RB-57F “weather” reconnaissance flight product: AEC (domestic, Diff 6); CIA PAD or SOD (overseas, Diff 6); CIA OSI (Diff 6); Defense Dept, DIA, NRO, CIA, ONI (Diff 7). SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance product (after 1964): NRO, USAF (Diff 6); CIA DInt, Defense Dept (Diff 7). U-2 spy plane product: CIA DInt (Diff 6); CIA, NRO, NSA, USAF (Diff 7). Spy satellite product: NRO, CIA OSI (Diff 6); NASA, AEC (Diff 7). Re-tasking a satellite takes at least +8 Diff, and requires weeks and likely a continuing challenge (FoDG, p. 082).

Surveillance

“Don’t we have guys who can watch the cult compound?” Indeed you do, my fine Federal friend. DELTA GREEN doesn’t like having outside eyes on the unnatural, but it’s better than nobody’s eyes on it. With plausible cover, supervisory (or advisory) Agents can task small non-player teams to follow targets or watch a structure, but not to interfere or interact. Domestic: USAIC, FBI, FBN (Diff 6); US Marshals (Diff 7); Overseas: CIA, DIA (Diff 6). Re-test every 24 hours. Wiretapping a suspect requires a court order, except when it doesn’t: FBI, NSA, CIA Division D (Diff 7).

Translation

Don’t ask some poor GS-5 to translate the al-Azif. It won’t end well, for you or her. But cult scriptures, witness testimony, and garbled wiretaps all yield their bounty to the linguistically qualified. Older, more obscure languages and dialects add to the Difficulty of course. Library of Congress (Diff 4); State Dept (Diff 5); CIA, DIA, NSA (Diff 6); FBI (Diff 7).


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.

Previous Entries Next Entries