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

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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, full color, smythe-sewn hardback

 

Bugs! Everywhere you look there’s another kind of bug
Makes you want to get a club and clout ’em
Yes everybody’s talking bout the worrysome bugs
But ain’t nobody doing nothing about ’em …

Bugs! Everywhere you look there’s another type of bug
But if ya live in the delta ya got ’em …
— Bobbie Gentry, “Bugs” (1967)

In 1951, the sudden onslaught of the Korean War drove a somewhat less-sudden onslaught of Federal preparedness programs: civil defense, counter-intelligence, and — as it happened — bacteriological warfare defense. Thrust onto the front lines of this effort, Alexander Langmuir, M.D. (b. 1910), the Director of the Epidemiology Program Office of the CDC, proposed the creation of a special unit of “shoe leather epidemiologists” to investigate suspicious clusters. Langmuir believed in national surveillance as the key to detecting outbreaks and determining hidden patterns and vectors, but without intelligent observers on the ground, analysis was worthless.

Do not lose the briefcase. Do NOT lose the briefcase. DO NOT LOSE THE BRIEFCASE.

The resulting Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) started up in 1953, with a “class” of 22 doctors and veterinarians. Langmuir runs the EIS out of his hip pocket, and after exposing a faulty polio vaccine in 1955 he begins salting other offices of the CDC with EIS alumni. EIS officers discover links between cancer and birth defects in Niles, Illinois; clamp down on the Hong Kong flu epidemic in 1968 (which nonetheless kills 100,000 Americans over the next three years); and discover norovirus in Norwalk, Ohio in 1969. By the 1960s, the EIS has around 40 members, all post-graduate medical professionals: doctors, veterinarians, nurses, microbiologists, and the inevitable-for-the-decade statisticians. The numbers go up in 1966, when the EIS becomes a recognized alternative to the draft; the doctors nickname themselves the “Yellow Berets.” But EIS officers still get sent to remote lands: not just hurricane-devastated stretches of Mississippi or dengue-ridden fields in Puerto Rico, but to Jamaica (for diptheria vaccination), rebellious Biafra in West Africa (for smallpox eradication efforts), and the remote back-country of Bolivia.

In that last operation, the U.S. Army Medical Unit (USAMU, which becomes USAMRIID in 1969) tasks the CDC to bring back samples of the bubonic plague from an outbreak in July of 1964. The EIS sends a team under a CDC plague specialist to the village of Descargadero, where a quarter of the local Quechua population had died of the plague. They dig up the most recent plague victim, sever her pinkie finger (plague viruses survive longest in bone marrow), pack it in dry ice and bring it back to Fort Detrick, Maryland.

“It’s an awful thought—whole forgotten cycles of evolution with beings and races and wisdom and diseases—all lived through and gone before the first amoeba ever stirred in the tropic seas geology tells us about.”

— H.P. Lovecraft and Adolphe de Castro, “The Last Test”

Grave-robbing and plague-collecting seem to lead us ineluctably to the DELTA GREEN side of all this. You can simply have an EIS Officer as part of the standard Agent team; whether Langmuir is cleared or just knows to look the other way is the Handler’s call. Or Langmuir could be MAJESTIC, possibly MJ-8 connected. (Or both! His CDC tenure goes back to before the formal DELTA GREEN-MAJESTIC split.) He might simply be legitimately, rationally terrified of alien viruses — but since the EIS also practices live trials of both vaccines and strains of disease on Federal prisoners, he might just be another mad scientist with a slightly better rep.

Or you could play an all-EIS (or mostly-EIS with one USAMU liaison to shoot people) team, mostly fighting legitimate diseases in a legitimate way, with new pneumatic Ped-o-Jet injectors and clever grid maps of infection punched into computer-readable cards. And every so often, yes, fighting ghouls. Run each containment effort as a chase, using the average of the team’s First Aid as their chase pool and varying the Disease pool to reflect its virulence and lethality. Rather than the Fall of DELTA GREEN best-of-three chases, use the full thriller chase mechanics from Night’s Black Agents (NBA, p. 53), rolling one contest per scene (or per day). Each point of Lead the disease opens up kills 10 (or 1, or 100, or whatever) people; at Lead 10 it becomes a full-blown outbreak. The scenes themselves become interpersonal interactions with possible victims, and searches for vectors: Are these canned tuna full of botulism? Did these farmers eat crops tainted by fungicide? Is the disease spreading from UFO contactees? If the Handler has determined a vector, the Agents figuring it out can count as a Swerve on their part, or just affect that scene’s contest like a standard Investigative spend. Alien or sentient diseases, or those spread by villains, can Raise and Swerve or even attack the Agents!

Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer

Start with Physician (FoDG, p. 043) or the basic Medic template (if your Agent has military training; FoDG, p. 026) and layer on CDC Researcher (FoDG, p. 034). Add Traffic Analysis 1. For a veterinarian or microbiologist (or other medical specialist), spend 2 build points on Special Training (FoDG, p. 072) in that specialty, which adds +2 to your First Aid tests to save a subject’s life, or to the Health test of a subject under your care (resisting toxins, for example) within that specialty. It doesn’t increase the amount of First Aid points you have to spend refreshing the subject’s Health.

Army Medical Unit Field Investigator

Well, you say you’re with the AMU. You might be with the Biological Warfare Laboratory, also at Fort Detrick, which doesn’t shut down until 1969. Build an active-duty Army Medic (FoDG, p. 026). Add Agency (AMU) 1, increase Medicine to 3.

Add one of: HUMINT 1, Photography 1, Reassurance 1

Add one of: Athletics 3, Firearms 3, Health 3

CIA Project CHICKWIT Liaison

Hey, if you’re going into the Lake Mlolo area anyway, maybe someone from Langley could tag along. No reason, just more of a backstop for you, really. Also, don’t pay any mind if he puts any unusual biological samples — yellow lotus, or Glossina diabolis flies, or what-have-you — into this sealed container.

Every dangerous biological investigation operation needs a Paul Reiser type, and the Agency has lots of them to spare.

Build a Political Action Division Officer (FoDG, p. 043), with the following exchanges: Biology 2 instead of the Art and History abilities; Negotiation instead of Inspiration.


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 BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.

All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles.

Operation SECOND LOOK originally opened up with an action scene where the player characters accompany the Italian police to intercept a suspected drug shipment. It all goes poorly, but interrogating the smugglers leads into the drug-deal subplot in Beirut. For reasons of space, this scene was cut and the leads moved to a more conventional briefing – however, if you want to give players a taste of day-to-day Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs activities, give run this scene before the initial briefing scene, When The Boat Comes In.

Torre San Giovanni is a small fishing village in the heel of Italy, about thirty miles south of the city of Lecce. It’s a sleepy, picturesque little place, named for the 16thcentury tower that watches over the harbor. Fishing and olive groves make up most of the local economy.

According to information from a BNDD informant in Turkey, the Unione Corse intend to bring a shipment of morphine base ashore here tonight. The smugglers are using a small fishing boat, one of dozens that work along the shore here. The informant claims the Unione Corse will transfer the morphine from a large freighter to the fishing boat at sea, and then bring it ashore, where it’ll be collected by a Unione Corse courier to bring it to Marseille.

The BNDD plan is to let the transfer go ahead, and wait until the fishing boat gets to the shore, in the hopes of intercepting both the fishermen and the courier. There’s an Italian coast guard ship standing by to stop the freighter at sea.

The players get to run the shore-side ambush. They don’t know who the courier is – presumably, it’ll be a truck or other vehicle to carry the packages of morphine base. They don’t know which fishing boat it is – there are a dozen boats coming in that evening. And they need to keep undercover until the jaws of the trap close, to ensure any watchers in the town don’t signal a warning to the fishing boat. In addition to the Agents, they’ve got a dozen eager local policeofficers at their disposal.

Let the players come up with whatever ambush plan they wish.

The night wears on. The heat of the day fades as the waters of the Ionian sea lap on the beach. Most of the fishing boats won’t come back until dawn, and as the sky begins to lighten in the east, a few locals come down to the docks to wait for the returning boats and help landing the cache. If the Agents aren’t carefully hidden, call for a Conceal or Disguise test (Difficulty 4) from the most obviously suspicious Agent; if the test fails, there’s some whispering and muttering from the workers assembled on the shore as they realise something’s amiss.

One by one, the boats come in.

  • 1-point Notice spend: A light flashes out at sea – and a moment later, there’s an answering flash from the hills above the town.

Then, a car – a new one, big and black – comes down the road at speed and pulls up at the pier as the fishing boat Pierro approaches.

If the Agents hold back, the transfer goes ahead in the most obvious fashion ever – two bales of contraband get hauled out of the cabin of the Pierro and loaded into the trunk of the car. One of the men from the car opens one bale and hands out free packets of cigarettes to everyone standing around the dock as a bribe to stay quiet.

The Raid

There are two men in the car, and another four on board Pierro. They’re all small-time cigarette smugglers, bringing in cheap Turkish cigarettes to avoid import duty (they also deal in small amounts of heroin). If the Agents have a solid plan for the ambush, it all goes smoothly; otherwise, it gets messy. The pair in the car (Paulo Sciarra and Vito Adami) attempt to drive off, while the four on the boat either try to flee on foot across the beach, or cast off from the pier and return to sea. The initial assumption of the criminals is that they’ve been ambushed by a rival gang; if the players flash badges and shout that they’re cops – and spend a point of Intimidation, Languages or Agency– they can convince the criminals not to fight back. Otherwise, throw in foot or car chases and/or brawls to taste.

If Sciarra and Adami manage to escape in their car, then move the core clue about the Beirut deal to the fishermen.

Aftermath

At first, it all looks like a debacle driven by bad information – dozens of cops, the Guardia de Finanza and the American BNDD, all for what? A few hundred packets of cigarettes? The Unione Corse must be laughing at them. There’s lots of shouting, finger-pointing, and arguments over who is to blame for this farce. The player characters can get involved (making a show of support for the BNDD is worth a 2-point Bureaucracy pool of favours), or keep their heads down and keep working.

  • A thorough search of the fishing boat Pierro discovers (Conceal test, Difficulty 4) a hidden compartment in the bilges. There’s a scrap of plastic wrap snagged on a loose screw, and Chemistry or Pharmacy discovers it tests positive for morphine base – there’s no heroin on the boat now.
  • There’s a small amount of heroin in the car, enough to charge Sciarra and Adami as dealers (they supply heroin to tourists in Lecce and Brindisi).
  • The freighter is clean, although some of the crew admit under questioning that they smuggled cigarettes out of Turkey and threw them down to the Pierro when it passed nearby.

Questioning the Prisoners

Interrogation of the fishermendiscovers the following:

  • They’re not part of any organized crime – just a few local crooks.
  • They admit that they’ve helped bring heroin ashore before, but didn’t ask any questions.
  • 1-point Interrogation spend(or using the discovery of the smuggling compartment as a leveraged clue): When they brought heroin ashore, it was from a different freighter, the SS Invicta.
    • Traffic Analysisand some research: The SS Invicta is at sea; she departed Marseille a few days ago and is en route to Beirut with a cargo of machine parts.
  • A 1-point spend of Reassurance, Streetwise or Negotiation gets the name of a friend of one of the fisherman, a pal who lives in Beirut and knows the city’s underworld – Ghasif Saad. Ghasif is a free network contact (see Local Contacts,p. XX)

Interrogation of Sciarra and Adami yields more useful information:

  • They’re small-time heroin dealers.
  • They’ve heard that there’s a war brewing within the Unione Corse, a struggle to see who becomes caïd (godfather) of the Corsican mafia.
    • A 1-point Streetwise spend identifies some possible contenders – the Francesci clan, the Guerinis, the Venturis – but the rules of omertáwithin the Unione Corse are strong, and those inside the organisation don’t speak to those outside. It’s entirely possible that such a war has been going on for years.
  • Core clue: They’ve also heard that there’s a big heroin deal coming down. It’s happening in Beirut. They don’t know any more.
    • HUMINT: They’re trying to pass off rumour and scuttlebutt as genuine inside information; this alleged big deal in Beirut might be nothing.

 

For the long cases they seized proved upon opening to contain some exceedingly gruesome things; so gruesome, in fact, that the matter could not be kept quiet amongst the denizens of the underworld.

— H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Although DELTA GREEN keeps most of its attention focused north of Boston during the ripples following Operation RIPTIDE in 1963 (FoDG, p. 179), the area south of Boston attracts plenty of attention from its cousins in overt law enforcement. During the 1960s, Providence, Rhode Island served as the headquarters for the New England Mafia, running operations as far north as Maine. Where better to focus a few DELTA GREEN eyes in (or around) the FBI? Other federal fingers can poke in from the Naval War College in Newport and the Quonset Point Naval Air Station (ONI, DIA), or even the Rhode Island Nuclear Science Center (DARPA, AEC). Even if the Executive Committee doesn’t know why Providence should be a priority, your players might guess.

That’s Mister Patriarca to you, pal

Whoever’s looking at Providence, they’re going to be looking at Raymond “The Man” L.S. Patriarca, Sr. (b. 1908), the godfather of the New England mob. A former gambler, drunk-roller, and pimp, Patriarca graduated to burglary, safecracking, and armed robbery as Prohibition cemented the power of organized crime. After two brief stints in prison (a year and a day on Mann Act charges in 1933, and four months in 1938), he emerged as a savvy hood, “just the toughest guy you ever saw,” and rose through the ranks of the New England Mafia to become underboss in 1947. In 1952, Boston godfather Filippo Buccola retired, moving to Sicily to start a chicken farm. Patriarca took over and moved headquarters to his home town of Providence in 1956, leaving Gennaro Angiulo (b. 1919) in charge as underboss in Boston. Angiulo plays a divide-and-conquer strategy with the Irish gangs, sending hitter “Cadillac Frank” Salemme (b. 1933) to kill the last two members of the McLaughlin gang in 1966 to put the Winter Hill Gang tenuously on top.

Patriarca runs his empire from “the Office,” a two-story building on Atwells Avenue in the Federal Hill neighborhood of Providence. The National Cigarette Service Company and Coin-O-Matic Distributors based there somehow get their machines everywhere in New England, but earn only a fraction of the revenue Patriarca commands. He runs race tracks, including the Berkshire Downs and Hancock Park in Massachusetts and Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island. He has a large stake in the Dunes and Desert Inn in Las Vegas; after 1967 he controls almost all the fresh seafood shipments out of New England to the rest of the country. In addition to gambling, the Office oversees prostitution, pornography, robberies, and truck hijacking, and runs union rackets through Arthur Coia Sr. (b. 1914) of the Laborers International Union. About a dozen top soldiers run these operations and oversee others in Rhode Island: strip club racketeer Luigi “Baby Shacks” Manocchio (b. 1927), strong-arm man Giovanni “Candy” Candelmo (b. 1905), the “Swiss watch” mastermind and hit man John “Red” Kelley (b. 1914), and others. Frank Forti (b. 1916) taps carnivals, fairs, and similar attractions all over the state, while the fence Alfredo “The Blind Pig” Rossi (b. 1920) manages gangs of shoplifters and “boosters” all over the country.

Patriarca’s rules include keeping a low profile, paying all his men generously, and ruthless enforcement of his will. Rule three takes precedence: among other challengers, he has John F. “Jack” Nazarian, one of his own killers, whacked in a Providence restaurant in 1962 in front of 22 witnesses. The Office has ample pull in Rhode Island politics, including Governor Notte, Providence Mayor Joe Doorley, North Providence police chief Jack de Stafno, U.S. Senator John O. Pastore,  state legislators including majority leader (1966-1976) Joseph Bevilacqua, along with numerous judges, state’s attorneys, and lesser figures. Patriarca has a national reputation, to boot. He sits on the governing council of La Cosa Nostra, and even gets recruited by the CIA for Operation MONGOOSE in 1960: he contributes minor league second baseman turned hit man Maurice “Pro” Lerner (b. 1935) to the Castro kill squad.

The FBI begins its full-court press on Patriarca in 1961, as the losing Irish mobs call in the Kennedys on their oppressor, and wiretaps “the Office” starting in 1962. In 1964, Patriarca funds a gun-running depot disguised as a seminary in Maine, to be run by the American Nazi Party through his enforcer Louis “the Fox” Taglianetti (b. 1903). In 1965, his gambling chief and underboss Frank “Butsey” Morelli (b. 1896) dies of throat cancer; thinking “The Man” weakened, burglar Raymond “Baby” Curcio tries robbing Patriarca’s brother Joseph’s house and meets a fatal comeuppance. In 1968, Patriarca’s soldiers kill at least three more rivals and possible informants.

FBI pressure eventually shows results. Patriarca cuts out Joseph “the Animal” Barboza (b. 1931), a former light-heavyweight boxer and contract killer, from the Office for his flamboyant excesses in 1966. From prison, Barboza cuts a deal with the Feds, and the FBI indicts Patriarca in June 1967 for the 1966 murder of Providence bookie Willie Marfeo, trying and convicting him in 1969. The Bureau also flips “Red” Kelley, whose testimony indicts and convicts Enrico “the Referee” Tameleo (b. 1901), Patriarca’s underboss, for the 1965 murder of Teddy Deegan in Boston. (Courts later overturn Tameleo’s conviction, when evidence surfaces that FBI agent H. Paul Rico (b. 1925) perjured himself and suborned witnesses including Kelley.) Patriarca goes to Atlanta Federal Prison for five years, then serves two years in prison in Rhode Island (his parole letter is signed by Joseph Bevilacqua), running “the Office” from behind bars with his son Ray Jr. (b. 1945) as nominal figurehead.

Two Offices, One Fate

While Patriarca reigns in Providence, the Fate climbs to power in New York (FoDG, p. 288). So how does Patriarca’s reign fit into the shadowy world of sorcery and the Unnatural? Depending on whose undependable testimony you buy, Patriarca either deals narcotics through cut-outs or not at all, a pair of possible models for his dealings with the Fate. He deals with the New York families mostly through Tameleo (a Bonanno), and through his made man Nicholas “Nicky” Bianco (b. 1932), a Colombo associate. It’s possible that Patriarca keeps the Fate at arm’s length inadvertently, by keeping New York at arm’s length from his turf.

Regardless of Patriarca’s sensitivities, the Fate and Stephen Alzis want things in Providence, and in New England in general. But Alzis has the other Five Families to overawe; he may be slightly overextended reaching out to Providence. Does Patriarca use the Unnatural to fight the Fate? Was he one of the “hi-jackers” who opened alchemical coffins meant for Charles Dexter Ward in January 1928? Did he find another passage into the Pawtuxet cellar, and clear it out? Did he hear stories on the Providence docks, or run rum with weirdly bulging-eyed sailors? Perhaps he has some use for mind-switching witchcraft – he did, after all, get out of prison in Massachusetts in 1938 (for possession of stolen jewelry – an Innsmouth tiara perhaps?) after only four months by sending “an unknown girl” to bribe Massachusetts Governor Hurley.

Or does Patriarca hate and fear the Mythos’ poison even more than he hates and fears Alzis’ Lords? Possibly as a kid he got a bad scare playing in the abandoned Starry Wisdom Church on Federal Hill, just down Atwells Avenue from his own Spirito Santo Church. Maybe he was one of the Italians holding candles to hold back the Haunter of the Dark that August night in 1935. And now he’s holding more than candles, and his connections might let him pull in DELTA GREEN to help him light them up.


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 BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.

All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles.

During Operation ALONSO, the Agents must make a sweep of the Rung Sat swamp in Vietnam. Wary players may request assistance from one section or another of the US or allied forces in-theatre with Bureaucracy or suitable Agency spends. The Handler can play the escort as regular GMCs, or pass them out to the players as secondary characters if she likes. GMCs with Investigative abilities can (and barring mistreatment, will) spend them for the Agents if needed.

Even if you’re not playing The Borellus Connection, there’s every chance your Delta Green agents will end up in the jungles of Vietnam, in need of military backup…

 

Escort GMCs and Instability

Each GMC in this section has a Shaken entry describing the way their personality deforms under Unnatural stress.

To avoid excess die rolls and bookkeeping, each encounter with the Unnatural reduces at minimum one GMC to Shaken. If the creature or effect has a Stability loss value (e.g., +1 for Greater Deep Ones), debilitate that many more GMCs.

Once all the GMCs are Shaken, the next encounter Shatters a GMC (or more than one, if the stimulus has a Stability loss value). At that point, decide whether the GMC reacts with frenzy, flight, or freeze (see FoDG,p. 113).

Choose the victim randomly, or based on the drama of the moment: the point man sees the lurking monsters clearly, for example.

 

Riverine Force

If the Agents arrange their escort with the Navy or the ONI, or go through the MACV-SOG command (with its heavy DELTA GREEN penetration), the helicopter drops them off at Cat Lo Naval Base (near Vung Tau) across the bay from the south end of the Rung Sat. Here they board the Madeline,a US Navy PBR Mk. II with orders to take them wherever they need to go (By River,p. XX), get them back to base, and provide fire support in between if needed.

One officer and three enlisted men crew the Madeline.

The Madeline

Nobody’s idea of a beautiful boat, the PBR (Patrol Boat, River) Mk II mounts two diesel-powered water-jet drives on a low (not to say wallowing) fiberglass hull. Powerful engines and light weight give the PBR a top speed of 29 knots and the ability to turn in its own radius; it can creep up creeks less than three feet deep. At 32’ long with an 11’7” beam, its crew of four and the Agent team crowd it.

The Madelinemounts a 60mm mortar [L2] and two M79 “Thumper” grenade launchers [L1*] that can be fired from swivel mounts or from the shoulder; its crew are issued M16 assault rifles (d+0, [L1 on full auto]) along with personal shotguns and pistols. Each PBR has a powerful radio, a spotlight, and one bulky Starlight AN/PVS-2 night-vision scope (4x magnification, 7.5 lbs. including four AA batteries) in inventory (see FoDG,p. 142).

Speed:32 mph

Maneuver:+1

Notes:The fiberglass hull provides -1 Armor against light firearms (d+0 damage or less) and shrapnel. A Deep One can punch through the hull on a successful 6.

Ensign John J. O’Rourke, Boat Captain

If the Agents went through DELTA GREEN, he’s a friendly. He hasn’t definitively encountered the Unnatural, but he’s seen some shit. That said, he seems scarily young.

General Abilities:Athletics 5, Firearms 4, Foreign Language (Vietnamese) 1, Health 5, Melee Weapons 2, Pilot 4, Unarmed Combat 4

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+0

Attack:fist (d-2), fighting knife (d=1) machete (d+0), Colt .45 automatic pistol (d+1)

Shaken:You have to take command! Only you know how to stop these things, not these civilians!

Chief Petty Officer Lyman Peachtree, Gunner’s Mate

General Abilities:Athletics 8, Firearms 6, Health 7, Heavy Weapons 5, Melee Weapons 5, Pilot 4, Unarmed Combat 6

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+0

Stealth Modifier:-1

Attack:fist (d-2), belaying pin (d+0), Ithaca 37 12-gauge combat shotgun (d+1)

Shaken:You’re back on the football field where you’re a star. Use lots of sports metaphors.

Petty Officer Horatio Lopez, Engineman

Investigative Abilities: SIGINT 1

General Abilities:Athletics 3, Firearms 4, First Aid 4, Health 5, Mechanics 5, Melee Weapons 4, Pilot 2, Unarmed Combat 3

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+0

Stealth Modifier:-1

Attack:fist (d-2), belaying pin (d+0), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto])

Shaken:Never get off the boat. The boat is the only safe place, and we have to protect it.

Able Seaman Mark Simmons

General Abilities:Athletics 6, Firearms 4, Health 5, Melee Weapons 3, Pilot 3, Unarmed Combat 6

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+1

Attack:fist (d-2), axe (d+1), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto])

Shaken:Everything here is made of bugs, and bugs get in your boots and your mouth and other places. Scratch your skin to make sure no bugs got under it!

 

Army Escort

If the Agents went through MACV/US, or didn’t use a DELTA GREEN tasking when going through MACV-SOG, they get an experienced squad of “swamp rats” from the “4th of the 47th” (9th Infantry Divison, 4th Battalion of the 47th Regiment). Their unit begins mounting raids into the Rung Sat in 1967. Their orders: escort the Agents to one location in the Rung Sat, suppress enemy forces found there, escort the Agents back. Talking Sergeant Louis into extending the mission requires a 1-point spend of Inspiration, or Intimidation (from an Agent with combat experience).

Staff Sergeant William “Bear” Louis

Investigative Abilities:Inspiration 2, Intimidation 2, Military Science 2, Survival 3

General Abilities:Athletics 9, Firearms 7, First Aid 2, Health 7, Melee Weapons 5, Unarmed Combat 6

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+1

Attack:fist (d-2), Ka-Bar knife (d-1), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:Get quiet and fixate on one of the Agents. He’s the asshole who did this to you. Don’t let him get behind you.

Specialist 5 Billy Murnane

Investigative Abilities:Architecture 1, Chemistry 1, Survival 2

General Abilities:Athletics 5, Conceal 5, Demolitions 5, Firearms 5, Health 5, Melee Weapons 3, Unarmed Combat 3

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+0

Attack:fist (d-2), Ka-Bar knife (d-1), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*], flares, satchel charge [L3]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:Pyromania; let it burn.

Specialist 4 Theo Maniakis

Carries the field radio. Assistant gunner on the M60.

Investigative Abilities:Foreign Language (Greek, Vietnamese), SIGINT 2, Survival 3, Traffic Analysis 1

General Abilities:Athletics 5, Firearms 5, Health 7, Heavy Weapons 3, Melee Weapons 3, Unarmed Combat 5

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+0

Stealth Modifier:+1

Attack:fist (d-2), Ka-Bar knife (d+0), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto])

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:You hear voices, giving you good advice. Maybe it’s the saints or the angels? Maybe it’s your dead pappou?

Corporal Vic Russo

Investigative Abilities:HUMINT 1, Inspiration 1, Survival 3

General Abilities:Athletics 8, Firearms 7, Health 6, Heavy Weapons 5, Melee Weapons 4, Unarmed Combat 6

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+1

Attack:fist (d-2), Ka-Bar knife (d+0), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*], M60 7.62mm machine gun [L1* full auto]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:Explain everything, lay it out, talk everyone down from this bad place we’re in.

Squad

Five statistically identical infantrymen. One also carries ammo for the M60.

General Abilities:Athletics 6, Firearms 7, Health 5, Melee Weapons 4, Unarmed Combat 5

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+0

Attack:fist (d-2), Ka-Bar knife (d+0), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:1) Panic; 2) Berserk fury; 3) Desperate attachment to an Agent; 4) Religious mania; 5) Regression to happy childhood memories

 

ARVN Escort

(Army of the Republic of Vietnam)

If the Agents go directly through ARVN General Dzu, they’re eventually supplied them with a squad of miserable draftees under an incompetent officer, Captain Hoang. It takes a 2-point spend of Military Scienceto recognize this while still in base: Dzu also ordered a spit-and-polish drill for the day before, and their Sergeant Chinh is actually a good, honest soldier on punishment detail for informing on his superiors. Thus, the unit looks good in formation.

Captain Tran Minh Hoang

Venal, incompetent, and related to someone that Dzu can’t offend by firing him. The only English-speaker in the unit, although most of the other men understand a few words (“Fire,” “Bullshit,” “Charlie” etc.).

General Abilities:Athletics 3, Firearms 4, Health 8, Melee Weapons 3, Unarmed Combat 2

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:-1

Stealth Modifier:-1

Attack:fist (d-2), Colt .45 pistol (d+1)

Shaken:Vainglorious megalomania.

Sergeant Pham Duc Chinh

A veteran of the war against the French, he fights the Communists with the same fervor and effectiveness. If the Agents demonstrate calm and military competence in the field, and if one of them speaks Vietnamese, he tells them that he doesn’t think the radio works.

The men dropped it in the mud on a patrol a month ago, seemingly on purpose, and he hasn’t got a clear answer why or whether they’ve obeyed his order to fix it.

He has Special Weapons Training in his knife.

Investigative Abilities: Survival 3

General Abilities:Athletics 8, Firearms 8, Health 8, Heavy Weapons 6, Melee Weapons 6, Unarmed Combat 6

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+1

Attack:fist (d-2), Maserin commando knife (d+1), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*], M60 7.62mm machine gun [L1* full auto]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:Chinh is the last to be Shaken in the unit. His response is to melt into the jungle and disappear, then reappear at base with a story about a VC ambush.

ARVN Squad

A dozen conscripts, statistically identical. Two carry ammo for the M60.

General Abilities:Athletics 5, Firearms 5, Health 4, Melee Weapons 3, Unarmed Combat 4

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:-1

Stealth Modifier:-1

Attack:Attack:fist (d-2), bayonet (d+0), M16 5.56mm assault rifle (d+0 [L1 full auto]), grenades [L1*]

Armor:Helmet (-3 vs. bullets, head only)

Shaken:When Shaken, they act as if Shattered. Roll randomly: 1-3: run away; 4-5: freeze up and babble; 6: shoot wildly at everything on full auto

Caterina Garcia-Tomas

Cuban pilot, CIA contractor. A veteran of the Bay of Pigs, Congo, Peru, and lots of other places she can’t tell you about. She’s here to fly her bird and kill Communists.

General Abilities:Athletics 8, Firearms 7, Health 10, Melee Weapons 9, Pilot 9, Unarmed Combat 5

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+0

Attack:fist (d-2), balisong knife (d+0), 9mm Luger pistol (d+1)

Shaken:You get angry, mostly at the rabiblancos Agents who planned this disaster. It’s like the Bay of Pigs all over again! If Shattered, you retreat to robotic stillness, just like in Castro’s prison after the Bay of Pigs.

CIA Gunship

Agents who go through Lansdale or the CIA (or who request CIA backup instead of military escort from MACV-SOG) get an Operation PHOENIX tasking built around their mission. The PHOENIX program hunts, captures, and sometimes kills VC cadre in South Vietnam. Their liaison, “Mr. Fall” has no problem taking out a drug lord or whoever as well – he doesn’t ask questions, he does his job.

The Agents meet Fall at Tan Son Nhut, and after a quick exchange of pleasantries he asks them where they want to go in the Rung Sat, and who their target is. Target established, he leads the way to a Huey gunship parked in a secure area, badging past a guard post. The Agents pile on with any gear, and the helo takes off.

Barry Glenn

Door gunner and mechanic, CIA contractor.

General Abilities:Athletics 6, Firearms 7, Health 5, Heavy Weapons 8, Mechanics 8, Melee Weapons 4, Pilot 2, Unarmed Combat 5

Hit Threshold:3

Alertness Modifier:+0

Stealth Modifier:+0

Attack:fist (d-2), fighting knife (d+0), M134 7.62mm minigun [L1* full auto; each 1 Heavy Weapons point spent counts double]

Shaken:Goes from frame drop, to spot memory loss; Shattered goes to hysterical blindness.

“Mr. Fall”

From the CIA’s Political Action Division, Fall is a veteran of Korea, and of Lansdale’s psychological warfare training sessions with Alpha 66 in Florida and Guatemala.

Fall has Special Weapons Training in his knife and pistol.

Investigative Abilities:Foreign Language (Spanish, Vietnamese) 3, Military Science 1, SIGINT 2, Survival 2, Tradecraft 2

General Abilities:Athletics 9, Firearms 10, Health 8, Melee Weapons 9, Psychotherapy 4, Unarmed Combat 10

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+1

Stealth Modifier:+2

Attack:fist (d-2), commando knife (d+1), Smith & Wesson Model 39 silenced 9mm automatic pistol (d+2), Carl Gustaf “Swedish K” 9mm submachine gun (d+1, [L1 full auto])

Shaken:Ritualistic cleaning and assembling of guns; if Shattered hunts and kills the Agents.

The BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.

All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles.

Over the course of the Borellus Connection, the players come into contact with the outer fringes of Orne’s criminal network, and follow the connections until they reach Orne himself. If the players follow the clues in individual missions without realising the wider context, they’ll get to that terrible confrontation at the end of the campaign. However, ambitious players may wish to investigate the network between operations. Orne’s paranoia about detection means that digging up clues is extremely difficult – witnesses disappear, safehouses vanish overnight, arrested crooks either keep silent or die mysteriously in prison – but you can use these background investigations to foreshadow upcoming elements of the campaign (“you pick up a rumour about some German gunman called de Kleist who shot up a Turkish smuggling ring a few years ago – he may be connected to Orne”) or give the players alternate entry vectors to operations.

Another possible line of inquiry is the mostly-defunct Order of Almousin-Metraton, the occult secret society of necromancers.

Investigating the Network

Accounting: The French Connection launders its profits in Nassau, then deposits them in accounts in Switzerland and Lebanon. When Orne needs to spend his drug money to further his occult research or bodysnatching schemes, he either gets an advance from local drug lords (“give my servant two thousand dollars now, and I’ll ensure you get an added heroin shipment straight from Marseile next month”), or taps his funds in the Lebanese banks. Accounting can follow the money.

Criminology identifies the various gangs and criminal syndicates with their fingers in the opium trade, giving clues about local groups who might be involved in Orne’s schemes. Combined with Streetwise, it’s good for gathering rumours about shadowy players and sinister, occult-tinged enforcers like Charrière.

Pharmacy can be used to test heroin purity. Most heroin, even before it’s cut for sale, reaches only 70% purity; the French Connection’s old chemist, Joseph Cesari, was known as ‘Mr. 98%’ for his exceedingly good product. Orne, if he put his mind to it, could do even better, but he often experiments with his product (see Essential Smack, p. XX), so a purity of around 90% indicates Orne-made junk.

Traffic Analysis lets the Agents track drug shipments; they can guess how often shipments are made, trace legitimate chemical purchasers, work out when local jugglers will run out of product and have to obtain more from distributors, or correlate international arrivals with sudden activity in the distribution network, giving clues about the smuggling methods used by the network.

Investigating the Order

Art or Archaeology spots old signs of the Order in places. Portraits of scholars or great thinkers might have the distinctive A/M sigil hidden somewhere in the painting, or scratched on their tombs. (If the ascending node is slightly larger, that indicates that the subject was once an initiate of the Order. If the descending node is larger, the subject’s saltes were taken by a Brother and are available for trade.)

Architecture can identify common traits that recur, regardless of the local style of building or the age of the structure – extensive underground cellars, drains for disposal of failed experiments, secret doors, star-windows in high attic rooms.

Occult recalls rumours of a secret society that’s supposed to include every famous mind in history as members.

  • The society’s ultimate goal is, depending on the writer, to uncover the secrets of the past, to achieve union with God, or to bring about future enlightenment

Traffic Analysis orCriminology applied to the above clues concludes that the Order of Almousin-Metatron consists of at least two groups – low-ranking hangers-on and associates who operate on a purely local level, but copy the symbols and rituals of the Order to proclaim how connected they are, and an inner higher-ranking cabal that doesn’t need to show off as much.

 

 

They were a chance assembly of people who all happened to have some curious story current in their own family or neighbourhood which had puzzled them, and deserved (as they conceived) further investigation. Each had supposed that his own particular problem was a unique one, and was surprised when he found someone else with a similar or parallel story. It was the discovery that there were so many such tales abroad, far more than anyone had expected, which induced the original founders of the society to form themselves into a club for the investigation and testing of alleged manifestations of the supernatural.

— Sir Charles Oman, “The Old Oxford Phasmatological Society,” JSoc.Psych.Res. 33:622-23 (March-April, 1946)

In his ghost story “The Mezzotint,” M.R. James mentions “the Phasmatological Society” in passing. Often dismissed by Jamesian scholars as another of the master’s fertile inventions, this real ghost-investigating group was founded at Oxford University around 1874 (Oman recalls the date as October 29, 1879, but other sources differ). It continued operating at least until 1886, at some point establishing a chapter in London. The Society appeared in the London Truth as late as 1894; its members included the military historian Sir Charles Oman, Lord Haldane, the Bishop of Gloucester, and other eventually eminent personages.

The phasmatologist at work

They were less eminent as Oxford undergraduates, of course, though still quite well connected. The player characters might be such dilettante investigators, following up on the kind of tales James’ narrators recount as having safely occurred in earlier days or on queer stories that happen to their own peers or dons. The real Phasmatological Society took testimony from ghost witnesses and other paranormal experiencers, and then investigated the reports. Player character Society members might even investigate earlier James stories themselves, letting the GM invent sequels to the various horrors, or follow up on clues left by their great forefather the clergyman, philosopher, and ghost-breaker Joseph Glanvil (1636-1680). Like James’ protagonists, they encounter treasure hunts, cryptograms, mazes, and other puzzles with the clues hidden in church architecture or manor house bookshelves.

Jamesian adventures can take place entirely in the Victorian milieu of the original Phasmatological Society, of course, or in James’ own Edwardian era. A revived (or covertly continued) Society might investigate ghosts in the Trail of Cthulhu 1930s; its antiquarian membership makes ideal foils, marks, or clients for the Bookhounds of London. A swinging ’60s mod-occultist scene follows the guru and impresario “Chorazin” in London and San Francisco (FoDG, p. 304), and a modernized Society could emerge in Soho, Chelsea, or Berkeley to investigate the phasmatic wreckage in his wake. (Use the Activist or Scholar backgrounds; FoDG, p. 044.) The modern-day Phasmatological Society makes an ideal framing device for Fear Itself adventures or a cover group for an Ordo Veritatis “station-watch” squad hunting Esoterrorists.

A Pleasingly Random Ghost

Jamesian ghosts, while nicely tailored to their individual stories, don’t have any determinable order or logic to their abilities. In GUMSHOE mechanical terms, they have one to three Abilities: Aberrance (for all ghosts), Health, and and Scuffling (the last two for material, materialized, and possessing ghosts). All ghosts can spend Aberrance for minor effects such as cold spots, poltergeist activity, weird noises, and so forth; such effects cause damage or other mechanical effects, if any, equal to the spend.

Their ratings depend on their power, which is measured in dice. Most Jamesian entities have two dice in each Ability; minor ghosts have only one die in each Ability; major specters such as Count Magnus have three or even four dice in each. Each time the ghost appears, roll its dice in each Ability; the total is the pool it has available for that night. All Abilities fully refresh each sunset unless the ghost is exorcised or otherwise destroyed (usually by burning its remains).

Roll the ghost’s highest dice pool, take the highest two dice rolled, and divide the total result among its Alertness, Stealth, and Stability Loss bonuses. (Jamesian ghosts deal heavy Stability Loss penalties, as a rule.) For one-die ghosts, roll one die, add +1, and divide the result as above.

Roll one die on one Power table for each die in the ghost’s abilities. The number after the Power name is its Aberrance cost to use. A one-die entirely immaterial (Aberrance-only) ghost probably only rolls on the Oppressive Powers table, but the GM might pick a suitable power from one of the other tables if desired. Ghosts with any dice in Health or Scuffling can automatically materialize once in a scene for 2 points of Aberrance, even without the Materialize power. Those ghosts also roll one die and split the result between attack damage bonus (default is +0) and defense bonuses while material (expressed as minuses to damage). Materialized ghosts almost always have the Corpse quality (damage halved, shotguns do 2 pts, firearms do 1 pt).

Combat Powers

1  Disgusting Touch (2): foe must make a 6-point Stability (Difficulty 5) test to touch or when touched by the being during the scene

2  Disquieting Touch (1): attack using Scuffling, damage (+0) comes off Stability

3  Foetor (0): Forces a 5-point Health test (Difficulty 5) in close combat

4  Freezing Terror (1): attack using Aberrance, damage (d+0) comes off Stability

5  Grapple (2): forces test of its Aberrance or Scuffling vs. foe’s Athletics or Scuffling; if foe fails, foe cannot escape for a number of rounds equal to margin of success and their Hit Threshold drops to 2

6  Materialize (2): may materialize to make physical attacks (damage comes off Health) with Scuffling, spend 2 again to dematerialize into foul vapor immune to material attacks

Movement Powers

1  Abduction (2): may carry (or Apport, if it also has that power) an unconscious or Grappled victim to one pre-ordained place (usually its grave)

2  Apportation (1): may teleport to its own death site, gravesite, image, and/or name

3  Familiar (1): may appear as, or operate through, a rough beast such as a cat, owl, rat, spider, or similar creature

4  Follow Victim (1): automatically follows target; spend only required when victim changes conveyance or significant direction

5  Inhabit Matter (2): may possess and animate organic matter such as linen sheets, wood carvings, trees and vines, corpses, etc. with a Health pool either equal to the ghost’s Health or to 1d per point of Aberrance spent

6  Spider Climb (1): can climb up walls (if ghost is immaterial, applies to inhabited matter, familiars, or ghost in materialized form)

Oppressive Powers

1  Confusion (2): on a failed Stability test, target is dazed or struck forgetful

2  Create Darkness (1-3): increases Difficulty of visual tests (including Hit Thresholds) in the area by amount spent; spend of 3 further increases Difficulty of all Stability tests by +1

3  Desolate Cry (1): triggers 3-point Stability test in hearers

4  Oppression (1): lowers victim’s Stability pool by 1, cannot be refreshed by normal rest, usable once per week

5  Send Nightmare (1): triggers 4-point Stability test in one victim

6  Terrifying (2): +2 to Difficulty of Stability tests

 

The BORELLUS CONNECTION manuscript was too nightmarish and vast to be constrained by any binding our printer could conceive; therefore, we were obliged to remove some material from the book. It’s preserved here as a series of Page XX articles. As Orne’s mysterious correspondent in Philadelphia warned us, “no Part must be missing if the finest Effects are to be had”; therefore, we have categorised these cuttings as FINEST EFFECTS.

All materials tagged FINEST EFFECTS are Handler’s Eyes Only – prospective players of the Borellus Connection campaign are instructed not to read these articles. 

The ultimate target of the Agents’ investigation in The Borellus Connection is the necromancer Simon Orne. His background is described in the introduction to the campaign – here’s a more detailed timeline of his movements and activities across history.

1649: Born in Salem.

1652: His father John Orne purchases a farm near the village.

1662: Birth of Joseph Curwen in Salem-Village

1680: Joins congregation headed by the preacher George Burroughs, later hanged a witch. Another member of the congregation is Edwin Hutchinson, a local landowner (and necromancer).

1683: Burroughs departs Salem for Maine, ostensibly over a dispute about payment.

1686: Curwen returns from his travels overseas and becomes a close friend of Hutchinson and Orne.

1690: They make a breakthrough in the woods behind Hutchinson’s house: they successfully invoke Nyarlathotep in his mask of the Black Man, and through him established communion with Yog-Sothoth in the form of ‘Umr at-Tawil, “the Prolonged of Life.” From that point, none of the members of the circle seem to age.

1692: The Salem Witch trials. Orne is named as a witch by Hepzibah Lawson and Amity How in 1692, but escapes prosecution – either his case is dismissed for lack of evidence, or he co-operates with the authorities, trading information for leniency. His master in the coven, George Burroughs, is arrested in Maine and hanged in Salem. Other members of the coven flee – “G” to Philadelphia, Edwin Hutchinson to Transylvania, Joseph Curwen to Providence, Rhode Island.

1710-1719: Orne’s failure to grow visibly old draws attention in Salem.

1720: Orne leaves Salem and travels to Europe. He puts his property in the town into the care of trusted servants, although they are enjoined not to visit the house by the woods – the former home of Edwin Hutchison, later purchased by Orne in 1705.

1723: Orne is initiated into the Order of Almousin-Metraton in Malta.

1730: Orne travels briefly to Philadelphia to participate in the opening of the first Freemason’s Lodge in America.

1731: In Egypt, Orne is involved in the murder of the ruling Sheikh al-Balad, as part of a scheme to seize control of certain tombs under the city. Orne spends six years living in the City of the Dead outside Cairo.

1750: “Jedediah” Orne returns to Salem, claiming to be Simon’s son. He provides documents in his “father”’s hand, attesting to his ownership of the properties in Salem.

1751: Joseph Curwen writes a letter to ‘Simon’, describing a ritual to invoke Yog-Sothoth in order to affect future destiny, ensuring that of his “seede of Olde shal one be borne who shal looke Back, tho’ know’g not what he seekes’.

1771: Letters from Providence citizens (likely the ones who attacked Joseph Curwen’s farm) to Rev. Thomas Barnard of Salem arouse more suspicions about Orne.

Orne flees to Baltimore, adopts the name ‘Isaac Pelham’.

1780: Eager to avoid suspicion, Orne becomes involved with a circle of physicians and chemists in the Baltimore area. He redoubles investments in shipping and real estate in the city, and contributes handsomely to the building of public buildings including Baltimore’s courthouse and city hall.

1807: The “Doctor’s Riot”, A mob burns down a private anatomical theatre operated by Dr. John Beale Davidge.

1827: Aided by money from Orne, the Washington Medical College opens, despite objections from the rival University of Maryland Medical school.

1830s: Demand for cadavers in Baltimore rises; an infamous grave-robber known as Frank the Spade becomes well known for his ghoulish talents.

1833: The college moves to new facilities opposite city hall. Tunnels under the city are said to be used to move bodies unseen.

1835: The college’s founder, Dr. Horatio Gates Jameson, departs for Cincinnati. Enrolment numbers at the college decline precipitously; oddly, the rate at which corpses are stolen continues to increase.

1840s: Orne invests in Philadelphia’s burgeoning fertiliser and chemical industries.

1851: The college closes; two years later, a mob attempts to burn down the derelict building, claiming that the devil haunts the building’s cellars.

1853: Orne leaves Baltimore, travelling to Cairo. He digs something up from an incorrectly marked tomb; when resurrected, it attacks him, scarring his face. Wounded, he flees to Prague.

1854: Orne purchases a house at Kleinstrasse 11 in the Altstadt, establishing an identity as “Josef Nadek”. He regularly corresponds with Edwin Hutchinson, who continues to reside in Transylvania as “Count Ferenczy”. He becomes quietly influential in various occult and Masonic circles. Graverobbings in Prague’s cemeteries increase.

1860: Orne establishes new branches of the Order of Almousin-Metraton in Prague, Munich and Paris.

1924: Charles Dexter Ward visits Orne before travelling on to Transylvania.

1925: Through his criminal contacts Paul Carbone and Francois Spirito, Orne imports mummies and other relics from Egypt.

1928: Orne’s house is totally wrecked in a single night by Ógafracoth. “Nadek” flees, leading the creature away from Orne’s secret laboratory that still survives in Prague.

Castle Ferenczy is destroyed in a titan explosion.

1929: Orne establishes himself in Munich, using his Masonic contacts to arrange the purchase of an old house where he recreates his Prague laboratory. He secretly maintains the Prague lab, intending to return there when circumstances permit.

1930: Paul Carbone and Francois Spirito employ genius chemist Joseph Cesari to produce heroin from a secret lab in Marseille.

1935: Riots and Nazi Party condemnation of occult lodges and Freemasonry impel Orne to flee Munich for Marseille, where he has contacts from his days as a merchant trader. He advises Joseph Cesari on pharmaceutical techniques. Orne adopts the name “Jacques Vènice,” vènicemeaning “scar” in Corsican.

1937: Orne establishes a new branch of the Order of Almousin-Metraton in Marseille.

1942: Orne quarrels with his business partners for their collaboration with the Nazis, and switches allegiance to the Guérini crime family. He deploys his Custodes to kill collaborators for the Brutus network of the French resistance, building up credit with the victorious allies to ensure he’s protected after the war.

1953: Establishment of the “French Connection”, linking the Turkish opium trade to the United States drugs market.

Orne returns to Baltimore as “Edwin Pelham” and purchases the site of his former residence.

1964: Unione Corse chemist Joseph Cesari is arrested; the Guérinis demand that Orne take over as lead chemist. Orne agrees, but secretly uses Unione Corse connections to pursue his worship of Yog-Sothoth.

“[S]ome day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall … go mad from the revelation …” — H.P. Lovecraft

“Total paranoia is total consciousness.” — Charles Manson

Like a certain recent Quentin Tarantino movie, The Fall of DELTA GREEN juxtaposes the romance of the Sixties with their deeper horrors, very much including spree killings along with the various institutional heinousness of the era. Like all horror, both Tarantino’s film and Fall of DELTA GREEN perhaps perform a certain exorcistic function, allowing us to confront the real world through a ludic lens and ritually or fictively rectify some wrongs. By the way, if you haven’t seen Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood yet, it provides a lyrical time capsule to the Los Angeles of 1969 that Handlers and players should slurp up like one of Rick Dalton’s margaritas. Its Spahn Ranch scene, meanwhile, may be the best short horror film inside a larger film since The Devil’s Backbone, and should give Handlers lots of ideas for cults and cultists. This column offers only the mildest of spoilers.

Cultists. Robes not included.

So how do we use Charles Manson in a Fall of DELTA GREEN game? Before we answer that question, let’s ask the question before that: “Should we use Charles Manson in a Fall of DELTA GREEN game?” That, of course, is up to you and your players to judge: whether the murders of nine people happened too recently (or remain too memorious) to have become history instead of tragedy. If so, then replace Charles Manson with some fictitious cult leader: Louis Maddox, let’s say. Growing up poor and abused in rural Massachusetts, “Louie” drifts in and out of prison, where he encounters the Church of Interlife (FoDG, p. 302) or the True Love Study Group (FoDG, p. 305) and gets turned on to the Unnatural. (Another possibility: Maddox is one of the Annealed (FoDG, p. 302), the child of Kathleen Bishop, a witness to the 1928 “Dunwich Horror” incident, who raises her son to listen for the noises under the hills and the sound of whippoorwills.) He uses Liao instead of LSD, perhaps, to brainwash his murderous Flock. Stumbling on Maddox’ “little birds” soliciting and begging in the streets of whatever warm city the campaign visits regularly slowly leads the Agents to investigate him. Just as happened with Manson, when the authorities (in this case, the PCs) close in, Maddox goes apocalyptic and sends his Flock on a killing spree.

The trouble with using “Maddox” or the equivalent is that you don’t get the immediate ludic charge of the demonic true name, while still leaving yourself open to accusations of gamifying a real-life murder. At some point, however, gamifying murder sort of goes with the horror-mystery territory. Fall of DELTA GREEN, and the Delta Green universe in general, already make use of a lot of specific horrible things in the real world from the quotidian cruelties of MK-ULTRA to the mass-scale horrors of the Vietnam War. If we can fictively re-direct USAF napalm strikes, I would argue that we can fictively or ludically treat a murder cult that, as it happens, seems to spring straight out of Lovecraft’s nightmares: “laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and reveling in joy.”

One advantage of using “Maddox” or the equivalent is that you get to move the murders around from their inconveniently late date (August 1969) to suit your campaign. Another advantage is that you can make up a bunch of wild stuff about “Maddox” — although plenty of people have done the same about Charles Manson, as it turns out, starting perhaps with the prosecuting attorney who put him away for seven murders he didn’t actually commit himself. Vincent Bugliosi’s “Helter Skelter” theory of Manson’s motivation makes a superb Lovecraftian plot: a work of art (White Album, King in Yellow, six of one …) initiated Manson into a secret understanding of the world. Once enlightened with the aid of drugs and occultism, Manson plotted to release his own poisonous artwork, trigger an apocalyptic race war, and emerge in the new aeon as its ruler. Lots of people, from the Family on down, have described this as a prosecutorial fantasia.

But it gets wilder still. In the “weird stuff” part of Fall of DELTA GREEN‘s Sources section, I recommend two works, Sinister Forces by Peter Levenda and Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon by David McGowan, which both confidently assert (among other things) that Manson was the creation (accidental or intentional) of the CIA via its various mind control projects. (I personally tend to doubt this theory, not least because if the CIA had programmed Manson, they would surely have sent him to Roger Vadim’s house, not Roman Polanski’s.) Comes now investigative journalist Tom O’Neill, whose new book CHAOS makes the same argument in a slightly less unhinged tone. O’Neill turns up a dubious character named Reeve Whitson in Polanski’s orbit and hints he’s CIA; he notes that former MK-ULTRA psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West worked at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic while Manson hung around there in 1967. Levenda, characteristically, brings in former OSS psych-warrior Hans Habe, the father of the murdered Marina Habe who some have called another Manson Family victim, and also notes that the Beach Boys recorded a Manson song on the B-side of “Bluebirds Over the Mountain,” a clear reference (if you’re Peter Levenda anyway) to the MK-ULTRA precursor Project BLUEBIRD. So is Manson, or “Maddox,” an accidentally-Annealed MAJESTIC killer?

Or is he serving Something Else? Levenda, nothing loth, recounts Manson’s youth in Ashland, Kentucky, in the shadow of the ancient Adena mounds around and under that town. Do we detect the psychic hand of K’n-Yan, or a Serpent Folk fledgling? Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski both made movies involving Satanism, and the hippie-magician crowd they ran with included plenty of Children of Chorazin (FoDG, p. 304) types. Manson’s Family had its own satanic survivors, from Susan Atkins (former Anton LaVey dancer) to Bobby Beausoleil (star of Crowleyite filmmaker Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising). Lurid tabloid reports at the time morphed into sensationalistic works such as hippie bard Ed Sherman’s The Family and investigative journalist Maury Terry’s Ultimate Evil, which both fingered the Satanic-Gnostic Process Church as part of Manson’s process. Terry’s book further tied Manson to the Son of Sam case and the Mafia (or the Fate? (FoDG, p. 288)) and eventually a vast cult network that more resembles the Cult of Transcendence (FoDG, p. 298) than anything in the real world. Such total paranoia has no place in the real world, of course. We must relegate it for our own sanity to a game we play, a tale we tell ourselves that begins “Once upon a time … ”


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.

Rung Sat swampThe upcoming Borellus Connection is a gigantic, titanic, cyclopean campaign for Fall of DELTA GREEN. It’s so huge, in fact, that it could not (in its original form) be contained by any binding ritual that could be worked by our printers. It was just huge. Therefore, we’ve a got a wealth of cut material from the campaign that we’ll be presenting as Page XX articles in the months to come. As a taster, here’s a write-up of hazards from the swamps of Vietnam and Ken’s Operation ALONSO, where the Agents are sent to investigate the remnants of the Cthulhu cult that might be lurking in the Rung Sat…

Handlers may not feel the Rung Sat deadly enough with just the provided Encounters, or may wish to throw something more in for flavor or tension-building. Alternatively, Agents who operate carelessly (or roll a natural 1 on an Athletics or Stealth test, making noise and waves) may invite dramatic retribution.

Cobra

Abilities:Athletics 7, Fighting 9, Health 4

Hit Threshold:4 (quick)

Stealth Modifier:+2

Weapon:strike (Diff 6 Health test; minor:d+2, Hurt; major: L2; -2 Health and -1 Athletics every hour)

Armor:none

Deadly Strike:A cobra automatically spends 3 points of Fighting (if available) when it strikes.

Crocodile

Agents encounter d+2 crocodiles at a time.

Abilities:Athletics 8, Fighting 17, Health 13

Hit Threshold:4

Alertness Modifier:+0 (+1 for splashing targets)

Stealth Modifier:+1 (+2 mostly submerged)

Weapon:bite (d+4), tail swipe (d+2 to a foe in the rear, can be combined with another attack)

Armor:-5 vs any (thick scaly hide)

Aquatic:Crocodiles have contest advantage (FoDG,p. 086) in the water.

Primal Horror:Being attacked by a crocodile triggers a 4-point Stability test (Violence).

Flies

A swarm of flies (or other insects) cannot be effectively hit. As long as targets remain inside the cloud, each person suffers d-3 damage per round. In the normal course of things, a cloud of flies is only d-1 rounds “wide.” (Use this same damage for red ant bites, but ants only spend one round on a victim unless he’s tied down.)

Being inside a swarm of angry insects triggers a 3-point Stability (Helplessness) test; those who fail must attempt to leave the cloud, throwing down heavy equipment or leaving the trail to do so.

Flame weapons (white phosphorus grenades, flamethrowers) can briefly damage or disperse a cloud of flies. Only chemical fog permanently disperses an insect swarm.

Scorpion

Among other hideous things, the Rung Sat houses the giant forest scorpion. Any good hit on one of these six-inch monsters (Hit Threshold 3) kills it, but if the Agent fails a Sense Trouble test (Difficulty 5, or 4 if the Agent has Survival) it stings first.

Onset:d-2 hours (minimum 5 minutes); Health test Difficulty:4; Minor: d-1; Severe:Hurt (paralyzed), d+2 to both Health and Athletics

Sucking Mud

A layer of mud covers a sinkhole or fumarole, producing a sucking vacuum when an Agent steps through it. It takes a Difficulty 6 Sense Trouble to notice the slight depression in the middle of the mud flat (Difficulty 5 with Survival).

Anyone who fails becomes stuck in the mud, sinking rapidly as the low pressure below sucks him under. It requires an Athletics test (Difficulty 3) to avoid going under; +3 Difficulty to escape entirely. Reduce the Difficulty by -1 if they have a rope to cling to or climb up. Each round, the Difficulty increases by 1. Someone stuck in the mud can Cooperate on this test, but only with someone on firmer ground – and on a failed 1, both go into the mud.

Someone who goes under the mud begins drowning immediately, losing d+3 Athletics and Health (divided however they like) each round from inhaling mud.

VC Booby Trap

Punji stake traps (FoDG,p. 140) don’t work without soil to dig in, although the VC might booby trap a seemingly solid section of ground that way.

In the Rung Sat, the guerrillas prefer grenade traps triggered by tripwires around trees or in the shallow water near their bases. Spotting a tripwire requires a test of Conceal or Demolitions (Difficulty 4) or Sense Trouble (Difficulty 5). Not spotting a tripwire triggers a grenade (L1*). Disarming it takes a quick snip of the wire (Mechanics Difficulty 3 or Demolitions Difficulty 2); stepping over it just takes a round of otherwise undistracted movement.

“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.

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