An update to converting ‘modern’ scenarios to Delta Green

(Updated 5/20/16)

Way back at the predawn of time (1999) there was a discussion thread (started by Shane Ivey no less) about porting ‘modern’ Call of Cthulhu scenarios into the Delta Green setting.  The gist of that discussion was archived on the Fairfield Project .

There was also a modern scenario guide by Jacob Busby (now posted on Delta-Green.com) that I believe originally appeared on the old Ice Cave site (I couldn’t find it on a the Wayback archive in a quick search but I didn’t try very hard) that was much more comprehensive in scope but with only a few comments per scenario: Delta Green Scenario Guide

With the release of the new stand-alone version of Delta Green, I thought this collection of conversion notes should be updated to include those published since then.  A good number of  new ‘modern’ scenarios have been released since Mambo #5 topped the charts, so I thought I might start a list here, hoping that others with more time might do the heavy lifting of writing some conversion notes.  I’m linking to this post on the DGML and Yog-sothoth.com since I’m hoping the motivation there will be greater on more general RPG sites like RPG.net etc.

I’m omitting all of the scenarios previously covered on the two lists linked to above, although I suspect new adjustments will be required in running some of these modern scenarios even in the intervening 17 years (for example, the Fractal club mailed ‘zine and 5 1/4″ floppies that feature in “The Fractal Gods” from The Stars are Right (1992).)  Some of these have been covered in earlier discussion on the DGML about specific scenarios or collections – I did a very rough link to each book, if I could find one, but can add more narrow commentary should I find it.

I am skipping over anything actually published by Pagan/Arc Dream since those usually already include a mention of Delta Green.  Likewise no “scripts” for Cthulhu Live since I have no idea about how one converts those to table-top play.  I am also omitting magazine scenarios and those scenarios from Chaosium’s monograph line as that would be an even more enormous list; I might do a separate list of those later.

I’ll endeavor to keep this list up to date with links to other folks conversion suggestions, as they are posted or as I find them (I haven’t delved into YSDC’s enormous forum archives yet).

Professionally Published ‘Modern’ Call of Cthulhu scenarios since 2000

Ramsey Campbell’s Goatswood, and Less Pleasant Places (Chaosium, 2001) – All set in the UK, in Campbell’s fictional Severn Valley towns.

  • The Windthorpe Legacy
  • Gothic
  • Silent Scream
  • Cross My Heart, Hope to Die
  • Watcher Out of Time
  • Unpleasant Dreams
  • Blessed Be
  • Of Dreams and Dark Waters
  • Third Time’s the Charm

 

Unseen Masters (Chaosium, 2001) – Scenarios set on the US East Coast – NYC or Rhode Island.

  • The Wild Hunt
  • The Truth Shall Set You Free
  • Coming of Age

 

The Stars are Right, 2nd Ed  (Chaosium, 2004) – Two scenarios were added for this 2nd edition- one set in US southwest, the other in the Rocky Mountains.

 

Secrets of Japan (Chaosium, 2005) – All scenarios set in Japan and tie into the authors idiosyncratic take on the Mythos in Japan.

  • The Hin-no-Maru Slayings
  • Meiro (the Laybrinth)
  • The Yonaguni Monuments

 

Our Ladies of Sorrow (Miskatonic River Press, 2009) – All scenarios set in the U.S.

  • The House of Shadows
  • The Desert of Sighs
  • The River of Tears
  • The Final Cut

 

Cthulhu Britannica (Cubicle 7, 2009) – scenarios are all (spoiler) set in the U.K.

  • Wrong Turn

 

Arkham Now (Chaosium, 2009) – All scenarios set in ‘modern day’ Arkham

  • Lonely Hearts (Taste Great)
  • Lost in a Book
  • I Did What the Virgin Asked

 

Snows of an Early Winter (Super Genius Games, 2009) – Set in New York City

The Arkham Case Files: Deep Morgue (Solace Games, 2012) – Set in Massachusetts

Lost in the Lights (Sixtystone Press, 2013) – Set in Las Vegas; contained notes for running as part of an Delta Green campaign.

Mythos Case Files: Fungi Mine (Solace Games, 2013)

Horror on the Orient Express, 2nd Ed. (Chaosium, 2014) – Set in Istanbul

  • The Simulacrum Unbound

Nameless Horrors (Chaosium, 2015) – Set in the UK?

  • The Moonchild
  • The Space Between

Behind the scenario – Clyde’s footlocker 

There was a question recently on the Delta Green Mailing List regarding a certain item from my scenario “Last Things Last”, appearing in the recently released Delta Green: Need to Know free quick-start rule set.  I thought I might give readers a peak behind the wibbly grey curtain of my mind answer said question below, however…

—SPOILERS FOR “LAST THINGS LAST”—

DONT BE A PRIMATIVE SCREW-HEAD AND RUIN YOUR FUN IF YOU ARE GOING TO WANT TO PLAY THE SCENARIO!

Now that we have dealt with those preliminaries, here was the question:

In “Last Things Last”, the short adventure in Need to Know, there is an assortment of things in Baugman’s footlocker, such as reel-to-reel tapes, the doctoral dissertation ,”sky devils” the bloody suit… are those seeds for future planned adventures?

Shane Ivey has already explained that there is no greater canonical ‘Delta Green’ purpose to the items in Clyde Baughman’s footlocker; the box exists to let Handlers seed this intro scenario with whatever leads to future scenarios they wish to place. The items I included exist solely to offer inspiration for the Handler… but I thought I might share the inspiration for each of the items therein. Maybe knowing how I invented them could spur your own imagination?  I’ve trimmed these a bit so as to minimize the immediate spoilers.

Generally speaking, this catalog of items was directly inspired by the Green Box Generator, an online, open-sourced tool for Keepers (and now ‘Handlers’) – you input the number and types of items you wanted to include, be in mundane or supernatural, documents, weapons, or artifacts.  Anyone could add an item from the mundane to the absurd.  I liked to write 1 item a day, for a while at least, probably writing at least 100 entries.  It was an interesting exercise in item creation and a spur to creativity.  Take a look at a modern incarnation of the Green Box Generator here.

Let’s look at what is in the footlocker…

Reel-to-reel tapes labeled with FBI evidence tags…

1The FBI conducted a great deal of surveillance in the 1960s and 70s, and I thought some bit of ephemera from this era when Baughman was most active in the conspiracy should be included. I imagine this was a leftover from a COINTELPRO (or its Delta Green  equivalent) operation that discovered hints of the Mythos.  I also like the idea of some physical remnant of Delta Green’s less savory operations.

Snake-Handling Protestant groups in Appalachia were not typically subject to FBI scrutiny, but they were marginal enough and plausibly linked to some likely target of government scrutiny – the Ku Klux Klan for example.  Linking that religious movement to Yig, a very American Mythos figure (considering his ties to Oklahoma) seemed obvious.

A cardboard box containing a neatly folded but very bloody man’s suit.

This is purely a warning to players – things will go badly while working for Delta Green.

An annotated copy of the doctoral dissertation “Sky Devils: Archetypical Figures in Native American Mythology,” by Karen Barr…

This was part of an article I had been working on for the Unspeakable Oath magazine (this was back in 2003/4 before it became clear that issue 16/17 would be the last regular issue of the Oath for a long while), providing a sampling of minor Mythos works in the form of academic dissertation – yes, I was in grad school then.  My thought was that these would paper-655112_960_720be obscure works you would only come across if you did a very intensive search in academic literature – unless your dissertation is published, there might only be one copy held by your university.  If I recall correctly, I’d come up with between 6 and 10 of these, with hints of things like Yithian possession, the Innsmouth Raid, and (as in this one) the Mi-Go.  Originally each one was given an author’s name based on an anagram from some of my favorite Call of Cthulhu scenario authors.  I decided to revamp the name a bit to sound more plausible- Karen Barr spun out from some anagram of Keith Herber I think.

Three tear-gas grenades…abc-m7a220and20320riot20control20grenade20

I wanted to include something illegal, but nothing too actually dangerous.  I guess I have a fondness for faulty grenades as I’ve included them in at least two scenarios at this point.  I suspect this comes from my love of the old West End Games RPG Paranoia, in which we often would be given requisition orders for grenades that either were unlabeled or were given inventory information that was classified for Yellow or Green citizens only.

A large iron knife…

SeaxI wanted to include a weapon that investigators would wrongly assume was magical.  In doing a little research I am happy to learn that the Anglo-Saxons actually did make a type of knife called a seax that fits my description.  As for Ogham inscription, it is an obscure enough script that many people haven’t heard of it, fits the rough period for Anglo-Saxon weaponry, and might have been inspired by reading a Terry Pratchett book about the time.

A mundane leather pouch containing hair (black bear), teeth (human infant), and feathers (bluejay and barn swallow).

I wanted something spooky but mundane.  This might have been a tip of the hat to the various items included in the auction list from “The Auction”, which I was thinking about as I worked on this list, though, as mentioned above, the proximate inspiration was the Green Box Generator.  If my memory serves there was a similar mundane item there too.

glass_float_smallOne highly magnetized glass sphere…

I like impossible objects.  A magnetic glass sphere fits that bill.  The Mythos/supernatural need not always be immediately fatal or dangerous, but I wanted it to be something that wouldn’t attract too much attention

ahn12A sizeable file regarding the Ventaja Corporation (aka Venta, meaning “advantage”), an Argentine import/export firm, dating from 1965 to 1968…

***cough*** Karotechia ***COUGH*** **cough***  I wanted to include some connection to some historical DG foe.  In the original version of “Last Things Last” Baughman had called up something far less malevolent than the thing in the version updated for the new Delta Green RPG, and this link to the Karotechia hinted at this connection.

I hope this peek behind the curtain was of interest!

The near-cessation of February

As February winds down, it is time to post a few news updates here on ye old Tomes in Progress…

What I’ve been up to:

february_calendarFirst off I am working on the latest update to our Kickstarter campaign as well a items associated with that – updating previous issues, writing the remaining  stretch-goal rewards, keeping tabs on related work.  Things are not progressing as rapidly as I wished, but I hope I’m more disappointed than our backers about the pace of things and that folks have been generally kept up to date.

I’ve nearly finished up with the second episode of the Sentinel Hill Press-cast (and now you can see why I waited to add it to various podcast aggregation sites!).  I shall definitely keep the next episode’s historical piece more concise!

I’ve posted an audio report about two interesting book for our Patreon backers – The Horror Guide to Massachusetts and Rev. Moody: The Man and His Diary.  If you’re interested in joining in, there is still time to help me select what book I will be picking up next through the generosity of our backers.

Over on the Sentinel Hill Press blog I’ve posted two tales of odd New England – the strange case of J. Bruce (in which a young man vanished in 1824 Boston only to have his remains located, allegedly, by a “mesmerist”) and all about that sweet Marblehead treat, the Joe Frogger, a cookie made with both saltwater and rum, guaranteeing it will be loved by sailors.  Speaking of Marblehead, I am currently working on a renewed call for submissions for issue #4… look for that soon.

Meanwhile, I’ve posting some shorter items of interest (assuming you care a whit about New England history and folklore) to our G+ group- An overview of the Dogtown “witches”, Tituba and the Salem Witch Trials, a folktale of how New England became so rocky, a Vermont Public Radio interview with author Joseph Citro, Mary Dyer and her “monster” child, I ask for reader feedback to answer the question “What does ‘He was a witch-cat‘” mean?, solicit member feedback on the new film The Witch, an example heart-burning to fight tuberculous from Harvard, MA (the town, not the college), a history of the Massachusetts State Police, and  two methods to find your future husband (from Marblehead, MA).

Other news

  • Protodimension magazine has released a new issue, now following their “shorter but more often” release plan.
  • Chaosium have announced A Time to Harvest, a 6-part campaign for members of their promotional Keeper group “The Cult of Chaos”.  Perhaps most exciting to me is the fact that it is set in Lovecraft Country.

Podcasting mayhem!

Antecedant of the rodentine horror

What ho, chaps and, err… chapettes!  I want to get a jump on that prognosticating marmota monax, so let’s get to it…

First off, I’ve launched a Patreon page for myself to help fund my work for Sentinel Hill Press, in particular my research and perhaps eventually better equipment for our podcast.  We have 7 backers so far and are just a dollar or two away from our second funding goal – $25 dollars (aka “not as cheap books!”).  Backers will get updates about my various research projects that they helped fund and and some behind the scenes discussions of my work at Sentinel Hill Press and, at higher levels, periodic previews of our works in progress.  I’ve posted a quick overview of my research collection, as it stands, so that you can see what sorts of books I’ve collected so far (and check out my Amazon wish-list for possible future purchases), if you are curious.

Meanwhile, while I have neglected my “Year in Lovecraftian Gaming” duties, Dean Engelhardt has stepped up on Yog-Sothoth.com and highlighted how 2015 was a very good year, numbers-wise.

Some new books:

  • As Above, So Below (a 128 page sourcebook for their Laundry Files RPG, covering the Laundry’s military operations as well as the political machinations that guide that super-secret group).
  • Achtung! Cthulhu: Elder Godlike (a mashup of Modiphius’ Achtung! Cthulhu and Arc Dream’s Godlike, letting you mix your Pulp Lovecraftian and WWII super-hero style gaming to your heart’s content.)
  • (I realize I’ve missed releases for both the Laundry and A!C since neither are systems I play nor do they cover eras of which I am particularly interested.  Nevertheless, I am sorry for missing these lines in the past and hope to at least note their releases in the future.)

Odds and ends:

  • If you do not follow the Sentinel Hill Press blog or our attendant G+ group, I’ve recently gathered up the more interesting links from the later (those of recent vintage at least) as well as an omnibus post on the SHP blog covering our short series highlighting odd animal tales from New England.  There were two ghost animals (or maybe just one?), a wooden fish, some odd tracks, a rabies outbreak, and a prescient cat.  The story of the Sacred Cod contains an annecdote of particular interest to detail-oriented Lovecraft Country Keepers.🙂
  • Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion contributor (no, I don’t know when it will be released, sorry!) Hal Eccles has just launched a Kickstarter for his game “Mythos Tales”, a Lovecraftian take on the old Sherlock Holmes, Consulting Detective game.  The original free version were produced in a most lovely form by Dean Engelhardt – #1 (A Grain of Evil) and #2 (The King Cometh) – if you’d like a preview.
  • If you simply must have something Masks Companion related, you could back Stephanie McAlea’s Patreon; her backers get access to specially prepared color versions of the maps she produced for the book.
  • Here’s a collection of all the commercially produced Keeper’s screens for Call of Cthulhu (text in Spanish).  So many screens!
  • Chris Lackey (of the H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast among other places) was one of the makers of this amusing (but perhaps less-than-reverent) take on “The Statement of Randolph Carter”:

New podcasts of note:

That is all for now, hopefully.

 

Hurtling into the void of a New Year

130227173855-black-hole-super-169(Technically we are always hurtling into a near void, as our solar system spins along on the outer edges of the Milky Way, itself tumbling ever outwards… maybe I shouldn’t have watched all those episodes of the Expanse last night?)

So, 2015 has come and gone and 2016 is rapidly piling up on my doorstep.  Happily with the new year comes actual progress on various fronts, some at a satisfactory speed, others at a rate that only a geologist could love.  Nevertheless, part of that work is updating ye old blog.  To that point I’ve updated a few bits and pieces here including:

  • Checking the various links on the right-hand side of the page.  I deleted a few defunct ones, noted the date of last posting if a personal blog’s not been updated in more than a year (in blogging terms that suggests a blog is dead, but that more an art than a science), and added a link to Hans-Christian Vortisch’s new blog “Shooting Dice” which is about RPGs and firearms… appropriate considering he’s the author of Investigator Weapons Vols 1 & 2 for Sixtystone Press.
  • I’ve also updated my list of Lovecraftian RPG products for 2015.  It is a rather idiosyncratic list of products and I am sure I’ve missed something, so I’ll probably update it at some near point.  I don’t know if I’ll run down the various books for 2015 at any point as I’ve not actually purchased all of them and my time is at a premium of late.

Golden Goblin Press unleashed one more product under the calendrical wire for 2015, making the scenario “Goblin on Bourbon Street” available via the GGP website for $5.  This is apparently a convention scenario the GGP crew has run multiple times and a not-quite-reached stretch goal from the Tales of the Crescent City kickstarter.  I don’t know the page count of the scenario or much beyond the blurb:

When four people turn up dead of an apparent wild animal attack in the French Quarter of New Orleans the police are quick to close this case. If that weren’t strange enough one of the dead is reported to be a Mordechai Whateley of Massachusetts. Could he be from the decayed line of the Dunwich Whateleys, rumored in certain circles to be a powerful clan of degenerate sorcerers? Things just don’t add up and nobody really seems to care. It’s clear, to the investigators at least, that something dark and dangerous is at work here. If they don’t get to the bottom of this mystery no one else will.

cydotanukaai4uy

I am oddly fond of this card…

In other gaming news, Squamous Studious is now offering the public a chance to buy their excellent and amusing card game ‘Feed the Shoggoth’.  In the game each player takes on the role of a cult leader (the cults being very familiar to Call of Cthulhu players I suspect) with the goal of being the last one standing once everyone else has been devoured by the titular shoggoth.  $20 (and shipping) gets you fine Lovecraftian amusement, perfect when some of your gaming group is late or you’re waiting in a crypt until the ghouls finally awaken.  I played it at Necronomicon 2013 and am a very satisfied Kickstarter backer.  Check it out.

Keeping a Festival all its own (for ten years now!) the Delta Green Mailing List had its annual Shotgun Scenario competition.  There were 12 entries this year and I look forward to seeing which one is chosen by the DGML readers as the winner.  Check out this year’s entries (and vote for your favorite) HERE.

And, finally, what madness has come up in the realms of podcastery since our last post?

Various, Sundry, and Assorted

I’ve been letting this blog slide more than a bit, between familiar obligations – the holiday season is always a busy one – and hording my free time trying to get a few long-outstanding projects completed.  Nevertheless, I want to at a minimum keep posting here  weekly… and now that it has been a month since my last update, I don’t want to let that gap grow any larger.

Sentinel Hill Press/Arkham Gazette news:

The biggest single piece of news is that the latest issue of the Arkham Gazette has been unleashed upon the world.  Issue #3, all about witches and witchcraft in Lovecraft Country, is available for sale on DriveThruRPG for $12 in PDF and $20 for print on demand + PDF.  It is 120 pages of Lovecraft Country wonderment and I am very proud of it, from cover to the annotated scenario list at the end.  We’ve slowly been building up a stable of authors and artists and I was happy to include articles from such Lovecraftian luminatries as Chris Huth, Chris Jarocha-Ernst, Dan Harms, Tyler Hudak, Christopher Smith Adair and with art from Trevor Henderson, Chris Huth, and Ian Maclean; layout by Chris Huth & handouts prepared by Dean Engelhardt.

In other Sentinel Hill Press news, I’m still reading a few submissions (and sorely owe some people replies about their submissions…) and will likely update our call for submissions before the end of the month.  Readers hoping for a Kingsport issue for #4 might just be in luck.  I also need to finish correcting, revising, and updating the contents of issues #1 and #2 (and to complete an extra article for issue #0) so that they can also go up on DriveThru (and out to our Kickstarter backers.)

I also created the first episode of the Sentinel Hill Press-cast, a podcast for all thing Sentinel Hill Press (and The Arkham Gazette/Lovecraft Country).  In our first episode I talked about SHP’s current and future projects, issue #3 of the Gazette, an interview with author/artist/layout guru Chris Huth, and two segments on New England folklore.

My Other Call of Cthulhu projects:

I have two scenarios in the works, either of which is being very cooperative.  The first is “The Smoking Heart”, my add-on scenario for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion Kickstarter.  It’s definitely a bang your head against the wall type piece.  I’ve revamped the plot, torn out the scenario’s guts, revamped it again, and not glower at it menacingly as I try to find a way to introduce Jackson Elias as an NPC organically, but also keep his involvement central to the plot without negating player agency.  I can see now why I dropped it in favor of the pulpy romp that is Don Coatar’s “The God of Mitnal” when I originally did the Companion.

Item two is for an unannounced project at an unnamed publisher, set in a a different era that I usually write for.  It is also coming along more slowly, but it is less painful, as my delay is more in wanting to find more inspirational material in the particular genre of horror I want to emulate rather than trying to outwit the fundamental flaw of justifying investigator involvement in most investigative horror games…  Pity party for me – the writing assignments I’ve taken aren’t easy and require work.  Sob.

Recent podcasts and interviews:

Yea, verily, there are many a podcast that has had a new episode in the past month.  Here are the ones I spotted –

  • The Cthulhu Breakfast Club  – Ep. 9 (A remembrance of ‘Big Bad’ John, New Lovecraftian rpg products, mushroom eggs on toast, and much more).
  • The Good Friends of Jackson Elias – Ep. 65 (Karl Edward Wagner’s “Sticks”), Ep. 66 (The Appeal of Horror as a genre)
  • Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff – Ep. 165 (Necromancy! Powells shopping!), Ep. 166 (Chicago International Film Festival!  Shockingly Dull  Existential Solo Adventure!), Ep. 167 (The Biology of Taste!  James Jesus Angelton!), Ep. 168 (Old Maps! Terrible Architecture!), Ep. 169 (The War of Jenkin’s Ear!  Bloody Mary!)
  • The Miskatonic University Podcast – Ep. 91, an interview with Badger McInnis, creator of Feed the Shoggoth, and an overview of the HP Lovecraft Film Fest (Fall, Portland 2015).  Ep. 92 has been recorded but is delayed due to technical issues.
  • The Sentinel Hill Press-cast – Episode 1, Sentinel Hill Press news, a look at issue #3, an interview with Chris Huth, and two snippets of New England folklore.

Shane Ivey and Adam Scott Glancy interviewed on d-Infinity Live (12/3/2015)

Shane Ivey and Dennis Detwiller interviewed on Microphones of Madness (11/28/2015)

Times of Daylight Saved

Oh geez, this blog has been left to go fallow for quite a while. I’m giving up on trying to recap all the news of the past two(!) months and will just hit the highlights of what I have been up to in these past few months.

Sentinel Hill Press:

  • We had our second annual ‘October-ganza‘ on the Sentinel Hill Press blog, covering topics relating to Call of Cthulhu and/or New England, including New England’s Islands, Boston’s ‘ghoulish’ history, and Native Americans in New England.
  • Issue #3 will be ready any day now – I am awaiting my printer proof copy to confirm that the layout is correct, and once that happens, copies will start going out to our Kickstarter backers, and it will become available for purchase on DriveThruRPG and at Chaosium’s online store just after.  The crew at the Cthulhu Breakfast Club flipped through an earlier proof copy recently on their show if you want to see a real life copy… in video.
  • We continue to look for submissions for future issues of the Arkham Gazette – likely topics include Kingsport, Dunwich, and ‘Law and Crime’ but we are interested in anything Lovecraft Country related.
  • For more about what’s coming next for Sentinel Hill Press, see this blog post.

Delta Green:

  • I was very pleased (and frankly flattered) to have a revised version of my Shotgun Scenario “Last Things Last” used as part of the free Quick-start rule set for the new Delta Green RPG, which completed a very successful Kickstarter campaign ($360k+).  I’ve set up a separate page on the blog here to collect all the real play recordings, actual play reports, and Handler advice (and hopefully some commentary from me on the genesis of the scenario) all in one place.  (I also pitched them a couple scenarios, but I’ve not heard back on those yet.)

Blog news:

  • I have been adding more information and making corrections to my Bibliography of New England Gravestone Carvers.  I think I’ve caught all the articles from Markers (the Association for Gravestone Study’s journal), up through issue #24 (as well as the first volume of the AGS’s newsletter, up through 1990).

Projects in development:

  • I am still (sorry!) revising my scenario “The Smoking Heart” for the Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion kickstarter backers.  Happily it will be released separately from the print copy of the Companion so my delays aren’t holding that project back.  I am sorry for the delays.  I’ve made a few stabs at the thing but keep being dissatisfied with the results and have torn it apart again.  My apologies to the all of the Kickstarter backers.
  • I am working on a scenario for a scenario collection.  Slow going, but my deadline is the end of the year, so I keep plugging away, an inch at a time.
  • I am also revising an old project, about which I cannot say anything else, at least at this time.

Other News:

  • Adam Gauntlett, one of my favorite RPG authors, has launched a Patreon account to fund his creation of more RPG materials.  Let’s see if we can boost that pledge level, shall we?
  • Yog-sothoth.com is running its 10th (!) annual Secret Shoggoth Yuletide gift exchange.  Members should definitely sign up.  I’ve done it every year and it is always a lot of fun.

Hopefully I will have more news soon!