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!

Advertisements

One comment on “Behind the scenario – Clyde’s footlocker 

  1. Graham says:

    Thanks for the insight, did you ever get around to finishing the article that the Karen Barr dissertation came from? It sounds fascinating

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s