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!

Catching up: Part 1, Podcast round up

I’ve started an update to the blog a couple times and thanks to my own incompetence (who needs to save a draft?) and electronic misfortune (who needs to plug in the laptop?) this is now attempt #3. In order to prevent future heartbreak, I’m breaking this one up into more digestible chunks. Here’s is part 1 – the recent podcast round-up…

The Cthulhu Breakfast Club
In their August edition they CBD crew chatted about poisons and murder – typical English tea room stuff, obviously.

The Good Friends of Jackson Elias

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

The Miskatonic University Podcast

The Hits Keep Coming

I guess we’re entering the pre-GenCon roller-coaster of news and new releases!

First off, there’s a new episode of the Unspeakable Oath Podcast. Regular host Ross Payton, Shane Ivey, and Adam Scott Glancy, are joined by their guest Ryan Macklin (no relation). Of particular interest is the possibility that there will be a Delta Green preview at GenCon and details about the pending Kickstarter for Horrors of War. My MKULTRA programming of Adam Scott Glancy continues to pay dividends as well. Mwahahahahah!

There’s also a new episode of the Miskatonic University Podcast; this time they’re talking about the Ripley Scrolls, the Voynich Manuscript, and their namesake, Miskatonic University.

In Chaosium news, they appear to have fixed the international rate for shipping on the new website, explained some of the delays for Horror on the Orient Express (printer trouble!), and released their first Call of Cthulhu product for 2014 – Ripples from Carcosa.  Quoting the product description:

RIPPLES FROM CARCOSA expands upon the mythology of “He Who Should Not Be Named” and gathers much of the varied material on Hastur into one place. The first chapter reviews The Great Old One Hastur and his various avatar forms. It examines the Yellow Sign, the play “The King in Yellow”, the Mythos tome of the same name, and the effects these things have on the human mind.

Next within these pages is a trio of adventures pitting investigators against Hastur and his human worshippers. These scenarios can be played as stand-alone adventures or as a linked campaign called “Ripples from Carcosa.” Investigators are provided for each scenario, but keepers should feel free to allow their players to use their own investigators if they so choose.

Cubicle 7 have announced they are now taking pre-orders for the next book in their World War Cthulhu series – Europe Ablaze.

“Europe Ablaze presents six missions demanding such resourcefulness and determination, all set in the European theatre of operations. Some are inspired by SOE missions or historical events, while others take a more imaginative view of the conflict, but all are rooted in the all-too-real horrors that the Second World War brought about. All of them add that special twist that being part of N’s network demands, and the dangers of the Mythos will prove at least as deadly as a bullet from the Gestapo.”

The PDF is available now.

 

Role-Playing Public Radio have begun posting their live play of the ENnie nominated The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man.  Here are episodes 123.

Finally, Feed the Shoggoth‘s Kickstarter has wrapped up, hitting c. $15,000.  Congratulations Badger!

 

How many Hit Dice do Smorgasbords have?

We’ve got a smorgasbord of Lovecraftian RPG stuff to note.  Grab a plate and make your own feast:

  • The ENnie nominations have been announced.  Of particular interest to me are the Best Adventure nominations for the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-start rules for best freebie, The Sense of the Sleight-of-Hand Man and Eternal Lies, Ken and Robin Talk about Stuff for Best Podcast, and Achtung! Cthulhu’s Keeper’s Guide to the Secret War for cover art, writing, and product of the year.  Voting starts July 20th.
  • Manservant Hecubus reports that a new episode of the Unspeakable Oath podcast was recorded over the weekend, with special guest Ryan Macklin.  It is expected to be released in a few days.
  • Do you want your own (mini) Sedefkar Simulacrum?  (For only 35,000€ you can have a ‘life-sized’ one.)
  • This is an ad in the new issue of the Unspeakable Oath (you’ve picked up your copy, yes?) suggesting that there will be a Kickstarter for the long awaited Horrors of War this summer.  Fingers crossed?
  • Want another fundraiser?  Dennis Detwiller has launched a Patreon account (? not sure what term to use here).  In short, you can pledge a fixed amount to Dennis every time he creates new content for Delta Green.  His initial goal is $750 but if he gets to $5000 he’ll devote himself to Delta Green full time.
  • Feed the Shoggoth’s Kickstarter is drawing to a close and our last question is how many stretch goals it will hit.
  • In the realm of completed fundraisers, Dave Sokolowksi (one of the many contributors to The Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion) has publicly released He Who Laughs Last(in PDF), a scenario for Cthulhu Dark.

That’s it for now.  Stay frosty.

We All Live in Ulthar Now…

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Sixtystone have released their first book of the year… Cathulhu

From the blurb –

Welcome to Cathulhu, the Call of Cthulhu alternative setting where feline sleuths investigate the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos.

Cats are mysterious, self-contained creatures. Both wild and domestic in nature, they are silent observers of all that goes on around them.

In Cathulhu, discover the secret life of the cat as a Dreamlands warrior and a Waking World sleuth. Cats are the secret allies of humanity in the fight against cosmic horror; confronting overlooked machinations orchestrated from the sewers, tracking down sorcerers and cultists in the Waking World, and taking the fight to Nyarlathotep’s minions in the Dreamlands with the Cat Armies.

Fully compatible with 6th Ed CoC. Catnip not included.

UPDATE : Dean Engelhardt, who laid out the book and provided much of the art shares more on the book, including some page previews on his blog.

(not to be confused with The Call of Cathulhu)

Catching up with the Good Friends, Crescent City News, and More

The aforementioned “Hot War”

I’ve neglected to mention the past few episodes of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias – Talking about Skills in RPGs, Scott Dorward waxes rhapsodic about “Hot War” (and “Cold City” as well), and interview said games’ creator Malcolm Craig.

The titular goblins of Golden Goblin Press have also released a few preview pages for Tales of the Crescent City, which looks to be progressing nicely.

Chaosium’s site upgrade is still ongoing.

Finally, I’m hoping to have the next issue of the Arkham Gazette finished soon. We’re at almost 25k words currently, with an estimated total length of 28k or 29k, depending how long my scenario runs. Soon, soon…

The Long Quiet

Sorry for the lack of new posts for the past six weeks or so. We’ve been in the midst of a move – TiP HQ is mostly in boxes currently – and I’ve not had the time to keep up to date on matters of Lovecraftian gaming. Hopefully now that we’ve begun to settle into our new host, err, home, I’ll have some time to catch up.

In the mean time, occupy yourselves with a listen to Episode 10 of the Unspeakable Oath podcast, the 27th Episode of the Good Friends of Jackson Elias podcast, Episode 50 (!) of the Miskatonic University podcast, or join in the Kickstarter for Arc Dream’s Delta Green fiction anthologies “Failed Anatomies” vols I and II.