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!

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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!

A double dose of Golden Goblins and an Actual Play for one of my scenarios

With but seven days to go on the Kickstarter for Island of Ignorance, Golden Goblin Press’ Oscar Rios has hit the podcasting circuit, giving interviews for the Miskatonic University Podcast and the Goblin Beat. If you have had any questions, it is pretty likely that Oscar answers it in either one of these interviews. Check ’em out. They are only about $1000 from adding a fourth scenario (in this case one from Jeff Moeller); if you’ve been on the fence about contributing, jump in .

The crew at the Miskatonic University Podcast have posted an actual play of my Shotgun Scenario “Last Things Last”. Yeah, I was a little surprised how that went… now that was some bad dice rolling guys. Nevertheless, it is always interesting to hear how something I wrote translate from the page to the table.

Another Podcast, still with Glancy

A quick note to point out the gang at the Miskatonic University Podcast have released a new episode (#20).  It’s always an interesting listen made more so by their guest Adam Scott Glancy of Pagan Publishing.  He talks about what’s up with Pagan, how their Kickstarter for Bumps went, and what scenarios he favors for a Keeper new to Delta Green.  Yeah, he says nice things about “Last Things Last” again.  I should blog about how that little scenario came to be at some point…

Unspeakable Oath news, another^2 Kickstarter, and the Hypnotoad

My psychic campaign continues with increasing success!  Shane Ivey recently posted to YSDC that, regarding issue #21 of the TUO:

I couldn’t find a suitable image of Sir Simon Milligan so I figured this Farey-esque Hypnotoad would have to do.

“It’s been held up by one thing or another on my end for ages.  Right now I’m gritting through the also-belated PDF and paperback revision and release of our World War 2 RPG ‘Godlike.’  I expect to be done with that in a couple of days and do a blitz on TUO 21 starting next week. We have a ton of great material for it, ready to roll.”
This is especially happy news for me since I have asubmission that was being considered for #21 that I hope will see print.  In the mean time, mediate upon this graven image of the Hypnotoad ——————————>>>>>>>>>>>>

(Yeah, it would probably be easier just to write to Shane, but this is more fun.

There is yet another Kickstarter I should mention, and, in this case, I’m actually involved with the project, albeit tangentially.  Stone Skin Press (the fiction wing of Pelgrane Press) is raising money to print their first round of books, including Shotguns vs. Cthulhu.  In said book appears a story by Adam Scott Glancy based on my shotgun scenario “Last Things Last“.  It is exciting, and just a little weird, to have one of your scenarios turned into a bit of fiction.  It is especially edifying to have someone whose work I have so much enjoyed found my little scenario so inspirational.