At GenCon 2013 the writing team of the Delta Green roleplaying game discussed the shape that the game has taken and how its setting has formed. The seminar was recorded by Ross Payton of Role Playing Public Radio for the Unspeakable! podcast.
(Apologies for the sporadic audio quality. Due to the configuration of the room we had to place the microphone farther from the speakers than we would have liked.)
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0:00:00 INTRODUCTIONS. Shane Ivey with Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, Kenneth Hite, and Greg Stolze.
0:02:00 OVERVIEW. What is Delta Green? What makes it distinct from traditional Call of Cthulhu and other views of the Cthulhu Mythos? What makes its themes and issues uniquely current?
0:05:05 THE GAME. Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game will comprise two books coming mid-2014. An Agent’s Handbook includes the core rules, how to create a character, and what the world looks like to the player characters. A Case Officer’s handbook includes details on the Mythos, both the official view of the Cthulhu Mythos and ways to change it up to keep players guessing; as well as guidelines for running the game. Sourcebooks will explore specific factions and threats in depth, such as an early one on PISCES and operations in the UK. A World War II book will be its own standalone game based on the DG rules coming soon after the core RPG.
0:12:00 FAILED ANATOMIES. The fiction collection Delta Green: Failed Anatomies will be the next thing out. Kickstarter in September 2013. It’s a collection of Dennis Detwiller stories bookended by two stories by Robin Laws. Stretch goals will add new stories by other writers.
0:14:30 RULES. About the rules in DGRPG. Characters and the way skills work will look very familiar to Call of Cthulhu players. New elements place characters’ personal lives front and center, especially in long-term games. Greg Stolze discusses rules for character motivations as a source of strength and a resource that’s at risk. Rules for building and managing your player characters’ organization and gauge how it interacts with other organizations. New “Kill Damage” mechanics for handling heavy weapons quickly and simply without just hand-waving the results.
0:25:00 THE TWO DELTA GREENS. Adam Scott Glancy on the two Delta Greens: the official, budgeted, Delta Green special access program with all the cool toys, and the unofficial Delta Green that’s learned to ditch cellphones, computers and social media in order to keep its operations as secret as possible. Our intent to present Delta Green as a present-day setting in the wake of the Global War on Terror, not just as an update of a 1990s post-Cold War setting. In the 1990s Majestic was the big villain representing the runaway power of a monolothic, separate government and military-industrial complex. In today’s game the player characters have the responsibility for their actions as members of that secret government.
0:32:30 THE MODERN MYTHOS. Kenneth Hite on how we’re approaching the Cthulhu Mythos as a 2014 Delta Green setting. Stories of timeless horrors that are about our time. Paranoia that we’re living with every day. Cthulhu Mythos threats that reflect today’s issues. The mi-go are less prevalent; the Cult of Transcendence has disintegrated. The lloigor are increasingly influential. Delta Green deals with efforts to privatize and profit from Cthulhu Mythos, including the side effects of Delta Green’s own work.
0:39:45 PERSONAL APOCALYPSE. Dennis Detwiller on the continuing core themes of personal apocalypse, the lack of control by players and by their NPC allies, and the impact of Cthulhu Mythos investigations on the individual investigators and the lives that they leave behind.
0:43:50 QUESTION: THE COLD WAR. What about a Delta Green setting in the Cold War? Maybe after the World War II spinoff game. Maybe.
0:45:30 QUESTION: PLAYING THE UNOFFICIAL DELTA GREEN. Are there options for playing in the unofficial Delta Green? Yes. It’s fragmented and isolated and up to the players and GM what shape it takes. Keeping the campaign and the player characters’ situation the same as ever will be an option.
0:47:15 QUESTION: ONGOING NARRATIVE. Will there be a narrative progression from what happened before? Yes but a lot of the history will be distilled and made more concise.
0:48:10 QUESTION: MORE ABOUT THE UNOFFICIAL DELTA GREEN. Official and unofficial DG coexisting in the same setting and how they interact. How newcomers to the unofficial DG are recruited and learn old-school tradecraft.
0:49:40 NOBODY’S IN CONTROL. The importance of dispelling the illusion that anybody in the setting, especially Delta Green, is really in control or fully aware of what’s going on.
0:50:40 QUESTION: INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION. The core rules will focus on U.S. agencies and characters and their work at home and overseas. We’ll save exploration of foreign agencies for later supplements and Unspeakable Oath features.
And tell us in the comments what you think of this episode and what you want to hear next.