In a seminar at Gen Con 2015, Adam Scott Glancy, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze discuss the challenges of Delta Green scenario design. Audio produced by Ross Payton.
0:00:00 — “This seminar is radically disorganized.” What are your favorite or least favorite things you’ve seen done in Delta Green and Cthulhu scenarios? How do we get players to the experience we want them to have?
0:03:30 — The way we recommend conducting investigative scenes in Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game: No dice unless there’s a reason for them. Crazy randomness. A crisis that makes things unpredictable. Weird ramifications to not using a skill very well. Beware the habit of shorthanding it to “Roll to get the clue.” But dice can give context and texture. A variant in the GM’s toolkit: Roll dice not to get the clues (“You are fated to get to this point”) but to be more likely to survive. Offer multiple ways into the plot in case the players miss the first clue.
0:12:27 — The challenges of playing expert modern investigators. Putting a lot of the police footwork in the background so the players don’t have to do it. The challenge of the infodump. How to pace it so the players can process it. Make it a result of players asking questions, even if you feed them the questions. If you worry about crime scene investigators being too expert, remember all the cases that have been thrown out because of bad forensics. Processing them takes days or weeks: you can postpone giving that clue as long as you want. A clue might be buried or mentioned in some unrelated source. When dumb characters do smart things. What if none of the players find the clue? Get it to them but pile on consequences. Strew many breadcrumbs.
0:33:49 — Running modern DG with more official resources than in the illegal conspiracy. Bureaucracy is there to f*** the players. The mission is containment. Drawing on resources broadens exposure and adds complications. Be maliciously inventive with the negative consequences of trying to use official authority. Every bureaucracy is made up of human beings who make very flawed decisions.
0:55:40 — The role of interaction of institutions in the Delta Green genre; broad forces at work; but those become one more source of tension grinding on the players and a more claustrophobic feel. Keeping the pressure on while the players are Scooby-Dooing around until they get to the shoggoth. A little about the setting’s organizations.
1:06:06 — Setting player expectations. Expecting to be able to tackle the problems. Let them have that hope and then burn it out of them over time. A long side-trip to Antarctica.
1:23:17 — Phenomen-X Penumbra, coming soon.
1:31:45 — Comfort with ambiguity in resolving scenarios.
1:38:20 — When players refuse to trust each other or A-Cell.
1:40:25 — From the UFO days: making the Greys frightening and weird.
Subscribe to the Unspeakable! podcast feed at http://theunspeakableoath.com/home/?feed=podcast