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Delta Green
Adam Scott Glancy, Dennis Detwiller, John Tynes, Blair Reynolds (Illustrator), Heather Hudson (Illustrator), Toren Atkinson (Illustrator)
Pagan Publishing, 298 pages

Delta Green
Additional Information
Delta Green -- a Call of Cthulhu game sourcebook from Pagan Publishing -- is role-playing in a conspiracy milieu. The mission is a daunting one. Fortunately there are those who have gone before. They have provided 90s investigator characters with valuable new spells, skills, and weapons. Thanks to them we can now use Uzis and 9 mm Glocks against the Fungi from Yuggoth and the Dark Young of Shub-Niggurath. The authors of the source book (Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, John Tynes) have done extensive research into the Byzantine layers of red tape and bureaucracy that clog up the United States government to get to the truth.

Delta Green Website

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Henry Harding

The following is a transcript of an e-mail received from somewhere... out there:

To Games player from Review Master -- greetings -- your mission should you choose to accept it (and if you don't I'll come to your house, strap you to a cane chair, and tickle your feet with a long feather) is too pick up a copy of Delta Green -- a Call of Cthulhu game sourcebook from Pagan Publishing -- and begin role-playing in a conspiracy milieu.
This mammoth work takes the player out of the 1920s horror and sets them in the X-Files world of today. Characters are no longer lone individuals battling a unknown superior horror. They work for the government. Characters are part of an outlawed secret organization within the US government called Delta Green, and are dedicated to gathering information on UFOs and other mythos-related events.

It's also two books in one: a great extension of the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, and a easy-to-figure-out background to US law enforcement. Anyone who ever needed to know what the US Marshals' jurisdiction is, Delta Green is for you. It gives information on the structure and history of every branch of the US government concerned with law enforcement. And I mean every branch! Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Marshals, National Security Council, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, US Secret Service, Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Investigative Service, Air Force Intelligence & Air Force Office of Special Investigations -- and that ain't even a tenth of the list. It even includes the National Park Service (I guess just in case Nyarlathotep vacations in Yosemite.) And if you can't find what you're looking for there, check out the annotated bibliography. A brilliant place to start research on any of the aforementioned government branches.

Included also are several beginning adventure scenarios, a guide to modern firearms around the world, descriptions and the complete text of four mythos manuscripts, hundreds of sample characters and NPCs, and the histories and descriptions of anti-Delta Green forces. (You want a Cigar-Smoking Man in your campaign? Look for him here.)

This source book is stuffed. You couldn't put another thing in here. It's conspiracy/suspense role-playing at it's best. Go and buy 12 copies and hand them out in the street. Highly recommended. Five thumbs up.

But it ain't horror.

It's as much horror as the X-Files is horror. Let me explain.

At its core horror needs the Abyss. One of the reasons Lovecraft's stories work so well is that the more protagonists pry back the superficial veil of reality, the more they find things are not what they seem. True enough for conspiracy, but horror goes further, touches us deeper. It tells us there is nothing we can do about it, there is no hope, no God or Buddha or Mohammed to redeem us, there is only the Abyss into which we all fall eventually, lost forever and ever, amen. It shatters the ground beneath our feet, the anchor we cling to day to day.

What makes those Lovecraftian protagonists truly heroic is they stick out their academic chins and keep going. They say "To heck with it, I must know the truth." They have the courage to stare down into the Abyss. And they go insane. But put a .357 into a character's hand along with a badge and a cell phone and it gives them hope. Not horror.

There is an underlying assumption to all conspiracy/suspense: if you dig deep enough you will find the truth and if enough people believe with you, you will be able to effect change.

With Great Cthulhu there is no hope. The outcome is still the same. Lonely death. The truth doesn't make you paranoid. You should already be paranoid! It makes you more despondent, and maybe a tad insane. In fact Delta Green for the most part ignores H.P. Lovecraft's brilliant and disturbing mythos. The only real mythos creatures represented are the Mi-Go and they are transformed into explainable-by-the-scientific-model aliens. All other races or entities are 'reclusive' or 'rarely encountered.'

The truth is out there... and like everything, it's a little more complicated than it seems at first.

Copyright © 1999 by Henry Harding

Henry Harding has been gaming since he was knee high to an elf. If only someone would pry the dice out of his hands he might get started on that sequel to War and Peace he's been thinking of writing.

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