But I'll be damned if I can write up an interesting play report out of it. I'll try, but much of it feels redundant. This ties into my bigger comments regarding Delta Green as a system, which will follow.
At the opera tonight we have:
- Chris Redfield (Special Operator)
- Talia (Anthropologist)
- Bo (Engineer)
- Darren (Federal Agent)
- Odin (Special Operator)
- James (Federal Agent)
Operation HYACINTH was stitched together out of two of the 2018 shotgun scenarios (Rendezvous in Rama and Peak DHOLE), which worked pretty neatly together. The team had two main objectives:
- Take an inventory of the items left in the long-abandoned Camp House and call in a cleanup crew to secure them.
- Agent Portland, to vanished. Last contact was a message he left with his case officer: "I've got to stop O'Rourke." (This was the party's official cover)
[Aside] I am terribly proud of both my manila-folder conspiracy file referee screen and how the case officer summoned them all to an Italian restaurant for a fake birthday party. She even had a hat. [/Aside]
A bit of a chat with the Fairfield sheriff's department revealed O'Rourke to be the old drunk who lives in the junkyard. The team apprehended and subdued him in the middle of a murder, but were unable to save the victim, one Michael Mendoza. O'Rourke refuses to talk and seems intent on killing himself before capture. Odin sleeper holds him into submission and ties him up, but not before realizing that the spiral-shaped eyes carved into his skin begin to blink and swivel towards him.
The group investigate the junkyard further. In it they find his mobile home (ransacked: they find a bunch of cassette tapes, a diary, and a copy of View from a Height that had been duct-taped shut. The back cover has a sticker reading "From the library of Jurgen Leitner") and two rows of powered refrigerators (containing the eyeless corpses of Agent Portland and eight other people). Some tire furrows leading out into the woods but are not followed.
Team calls in the case officer and explains the situation. Officer tells them to kill O'Rourke to keep him out of custody and keep looking for whatever is behind this. No further explanation given, and Odin doesn't need one to shoot him.
Team calls the sheriff to come clean up. Story is simple: serial killer, shot in self-defense. The agents do not identify agent Portland, to keep their cover story viable. Some failed bureaucracy checks mean that filling out the paperwork takes the remainder of the evening and it is well after dark when they take off to Camp House.
In the car, Chris and Talia are able to skim the diary and pick out that there have been multiple authors, writing about some creature too fast to view.
Camp House is an tiny cabin on the lakeshore, surrounded by a chain-link fence. A bit of reconnaissance shows a space to climb over, though the height and the dark means that nearly everyone makes a clumsy, injurious attempt at getting over. They sneak in the house through the bedroom window and after a quick sweep, head down into the basement.
One wall of the basement has collapsed inward, torn open by an explosion. A bunker hallway extends into the darkness. An oppressive aura settles upon the team. In the distance they hear a thudding beat and whining hum, steadily growing louder as they explore.Within those rooms, the team happens upon...
Items Found Within the Bunker
- VHS tape labeled "Do Not View. Chinese scribbled on it reads "The fat lady sings." (x)
- Disk of red stone engraved with a spiral of unknown characters. (x)
- Hardcover copy of The Hanged King's Tragedy. (x)
- Framed painting: "Still Life of Piles of Meat".
- An algae-choked fish tank containing a sea slug and a silver bell.
- Clay tablets arrayed with series of dots in rough pentagons. (x)
- Silver consider with an inset triangle of USB ports. (x)
- Severed right hand with bright red skin. (x)
- A blue pellet labeled "alzabo extract". (x)
- A King James Bible with heavy fungal growth. (x)
- A leather-bound book stamped with a sun disk, in calligraphy of an unknown language. (x)
- A fuligin cloak and mask. (x)
- Wooden crate; customs stamp states it contains human souls, received in London May 1892.
- Cracked black mirror, engraved with the word "FLAGA". (x)
- Series of mason jars containing cuttlefish in formaldehyde.
- A rifle with strange organic protuberances where the bullets would normally go.
They proceed to steal everything marked (x) because what the case officer doesn't know can't hurt her.
At the final room the team is greeted by a vision of a man frozen in the moment of suicide. Chris freaks out and blows the corpse away with his shotgun. When he and Darren go closer to investigate, both of them witness the man's final moments of life. A voice behind them says "I've already called them" and the trigger is pulled.
The final room has nothing but a burnt chair. The music is muffled here. As the team turns to leave, there is the soft but unmistakable noise of something falling from the ceiling behind them and moving about. The piping is deafening.
There is a swift battery of fire but the blobby pale betentacled thing plays on. Chris, Darren, and James hit their breaking point. Chris gets smashed by a flailing tentacle, but survives the blow. The team books it out of Camp House, dives into their cars, and tears out into the night. They call the case officer, explain everything but the stolen goods. Cleanup will handle it. Return to the Portland case.
Before they get back to the hotel, they can see the fire glowing above the trees at Camp House.
Chris Redfield Has a Crippling Sexual Attraction to the Morbidly Obese
The VHS was clearly labeled "Do Not View", but Chris had hit half of his original sanity by the end of the session. What he got was some grainy footage of a strip club interior and an 800 pound woman straight-up eating a dude and dancing her way out of there way faster than even normal-sized people are capable of.
So yeah. He's a bit fucked up now.
[Aside]This was Y'golonac in the original shotgun but I subbed in the Bloated Woman for absurdity's sake [/Aside]
Some thoughts on Delta Green as a whole:
There's a lot of stuff I enjoyed. Stocking a room full of crazy bullshit (how many sources can you name?) and dangling mission threads like so many fish-hooks. Character creation that was straightforward enough that I was able to get the players (who generally don't play RPGs unless I am running something) to make their own characters instead of premades. Players exploiting their Bonds to get illegal goods. Players embracing SAN loss as a reason to go outrageous. All good and great. This genre is my wheelhouse.
But the game still feels 15-20 years behind. It's good for what it is but if I think I'd much rather do something with Esoteric Enterprises purely on the grounds of the amount of material I can hack into it and the ease of making more. DG is fun, but gigantic statblocks and unreadably dense scenarios are the standard - and the shotgun scenarios only sometimes alleviate this. I still had to edit them down into one-page formats.
Not a fan of how the game lends itself to "Can I use [skill name]" either.
My quest continues.