Delta Green Missions?

Whenever I look at a new system, I try and dig into it to find that one unique thing that makes the system stand out. Call of Cthulhu has that iconic 1930s setting, Apocthulhu has its unique timeline.

What Delta Green says to me is that it is in the here and now. My Agent understands the world as I do, and so much more. They have Google, Facebook and automatic weapons if they need it.

DG is not about kicking in the door and killing the monster, that is Eldritch Tales if you want that, it is about the mission and the investigation leading to revelations.

One of the challenges for solo play is how to build a good mission where you don’t want to know the ending.

All good missions need three ingredients. An action that requires Investigaton, a victim, and a culprit. At least one of these needs to be part of your mission briefing. You could be briefed to find the missing scientist [victim] without knowing what happened [action] or who was behind the disappearance [culprit]. In this case you have one of the three pieces of the puzzle.

In another mission you may know the culprit because they were already under surveillance and the goal is to prevent the event and save the potential victims.

This can be a bit like rock, paper, scissors. Before you start on your solo mission, you could roll to see what you know, and then have a few tables where you could roll for just the pieces of information that the handler gives you.

If you hold back on the other two pieces of information, you can choose to roll that later.

Imagine you have a PHD student, theories about 20th century occult practices, that has disappeared. You know one person and you have decided that they are the culprit. This student is going to do something, but you don’t know what, or where. Your mission is to find and stop them.

You interview their roommates and you decide [really good interrogation/persuasion] that one of the roommates had an idea of what the student may do. It is at that point that you roll for the what/action. Right up until your character learned the truth, you had no idea.

This incremental reveal keeps some of the facts hidden from your agent.

Quantum Investigations

One of the things about investigative games is that they don’t work if you look for the clues in the wrong place.

Quantum Investigations use ‘observer created reality’. In quantum physics if you look for a particle you will find particles, if you set up the same experiment and look for waves, you will find waves.

In quantum investigations if you look for clues in the victim’s home, you will find clues in the victim’s home, if you search their workplace you will find the clues in their workplace. The equivalent of your Handler saying “Nope, sorry, you don’t find anything” should not happen. The fun only really starts once you have a clue you can work with that leads you to the next location or next interrogation.

Dead ends do not help anyone.

The Missing Why?

Knowing the crime, the victim and the culprit certainly gives you the hard facts of the case, but the part you are most likely to connect to emotionally, and this is a game about fear, is the why.

Why does our PHD student of the occult want to set fire to a retirement home full of old people?

I am trying to build two random oracles for this. If you succeed with an Unnatural skill test, the why relates to an unnatural source. If you fail the unnatural test, you roll on a ‘mundane’ reasons table.

What you should end up with is a series of missions, that sometimes have an unnatural source. You can keep your notes on these, create a theory, and test the truth of it using the standard oracle. Then it is time to set up a mission to try and end the threat.

So, that is my reasoning. Now it is just a matter of writing the book and playtesting…

7 thoughts on “Delta Green Missions?”

    • No. With Gumshoe, finding the clues in each scene is automatic, so the game can move on with how you use those clues. The GM would create a set of scenes, some of which you will play and some you won’t depending on how the players decide to act.
      What I am suggesting is that if you use a suitable skill, and you are successful, then that skill will render up a clue. Finding the clue is by no means automatic.

      • The only GUMSHOE core system I’ve read so far was Ashen Stars, and I admit I didn’t fully understand the clue finding on the readthrough. Perhaps because it was so different to what I’m used to.

        • Gumshoe divides skills into two pools. Investigative skills automatically succeed. Other skills have a chance of success/failure.
          The logic is that the fun starts after the players have the clues that they need to try and make sense of.
          Skills like combat skills are success/failure based, and behave much more as you would expect in an RPG.
          Although investigative skills are automatic, no character can do everything, so you still have to make meaningful choices.

    • So far, I have use bonds in two ways. The first is as a SAN loss sink. I don’t want to lose control of my agent, so I have been putting my SAN loss on to my bonds (poor them).
      I am also using bonds as a source of NPCs. I am never keen on creating too many additional NPCs if I can help it. Re-using NPCs helps make the world feel more continuous. When I have needed an NPC I have tried to bring in NPCs I am bonded with.
      I have ended up creating bonds within the team, which is useful when I need a colleague with specific skills.
      How I use bonds may evolve as I get more experienced.

      Is there anything you would like to see?

      • I love the underlying conspiracy element to DG. All the organisations with evil intent and the different ways in which they work to achieve their ends. The multiple layers that agents peel back and how this impacts their fragile realities. What you’re doing is exciting and I look forward to reading more.


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