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.
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…