After the sanity blasting experience of playing in the Escape From Innsmouth campaign, there was a lull in Call of Cthulhu and we moved on to explore other RPGs and games. Yet I had become a hopeless Lovecraft addict. Much like one of the ill fated protagonists of his stories I couldn’t stop and leave well enough alone. For better or worse I hunted down more collections of Lovecraft’s writing. Some were gems, and some were indescribable piles of shoggoth shit. At the Mountains of Madness, The Whisperer in the Darkness, and a slew of the Dreamlands tales culminating in the epic The Dream Quest For Unknown Kadath, being some of my favourites. They along with many others will always all hold a special place in my heart.
Then came the day that I discovered something that would get me more excited than the first time I cracked a dirty nudie magazine. Pagan Publishing’s Delta Green. Things were never the same for me there after. While there are a lot of awesome products from Pagan Publishing there are two that I think should have a special place on your gaming bookshelf.
The first book of course is the core Delta Green Campaign setting. This is the definitive modern Call of Cthulhu sourcebook, first published in 1996. Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
Yeah…take a second to clean the shit out of your pants. I’ll wait, because like you I was there once. I get it. This is one of those rare RPG books that can do that kinda thing to you. Gross yes. But so worth it.
This book is your weapon and your guide. The largest Call of Cthulhu sourcebook ever.
Inside you’ll find a secret history of the 20th century, and the movers and shakers who are players in the game: Delta Green, the outlaw conspiracy working inside the U.S. government to fight the darkness; Majestic-12, the clandestine agency that cuts deals with aliens and reports to no one; Saucer Watch, a UFO study group closer to the truth than they know; The Karotechia, immortal Nazis who serve a risen Hitler; and the Fate, an occult criminal syndicate that knows where the bodies are buried. Plus: new skills, spells, weapons, mythos tomes, profiles of 36 real-world intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, with character templates for each, a look at Mi-Go biology, philosophy, and operations, analysis of the Cthulhu mythos in the modern day, a factual history of the U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement community, dozens of useful NPCs, campaign construction guidelines, 2 scenarios, a short campaign, and more.
As you can see Delta Green has it’s origins in the 1928 Raid on Innsmouth. I immediately felt a kinship. This book brought up feelings in me that I can imagine are only shared between soliders that have shared a trench while bullets and bombshells explode way too close for comfort. That feeling are we going to make it out of this bullshit? Because I had been in those metaphorical trenches. I fought the Deep Ones, and the Deep Ones lost…Or did they? I really feel like you need to experience the Raid on Innsmouth to get the full appreciation for this book.
Regardless this book haunted me with it’s great writing and imagery. Its tight and polished, a true labour of love. You just know that the whole crew at Pagan sacrificed a part of their souls when they published this thing. Reading this book really shows you how to properly bring the mythos into the 90s. It makes you look at things differently, and soon the headlines in the news papers seem to have another meaning hidden in between the lines, mysteries and questions start to form. Before you know it you have yourself a whole campaign based on what’s going on in your own backyard and the world around you.
Tomorrow I’ll continue on in part 2 with what I consider another gem of the Delta Green era. That is unless the Mi-Go decided that their not down with the anal probing…