Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I'm newer to this community and Delta Green is a name many associate with a BRP horror system inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos. I am however, uninitiated when it comes to exactly what Delta Green is and how it differs from Call of Cthulhu 7ed. If you dare, inform the general public this secret knowledge of the cosmos...

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

In terms of game mechanics, the Delta Green RPG is based on Mongoose’s d100 Legend system, which is similar to Call of Cthulhu 6th edition (and all the differences to 7th edition that entails).  While it handles sanity and weapons lethality slightly differently, its killer feature is Bonds, which represent an Agent’s relationships and which they can sacrifice to preserve their sanity or ward off madness.  Bonds basically are a means to creating PCs with rich, meaningful backgrounds, which you then have to destroy in order to keep fighting the Mythos threat.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi and welcome!

The very, very short elevator pitch is (assuming you're old enough to have watched 90s' TV series): "it's like the X-Files, only Mulder and Scully are up against Cthulhu Mythos threats, and also it's much more dangerous and dark and they probably die a horrible death every few episodes".

The way it differs from Call of Cthulhu is:

  • It's modern day
    • (although Delta Green has a history dating back to the 1930s so you could technically play during any time in between... in fact, The Fall of Delta Green is played in the 1960s using the Gumshoe engine)
  • Everybody plays Federal Agents (or other people in government organizations if you play in a different country than the USA).
  • The original DG was a sourcebook for CoC. The new (2nd edition) DG is a standalone game with a BRP based mechanic that differs in several ways from CoC 7th ed., but it will be extremely familiar.
    • It does add a few cool rules to Sanity for handling how you can get "hardened" against certain types of things like violence, and how having family and friends ("Bonds") help you cope with the job, at the cost of those relationships. It's bleak :) 
  • Originally, DG was created to solve the problem of "Dave The Butler was just killed by a Shoggoth, we'll need a replacement character... errr... how about we recruit John the Hotel Clerk and keep going? Maybe he's interested in fighting monsters?".
    • So DG offered a secret organization where members get killed or go insane all the time, and so you can always pick a new member of that organization who gets assigned to your team. It basically simplified all the meta-gameplay stuff and let you just keep on doing the fun bits.
    • CoC 7th ed took that idea and now offers "Character Organizations" in the main book -- although DG's core idea also adds the benefit that, being all federal agents, you can wave a badge or get access to shotguns and grenades (more or less).
  • There's an emphasis on conspiracies and intrigue.
  • DG tends to be more serious, with a bias towards lethal missions and heavy mental health topics. It lends itself less to "pulp horror" gameplay than CoC as a result.

I think that's it for now! Feel free to ask more specific questions. Feel free to grab the Need to Know starter set (it's free!) to get an idea of the game. It's one of my absolute favourite RPGs ever.

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

A minor quibble—DG PCs are not all Federal Agents, and the Agents Handbook includes rules to cover any number of professions, including civilians.  One of my favorite supplements, The Complex, has backgrounds for government contractors like “Beltway bandits” Booz Allen and RAND.  They are, however, all recruited into the “Delta Green” program, a conspiracy that is not necessarily what it seems.

In that respect, the DG RPG is a much more restrictive setting than CoC.  It’s built up three decades’ worth of lore, with everything from RPG supplements and scenarios to novels and short stories.  The fan-run Fairfield Wiki can help you dive in. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

On the systems, I'd say that Delta Green is more realistic and more depressing in its sanity rules. People don't get funny phobias like a fear of rocking chairs or aardvarks, instead they become alcoholics or drug addicts, stressed out people who can't sleep without waking up screaming, or other more "real world" reaction to extreme stress. For some, this is a little too realistic and depressing. For others it fits in well.

There's also some skill consolidation and different, dare I say better, automatic weapons rules. And they use percentile adjustments instead of IMHO the superior bonus/penalty dice of 7E.

In gamer-culture, DG seems to trend more towards short brutal scenarios while CoC trends towards globe trotting grand but a little pulpy campaigns. Nothing in the rules that makes that the case, it's just how things have shaken out with the two groups of players.

2 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Are the books worth 100$?

I think so.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I shall begin my descent into madness by poring over the Need to Know PDF, if I have further questions I shall ask. Thanks for all the helpful information everyone!

Still debating if I care to spend that much money though. I guess the PDF will help with that decision.

One thing, are people able to create third party Delta Green works on DriveThruRPG?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Travern said:

A minor quibble—DG PCs are not all Federal Agents

Yeah you can indeed play other characters with other background, but IME it's fairly uncommon. Non-agents tend to be just "friendlies", i.e. assets that DG occasionally calls upon when they have some expertise that might be useful for a particular mission. As such, they tend to be limited to NPCs. I think in all my campaigns I only ever had one or two non-agent PCs (but of course your campaign may vary). I've had a wide variety of PCs from a bunch of not-so-common agencies and occupations though.

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Still debating if I care to spend that much money though. I guess the PDF will help with that decision.

Just start with Need to Know, and if that seems interesting but you don't want to sink 100$ in the 2 core books, just get one of the scenario collections (Control Group, or A Night At The Opera) -- since I believe Need to Know has everything you need in terms of character creation and game system rules. This way you can run a handful of adventures -- way enough to know if your group will want to play it long term. Worse case, you will only have spent ~40$ and had fun for a few weeks.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Yeah you can indeed play other characters with other background, but IME it's fairly uncommon. Non-agents tend to be just "friendlies", i.e. assets that DG occasionally calls upon when they have some expertise that might be useful for a particular mission. As such, they tend to be limited to NPCs. I think in all my campaigns I only ever had one or two non-agent PCs (but of course your campaign may vary). I've had a wide variety of PCs from a bunch of not-so-common agencies and occupations though.

After starting out with the default Federal Agent for PCs (FBI or one of the three-letter agencies of the IC), Arc Dream seems to be moving toward more variety with the new RPG.  They’ve created a dossier of pre-gens for literally every profession in the Agent’s Handbook and The Complex.   The Control Group scenario collection—highly recommended—covers NASA, CDC, State Dept. and US Army PCs, for instance.  In my own experience, having “civilians” mixed up with federal agents and government employees adds extra tension to the mission, with nice opportunities for everything to go horribly wrong roleplaying.  The advantages of playing a Feeb are, of course, power of arrest and access to fire arms.

 

19 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

One thing, are people able to create third party Delta Green works on DriveThruRPG?

Although Arc Dream doesn’t run an equivalent to Chaosium’s Miskatonic Repository program, they’re pretty free about fan-made material.  The 2019 Delta Green Shotgun Scenario Contest has just started, for instance, and the much of the rules system is published under the WOTC OGL (the DG canon is reserved IP).  If you want to sell your own DG-based material on DriveThruRPG, you’ll have to contact Arc Dream to arrange that.

 

19 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Are the books worth 100$?

Yes, they’re well-designed, well-produced, high-quality hardcovers (and the art direction with full-color work by DG veteran Dennis Detwiller gives a cohesive feel to the publication line).  After you’ve played the game more, you can decided if you want to invest $100 in them or wait until the next Bundle of Holding digital sale for the PDFs.  If what you want is a modern-day Lovecraftian investigative horror, 7th edition Call of Cthulhu handles that better than any previous version of the game.  Delta Green does contemporary cosmic horror quite well, but its main selling point is its setting/lore, which the new RPG takes full advantage of.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Travern said:

The Control Group scenario collection—highly recommended—covers NASA, CDC, State Dept. and US Army PCs, for instance.

Those are still "federal agents" AFAIK. But yes, that's what I meant when I mentioned "wide variety" of PCs. After playing the usual FBI/DEA/ATF agent, the people I've played with then tend to branch out to military police, CDC researcher, EPA analyst, bureaucrat from some DOD or similar office, etc.... many of which don't necessarily have any law enforcement power, or access to firearms, but they're still federal agents (or state agents in the case of state police or the one time I had a forest guard...). But yes, civilians can work too -- I'm just saying that it hasn't happened a lot in my campaign, and DG lore tends to focus on federal agent characters (although I haven't read too much of the new books yet).

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Those are still "federal agents" AFAIK.

“Federal agent” is commonly understood to refer to FBI special agents or, more loosely, any federal government LEO.  An astronaut would not be described an agent of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration nor a Foreign Service Officer an agent of the State Department, however.

The point is, Delta Green prefers to recruit from the government because of its origins but later expanded to enlist civilians.  Again, spoilers…

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Ah OK. What do people typically call the broader category of "working for a governmental organization" then?

Government worker/official. Delta Green needs to be deglamourised. ;)

(Seriously, even “the feds” is a bit too closely associated with law enforcement.)

3 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Do we have to wear black, as federal agent?  😜

You don’t want to know what DG does to Men in Black.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm new to Delta Green but I am enjoying it immensly. The thing that I like about Delta Green is that it provides reasons for people to investigate the mythos. In Call of Cthulhu you might have run a scenario where the head of one of your ghost hunters gets chopped off. Any normal person is going run away screaming at that point, but Delta Green has a reason and rational to be there. Also using the example of the ghost hunters who are you going to recruit, now that curious Johnny had his head cut off? Delta Green provides you with a never ending supply of agents and friendlies to pull from. Personally I am liking Delta Green better than Call of Cthulhu and I LOVE Call of Cthulhu!

Edited by rsanford
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, rsanford said:

The thing that I like about Delta Green is that it provides reasons for people to investigate the mythos.

This is Delta Green in a nutshell, and was the original premise at its inception in the early '90s.  Originally government investigators and their "friendlies" on official assignment, the program goes underground, creating a sense of danger on multiple fronts and general conspiratorial paranoia.  It's about the only modern setting for Call of Cthulhu that I can take seriously for extended campaign play.

!i!

Edited by Ian Absentia
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Or, of course, X-Files.  Remember when that was a fresh cut?  Tynes and the Pagans will be quick to point out that the original Delta Green article in The Unspeakable Oath preceded the airing of X-Files by a year, which in turn means production of the show was already under way a year or two before that.  And The Men in Black comic book was published a couple of years before either, so put that in your pipe and smoke thoughtfully.  It was a zeitgeist of the post-Cold War.

!i!

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, ORtrail said:

Its seems to be CoC meets Stalking the Night Fantastic/Bureau 13 for the most part.  Government agents who job it is to investigate strange situations. 

That's a good way to describe it though the Delta Green world has been developed in a lot more depth than Bureau 13 (which is a great setting).

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Are your magic rules relevant to CoC or DG? If so, I will see what the hype is all about! 

Assuming you are referring to rsanford's "The Second Way Draft", they are for Magic World, a sort of compilation of rules written over the decades for Chaosium's Elric/Stormbringer rpg versions.  "Relevance" is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Are your magic rules relevant to CoC or DG? If so, I will see what the hype is all about! 

The Second Way is really meant to provide rules for a very powerful, freeform magic system and is really best suited for GMs wanting something like Ars Magica but using BRP rules. It would be massively overpowered for any Delta Green or Cthulhu game I can imagine.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...