Most of the Cthulhu mythos material out there is set during or often before the early 20th century. In the past few years, we’ve seen some sources bring this mythos into the modern day. My favourite of these updates is The Laundry Files series by Charles Stross, but another interesting one is the Delta Green setting for Call of Cthulhu. I describe it as a setting because that’s how it started out, as a series of supplements for Sandy Peterson’s Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. As of 2016, Delta Green is now a fully standalone game with its own core books.
The fine chaps at Bundle of Holding have two bundles on the go just now. One is a repack of a previous bundle featuring the core game. The other (the Operations bundle) is a further series of supplements. Let’s start with the core bundle, yeah?
The first tier of the first bundle will set you back $12.95 and will net you the following:
The Agent’s handbook, as the core rulebook for players, is the most important part of the bundle. This book includes:
- Rules for creating agents of all types.
- Rules for tense, fluid investigations. Players who use their agents’ skills in clever ways have the best chance to succeed — and survive.
- Nerve-wracking rules for combat, where random disasters can undo the most careful planning.
- Mind-melting Sanity rules that see agents gradually deteriorate — and sometimes snap.
- Rules for “home” scenes where players see what their agents are fighting for.
- Quick, intuitive rules to determine equipment and assets.
- Dossiers on the federal agencies most likely to be featured in play.
The remaining books in this tiers are, unusually for these bundles, not gameplay supplements. Instead, you’re getting a couple of collections of fiction from the setting. These will help you to understand the setting and give you lots of inspiration for your own games.
The second tier will be really useful if you’re intending on being the GM for a game of Delta Green. It is priced on a threshold and is currently sitting at $26.33. For this princely sum, you will receive:
Again, the most crucial part of this tier is the first book. The Handler’s Guide is the definitive resource for the Delta Green GM. It contains a wealth of information on:
- The Past: Details on the world and history of Delta Green
- The Unnatural: The Cthulhu Mythos, from monsters to hypergeometry to the Great Old Ones, including rules for creating new threats
- The Schism: The Delta Green organization itself — or rather, two different Delta Green groups, not always working to the same ends
- The Opera: Guidelines for creating scenarios, running campaigns, and customizing the setting
- Appendices: A ready-to-play scenario, “The Sentinels of Twilight,” a Handler-facing glossary, index, recommended media, sample NPCs to use in any game, rules variants, and more
In addition to the GM book, you’re also getting a book of adventures to get you started off, and a further scenario based in Afghanistan, complete with pre-generated characters. There’s also a Handler’s/GM screen, but I never really care all that much about PDF versions of these products.
This is a great bundle for anyone who loves the Cthulhu mythos but wants to experience it with a modern twist. The first tier is essential for players, whilst GMs will want the second tier as well. This bundle is very much a pre-requisite for the second. The second bundle will be of no use without the core resources from this one.
The second bundle is also split into two tiers, with the first tier costing $7.95. For that princely sum, you will get the following four items:
There’s nothing here that’s essential to your games of Delta Green, but there are plenty of cool and interesting resources nonetheless. There are a few highlights for me in this tier. The Lover in the Ice scenario sound right up my street, with a gruesome, violent horror hunting agents with the backdrop of an apocalyptic ice-storm. The issues of the magazine, The Unspeakable Oath, give a good selection of reviews, articles and scenarios, too. The Agent Dossier is also really useful, with loads of pre-generated characters that could be used for one-shots or convention games.
The second tier of this bundle is priced on a threshold which, at the time of writing, is sitting at $19.93. This price will get you everything from the previous tier, plus the following items:
Again, there’s nothing truly essential here, but there are some good supplements. Control Group gives another four adventures, with BLACKSAT taking Delta Green into space and Sick Again bringing the CDC into the mix. The Complex gives a bunch of dossiers on different federal agencies for your players to work with or against. It gives a huge amount of information to really flesh out the lay of the land in this modern setting. This tier is definitely the more appealing of the two, but then I guess that’s why it has the higher price tag attached.
This is a great pair of bundles for anyone who loves the Cthulhu mythos but wants to experience it with a modern twist. The first tier of the first bundle is pretty essential to the players, with the second tier of that bundle being great for GMs. The second bundle is interesting, but not essential. The second tier of the second bundle does contain some really great stuff. The second bundle in general will give you a ton of adventures and scenarios to play through.
Of course, if you do go for this bundle, a share of the proceeds will go to charity. This bundle benefits Human Rights Watch.