There are many ways, that an agent can be lost in the field, when Delta Green’s agents battle the Cthulhu Mythos, and yet there are many more ways an agent can be lost to the cause.
Take for example Dana Scully from the X-files. One of her greatest enemies is her own brother, not that he tries to kill her or is a monster, but rather that he again and again argues, that Dana should cease working the X-files. In that sense he is an enemy towards her continued presence in the show, but he is one enemy, that she cannot kill.
Likewise the career, the families and the friends of the Delta Green-agents may be threats against the continued investigations performed by the player characters, and that is an opportunity, that one should not waste. The method employed in the campaign is simple.
The Many Threats-Mechanic
Each character possesses three different enemies towards the continued career as a Delta Green Agent.
- Level 1: My Personal Demon
- Level 2: Towards My Membership
- Level 3: The Conspiracy
Level 1 covers some personal flaw, that can end the career as a Delta Green Agent. This can be disadvantages such as alcoholism, lack of initiative, conscientious objector, father complex and religion to mention a few, that the players have picked for their character.
The difference between these and regular disadvantages as we know them from e.g. GURPS is that these are not disadvantages, that will trouble the PC’s skill checks in the field or summon up new challenges, but rather elements that may force the character to resign from his career as an agent and thus as an active player character.
Level 2 covers external threats from mostly benign sources that may force the agent to resign from following his career as a Delta Green Agent. Among these we find career, family (“My three daughters”) and religious community. These are all important to the characters, and they may force them to make a choice – do you want a career at the bureau, or do you want to chase monsters? Do you want to take care of youor family or do you want to battle cultists? etc.
Level 3 covers the story arc-enemy, the recurring foe and it is chosen and introduced by the GM. Enemies can be things such as MJ12, The Men in Black, The Cult of Cthulhu or Deep One Hybrids. The main purpose of this threat is to remind the players of their recurring foe and to have this extra foe, that may suddenly appear in what may seem to be an unrelated mission simply because they are the conspiracy behind it all. Level 3 represents a regular recurring foe, that may come gunning for the PC’s in some very direct way. We will come to you.
Threats and ‘Flags’
The threats from especially level 1 and 2 can be considered ‘flags’ in some indie-terminology, they are signals from the player to the GM as to what challenges are interesting for the PC to confront (besides monsters and the Cthulhu mythos), and either overcome or be the reason for the agent to resign. As the GM I will sometime challenge the players with these hindrances, but it will always be a player choice as to whether or not the agent will resign.
From Back Story to Threats
The types of threats are much in keeping with a minimal back story. The characters does not have much of a pre-written back story, it is mostly developed during the game, and these types of information are used to give both player and GM handles to work with. Additionally the player does not have to worry whether or not the GM will mine the back story for antagonists and troubles, as the player must choose two (level 1 and 2), and these are out in the open.
Player Chosen Conspiracy
The third level can either be chosen by the GM solely, or alternately either the whole group settles for a collective threat (“let’s have Lloigor Servants chasing our characters!”), or each player chooses his own conspiracy to come looking for his character. The approach is mostly dependent on how you want to structure the campaign.