Lost in Time and Space Reviews: The Fall of Delta Green | Pelgrane Press
“ It is the 1960s and the stars are coming right...
The decade begins in sunny optimism. The United States declares war on poverty and communism, sending half a million troops to Indochina; desegregates voting booths and shoots rockets at the moon. Everyone believes that if we put our mind to it and our backs into it, there’s nothing we can’t do to make the world better, for America and everyone else....
This is a lie. DELTA GREEN, an authorized but unacknowledged black program of the United States national security establishment. It's mission, to hunt and destroy the Unnatural. Recently unearthed files on a lost decade of anti-Mythos operations both foreign and domestic, give insight into the last days of operations before the Joint Chiefs shut the program down in 1970. this is, The Fall of Delta Green”
Hello everyone and welcome. In today's review we'll be going over The Fall of Delta Green. In this game players take on the role of Agents of Delta Green, to battle and hopefully overcome the horrors of the mythos. [Delta Green, for those unaware, is the secret organization created by the U.S government following the raid of Innsmouth, Massachusetts, mentioned in Lovecraft's “ The Shadow over Innsmouth”.] Written by Kenneth Hite and published by Pelgrane Press, The Fall of Delta Green adapts the Delta Green RPG to the Gumshoe system and gives it a Vietnam Era back-drop. Delta Green is considered by many to be among the best RPG's ever printed, with it's most recent iteration garnering 6 Ennie nominations in 2018. Does The Fall of Delta Green live up to the standards set by Arc Dream publishing, or does it, fall short? Let's find out!
A time for briefing...
The cover provides an awesome piece of artwork, and helps set the mood for the rest of the book. Flipping to the first chapter, Initial briefing introduces us to the basic premise and mechanics of the game. Totaling at 4 pages, they aren't joking when they say brief. One of those pages is even a full piece of art! The Gumshoe system at it's core is very simple, broken down to a single page in the entire book. A new player can quickly read this section, and with a character pregenerated by their handler, be playing this game in about 10 minutes. As someone who doesn't like to get bogged down by rules when running or playing an RPG, I love this system. If you have played a Gumshoe game before it is worth noting that The Fall of Delta Green offers some modifications to best tailor the setting.
The next chapter explains character creation. for the fall of delta green, it is stressed that players create their agents collaboratively to compensate for others weaknesses. The chapter goes on to list the types of previous military service your agent may have, departments of government they may currently work for as well possible bonds and motivations your agent possess. Following this, the abilities your character may have, such as Athletics, Chemistry, Networking, and Signals Intelligence, are discussed in further detail, providing examples of when you might use them in game.
This Segways into the proceeding chapter “Rules of the game”. This section of the book goes over well, the rules of the game. Covering topics such as ability point spending, Contests, Combat, Injury and death, Stability and Sanity and concluding with refreshment and recovery.
The next chapter, the final chapter intended for players, “Tools of the trade” presents the means in which agents in this setting can acquire the gear or information they may need for their operations. This portion of the book also serves as a list of good practices when out in the field, concluding with advice for players from the author. The Agents half of The fall of Delta Green serves dual purposes and does so quite well. It introduces players to the setting, and comprehensively explains the rules in a way that is easy to understand. The text layout and art are also great and enrich the reading experience.
Only if you think you can handle it...
The rest of text is intended for the GM, or in this case, Handler. “On the eve of destruction” lays out the story of delta green during the 60's, What they are, who their allies are, who are their antagonists, as well as a chronology of main events and operations throughout the decade. This section also provides a timeline of notable historical events that took place. I won't spoil the story for you, but it's awesome! This section of the book reads more like a novella than it does a rulebook for a game, which is definitely not a bad thing.
The next chapter is dedicated to the unnatural. The meatiest section of the book, the unnatural covers just about every aspect that fits under the term. Subjects such as Tomes like the neconomicon and Pnaktoic manuscripts, rituals, the hidden world like the lost city of K'n Yan, beasts like Deep Ones and Soggoths, The great old ones and other Mythos gods. This chapter introduces a new skill “Hypergeometery”, or more widely known as “Magic”. This skill is not unlike the cthulhu mythos skill from Call of Cthulhu. The section also introduces cults and organizations that worship various Mythos beings, giving each cult their own unique flavor. This is my favorite chapter of The Fall of Delta Green. The mythos is tied in beautifully with the setting and each cult truly felt special.
The last Chapter, titled “The handler's Handbook”, gives structred advice on to run and create your own game within The fall of Delta Green setting. As a new handler, I found this section to be extremely useful and will likely be referencing it often when looking to create my own scenarios for this setting. The book concludes with a sample scenario titled “Operation Aladdin's Cave”. I haven't played it myself but it looks fun. Before I give my closing thoughts, I want to thank Pelgrane publishing for including a “Cheat sheet” at the end of the book. This is a great finishing touch.
If you're a newcomer to the series, The Fall of Delta Green is a great place to start your covert operations and If you're already a fan of Delta Green, you probably already own this book. Coming in at a whopping 368 pages, This book is certainly not a quick read, but is packed with all the information you need to play and run the game smoothly. The rules are explained concisely, making way for enriching world building. The writing is top notch and truly a joy to become immersed in. The art and overall production value of this book are equally outstanding. When compared to the original Delta Green, Fall stands proudly next to it. I can't recommend this book enough. Whether a new recruit or seasoned veteran, this product is great for any mythos to have in their collection.
I want hear from you. What do you think about this product? Did you back the project on kickstarter or is this your first time hearing about? Any veterans have any stories to share? Leave your thoughts down in the comments below.