This second installment of Strange Tales is a surprising treasure trove of modern scenarios useful for Delta Green Keepers.
War of the Spectres by R.J. Christensen is a modern scenario that takes place during the American war in Afghanistan, post 9/11. Using an AC-130 Spectre gunship, the flight crew of the “Bad Moon Rising” targets terrorists but in the fracas discovers the corpses of innocents scattered throughout the nearby town of Qomfor and the holy site Junfaar Febeth. There are several entry points for the investigators, ranging from the flight crew themselves to Marine Recon to Delta Green.
WAR OF THE SPOILERS: Of course, the attack accidentally released an invisible beast that tears victims apart with an unearthly whining. It’s a lot like a Color Out of Space, and this scenario has much in common with other modern scenarios featuring the same creature, but for some reason the creature isn’t a Color Out of Space.
The thing makes its way from village to village and eventually to the U.S. military’s nearby base. It’s up to the investigators to stop it, but given that the thing is intangible, their ability to harm it is extremely limited. This is where the various entry points matter – modern military forces would be completely at a loss as to how to deal with such a monstrosity. Although there are a variety of options as to how to defeat the creature, the scenario features few hints for the investigators to figure this out. Only Delta Green realistically has the resources to comprehend the threat, determine its weakness, and draw on the appropriate technological or mystical resources in time.
War of the Spectres is an interesting scenario in a unique setting, but it will require some effort on the Keeper for non-mythos-oriented investigators if they are to have a ghost of a chance (pun intended) of defeating the beast. Four out of five stars.
Another modern scenario, The Glendale Fairies by Kev Dearn, takes place in the Cumbrian village of Glendale set, for some reason, during the Hoof and Mouth crisis. The scenario makes it clear that this fact can be ignored. I’m not fond of scenarios involving fairies, and this scenario features them in spades. It concludes with a body-switching twist that has no resolution, with some dire consequences should the confused investigators try to get their old bodies back.
Body-switching scenarios can be done well – see Gatsby and the Great Race – but The Glendale Fairies seems to be mostly an exercise in frustration with little guidance on how a Keeper should run the scenario. Some scenarios rely on telling a good story while others provide ingredients for players to role-play — The Glendale Fairies is a tournament one-shot in the vein of the latter. Two out of five stars.
Madness of the Black Opal by David Haddin, features a Mythos war between two factions in an Australia mining town seeking to summon a Great Old One by amassing black opals. SPOILER MADNESS: On the one side is a worshipper of the cult of Gring the Maddoth who summons something called “Magzons” to assist him. On the other is Y’golonac and his drug-fueled minions.
Magzons are curious maggot-like humanoids. They wield weapons called True Thinking Lances that cause massive sanity loss. They can infect people with an alien disease called Ganymede Glow, that turns skin an iridescent glowing green. Their bile, a viscous yellow liquid called Maddoth’s Kiss, will cure “every disease in the known universe.” Their claws can infect victims with Tethys Fungus (everything Magzons do has a name, apparently) that is harmless unless it enter the blood stream, dissolving a body to harmless black dust. These are just a few of over 20 different types of diseases Magzons can inflict (there’s a table called an Alien Disease Chart), which is why Maddoth’s Kiss is so important. But Magzons are the least of the investigators’ worries, because Madness of the Black Opal is a true Mythos hoedown: deep ones, gugs, ghouls, a Great Race of Yith, and a Mythos investigator who killed Father Dagon (!) and has the giant tooth to prove it.
Although this scenario takes place in the 1920s it could easily be used in the modern day. It’s off-the-wall sensibilities and over-the-top pulp approach to the Mythos may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s guaranteed to give jaded players some new challenges they’ve never seen before. Three out of five.
Overall, this is an uneven collection. The first scenario is excellent, the second subpar, and the third bizarre enough that it may be of questionable utility, depending on the group.
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