Fear Itself: Burner – A Delta Green Shotgun Scenario

burner4A woman, blood seeping through her suit, staggers to the door of Red-Talk Phones. A gun is in her hand. She is strong enough to yell out not to bother calling the police. She just needs a clean phone, a burner. It is coming and it would be better if it did not have more victims to attack. The employees of the strip mall huddle behind the counter of Red-Talk Phones.

Burner is a Delta Green scenario in which the PCs are civilians thrown into an Opera without warning. I used Fear Itself (a Gumshoe system) to playtest the engine because I thought it suited the scenario more and I wanted to introduce one of the players, Shaun, to Gumshoe.

Burner won second place in the 2015 Delta Green Shotgun Scenario contest. You can read all of the entries here, including the winner Die Nachtbruder.


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  1. I can already tell I wish this was longer.

  2. This gona be good, but isn’t it out a day early? Not complaining mind you.

  3. Author

    eh, last one was late a day. Also, I am recovering from some food poisoning so I’m not 100% paying attention to minor things like ‘the date’.

  4. or whether it should be Red Markets! #spasm

    more specifically, congratulaxion on the contest. but I’ve gone on record as to how I feel about the exterminator line showing up EVERYFUCKINGWHERE. considering EP is 200-300 years ahead of the present day, I have to think they’d’ve changed their callsign at some point. by which I mean “they would never have reused it, ever.” night at the opera is bad enough, least it’s slightly occulted in context.

  5. Probably the most fun I’ve had with an RPPR game since God’s Eye. I missed my dose of horrible monster Mythos (no, Masks isn’t quite the same). The scenario is real solid Ross, props, and I loved everyone’s characters.

  6. The exterminator line is like the parrot it’s a staple of rppr. Much like killing kids or Aron playing a techie.

  7. For the record, gorgons being bull monsters is a D&D thing. The mythological Gorgons that are probably what’s actually being referenced by Gorgon Milk are Medusa and her sisters.

  8. I’m just saying if I were a conspiracy I’d change up my call and response more than once every 300 years!

  9. To be fair, no one has ever accused Delta Green of being a really successful conspiracy.

    And now my headcanon is that Know Evil is really Delta Green: The Next Generation.

  10. Very cool premise, I can see why it did well in the contest. Congrats on that! And hope your feel better soon.

    Let me point out that “Wreck the Ruckus” would be a fantastic high school ska band.

    I think Fear Itself fits the scenario quite well. I’m still trying to figure out what it is about Gumshoe that I don’t much like. I don’t think it’s the pools and spends; I think it’s the d6-only mechanic, with so little swing in both competency level and difficulty level. Why does a breakable lamp do a d6-1 and a rifle do d6+1? There’s something about the typical damage spreads and typical health pools that doesn’t seem mathematically aligned to me.

    Anyway, rant over. The system seemed to work very well in this particular scenario, but I’m imagining how it might go very differently with CoC or DG rules.

  11. This was a great episode. Having played in the Patreon version of the scenario, it was interesting to see the changes made in the ending. Also the similarities into how things played out with two completely different groups of people, and how both had wonderful breakout characters (our Billy Hayes and Bill’s gun-fondling prepper). Congrats for second place!

  12. Congrats on the second place, ross.

  13. Great roleplaying from everyone.

    I have to give Aaron the ‘Masterclass Character Roleplaying’ award for this one. Fantastic and realistically portrayed a civilian which can be hard for a veteran player. Aaron’s responses on the phone, dialogue and choices were spot on. Great acting.

    Bill’s “It is everything I ever dreamed” left me howling with laughter. Impeccable timing.

    Credit to the group for confounding Ross by repeatedly ordering take out. Both a practical solution from veteran players and fully in character.

    Some critiques:

    Establishing how the characters related to one another at the beginning was immersive, sets the table for roleplaying immediately, sets the stage for the audience and is a great icebreaker. Good one Ross.

    An interesting mechanic that I think was touched upon but not expanded was preparedness rolls for 3 different places: 1)inside the cell phone store, 2)in the nearby hardware (?) store and 3) in the parking lot.

    I think this mechanic can definitely be developed in terms of increased risk/reward, ie you may get a +2 to a preparedness roll if you search in your car in the parking lot but that requires stealth tests there and back or the monster attacks.

    The adventure premise of a DG team needing burner phones (and a green box) is fantastic. Thinking about it more, it is a common element of a DG campaign and quite frankly may the -only- time DG agents get to interact with real normal people in an adventure.

    The mechanics of the monster phasing the area out of reality is great because you could use this idea to justify immediate isolation of the party literally anywhere. It is more disturbing to the players when they expect they are in a place that is “safe” and then that expectation is ripped from them. 😀

    I will suggest that the main antagonist (the monster/avatar) and it’s resolution (find the Thing on the cultist to return to normalcy) felt a little monster-of-the-week. This means simply I wanted more adventure and more original ideas to be entertained by.

    Then I looked up the contest and I have to say Ross for working under a limited number of words, this adventure is fantastic.

    If you expanded it (which you could easily do) I would hope for a little more development at the end or have the monster be more than just a hunter/killer beast.

    Great episode!

  14. Had an idea.

    Since the monster/avatar has a “fractal rend” attack, why not the result of the attack be that the flesh touched by the avatar makes that part of the subject phase out of reality completely, but the subject is still able to function as if the missing part was still present.

    For example if the avatar touches a foot, the foot disappears. Or if the arm from the wrist to the elbow is taken the hand is still “attached” to the maimed arm by an invisible force (the victim can still open doors and wiggle his fingers etc.) but there is a literal empty space between wrist and elbow.

  15. Were notes of how Fear Itself was used to run this scenario posted anywhere? Am looking at using GUMSHOE to do something similar (whilst waiting for The Fall of Delta Green) and building on something already done is always a bonus.

    – Neil.

  16. Author


    Not really. I’ve run a lot of gumshoe so I don’t really think about the mechanics anymore. The only real change from the base game’s mechanics are how I allowed preparedness rolls to be made – just give the players more latitude in using preparedness for things like having keys to stores or access to security cameras or that kind of thing. Other than that, it’s just a standard game of Fear Itself.

  17. Just wondering if it’s possible to see the stats for the characters used.

    I would like to try running this as a one 0ff in a weekend gathering and would like to have pre-gens.

    Cheers, Drew

  18. One of my favorite moments was when Aaron blasting The Protoman’s Queen cover band over the PA and Ross’s response was “don’t play it.”

  19. “You try to pull on the trigger. It does not work.”
    And so, Ross’ name has become an explative.

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