Delta Green: God’s Teeth – Go Forth – Episode 1

SUMMONINGSponsor: The Delta Green Kickstarter is on!. The Iconoclasts scenario stretch goal has been unlocked! Check out the FREE Quickstart guide with a demo adventure.

TRIGGER WARNING: In addition to supernatural horror typical of mythos gaming, this episode mentions violence towards minors. The inclusion of this subject matter is in no way meant to condone such loathsome behavior: the characters involved are monsters and dealt with accordingly. Those with traumatic events in their past are urged to skip this episode and listen to many of the other fine Delta Green games posted on RPPR.

Synopsis: January 2001: Agent Clove calls Agent Locksley to meet in a shuttered gas station kitchen. As the events chronicled in Through a Glass Darkly ripple through the whole conspiracy, it looks as if Delta Green won’t survive the month. If they do, the group’s priorities are certain to change. But Clove has a mission that can’t be allowed to fall through the cracks. It’s up to Locksley to bring four friendlies into the fold at the last possible minute and get the job done. But what kind of job is too small for DG, yet only fit for a DG agent? Nothing but nightmares and hard choices face the group as they go forth and learn why they’ve really been chosen…and by what.
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  1. I really liked the mechanic of empowering one random PC to be the agent of exposition, and how often it came up that David had refused to look

    my theory is that this is Caleb’s Silent Legion mythos, that there are the forces of cosmic minisculeness versus the forces of cosmic meaningless, and so the choice is between “the universe has meaning and that meaning is awful” and “the universe has no meaning, which at least escapes the pain of knowing that there’s something not to know.” the pets having story-names queued me. this cult seems to be against the idea that humans invent a place for themselves in the universe and so elevate themselves beyond the grubs we are.

    my new favorite cosmic horror concept, which I came up with independently in interpreting one of the less shit New World of Darkness settings, is “the universe you live in is nihilist and meaningless. alien parasites have latched onto it and want to make it narrativist, and are trying to inject ‘stories’ into it. their way? not more fun.”

  2. Another excellent Cthulhu scenario Caleb, can’t wait for the rest! The gun show bit had me rolling, but everything else was terrifying. Considering how the rest of it turns out I’d love to see this as a scenario in Unspeakable or something.

  3. Trigger warnings? Really RPPR?

  4. Yes. Trigger Warnings.

    I can’t speak for Ross, but I will say I insisted on a trigger warning if this game was to be posted. It was my condition for making the content. You want to be pissed about it, be pissed at me.

  5. I’m not pissed, I just rolled my eyes so hard it made a squelching sound.

    You can rest assured that no one would think that, because an Actual Play of a horror game features violence to minors, that it’d be something condonable in any way shape or form in the real world. Please give your listeners a little more credit.

  6. I disagree. topics for Cthulhu based games can have a whole range of content.

    Depending on people’s experiences, they’ll be sensitive to different stuff.

    It’s entirely reasonable for someone to be okay with cults and human sacrifice themes, and not child abuse.

    Putting it there harms no one, and helps others.

  7. There are a couple of errors in the description:

    In the trigger warning, starting on line three, it says: “this episode mentions of violence towards minors.” There are several ways you could correct this. Removing the “of” to get “this episode mentions violence towards minors” is probably the simplest.

    In the trigger warning, toward the end of the 7th line: “the other find Delta Green games”, should read “fine” Delta Green games.

    In the first line of the synopsis “meet in a shuddered gas station” Should presumably be “shuttered” gas station.
    …Unless the gas station is alive and feeling disgusted (I don’t know, I haven’t listed to the episode yet).

    Also you have put two spaces between “a” and “shuddered”. You may consider this correction absurdly minor, but I …would agree with you.

    I’m afraid you’ll have to stay after class Mr. Payton.
    *Evil cackling*

  8. @Dom – I’m with Caleb and Sal on this one. The key word here is “experiences.” Things like eldritch gods and sentient fungi don’t actually happen to people. Things like rape and child abuse (regrettably) DO, and they are often mind-scarring traumas that cause a lot of pain and stress when remembered without warning. Warnings aren’t even a new phenomenon: broadcast TV has used the “Viewer Discretion is Advised” content warnings for decades. It’s not only reasonable to warn for serious topics, it’s considerate to the audience. If that bothers you, try putting a few more points in Empathy.

    @Caleb – Thanks for the heads-up, and being such a cool dude. You’re good people.

  9. I wrote the content description in the three minutes I have inbetween classes. Just like I’m typing this. The typos are all mine, just like the trigger warning.

    But hey! You corrected typos on the internet! Only a Centillion more to go! You’re almost there buddy!

  10. Eh, while I’m not opposed to a content warning (“trigger” is one of those words reaching enough memetic saturation it’s starting to lose proper meaning) in the vein of Verity mentioning TV’s “Viewer Discretion is Advised”, this one seems a little…I dunno, verbose? Pretentious? You could just say “This episode involves references to violence toward minors. If this offends/disturbs/upsets (hell, you could probably slip “trigger” in here in context) you please listen to a different episode”. I feel the need to say “we don’t condone this” is unnecessary, it can be assumed in that you gave fair warning and then the content can speak for itself. Last I checked we haven’t gone back to, say, all the Know Evil episodes and said RPPR doesn’t condone all the fucked up shit (some of which is not specifically limited to that setting) that happens, right?

    So I feel like Dom has a point, in that you can get your message across without, I dunno, feeling like you’re talking down to me.

  11. And then Caleb ninja’d me talking about how he wrote the whole thing in like five minutes. Damn, now I look like the asshole for criticizing him on a rush job.

  12. Pretty much what Omega said. And hey, if Caleb wrote that down in five minutes, that explains a lot.

    I just don’t agree with enshrining RPPR as a vision of political correctness. A lot of the scenarios and player actions involved morally objectionable themes, but at the end of the day it’s just geeks playing a game to have fun and not some sort of commentary that is intended to enlighten society. I enjoy a lot more just listening to you guys knowing that you’ll just play along with the setting and your character’s motivations, and that we listeners can enjoy the content without feeling we are being preached to.

    Speaking of, I’m half-way on the AP and enjoying it immensely.

  13. I’m going to admit to being baffled as to the direction this thread as has gone.

    When writing this game, I didn’t anticipate the most controversial thing about it being the decision to warn people that there might be something controversial about it. It’s a pretty bizarre interpretation. If the warning doesn’t apply to you, ignore it. Similarly, I don’t worry about taking medication forbidden to pregnant mothers; it doesn’t apply, so I move on.

    If it does apply, you now have a choice.

    @Omega: And as far as the statement of not condoning the actions portrayed being unnecessary…so what if it is? Did you come to RPPR for my writing’s brevity? The episode is friggin four hours long! I’m not brief!

    As far as “talking down to you”…I don’t know who YOU are. It’s pretty difficult to talk down to you in that context (though you could argue that I am now, as it is a form of personal address, but I’m not). If you got offended by the language warning you about the possibility of taking offense — yet continue to disagree about the need for trigger warning — well, I’m now really confused as to where your argument comes from.

    Hey, I also ran a game! Wanna talk about that? If I’ve given some political offense, please move it to the forums and don’t make Ross’s site or the Delta Green Kickstarter suffer for my “sins”

  14. I appreciate the trigger warning. Hell, it even helps me get into the tone of the game right away, knowing that it’s going to be a heavy one. No shame in it. There’s a world of difference between a truly horrific horror game like this one and other styles of horror games, from the more detached historical scenarios I’ve written all the way to shark-fighting.

    And I really love these dark, real-world Caleb games. It’s been too long.

  15. @Crawlkill

    “You see the other players look at the journal/diary/book/folder/painting/photo and radically flip their viewpoints; do you look at it?”
    “Not only no, but Hell no.”

    I felt I was being quite reasonable there. Someone needed to be the Control Group in that little experiment, and once the ratio had shifted sufficiently towards PCs who had looked at the Things Man Weren’t Meant To Know versus two of us that hadn’t, one of whom was a gun-totin’ badass and the other of which was a standoffish pathologist, it just made even more sense that I wouldn’t look.

    If it’s a CoC game or Delta Green, it’s one thing for the party’s Brawn-Over-Brains characters to fry brain cells. They still have guns, fists, or swords and the wherewithal to use them. My opinion is that the Brains-Over-Brawn party members ought to try to keep their wits if possible.

  16. Great AP. Like the change to more action orientated setup. Really looking forward to the next one and hoping to see some serious consequences for not ‘taking care’ of the kids.

  17. nothing says “SQUEE” quite like getting the notification of a game and finding out its a Caleb game. Fantastic and can’t wait for the next part.

  18. All my Delta Green materials will now be going into a Hello Kitty folder.

  19. Author

    I fixed the typos. Thanks for pointing them out Omega.

    As for the trigger warning, I fully support Caleb and the use of such warnings. I do understand that there are no good protocols for the usage of trigger warnings and they have been both misused in the past. I also believe that people should have an idea of what they’re getting into before they commit to a piece of fiction. It’s the same principle that you wouldn’t set off fireworks around a combat veteran without their permission first.

    Everyone who has the luxury of just being annoyed by trigger warnings should be grateful. Some people need them and accommodating them is a good thing.

  20. Right, the scenario. The one-PC exposition dump worked amazingly. Faust was great, as always. The whole group had phenomenal chemistry.

    Dear Lord, the Hello Kitty folder.

    And the gun show…all the verisimilitude. All of it. I was thinking about that scene in Pulp fiction where Bruce Willis goes through the pawn shop looking for a weapon, and goes hammer<bat<chainsaw<katana.

    And the white supremacists, truly the greatest disproof of the doctrine of white supremacy.

    "Is there an airport in Massachusetts?"

    More as I listen to more of it. Solid gold so far.

  21. @Caleb

    The moment you mentioned a ferret, I knew a Sredni Vashtar reverence was not far behind.

  22. I, for one, don’t see a problem with trigger warnings. They’re simply labels that let people know what’s inside the tin, for those who might not want to deal with the shock once they’ve already opened it. It’s easy enough to ignore them if they don’t apply to you.

    As someone who has spent time working as a teacher, I can see why Caleb treads carefully around potential trauma. I’ll never forget this one time I was observing a teacher who was working on Romeo and Juliet with his 9th graders. They were close to the end and, for obvious reasons, suicide came up in the discussion, but without any forewarning. He explained that, according to the Catholic Church, suicide is a mortal sin and that those who take their own lives are damned. After the period had ended, it occurred to him that there was a student in that particular class whose father had killed himself the previous year. With no preparation at all, he basically told this fourteen year-old kid, “Hey! Guess what? Your dad is burning in eternal hellfire!” and then left him alone with that thought for the rest of the day. If the teacher had prefaced the discussion with a disclaimer of some kind, the student would have at least had the opportunity to ask to be excused, if he’d chosen to.

    If you aren’t mindful of that sort of thing as an educator, it can cause real harm, and you have to live with it. Extending that to the other pieces of work you put into the universe doesn’t seem like a huge stretch to me.

    That said, I’m just about a third of the way through, and I’m really enjoying the scenario. I knew we were in for a hell of a ride when the phrase, “They don’t have a breeding population anymore” came up, and it wasn’t even 15 minutes in. The idea of getting one of the players to give the briefing was inspired. I loved the way that turned out. I have to agree that the gun show was hilarious, and a bit horrifying. Chinless white supremacists selling illegal firearms and the fact that they’re helping the PCs by doing so would seem pretty damn awful, if the big bads in the scenario weren’t so much worse.

  23. HOLY SHIT! Man so I gotta say this scenario so far is right up there in the top 5 for most gripping out of all my faves. I gotta see how this plays out. Also Caleb, man. God damn, your handling of the session was ARTFUL. Like seriously dude I could see the movie in my head. And all the people at the table too did such a great job. BUT YEAH MAN this scenario. Tentative five stars out of five so far. Depending on how this wraps up you could bump that up to a ten. No doubt it’ll only get better.

  24. Okay, finished listening. Certainly one of the top RPPR episodes for horror. Thoughts:

    1. If any episode ever should have a trigger warning, it’s this one. I’m done talking about that issue for good.

    2. For me, the most horrific element was the combination of the kids and their pets. I find long-term suffering a whole lot more disturbing than either violence or fear. I think if I had been playing, there’s nothing that could have made me leave those kids alone at the end there. David did the right thing, and I hope against all reason and expectation that he doesn’t get punished for it.

    3. The influence of True Detective Season 1 is so strong here. This is just about the best way I can see of expressing that show’s themes in a game.

    4. The game was also enhanced by the combat incompetence of the team. Everybody at the table seemed to be right on point in playing their characters’ tactical acumen or lack thereof.

    5. Mouse in the shotgun barrel. There’s your 00 roll right there.

    6. Question for Caleb (maybe spoilery, I dunno): Did you design the injuries to match the mural, or design the mural to match the injuries?

    7. I seriously can’t wait to see how this campaign develops. What the hell were those people? What were they even doing with the kids? Are some of the kids still alive? And…what happened to the Hello Kitty folder? I don’t recall anyone mentioning what they did with it. And now the PCs have been chosen by…something. Caleb’s description of the campaign’s theme in Episode 121 greatly intrigues me.

    8. Just wanna say one more time, solid gold game from start to finish. Great scenario, great development, great characters, great conclusion. And great gun show.

  25. @ Ethan C.

    I couldn’t agree more with the True Detective comment. In fact, I think it needs an appropriately bluesy and morose song to act as the unofficial theme song.

    My suggestion would be Gone Cold by Clutch. It was the song I heard in my head as the cliffhanger ended. I pictured it slowly fading in as the “camera” of the game faded out. It’s damn near perfect for it IMO.

  26. Only an hour in. I have many comments to make but I have to remark, Holy Shit Red Markets needs the stretch goal: go to a gun show with Caleb.

    Crying laughing. “Fell off like Cliffhanger”…”Armed only with culinary enthusiasm.” This is good as stand up Caleb.

    Before I forget, Faust great great job at roleplaying rounding up the others in the hotel conference room.

  27. Oh man. I was squirming in my seat at this one and I didn’t even have to make any of the choices being put in front of the crew, just dread the likely fallout from any decision they made. Probably the most horrifying AP I’ve ever listened to. I mean, it’s not like RPPR (or certain other podcasts) don’t routinely deal with horror games, but usually there’s a certain…matter of factness involved. Sometimes really bad stuff is going down, but it’s most of the time clearer where the right side of things is and in most cases the horror is a lot more familiar. Pitching a straight up no frills illegal murder squad scenario against a bunch of horrible people with really creepy but…theoretically, at least, innocent kids where it still isn’t clear what the hell is going on? Hooboy.

    Loved it. Can’t wait for more.

  28. @David I said I liked it! I thought it created a fun dynamic, especially since Caleb kept prodding people with What They’d Seen.

    I find it kind of irritating when people start demanding trigger warnings, particularly in horrible horror. there was an episode of Night Vale a while back that involved a fairly gruesome description of a car crash, and the first comment was “umm whoa there needs to be a car crash violence trigger warning on this.” the consensus was that it’s a horror podcast in which nightmarish death and murder happen almost every episode, and there comes a point at which people need to be able to take the reins of their own discomfort.

    but I certainly don’t mind creators choosing providing them. there’s a difference between choosing to be accommodating and demanding to be accommodated.

  29. Only about 20-40 minutes in but loving how you handle the whole thing with the folder. On how you describe how much it makes them hate. Of course I am not far enough to see if it is supernatural or just being vague for sanity’s sake but I am wholly invested in listening to the rest now!

  30. So towards the end when the luck checks for arriving at the meeting were rolled I kind of expected the critical to lead to “You are hit by a drunk driver, you die instantly.”

    And yeah, Caleb’s on fire with this one.

  31. Great game, really enjoyable all throughout, grade A RP from everyone.

    Liked the folder, though I can’t help but be curious if it was actively supernatural or just horror squared as per themes of this particular campaign.

    I do have to call something out though. The whole ‘if they didn’t deny the order I’d have been uncomfortable sitting at the table with them’ thing mentioned in the podcast, something of a hyperbole, sure, but I have to call Caleb out on that. In the last big campaign he was part of, he irreversibly drove a mentally ill man screaming, inhuman mad through more than a subjective year of cruel torture for a flimsy cover that could have been performed by an AI or clever recording, and found (in character) the degradation of biocon terrorists into circus animals performing for a racist, uplift supremacist criminal cartel’s amusement great and funny.

  32. Complaints about a trigger warning. . . ? K. . . :\

    Anyway, loved the scenario, and the descriptions of what’s in the folder were excellent. Caleb is excellent at stripping the trappings away from atrocities to hit their core truths without being explicit. Abusing children, both physical and mental (and sexual), is terrifying as FUCK, a truth that Caleb expresses well within the context of the game.

    And once again, Caleb has managed to turn seemingly docile animals into the most frightening elements of the game. O_O

  33. Holy shit, what an episode. I could imagine Radiohead’s “Exit Music For A Film” playing during the final pre-timeskip scene- slow mo shots of Ross’s character staring at the mural, the confrontation over whether or not to call the police while the buildings burn in the background and snow falls.

    Goddamn, it gives me goosebumps picturing it in my head. Someone please draw it.

  34. I had to stop listening to to the ep last night because I was walking home in the dark. The build up was frigging masterful in the “Oh god what can go right!?!” Way. I look forward to listening to the rest. New Delta Green is really good so far.

    I didn’t realize that there was a content warning because I use BeyondPod and I can pretty much trust RPPR Implicitly at this point.

    I’m going through some Anxiety stuff (which as it turned out was why I was so thin skinned a while ago, irritability is a side effect) so these days I think people should be given an opportunity to get off of the ride before it starts.

    Could have done with a warning when Ross reblogged that gif from the live action Parasyte movie on tumblr a while ago :).

  35. Loved it. Everyone was in top form, subject matter was heavy but appropriately managed, cliffhanger was good, and the digressions/derails were hilarious.

    Also, I second Twisting H about the Red Markets stretch goal.

  36. Finished listening last night. Bang up job everyone and am curious to see where this goes from here.

  37. Came into this due to the kickstarter, and downloaded it prior to a long drive. It, honestly, was freaking awesome and I’m now hooked. I’m now listening to Inheritance and adding it to my podcasts.

    No idea how long until part 2 comes out, but eagerly awaiting it. So many good parts, from the”hell no I’m not looking” to the ” is that…a tail? In the barrel?” to the {nope nope nope} and trying to walk out. And +20 to also wanting to use a Hello Kitty folder.

    Had no idea this type of thing(actualplay) exists, but really glad it does. Thanks again!

  38. That moment when I’m driving the old roads to work while listening to the new Actual Play (Happy to hear it’s a Caleb Horror game) and then that moment, maybe 10 or so minutes in and I hear the briefing between Clove and Lockely… when I shout out “Oh Goddamn it!” in my car in excited realization and anticipating dread of what is to come.

    Thank you Caleb, always enjoy the horror.

  39. Caleb, I’m in complete agreement about d4s, but there are alternatives, chessex makes roman d4s, which are d12s numbered 1-4 three times, and several companies make d8s numbered 1-4 twice. They’re cheap, they’re rollable, and they won’t make you lame. I highly reccomend getting some.

  40. Great session. Absolute delight to listen to. It was a bit confusing in the middle of all the action, but it’s easy to overlook given the awesomeness of the session in full. The building dread with the weird goddamn animals, the folder (reminded me fondly or Marty watching the tape in True Detective) being a mystery yet so fucked up it provokes such a potent reaction is amazing, and children in a horror game always puts people on their toes.

    Having a PC recruit the others through role-playing was really clever. Just full of praise for this. Looking forward to more from you guys’ crazy noggins.

  41. Well, these comments are certainly interesting.
    I guess I need to give my opinion on Content Warnings now.
    Wait, no I don’t.

    Anyway, you killed it with this scenario, Caleb. I can’t wait to run it for my players.

    This is the highest compliment I know how to give.

  42. So, so good. No one’s jumping off the crazy cliff just because it’s there, Caleb firing on all cylinders, and an overload of creepy. I wish I could run games half as well. Moar, please!

  43. Finished this yesterday but needed to put my thoughts together.

    – This is arguably up there with the night clerk in the running for the best scenario ever run by an rppr Keeper.

    – while the mystery side is week compared to calebs other horror scenarios it is perhaps the only scenario I have seen that actually felt scary.

    – The handling of the folder was perfect. I brilliant bit of both GMing and writing.

    – The atmosphere of the whole thing was amazing. Both the adults and the children were terrifying in their own ways.

    – Thank you for the trigger warning. Short of anything else it let me know where and when it would be appropreate listening. Those complaining about trigger warnings. They are just tags that let adults make informed decisions about what they watch or listen.

  44. Finished listening to this yesterday.
    My complaints about the description aside, Caleb did a phenomenal job on this game! I can already tell this is gonna be one of those horror APs I keep relistening to, such as Fear Itself, Lover in the Ice and Bryson Springs.
    I won’t parrot too much, but the Hello Kitty folder, the gun show antics and the shit that was going on in the orphanage were awesome. Looking forward to listening to the next episode!

  45. This was certainly a masterclass in running Delta Green. Everything was spot-on perfect, from the creepy details to the pervasive atmosphere of bleak pessimism. Caleb drew the players into the conspiracy for a mission that they barely understood and cast doubt on their notions that they were doing the right thing at their most uncertain moments. The cliffhanger scene at the end embodies what Delta Green is about more than anything else I’ve ever heard or read. Even in the mundane, human sphere, the players have to suffer the consequences of fighting the Mythos, and they can’t even be sure they were justified. Well done!

    I love Caleb’s intro games because they’re always built to give the players room to wonder. The hook was relatively straightforward–“Go here, kill these people–and there weren’t more than seven or so big scenes in the entire game. The minimalist structure and the extravagant amount of detail put into each scene really drove home how little the characters knew or understood, and how little control they had. Know Evil opened with a similarly front-loaded game.

    It’s a really effective way of opening a conspiratorial investigation game.

  46. I applaud Caleb for handling a troubling subject/theme so responsibly. We must be careful to look past the memetic nature of “trigger warning”, resist the urge to respond to that idea in a kneejerked fashion, and see it for its intent.

    Regarding the game itself: I listened to the game while walking around in the dark last night, because I like RPPR APs on hard mode. WHAT ARE THOSE PEOPLE, AND WHAT THEY DOING? The sense of urgency from the get go was great. I got invested right away after the agent Clove meeting. I need to know what’s going on, though. I want to see the big freaky picture. Get that next episode out posthaste.

  47. All the anti-trigger warning comments make me think that a lot of people are way too invested in not being part touchy-feely part of the internet as a touchstone of their identity.

    This episode was really graphic and powerful, it dealt with a much more mundane horror than most Delta Green episodes, the kind that can actually touch peoples lives and if I had these kinds of experiences in my past I’d want to know what I was getting into before I sat down to listen to a fun RPG podcast.

    Great work Caleb, I can’t wait to see where the rest of the campaign goes, this AP is going to shape how I run New Delta Green games.

  48. It’s interesting to see how many people are now talking up the good points about trigger warning when Caleb asked that this comment section not be focused on the game itself and not that anymore. People who are in favor can’t help but give their two cents when the topic is supposed to be over and done with.

    I actually sort of regret bringing it up now, not so much because I gave a kneejerk reaction, but because people are not discussing the AP as much as it deserves.

    Oh well, I guess I’m doing it too by posting this comment. 😡

  49. So, uh, to the actual game. I would love to run this for my group as a Halloween game, is there anyway that super-awesome people could get access to your notes Caleb? The game is very similar to Lover in the Ice and Bryson Springs in terms of messed up, and my players still aren’t happy with me about it :3

  50. Is it safe to guess that one of those parrots ends up in a green box one day?

  51. I am fucking serious about what I am about to say. And nobody ever believes it. I’m a walking fucking strawman brought to life. But it really happened.

    I went through some things. Those kinds of things, that I’m not about to talk about here. And the person who did them was always talking about trigger warnings. Used them everywhere, still uses them everywhere (just in case you thought people ever get caught or punished), used them at the time. Hypocritical doesn’t scratch the surface.

    Do you know how many fucking trigger warnings there are on the internet? And every single time I see one, I can’t forget it.

    Yeah, I’m the fucking strawman. “Trigger warnings trigger me.” But I can’t stop them from doing it. I can’t!

  52. I’m sorry. I guess I sort of lost it and kept doing what Caleb nicely asked everyone to stop. It’s something I’m trying to work on.

    I guess it’s like Jesus, you know? Started with good intentions but suddenly everyone has an opinion and they’ll kill each other over that name. And both of them will absolve you of your sins and a lot of people think their responsibility, too.

    I did really like this episode, it was great work. Although if it had been me I’d have followed the orders. I know from experience that “years of therapy” and drugs don’t actually do anything – they just bully you into saying you’re okay and that the wonderful psych cured you and the treatments helped so much, so they’ll let you go and live somewhere where you can step outside and see the sky with your naked eyes and breath fresh air and also they can’t just take every dollar you have that they feel like keeping without caring about how you’ll live if you do get out. That’s for problems that happen in real life. What could they possibly do when the Mythos also caused the problem? And when the patients are a bunch of kids who are already wards of the state. That means they’re already traumatized by being orphans and they will get the worst care anyone could. So at best it’s condemning people to a life of pain and maybe imprisonment, maybe early suicide. At worst it’s letting the Mythos our so that more people end up the same way.

  53. @Strawmen

    While that is definitely a logical argument for “Kill all of those children now,” there were a few problems with doing that.

    One, it’s killing children; no matter how logical and reasonable a choice it *seems* to be, it’s still killing children. Take it from me, no amount of justifying that choice in-game will ever equal the innate stigma attached to “You killed a child!”

    Two, there was a lack of consensus; if one person started killing kids, he likely would have been killed by the other PCs before he managed to kill the second kid- unless there were two people killing, in which case, figure max of three kids dead.

    Three, time was now a factor as there had just been a firefight. Even with we had all agreed and taken the San hits (issue number four, our brains were pretty well fuckled by this point) we wouldn’t have managed to kill them all before the police and fire trucks arrived. If we *had* killed them, we wouldn’t have been able to get away.

    And here’s the last factor. If the group had somehow managed to overcome issues one through five, how should we have disposed of the bodies? As it was the middle of winter, burial wasn’t an option (you saw what the bad guys had to set up for the purposes of digging the grave for one kid.) Even if we’d somehow burned down the house on top of them, the forensic evidence would show either their causes of death… or that we’d nailed the door shut and burned them all alive inside the house.

    Any way you slice it, killing the kids was a bad option. If I’M telling you it was a bad option, you can take that one to the bank!

    …besides, if we’d killed the kids there wouldn’t be the fallout for NOT killing the kids. It would have changed the later sessions entirely.

    All of that aside, though, that is one of the best pro murder-the-kids arguments I’ve seen. My hat is off to you, good sir!

  54. One of the best entries in the entire library of this podcast. Scary, funny, tense, fast-moving, with a cliffhanger ending that actually made my jaw drop. One of the only times I have been at the edge of my seat listening to an actual play.


  55. Boy howdy this was a hell of a game. I had to listen to the confrontation twice before I could grok what exactly was going on.

  56. For myself, and I think a lot of other people that are anti-trigger warning, the issue is that in some places, particularly college campuses, trigger warnings are morphing from “here is a content advisory so people can decide if they want to view this” to “there should be trigger warnings for pretty much everything and you will be abused for not providing them” to “the fact that these topics have trigger warnings indicates they are dangerous and damaging concepts and should be avoided for everybody”.

    If you want a short content advisory note like a movie would have, I’m fine with it. Calling it a Trigger Warning and having all that “we don’t condone it” verbiage just gives too much support to the censorious PC crowd that think that violence against children* is bad and should be a taboo subject regardless of context.

    * or rape, or murder, or sexism, or racism, and the list goes on…

  57. Instant classic, guys. Holy hell, this was harrowing. Enough levity to keep it from becoming too bleak to listen to, but not so much as to take away the horror of it all. The gun show scene was as gloriously insane as the discovery of the pets was heartbreaking. Caleb, you’re a goddamn legend. Well done.

  58. @Caleb
    I am curious at the literary reference and the synthesis of this game. I had never heard of Sredni Vashtar before this game, and I’m interested in reading it now. Did you have the concept of the game first and fit the reference to it or did it grow out of that story?

  59. Very interesting episode.

    I felt like the gun show was an example of great listening but not great GMing. It was really fun to listen to Caleb reminisce about his experiences visiting a gun show – he’s a good audio performer and he had really entertaining stories to tell. That said, “spend half an hour reminiscing about that time you visited a gun show” isn’t very good GMing in most cases, and would be terrible to see in a published scenario. It sounded like the RPPR group enjoyed it, but this is the same group that wanted Ross to, in his own words, “talk to [him]self in silly voices for your amusement,” when most people agree it’s a really bad sign when a GM is talking to themselves in character (This was when they wanted to have Sparkles talk to that homeless engineer/Lutean war vet.) It’s great that you’re doing what works for your group, but on the other hand…I guess a lot of the reason I listen to RPPR is to improve my own GMing, and as a fellow craftsman I really cringed at the thought of committing a lengthy personal reminiscence.

    I’m also really disappointed they never let Behemoth out of the cage, because, well, talking cats who travel in the company of Nyarlathotep (okay, fine, Woland, okay, fine, Satan) and get in gunfights with the KGB are cool. In terms of references, I caught Behemoth the cat from Master and Margarita and the dogs named Randall and Flagg (although I didn’t expect Caleb to be a fan of Steven King, for some reason). I probably missed a lot of other ones (or just forgot in the time it took for the episode to end). I’m kind of curious if this campaign will explain the parrot in the cage by the end.

  60. Great AP Caleb, the gun show with jerky for sale made for a nice break but otherwise for me it felt as good as a blockbuster horror film in the cinema.

    Thanks for the trigger warning as I’m a dad with young kids so listening to it after they went to bed made me aware to listen to it at a time I felt comfortable with the content. But yeah fantastic and loved the ’15 years later…’. Not expecting that..and makes for a great listening experience.

    To understand the DG scenario better would be help to read through Through a Glass Darkly?

  61. @William

    The game grew out of the story. I was enamored with Saki piece when I first read it. I struggled to understand why Conradin’s aunt was so awful to him and why he hated her so much. One of the interpretations I entertained was that she had Munchhausen’s By Proxy Syndrome and was keeping the boy sick for her own purposes (like that creepy mother in the Sixth Sense). I know that’s not what Saki intended, but I got enamored by the thought of a child inventing a god to save himself, a god that wasn’t complicit with his abuser. Then I read about the Skopsi in Countdown and I got the idea for the scenario.


    Through a Glass Darkly will lend you no deeper understanding of the scenario other than the reason Delta Green has more important things to do than save some orphans. It’s connection is intentionally tangential. You should definitely read it though; in my opinion, it’s the best fiction in the line, excepting only Tales from Failed Anatomies (though Ross tells me Extraordinary Renditions is very good as well).

  62. @Caleb

    Thanks and will check them out. Now onto episode 2.

  63. Is there an airport in Massachusetts? Is there an air- Yes Massachusetts has an airport! Boston is the hub of the goddamn universe! Is there electricity in Missouri? I’m having red thoughts!!!

    (Trigger warning: New England)

  64. Very good stuff. Surprisingly creepy. I would say some of the best I’ve heard on this site.

  65. AMAZING game!! I am a longtime RPPR listener and proud backer of the DG Kickstarter.

    @Caleb, if you haven’t already, I implore you to turn this into an official scenario and/or campaign for Delta Green. I know you hear it on the forums all the time, but you are truly a masterful storyteller. Haha, i only wish you and the RPPR crew lived near Baltimore so that I could actually play DG or CoC with an experienced group.

    Definitely hope that sometime down the road you decide to collaborate with the Arc Dream crew and publish a “No Security” type book in the DG universe.

    I really enjoyed the scenario and the roleplaying in the AP. I am enjoying Faust’s addition to the group as he really gets into the character and brings even more energy to the group.

    I do have to say, however, that some of the choices made by the players in the AP did puzzle me a bit…there was a lot less organization and scheming by the group than I would initially expect (however, I suspect that was bc Ross was not the team leader and Faust does not seem to be familiar with the more tactical type of role).

    Also, David’s choice of The Taurus Judge was perhaps one of the smartest weapon choices out of the group (even if it was for the ridiculous factor). If he really wanted to, he could have stocked multiple types of ammo (.45 for pure punching power, buck shot for spread/all around death, and even small caliber bird shot/game cartridges to blind possible attackers without killing them). No one actually realized or commented on the fact that his ammo (outside of the .45) would be completely untraceable….which brings me to my final point/question?

    Why in the world did no one think of purchasing a tactical 12 or 20 gauge shotgun at the gun show?! Isn’t the whole reason for those shows to buy AR-15s or tactical/semi-auto shotguns? haha

  66. Pretty intriguing episode, and I can’t wait to hear episode 2!

    Taurus Judge *would* be a pretty good weapon choice as Usurper above points out. Did anyone bring a shotgun? I can’t remember.

    I had the same reaction(in real time) that Ross had with the weird magic part with the old woman-thing, like… eh? What’s happening now?

    Good stuff, though. Fun to hear the new rules in play.

  67. I for one appreciated the Trigger Warning. Also I am assuming this is an original scenario? If so will you be writing this up for others to play?

  68. This is a great game. Almost like a horrific Monsters and Other Childish Things game from the viewpoint of the MIBs

  69. Dear RPPR,

    Loved this AP. Great stuff.

    While I appreciate the content warning, I object to the following: “Those with traumatic events in their past are urged to skip this episode”. I would recommend leaving that out, let the listener decide.


  70. @Michael (and others on Twitter, and in this thread)

    Oh! Thanks for the article: I wasn’t aware that RPPR counts for college credit now! But, just to be clear since I’m new to this whole education thing…the podcast’s new purpose is to relate historical/political/sociological facts and demonstrable academic theories rather than, you know, fantasies, elf games, and stories where G-men fight space monsters? It’s a form of quasi-mandatory cultural indoctrination and not just some silly thing people might download for free to be entertained, right? And you were forced to listen, as your only access to the truth of the adult world? And it’s necessary for you to receive accreditation in your chosen profession? And you were. again, forced to listen with a group of strangers, at a time and place not of your choosing, unable in any way to differentiate your instruction and absorption of the information beyond what the loudest person in the group demanded of me, the professor? Lacking all individualized control of the content beyond the most vocal common denominator, and not, as it may seem, allowed to ingest the material in any damn way or at any damn time you please? And you paid me for the “lecture,” or had the government pay me through a federally subsidized student loan, or met a set of academic requirements set by the RPPR institution to encourage academic excellence and alumni donations through our scholarship program?

    If I assume all that to be true (and context not to have ever existed in the world as a concept), I must stand corrected by this well considered article you posted after hitting the first first link google spat at you. Thank you for enlightening me.

    Also, mid-terms are coming up. Don’t forget to pay me the first $4k or so of your tuition. Don’t worry though; RPPR accepts Pell grants now, apparently.

  71. @ Michael

    Please do not forget to topically apply silver sulfadiazine to affected areas to prevent bacterial infection as a result from burn. Do not be startled by calls of ‘DAMN’ and ‘OH SNAP’ from onlookers.

  72. I am intrigued by your syllabus, and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  73. Sredni Vashtar reference, nice! I almost forgot about the delta green kickstarter. If they have late backing or pre-orders I may just have to get into that.

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