I’ve been excited about the new version of Delta Green coming out for some time. Looking around their site for a one nighter, I happened upon a 1920’s scenario that had, what I thought, were all the right ingredients for our group. There were mobsters toting tommy guns, crazed Chinese cultists, a teleporting gate, and sacrificial rites. One of the opening lines from the description had me sold. “So! Pull down your fedora, check your badge, load another drum in your Tommy Gun, and get ready to put your sanity to the test―your superiors will never believe this.”
But first we feasted on a steaming crock pot of chili brought to us by the player of Lilia. Autumn was falling and all were happy for the load of warmth.
We had a little discussion as we sat down to play. We spoke of the range of different genres within horror games and how this, particularly, is more gritty than most. And we spoke of what makes for a great game. We were focussed. We had a small group of players, only five, if memory serves. Whatever the underlying chemistry, this will go down as one of my favorite evenings of gaming in quite a while. I never felt rushed and one scene flowed to the next. We didn’t get as far as I would have liked, but we did get to some unexpected revelations.
Riso Occidare: Italian, former attorney and prosecutor turned special agent
Jerome “J.J.” Johnson: African American WWI veteran and world traveler
Lucien Forsythe: Former pilot, and traveler turned special agent
John Hammer: Hardened street investigator and loner
Jimmy Scarlotta: Former mob member and street thug turned agent
The story opened as our heroes were informed of their mission. They were to investigate one Antonio Marchesi and his bootlegging and smuggling operation in the town of Durban Rhode Island. The characters were then granted access to the Bureau of Investigation’s weapons locker. Four tommy guns walked out the door, along with shotguns and sidearms.
Our band of heroic investigators (assassins) descended on the quiet little town and set to work in their investigations. A few stayed at the Cooper Hotel, where they encountered Aaron (A-A-Ron) Randolph, the nosey desk clerk with effeminate mannerisms. Agent Forsythe and J.J. settled down in the spare room of Vincent Marconi, a local widower, fine baker, and as was later discovered, the one who called in the Bureau.
The first evening, Riso Occidare happened upon Chester “Shells” Walsh in the lobby and tried to press his card and assumed identity as an attorney hoping to hang his shingle in Durban. Words were exchanged and Chester landed a right cross on the agent, laying him out cold. In an extreme display of discipline, firearms remained holstered and Chester was allowed to go about his (likely crooked) business. Later, Chester strode down to the Quality Cafe toting his favorite girl – his Thompson. He also had a thing with Sally Cooper, the waitress, who had been previously opening up a bit to, Lucien Forsythe, one of our heroic dicks. Chester had a kind of rough way with Sally and seemed to almost order her to come to his suite in the Cooper after she closed up for the night.
Later, a few of our heroes pressed A-a-Ron for some spirits from the stores in the cellar. All called it an evening with a bit of a blurred buzz. Another agent, “J.J.” the Bureau’s first African American field agent, scoped out the docks to discover armed thugs, as if on guard duty. J.J. tried to get hired, but he was roughly rebuffed – evidently there was a surplus of cheap Chinese labor available and the boss had something special for his Chinese.
The next day, the group went north to Kingston and made arrangements to hire a local fisherman to check out the Chinese settlement in the marshes the following day. Agent Occidare contacted Chester Walsh and pitched his case for legal counsel once again; this time he wasn’t punched, but still not a very positive outcome. Chester basically blew him off. Meanwhile, others ran into Ms. Stephania Aldercott as she stopped by the Five-and-Dime. She’s one of those women than men routinely cast their lives to ruin for. Remarkable beauty coupled with a compelling sparkle. Our heroes escaped with their souls intact.
They heard that Thursday nights a large convoy of trucks often moved through town with a stopover at Marchesi’s mansion – the Manchester Hourse. Later that evening, it being Thursday, the group made their way out to the big old house by the sea and set up for a stakeout. The only sign of life at the home was the white Morris convertible owned by Ms. Aldercott. Despite the car sitting out front, the home was silent into the evening.
Sure enough, well after dark, a convoy of 20 Ford trucks rolled in. Chinese laborers loaded the trucks with crates coming from a location on the seaward side of the home. Mobsters, Italians apparently, drove the trucks. Some four hours later, the trucks were loaded and rolled out. Our heroes ran for their car and set to tail them…but lost them somewhere north of Durban. They decided to try an alternate route to catch the bootlegger caravan, but it didn’t work out.
On returning to the house, our heroes examined the dock and found it wasn’t the conduit for all the crates. There was a large bulkhead doorway leading into the stone basement of the building – the group opened it carefully and after some debate, slipped inside.
A soft rain fell gently on the faces of our investigators. All was darkness. The heavy scent of pine trees and fir trees filled the air. Nearby stood a large barn-like building, and slightly farther away stood a much larger log building with several dormers – like a lodge.
All felt drained and slightly sickened. Where were they and how had they gotten there? They began to poke around…. inside the barn were hundreds of crates of whiskey and empty boxes and bottles, as well as several large stills. Some of our heroes headed down the hill toward the lodge, and followed a path on further, down toward the sea. It forked and to the left they found a boat moored to a small dock, backtracking they followed the path to the right – there they found a large excavation pit in the middle of a rocky and mostly dry stream channel. Within lay a giant obelisk like form, partly broken. There were some strange large glyphs on the stone and from along its long flanks, bones of various kinds protruded. Human skeletal hands, feet and skulls protruded from the surface.
They stood in the soft rain and wondered…. what … in the hell?
And that is where we called the night.
Here’s a little note I wrote to the group in the immediately following days….