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Delta Green Scenario Guide – The Mist

Categories: Scenarios

By Don Juneau, (c) 1996
DELTA GREEN: Impulse Item

A CTHULHU NOW! Adventure framework, by Don Juneau

  "Impulse Item" is more of a framework than a fully fleshed out and
 complete adventure. This is partially so it can be hacked, chopped,
 channelled, primered, painted and wedged into your game or campaign a
 bit more easily; it is also admittedly easier to write up this
 article as a framework, rather than to complete it, as well as trying
 to avoid possible copyright litigation. (See below.)

  This scenario is designed for the modern era, and specifically for
 use as a DELTA GREEN adventure; "regular" CTHULHU NOW! Investigators
 may be used instead of DG operatives with little-to-no modification.
 Setting the adventure earlier than the 1950s, or in vastly different
 locations, may require quite a bit of work to make it usable.

  (DELTA GREEN is detailed in THE UNSPEAKABLE OATH #7 and The Chaosium
 Digest v5.12. There is also an upcoming sourcebook from Pagan
 Publishing.)

  QUICK SYNOPSIS (for those too eager to wait): THE MIST, by Stephen
 King.

  Now that we've got *that* out of the way, let me explain. At a
 recent convention, I managed to snag an audio production of said S.
 King story, produced by the ZBS Foundation. On a recent listening, I
 thought "Gee, what would Mulder and Sculley of THE X-FILES do?" And
 then, "Who cares? What would a bunch of paranoid DELTA GREEN types
 do?" And so I lay back half-listening to the tape, and thought of
 explanations, suspicions, and what I could possibly get away with.

  The basic story synopsis: a nice little New England town, rather
 isolated, has a strange mist roll in. In the mist are *things*,
 mostly deadly and _hungry_. A small group of people are trapped in
 the local supermarket, and some eventually escape into the mist, to
 find... well, that's where the tape ends, and I suppose the story
 also. Blame Stephen or ZBS.

  Since I'd like to dodge any litigation-hungry lawyers, rather than
 excerpt and detail the entire story, I'll recommend you read or
 listen yourself; reading may have more details, and the printed page
 is likely to be more accessable, but the audio has such *wonderful*
 sound and production - it'll make you want to set up your stereo for
 CoC sound effects...

  (THE MIST, by Stephen King - available in DARK FORCES, ed. Kirby
 McCauley, and SKELETON CREW, by Stephen King. "Stephen King's THE
 MIST" audio production was available from The ZBS Foundation, RR1
 Box 1201, Fort Edward NY 12828, according to the cassette liner;
 however, I can't find their web page, and they may be gone. I got
 my copy from a dealer at a science-fiction convention.)

  So, go borrow or buy the story/tape, and read/listen. I'll wait.

  Back already? Okay. Let's go to work.

  The story can be used as-is for a short CoC adventure. Just Add
 Investigators. However, that's a little too easy, especially if any
 of the players have been exposed to the story. I wanted something
 that would work as a DELTA GREEN scenario; I also wanted the option
 of a "mundane" explanation, whether true or not, of the events that
 unfold. Last but not least, I wanted to be able to patch this in as
 a quick scenario, to take up a session or two during a campaign, or
 even to use it for beginners or as a convention run.

  So, to make it portable, let's distill it down to the very basics:

    1. Isolated location, with small population and limited
       communications.

    2. The mist itself, with all attendant effects.

  This is really all that's needed. Well, all that's *really* needed
 is the mist; it could be set in the middle of Tokyo, or 1890's Paris.
 However, the idea is to make *less* work for Keepers, not more.
 So, let's add a couple more items:

    3. Small town supermarket.

    4. The Arrowhead Project reservation.

  It can still be set virtually anywhere, in any era. It just takes
 work. Changing #4 into a private or corporate site, or even a
 different government location, will work just fine. However, the
 government aspect gives a reason for the DG operatives to be on the
 scene in the first place. Let's break it down some more:

    5. The thunderstorm the night before, and the power failure.

    6. The radio blackout.

  Now, we're getting locked in. The storm gives a feeling of
 anticipation, as well as killing the power and phones, and
 restricting movement. The radio and TV blackout, for whatever reason,
 isolates the characters even more. To continue:

    7. The characters of the Expiator, Parent and Child, Disbeliever,
       and They Knew Too Much .

    8. Local legends and lore.

  Specific characters, and their actions, are well suited to keep the
 feel of the original story. The above characterizations make it easy
 to change specific details, but keep the events stable. The local
 stories, which fit closely with the Expiator, may or may not provide
 clues as to what's happening.

  Let's stop the list here, and get into the meat. The timeline is a
 good place to start. This timeline will fix basic events, and set
 the only requirements for DG operatives. After the PCs arrive at
 the store, it's Game Time.

  (All time approximate; stated as time on tape, or my best guess.)

    The previous night: Thunderstorm, beginnings of the radio
                        blackout, power and phone lines down.

    Aprox. 10 AM: Stores are open, people are moving around and
                  cleaning up after the storm. Radio blackout more
                  prevalent. DG operatives arrive in area, or finish
                  business at Arrowhead Project.

    Aprox. 11 AM: Main NPCs are present at store. DG operatives arrive
                  in town and stop at store.

    Aprox. 11:15 AM: Emergency sirens go off. Some people leave the
                     store. Expiator attempts to stop others. Mist
                     moves up street. Darkness falls. Sirens stop.
                     Explosion/quake. Person leaves store, clothing
                     seems to "dissolve" in mist. Full radio blackout
                     assumed.

    Aprox. 11:30 AM: Generator stops. Store employees open rear door,
                     tentacle enters. One dead, tentacle severed by
                     door.

    Aprox. 11:40 AM: The word gets out. *Things* are out there.

    Aprox. 4:30 PM: Expiator begins speaking of sacrifice.
                    Barricades.

    Aprox. 5:00 PM: Disbeliever's group exits. *Nasty* sounds. No
                    survivors. Expiator starts to gain converts.
                    Watches start.

    Aprox. 7:00 PM: Movement seen in mist.

    Aprox. 8:00 PM: Insect intruders, battle. More deaths.

    Aprox. 1:35 AM: Some overdose deaths have occured. Those Who Knew
                    Too Much  found dead in back room.

    Aprox. 4:00 AM: Last insectoid activity seen.

    Aprox. 12:00 AM: Expedition to drugstore. Web attack. Casualties.

    Aprox. 4:00 PM: Expiator has gotten more converts. Human sacrifice
                    discussed. More suicides. Escapers begin to
                    prepare.

    Aprox. 4:30 PM: "Blood expiation." Expiator and followers versus
                    escapers. Child claimed for sacrifice. Expiator
                    killed. Escapers get to car, leave.

    Aprox. 4:45 PM: Earth collapse evidenced.

    Aprox. 5:30 PM: Turned back by fallen tree. Giant walker seen.

    Aprox. 7:00 PM: End of story...

  Now, I'd keep the timeline in mind for when certain events may
  occur, especially early on. However, any and all may have to be
  changed on the spur of the moment; who *knows* what players can come
  up with?

  However, there's still more to be done, in my opinion. Unless you
 manage to obliterate everyone, something has to happen at the end!
 (Well, you _could_ run it as a one-shot, or final game, leaving the
 players to wonder at the eventual outcome...) Using it for DELTA
 GREEN, even if there are no survivors, eventually someone will have
 to investigate; that's DG's _job_.

  The three main paths that can be used to explain this are mundane,
 occult, and Mythos. Mundane covers such possiblities as a nerve gas
 leak, or naturally-occuring mushroom spores that are particularly
 dense and hallucenogenic. Occult, if you use it, can be a massive
 haunting gone awry, or the Almighty smiting this evil world.
 (Remember the Expiator?) And if I have to define Mythos for you...
 just suppose those mushroom spores are from the superfungus in Steve
 Hatherly's "Tale Of Terror" (TUO #13) FUNGUS? You can even mix and
 match: DG operatives who were there know something weird and bad and
 Mythos went down. Some survivors (if any) will speak of the coming
 of the Tribulations and Armageddon. The government will release
 reports blaming illegal chemical dumping. Hey, maybe you can come up
 stuff that *I* haven't! Would non-Mythos aliens ("Greys") really be
 termed "mundane"? 

  With explanations, there's a number of things to explain. The off-
 stage effects of the "Black Spring", the storm the night before, the
 radio blackout, the mist and attendant effects, the explosion/quake,
 and whatever aftermath has (or will) come about. Project Arrowhead
 is in a class all it's own; I daresay it's secret, and what *really*
 goes on there may never come to light. What the government will tell
 is to be suspect at _best_, and out-and-out falsity is much more
 likely. (Another thing to keep in mind is Those Who Knew Too Much
 . They were in town, attempting to communicate with
 someone, and suicided later that night. Did they know, just suspect,
 or out and out panic? Could they actually have been murdered? _Were_
 they Project personnel, or could they have been investigative
 reporters, terrorists, even _survivalists_? It's Up To You...)

  I decided, when I originally worked up this idea, that for my
 purposes it really was a mundane accident, or rather a combination.
 Ergot of rye (grain fungus containing a natural psychedelic), which
 was combined with DMSO ("skin-carrier" chemical, when mixed with
 virtually anything, will absorb right to the bloodstream), and an
 accidentally-created long-lasting mist (via liquid oxygen and carbon
 dioxide, and some broekn water mains), all the result of a
 truck/train collision upwind of town. "Black Spring" doesn't even
 come into my version, unless someone decides to investigate it later
 (heheheheh). The storm was natural, while the radio blackout was a
 malfunction during testing of  at the Project. The big
 blast was liquid propane tanks going off after the accident. Simple!
 (Not really. "Shovel" is more like it, to force what I knew to fit
 the effects described.)

  Before I conclude this article, I'd better bring up a major point:
 the supermarket. If there's *anything* needing to be carefully
 planned, mapped, and noted, it's the store. It's a good bet that you
 have a store nearby that can be used for research. _Go there._ Use
 notebooks, tape recorders, even cameras (video or otherwise) if you
 have them. When the players ask if there's propane cannisters, or
 where the pharmacy is, you'd better know. If you can, find out about
 the back rooms: deli/bakery, meat-locker and cutting room, storage,
 and management offices. Occasionally, some of the local stores (Great
 Falls, Montana) have printed up maps/reference guides, to help the
 customers to find their items - this is a *great* item to use, as
 it's free, and you can grab multiple copies for later markup and
 handouts. Also, know what selections and amounts are available;
 seasonal items can change the difficulty. Driveway salt and candy
 canes aren't as potentially useful as charcoal lighter and barbecue
 forks.

  Anyway, this seems to be fairly complete now. I'm sure there are
 things I've ignored, or decided to discard, from the story; there's
 a _huge_ list of things that could be *added*, from more/different
 NPCs, to additional events, to a complete campaign framework
 starting before "Black Spring" and ending who knows when, after
 untold yet horrifying incidents... it could end up DELTA GREEN: The
 Project Arrowhead Campaign. Who knows?

  Now, for the dreaded "Khoppi rites": this work is copyright 1996,
 Don Juneau. THE MIST is copyright 1980, Stephen King. "Stephen
 King's THE MIST" audio production is copyright 1984, ZBS
 Foundation. CALL OF CTHULHU and CTHULHU NOW! are copyright 1996,
 Chaosium. THE UNSPEAKABLE OATH and DELTA GREEN are copyright 1996,
 Pagan Publishing. FUNGUS is copyright 1995, Steve Hatherly. THE X
 FILES is copyright 1996, Fox Television.

Distribute at will!

Don Juneau

djuneau@io.com OR djuneau@initco.net
Shane Ivey runs Arc Dream Publishing and is the lead editor of the newest Delta Green projects.

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