Delta Green in ‘The Unspeakable Oath’

Categories: Open Source Intelligence

Delta Green first appeared in gaming literature over 20 years ago in the pages of The Unspeakable Oath, an obscure zine dedicated to the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. Since then the Oath has featured Delta Green many times, especially since the zine’s 2010 resurrection from a long hiatus. Here’s an index of Delta Green articles in the Oath.

The Unspeakable Oath 7

The Unspeakable Oath 7

Convergence (TUO 7)

“In which the investigators are seduced by science, then raped by it.” So ran the deck for the scenario with the first appearance of Delta Green. Delta Green was an ad hoc, unofficial group of members of U.S. law enforcement, military, and intelligence agencies. As the scenario described it: “Delta Green specializes in situations where the members feel rialries among different parts of government would make efficient problem-solving difficult, not to mention keeping things secret. For the most part, this has meant dealing with the paranormal, and particularly the Cthulhu Mythos.” In the 1997 Delta Green sourcebook, that concept evolved a bit.

“Convergence” was written as a companion to another scenario, “Transference,” which appeared in Vol. 2, Issue 2 of Interface, a magazine dedicated to the Cyberpunk RPG, but the scenarios share only a little common Mythos background and were meant to be played separately.

Why Delta Green?

Every subculture (just like every culture) has its own body of folklore. Among U.S. government employees, there is a very minor piece of folklore passed around. An employee of the I.R.S. is just as likely to hear it as an employee of the National Parks Service or the Navy. This particular bit of folklore is that some employees’ personnel files have a sticker placed on their names, a sticker which consists of a small green triangle. Only those who have worked for more than one part of the government for any substantial length of time will realize that this particular bit of folklore crops up in more than one office.

What does it mean? Speculation varies, of course. The reality is that such individuals have, at some point, been part of a Delta Green (the green triangle) operation. In fact, the “green sticker” designation is faulty; the stickers were last used on personnel files in the Vietnam era, and have since been replaced by secret flags on comptuerized files, where they don’t encourage such speculation. But the folklore doesn’t die out, and thus the “green triangle” story continues to this day.

—John Tynes, “Delta Green,” The Unspeakable Oath 7

The Unspeakable Oath 14/15

The Unspeakable Oath 14/15

Fuel of the Gods (TUO 14/15)

This scenario by Michael Cisco includes notes about making it a Delta Green investigation.

Call of Duty (TUO 14/15)

Dennis Detwiller’s scenario of gangsters and bootlegging in 1925 Rhode Island says “Delta Green” nowhere — but it features characters who show up in the lore of Delta Green’s sometimes nemeses, the Fate.

The Case of Colonel Fawcett (TUO 16/17)

Daniel Harms’ Tale of Terror gives a Delta Green option for exploring the terror.

The Unspeakable Oath 16/17

The Unspeakable Oath 16/17

See No Evil (TUO 16/17)

This scenario by Adam Gauntlett has Delta Green agents in the FBI investigating a white supremecist group in New York City.

Slight Return (TUO 18)

A Tale of Terror by Pat Harrigan with a Delta Green agent coming back from death or worse.

The Branchly Numbers Edit (TUO 18)

This Mysterious “Manuscript” by Pat Harrigan does not mention Delta Green but would fit a Delta Green campaign perfectly.

Bernice Cartfield (TUO 19)

Greg Stolze wrote this well-crafted NPC who might be an antagonist or ally, or both, for Delta Green agents.

The Unspeakable Oath 21

The Unspeakable Oath 21

Directive from A-Cell 107: Firing the Canon (TUO 20)

Adam Scott Glancy’s column, which originated in the six issues of Worlds of Cthulhu, returns. Here he encourages Keepers to change the setting and even the way the game works to keep veteran players on their toes.

Let’s Learn Aklo! (TUO 20)

James Haughton’s scenario, “A Closed Timelike Curveball for Delta Green,” won the 2010 Shotgun Scenario Contest on the Delta Green Mailing List.

The Arm in the Green Box (TUO 20)

Bret Kramer describes an encounter with the aftermath of Delta Green operations past.

The Monogahela Carver Cipher (TUO 20)

Dan Harms’ Mysterious “Manuscript” isn’t explicitly Delta Green but it’s exactly the kind of thing Delta Green would investigate.

Saucer Attack 1928! (TUO 21)

This Mysterious Manuscript by Bret Kramer isn’t about Delta Green but it touches on some very resonant themes.

Engines Underground (TUO 21)

This Mysterious Manuscript by Greg Stolze could easily capture the attention of Delta Green.

Directive From A-Cell 108: Tradecraft Meets Lovecraft (TUO 21)

Adam Scott Glancy suggests ways for players and Keepers to roleplay the professional tradecraft of their Delta Green investigators.

The Unspeakable Oath 22

The Unspeakable Oath 22

Die High (TUO 22)

This modern-day scenario by Greg Stolze isn’t necessarily Delta Green, but it very easily could be.

The Found Phone (TUO 22)

Greg Stolze’s modern-day Tale of Terror likewise could spark a Delta Green operation.

Directive From A-Cell 109: Alphonse’s Axioms for Agents (TUO 22)

Adam Scott Glancy presents the 44 most essential rules for succeeding in Delta Green.

Cold Dead Hand (TUO 23)

This epic scenario by Adam Scott Glancy features Soviet special forces in a deadly 1991 mission in the world of Delta Green.

Directive From A-Cell 110: The Bear Is Back (TUO 23)

Adam Scott Glancy looks at the evolution of modern Russia in the world of Delta Green.

Shane Ivey runs Arc Dream Publishing and is the lead editor of the newest Delta Green projects.

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