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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Edward K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2016 11:49:12

Ring Side Report- RPG Review of Delta Green

Originally posted at www.throatpunchgames.com, a new idea everyday!

Product- Delta Green System-Delta Green Producer-Arc Dream Price- $20.00 here http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/181674/Delta-Green-Agents-Handbook?affiliate_id=239993 TL; DR-Great RPG with one big problem 87%

Basics- ia ia cthulhu fhtagn- BUT NOW WITH GUNS! Delta Green is Call of Cthulhu if run by the government as secret agencies vie for power and try to keep the horrors from beyond time and space from destroying the world or taking over the United States! Can you handle the truth?

Mechanics or Crunch-Let’s break the mechanics up and give the basics as well as my assessment.

Base Mechanics-Delta Green is a classic percentile based system. You have a skill or an ability rating, and you roll under that number to succeed. As I grow older, I like this no fuss/no muss methods of rolling dice to avoid overly math-y systems.

Difficulty-When a situation is harder or easier than normal, the GM might ask you to add or subtract 10% or 20% to or from your skill or ability total. Again, it’s a simple and easy way to modulate difficulty.

Combat- Combat is basically simple. Characters act in dexterity order from high to low. On your turn you do one action. These actions range from move, shoot, or aim among other things. For actions that require a roll, you roll under a skill as above. There is no given dodge roll if you are attacked. If you haven’t acted in a round, you can forgo your next action to try to dodge an attack by rolling under the attack roll. Damage is a single dice roll that subtracts from a hit point total. Go too low on the hit point total and you pass out. Also, some weapons have a lethality rating. If you roll in that range, the weapon just kills the target in one go!

Personal Life and Sanity- Just like other horror RPG, Delta Green has a sanity system. Characters lose sanity and gain mental illness as they go crazier and crazier dealing with horrors beyond time. This system throws in bonds as a serious component as men and women lose family members, friends, and loved ones. Think of the PTSD struck veteran, but now add the fact that he/she deals with monsters beyond human ken. Players may lose family members or whole families as they slowly go deeper and deeper into the world of Cthulhu slipping away from normal. That level of commitment to roleplaying in the mechanics is awesome.

Advancement-Advancement is a snap in this game as well. When a player attempts a roll in this game and they fail, they mark the skill with an X. At the end of the game session, any skill that you failed that you had at least 1% in, you gain an additional 1%. Also, between sessions, a character can gain 1 in an ability or they can gain 1d10 in a skill if they spend time working on it. If they do, they lose 1 level in a bond as they lose touch with someone they felt was important!

Summary- I really want to like this game more than I do. The addition of solid role-playing psychology makes this a great way to blend the theme and mechanics of a world where things just can’t be and can’t be dealt with rationally. However, combat just makes me irrationally angry. I don’t like systems where you can’t move and act. That’s a minor issue as if all the players and monsters abide by this rule, I can deal. However, the rules as written basically make it better to have a lower dexterity. You get to react to an attack, but people who go fast can’t. I can understand not being able to take your next action if you dodge, but this game penalizes people who go first. Sure, it can be a minor issue if you don’t fight much, and I can deal with not having a dodge roll at all. But, this irks me deeply to my core. Therefore, it’s an ok system with a serious flaw. 3.5/5

Theme or Fluff-I mentioned above how much I love the commitment to theme the game has in its mechanics. This game might even be darker than Call of Cthulhu as this game brings the role of sanity and psychology to the forefront in a very post-9/11 way as the psychology of the soldier is experienced first hand. The book is full of stories and fragments of people trying to handle the unhandable. It’s deep and immersive in a way I can really dig, safely and from afar. 5/5

Execution-This is a well put together book. It flows well, has great art, and the PDF is well done and hyperlinked. I like the index, the layout, and the whole book overall. Some things could use a bit more organization, but the book is an exhaustive reference on both the government and the paranormal for new players. 4.5/5

Summary-Delta Green is a great RPG with one serious flaw. Now, as a gaming group, you can play this however you see fit. It’s a flaw that you can fix by all deciding that this is how the game runs. It’s a flaw I will fix instantly in my tables, but the rules as written make me spitting mad. And it’s just that one part. The rest is amazing. I love the depth of little extra bits that the authors throw in about government jurisdiction and random trivia that are in the book. The art is great and the treatment of psychological factors in our veterans is phenomenal. Sure, this is a just a game, but the level of depth that game goes into to use these conditions as things a person would experience if they experienced Lovecraftian horrors is excellent. I like everything in this EXCEPT one thing. If you can get past that one thing, this is a great RPG that really updates Lovecraft to the post 9/11 world. And since it’s under $20, it’s well worth the look even if you just use it for a guidebook to government organizations in your horror games. 87%



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Anders H. L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/23/2016 13:48:21

The rule system The rules are presented in a clear and concise way and I think they are well adapted to the setting. For those anxious about leaving Call of Cthulhu, I can comfort you with the fact that the new DG rules stay in BRP-land as they are built from the Legend SRD (from Mongoose Publishing). This means that DG now has more in common with all the games derived from the first Mongoose RuneQuest SRD - Mongoose RuneQuest, Legend, RuneQuest 6/Mythras, OpenQuest 2, Renaissance etc. In fact, this game is closer to 6th edition CoC than the new 7th edition CoC rules. Over all, the game is vastly simplified (shorter skill lists, more generic weapon lists and so on) in comparison with the old DG books which had tons of new stuff for CoC. And this is a good thing in my book.

At the same time, some new mechanics get introduced: Critical successes are now 01 and doubles (11, 22, 33 etc) under your skill. So if you have a skill of 40% you will crit as in the example above. At the same, fumbles funcion the same - 00 and doubles over your skill are fumbles (in the example 44, 55, 66, 77, 88 and 00 would be fumbles. I like this system as it allows crits and fumbles to scale after actual skill level. Another new thing is the Luck roll that now is a flat 50% chance that things will go your way. Or not.

Opposed tests are resolved by both parties rolling and the highest success wins, which has been standard in the RuneQuest SRD line of games for many years. Willpower points are also new. They can be thought of as mental fuel or mental hit points. You don't want to run out of them. They are based on POW.

Combat is a bit different than both old DG and new CoC 7th ed. A combat turn is a few seconds long and a PC can make ONE action in that amount of time. If you choose to Parry or Dodge, your action is gone for the combat turn. There are a bunch of combat actions described, both offensive and defensive, allowing for a resonable amount of combat tactics. Another cool new thing is the Lethality Rating for more dangerous weapons. This is basically a % roll to determine if a target survives a hit by the big bad gun. If successful, the target (if human at least) immediately drops to 0 hp. This is to avoid the old rules where you had to roll separately to determine number of hits from autofire which could mean a lot of rolls. If you're not a fan of the Lethality rule, there are also optional rules more in the vein of the old autofire rules.

Good old Sanity has also gotten an overhaul. Basically, there are three conditions that might cause SAN loss - Violence, Helplessness and the Unnatural. This is cool, as now your sanity isn't threatened only by monsters and their kynde, but also by malign actions of other people or feelings of not being able to do something. Very much in the line of what DG is about. Otherwise thresholds are pretty the same: 5 or more SAN in a roll is temporary insanity and 0 SAN is permanent insanity. Sanity Points are POW x 5 as before. The concept of Breaking Point is however new. This is described as SAN minus POW and if your PCs loses SAN below the Breaking Point, they get a Disorder and must reset the Breaking Point to current SAN minus POW. The effects a PC suffer when being temporary insane or having a disorder are very good and designed to both realistic and playable. Another cool thing is that a PC can adapt to violence and helplessness (but never to the unnatural), meaning that being in those situations won't call for a SAN roll any more. However, the PC also loses Charisma and from his or her Bonds. Bonds are also a new concept - it can be the relation with a spouse or kids, or with other agents or groups. Bonds are what connects the PC to humanity. So, losing your Bonds will make you more inhumane and also more susceptible to psychological trauma. This feels realistic and might form a very good basis for role-playing. I must confess that I haven't grasped the concept of Bonds 100% yet, but I guess it will be clearer in actual play.

When it comes to PC wealth, expenses and bying of gear, DG introduces a fairly abstract system where you don't have to track every dollar for your PC. Some stuff are day to day cheap and the game just assume that the PC can afford it. Other things are more expensive or restricted and it's up to the GM to decide if the item is obtainable. I like it, but this is one of the things that must be tested in-game.

The concept Contrary to "standard" Call of Cthulhu, where most investigators are average Joe's and Jane's, DG assumes that the PCs are members of a monster-fighting organization and that most PCs (or Agents as they are called in DG) are employed by some Federal Agency. Consequently, most occupations in the book are just that. Examples are FBI, DEA, the military, CIA and so on. There are also a bunch of more civilian occupations in the book as well as advice on how to creat your own occupations. The old DG books had the US agencies in the core book and then lots of international agencies in the other books, supporting Agents from nearly all countries. The new DG book is focussed solely on US agencies, which I feel is resaonable but I still miss GRU-SV8 (Russian) or PISCES (British). Hopefully, they will be in the forthcoming books from Arc Dream. And I'm so planning to do the Swedish agencies, DG style :)

The verdict The new version of Delta Green promises to be an awesome game. The books released so far are pretty and sturdy, with well-written and appropriate rules for the setting/game concept. If you like old Delta Green I'm sure you'll gonna love new Delta Green. However, for players and GMs new to DG, the Agent's handbook is a bit thin on the DG "mythos". Hopefully, this will be remedied in future publications. And don't forget - the old DG books are now available in PDF form from DriveThruRPG, so they can be mined for ideas, adventures and background.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Handler's Screen
by Jean-Baptiste P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/22/2016 12:27:08

This is a very professional piece of work. Apart from one minor typo, the quality is excellent, the illustrations gorgeous and the layout very easy to read. The scenario traditionally joined to the screen is good for beginners, relatively forgiving, although it might need a bit of tweeking for complete newbies. The starting rules are simple yet complete enough for any game master to start even a small campaign. All in all a very good buy, highly recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Handler's Screen
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Delta Green: Kali Ghati
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/11/2016 17:45:53

This scenario is an interesting read, and it is not a bad script for a Cthulhu-themed movie. Unfortunately, it is probably not a good scenario to run as a game. Alas. I'd only recommend it if the DM is either willing to use the PDF as a starting point then make major modifications to the scenario, or if you have players who are big fans of action & combat.

The fundamental issue is that there aren't really any points in this scenario where the players get any actual agency to make a decision, to choose whether to trust someone, to understand a situation and make the right call. The only way that you can really derail the scenario is via doing well or poorly in combat, and, well, that isn't really what Cthulhu is usually about, right? It'd certainly be very anti-climatic, IMHO, to have the party slain in straight-up combat against normal humans with guns. There are games that are based around small-squad tactics which you can play instead if you want to do that that have much better systems than Delta Green does for handling combat situations and making that interesting and gripping. The PDF is rather blase on this point, lightly recommending that characters with non-combat oriented investigators can simply take over US Army NPCs provided in combat. I don't think "drop your current characters and play War in Afghanistan Simulator with these soldiers" is what most people are expecting here.

Anyway, I don't want to spoil the scenario too much, but there's likely to be one combat on the way to Kali Ghati, then another combat at Kali Ghati. There isn't really a good way to avoid these combats short of "roll lucky" or "abandon mission". There isn't a solution or a way to fix things other than shooting your way out. There isn't a way to usefully earn the trust of the opposition. This is fine in Dungeons & Dragons / Pathfinder, not so fine in Cthulhu IMHO, whose system for combat is not great. Play to your strengths, not your weaknesses!



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Kali Ghati
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2016 21:24:25

You can find my complete review at http://www.theredactedfiles.com/?p=2635

All together it feels like a more grown up and subdued approach to this standard horror convention. And in that, I think it succeeds at being even more effective at portraying the brutal costs your character is paying to stay in the fight. This is Delta Green after all: the results of mission accomplished is that life can continue to suck just like it always has.

And that's why I think I take greater satisfaction from the escapism of a game like this rather than Dungeons and Dragons. I am not special. I am flawed and broken and incomplete: I'm just human. But I'm going to do what it takes to keep my little corner of the world together just that little bit longer. And when my character trades two quarts of blood to keep that gate to the unknowable closed, I'll walk away from the table and get ready to go out tomorrow and feel that grim satisfaction of giving all I've got to make sure the world sucks a little bit less than it could Otherwise, because that's what it means to be Delta Green.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
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Delta Green: Need to Know
by Shane M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2016 14:37:24

The Need to Know adventure and rules summary is short and to the point, and serves as a good intorduction to the DG rules. The adventure is a quite linear and focussed, but ideal for a one or two hour introduction.

A great product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Need to Know
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Delta Green: Handler's Screen
by Shane M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2016 14:36:37

The screen is gorgeous and useful it its layout. I haven't yet come across any times I have wanted a table, or a reminder, and it hasn't been there.

The Need to Know adventure and rules summary is short and to the point, and serves as a good intorduction to the DG rules. The adventure is a quite linear and focussed, but ideal for a one or two hour introduction.

A great product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Handler's Screen
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Shane M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2016 14:32:27

Delta Green has long been my favourite horror setting, and this rulebook delivers exactly what i am lookign for in DG rules-wise in spades. The sanity system tweaks, the bonds, the simple ways to do modern combat, the elegant skill system that custs down on rolls. Brilliant stuff. This would also work for any modern horror or investigative game.

The book itself is gorgeous and solid, and the PDF is just as nice to look at.

If you want dark modern horror with personal cost you will not regret buying this.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2016 15:17:40

Delta Green has always been my go-to game for modern horror role playing since it first slithered into my life in the mid-1990’s. Back then, it was some of the most well-written source material for the Call of Cthulhu RPG. Now, with the release of the Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook, it is a fully self-contained rules system built around the same great setting that has been updated to the current era. All the things familiar about the Basic Roleplaying system are still there, but streamlined and geared specifically towards the Delta Green setting.

Everything you need to start playing right away is here, without having to wait for more books to come out. Chapters on overview, playing the game, character generation, combat, equipment/weapons, agencies, and tradecraft/terminology are all presented in an easy-to-follow format. Sprinkled throughout the chapters are immersive, vignettes of doomed Delta Green agents and affiliates -- a nice touch to give you an idea of what may be in store for your character in the not too distant future. Especially fun is the chapter on ‘Home’, a treatise on how interactions with friends, family, and a day job can either help or hinder your character’s ability to recover Sanity and cope with The Unknown. The art and format are what really shine and really can’t stress this enough. The fonts and tables stand out well against a background made to look like a well-read and official government dossier. The interior art is primarily made up of official looking documents and photographed scenes of people preparing for or experiencing the creatures and effects of the Mythos. The layout and imagery really help to suck you in to a hideous and unforgiving world. With each new section, you get a sense of the impotence of modern man when faced with the Mythos. At the very least, the visuals and short-story content will set the mood for the game, but more likely will be nightmare fuel for your players.

Whether new to the realm of modern horror or a veteran of the setting, you need this book. With the scenarios that are currently available combined with the incoming wave of additional source material slated to roll out, the Delta Green: Agent’s Handbook will keep you busy rolling up and killing off characters for years to come.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Lover in the Ice
by Trung B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/24/2016 18:29:54

This scenario is for mature audiences and deals with sexual themes

Now that the obligatory warning is out of the way, time for the review! Lover in the Ice by Caleb Stokes is a great Delta Green scenario adopted from the original Call of Cthulhu system. Without going into too many spoilers, the agents are dispatched to a small town in Missouri in the middle of a terrible snow storm. Communications are weak and the environment is hostile. Tasked with investigating the condition of a Green Box, the agents discover it has been compromised and set off to find and contain whatever might be missing. And then, terror.

Caleb Stokes puts his spin on isolation horror with the agents cut off from major assistance and a very bad thing wandering around in the inhospitable environment. Intuitively paced, smartly written, and very engaging. Lover in the Ice is an exceptional Delta Green scenario that will put players to the test with finding out what's wrong and how to prevent it from killing themselves and dooming the country to a rather terrible fate. A great scenario for a one-shot or as part of a campaign. I would highly recommend it to anybody who enjoys Delta Green or horror gaming in general.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Lover in the Ice
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Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
by Petri W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/22/2016 01:54:12

Ok, I'll admit I backed this Kickstarter just on the strength of it being done by one of the RPPR guys (excellent podcast!), and it being a campaign for a game by the awesome Greg Stolze didn't hurt. I received the book some time ago, but only now got around to reading it. Wow. Just... wow. I read a lot of rpg stuff, and this is the best thing I've read in a long, long while.

It's a cynically hilarious take on modern (U.S.) high school education, and it shows that it's written by a real-life teacher -- there is a ton of darkly humorous material here about the realities of meager budgets, political backstabbing, and burned-out teachers. However, it's not nihilistic -- quite the opposite. The general theme is making a difference (however small) and the possibilities for redemption in a world where doing the right thing isn't usually all that easy. The book is giggle-inducingly funny, poking fun at pretty much everything, and the amazing this is that in addition to being a fantastic read it also sounds like a kick-ass campaign to play. The writing is flat-out excellent.

The plot? A group of random students & faculty get superpowers via getting possessed by demons, and must use their powers of eeeeviiiiillll to work good. Or not, depending on player whims. There's a nicely convoluted back plot, and the whole thing culminates in an apocalyptic showdown well worthy of Buffy. The campaign is split into ten linked scenarios, with lots of extra material helping flesh out the town and inhabitants. Some very nice GM advice is also sprinkled among the general mayhem.

It doesn't matter if you have the core game (Better Angels) or not. Get this. Read it. You'll be glad you did.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Better Angels: No Soul Left Behind
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by David T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/12/2016 15:33:20

I joined this Kickstarter after taking a look at the early rules document. I was thinking about purchasing the new Call of Cthulhu at the time, but I instantly fell in love with these rules. They are the best horror RPG rules I've used. Super streamlined, with a great reworking of Sanity, and fantastic additions for downtime and family life. Another nice addition is Lethality, making combat realistic and frightening. I really like conspiracy and "monster of the week" campaigns, and this game does both very well, with the bonus of existing within HPL's Mythos. Character creation is fast, but you still end up with a deep character. The information on government organizations is top notch. You can easily run any previous Delta Green material or CoC scenario with these rules. This is really the only horror game I'm ever going to need. It's perfect. Can't wait for more of the books.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
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Delta Green: Need to Know
by Ben S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/29/2016 16:56:55

This is a solid adventure that is well written and complete. A nice short introduction to the Delta Green world.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Need to Know
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Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
by Neal D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2016 09:38:05

This is a great book and my favorite interation of the BRP rules for a Mythos game and it does an incredible job of bringing personal horror to the Mythos and the impact that doing the DG job has on the characters.

In addition to this, it is one of the best books for information on US government agencies, both foreign and domestic, as well as information on the military. Even if you don't want to play an DG game, you could use this for a military or federal agent game.

Some of the best mechanical parts of the game include how Sanity and the Breaking Point works; Bonds that represent the relationships that PCs have with family, friends, and organizations that can be used as a source of strength, and will deteriorate over time as the PCs continue to hold back the dark; and Lethality ratings for weapons which is a percentage chance for some weapons to automatically kill a target (mostly human targets), and makes combat deadly which is appropriate for the setting.

Overall, it is a great new start for the Delta Green line.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Agent's Handbook
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The Unspeakable Oath 20
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/02/2016 09:23:58

It was an ok scan.

Also, even if I have no more to say about that subject, the form says that the review text must be at least 50 characters. Now it is.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Unspeakable Oath 20
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