Interview with Shane Ivey, Dennis Detwiller, and Scott Glancy of Arc Dream Publishing

This year at GenCon we had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with the creators of one of our favorite games. We chatted with Shane Ivey, Dennis Detwiller, and Scott Glancy about Delta Green, the horrors of Frontier Airlines, get rich quick schemes, and the stories behind one of the best games available! 

Delta Green: Shimmering Sea

There’s something not quite right on the US Navy’s newest stealth destroyer. Whatever it is, a scratch group of Delta Green agents have to stop it before it causes world War 3.

GM: Aser
Players: Jonn, Megan, Mike, Nyssa, Patrick, and Rob.
System: Delta Green

Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Day of Chaos”(
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Delta Green: Observer Effect pt 2

In our Groundhog’s Day special, the team of agents repeats the same nerve-wracking day, trying to find a way to stop a nightmarish incursion.

GM: Aser Tolentino
Players: Ben, Jack, Megan, Mike D., Rob
System: Delta Green

Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Day of Chaos”(
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Delta Green: Observer Effect pt 1

A group of agents is brought together to investigate a series of strange occurrences at a privately funded research site. The more they learn, the less it all makes sense and they’re racing a clock they don’t know is there.

GM: Aser Tolentino
Players: Ben, Jack, Megan, Mike D., Rob
System: Delta Green

Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Day of Chaos”(
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Delta Green: Shimmering Sands

White rocks next to red water from the Iron Mountain Mine

As Special Agent Emily Goodwin’s dreams become stranger and stranger, she finds herself drawn to the same place over and over again.

Happy Halloween from all of us at TRF!

GM: Aser
Players: Megan
System: Delta Green

Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Day of Chaos”(
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Delta Green: Control Copy

A car is engulfed in fire and completely destroyed

Today marks TRF’s 3 year anniversary! Thank you so much to all of our players and listeners for all you do! To give back, here’s a bonus episode of Delta Green.

A team of agents is sent to investigate a series of gruesome murders, in which a former Delta Green agent is the prime suspect.

GM: Aser
Players: Ben, Megan, Rob D.
System: Delta Green

Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Day of Chaos”(
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Direct Download!

Review: Delta Green Agent’s Handbook

Delta Green Agent Handbook Cover. Shows a man looking fearfully to the side in the woods, while carrying a book.

The designer of Red Markets and long-time contributor to Role-Playing Public Radio Caleb Stokes once remarked that games like Call of Cthulhu are, contrary to popular belief, just as escapist as your stereotypical sword-wielding adventuring fantasy, only in a different way. I couldn’t agree more, and I love them for it. I first came to tabletop role-playing a little after I’d just gone blind. Well, I’d been pretty much blind as far as most people were concerned for quite a while. But Where before I’d been able to make out shapes, perceive color and detect motion, now I truly, functionally could not see. I felt frail and small and decidedly mortal. And then I found a podcast feed from something called The Unspeakable Oath, with actual play recordings of a game called Delta Green.

This variant of Call of Cthulhu starred members of a conspiracy within the United States federal government who conducted investigations within investigations, concealed evidence while trying to find the horrible truth, discredited witnesses of the unnatural, and served as the only effective defense against things man was not meant to know. It was a hard game, one that challenged you to play smart and watch out for any angle because the odds of emerging with your body and sanity intact were already vanishingly small. And therein lies the escapism: with the whole world, the uncaring cosmos arrayed against you in all its apathetic splendor, you play a puny human that goes out into the dark to fight the monsters with nothing but a Glock, a fake ID and the knowledge that you can only ever forestall the inevitable, because if you don’t do it, no one else will. Fuck the odds, humanity is still here and will be until these agents are dead at least, because that’s what it means to be Delta Green. It was a setting whose fatalism and sense of gallows humor appealed to me. So imagine my disappointment when I discovered that the books from which these games were run had been published more than a decade before and long since disappeared from store shelves. That would change of course, with the advent of electronic sales and print on demand, Delta Green could be had again, but too there was talk of more. Delta Green would rise again.

And now it has, in the form of an entirely standalone product with its own line of hardcover releases scheduled through this year and the next at the very least. Born of Kickstarter and gifted with the depressingly rich world of Post-9/11 covert operations to muck around with for background, the new Delta Green RPG promises a thrilling new world of modern mythos horror for your agents to die in: nihilists rejoice!

Continue reading Review: Delta Green Agent’s Handbook

Delta Green: Last Things Last

Cabin stands alone in dim woods

A scratch group of operatives, designation R-Cell, is sent on an easy mission: hide any evidence that a recently dead man was ever a part of Delta Green. However, with in-fighting, a road trip, and a horror beyond space and time, things stop being easy quickly.

You can check out the Delta Green Kickstarter here. It’s up through 10/29/15, with a ton of extra value from the stretch goals. Give it a look and consider pledging!

This episode features Aser, John, Megan, Phil, and Richard. Music by Kevin MacLeod, “Hitman.”

Direct Download!

Interview: Shane Ivey on Delta Green

We are extremely grateful to Shane Ivey for taking time out of his schedule to answer some of the questions we had about Delta Green and the current Kickstarter campaign. TRF is a huge fan of Delta Green, and a lot of our material is inspired by the awesome conspiracy/mythos blend it presents. You can find the Kickstarter here! Also, we’re releasing a play through of the scenario Last Things Last on Sunday, so you can see how we deal with being tasked with a mission.

What led to Delta Green becoming a stand-alone RPG? What are some changes you are making to Call of Cthulhu to make the system work better for Delta Green?

Delta Green has always been a series of sourcebooks for Call of Cthulhu, and every one of the Delta Green developers have always loved Call of Cthulhu as their favorite game. But Delta Green has always emphasized things a little differently than Call of Cthulhu. It’s set in the present day. There’s not the same distance between the players and their characters as when modern-day gamers play 1920s academics and explorers.

Delta Green is about realistic people in our own modern world. Even when its protagonists are federal agents and special forces operators, they’re meant to feel and act like real people with real vulnerabilities. All too many of us personally know people who have been exposed to the terrible traumas of violence. We’ve seen the long-term toll it takes on the individual psyche and on family. Delta Green is a game about brave men and women who choose to confront overwhelming terror and trauma to keep it away from their loved ones. It was critically important to Delta Green’s developers that the game respect the real-world price that people pay for making that choice by reflecting it in the rules and game-play.

So Delta Green characters have Sanity Points and Hit Points, as you’d expect, but they also have other features that come into play in long-term games. Bonds are your two or three most important human relationships. They can protect you from losing Sanity Points and they can help you control yourself when your Sanity snaps, but relying on them too much weakens them. The shared traumas of a Delta Green mission often causes agents to develop new Bonds with each other, which in turn weakens their Bonds back home.

There’s an optional rule for tracking Work Performance, which could result in your agent getting fired for bringing too much baggage home from Delta Green missions, and which in turn can damage your Bonds. There’s an optional rule for detailing what kind of equipment and tools your agent can obtain. Trying to get too much too quickly can impact your Work Performance if it’s on the job or it can damage Bonds if you’re burning through your own money.

The core mechanics received some tweaking, too, to suit the way we want Delta Green to run.
Most actions revolve around skills that have percentile ratings, as before. But we encourage the GM to not bother having players roll dice for their skills at all unless the situation is a crisis or otherwise out of the agents’ control. In the slow investigative scenes that usually begin a mission, just look to the rating of a skill. Tell the player if the agent understands or finds what they’re looking for, or tell the player that they need someone with greater expertise. Leave the dice for events that SHOULD feel random, like using a skill in a crisis or interacting with unpredictable non-player characters. That way when your expert with a 65% skill fails the roll a third of the time, it makes sense. That was a terrible crisis — it would have been impressive to succeed at all!

We’ve tightened up the way combat works to make violence swift, brutal, suspenseful, and unforgiving, while leaving many core issues firmly in the hands of the GM to allow room for common sense at the table.

We’ve revised the way Sanity Points work, and the way characters develop mental disorders, to suit the way we want the game to run and to better reflect the way these disorders work in the real world. In Delta Green, an agent can gain a long-term disorder over a long period of time due to a slow accumulation of stresses and traumas. And sharp moments of overwhelming, immediate terror can cause a short-term loss of control as the “fight or flight” response kicks in.

We want the way things happen in the game world to feel like they would happen in the real world. That makes unnatural horrors have even greater impact.

Is there a threshold of success for the Kickstarter that could lead Arc Dream to think it viable to restart the Delta Green line beyond this project?

At this point (Friday afternoon, Oct. 23) we’re less than $300 away from hitting 600% of the goal that we set to relaunch the game line. So yeah, it’s launched. Just from this project’s fundraising we’ll publish:

-The Agent’s Handbook (the core rules for players without much information about the setting or the supernatural).
-The Case Officer’s Handbook (everything in the Agent’s Handbook plus tons of information about the setting, the supernatural, the Cthulhu Mythos, cults and factions, and customizing any or all of it to keep players guessing).
-A Game Moderator’s Screen with quickstart rulebook, sample characters, and a scenario.
-Impossible Landscapes (a campaign and sourcebook about Carcosa and the King in Yellow).
-Control Group (an introductory campaign built to bring newcomers into the game).
-More than a dozen downloads, including six scenarios.
-Conversions of nine scenarios written for earlier editions.
-And it looks like we’ll hit the next big stretch goal to unlock yet another big book, Deep State, which will detail the secret government programs and private-public partnerships that surround and bedevil Delta Green.

What we publish beyond those six books depends on how the game line performs over the next year or so. We have enough ideas to keep going for years as long as gamers stay with us.

Which of the proposed source books are you most excited to see released?

The Case Officer’s Handbook, though if the terminology matters it’s a core game book and not a sourcebook. It includes the rules engine that Greg, Dennis and I have been working on for years as well as great resources for building a Delta Green campaign as a world filled with secrets, so even the most die-hard, well-read player will always be surprised and frightened.

Of the sourcebooks proper, I personally most look forward to Deep State. That book will let us really dig into the core philosophical issues that have always been at the root of Delta Green: the risks and benefits of power and secrecy, and the ways we change as individuals and as a culture when we come to accept things that we once found abhorrent. Those issues are even more relevant today than in the Nineties when Delta Green first appeared.

How did you decide to add a Gumshoe version of Delta Green to this Kickstarter? Are you planning to continue a relationship with Pelgrane for Delta Green materials?

We know Simon Rogers and the Pelgrane crew very well. Kenneth Hite, author of Trail of Cthulhu and Night’s Black Agents, is one of the developers of Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game. Simon and Ken came to me with the idea of a Gumshoe version of some kind. I loved the idea and ran it by the Delta Green Partnership (the creators and owners of the Delta Green property: Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, and John Scott Tynes). There was immediate and unanimous enthusiasm. The rest was just hammering out details.

Pelgrane plans The Fall of Delta Green and if that does well a supplement to it, probably a scenario collection. We’ll see how things stand after those come out.

What do you think has lead to Delta Green’s enduring appeal?
A large part of it has always been the setting — the non-player characters that players encounter in the game. Delta Green has always featured factions and actors who are well-rounded and interesting. Even the clear villains are three-dimensional characters. You may not find their aims and methods sympathetic, but you can see why they make the choices they make. Even when that choice is to throw the rest of humanity on a bonfire for the sake of just a little more life.

Delta Green is about characters who feel real, in a world that feels real, encountering unreal cosmic horrors that are entirely beyond their capacity to understand or confront. It’s about player characters who stand up as long and bravely as they can in the face of the death that the universe wants to inflict on us all. Delta Green agents are incredible not because they’re so much more dangerous or lucky or bad-ass than everyone else, but because they are not any of those things — and yet they stand and fight.

That means Delta Green does not pull punches. It does not offer second chances. It doesn’t give your character any points to spend for plot immunity. If you step into the darkness, you take your chances. It is incredibly suspenseful and chilling.


Again, a huge thanks to Shane Ivey for his team, and all the people at Arc-Dream who are making it possible to get a chance to get this amazing product. There are tiers to get whatever you want, including, hardback books, PDFs, and releases of previous Arc-Dream materials. You can check out the Kickstarter, the website, or find Shane Ivey on Twitter. You can also find Delta Green @DeltaGreenRPG. Want to help spread the word and get more rewards? Look at some of the ways listed here! The campaign runs through October 29th, so get your pledge in while you can.

Don’t forget to listen to this Sunday’s episode to hear more about Delta Green!