On Tuesday, I featured a Q & A with Shane Ivey and Greg Stolze about the Kickstarter for the next phase of Delta Green. Besides the d100 2nd ed. Delta Green, the Kickstarter includes a second core game, the GUMSHOE-based Fall of Delta Green by Kenneth Hite. So in the interest of fairness and also because his Trail of Cthulhu is my core RPG, today’s Q&A is with Ken.
If you’re more a fan of Trail/GUMSHOE, you can back “Just the Fall” to get the hardcover (and PDF, of course, because Pelgrane!) Fall of Delta Green and still pick up PDFs or print copies of other d100 Delta Green rewards as add-ons. Or if you’re backing the d100 game, there are a few tiers which include the PDF (I’d list them, but some may be added so check the KS page) and you can add on either the PDF ($25) or the Hardcover + PDF ($50) no matter what level you back. There is no PDF-only option for Fall, although you could back the Kickstarter at the $1 level and add it on for $25.
But you probably didn’t click this to read details about a Kickstarter, so on to the Q&A!
Ruth: What will Delta Green GUMSHOE look like? Will it be a Trail hack, a hybrid of Trail and Delta Green, or something else?
KH: The goal for FALL OF DELTA GREEN is to make a game that’s maximally interoperable with TRAIL OF CTHULHU and NIGHT’S BLACK AGENTS while still adapting every mechanic and every characteristic element of the DELTA GREEN RPG to GUMSHOE. How close I can get to that goal depends on my skill and on the final form of the DGRPG, but I’ll bet I can get us at least 90% of the way there. But the Bonds mechanics alone mean it will play and feel differently from TRAIL or NBA.
Ruth: Why did you choose to focus on the Fall of Delta Green period instead of, say, its early post-Innsmouth missions or its WWII era? Do the 1960s lend themselves especially well to Investigative-style gaming or did you want dibs on the decade for its world events?
KH: Part of it was just not wanting to step on any toes or revisit old terrain. The early years of P Section/DG are pretty much already TRAIL country; there’s a WWII DG book in progress already (and there has been since the 1990s) so I didn’t want to try to insert my game into that ongoing process. Shane and Dennis offered me the Fifties when we first started talking about me doing a GUMSHOE DELTA GREEN book, but dramatically it makes more sense to look at the hubris and nemesis of DG in the Sixties. Plus, I think more players and GMs can think of more ways to insert themselves into the 1960s, and especially into Vietnam. So that was my counter-offer: Sixties DELTA GREEN, climaxing at the program’s self-immolation in Cambodia. Shane and Dennis liked the idea, liked my pitch, so that’s what we agreed on.
I don’t know that the Sixties are especially investigative per se — part of the GUMSHOE ethos is that you can play investigative RPGs anywhen from the fantasy past to the space-operatic future. But the Sixties do have a lot of flavor to them, not least being the era in which the WASP ascendancy that HPL identified with began to lose control in America. If you wanted a live-action version of Lovecraft’s imagined apocalypse, the Sixties are a good approximation.
Ruth: Following on that, what kinds of horrors do you expect players to confront using Fall? Will you be creating any of your own shadowy organizations or will it be an adaptations of ones we already know in the DG-verse?
KH: I’ll be sticking pretty close to the existing DG universe for obvious reasons. I’ve already contributed one or two things to the new DG background, and I’ll probably do a little foreshadowing of those in FALL — expect to see the lloigor, for example. Also, I need to revisit the evil societies Greg and I put in CULT OF TRANSCENDENCE and see if any of them are particularly fear-forward in the Sixties. But there’s lots of opportunities for one-off Manson-style Mythos cults; that’s kind of what the Sixties are all about, after all, opening the doors of perception and tuning into a higher order of being than boring old straight society.
Ruth: Given ArcDream’s release and whatever your draft looks like, do you think it’ll be easy to stat the same character in both games?
KH: That’s part of the design brief, and I’ll have complete character (and monster) conversion back-and-forth rules and advice in an appendix.
Ruth: And are you, like ArcDream, getting rid of Library Use? (I actually applaud their reasons for doing so, as a librarian I think library use is definitely a skill but it’s also a subskill of being really good at whatever field you’re good at)
KH: The final ability list remains in flux. I’ll likely begin with the DG skill list, but this is a GUMSHOE game first and foremost, so I may wind up leaving a Research ability in the mix. Part of the GUMSHOE ethos is that multiple abilities provide multiple roads to a clue — Research and Bureaucracy or Research and History are more powerful in terms of game design than just the two latter abilities without it.
And I had a final question for Simon Rogers of Pelgrane Press, who will be publishing Fall. Is this a one-time thing or will we see more?
SR: We have the rights in the contract for a supplement, which will most likely be adventures.
Simon added that there will be a pre-order available some time after the Kickstarter, although Kickstarter backers will get their copies first.
Again, you can back Just The Fall or choose it as an add-on if you’re backing the mail Delta Green game. What you do with this information is up to you…but if you don’t want shoggoths in America’s nuclear bases, well, I trust you to make the right decision.