First we have a number of options tailor-made for players who love the heavy firepower available in some Delta Green games. There have been many Delta Green games set in World War II and in Vietnam, for example, where entrenched firefights are inevitable. The new combat options include:
Burst Fire: A change to the way automatic fire is handled, so the number of bullets that hit in a burst depends on your accuracy, not blind luck.
Taking Cover: Details for using cover to keep yourself from getting shot. Taking effective cover while attacking accurately requires skill and luck; if you fire blind, you’re probably a lot safer.
Called Shots: A short rule that allows a skilled fighter to get a dramatic result without waiting for that “1/5 of what you need” attack roll.
Martial Arts: Rules that tailor the Martial Arts skill to particular styles and give it a few more options.
Next we have a section on stress disorders, which make the most common symptoms of terrible trauma—PTSD, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, depression—a more prominent part of the game. These rules give the player and GM the option of taking one of these disorders as an indefinite insanity rather than taking the short-term but more severe debilitation of temporary insanity. I look forward to seeing how playtest groups receive that choice.
This section also includes much more detailed rules for the effects of those disorders, adding to the cursory treatment they get in the Call of Cthulhu sixth edition rules, and—my favorite section—adds rules for the measures investigators are likely to take to find relief from those disorders when they get them. If you’ve ever wondered why Delta Green agents in the novels and short stories seem to always be getting drunk, these rules will tell you.
Finally we have a new set of rules for character backgrounds: Relationships and flashbacks. If you use them, many investigators will have one or two of each.
Flashbacks are important memories of past operations, left completely undefined until they are played out. When a flashback comes into play, it’s a brief remembered scene from that character’s past, played out then and there, that provides some specific clue to the present investigation—at the cost of Sanity from the remembered trauma. This section includes guidelines for coming up with the details of brief flashback scenes on the fly. Flashbacks are a perfect way to say “My character is a Delta Green veteran” without coming up with the details of your past history before play begins.
These rules options will be the first thing to go to the playtesters for Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity, who are already gathering on a new Google group for just that purpose. I really look forward to seeing what they make of these ideas and what suggestions they have for improving them.
Meanwhile, Elsewhere In the Book
In the meantime, all the writers of Targets of Opportunity are in the last stages of work.
Warren Banks has submitted his chapter on M-EPIC, a Canadian police group dedicated to investigating and exploiting the paranormal and is putting the final tweaks on it.
Greg Stolze is now giving a final review to the massive Cult of Transcendence, which he wrote many years ago and has now updated with the help of Kenneth Hite.
Dennis Detwiller is long since finished with Black Cod Island. I’ve added a few bits and pieces to it—it’s fascinating, creepy stuff—and am now working on a Black Cod Island scenario.