It’s summertime. And things are getting weird.
The slipcase two-volume edition of Delta Green arrived in early June after two years of waiting for the Kickstarter to make its production run. After reading lots of positive reviews, I picked up the Tales for the Loop RPG, which features kids on bikes investigating mysteries in a 1980s that never was. And finally, my inner World of Greyhawk fanboy broke into ecstatic smiles when Amazon delivered my copy of Mordekainan’s Book of Foes, the latest Dungeons & Dragons source book.
It’s a summer’s worth of alien conspiracies, Stranger Things-like mysteries, and extraplaner horrors. Now I just need to find the time to read all of these books while still getting in my Summer Reading List. I know, I know — geek world problems.
Delta Green is a game of modern conspiracy in which players assume the role of government agents — who may or may not be sanctioned by said government — investigating the horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos … and preventing anyone else from finding out about them. They’re fighting a rearguard actin against the apocalypse and most of them know time is running out.
Initially released as a campaign setting fo the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, Delta Green saw several sourcebooks released in the mid-to-late 1990s when The X-Files was at its peak. The campaign went fallow for a few years after 9/11 but it came back strong with its 2015 Kickstarter.
The Delta Green Role-Playing Game expands up on the basic d100 mechanics from the venerable Call of Cthulhu RPG. It adds new mechanics, such as relationships, that I’ve only just started to explore as well as a ton of content. The game consists of two books: the Agent’s Guide (the player’s handbook) and the Handler’s Guide (the game master’s handbook). The Agent’s Guide contains the core rules while the much heftier Agent’s Guide gets into the setting. The Kickstarted books came in a nice looking slipcase; originally they’d considered having one massive Handler’s Guide, but the book would have been way to big and cost a ton to ship internationally.
I haven’t made the time to dig deeply into this book, but I’m looking forward to doing so later this summer and maybe — just maybe — getting to run a short campaign for my gaming group.
Tales from the Loop
When I found out there was an English language role-playing game called Tales from the Loop set in my ancestral homeland of Sweden … I was intrigued. And when I heard the premise — kids on bikes exploring mysteries in a 1980s that never was — I knew I need to get it.
Based on the art book (Amazon) of the same name by Simon Stålenha, the Tales from the Loop role-playing game is about taking on the roles of adolescents who explore mysteries (dinosaurs who’ve wandered out of a different time, displaced consciousnesses, emotional robots) while contending with every day challenges (bullies, fighting parents, broken down bikes). The story is told through a series of scenes and while it is not game master-less, it does encourage the players to come up with scenes of their own.
I’m still reading for the book, but so far the rules seem straightforward and do a good job of evoking the sort of every-day wonder that kids of that age can experience.
Mordekainan’s Book of Foes
Mordekainan’s Book of Foes is the famed archmage’s treatise on the major conflicts of the Dungeons & Dragons universe, including devils vs. demons, drow vs. elves, and githyanki vs. githzerai. Like Xanathar’s Guide to Everything and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, it a source book with inline, in-game notes from the fantastical author that elaborates on the rulebook-style material.
The book features lots of mid- and high-level threats. This is awesome for my gaming group‘s campaigns, both of which have hit 9th level. Out of the box Dungeons & Dragons doesn’t have a lot of mid-tier monsters (monsters in the CR 8-12 range) and this helps remedy that issue.
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Cover art from the Tales from the Loop role-playing game. Credit: Modiphius Entertainment.