Thursday, 25 January 2018

A private contractors campaign for Delta Green?

Going where the Feds cannot tread
This is a slightly different angle for a Delta Green campaign in which the agents need not be part of Delta Green, or where DG could be brought in as a protagonist.

The 'agents' are all employees for a recruitment firm based in Miami that specializes in hiring what is laughably referred to these days as 'security consultants'. It is a small business, but with strong links to the US government, particularly the Army and potentially the CIA. At least one of the player characters ought to be ex-special forces.

The important thing here is that all the PCs are retired from active military service. They are all employees or directors of the same outfit. I should emphasise that this is a small operation with a limited balance sheet. Permanent employees should be no more than half a dozen, including an office assistant.

The company relies on the network of its founders, both in the US military and intelligence communities, but also with foreign governments and particularly those in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. The firm makes its money from recruiting contractors for service in global hot spots. Most of the work involved is relatively routine - guarding oil refineries in Libya, for example, or providing additional security for a Fortune 500 CEO's visit to Azerbaijan.

Occasionally the company may be considered for off-the-books work, funded by the CIA, where serving US military personnel would be a liability.

For doing all this work, of course, the PCs are well remunerated. They will likely live in large mansions in Florida, drive fast cars, and date glamour models. They will not seek publicity, however, as their patrons would frown upon this. The security world is a shadowy one at the best of times.

Of course, the agents work for themselves. They are not really even agents. Hence, they don't need to worry about getting fired (Delta Green Agent's Handbook - page 80). Because most of their work is taking place abroad, much of it at the behest of the US government, prosecution is less of a threat, as the Federal government will be averse to unwanted publicity surrounding the activities of government-funded contractors.

There are other challenges, of course. First off, the PCs are not actually employees of the US government. This means they cannot rely on the same level of resource as DG agents operating inside the US. PCs don't have the option to requisition resources (DGAH 86-87). That's simply not on the cards. They instead will have to rely more on their own resources, or calling in the occasional favour. Operating abroad means that overseas connections may also be able to provide the required equipment and resources and the company can draw on its corporate resources - for example that undeclared Bahamas account - to fund operations.

But what about the Cthulhu Mythos?


All well and good, but what about Cthulhu? This is where the company becomes the possible cats paw for Delta Green, using it as an asset to look into 'situations' abroad where DG has not got the contacts or the agents on the ground. Indeed, the contractors could be classified as DG friendlies, fed intel when required, but kept in the dark most of the time.

I ran a Cthulhu Vietnam campaign where the PCs began as just grunts in the field in 1966. By the end of that campaign, not only had they encountered plenty of odd activity in both Vietnam and Laos, but they had also made contact with a DG operative inside US special forces. They were effectively set up for further operations for DG in Vietnam. This is also a good way to get characters involved in events in the 1960s and 1970s. A Handler could take a similar tack with PCs starting a campaign in Iraq or Afghanistan in the 2000s.

Another possible campaign kick off point is my adventure Operation Prospero, which I've run several times at conventions, but which would make an ideal campaign starting point. Here the client is a pharmaceutical giant rather than the US government.

The Handler can really take this in one of two directions: the PCs can either be already aware of possible supernatural threats from previous encounters, or could stumble into something in the course of a commercial contract. One idea I had was for the Handler to write down the details of a Mythos encounter on index cards, one for each PC, and let the players choose them at random. This may also include details of an interaction with a DG cell.

Careers-wise, only certain background training will apply for this campaign. Ex-military and special forces personnel are the obvious ones, also ex-CIA officers. Beyond this, characters with a background in security and law enforcement might fit well or those with some kind of criminal experience. Good examples include a hacker, or a former drug smuggler who enjoys a wide network of contacts in Central America and the Caribbean. Another possible idea for a PC is a journalist now working on the firm's publicity and sales, but they are more likely to be a contact or resource.

As a final note, I've picked Miami as a default, but this company could just as easily be operating out of a small office in London's West End and feature former UK military and intelligence personnel.

Adventures


Most published DG operations are set in the US and feature domestic investigations and are therefore not suited to this kind of campaign. Others presume that the agents are actual employees of federal government agencies. However, there are a few which might suit contractors rather than vanilla DG operators.

The now defunct DG fanzine The Black Seal issue  #3 (2004) featured a mission called The Spiraling, which saw agents going into Congo for Project Pisces; it could easily be adapted for US-based contractors. There is also an excellent adventure in Burma in The Esoterror Fact Book from Pelgrane Press which, although written for Esoterrorists, could easily be converted to DG.

Several other adventures written for other games, like Agents of Oblivion and The Laundry can also be adapted very easily for DG contractors.

This is quite a recent idea for me and will require some development. Further thoughts on contractors when they occur to me.

2 comments:

  1. An interesting start! There's a bit of NBA here too, but I don't know if any of the adventures for that would be of any use.

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  2. Hi Stuart. Since DGreen want to keep a lid on anyone knowing about the Mythos then this group would have to be a DG friendly to be asked to do cleaning tasks. .... or employed by Majestic 12 and then have some difficult choices!

    And yes. This only works as a military based group dealing with cultists abroad. Good for one shots :)

    Sounds interesting!

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