Delta Green

Posted 12 May 2021 to Urban Fantasy

Government agents trying to oppose the supernatural.


XP Card

Sessions GM'd: 10
Sessions as Player: 0

I Used

Physical books for the Agents Handbook and Handlers Guide. Assorted online scenarios from the Fairfield Project website.


This game is widely praised and the concept really appeals to me. I ran 2 one-shot sessions to familiarise myself, running the "Last Things Last" and "Fleur de Vie" scenarios. Then I ran my own campaign, set in modern London, where the PCs investigated a godling machine entity that was building a device. Our party was an ex-marine medic, a forensic investigator, and a computer expert. The best part of this game is the concept, but I found the skill system dissatisfying and the pace of play slow. I abandoned the campaign.


The Good

  • Bonds add depth to characters. Each PC has connections to a few NPCs who are friends and family. Each is rated to quantify how strong the relationship is. When the PC suffers Sanity loss, they can choose to try deflect that loss onto a Bond. This ingenious mechanic allowed me to run home scenes with Bond characters and we got to see the PCs home lives.
  • Deep setting and lore. Lots of pages in the Handlers Guide cover the history of the anti-supernatural organizations of the UK, USA and USSR. This is rich territory for scenario ideas and adds layers to the world.
  • A wealth of material. I joined Dennis Detweiller's patreon to access a good collection of bonus scenarios and ideas. The Fairfield Project website has dozens of scenarios. These were all helpful for me.

The Not-So-Good

  • Skills list is too long. There are 42. Some skills like Artillery, Heavy Machinery (tractor driving), and Navigation are very unlikely to be used. Other skills like Pharmacy, Medicine, First Aid, and Surgery could possibly have been combined. After 8 sessions, I house ruled this and created my own shorter skill list.
  • Skills are too low. Out of 100, most skills for PCs were 40%. A few were 60%. The chances of succeeding on a skill check were slim. Advice from the discord group was to not roll dice much, and just use the skill rating to guide what the PC can do. In other words, PCs should auto-succeed without rolling, if their skill meets a certain threshold. But I like rolling dice. And I don't like having to memorise every PCs character sheet, or pause to ask a player what their Forensics skill is again.
  • Stats are confusing. Each stat is rated up to 18. But each stat is also rated out of 90 by multiplying the score by 5. Sometimes the rules call for a d100 roll against the 90-number, and sometimes the 18-number is used (for example the ratings given to Bonds, and your sanity Breaking Point). Unnecessary numbers!
  • Sanity checks are needlessly complex. Look, I made a flowchart to help us navigate them. This subsystem comes up a lot - you want to be checking SAN every session.
  • American by default. No guidance is given for playing the game in another country. I didn't fancy playing in the USA, and luckily it wasn't too hard to move elsewhere. But a high percentage of the published scenarios assume the USA and aren't easy to move because handouts can be important in solving them, and those handouts reference American cities or institutions. Our PCs were MI6 agents in Britain.
  • An unwinnable war. The mood of the game is defeatist. Humanity cannot win, and inevitably will die, hastened by foolish cultists. Your actions may delay that for a bit. Combat lethality is really high, and the general opinion on discord is that if you're not killing a PC every second session, then you're not playing DG "correctly". My players were not really keen on playing this kind of depressing story.
  • Your stories are investigations, but no investigation subsystem is provided. So you have the players come to a scene and then fumble blindly trying to solve it. They ask questions, "Do I find anything in the study? Can we access the security cameras? Did the neighbour witness anything? I want to hack into his phone." They were being clever and doing their best, but it was slow and felt quite clumsy to me. "No. No, you find nothing there. What's your Bureaucracy skill? 10? Nah you find nothing." Investigations are hard to GM. It may have been better if I stuck to running published scenarios, rather than trying to create my own story.



I am not likely to play this game again. I like the Bonds idea, and it is an aspect I would like to include in other games I run. Not easy to do, because mechanically it is quite bound into the Sanity system. The premise of the game is cool - government agents against the supernatural - but I think I'd use another system to play it next time. Maybe I ought to try the Fall of Delta Green system?



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