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Delta Green: Handler’s Guide (2016)

The Handler’s Guide is kind of an updated restatement of the original Delta Green sourcebook, plus a big pile of monster stats and such. The main draw is the timeline, which presents all the various conspiracies, year after year. I love a good timeline and this one is particularly engaging and detailed. I don’t honestly understand the level of work that went into it, but I appreciate it.

As I said, many, many conspiracies. Delta Green is two — the semi-official black op department and the extracurricular outlaw one hiding in the bureaucracy of the US Government. There are similar departments in other governments — Canadians, the Brits, the Russians, our own Majestic-12, the villainous Nazi Karotechia, Imperial Japan’s Black Ocean Society. There’s criminal organizations, cults, gangs, more cults, Nyarlathotep, aliens, threatening fungus. Wheels within wheels of all sorts. You can probably use a small slice of them and still put together a compelling campaign.

The books all have a dossier aesthetic. Reports, forms, photos are strewn across the page. Dennis Detwiller does all the illustration and I think it is perfect for the atmosphere of the game, effecting the look of bad or utilitarian photography (I feel like I should point at that Andrew Wyeth self-described his paintings as bad photographs). The art style grounds the game in procedure, in the concrete terms of evidence, and also illustrates how impossible the fight is, how out their depth everyone is, how doomed. There is much violence and terror here, and the aftermath of both. The total effect is disconcerting. That said, I really don’t like the cover art for this book, and the Agent Book cover doesn’t do it for me either. Can’t win them all, I guess.      

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