Delta Green: Convergence is a short adventure for the Delta Green RPG. Originally written by John Scott Tynes and published by Pagan Publishing in 1992, it is the first adventure ever set in the Delta Green universe, the original source, the motherlode, the primal zygote. In this episode of Ludonarrative Dissidents we are discussing the slightly updated edition released by Arc Dream Publishing in 2023.

Click here to see Delta Green Convergence on DriveThruRPG

This episode is brought to you with the support of LND listener Sarah Cole, who asked us to shout out the website for her forthcoming collection of rural horror RPG adventures, This Blighted Isle, which she kickstarted during Zine Week 2024.

THIS EPISODE IS CURRENTLY ONLY AVAILABLE TO OUR KICKSTARTER BACKERS. WHEN IT GOES PUBLIC IN MID AUGUST, THE LINK WILL APPEAR HERE.

 

Show Notes

One thing we wanted to point out is that if you count the words, the adventure is shorter than this episode of the podcast. We could have read you the entire book in less time than it took us to talk about it.

I (James) was at a games industry event the other night, playtesting a board game with two people who I was startled to discover had not actually left school yet. This is by way of explaining why these notes need to have an entry for The X-Files, an 11-season horror-drama TV show created by Chris Carter, which ran 1993-2002. It concerned an FBI department tasked with investigating strange phenomena and the conspiracies around them, starred Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as Agents Scolder and Mullet, and was a global hit, spawning two spinoff movies and two other TV series, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen.

The Delta Green RPG, a game of modern Lovecraftian horror was discussed by us in season 1 episode 05.

The Call of Cthulhu RPG, a game of musty Lovecraftian horror, we debated in season 2 episode 09.

The Unspeakable Oath was the sporadic magazine produced by Pagan Publishing in the 1990s. It was of unusually high quality even by the standards of these things, and is the main reason why the company rose to fame. Pagan brought us John Scott Tynes, John H. Crowe, Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy and other notable designers in the field. Greg is apparently on the advisory board. It is still published today and many issues including the latest can be bought from DriveThruRPG

Greys are supposed humanoid aliens with large black eyes. Originally popularised by the Barney and Betty Hill abduction case of 1961, they came to wide public consciousness after Whitley Strieber’s allegedly non-fiction book Communion became a hit in the late 1980s and a movie in the 1990s. A large body of lore has built up around Greys, comprised of people making shit up.

Prior to the hit movie franchise, the Men in Black were sinister figures reported by a number of UFO witnesses and paranormal investigators in the USA: besuited men (always men) that worked to impede any investigation into what might have happened. Sometimes they are described as government agents (and linked to black helicopters, q.v.), and sometimes they are described as not quite human, behaving in parahuman ways or with access to non-terrestrial technology. The concept was adapted into a line of comics by Lowell Cunningham, published by Malibu in 1990, which was later adapted by Ed Solomon and Barry Sonnenfeld into the eponymous 1997 movie.

Fortean Times, the ‘foremost journal of strange phenomena’ has been published in the UK since 1976. After a few boom years in the late 1990s, today it is a monthly newsstand magazine selling around 15,000 copies an issue. It is named after American writer, philosopher and collector of news clippings on weird happenings Charles Fort, but you knew that. James wrote sporadically for the magazine in the 1990s and co-edited the book Fortean Times Weird Year 1996 with Joe McNally. 

Schwa was a 1990s project by artist Bob Barker about the iconography of alien visitors and peoples’ reaction to it. Mostly it was displayed as a range of very cool tee-shirts and a weird ARG-like website. The merch, which was the point of the whole thing, is completely unavailable these days and although the website is up on archive.org, it is unusable.

The Blob is a series of movies dating from 1958, 1972 and 1988, concerning an ever-growing carnivorous blob of morphous tissue of unknown, possibly alien origin, that mostly menaces young people who just want to make out in peace. The first one is a relic of its time but has a certain charm and also Steve McQueen; the third one has acquired a cult following, and nobody has seen the second one and they all hated it.

“We have met the enemy and he is us” is one of those quotes that sounds like it comes from a serious work of literature and is in fact from Walt Kelly’s fantastic comic strip Pogo, the story of a possum and an alligator, which ran from 1948 to 1975. The quote is used today in a variety of contexts but originally appeared in a strip on Earth Day 1971, and had a specifically environmentalist message. (You can see it on this Wikipedia page.) Pogo was and remains one of the great American comic strips, but sadly has never travelled far from its home.

Society is a 1989 body-horror movie directed by Brian Yuzna that broke out of the low-budget ghetto and briefly became a mainstream darling thanks to its satiric themes of capitalist excess and debauchery. It is not what you are expecting. You should have seen it when it came out, but it’s not too late.

Hole in the Sky is a one-shot adventure for Dungeon Crawl Classics that we played in season 2 episode 18 and reviewed in season 3 episode 0

Scott Adams was the first creator of commercial text adventures, sold on tape cassettes for home computers in the late 1970s and early 1980s, starting with Adventureland in 1978. Widely influential at the time, they are largely forgotten today. At one point Adams was successful enough to licence Marvel Comics characters and release a series of adventures about the, (‘Questprobe‘) with rudimentary static graphics. The first was about the Incredible Hulk and opens with the player, as Bruce Banner, tied hand and foot to a chair. The only way to proceed is to type the instruction ‘BITE LIP’ which causes Banner to hulk out. The game gives no hints, and in an era before help features or online forums, many players found themselves stuck on literally the first move of the game. I often feel nostalgia is overrated, video game nostalgia doubly so.

Chris Spivey is the RPG designer behind the multi-award-winning Harlem Unbound and Haunted West, and runs Darker Hue Studios. He is not to be confused with the UK conspiracy blogger Chris Spivey, who was described as “deeply unpleasant” in a court case he lost.

The Night Dragon is Fighting Fantasy book #52, written by Carl Sargent under his regular pseudonym Keith Martin. (Carl also wrote Sonic the Hedgehog novels with James and Marc Gascoigne under the joint pseudonym ‘Martin Adams’). It has an undeservedly low 3.66 rating on Goodreads. Carl also wrote the massive AD&D campaign Night Below (1995), which established much of the lore of the iconic Underdark location. He is sadly missed.

Information on Greg’s Termination Shock podcast can be accessed by clicking here.

 

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