A Tale From The Mukhabarat Basement

A Base Of Books

The Hebrew bible makes mention of a supernatural dimension to the world existing. The core texts (what Christians know as the Old Testament) of the Bible do not dwell on it in much detail. The Jewish religion also has several supplemental and complementary texts to go with the bible. The first is known as the Mishna, or the Oral Law (which was subsequently written down, but is still called the Oral Law), to complement and clarify the Written Law as found in the bible. The Mishna serves primarily to provide detailed instruction where the written law is vague. For instance, the Bible says to "keep the Sabbath" and provides some explanation for how to do so, but not in any great detail. The Mishna devotes substantial material to that topic. Commentaries were then made on the Mishna, known as the Talmud. There are two versions of the Talmud, the Babylonian and the Jerusalem. The Babylonian Talmud is considered to be the better and well organized version. This monumental multi-volume work (as the name implies) was composed and finished when the Jewish people were in Babylonian exile in what is today Iraq.

One additional aspect of Jewish thought is kabbalah, or mysticism. Here is a usable overview for gaming purposes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalah. Kabbalah seeks to understand the secret divine nature of the universe and spirituality from the aforementioned source texts. Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's Thirteen Petaled Rose is a good short one book introduction for keepers seeking a better knowledge base. There are three forms of kabbalah; theoretical, meditative and practical. Theoretical kabbalah is a general understanding of the supernatural and spiritual structure of the world. Practical kabbalah seeks for a human being to actually manipulate and interact with these forces. See http://www.kabbalaonline.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380405/jewish/Three-Categories-of-Kabbalah.htm. For Delta Green game purposes practical kabbalah carries with it the actual ability to use magic. Whether it actually has such powers is of course a matter of personal religious belief.

An Old Book From An Old Community

There had been a Jewish community in Iraq since at least 720 BCE, leading to a vast accretion of scholarship and knowledge. This includes a substantial and old written record. That Jewish community was largely destroyed after 1948 due to middle eastern political events that forced Iraqi Jews to flee to Israel and other locations. This community left behind very rich archives, which Iraqi successor governments duly seized. This material eventually ended up in the flooded basement of Sadam Hussein's Mukhabarat (intelligence/security service) There the documents sat unused and moldering away. With the fall of the Ba'athist government in 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and the successor Iraqi government fell heir to this archive. http://www.ija.archives.gov/ tells the remarkable story of how this archive was taken to the US National Archives for preservation and cataloging. As of 2014 the archive is still in the US, with diplomatic and communal wrangling over the timing of it being returned to Iraq. There were over 2700 published books and many other materials. Perhaps 100 of the books cover Kabbalistic topics. Of those most are copies of already known theoretical kabbalistic works. For Delta Green purposes, one of these (fictional) books is the hitherto unknown Book of Hidden Shadow, which contains actual functional spells. The spells it contains are left at the discretion of the keeper. The book is written in Hebrew and Aramaic.

A Sudden And Unexplained Madness

The US National Archives have cataloged this material, scanned some copies, and made it available to researchers, whatever the eventual destination of the actual physical material. Jewish researchers and a few other scholars, upon seeing what is available, saw that a hitherto unknown kabbalistic book, The Book Of Hidden Shadows had surfaced from ancient Iraqi Jewish community archive. Several Jewish religious scholars and researchers with an interest in kabballah sought and obtained copies of the book. Then strange things began to happen in early 2014. One Rosh Yeshivah (head of a Jewish religious school) in Jerusalem went violently insane, burning the school library. Another secular Jewish history academic at Brandeis University (http://www.brandeis.edu/) died when her office exploded. The explosion could not be linked to any known explosive compound and produced a very foul stench. A New Age researcher in Berkeley California was "taken to the sky on a beam of light," according several cohorts while performing a ritual, leaving a burning room in his wake. Naturally, the local authorities found that account dubious and are now investigating the witnesses as possible kidnapping/murder suspects. The keeper is free to invent such details for these incidents as best serves the scenario.

Enter Delta Green

Delta Green becomes aware of these disparate incidents and eventually discerns that the victims were most recently engaged in kabbalistic research of some sort. The cell is tasked with: (1) find out what has gone on, (2) retrieve any materials the victims had, (3) and make the materials go away. This may eventually involve finding a way to remove a physical book, and all electronic record of it from the US National Archives. It may also be that other Mythos cults get wind of this book and seek it out the same time as Delta Green. In that instance, the cell with have to deal with the cult in the process.


This was an entry in the 2014 shotgun scenario contest, written by Jaron Bernstein

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