|What follows is an archival copy of public information. Content herein is believed to be of historical interest to Delta Green fandom and should remain untouched, as a sign of respect for the original author(s). The article must be removed on request by copyright holders, if any. Please improve the wiki with living documents inspired by the ideas here.|
Pity we all now depend on one institutionalized old woman, formerly of the Stanford Research Institute and their TRV contracts, who memorized way too much of a REPORT dataset, and now can't leave the paths defined by the TOP SECRET ORCON MAJESTIC/STARGATE number sequences tracing through the memory palace3 she used to fix the whole awful thing in her mind.
She's still in there, somewhere, you know. Far inside, trapped, every instant a mnemonic evoking or maybe instantiating a whole supporting universe unfolding endlessly from the numbers it suggests, not so much Ouroboros eating itself, but a world mother self-birthing.
Did you know she occasionally makes a mistake? Oh, she doesn't mean to do it, but sometimes the images shift, or the numbers change, and she doesn't do it on purpose, and she always dreads the consequences. They're usually such small differences, too. A tree will always-already have been in a different place the next time she shuffles past it in the yard, and then a few numbers at that locus will change, or something like that, or backwards, or the currency markets will change a day or two after the space between the bench and the fork in the path no longer evokes the number it did yesterday, or sometimes everything is different and nothing at all is out of place and a king dies.4
Sure, she'd love to find a way out. Wouldn't you, in her place, with such a task? It is absurd to imagine Sisyphus happy. But she's got nothing else, really. Her husband left her years ago, chasing prettier younger women who had nothing to say instead of having nothing allowed to say. Her son hates her, hates the whole military-industrial complex that she loved more than Dad, more than him, and her early dementia just serves her right and was probably brain cancer caused by all that spook shit anyway.
But maybe, just perhaps, there's a branch where she's happy, and they're all happy, a happy family, and it isn't so much to ask, is it? And she could find it, find that sequence, just like the one in dataset, only different, only better, and then memorize both, and then just recite the better world, just once maybe, making sure, and then one more time and again until she just does it, by mistake5, and then we all will have already-always been there with her and her faithful husband and their loving son.
Of course, there is a problem. Something got out of her memory palace, an actor from one of the loci, she remembered it as a blue light, by mistake, and now it always-already has not been there. She released a malignant tulpa, lean, thirsty, and those teeth! that tongue! It can't see her, though, so long as she circles through the places, so long as the worldline signature sequence curves back on itself closed and timelike.
And it's real, not flimsy fantasy, this thought-beast. It found her husband and it came out of the wall glowing that unearthly blue6 and it killed him and it sucked him dry and it ate every memory of him and now she has to remember an extra loop where that happened or else it will already-always have been him and her son is next and if she makes even an honest mistake it will become everything she loved and she will love them helplessly and she won't have the heart to keep circling and she'll embrace her family as it kills her too.
But what she did once, she can do again, other tulpas can come out, some from the current wrong sequence where her husband left her and her son hates her and some the right sequence of numbers where they're a happy family on the other side of the change. The numbers are all almost the same, just one left-handed loop at the right locus in the memory palace, and the next day just one right-handed loop at the same locus, and then she has guardians, or at least, decoys to feed the Blue Man that can look like the memories of her husband, and while the Blue Man eats them she can remember every number in the right way at the right place and the wrong branch will stop being this branch and she and her husband and her son will live happily ever after.
Carrie Rutherfort (yeah, a gag on Mary Carruthers, look her up) can be modeled as a normal elderly human female with exceptional INT and POW, a Memorize skill of 99%, and the spells Contact Hound of Tindalos, Create Gate, Create Time Gate, Look to the Future, Reach, and View Gate.
She worked at SRI on a STARGATE contract. Her marriage failed due to her long inexplicable (sorry honey, classified) absences and a philandering husband. Even pregnancy didn't save the marriage. (Yes, people do desperate things sometimes.) Embittered, she tried to blow the whistle on the work she did by memorizing the REPORT dataset with the intention of releasing it to the press.
Not smart? No, very smart. It takes brains to make an impressively bad mistake, and she still has quite a lot after the stroke and the dementia and the schizophrenia.
Rutherfort has spent a long time in an institution, mumbling to herself, pacing, as she obsessively reviews the memorized material and annotates her notebooks. But she's slipping, and the various intelligence tests/traps in the REPORT are starting to go off. The adventure has a ticking clock and a monster in pursuit.
The ticking clock counts down as Carrie studies the spell Contact Yog-Sothoth. She thinks it will allow her to jump to a timeline where her family is whole and happy. It won't. She could do that now with Create Gate and Create Time Gate, but she subconsciously realizes she can only reach one branch where they're happy, and the divergence point for that was in 1983, when ABLE ARCHER lead to nuclear war. She, her husband, and their son all survived, and are rebuilding in 32 P.D., (post Death). Carrie can't bring herself to sacrifice civilization for her own happiness. She's pathetic, but not evil. She can't continue as is, and on some level hopes that the changes she makes in the mnemonics will release her. They will, and how!
The Blue Man in pursuit is a Hound of Tindalos, of course. See your edition of choice for details, but give it maximum statistics and the following spells: Body Warping of Gorgoroth, Cloud Memory, Consume Likeness, Contact Hound of Tindalos, Create Gate, Find Gate, Reach, and Send Dream. Play the monster up to the limit of its superhuman abilities, but let the players take full advantage of its few limitations.
LOL! yeah, a radioactive shape-changing superintelligent time-travelling history-changing teleporting 500 pound soul-eating tiger that can fly at 55 mph and summon clones for chronal repair has a few limitations, but I don't know what they are either.
The Blue Man is out to minimize paradox and keep history on course. Carrie causes most of the paradox, but she's super careful to minimize exposure to the Blue Man. Always paces in circles, doodles circles and spirals on every surface, arranges her food in apotropaic patterns, etc. The Blue Man knows she's close, but can barely see her. It can and will find her husband, kill him, and consume his likeness. It will then go after her son, and then after the members of CELL W or CELL U, in order of greatest to least paradox.
CELL U, the PCs, enters the picture when Carrie's husband dies. His death is a dead simple assignment from A CELL to simply clean up a deathbed and ensure no evidence of DG or the supernatural remains. You could have this happen as soon as the autopsy, if you want to use the props from Delta Green Countdown. A CELL will not be happy if they find out from the PCs that Mr. Rutherfort has been seen alive since his death, and has been acting strange. A CELL will be very unhappy if they have to break the news to CELL U.
Mr. Rutherfort, Jr. makes a logical person to take into protective custody. Good luck with that. Imagine an out-of-money trust-fund baby, trying to stick to the cause de jour, but with a bad case of the tinfoil hat blues just under the surface. (His mother was a MAJESTIC contractor, for fuck's sake.) Add to that he's a 33-year-old trying to hold on to 21, and you should have no problem getting your players to seriously consider accidentally feeding him to the Blue Man. Which is about the worst thing they could possibly do, since Junior probably has a little Cthulhu Mythos, would make an excellent Friendly (sans attitude), and is the only point of paradox to resolve ahead of CELL U on the Blue Man's to-do list until CELL W enters the picture.
CELL W, (clever, no?), are the PCs' counterparts from the timeline where the Rutherfort's lived happily ever after, unlike most of the human race. If your players would consider Carrie's choice to sacrifice the world for love the right thing to do, then CELL W is back to stop them. If your players would consider Carrie's plan reprehensible, then CELL W is here to make it happen. They have less equipment, worse health, no scruples whatsoever after surviving WWIII, and full knowledge of what they did the first time around and why it was wrong. CELL W thinks they're here to prevent their younger selves (CELL U) from making a horrible mistake. In game terms, they are always aware of what the players intend, though they can't predict purely random events, and have little equipment at first. CELL W will try not to permanently harm CELL U, thinking that the Grandfather Paradox will cause problems. It won't, but neither CELL U nor CELL W know that.
The Grandfather Paradox doesn't cause problems because creatures like the Blue Man keep it from happening. Treat paradoxes as SAN losses. Track them against starting SAN, but keep the totals separate. Call the paradox track Consonance, and let it represent the PC being "in tune with time's flow" or some such. Use the SAN rules as a guide for Consonance (CSN) losses, but let players decide whether to accept paradox as a CSN loss or whether to trade it off for an equal amount of SAN loss. All other SAN rules apply. CSN loss can be regained by resolving paradoxes, if the character can travel in time, or if a time traveller resolves a paradox for the CSN-loss sufferer.
Good luck getting on the good side of the Blue Man or Carrie Rutherfort, and the Study Time for Rutherfort's notebook equals a decade.
The Blue Man will hunt the lowest CSN character, kill and eat them, and then repeat the process, growing increasingly able to pass as human, and increasingly capable of subtle attacks, until by elimination it can reach Carrie Rutherfort. It will not attack characters with higher CSN before lower CSN characters unless it gains some advantage against a lower CSN character. The Blue Man will happily parley all day long, once it can speak English. Knowledge of the future causes paradox, and it will happily kill with its tongue in multiple ways. Remember it can summon more Hounds. The special effect here is multiple and variant copies of itself. (It's a superintelligent transtime self-replicating munition, if you like.) See the rule books for how long they take to appear. Decades is fine…
Rutherfort, once she knows CELL U exists, either by direct interview or by magical surveillance, will use her various spells to cause them increasingly less-subtle problems from restoring a frozen dinner they've already eaten to the fridge, to summoning CELL W. She can't do more than one major thing per day, and studying Contact Yog-Sothoth or summoning CELL W counts as that thing.
CELL W, depending on their motivation, will either try to sic the Blue Man on Rutherfort or they will try to defend CELL U from the Blue Man. CELL W knows full well that ignorance is the best defense, and so will use things like messages written in lemon juice for safety's sake, and so on. Non-lethal attacks are as far as they'll go, right up until they learn, probably by accident, that the Grandfather Paradox doesn't hold. (It does, actually, but the Blue Man is the enforcement mechanism.) At that point, whatever CELL U does, they reciprocate. They no longer remember what their younger selves did, but they're still mostly common forks.
If the Blue Man kills Rutherfort before she learns and casts Contact Yog-Sothoth, then it will hunt the next lowest CSN survivor.
If Rutherfort learns and casts Contact Yog-Sothoth before the Blue Man kills her, then the players and the Rutherforts crash free into 32 Post-Death branch. Add Douglas Trumbull special effects to the event to taste. The Rutherforts live happily ever after, never learning about the REPORT, dying at a young age, with an idiot son who took too much radiation in utero. CELL W is back where they belong, with half their CSN losses restored. CELL U keep full CSN losses to-date, are stuck in a post-WW3 setting, have no access to the REPORT, and can expect the Blue Man to eventually find them.
If CELL U manages to kill the Blue Man, then they've a respite, possibly lasting the remainder of their lives, before the next Blue Man finds them. See the rulebook for how long.
If CELL U kills Carrie Rutherfort, then shame on them for murdering a sick old woman. Reality starts to decay, as the changes merged into the branch where the USS ELDRIDGE didn't destroy reality revert, one by one by two by three by five by eight and so on. If they have time, they might be able to learn the necessary spells from Rutherfort's notebook and recreate a mnemonic reinforcement for reality.
Good luck with that if they got caught committing murder. Oh, you burned the books? Fool.
If beyond all other help, one can always hope MAJESTIC is on the ball, being the unloved good guys that weI mean theythey are. After all, a distributed, verified, transparent shared ledger recording history and other data sure would be a handy thing to have about now, wouldn't it? Constantly reviewed for consistency, resistant by its own nature to forking and other forgeries, hell—I bet you could even use it for money! John Nash worked on something like that, before he died in that tragic car crash.
I am not Satoshi Nakamoto and neither are you.
Please see the game, "So Now You're A Time Traveller," available here.
Wedwig's 2-page booklet has the same relationship to the out-of-print Continuum as Cthulhu Dark does to CoC. Pay attention to the sections Information Is All, Only One Timeline, Time Travel Tricks, Your Yet, and Paradox.
Once you've done that, please consider your players. If they don't like tragedies wrapped in puzzles, then they might not have fun in this scenario.
As outlined this little scenario will kill every PC, and that twice each if you count CELL W deaths. That's as lethal as Detwiller's Artifact Zero, but on purpose.
The only sure way to avoid that fate requires each PC to trade off every Consonance loss for Sanity loss until the PC earns a crazy card and drops out of play. Otherwise the Blue Man eventually gets them, in one timeline or another, by ontological disruption or physical dismemberment.
The scenario also resists typical Delta Green solutions such as Dakka Trumps Monster, Leave It In The Green Box, and Killed For The Greater Good. Again, that's on purpose, and likely to frustrate players who insist on having some hope of "success."
Short of spells or enchanted weapons, PCs aren't likely to have anything that can hurt the Blue Man. (Technically, lasers, relativistic particle beams, and atomic explosives, yes. Just go play Rifts.) In fact, the best strategy in a fight is to run for a car and drive away. As written, the Blue Man is slower than a running human, unless it flies, at which point you can get away in a fast car on open roads.
Hiding evidence in the Green Box is a terrible thing to do. PCs eventually go back to look at it. This most likely triggers more paradoxes, attracts the Blue Man, and leaves the PCs in a fairly isolated location for the attack. Interrogating captives has the same problem, but works faster, because captives talk back, spreading paradoxes faster than inanimate objects. And the Blue Man, after it has eaten enough people to learn English, is perfectly able to pretend to be your hostage, shape-changing and time-travelling as needed. It still weighs 500 pounds, and it still emits radiation, for all the good that does the PCs if they check.
Killing those who know too much also works against the PCs. Killing Rutherfort Jr. will anger his mother and encourage her to throw CELL W and the Blue Man at CELL V. Killing her takes overcoming her foreknowledge of it, possibly CELL W and Rutherfort Jr., and remember she's in an institution. Lots of witnesses, some security. Oh, and she's holding reality together against its collapse in 2053. (The 2012 mission didn't actually NEXT TWELVE WORDS REDACTED PER TS MAJIC/TELL.)
If the players can handle the frustrations, then they deserve whatever success their cleverness brings. Even if it's just the lack of traffic jams in the small towns and resettlement camps of America, in the year Post Death 32.
Continuum of Cthulhu was written by Jay Dugger:
Some of the following material is from the Delta Green Partnership (or whoever owns it now), quoted from Wikipedia, or has been previously posted. The remainder is (c) 2015 Jay Dugger. Use freely for your own fun, but kindly credit me if you publish it.
The above introduction and "game information" was posted to the DGML on 13 Jul 2015 10:32:14 -0700. The notes were appended on 15 Jul 2015 13:30:51 -0700.