Music from a Darkened Room Q&A (archive)
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Questions (answers from Mr. Detwiller italicized)

1. I wanted a little more information on the House's POW and how it used it. How much POW does it start out with? This is important since that's how possession is handled. How else does it use POW? I ruled that it could use high POW effects on low POW victims if it spent POW. I only used this once with a PC for dramatic effect but I would like to hear from the author.

Mostly just for Possession. Though I suppose you could assign a cost for manifestations.

2. How does House react to traditional ghost communication techniques? Does it respond if people attempt to talk to it? Will it try to deceive them? How so?

The house's main motivation is to frighten, and then, if not possible, to cause pain, suffering and kill as many people as possible.

3. It mentions the House will call up PCs to lure them in and separate them but nothing specific is written. Can you give some examples you've used? Does this use POW?

Basically, the house pretends to be anyone it has "observed" in the house. In my game it pretended to both be the Police Chief and an Agent, and called other Agents back to the house alone.

4. How do you pace the scenario out? What would you recommend to other keepers?

I think the main key here (and everyone's game is different) would be to throw a few small manifestations at the beginning and have it slowly unfold over an hour or two — the past of the house, the Green Box, etc.. This is how it went in my game. Then, when they think they have a handle on it, throw in an NPC possession; and an attack (in mine it was Yarrow). This caused further problems. Then possibly have the FBI step in and poke around, and then really push the envelope — as you say, it's designed to "get out of control" fast near the end.
The key is, keep your hand close to your chest for as long as you can.

5. My PCs often split up to look around on their own in the House. How many manifestation do you recommend at a time?

Splitting up is a key time - if they volunteer to do it, I'd hit both of them at once.

6. I wanted but couldn't think up of other clues/stuff in the house for the PCs to look for. It seemed a little barren aside from the manifestations. What about other things in the house?

Um…most of the significant clues for the house are outside of it (the furniture) etc… Inside, I'd just describe it as an abandoned house that looks like someone was about to move in.

7. How does the garage connect to the house? I didn't see a door on the map.

The hallway from the stairs is a door.

8. What is in the utility room? I couldn't find a specific entry in the description.

It's an empty, tiny pantry.

9. How does the second story connect to the first? What happens when a PC jumps out of the second story window to escape the smell of gas? Any roof manifestations?

The stairs. No roof manifestations. I had an Agent do this; he just looked like an idiot, and had a hard time explaining what had happened.

10. What kind of parapsychological stuff will Yarrow want to do?

I pitched Yarrow as a guy in over his head. I had him do hokey stuff like walk around the house in the dark and try to "talk" to it.

11. I might want to run a "Return to the House" scenario for Cell T. What do you recommend I change?

I'd give it a zealous owner, bent on reconstructing it (base it on Peter Diaz). Of course, once the house has what it wants, it'll get rid of him as well.

12. What POW did you use for possession tests? Fully charged at POW 25 pretty much guarantees possession, which all but guarantee the PC is going to die by straight razor and puts the other PCs at risk.

I used POW 25, and did what I suggested in the text; using NPCs as examples to begin with. But it also notes the house Possesses only under dire circumstances.

Questions from

"What was Isabelle's disease? Any info from her nurse about her relapse and death?"

This could be looked into, but it is the classical "wasting disease" and later, simply old age.

"Does it matter that Michael Wheeler died at the County Seat or is it just a coincidence?"


"The back-story on the house mentions that the house was photographed for a trade magazine. Can that article be found and is there any evidence contained in it?"

No evidence, I'm sure the photo could be found (there was no appropriate photo on the free photo website).

"Do people in the neighborhood have pets? Clearly the crone was killing them off up to 1955; perhaps there older residents would be averse to having them even now."

That's a good point, and a cool clue.

"Some of the background info is in languages the investigators might not speak: Do the investigators face a challenge in finding an Italian or Arabic speaker? Particularly in the case of Isari's diary, current events suggest it might to be easy to do so. I'll get to it once I finish another 4000 pages of cell phone intercepts, sorry."

I suppose I could find someone to do either of these things without too much difficulty. I don't think this should be an obstacle, really.

"What are the contents of Tycroft's letter to his wife? This might make a good handout."

Very good point, one I will follow up on.

"Can the partial skeleton under the house be IDed? Forensics are such a popular thing nowadays, it seems likely the investigators will latch onto the skeleton."

It's highly unlikely someone from the 1930's or 1940's would have forensic records available. I'd just chalk it up to an unknown corpse.

"Is that Isabelle Wheeler in bedroom 3? Is so, why did she say what she does since she didn't sign the Black Book?"

It's not Isabelle, it's the Crone.

"Who is the little girl in the closet in bedroom 3?"

It could be any of the children who had lived in the house, or perhaps the bones from under the floor.

"What are the odds neighbors would hear and report hearing gunshots? (Are they old and deaf or old and crotchety?) Since the house replays Mr. Crease's shotgun firing, I'd assume they either don't report it or can't hear it."

That's Keeper fiat, I suppose. Though I do note that the neighbors keep a close eye on the house. When I ran it (and notes are forthcoming) things that happened in the house seemed to be cut-off from the outside world.

"Wheeler's diary is supposed to cover 1926 to1950- is the 1955 entry on summoning the Dark Man an addendum or is that date a typo? (p. 12)"


"Is there any Sanity cost for reading Donnelly's notes? (p. 29)"


"How much chanting is needed to dismiss the Dark Man? Any skill rolls involved? The description says it is hard to continue chanting when he appears."

Again, this comes down more to roleplaying than a die roll. When I ran it, I basically had the player's tell me what they were doing, and ran with it.

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