An Agent is turned into a monster by a cult, but rescued before the transformation is complete. Agents must track down the super-science that reverses the transformation.


Choose a player who can handle becoming a weird monster for a session.

You don’t know how the crab cult grabbed Agent [name], but they did. Fortunately, they weren’t hard to track. Or gun down, with EQUIPMENT from the town Green Box. Dead acolytes are strewn about the inside of this remote warehouse. You don’t feel the slightest remorse for killing them.

You are bothered by their makeshift surgical theater.



  • A body on an operating table
  • Strange tools
  • Documents
  • A giant crab, suspended upright by scaffolds.


The CRAB AGENT’s body is on the table. The chest cavity is open, a lump of “coral” stuffed next to the heart. It pumps blood, keeping the body alive. The skullcap is open and the brain is gone.


An assortment of alien devices. Occult or trial and error can identify their functions.

  • Purple blade that changes depending on the light. It inflicts cuts that don’t bleed, but aren’t cauterized.
  • Empty canister, filled with a blue fluid. It preserves living brains. A jury rigged serial bus allows it to be plugged into a computer for communication.
  • Blue ring with wavy feelers. When aimed at a target, the ring “stings” the wearer for D4 damage. The target falls unconscious on a failed CON save.
  • Lump of coral in a bucket of brine. If implanted in the chest cavity with Surgery, it allows resuscitation after the patient falls to 0 HP, as long as the brain is intact.


The crab is 7’ tall. It has big claws, and a pair of manipulator hands. The rostrum mounts a transparent blister, holding a mass of glowing hyphae. (This sense organ detects electromagnetic radiation).

A slimy access hatch hangs open. The brain inside is connected to the crab by nerve fibers flush with blue hemolymph, and to a Windows 95 box by a serial bus adapter in the paleomammalian cortex. It can be unplugged safely from the computer and the hatch closed.

Computer Science: The computer translates commands into neurolinguistic programming. The user was interrupted before they could turn the CRAB AGENT into a mindless slave. There’s a command to remove the perception filters. If executed, this costs the Crab Agent D6/D20 SAN, but they take no further SAN costs from their powers.

Medicine or Science: Biology: Getting the Crab Agent’s brain back into their body is beyond your current capabilities. You need expert advice.


The files are a TOME about project HUNGER CLOUD, written by DARPA neurosurgeon Dr Amos Holtzmann.


You wake up, suspended by a metal frame, in a warehouse filled with dead cultists. The other Agents are fussing around you. They look short. There’s a piece of tape on the back of your neck.

The Crab Agent is under a perception filter and sees themself as human. Each time they have to acknowledge that something is amiss, they lose 0/1 SAN from Unnatural. Thy speaks with a buzzing timbre, which they don’t notice.

Using their special powers (which they can do at will if they try) costs the Crab Agent SAN, intruding on the illusion.

  • Secondary Arms: Attack with pincers (60% or Unarmed if higher, 3D6, 5 AP) 0/1 SAN
  • Passive Senses (See the EM spectrum) 0/D4 SAN
  • Active Senses (X Rays, Sonar and Radar etc) 1/D6 SAN
  • Space Folding (INT roll to teleport 10 meters) 1/D6 SAN


The Agents know the Crab Cult trafficks alien technology. The 4 cultist corpses provide additional clues.

  • All are well educated in medicine, biology, etc.
  • If cracked with Computer Science, their phones have the CRAB BUCKET in their location histories.
  • One has the keys to the unmarked van outside.
  • One’s heart is still beating, despite her fatal head wound, due to the coral in her chest cavity.

The Cult obsessively collects alien technology, like their idols the “Million Favored Ones” None of them have actually met a Migo. They thought the CRAB AGENT was a rival occultist trying to rob them.

Sterling Sullivan

Middle aged UFO buff turned cult leader. Can’t stand ignorance, loves to explain things at length.

Dan Langford

Half Sterling’s age, twice his aptitude with alien technology. Handles the Crab Tanks.

Allison Barkis

The cult’s top surgeon. Total jock. Knows how to reinstall a brain in a living body.

After the massacre at the warehouse, there are 9 cultists left. They have 2 CRAB TANKS - like the CRAB AGENT, but brainwashed to follow orders.


It’s not hard to get Dr Holtzmann’s address, in the suburbs of a nearby city.

He has a daughter (Sarabande Holtzmann), by a woman named Gretchen Schlarb who lives with him.

A Bureaucracy deep dive reveals Gretchen had GARNET clearance at the NRO, on a deep cover operation bodyguarding Holtzmann.

The Surgeon

Dr Amos Holtzmann has been retired from project MJ-8 DANCER for 15 years. He knows aliens have visited earth, but not about the Accord, Delta Green or the MAJESTIC civil war.

He is jaded and pathetic in a charming way. Almost 60, he has a full head of black hair. Not athletic, but good at running and hiding. He occupies his time gardening.

The Crab Cult tried to buy his secrets a year ago. He sold them everything, to pay his daughter’s tuition. They got the HUNGER CLOUD files and a “crab pot” - a machine that grew warforms.

He didn’t tell them about the killphrase, which crashes crab tanks until rebooted: LAMPADAS ARROW.

Holtzmann can put the CRAB AGENT’s brain back in their body, but he needs “nerve spackle” to do so, something the cult probably has. It should be easy for the Agents to find their hideout. Set the CRAB AGENT’s autopilot to return home, and they’ll automatically head back to base.

The Bodyguard

Gretchen Schlarb is an MJ-3 GARNET operative, assigned to bodyguard Dr Holtzmann after a kidnapping attempt. It was a deep cover operation, she suspects it may have ended and nobody told her. She could be “reactivated” by someone who knew her backstory.

She is 55 years old, athletic, with voluminous gray hair. She’s embarrassed she slept with Dr Holtzmann, but refuses to admit it, or stop. She pretends she doesn’t care about him until the last second.

She is a veteran operative. If she knows someone’s gunning for her, she has a 50% chance of anticipating their tactics.

She has an FFL and owns a registered full auto MP5.

The Daughter

Joint Fires Observer Officer Sarabande “Sara” Holtzmann is busy directing artillery strikes in Afghanistan. She plays no part in the scenario.


The hideout is a makerspace in the trendy part of town. There’s a potemkin front desk, workshops, and a loading dock in back.

When not in use, 2 CRAB TANKS are kept in the locker room, along with 5 shotguns.

There are usually 4 cultists at the hideout, or 2 at night.

The Workshop

A combination operating theater, biology lab and fabrication workshop. Contains:

  • A tube of sweaty pink nerve spackle, which reconnects severed nervous tissue.
  • 2 scorched clay tiles covered in defaced sigils of unknown language.
  • Another slimy purple blade
  • A fishtank of brine with 3 lumps of coral
  • 2 empty canisters

The Crab Pot

The Cult grows Crab Tanks by immersing living, brainless human bodies in a vat that rewrites their genes via an alien retrovirus. They need live brains to pilot the tanks, which they reprogram using software. The crab pot looks like a beehive with a hatch on top. There’s a half-finished crab tank inside.


After an hour, the cult sends a van with 4 CULTISTS and a CRAB TANK to the warehouse. Unless misdirected, they next head for Dr Holtzmann’s house. If Agents visited Holtzmann already, he fled with Gretchen, anticipating a cult ambush. If caught unaware, the pair barely survive the confrontation - Holtzmann with the killphrase, Gretchen with her MP5.

The cultists are good at digital surveillance. If Agents don’t practice communications discipline, the cult tracks them and attempts a snatch and grab. They want at least one Agent alive. Their objective is to retrieve any technology the Agents took, and stop Agents from pursuing them further.

If the Agents are too tough, the Cultists offer an exchange. They’ll put the Crab Agent back in their body, in exchange for everything the Agents stole from the warehouse. They double cross Agents if they think they can get away with it.

Captured cultists will inform on others for a better deal.

With Nerve Spackle in hand, either Holtzmann or Allison can safely return the CRAB AGENT’s brain to their original body. An Agent can do this with Surgery 50%.


Each Agent starts with

  • Their choice of
    • Ithaca shotgun w/ laser sight (+40% to hit, 2D10 damage, target armor doubled)
    • Enhanced Battle Rifle w/ ACOG sight (+20% to hit, D12+2 damage, 5 AP)
  • An old suit of Interceptor Body Armor and Helmet (6 armor, not concealable)

From the town Green Box.


DR AMOS HOLTZMANN - Ex Super Scientist

STR 9, CON 10, DEX 10, INT 15, POW 9, CHA 10
HP 10, WP 9, SAN 40, Depression, Adapted to Helplessness
SKILLS: Bureaucracy 40%, Craft (Microelectronics 40%), Computer Science 60%, First Aid 50%, Medicine 60%, Occult 50%, Pharmacy 40%, Science (Biology 60%, Chemistry 50%, Physics 50%), Surgery 80%, Unnatural 1%
ATTACKS: Stun Gun (50%, Stun)
BONDS: Gretchen Schlarb 8
Sarabande Holtzmann 10
SPECIAL TRAINING: Cybernetic Brain Surgery (Surgery)
COMMUNICATOR RING: Dr Holtzmann is not legally married to Gretchen. His “wedding ring” is actually a homing device he can activate to let her know he’s in trouble.
KILL PHRASE: If attacked by a Crab Agent or Crab Tank, Dr Holtzmann “crashes” it with the phrase LAMPADAS ARROW.

CRAB CULTISTS - Alien Technology Scavengers

STR 12, CON 12, DEX 12, INT 14, POW 11, CHA 10
HP 12, WP 11, SAN 50
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Criminology 40%, Computer Science 50%, Occult 50%, Science (Biology 60%), Unnatural 3%
ATTACKS: Medium Pistol (40%, D10)
Shotgun (60%, 2D10)
Big Knife (50%, D6, 3 AP)
CARGO CULT: The Crab Cult has one each of the following items, distributed among the cultists

  • A blue ring with a cluster of wavy blue feelers. When the wearer points their closed fist at a target, the ring “stings” the wearer for D4 damage and the target must make a CON save or fall unconscious.
  • A sticky web-like substance that, when wrapped around the body, negates any successful attack roll that is an odd number. The target loses SAN equal to the units place of the roll.

CRAB TANK - Mecha Crustacean

STR 25, CON 25, DEX 12, INT 9, POW 6
HP 25, WP 6
SKILLS: Apportation 45%, Athletics 40%, Sense EM Spectrum 75%
ARMOR: 10 points of sturdy carapace
ATTACKS: Pincers (55%, 3D6 damage, 5 AP)
LARGE: Crab Tanks take HP damage from successful Lethality rolls, rather than being instantly destroyed.
THINK TANK: Called shots targeting the “brain cluster” that deal at least 5 damage soft kill the crab tank by splattering the brain. A Biologist who examines the CRAB AGENT knows where to shoot.
SENSE ORGANS: Crab Tanks can detect the full EM spectrum, giving them a 75% chance to spot hidden foes. They can increase this to 99% by using active sensors, but this automatically gives their position away to anyone with similar abilities (like the Crab Agent)
APPORTATION: As part of their movement, Crab Tanks can teleport up to 10 meters with a successful INT roll (45% chance).
SAN Loss: 0 because the Agents have already seen the Crab Agent

GRETCHEN SCHLARB - Beleaguered Bodyguard

STR 13, CON 12, DEX 13, INT 13, POW 13, CHA 9
HP 13, WP 13, SAN 59, Adapted to Violence
SKILLS: Alertness 50%, Athletics 50%, Bureaucracy 40%, Criminology 50%, Demolitions 40%, Disguise 50%, Drive 50%, Firearms 50%, Foreign Language: German 50%, Forensics 30%, HUMINT 60%, Law 30%, Occult 30%, Persuade 50%, Search 50%, Stealth 50%, Unarmed Combat 60%
ATTACKS: P229 (50%, D10)
Stun Gun (65%, Stun)
MP5 w/ Targeting Laser (70%, 10% Lethality)
BONDS: Amos Holtzmann 7
Sarabande Holtzmann 9



Dr Amos Holtzmann, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Principal/2C
In English. Study time minutes. +1% Science: Biology, +1% Surgery
HUNGER CLOUD was a 1996 joint DARPA/Army National Ground Intelligence Center secret project, under the DANCER special access clearance. The summary can be skimmed in a few minutes, and tells the reader:

  • The project was a neural interface, allowing a transplanted human brain to control exobiological “warforms”
  • The warforms were cultured from tissue recovered after a classified incident in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • The warforms had superhuman strength, enhanced senses and the ability to fold space.
  • The neural interface had perception filters, which kept brains from going insane.
  • Crude “neurolinguistic programming” was used to control the brains.

Rituals: Preserve Living Brain


Albert N. Wilmarth, 1928
In English. Study time hours. Anthropology +2%, Occult +5%, Unnatural +3%, SAN Loss 1
This is the full text of the story Whisperer in the Darkness, presented as a PDF of scanned, handwritten pages. If your players aren’t interested in reading the whole thing, you can give them the highlights. The author claims that:

  • Alien creatures occasionally visit the earth
  • The aliens look like winged crabs or lobsters
  • They make pacts with humans living in remote and hidden places
  • Their human agents do their bidding in exchange for supernatural rewards
  • They are expert surgeons, and can preserve a human brain alive outside the body
  • They have colonies in our solar system, probably on Pluto
  • They worship a bringer of knowledge called Nyarlathotep as their chief God
  • They can disguise themselves as humans
  • His friend was investigating these aliens in rural Vermont
  • The aliens and their human allies took his brain and replaced him with an impostor


Daniel “Dan” Langford
In English. Study time half an hour. Occult +3%, Sciences: Astronomy +1%, Biology +1%
This essay posits that the “Million Favored Ones” - the creatures from space that invented all the technology the Crab Cult uses - were not originally shaped like crabs, but edited themselves to assume such a form when they came to earth. The biological sciences are rife with examples of life forms becoming more crab-shaped over time in response to evolutionary pressures. Intelligent aliens could accelerate this process themselves through artificial selection and biological engineering. The author offers the “crab pot” technology as evidence that the aliens were adept at turning things into crabs.


This was an entry to the 2020 shotgun scenario contest. Written by mellonbread.

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