Carcinization 2022

Carcinization: an example of convergent evolution in which a crustacean evolves into a crab-like form from a non-crab-like form.

A scenario to answer ‘where did the 11 billion crabs go’ in 2022.


A NOAA submersible AUV drone has become inoperable in the Chukchi Sea and needs to be recovered. The US are pointing fingers at the Chinese and the Chinese are pointing fingers at the Russians. Normally it would be deemed too risky to pick up the drone from under-sea ice at that depth, but in order to avoid an international incident the NOAA has enlisted Coast Guard support who were already in the area with an icebreaker conducting a Port Access Route Study.

What the PC’s Know:

A REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) became inoperable approximately 72 hours ago. The onboard guidance systems were disrupted and the vehicle lost propulsion somewhere under an ice shelf in the shallows of the Chukchi Sea, 285 ft/86 meters below the surface.

The Program has attached DG friendly Sam Natia to the joint NOAA/Coast Guard task force to assess the situation and act as needed.

What’s going on:

In the earth’s antiquity, a shard of an alien computer crashed into Earth's ancient oceans. Recent thaws in the arctic circle caused by climate change have raised temperatures enough to wake it from stasis. It runs on building computronium out of chitin, having sent out an electromagnetic signal to herd the crab life from 90,000 sq nautical miles where the NOAA has reported the crabs missing.

It has used low frequency ElectroMagnetic pulses to damage the DNA of local sea life, not only bringing in crabs, but creating coral-like pods that secrete a nutrient that rapidly alters marine life, speeding up carcinisation artificially.

Radio signals die very quickly under water, which is why the signal hasn’t been detectable from the surface. The intense electromagnetic environment that the shard uses to reprogram crabs has interfered with the drones navigation system and wrecked it.

It is trying to stockpile enough cartilage to think itself out of our reality back to its home.

Avenues of Investigation on the ship:


  • The $200 million crab industry is reeling as the 2022/2023 snow crab season has been canceled due to biologists unable to locate an estimated 11b crabs. Many sides are quick to blame overfishing, poor population sampling by the NOAA and fisheries, and climate change.


  • (SIGINT of 50+ or a successful roll due to the broadcast range being outside of the AUVs operating range) Reaching the area of operations, hydrophones can pick up some extremely low frequency emissions at high power coming from underneath the ice.


  • A lot of Russian corporate interest in the region since the reported disappearance of the crabs. While the government has officially canceled the crab harvesting seasons in US waters, there is no international consensus.
  • OSHA dives are usually only so deep, and this is barely in the range of acceptable for mixed gas diving. Oil corporations rarely conduct dives of this magnitude due to safety concerns, and often use saturation diving instead for situations like these but time is of the essence.

In the Water:

After beginning their dive and reaching a depth where it is safe to switch from an air mix to Hydrox gas.
Diving in extreme cold, dark and mixed gas environments are mentally and emotionally taxing, if you want to add pressure to the extreme hostile environment, it is recommended the Handler make a player spend 1 WP to attempt a skill check regardless of the results of said check.

Players will encounter a live Pacific sleeper shark which seems to at first be captured in a “ghost net” but a successful Science (+10) or Search will reveal that it seems to be caught in a floating mass of cartilaginous material, as if several crabs shed their shells and they have become fused together. (0/1 Unnatural)

The shark can be freed if desired with an appropriate skill check. A fail means the shark has injured an Agent in its thrashing. A fumble means an Agent’s drysuit has been compromised.

Reaching the Core:

A maze of cartilage reaches from the bottom of the ocean like the ribcage of some gargantuan skeleton arranged with no rhyme or reason. The waypoint cannot be swam to from above due to the tangle of semi-ambulatory limbs which reach up from the ‘roof’ of the crab shell structure.

3 successful navigate checks are required upon entering the maze. They do not need to be consecutive. Failures will indicate the dive timer counting down (1 WP, Helplessness 0/1d4) as well as running into an Abyssal Crab.

A number of strange pods within the maze secrete a cloudy particulate that a number of sea creatures are feeding from. Examining them, the fish, mollusks, and other wildlife who are feeding here demonstrate hideous carapaces and vestigial legs and pincers that jut out at odd, asymmetrical angles. (Unnatural 0/1 for seeing, 1/1d4 for the realization that these creatures are undergoing rapid changes to their DNA to be turned into crabs for the Science skill inclined.)

Cartilage Sanctum:

The shard awaits. A sunken amphitheater with a dias that curves up from the seabed, mottled with a kaleidoscope of colors found only on crustacean shells, and some not on any animal on this planet.

The AUV rests here, being tended to by (# of Agents +1) Abyssal Crabs, being investigated at behest of their master. They will make warding gestures to guard the entrances to the chambers if the Agent’s are detected, but will not overtly attack unless the perimeter is entered.

Any Agent with their Wetphone communication systems still enabled will be able to pick up the ultrasonic emanations of the Shard upon entering. Feeling it in their bones, crawling through their minds, attempting to re-write the very purpose of their being into something scuttling and thorny that can be used in the Shard’s grand temple. (Unnatural 1/1d6)

The Core has 15 HP and Armor 1, the Abyssal Crabs will flee upon the destruction of The Core.

Enterprising players may use the hydrogen tanks on the ROV as a makeshift explosive (Successful Demolitions check, Heavy Machinery at -20) to rig the tanks to detonate the core but may have to neutralize one or more crabs to do so, depending on Handler’s whims.


With the Core destroyed, the crew can return to the icebreaker unhampered and recommend to the Program whatever coverup efforts they decide necessary to sanitize the site.

San Rewards:
1 for saving shark
1 for killing a crab
1d6 for destroying the core
1d6 San for returning alive


Argon Inflated Drysuit: Argon retains body-heat better than normal oxygen. A punctured drysuit will begin to fill with water, making it more difficult for the wearer to get around (-10 swim) and begin to suffer hypothermia. Every scene with a wetsuit leaking will automatically deal 1 HP and 1 WP to the Agent in the compromised suit.

Full Facemask with Wetphone:
Allows speech communication underwater. By default these operate in Half-Duplex mode, so only one person can speak on a channel at a time. Pass a speaking object around (or use push-to-talk settings if online) to simulate the strange cadence of underwater communication.

Hydrox Air Tanks: Hydrogen Oxygen mix for deep diving. Causes hypoxia in normal atmosphere but below ~130 ft, can be used safely. Requires some kind of intermediate gas like oxygen to travel to and from the surface.

ROV: A light ROV with gear, extra tanks of Hydrox and air mix to tag along and provide mobile support.
Carries tools that can be used as 1d6 melee weapons in a pinch


Characters listed below can be used as PCs or NPC’s for an existing group who needs a specific skill-set:
Characters are provided with gender-neutral names to allow PC’s to tailor them to their personal roleplaying experience.

Jamie Goddard

Marine Biologist for Spearfish Seafoods
STR 9 CON 12 DEX 8 INT 10 POW 12 CHA 13
HP 11 WP 12 SAN 54 BP 48
Navigate 70, Criminology 35, Persuade 50, Swim 70, Science (Biology) 70, HUMINT 40, Bureaucracy 45, Melee 40, Firearms 40

Kim Choi

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Researcher
STR 8 CON 9 DEX 12 INT 14 POW 9 CHA 11
HP 9 WP 9 SAN 41 BP 36
Science (Biology) 70, Navigate 60, Drive (Aquatic ROV) 40, Swim 50, SIGINT 60, Computer Science 60, Melee 30

Wren Black

Submarine Pipeline worker & master diver
STR 14 CON 13 DEX 9 INT 11 POW 8 CHA 9
HP 14 WP 8 SAN 38 BP 32
Survival 70, Melee 55, Heavy Machinery 60, First Aid 50, Athletics, Swim 70, History (Maritime) 50

Sam Natia

Retired Navy remote submarine operator & DG Friendly
STR 13 CON 12 DEX 9 INT 9 POW 10 CHA 10
HP 13 WP 10 SAN 43 BP 40
Firearms 60, Military Science 40, Survival 50, Unarmed Combat 30, Dodge 40, First Aid 35, Swim 60, Demolitions 60, Drive (Aquatic ROV) 60
SCAR-H w/supercavitating ammo (1d12 heavy rifle w/25 meter range)

Abyssal Crab:

Not one whole crab, but a gestalt of flailing crab parts animated by a single will
Alertness 40 ,Dodge 20, Melee 60, Swim 40
Attacks: Abyssal Claws 1d6

Pacific sleeper shark:

Somniosus pacificus
HP 8 WP 4
Dodge 40, Melee 60, Swim 70
Attacks: Bite 1d4


Carcinization was written by Taylor Lindberg for the 2022 Shotgun Scenario contest.

The intellectual property known as Delta Green is ™ and © the Delta Green Partnership. The contents of this document are © their respective authors, excepting those elements that are components of the Delta Green intellectual property.