Deadly Grounds

That acrid coffee which I refused—had there not been an attempt by some hidden, unknown entity to drug it?
The Whisperer in Darkness by H. P. Lovecraft


What if a small portion of the 9.5 billion kilograms of coffee produced worldwide was contaminated with an otherworldly seed, a corrupting influence which could alter the molecular properties of the coffee beans it touched? Whether by malicious design or by accident, a single gamete from The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, Shub-Niggurath, is nestling in a sack of coffee from Nepal. It has just arrived in a new land, at a cafe in the small town of McCleary, Washington.

Agents Dispatched

On December 10, 2017, the Agents receive instructions to travel from their present locations to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and then to the town of McCleary to investigate a murder that occurred on December 9th. The victim, Eric Colletti, 54, was a Delta Green “Friendly” prior to the program’s 2002 relaunch. He was employed by the U.S. Department of State in Kathmandu, Nepal. He arrived in Seattle on December 4th via a flight from Kathmandu. He stayed at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel for a few days before checking out at 4 AM on December 9th. His silver rental car was found in the parking lot of the Radiant Bear Cafe in the town of McCleary next to his mangled corpse. The cafe is owned by his 49-year old ex-wife, Sarah Jensen, who discovered the body. Eric’s 24-year old son, Gregory Jensen-Colletti, lives with his mother and works at the cafe. Gregory is missing and police have not eliminated him as a murder suspect. The local police reached out to Washington State Patrol (WSP) for assistance (where Delta Green first learned of the murder). The Agents are given Eric’s personnel records, the address of the cafe, and contact information for the town’s Chief of Police and the Grays Harbor County Coroner's Office in nearby Aberdeen, where the body is being stored.

Murder Scene

The Radiant Bear Cafe is located in the center of McCleary. The police have cordoned off the cafe’s parking lot. Colletti’s rental car and a green pickup truck belonging to Gregory are parked there. Both vehicles have been searched by the local police. Security video from the gas station across the street shows Gregory arriving at the cafe at around 8 PM on December 8th, but does not record him leaving. The video shows Eric arriving at 5:30 AM on December 9th. The front door of the cafe is locked and displays a “Closed” sign. The cafe’s back office houses an industrial coffee roaster, and several 60-kg sacks of unroasted coffee rest on the floor. The back door leading to the parking lot is locked, but the police inform the Agents that that the door was propped open when they arrived on the scene. It appears that a scuffle occurred in the back office. Police found fingerprints only from Sarah, Gregory, and Eric. The office contains the following:

  • A mug containing a black tar-like residue that smells like stale coffee. If analyzed for its chemical composition (at the WSP’s lab facilities in nearby Olympia), it contains astronomically high levels of caffeine, ethylphenol and trigonelline (all found at much lower levels in typical coffee). An unknown growth hormone is also present that causes startling mutations if introduced to live cells.  
  • A logbook documenting the coffee that Gregory roasted over the past six months. The last entry is from 3 AM on December 9th (day of the murder), indicating a test batch of coffee from Nepal.
  • A customs form for a shipment of coffee from Lamjung, Nepal to Gregory at the cafe. The form is signed by Eric Colletti, but handwriting analysis determines that he did not sign this form. The shipping date from Nepal is December 6th (Eric was in Seattle on December 4th).
  • The Nepalese coffee is stored in a burlap sack that proclaims “The Finest Himalayan Arabica” in English and Nagari script. Inside the sack is a multi-layer plastic bag which has been opened. Touching the coffee beans without gloves causes an Agent to experience a tingly feeling. Searching the bag uncovers a strange black egg-like object the size of a golf ball. Touching the egg’s textured surface unprotected will cause an Agent to experience severe heart palpitations. The egg is impervious to cutting or drilling, and is invisible in X-rays or other imaging, as if it does not actually occupy the space it appears to exist in. Both the egg and coffee beans have the same unusual chemical composition as the tar-like residue.

Police Department

The McCleary police department is run by Chief Walter Sawyer and is comprised of four officers and a clerk/dispatcher. They are more than willing to assist in the investigation, but are the epitome of small town cops. They have not connected the strange coffee to the investigation.

Gregory is a bit of a loner but is liked by most people in the town. As a teenager, Gregory received several misdemeanor charges for trespassing in prohibited areas of the nearby Capitol State Forest, but otherwise has a clean record. He works at his mother’s cafe and lives in her house. Sawyer will provide the Agents with the crime scene photos, fingerprints from the office, personal effects taken from Eric’s body and a suitcase from his car. No murder weapon was found. The police received a call from two loggers who spotted Gregory the morning of the murder in the Capitol State Forest. A man matching Gregory’s description ran into the side of their truck and, improbably, almost tipped it over before sprinting into the forest. The loggers said “there was something wrong with his arms and legs. He had a crazy look in his eyes and was covered in blood.” Neither man knew Gregory personally, but recognized him from the cafe.

Sarah Jensen’s House

Sarah is distraught and believes Gregory has been kidnapped. She explains that Gregory is a good boy who liked to go hiking in the nearby Capitol State Forest where he “always felt at peace.” She divorced Eric in the mid-90’s and is unaware of his work with Delta Green. Recently, Eric has made an effort to establish a relationship with Gregory and helped foster his interest in coffee roasting, including purchasing an expensive coffee roaster for him. She adds that Gregory recently received a package from his father (coffee from Nepal). She was unaware that Eric was in town, and mentions that Gregory was at the cafe the night of the murder.

Grays Harbor County Coroner's Office

Eric’s eviscerated corpse is stored in multiple body bags 30 miles to the west of McCleary in Aberdeen. Dental records and fingerprints confirm the body’s identity. Based on the deep thumbprint-shaped bruises the body appears to have been torn apart by something exhibiting great strength without the aid of a weapon. Blood work reveals high levels of a unknown potent psychoactive chemical similar to caffeine.

Capitol State Forest

After murdering his father, Gregory retreats to the familiar safety of the Capitol State Forest. This large woodland serves both as a timber-producing forest and recreation destination. At the start of December, the vast majority of visitors have left the forest behind. Only loggers and Natural Resources Police (NRP) remain. With Gregory’s every step through the dense coniferous forest, the contaminated coffee causes his body and mind to undergo horrific mutation into something far from human. He has nearly doubled in stature and his limbs have multiplied and distorted at strange angles. Sickly black ichor oozes from gaping orifices crisscrossing his warped form. Gregory behaves more like a frightened animal than a calculating predator. He stays away from clearcut areas and public roads in favor of the dark forest. He attempts to hide from the Agents, but will attack when cornered.

Strategy for the Manhunt

Neither modern medicine or reasoning can help the creature that was once Gregory. The Agents may need to seek additional manpower (and bloodhounds) from local resources to reduce the possibility of the monster escaping into populated areas.

Regardless of the tactics employed in the search, a showdown with Gregory will occur on one of the park’s high elevation areas amongst cell phone towers or at one of the abandoned campgrounds. Increase the tension of this encounter by having it happen at night or during a rainstorm (or snow at higher elevations).


Whether Gregory is captured or killed, the murder of Eric will have to be covered up to appease the media, local authorities, and a grieving mother. Perhaps it was it a rabid black bear that wandered into town and killed both Eric and Gregory? If captured and subdued, Gregory’s heightened metabolism will consume his body and he will die within a few days despite any efforts to keep him alive. An autopsy will show the cause of death to be a heart attack.


The Thing that was Once Gregory Jensen-Colletti
Beyond caffeinated. Beyond reason.
STR 17 CON 14 DEX 15 INT 11 POW 10
HP 15 WP 13
SKILLS: Alertness 50%, Athletics 40%, Stealth 50%, Unnatural 30%.
ATTACKS: Unarmed 45%, damage 1D6 (and ICHOR).
ICHOR: When an Agent comes in contact with Gregory’s skin they will enter into a stunned state (as described on Page 55 of the Delta Green Agents Handbook) and suffer similar (temporary) effects of a heart attack. While stunned, a Agent can’t act. When it’s the Agent’s turn, they may attempt a CON×5 test to recover and act normally next turn.
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4.


This was an entry to the 2017 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by D. Corrie.

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.