Dreams in the Fish House

BRIEFING

Agents SAMANTHA, SIMON, and SAUL broke into an aquarium and vanished. They were investigating something but hadn’t reported any leads. Find out what happened and finish what they started.

THE TRUTH

Three hippies found an LSD formula that lets them pick up the dream-call of slumbering Khulhoo. They want to share these vibes with everyone, and began feeding the drug to a pair of beluga whales at the aquarium. The whales now receive, amplify, and project the dream-call.

Three Delta Green agents found themselves subject to it. They identified the belugas as the source, tried to kill them, and were banished by a protective charm.

THE INCIDENT

The beluga exhibit is cordoned off.

Security camera footage: agents enter through the back door; carbine, shotgun, and pistol. Carbine fires her weapon at the beluga’s tank. Static overwhelms the footage. When it returns to normal, water pours from the holes in the glass, the agents are gone, and only the carbine remains.

There were no witnesses. The following can be found:

  • A security guard accidentally left the door unlocked during his smoke break.
  • The gun is an M4 with non-matching parts, modified for selective fire (a good “in” for Federal Agents).
  • The glass was punctured but the whales were unharmed. Workers are replacing the glass while the belugas wait in another tank.

Previous days’ footage shows the missing DG agents casing the joint. One stares at the beluga tank with undisguised venom.

THE BELUGAS

The whales, Kayavak and Qannik, are in a back-room holding tank. They’re adorable. Marine biologist Dr. Noah Paulino is obsessed with them. He interprets their behavior as distress from the incident. He shares whale facts with interested parties, such as a beluga’s ability to deactivate one hemisphere of its brain while the other stays awake - essentially a perpetual dreamlike state.

  • Agents with Pharmacy, Psychotherapy, or Biology realize the belugas are high. A blood sample (regular procedure, now performed by cultists) reveals high levels of a non-standard LSD formula.
  • Agents with Anthropology, Occult, or Unnatural realize the fine patterns on the beluga’s hides are actually writing, a protective warding.
  • The whales try to share their dreams. Visions of Rullyeh cost 1/1D6 SAN and grant that much Unnatural. The Agent realizes the whales are a vector for something greater and wouldn’t normally transmit the signal. Half the time, they’re ecstatic about the coming of their octopus-headed lord, the other half, they’re terrified.

If the Agents demonstrate interest in the whales, Paulino confides that he suspects one of the other marine biologists of harming the animals: Dr. Samuel Kamaka. HUMINT reveals Paulino is nervous, hasn’t been sleeping well, and that he’s not afraid of taking things into his own hands. (He’s been psychically blasted too. Sensitive questioning reveals dreams of a slimy, twisted, undersea city)

If the Agents try to finish the missing agents’ task and harm the belugas, they receive a psychic “shout” of warning. If they persist, they are transported to THE ISLAND. This doesn’t apply if the narwhal charm in the Fish House is no longer active.

AQUARIUM

The dreams of the cultists and whales warp the reality of the aquarium. Perhaps…

A giant microbial mat floats in a tank, digesting a captured fish. Agents with marine biology backgrounds recognize it as an elusive deep-sea species, which isn’t supposed to be there. It vanishes by the time the Agents alert the staff to its presence. Later, it can be seen in other exhibits, growing and catching more impressive prey.

Small, self-contained exhibits sometimes display one fish species, like clownfish. For a moment, the tank’s back stretches far deeper, even accounting for the glass’s distortion effect. Different fish are seen swimming around. Fish not of this earth.

The octopuses build shrines. Intricate cathedrals with twisting spires made from materials not available in their artificial habitats (they leave their tanks to steal parts). Agents can catch them rhythmically waving their tentacles in a prayer-like dance.

A touch pool with rays, sharks and non-toxic anemones. Agents with SIGINT find the anemones tapping out messages in morse code with their fronds. Sharks swim in mathematical patterns with unnatural precision. If an Agent stares, they come to a few minutes later, shaken from their trance by a concerned onlooker. They have learned a thematically relevant spell, like Mountain and Sea or Call of Dagon.

POSSIBLE MESSAGES

  • He sleeps, dreams, will wake
  • Careful of floods, dry doesn’t mean safe
  • The food is poison, you see great and terrible things
  • Three worship, more will come
  • The white ones are protected, hurt them and be banished

THE CULTISTS

Alice Davison worked as a chemist at the aquarium before receiving the dream-call. She’s been smuggling supplies to make LSD. She vouched for her housemates when they applied.
Samuel Kamaka is a marine biologist, taking care of the fish. However, he sometimes sneaks into the beluga’s back rooms. He and Alice do their bloodwork, claiming the more popular dolphin exhibit requires all of Dr. Paulino’s attention.
Peter Williams has a GED. He’s a janitor and touch pool supervisor; good with kids and animals. He’s muscular, shaved bald, with glazed eyes.

THE FISH HOUSE

The cultists live together. When stepping into the house, the Agents feel their ears pop, as if under immense pressure. The air feels cool and thick.The ceiling leaks seawater.

  • The washing machine is filled with fish. They appear to swim through the metal drum, but the machine returns to normal when the hatch is opened.
  • The mechanical room uses a black smoker to heat water.
  • A Tasseled Wobegong poses as a carpet in the living room, ready to attack unwary intruders.
  • The microbial mat swoops down and attacks the Agents!
  • Samuel and Alice’s bedroom has a soapstone statuette of a narwhal in the nightstand covered in the same fine writing as the beluga whales. If studied, it’s obviously the source of the whales’ protective warding. Destroying it removes the magic.
  • Their bedroom closet is a portal to THE ISLAND. Forcing the door open requires 1D4 WP. A cinderblock can be found nearby.
  • Peter’s closet opens to the deep sea, held back by an invisible barrier. A giant anglerfish jumps out to attack the Agents. As she wriggles and dies on the floor, hundreds of parasitic males can be seen fused to her body. The pressure is 50% Lethality, D6 damage for partial immersion.
  • The den holds beach gear, recently used, covered in salt and sand.
  • The dark basement is filled with blackout curtains, facilitating LSD synthesis.
  • Searching the house reveals the angles are all wrong. Sufficient structural damage lets loose the waters of the deep. Within seconds, the walls collapse. In minutes, a catastrophic flood destroys the neighborhood. Math and Physics might tell the Agents where to drill so that the forces cancel out and minimize damage. Alternatively, a ritual can deconsecrate the house. It has 30 POW.
  • If the Agents don’t destroy the house, they can sleep there to learn spells and gain Unnatural.

INVESTIGATING THE MISSING AGENTS

Samantha is ATF, Simon’s FBI, Saul is CIA. Research reveals previous operas. None appear connected to the case.

SIMON, SAUL, and SAMANTHA’s Notes and Correspondence
In English, Study Time: minutes, Unnatural +1%, SAN loss 0/1
Agents Simon, Saul, and Samantha were suffering from the same series of nightmares which featured a dead city at the bottom of the ocean and a pair of beluga whales. The agents grew increasingly hateful towards the cetaceans, believing them the source of their suffering. Eventually, they decided to do something about it.

THE ISLAND

Tropical, with rainforest, beaches, and reefs. The sun suggests you’re in the southern hemisphere. The constellations are wrong for any part of earth. The animals are familiar (boars, monkeys, birds) but the waters teem with oceanic monsters.

The cult set up the island because they thought it would “chill out” anyone who tried to harm the whales. They didn’t realize that

  • Time passes faster on the island than in the real world
  • The ocean around the island is incredibly dangerous

The agents have been marooned for a month, and there’s only two left. Saul got eaten by a liopleurodon, losing the shotgun. If the Agents visit the island, the lost agents ambush them with spears and rocks (Simon emptied his pistol shooting boars). A DG codephrase or explanation calms them down and reduces them to tears - someone came. Unless the Agents got banished to the island trying to hurt the whales. Then they’re stuck too.

Agents are judged by the cult to have "chilled out" when their confinement results in Adaptation to Helplessness. Chill agents are returned to reality, washing up on the beach after a storm with no memory of the transition.

If the Agents break in, the cultists respond like hippies (eg: “Chill out man, quit harshin’ our vibe”), only retaliating under direct threat.

ENDGAME

If the cultists aren’t stopped, the aquarium worsens. Anomalies grow stronger, more frequent, and hallways lead to impossible spaces. Soon, new converts gather to worship Khullhoo under the watchful eyes of the belugas and entering the aquarium causes SAN damage. Samantha and Simon eventually wash up on the beach. They might be alive.

If the whales are deprived of the LSD, things slowly revert to normalcy. Agents with Pharmacy could develop an “antidote” that breaks down what’s already in the whales’ systems. They could give this to Paulino if they’re unable to stop the cult.

STATBLOCKS

AGENTS SIMON and SAMANTHA

STR 12, CON 12, DEX 12, INT 12, POW 12, CHA 12
HP 12, WP 12, SAN 50
Armor: 3 points soft kevlar (if worn in the hot island climate)
Skills: Alertness 50%, Bureaucracy 40%, Criminology 50%, Drive 50%, Firearms 50%, Forensics 30%, HUMINT 60%, Law 30%, Persuade 50%, Search 50%, Unarmed Combat 60%, Unnatural 3% (Samantha has Heavy Weapons 50% and Simon has Pharmacy 50%)
Attacks: Sharp Stick (30%, 1D6, AP 3)
Sharp Rock (30%, 1D4)
Fists (60%, 1D4-1)

Peter Williams

STR 17, CON 14, DEX 11, INT 7, POW 10, CHA 13
HP 16, WP 10, SAN 36, Sleep Disorder
Skills: Alertness 30%, Athletics 40%, Melee Weapons 35%, Occult 30%, Persuade 30%, Swim 70%, Unarmed 50%, Unnatural 10%
Attacks: Punch (50%, 1D4+1, AP 1)
Kick (50%, 1D4+2)
Knife (35%, 1D4+2, AP 4)
Grapple (50%, pins the target)
99% HUMAN: Peter can’t even be considered to be in the beginning stages of the Deep One transformation. This is mostly due to the fact that he’s had no actual contact with them outside of his dreams. However, if someone knows what they’re looking for, they might be able to find the hints of his metamorphosis.
GIFT OF THE OCEAN: Peter can move through water as fast as he can run on land.
RITUALS: Mind Blast
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4 to see his gift in action

Alice Davison

STR 8, CON 11, DEX 12, INT 17, POW 14, CHA 10
HP 10, WP 12, SAN 43, Conversion Disorder
Skills: Science (Biology) 20%, Science (Chemistry) 60%, Occult 50%, Persuade 40%, Pharmacy 40%, Unarmed 50%, Unnatural 20%
Attacks: Punch (50%, 1D4-2)
Inject (50%, Unconsciousness, CON check or take 1D6 damage)
99% HUMAN: Alice’s heavy exposure to the dream-call has left her nervous system changed. However, the differences are only visible to those who know what they’re looking for.
SONG OF THE SEA: An auditory version of the dream-call drains 1D6 WP from everyone in earshot but triggers her Conversion Disorder, leaving her blind and deaf.
WARDED: Her arms are covered in tattoos of the same patterns found on the beluga whales. If someone threatens her, they get a psychic shout warning them that this action is unwise. If they persist, they’re teleported away to the island. The psychic shout is enough to give even the most determined of minds pause.
RITUALS: Mind Blast, The Bends
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4 from Helplessness if reduced to 1 or 2 WP

Samuel Kamaka

STR 12, CON 9, DEX 9, INT 16, POW 17, CHA 9
HP 11, WP 17, SAN 27, Sleep Disorder, Obsession (Marine Life)
Skills: Science (Biology) 50%, Science (Chemistry) 30%, Occult 30%, Unarmed 45%, Unnatural 40%
Attacks: Punch (45%, 1D4-1)
Pocketknife (30%, 1D4, AP 3)
99% HUMAN: In his dreams, Samuel pores over waterlogged tomes in the corpse city. This has twisted his brain matter and sense organs, but the changes are only visible if the examiner has already encountered Deep Ones and can draw comparisons.
LIBRARIES OF RULLYEH: Samuel can replicate any ritual that he sees or is subject to. However, the activation roll is at -20% until he accepts the SAN cost for learning it.
RITUALS: Mind Blast, Song of Power, The Bends
SAN LOSS: 0/1 if dissected

Noah Paulino

STR 14, CON 11, DEX 11, INT 16, POW 10, CHA 10
HP 13, WP 10, SAN 43
Skills: Bureaucracy 40%,  Firearms 29%, Medicine 40%, Science (Biology) 60%, Science (Chemistry) 40%, Unnatural 7%
Attacks: Punch (40%, 1D4)
Shotgun (49%, 2D10)
Scalpel (30%, 1D4+1)

Wobegong Shark

STR 12, CON 13, DEX 13, POW 10
HP 13, WP 10
Armor: 1 point of thick skin and slime
Skills: Alertness 70%
Attacks: Bite (30%, 1D6)
Knock down (50%, damage special)
Knock Down: If this attack succeeds, the target must make an opposed STR check against the shark or be knocked prone.
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4

Microbial Mat

STR 5, CON 50, DEX 13
HP 28
Armor: See DIAPHONOUS MEMBRANE
Attacks: Engulf (60%, Digest)
Skills: Stealth 50% (70% when camouflaged and not moving), Swim 80%
CHROMATOPHORES: The Microbial Mat can change the color of its membrane to match any background. It can make itself totally black, absorbing all light to hide in dark areas.
DIAPHANOUS MEMBRANE: Blunt weapons deal no damage, while piercing weapons, like spears or firearms, deal a maximum of 1 point of damage. Edged weapons or any attack with 15% Lethality or more scatter the gooey microbes that make up the creature and deal full damage. Acid, fire, or any other attacks that eat away at the membrane deal half damage.
DIGEST: Engulfed prey take 1D6 damage each turn, ignoring Armor unless it covers every inch of the body. Armor degrades at a rate of 1 point per turn, and the Microbial Mat regains 1 HP every time it deals damage.
ENGULFED: Captured prey suffer -40% to all attacks and locomotive skills. They can escape if they succeed on a DEX test or can slice their way out with an attack.
SAN LOSS: 0/1D4

RITUALS

MIND BLAST

Simple Ritual, 10 Hours to Learn, SAN loss 1D4 to learn
The caster spends D6 SAN and 4 WP to implant a sanity rending vision in the mind of a target within line of sight.  The victim must make a SAN test versus Unnatural. On a success, they lose as much SAN as the caster. On a failure, they lose twice as much.  Skilled sorcerers can conjure visions to trigger specific temporary insanities; a fearsome visage to make the target flee, a horde of terrifying enemies to make them fight, etc.

THE BENDS

Simple Ritual, 5 Hours to Learn, SAN loss 1D6 to learn

The caster spends 10 WP to effect changes on the local pressures. It builds, as if trying to squeeze the life out of one target before it releases its grip. Then the bends start. The damage depends on the ambient pressure. However, for the target and anyone nearby, there is always a CON check to resist taking -20% to all actions until receiving medical attention as pain, tremors, and aches wrack the body. This has no effect on creatures adapted to high pressure environments.
High Altitude: 1D6
Normal Altitude: 1D8
Sea Level: 1D10
Underwater: 1D12
 

Credits

This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Anonymous.

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.