Groundbreaking Rituals


Agents stationed in the Philippines in early 1975 receive a wave of incoming reports of what seems like environmental havoc over a wide area just beyond city limits—but not just to ordinary, nonmagical life. Magical wildlife, such as dwendes, aswangs, and such, are especially affected: they turn up dead, injured, ill or insane, or simply desert the place. Meanwhile, humans and other animals with supernatural sensitivities living or passing nearby also report spikes of serious mental distress.

Agents must seek out local expertise in investigating this wave of magical environmental destruction, find the cause, and stop it.

Sonya Berida & the Vanishing of Nanay Fely

Arguably the foremost local expert is the supernaturalist Sonya Berida, a graduate student working towards a doctorate in precolonial natural philosophy. She also noticed the wave of supernatural destruction, hence the Agents’ directive to get her as a consultant. The challenge is contacting her in the first place: she is still reeling over a personal problem—the disappearance of her lola (grandmother), Nanay Fely Dimasilaw, a babaylan (indigenous healer/priestess) who’s also been protesting the incumbent Marcos regime and U.S. imperialist actions in the country since before Martial Law was declared in 1972, to the deep concern of her whole family.

In January 1975, Sonya was accompanying Nanay Fely in a dense Manila public market, where the latter mysteriously vanished from a public restroom with no obvious other exit. Panicking, Sonya asked around, alerted her relatives, put up posters, and filed a missing-persons report, but all in vain. She suspects the government has finally targeted or arrested her grandma, or worse—and she believes she, or her other family, might be next.

Stricken by guilt, Sonya applies for academic leave and becomes a recluse; she must be contacted before she shuts herself up and refuses to speak to anyone. Distraught and paranoid, convinced her communications are being monitored, she will talk with only one Agent at a time, face-to-face, where and when she chooses, and disguises and assumed names are preferable. There is no guarantee that cops or soldiers might not walk in on any such meeting and take in her and the Agent for questioning, and her own family has only grown more mutually protective since losing their grandma. The best way to get Sonya to cooperate is a clear assurance that Nanay Fely can be found and rescued; better yet, offering to help find Nanay Fely for her. This can be a useful public cover-up for the cell’s larger mission of investigating supernatural ecological disturbances.

Persuade rolls should slowly get her to divulge that she has been recording the recent disappearances to which Nanay Fely is the latest addition. Sonya’s list may seem a tiny random sampling of the many regular missing-persons reports—with martial law in effect, enforced disappearances of students, labour, farmers and indigenous activists are no surprise—but close analysis will reveal that many of the names belong to noted babaylans or similar indigenous healers, ritualists, and magic-users. This subset of disappearances largely coincides with the spike in magical wildlife distress. Meanwhile, geographical analysis of those disturbances will show a concentration around or near a specific spot: a new military facility under construction, to be leased out to U.S. forces—also not surprising in this era, with a standing U.S.-Philippine defence treaty. Knowing these puzzle pieces should help the investigation slowly converge on said military facility.

Agents can split between collecting data on the supernatural disturbances around the construction site, and pursuing leads on the whereabouts of Nanay Fely and the other spiritworkers. The list of suspected kidnappers is diverse, foremost being the Philippine military or police themselves, enforcers of the dictatorship. Rebel forces like Communists and Mindanao separatists may also be considered; any or all of these can be used as red herrings, false alarms, or even useful sources of information. One suspect eventually comes to the fore however: the contractor building the new military installation, which may be connected somehow to the disappeared ritualists.

Oceanic Solutions

The construction firm, Oceanic Solutions Inc., is a local franchisee of a multinational defence contractor responsible for building and maintaining U.S. military installations on Philippine territory, including infrastructure for bases like Clark or Subic, and intelligence and surveillance equipment. The firm also builds vital structures for the Philippine military or Constabulary.

Oceanic Solutions has a long, respected history in the Philippines, dating back to when the archipelago was a direct U.S. colony. It continues to be given preferential treatment and continues to pour enormous investments into the Cold War-era Philippine Republic, an indispensable partner in building the newly “independent” nation’s defences against both external and internal security threats. Despite a fair share of criticism, the company effectively counters protests by stating, factually, that it provides thousands of local jobs and contributes to economic growth.

The firm’s regional president, Bernardino Exconde, a Filipino and Marcos crony, is polite and respectable, a fervent anti-Communist, deeply conservative and religious. Questioning him about his firm’s connection to any disappearances will produce nothing beyond overt patriotic statements, lawyering up, or denying involvement, so Agents will have to resort to directly investigating his firm, which becomes doubly urgent if anyone else goes missing during their investigation. However, moving forward, he will suspect them, and should he feel threatened, he may hint at calling in whoever he can rely on to dispose of the Agents as they see fit.

Evidence involving Oceanic Solutions should mount as the investigation progresses. Agents may stakeout the construction site, interrogate others on Oceanic Solutions’ payroll, examine its financial records, or pose as bait to entrap the babaylans’ kidnappers.


It turns out Oceanic Solutions is using various pro-government armed groups in the country—military, Constabulary, and private armies—to kidnap, torture, kill and harvest the brains and blood of these ritualists for use as a cement or binder in its construction materials—or worse, remove these organs while alive. The binder serves more of a supernatural than a strictly physical purpose: it should bring the contractor, the government, and allied individuals and corporations, more wealth and power. Rumours are it can also help identify, somehow, all opposition to the regime, and invite powerful interdimensional forces to liquidate them in short order, either by killing or mentally destroying them. The contractor, of course, does not publicly record any of this; it deals in cash or kind with the armed militias that deliver the victims’ blood and brains, and uses methods like “creative accountancy” to conceal such transactions.

The Brains

Because Oceanic Solutions subcontracts out the dirty work of capturing, torturing and eviscerating its victims, Exconde and other executives can claim plausible deniability, whereas the majority of employees are in the dark anyway; and the methods of obtaining victims are dispersed and largely depend on which armed group carries out the actual extraction—the only constant is that the victims must be substantially tortured and their brains and blood harvested whole. The diversity of methods makes it difficult for Agents to track down individual disappearances and link them back to Oceanic Solutions, unless they follow all missing-persons reports closely.

Sanity loss should result from seeing any harvested brains in storage or transit; more if Agents catch Oceanic Solutions or its militia thugs in the act of retrieving them from the victims’ corpses and mashing them up, preparing them for mixture into cement or concrete slurries, etc. The corpses are disposed of in various ways: simply dumped out in the wilderness, or various other organs carved out and sold to medical schools, public markets, and the black-market organ trade, not to mention mercenary magic-users who might need practice.


Agents must shut down Oceanic Solutions’ human-sacrifice operations, have Exconde and other executives arrested, deported, and/or rendered liabilities to the regime—killed, possibly, if they put up a fight by calling in armed groups—find and extract Nanay Fely if possible, undo the facility’s supernatural “poisoning”, and then remain on the lookout for similar activity.

The closer the facility is to reasonable completion, the more brains and blood will have been spilt on site, the more potent the surrounding supernatural destruction and the site’s psychic “signal reception”, and the likelier it is to attract eldritch entities, especially if jump-started by ritual pronouncements by any of the third parties involved in the construction. The site can be demolished, burned or irradiated to depower it; the most effective solution is to expose it to powerful indigenous magic. Fortunately, Nanay Fely may be strong enough to attempt this, but only if she is physically and mentally healthy; she can be assisted by other rescued babaylans as needed. Sonya Berida can promise a good reward for getting her back safe.

Depending on how much Agents manage to accomplish, they may also in future face reports of eldritch activity emanating from similarly “brain-splattered” sites being built elsewhere in the country, as well as authorities both local and foreign getting wind of their cleanup operations and attempting to undo these.

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

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.