In the Wake of Gods

The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be. Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen. ― H.P. Lovecraft, “The Dunwich Horror and Others”

Intro

Handlers can run this as an individual scenario or affix it to the end of another operation.

When beings as overwhelming as the Great Old Ones undulate across non-Euclidean space, they discompose humanity’s fragile reality. This narrative supposes what happens after Agents block or banish a god from our perceived actuality. Perhaps the characters were the ones to delay the Apocalypse, perhaps it was another cell on the opposite corner of the globe. Perhaps, too, no human can know the reason for these events—a god heaved from one hyper-dimensional state to another, and we were unknowingly caught in its wake.

Involving Agents

If the wake is caused by Agents’ actions in a previous scenario, the condition described below could touch a Friendly, relevant NPC, or the player characters.

If it wasn’t the character’s meddling, Delta Green’s net notices both a high-profile incident and a few correlations in the news stream, and sends the team in to figure out what the Hell is going on.

Or, a Friendly exhausting their Willpower pieces together enough intel to call for action, and Agents become a rapid response team.

Buoys Bobbing to Psychic Waves

Anyone of any age, nationality, gender, ability, or condition can be disturbed by the transition of a Mythos entity (enterprising Handlers can consider riling up non-human creatures as well). Applying human logic suggests that more powerful beings have a grander reach than a dimensional shambler gunshot back into the Void, but consider how many could be hit by malicious neutrinos passing through terrene matter after its violent departure.

All humans affected exhibit similar symptoms, starting with a frightful nightmare beyond description. They then feel constant pressure building in their head, like slowly being crushed or smothered. Some say it’s like mental or emotional constipation—their thoughts and feelings are too big to fit through their small mind. This renders them dyspeptic and anxious. The victims don't understand what is going on or why. They variously might talk to therapists, check into rehab, up their meds, change to a radical diet, quit work, file for divorce, or join a cult.

Each day after the nightmare the person loses one Willpower, which cannot be regained until the condition passes, and they must make a WP test. If they fail, they do a Deed. This action seems like the most sensible thing to do to unload the weight. Maybe the Deed relieves the compression, maybe not. However, each night Willpower dwindles and tests must be rolled until the stat reaches zero, when the person slides into a shallow coma. They won’t truly have peace until the Entity settles in a fresh hypergeometric orbit and the psychosphere synchronizes to a new normal. This happens anywhen from a week to a millennium. The Being’s passage might have started long ago and continue after we’re gone, agitating the souls of species dominant after homo sapiens.

Signs of Slippage

After the nightmare but before the deed, the sufferer fixates on a sign. This sign could correlate to a syndeme (Handler’ Guide p. 237), appear similar in all instances, or manifest in wildly different fashion according to the person or the Entity. The sign could be a visual symbol, a series of eerie musical notes, or both. The person exhibits the sign obsessively while in their tribulation, like characters making the Devil’s Tower in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind or spirals in Uzumaki. Note that this should not be the Yellow Sign, which causes insanity. This sign is instead a symptom of impending madness. Sanity checks (helpless, 0/1) after seeing this sign occur only after one witnesses a terrible deed, because they know that whomever created the symbol either has or will commit an unnatural act.

Fabricated signs last as long as the medium it was created in, so it is possible agents espy the same icon again in a painting or libretto years hence, indicating someone they missed. If the ethereal shifting has occurred for thousands of years, the sigil can be found in ancient texts and artifacts, eons and oceans apart.

Deafening Eccentricity

When the impacted mind can no longer cope (indicated by the failed Willpower check or upon reaching WP 2), the person engages in a bizarre, intense act. It may or may not have anything to do with their identity, could be public or private, and may or may not involve bloodshed. Being compelled forces an Unnatural Sanity check (0/1d4), plus possibly a roll for the act itself.

People can be thwarted through normal means, but they always have the benefit of surprise—no one would ever expect them to do that thing at that moment. If they survive, they suffer the physical, social, emotional, and legal consequences of their endeavor, which they remember vividly. They all believe that the action was the right way to relieve their burden, although some may be horrified with themselves and scared for their sanity. Some might repeat the effort under their own volition, others recoil into a lifetime of guilt, shame, and penance.

Ten Examples

  • A Texan man mangles his prized thoroughbred by spiking high-performance racing wheels into its haunches and a steering wheel into its mane.
  • A slumbering Chinese businessman’s young wife leans over one night and bites the tip of his nose off.
  • Construction workers in Boise discover their foreman crawled into the basin of a portable toilet and squats waiting with mouth agape.
  • An elderly woman in Aleppo wanders the streets after an airstrike. When she finds a decapitated body, she sews a severed dog head onto it.
  • A ten-year old girl swallows a steel hook and line to catch the evil spirit inside her. When she feels tugging, she jerks the line.
  • Using a vice and pliers, a real estate agent extracts four teeth, wraps each in purple silk, and spackles them into a wall at the properties she represents.
  • During a parliamentary session in Vanuatu, a politician releases an angry swarm of Japanese giant hornets, calling them his constituents.
  • Outside McCook, Nebraska, a pastor recites Matthew 7:5 to his congregation, asking everyone to remove the plank from their eye. He demonstrates on himself with a pry bar.
  • An air traffic controller at Chicago O’Hare tries to rearrange the shapes on radar to resemble a certain figure.
  • A deaf physics graduate student builds a large book fort maze in an idle area of her university’s library. She “corrects” random texts in red pen. When a page tries to interrupt, she tasers him.

For more ideas, brave this Reddit thread: https://tinyurl.com/yccreh63

Investigations
There is no earthly commonality between victims caught in the psychic riptide. Date of birth, Power, blood type, background, residencies, occupation, etc., are red herrings Agents can chase if they want. Handlers can mention two suspects crossed paths at a concert, in an MMORPG, or took the same ocean cruise. But any connection between them, a reason why they succumbed and not someone else, is beyond human comprehension—excepting any character involved with moving the god.

A deep dive into the symptoms, anomalous activities, or the sign with high scores in History or Occult, or low to mid-level Unnatural indicate that this wave broke on the shores of our time stream before, but no research suggests a panacea other than identifying and isolating folks before they are a threat.

Actions

Agents tasked with stopping the harmful deeds first must identify a potential culprit. Searching for the sign across all networks would require extremely high NSA clearance, but it is possible to catch at least the ones who leave a digital footprint.

Another method would be a national marketing campaign for a product or service that subtly incorporates the sign into the advertising and promises relief from the agony the person feels. This ad could be targeted to people who post their symptoms on social media or put certain terms in their search engine. The ad could bring them to the team.

If Agents can reach someone before their Willpower fails and roll a successful Persuade, Pharmacy (and ensure they take their pills) or, especially, Psychotherapy can dull the severity of their undertaking. A critical success stops the action from happening, and a fumble provokes an immediate, violent episode. Prevention must occur at each instance of failed Willpower, until the coma or symptoms subside. Sedation and restraint are also effective, but swallowing their tongue or creatively expressing their bladder are still options.

Ending

In the end, it just stops. The sign vanishes, yet humans still do crazy shit. Maybe we have always been caught in a mystical undertow. Best blame it on the Devil.

Inspired by The Last Equation Delta Green scenario by Dennis Detwiller and the “psychically hypersensitive” in H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu.

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.