Operation Goatweed

Author’s Notes:
Silver Stream is a fictional town, inspired by the rural municipalities around Fairbanks, Alaska. I don’t like using the proper name for the Black Goat of the Woods, as it heavily references a slur (moreso than usual for Lovecraft), so I have decided to refer to her as Sweet Shub as per Ettin’s CthulhuTech reviews.

The Problem:
Silver Streams, a small town in rural Alaska, has gone completely dark to any form of communication. Transports such as trucks and small flights can get in, but they do not come out. Agents discover that an ecstatic flock — calling them a cult implies too much structure – of between thirty to fifty devotees to Sweet Shub hem in the town; they terrorize the inhabitants and make travel extremely dangerous.

The Mission:
Delta Green discovers transmissions from an unregistered short-wave radio praising the glory of Sweet Shub and her children, as well as coded transmissions from an unknown civilian within the town discussing the movements of the Flock and rumors of a Bell deep within the woods. The Agents need to neutralize the Flock, either the hard way or the mystical way.

Posing as members of another law enforcement agency while in Silver Streams is not as necessary here, as the town is being cordoned off by unnatural forces that aren’t really bothering to hide beyond the remoteness of the location. However, Agents may pose as members of the Bureau of Land Management, Alaskan State Police, or another appropriate agency.

The Hard Way: Incurious or bloodthirsty agents can simply take out the entire Flock person by person, “goat” by “goat” – see the stat blocks at the end. Flock members and “goats ” are not stupid, nor have they lost any of their competencies from their life before devotions to Sweet Shub. They know the landscape better than any of the Agents present and will not hesitate to use traps, attack in groups, ditch fights, or fast-talk their way out of being killed.

This is a slow, grueling, and moderately maddening take on this scenario. Killing a member of the Flock inflicts normal SAN damage and desensitization to violence every time. However, Harvey Abbott (see below) and his militia may come to the aid of the Agents if they realize what they’re doing.

The Mystical Way: Speaking with Curt Brittany or Klare Reese, or sparing the lives of at least three captured cultists, reveals that there is an unnamed Bell within nearby Pioneer park that hangs from the top of a 200-foot sitka spruce. It’s nothing remarkable – a simple cattle bell tied with a strip of leather to a branch. Talking to enough cultists, or asking Reese to write down her dreams, reveals that anointing the bell with the blood of a “goat” while one is in the throes of a vision brought on by their milk, summons Sweet Shub as a roiling silver-black fog to take the Flock away to an unknown plane. The Flock has not yet rung this bell, wanting to summon as many followers of Sweet Shub for the trip as they can via their radio broadcasts and attempts at proselytizing.

The “goat” does not need to be killed by whoever rings the bell, but they must be covered in the goat’s blood. Whoever rings the bell will also be spirited away by Sweet Shub unless protected by an Elder Sign. Ringing the bell costs 0/1d8 SAN, and the costs for observing the resulting manifestation of Sweet Shub are per the Delta Green Handler’s Guide.

The Flock:
Thirty to fifty feral cultists of all races and genders live in the woods surrounding Silver Streams, along with a herd of monstrosities that could generously be called “goats” – if dwarf goats had gently-waving cilia instead of fur.  Members of the flock behave much like the maenads of Greek myth, though without the “acceptable” sexiness that the modern male gaze sometimes adds – they are deeply capricious and given to following whims and impulses. They climb trees, defecate where they please, cultivate and indulge in strange mushrooms, eating things not meant to be eaten, set fires, raid incoming delivery vehicles for supplies, sing haunting hymns with no volume control in the small hours of the morning, perform rites to honor Sweet Shub (including human and animal sacrifice), drink themselves stupid, and more. They travel in roving bands of between two and eight, and are constantly on the lookout for mischief to perform

Hurting members of the Flock is difficult. Hypergeometry always works, but weapons require a lethality of 10% or higher to break through the unnatural resilience bestowed on them by Sweet Shub. The Handler may build a cultist using any of the generic NPCs on pg. 354 of the Delta Green Handler’s Guide and adding the additional stats in the stat blocks at the end of this scenario. Members of the Flock lose only SAN, not any tech or logic skills, when they join. They are not “barbarians”, though Delta Green may see them as being in need of a “civilizing” influence (or total eradication). The Flock is full of clever, thoughtful, complicated people — but they are united in their total devotion to Sweet Shub.

Please note: The Flock does not rape townsfolk. They have better things to do, like trying to bring them into the rapturous worship of Sweet Shub, or failing that, sacrificing them to her.

Silver Streams:
Population: 600. One stoplight near the post office, which also houses the police department. A diner that used to be the meeting place for most people in town, but is now in danger of abandonment due to total lack of supplies. One trailer park, two mostly-empty developments, and several hardscrabble farms house the townsfolk. Most of the inhabitants are employed in the oil and lumber industries. Everyone is feeling the impact of the Flock’s recent decision to cordon off and harass the town for seemingly no reason.

The townsfolk include:

  • Johanna Burns, a logger who lost her adult twins to the cult: one was sacrificed and one was indoctrinated. She knows that the Flock is trying to grow its membership for some nefarious purpose.
  • Everett Fischer, the incumbent mayor who did not sign up for a crisis of this magnitude. He doesn’t know much but may try to order Agents around.
  • Harvey Abbott, the far-right local radio host and militia member who plans to run against Fischer during the next election on a “zero tolerance for crazies” policy. And if there’s not an election, well, a violent takeover is always an option. Harvey’s militia includes 2d10 Terrorist NPCs as per the Delta Green Handler’s Guide. They may target Curt Brittany if they think he’s too close to the Flock.
  • Barbra House, the owner of the North House Diner which is in danger of closing due to the Flock blockade. She knows about the legend of the Bell, but thinks it’s nonsense boogeyman stories.
  • Curt Brittany, a former stripper and phone sex operator from Fairbanks turned postmaster. He’s one of the only people the Flock will talk to, and some other townsfolk look at him with suspicion because of this. He knows about the Bell and where to find it, but not how to activate it.
  • Klare Reese, a waitress who claims to have prophetic dreams after unknowingly drinking too much from the spiked water supply. Her strange, garbled dreams yield the ritual The Caprine Bell (see below) with enough time and HUMINT rolls.

STR 12 CON 14 DEX 16 INT 17 POW 10 CHA 12
HP 13 WP 10 SAN 25 (pica, mania, trance states) ARMOR: 2 points of unnatural protection, can only be broken through by weapons with 10% lethality or higher or hypergeometry.
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Computer Science 30%, Drive 30%, Firearms 30%, First Aid 20%, Military Science 35%, Stealth 45%, Survival 40%, Unnatural 5%
ATTACKS: Unarmed (1d4-1) Iron Stomach: May eat various inedible nouns without suffering ill effects. Treat all poisons as though they were at half strength.

STR 12 CON 13 DEX 7 POW 7
HP 13 WP 7
ARMOR: 3 points of weird cilia and thick hide
SKILLS: Alertness 50%
ATTACKS: Stomp (damage 1d8), Bite (1d4+1) Phase Out: Can teleport short distances within eyeline.
Psychotropia: The milk of the “goats” acts as a hallucinogenic, inducing 1d8 hours of warm, dark visions in the drinker and resulting in 0/1d4 SAN loss. A bite from the “goat” induces the same visions on a critical success. Both the bite and the milk grant 1 point of Unnatural once the visions end. Affected characters may at at a -20% on all rolls during these visions.
Mother’s Favorite: Sacrificing a “goat” in a ritual to Sweet Shub changes a failure to a success and a success to a critical success, but inflicts an extra 2/1d6 points of SAN loss.
SAN Loss: 1/1d4

Simple ritual. Study time: days; 1d20SAN; +0 Unnatural. Activation: one turn, 1WP, sacrifice of a “goat”, ritualist must have drunk the “goat’s” milk and be anointed in its heart’s blood.
This extremely simple ritual calls Sweet Shub to collect her followers and take them Somewhere Else. It can only be performed where Bells manifest naturally, usually at the tops of high trees in untouched forests or swaying weirdly in open fields. Perhaps there are many such bells across the world…


Operation GOATWEED was written by Jacqueline Bryk for the 2023 Shotgun Scenario contest.
Source: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pTMq4sjD3JkR1G36L-yPmwNlPrsZNbLlKXg7kohAQGM/edit

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