Delta Green differs from other games primarily by its foundational ideas, its philosophy. The authors of Delta Green were willing to respect Lovecraft and extrapolate from his works without betraying his philosophy of cosmicism. This is the main thing that sets Delta Green apart from the sea of bland horror games where anything goes.

Cosmicism 101

One of the things that separates Lovecraft from other writers of his time is that he created a framework of science fiction around the events in his weird tales. Cthulhu is a monster, but also, literally, an extraterrestrial being. It is alien to us because it did not evolve on Earth. What Lovecraft's characters perceive as magic is not something that springs from the human heart, it is an application of natural laws unknown to the vast majority of humans, and never really explored.

The central feature of Lovecraft's work is the general weakness or absence of anthropocentrism within it. Lovecraft produces horror by illustrating, through the design of his mysteries and monsters, that human beings are not the center of the universe. His protagonists are only as privileged as people in the real world, with respect to the cosmos around us. In the works of other horror writers, humans tend to find a fantastic inner strength to assert themselves and conquer the monsters they face, but this would be contrary to Lovecraft's philosophy, and not scary.

HPL tried to show us mainly as we are. The monsters are generally more intelligent and more advanced in their understanding than we are (Elder Things, Mi-Go) (else they would not realistically have reached Earth), or on a level far above us (Cthulhu, Azathoth). A human being is to a "god" of the Mythos as a woodlouse is to a human being. There is no mysterious essence in humanity that can change this. We are just not special.

Although humans are quite powerless in the Mythos, Lovecraft's fiction differs a great deal from games like Kult, where ordinary life on Earth is just an illusion. A Tillinghast resonator can reveal things around us that we do not normally see, but what we normally see is still there. Material reality, as we know it in real life, continues to exist in Delta Green. The Mythos extends laterally; it does not replace everything. This is because Lovecraft's cosmicism is about the relationship between us and the real world.


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See also

Topics in philosophy

Please integrate the morality sub-thread from the operational accountability discussion.

In the archive

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