Safe Space

(Acknowledgements and apologies to Toby Litt)

Safe Space
Best played after a module where a PC is incapacitated such that cops & EMS could intervene before extraction is possible. Otherwise: Group was part of a highspeed chase. Tire blowout led to a crash and rollover. At least one member is dead, others incapacitated or mortally wounded. Police arrive and an ambulance is dispatched with the wounded members. Any walking wounded are escorted to the ER by police.

The Mission
Escape the hospital.

What’s Going On?
A cultist projecting between dimensions attempted a ritual that would have made him immortal, functionally invulnerable, and transdimensional via a pact with an Outer God. He botched the ritual, frying his mind. When discovered in his home, John Doe was comatose, barely alive, and in rapid decline.
Wheeled into the ER as the PCs are being treated/autopsied/interrogated, he suffers brain death. All living PCs and NPCs suffer a sanity-checking inversion and merging of their senses (The Event) and his convulsing mind shears a bubble containing the hospital and everyone in it off into Limbo. An opaque dome of colorless fog a few hundred yards in radius cuts off any contact with the outside world. Anyone entering the fog is never seen again.
Everyone and everything inside is now subject to the terms of the pact; no one can be killed or maimed. By the end of the first day every patient is a fully healthy version of the person they were (i.e old people remain old) before falling ill. The threat in this campaign is almost entirely psychological. Even being exploded or incinerated leads to the gore/ash reforming and character regaining consciousness after a period of minutes or hours. Meat is reconstituted into the animal(s) involved in its making, usually resulting in their explosive evacuation from whoever had eaten them. Any drugs taken wear off almost instantly, however, addiction remains, and worsens with time. Pain still hurts, extreme pain/excruciating death is as psychologically destructive and ‘influential’ as ever despite being temporary.
The only one not restored, the only person who can be wounded or killed, is John Doe.

John Doe is covered in ritual scarification. This will initially be known only to the nursing staff. Someone with a background in the occult can interpret the outlines of what he was attempting to do.
John Doe’s personal effects will be stored in the hospital, including a notebook in which his plans and methods were laid out.
Notes on the scars and notebooks will be entered into medical records by the doctors as a possible clue to his condition/use in their rituals
The phrase/imagery ‘The Mind is the Window, the Body is the Doorway’ will be prominently featured in any clues.

John Doe A massive man, nearly 7ft tall and 400lbs. The hospital can be escaped by cutting him open and crawling through his body (The Doorway). If/when he dies, the bubble universe is popped and everyone remaining in the hospital is cast into Limbo
Doctors/Admin The high level doctors and administrators belong to a mundane Satanist cult. On or near the moment of The Event, they’d participated in a human sacrifice on the top floor. The sacrifice is restored as well but kept under lock and key. In the initial going they assume they are responsible for the events of the module. Later they will attempt to exert control via force and coercion. They will attempt to monopolize access to John Doe, first under the guise of care, finally so as to overawe the rest of the hospital. If allied with, one will eventually sell out the others, offer their surgical services to keep John Doe alive during the exodus, but will demand to be one of the first through.
Staff Led by a janitor and secret shaman recruited by co-religionists (Obeah, Santeria, Animist, choose your favorite) on staff, who were worried by the increasing amount of evidence as to the doctors’ ‘interests’. The janitor is an able administrator and strategist and familiar with the occult. He immediately moves to monopolize the remaining non-meat food, elevators, utilities (water, heat and light via backup diesel generator and fuel supplies) giving him the loyalty of the floor staff and ability to oppose the doctors. Anyone not either Staff, a threat, or an asset are denied access. He’s a warlord, he’s not running a charity. If allied with, provides no medical expertise, but can provide a supply of blood from the cold storage to stave off John Doe’s death during the exodus. He will also demand to be among the first to cross.
Nurses ‘the good guys’. Caught in the middle and trying their best. They attempt to deny access to John Doe in the early going out of concern and professionalism. Will generally be the poorest, hungriest, most neglected and abused group. If allied with, can provide almost no meaningful assistance with the Exodus (it is essentially open heart surgery, and they will lack both necessary skills and access to materials) but will not insist on being first across.

Plot Development
As the module advances, DM should dilate time taken between successive actions and aftermaths to make clear how long everyone has been trapped in the hospital
Day 1:
Dead investigators wake in the morgue. Mood is overjoyed, celebratory. Tasks are investigating the setting, helping restore order.
Day 2-7:
Some NPCs brave the fog. None return. PCs can enter the fog, but will brave it alone (see below) and be removed from play.
Staff declares rationing of fuel and supplies, opposed by Doctors.
Doctors recruit volunteers for ‘medical experimentation’. This is vivisection and a large Sanity loss for the volunteer, but the DM can make explicit any facts about the rules the players have not intuited. Evidence can also be found as to the nature of the doctors, the imprisoned sacrifice, and the notes.
The addiction mechanic is foreshadowed; PCs get caffeine headaches, nic fits, or shakes as appropriate
Nurses notice one of their own has gone missing for days (witnessed the doctors sacrifice, kidnapped).
Day 8-30:
The doctors are unmasked by players investigating or allying with them
Staff declares an embargo on supplies to anyone outside their protection
Doctors make their play to commandeer the pharmacy, using painkiller-addicted patients as cannon fodder. Players can assist or oppose, but violence level and difficulty should be extreme as it is a kamikaze attack.
Cults form around John Doe.
Nurses ask players to negotiate supplies of saline etc from Staff for John Doe.
After at least a month, society has fully broken down. Violence is infrequent as there is little left to fight over, but extreme when it happens. Everyone is permanently starving to death.
The Doctors’ drug supplies dwindle and with it their control over the addicts.
If the players have not discovered the nature of John Doe/how to escape, now is when the group they’ve shown the most affinity for will share that info.
Securing John Doe requires stealing him by force or cunning, rest of the hospital will protect him.
During surgery, each PC/NPC transition costs 1 ‘tick’ of life. Doctors help keep John Doe alive for 5 ticks, Staff for 4, Nurses for 3. Without help, group’s highest medicine skill/30, rounded down. When ticks =0, everyone remaining is thrown into Limbo

3 Hunting Horrors feed like sharks in Limbo. Every round roll 3dN with N the remaining people (300 to start, or lower if you want to increase risk). A roll below the number of PCs will involve the horrors attacking a PC. Anything above instakills an NPC, reducing N by one.
Successful POW rolls allow PCs to move, locate a gate home, and open it.
The PC who opened the gate can remain, holding it open. If crossed by the PC who opened it, the gate closes, requiring a new POW roll.
One successful roll per player to gain the ability to move, one per party to discover the gate.
If a player walks into the fog on their own, they run this, alone, while being attacked by a single horror.

PCs who crossed via John Doe exit via his chest in the ER. Since they bring their new body with them, any longstanding injures are healed. Their old body is where and as it was at the time of the Event. Seeing it causes a SAN loss.
PCs who cross back via Limbo wake up in their original bodies the moment after The Event. PCs who were dead at The Event wake up dead :(
The NPC bodies either awaken screaming as they escape Limbo or seize and die as the Horrors consume them. PCs receive a sizeable SAN bonus (1d10 or 2d6 at least), and Delta Green is stretched to the limits covering up a hospital full of dead or stark raving mad people, in addition to whatever botched op landed the PCs there in the first place.

Almost all NPCs are unarmed, untrained civilians, and combat is conducted unarmed or using improvised weapons, including high voltage, blunt objects, alcohol or diesel, explosive gasses, drugs (ODing is possible but requires MASSIVE dosages to be administered), can be baroque as crucifixion, burning at the stake or a cattle stampede, or as sly as an embolism introduced by an air-filled syringe. It’s on the DM to be as creative as possible and to encourage that of the players. PCs enter with whatever gear they had at the end of the last op, or a standard operator’s kit if this is a one-off. Sheriffs are armed with a revolver which will be spent after the pharmacy coup at the latest. After the first week all NPCs are no longer afraid of death, so conventional weapons will cease to be a deterrent, but you can always incapacitate/kill an attacker momentarily. Ammunition should be tracked and when it’s out, it’s out.
Hunting Horrors are as described in the 7th Ed. core rulebook


This was an entry to the 2020 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by Pip Helix.

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