Not every member of Delta Green is comfortable acting outside the law, waging an illegal war without end. There is a cell of agents (henceforth referred to as `M-Cell`) who intend to gain sanction by Congress and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acting outside the designs of A-Cell. They hope, with enough evidence, to present an unassailable case to Congress to officially reinstate Delta Green. This conspiracy within Delta Green has slowly compiled considerable documentation with which to present their case.
Eyewitness statements, forensic reports, surveillance tapes, photographs - each night at the opera the evidence grows, but M-Cell wants to gather an insurmountable mountain of proof before they come
forward. After all, they will have much to account for, and should they fail disgrace and imprisonment await. Unfortunately, physical evidence is difficult to gather as Mythos creatures are often unfilmable, and their corpses frequently dissolve or disappear. This changed when they met Greg Mason, DEA surveillance specialist and Delta Green friendly (see Delta Green, p. 62-63) during an intelligence-gathering operation on Club Apocalypse. Mason was researching specialized lenses to film these entities and had unearthed some unusual design schematics amongst the effects of Oswald Laemmel, an animator from the 1920s. Mason decided to build the camera that Laemmele left unfinished, lthough the device should never actually function.
The camera not only worked, but project three-dimensional images, creating an immersive and fully interactive hallucinatory reality despite not having a power source nor actually projecting light. Further, it could film extradimensional beings which were undetectable through mundane means. M-Cell's case suddenly became very plausible. However, like any benefit gained by exploiting the Mythos, the drawbacks were severe.
The film's reality was only superficial, limited to only surface elements, and repeated exposure its effects loosened user`s grip on reality. Experimentation with the equipment uncovered that concentrating on objects within a projected "scene" would force said object into the reality of the film, incorporating them permanently into the celluloid. The film took its toll on M-Cell, who became
increasingly paranoid of being discovered by their superiors. They decided to store their files within one of Laemmele`s films, a recording of an empty storage locker. Now they had a Green Box that
A-Cell would never find.
M-Cell was tasked with investigating Stefan Matzke, who was ID'd carrying questionable tomes out of Club Apocalypse. After initial investigations led them to his home in upstate New York, M-Cell decided to eliminate the sorcerer. Cutting the utilities to the house, M-Cell moved in. They found the wizard dead, victim of a hypergeometric experiment gone awry. Matzke, studying a copy of Mad Berkeley's Book, called up something he couldn't control: Bugg-Shash (see Evidence Locker: Extras).
Once M-Cell had slipped into the darkened house they beset by the beast that had just finished feeding on Matzke. In desperation, they lit the house on fire, driving The Black One off. By the end of their desperate struggle only Michael was left to flee into the night.
Michael discovered that Bugg-Shash was still in pursuit, waiting for an opportunity to strike. After a week of being stalked by the extradimensional threat, Michael devised a plan. Lowering the lights
in his room , he drew Bugg-Shash into the open and turned Laemmele's camera on The Black One, trapping it within the film. Afterwards Michael discovered that Bugg-Shash not only appeared in the film where he was trapped but in any cellulite recorded by Laemmele's camera, including the evidence locker. Michael realized that years of work were wasted, as projecting the film would release the Filler of Spaces.
Looking for a way to banish The Black One, Michael returned to Matzke's abode. He was shocked to discover that the corpses had disappeared, apparently cleaned up by someone, possibly the Fate or,
worse, A-Cell, who had been following the investigators. The police report revealed that the key to this whole mess, Mad Berkeley's Book, had survived relatively intact. Returning to a frequently-used Green Box, Michael discovered it had been raided and the camera stolen. Soon thereafter, the assassination attempts began.
WHAT'S GOING ON
Once Bugg-Shash has enveloped a victim they are infected by the Drowner`s secretions. This infection is a homing beacon that allows Bugg-Shash to continuously track them. Once the infected person has passed on Bugg-Shash can revive their corpses to serve him, which still possess the memories and abilities they had previous to death. This process also slows decomposition, maintaining a zombie-like state of preservation.
While Bugg-Shash is trapped within Laemmele's film, the zombified remains of M-Cell (now dubbed "Z-Cell", to avoid confusion) are ambulatory and are acting as his agents. They have stolen Laemmele's
camera but are incapable of activating the camera and freeing their master. This is because the camera does not operate through electricity, but human will. Lacking this, Z-Cell cannot start the
machine. Since neither Z-Cell nor Bugg-Shash know this, they've concluded that it is broken.
The Black One is now pursuing his vengeance on Michael, utilizing resources left in Green Boxes from previous ops. He will also use Z-Cell to lure Greg Mason to New York, hoping that with Mason's help
the camera can be repaired, freeing the Filler of Spaces.
While M-Cell is used in this scenario, individual Keepers should instead incorporate a cell that the investigators has previously worked with, or the cell directly above or below theirs. Alternatively, the Keeper could seed interactions between M-Cell and the investigators before The Evidence Locker, but such interactions are beyond the scope of this shotgun.
Michael will contact the investigators outside of the normal channels if he is able, otherwise contacting them through DG's servers for an innocuous-sounding meeting at the Sbarro in Times Square. Once they convene, Michael explains how his cell's last op went sideways and how A-Cell will react to his report, especially since "vital resources" were stolen during the operation. Therefore, Michael has come to the investigators personally, asking them to work "off the grid" to help him close this case.
He'll brief them on what little he knows of Bugg-Shash, the nature of Laemmele's camera, the recovery of Mad Berkeley's Book, and the assassination attempts (which, he fears, are by agents of A-Cell). Michael will not divulge these suspicions, only asking for help in retrieving the camera, driving off Bugg-Shash, and tracking down his would-be killers.
This is an open-ended scenario that will be determined during the course of play by the Keeper and his players. However, there are a few
things to keep in mind when playing Z-Cell:
- Z-Cell is decomposing, badly burned and covered in slime. They cannot openly operate, working only at night and in vehicles with tinted windows. Any interaction outside of phone or e-mail will be avoided, as direct interaction would give them away. Z-Cell is well-stocked after raiding three Green Boxes, but any additional supplies will have to be procured by internet mail-order or couriers, which can be traced to their personal credit cards and bank accounts. If the investigators track Z-Cell through their purchases they'll be forced to steal anything else they need.
- Z-Cell will stay on the move, switching locations every few days. Since they can't use hotels or the like, they will instead hide out in industrial spaces where they‘re likely not to be bothered.
- It is likely that the investigators will, once briefed on Laemmele’s camera, be interested in consulting Mason. If they contact him early in the scenario he'll be confused as he was already contacted by "M-Cell." Cunning investigators can set a trap for Z-Cell, who intend to kidnap Mason during at the rendezvous point. On
the other hand, if they fail to contact Mason until later in the scenario, he'll have been converted by Z-Cell, who set an ambush of their own.
- Z-Cell will leave a trap for the investigators at one of the Green Boxes they've raided, leaving a corpse rotting and riddled with bullets for them to discover. Hidden within the Green Box is a motion sensor linked to a cell phone and tape recorder. If the motion sensor is tripped the cell phone will auto-dial 911 and play a prerecorded
message, reporting a burglary in progress. With a dead body and police en-route, the investigators will have to scramble to hide the evidence.
- Should Z-Cell get desperate enough they will sow disinformation with A-Cell. Since Michael isn‘t reporting in, this could prove to be very easy. Z-Cell will claim Michael has gone rogue, and Delta Green’s likely response will be to send a team to play clean up, which could lead to a friendly-fire incident.
Option: Shotgun Mash-Up Special!: For the especially devious Keeper, another avenue is to send the investigators in as A-Cell's "kill team", using Target Verification as inspiration.
Upon the camera's recovery and Z-Cell's destruction Michael will level with the investigators about his long-term goals, hoping to win them over to his cause. No matter what they decide, Bugg-Shash will still remain as a threat, raising previous victims from around the globe to recover Laemmele's camera and enact his vengeance. The investigators may also release Bugg-Shash by either playing any Lammele-originated film or by destroying said film. Should this happen, the Filler of Spaces will immediately begin stalking them personally. Driving off the Black One is no easy task, but there are a few possibilities:
- Utilizing the Third Sathlatta, which will repel the Drowner, at least until death. Note that this does not include Bugg-Shash‘s zombies, which are not affected. obtaining the Third Sathlatta will not be easy, since it is only available in the Necronomicon and the Cthaat Aquadingen, two extremely rare tomes. GRU-SV8 and the Fate have copies, but they will extract a heavy price for access to them.
- Engaging Bugg-Shash in direct combat and forcing him to retreat. Facing an entity as powerful and elusive as Bugg-Shash is a difficult proposition, requiring both planning and luck on the part of the investigators. If seriously injured by a surprise attack, Bugg-Shash will no longer risk attacking directly, acting only through his proxies.
- Using Mad Berkeley’s Book to summon a creature to defeat Bugg-Shash. This is a dangerous gambit, as Mad Berkeley's Book does not include invocations to bind or dismiss summoned entities, and is misleading in its spell descriptions (see Evidence Locker: Extras).
- Cut a deal with the Filler of Spaces. This is, frankly, the worst option. Bugg-Shash is vindictive and any agreements made will only be honored while they serve his interests, and the only currency he will accept are victims to sate his hunger. Ultimately, he will have his revenge, and this option only buys the investigators time.
A final consideration: investigators corrupted by the kiss of Bugg-Shash will pose a threat to their fellows. Should they perish they will be revived by Bugg-Shash, who will gleefully use the zombified character to stalk the investigators and their families.
Bugg-Shash, in the cosmology of the Cthulhu Mythos, is a relatively minor figure. Occasionally confused as a Great Old One, Bugg-Shash is better classified as a Drowner, a parasite that feeds on the Great Old Ones as they sleep. In essence, Bugg-Shash is a boil on the ass of Cthulhu. Manifesting as a tactile darkness filled with eyes and mouths, it takes great pleasure in stalking its victims before consuming them, emitting a slight chittering sound to further unnerve them before striking.
Bugg-Shash, also known alternatively as the Filler of Spaces, the Black One, or He Who Comes In The Dark, has long been used as a tool for assassination by sorcerers, but is akin to radiation: without the proper precautions, Bugg-Shash will turn on anyone who would harness his power. Requiring a binding ritual called the Pentacle of Power to control him, without this ward Bugg-Shash will envelop the caster, along with anyone nearby, before returning to his extra-dimensional home. Those who manage to avoid Bugg-Shash, but have been marked for death by him, will be relentlessly pursued until finally killed.
Bugg-Shash's primary weakness is light, which will drive off the Drowner but does not harm him. By remaining in well-lit areas a would-be victim of the Black One can keep him at bay, although Bugg-Shash will remain a constant companion, staying at the edge of the shadows and waiting to strike. His method of execution is to
envelop victims, drowning them in a clear mucous-like fluid known as the Kiss of Bugg-Shash.
Damage Bonus: +6D6
Envelop 90%, damage 6D6 or Grapple
Kiss automatic when Grappled, damage as per drowning
Armor: None, but only magic, enchanted weapons, fire, or electricity harm Bugg-Shash. Cold, acid, explosives, and non-enchanted weapons are useless.
Spells: Contact Yibb-Tstll
Sanity Loss: 1D6/1D20 Sanity points to see Bugg-Shash and 1/1D8 Sanity points to see its undead slaves.
Abilities of Bugg-Shash:
Animate Corpses: Bugg-Shash has the ability to animate any corpse that has received the Kiss of Bugg-Shash. Such zombies are completely under the control of Bugg-Shash until totally destroyed, or until he tires of them and allows them to die. These animated corpses possess all of the skills and memories they had in life, and suffer from arrested decomposition, although once animated they spontaneously begin to secrete the slime of Bugg-Shash. For generic pawns of Bugg-Shash use the statistics for zombies found in the Call of Cthulhu rulebook, and use the following modifications for more detailed servants:
Start with a living investigator template and modify their statistics accordingly: multiply STR and CON by x1.5, adjusting their Damage Bonus and HP appropriately, reduce DEX by 1D6 and POW to 1. Add the skill Bite at 30% (1D3+ Damage Bonus) and remember that impaling weapons do 1 point of damage while all others do half rolled damage.
The Kiss of Bugg-Shash: It attacks by enveloping its victims then bestowing its "kiss". The more victims it takes, the less its immediate frenzy and the less effective its attack. For every victim after the first, Bugg-Shash's chance to successfully envelop is reduced by ten points. An enveloped victim may escape only by overcoming its STR with his own or dispelling him with bright light.
If more than one victim is enveloped at a time Bugg-Shash must divide its STR among them. Once it has a victim successfully enveloped Bugg-Shash bestows its kiss, smothering the unfortunate with slim. Victims suffer as per the drowning rules.
The Third Sathlatta (Dismiss Bugg-Shash)
The only known copies of this spell can be found in the Necronomicon and the Cthaat Aquadingen, making it exceedingly rare. This counter-spell, part of a series of invocations known as the Sathlattae, works much the same as dismissing any entity (see Call of Cthulhu p. 201) but with two clauses. First, while the invocation
protects the caster against further manifestations of Bugg-Shash for the rest of his life, if he has been "kissed" by Bugg-Shash his corpse can still be animated by the Filler of Spaces upon his death. Second, the third Sathlatta can be reversed simply by reading the invocation backwards, meaning that any caster familiar with the spell can remove its protection from others.
The Third Sathlatta can be cast only at midnight, and requires the ritual arrangement of candles and censors filled with burning incense in a chalk circle with no other accompanying light. The invocation must be read aloud by one of the casters, while the other casters must remain in the circle to be protected from Bugg-Shash. As the
invocation is read Bugg-Shash manifests and the candles dim, until only a single flame remains. After Bugg-Shash has enveloped the area around the circle the single candle will flare up, dismissing the Drowner.
Mad Berkeley's Book
Supposedly a compilation of notes on the Necronomicon and the Cthaat Aquadingen, Mad Berkeley's Book is the work of an English sorcerer from the 17th Century (aptly named Berkeley). The text is a collection of spells culled from those better-known works that have been intentionally corrupted by the author, along with a series of essays on the Cthulhu Mythos that are equal parts truth and lies. To the experienced caster, Mad Berkeley's Book is considered the "black widow" of Mythos tomes. Designed as a sadistic joke by the author, the true intent of the Book is to act as a trap for burgeoning sorcerers, allowing them to summon things that they cannot possibly hope to control.
The tome describes an extensive cosmology based on Dante's Inferno and the elemental theories of the Cthaat Aquadingen, where the heavenly and infernal spheres are kept in alignment by a careful balance of elemental powers maintained by the music of the Dilyah, angels who dance around the throne of God, who sits at the center of the universe. Through the Dilyah's constant piping the firmament is maintained, keeping the oceans of chaos that existed pre-Creation at bay.
Mad Berkeley's Book also deals extensively with St. Zattoqua, or Saint Toad, a mythical figure of Middle Ages France who, in his contemplation of the mystical, was granted the revelation that all earthly life, as it was created by God, was holy. Therefore St. Zattoqua came treat animals reverentially, and eventually learned
their secret language, communicating with them as Adam did in the garden and even discovering their holy names. Eventually he rechristened himself after what he considered the most holy of beasts, the toad, whose quiet meditations and continuous croaking prayer to the holiest of holies he greatly respected. By taking on the holy name of the toad he was transformed into an avatar of their race, and ascended into heaven.
In regards to Bugg-Shash, Mad Berkeley's Book mentions the Black One, a minor demon of gluttony and vengeance associated with the element of water which can be called against the impure. Mad Berkeley`s Book goes on further to state that if the reader has been targeted by the Black One it can only be defeated through the opposing element of fire, divine or infernal magics, or by recreating conditions at the lowest substrata of the Inferno, i.e., by freezing him (which is a complete
Sanity Loss: 1D3/1D6; Cthulhu Mythos +4 percentiles; average 8 weeks to study and comprehend. Spells: Command the Angel Dilyah (Summon Servitor of the Outer Gods), Command the Seraph Er'el (Summon Fire Vampire), Inspiration of Zattoqua (Dreams from Tsathoggua), Summon Bugg-Shash
Special: Due to the misinformation included in Mad Berkeley's Book, Keepers are encouraged to use the following rule to screw the investigators with relish. If the player rolls the highest 2 percentiles of his Cthulhu Mythos skill (for example, if a player has a Cthulhu Mythos skill of 8%, and rolls either a 7 or an 8), the Keeper should give them intentionally unhelpful information, preferably that which is most likely to result in disaster.
Oswald Laemmele, founder and creative genius behind Laemmele Pictures, was the animator and special effects guru behind "Larry the Hare", a popular cartoon in the 1920s. Laemmele was implicated in the ritual sex/murder scandal that destroyed Mintz Bros. (see "Dream Factory" from Mortal Coils for more information) and could find little work afterwards, his studio sold to his competitors and his personal fortune dwindling until he died of liver failure. What remained was seized by the state, and those sketches and design notes that he had developed in the intervening years after being originally exposed to the technology by the Skopsti cultist Alexander Solinitsyn eventually found their way into the archives of UC-Santa Barbara's Media Studies Department where Greg Mason would eventually recover them.
The shoulder-mounted camera has no power source, and is activating by pushing either the "Record" or "Project" buttons. Recording requires an expenditure of 3 MPs, while projecting requires 1 MP. When projecting, the camera creates an overlap between the pocket dimension within the film and the room in which it is projected which can only be observed while within the area of effect. Doing so causes a SAN loss of 1D2/1d3+1 every time the experience occurs, with no limit. People filmed by the camera are slowly drained of their Magic Points, losing 1 MP for every five minutes filmed. This creates a greater emotional resonance for later viewers, who will be able to strongly empathize with the characters on-screen. The camera operator may also will people or objects being filmed directly onto the celluloid, spending 1D3 SAN + 5 Magic Points per item or person.
"Demoniacal", by Dave Sutton, from The New Lovecraft Circle (Del Rey/Ballantine Books)
"The Kiss of Bugg-Shash", by Brian Lumley, from The New Lovecraft Circle (Del Rey/Ballantine Books)
Malleus Monstrorum (for the statistics of Bugg-Shash, although they appear here in a slightly altered form) (Chaosium, Inc.)
The Cthulhu Mythos Encyclopedia, by Daniel Harms (Elder Signs Press)
Delta Green, by Detwiller, Glancy, Tynes, et al. (Pagan Publishing)
"Dream Factory", by John Tynes, from Mortal Coils (Pagan Publishing)
Operation: Sandman, http://delta-green.com/opint/debriefing/sandman/index.html
For Additional Resources, see the following links:
Green Box Generator: http://www.nemesis-system.com/greenbox/