The God Under the Mountain


Earlier this year, the BC Ministry of Forests discovered a karst cave in Wells Grey National Park in the Rocky Mountains. The cave was found by helicopter during the seasonal caribou count.

Late in fall, geologists Amy Lepage and Marc Wong from the Ministry returned to survey the site. Lepage returned alone. She reported an extensive cavern system descending over three kilometers into the mountain. The presence of water in the lower tunnels prevented them from descending further. Lepage described some unknown species of coral-like plant growing out of the rocks, and paddle-like footprints in the silty floor of the cavern.

The RCMP are investigating Wong’s disappearance, with Lepage as the primary suspect. Her description of the caves is not being taken seriously. It is, however, of great importance to M-EPIC.


The Handler is encouraged to read At the Mountains of Madness for additional background. Key details are summarized here:

1,000,000,000 years ago, Earth was colonized by aliens referred to hereafter as the elder things. They built a great city in what would become the antarctic highlands, and, masters of bioengineering, created much of the life that would later spread across the planet. As eons passed, their civilization fell into decline, until eventually they retreated from the surface world altogether.

As the elder thing civilization waned, one individual distanced itself from the decadence of its peers. It withdrew from the great city, building a palatial estate on the seafloor, a self-sustaining enclave populated with servants where it could pursue its inscrutable alien goals. The Hermit slept for millenia at a time, awakened intermittently by shoggoth servitors; it observed and documented its experiments, then returned to slumber. Until one day, the servants learned to think for themselves and left. With no one to wake it, the Hermit slumbered uninterrupted until, in the late 20th century, rising global temperatures stirred it to consciousness once more. It woke to find its house empty and in ruins, servants long vanished, experiments crumbled to dust. And so it decided to rebuild.

Using a variation of Raise from Essential Saltes, the Hermit created new servants from the fossilized creatures of the Burgess Shale, in which it found its home buried. It visits the surface to make observations but is uninterested in humanity, regarding it as just another primitive animal.


The phrases “paddle-like footprints” and “precambrian fossils” draw M-EPIC’s attention. They are well aware of the Lake expedition and efforts by the United States to cover it up. M-EPIC knows that elder things existed, were an intelligent race, that a handful of surviving specimens massacred Lake’s team in 1930, and that no trace has ever been found of them since. The karst cave is an unexpected break in a case nearly a century old. The BC office is tasked with exploring the cave to determine if action is necessary. Standing orders apply regarding evidence collection: catalogue and return items of paranormal significance to M-INFO for study.


Lepage was openly derided when she told the Mounties what she’d seen. She’s now reluctant to speak for fear of being thought insane, but will share everything she remembers if she thinks the Officers believe her.

According to Dr. Lepage, Wong approached the water to take a sample while Lepage turned around to examine one of the plants; she heard Wong scream and fall thrashing into the water and turned to see him dragged under by a “segmented, spiny arm”. She ran for the entrance in a panic leaving her equipment and samples behind.

With a little research, the plants resemble cambrian-era sea flora, though they shouldn’t be able to survive above the water. With 40% in a field related to paleontology, the “spiny arm” sounds like Anomolocaris, an early apex predator. M-EPIC’s library provides a summary of what is known about elder things (see CASE FILE).

If the players haven’t figured out that they need SCUBA gear and climbing equipment, make sure they get the message.


It’s a six hour drive from the Vancouver office to Wells Grey National Park, another hour off the highway along Clearwater River, and from there a 25 km hike up Azure Mountain. The cave is between the three peaks near a mountain lake. The entrance, a hole in the side of the mountain 100 meters at its widest point, is a sheer 200 meter drop to the cave floor.

The Officers can locate the mist-filled tunnel with 4-6 hours exploring the winding passages. Alertness/Survival 40% notices signs of recent travel by humans - following these signs, or a description by Lepage, reduces the time to 1 or 2 hours. Paddle-shaped footprints can be found if the Officers look for them.


The air becomes warmer and more humid as the Officers descend, thick with mist. They encounter outcroppings of carbonaceous coral-like plants. The air takes on a briny taste. Not long after they find water, murky, salty and warm like a tropical sea, glowing faintly from some unseen source of light. If they linger, a trilobite the size of a dog crawls out of the water and putters among the coral before returning. (0/1 SAN)


Following the flooded tunnel leads to a hemispherical chamber four to five hundred meters in diameter. A menagerie of prehistoric organisms fill this chamber - the Handler is encouraged to go wild. Apart from the upper ten meters the dome is filled with water; luminescent stone panels shine like the sun to illuminate the miniature sea below. (0/1 SAN)

As the Officers survey the garden, they may see an Opabinia rooting around the silty floor for its dinner. As they watch, an enlarged Anomalocaris darts from the murky water and snatches it with its front appendages; the Opabinia writhes and tries feebly to escape as its attacker carries it out of sight. (1/1d4 SAN)

Observing the menagerie, astute Officers will note that Anomalocaris seem, when not feeding on Opabinia and trilobites, to be tending to the plant life in a manner unlike that of a dumb predator. The gardeners ignore the Officers unless they get too close or linger too long - an Alertness check opposed against the Officers’ stealth in either case.


A circular opening in the domed ceiling leads into the Hermit’s dwelling - a five-sided shaft 100 meters across, and at least 500 high. Hundreds of translucent globes bathe the shaft in dim, red-orange light. These globes are made of some kind of quartz, each houses a giant firefly-like insect. The walls of the shaft are adorned with murals, brightly-coloured and annotated with elder things dot-cipher script. They depict the arrival and rise of the elder thing civilization, then shift focus onto the Elder Hemit, its rejection of society and pursuit of solitude. (1/1d6 SAN)

Studying the murals for at least an hour gives the reader a rudimentary understanding of elder thing written language; the Officer gains ranks in Language (Elder Cipher) equal to INT plus any SAN lost to reading. Officers can voluntarily lose more SAN to gain more ranks.

The walls of the chamber are honeycombed with side passages and galleries, interconnected with narrow arching bridges and steep ramps. What precisely the Officers can find by exploring this space is left to the Handler’s imagination, but some artifacts are suggested below, in addition to those carried by the Hermit. Worm-like Hallucigenia roam these halls carrying inscrutable objects to hidden places. The master of the house crosses paths with the Officers shortly into their exploration, but regards the intruders with disinterest. Attempts at communication go unanswered, the Hermit will ignore the animals unless they interfere with it or try to attack; it will turn formidable hypergeometric science on them and try to capture one or two (this is bad).

Use of its own language is regarded with curiosity. Displaying submission to the Hermit will be recognized as a sign of intelligence; only then will the Hermit communicate with the Officers (it can learn human languages with a few hours study). Should they offer it, the Hermit is willing to enter an exclusive partnership with M EPIC and Canada but only as Master; any other arrangement is unacceptable and absurd to it. The Hermit’s long-term plans are beyond the scope of a shotgun scenario, but almost certainly include reestablishing the dominance of the elder things on Earth. If refused it will permit the officers to leave unharmed.


Officers can “contain” the Hermit by collapsing the cave entrance (this will only slow it down, it will eventually tunnel out), or collapsing the mansion itself (the Hermit will survive in near-death torpor). They can try to engage the Hermit in a stand-up fight, but are likely to suffer severe casualties. If they leave it alone, it contacts another national government and allies with them - the Handler is left to turn this seed into the international campaign it deserves.

ELDER HERMIT (Unthinkably ancient curmudgeon)

STR 29, CON 70, DEX 9, INT 50, POW 20
HP 50, WP 20
ARMOR: 10 points of rugose skin (see RESILIENT)
SKILLS: Flight 55%, Science (All) 99%, Swim 99%, Unnatural 85%
ATTACKS: Grasp and Tear 45%, Lethality 10% (see GRASP AND TEAR)
Ancient Arsenal 35% (melee) 50% (ranged) (see ANCIENT ARSENAL)
ENVIRONMENTAL IMMUNITY: The Elder Hermit’s rugged form can exist in nearly any climate, and is at home in outer space as it is in the lightless depths of the ocean. It never suffers damage from vast environmental changes.
FLIGHT: The five wings which unfold from the torso of the Elder Hermit allow it to fly through the air or the sea. It can fly approximately 60 MPH in the air and 30 MPH in the ocean.
GRASP AND TEAR: The Elder Hermit’s body is incredibly strong. When confronted with a biological threat, it is not above simply grabbing it in implacable tendrils and tearing it to pieces, with a Lethality attack of 10%.
ANCIENT ARSENAL: The Elder Hermit can use any of the devices found within its dwelling without paying any costs or rolling ritual activation. Refer to ARTIFACTS for specifics.
RESILIENT: A successful Lethality roll does not destroy the Elder Hermit, but inflicts HP damage equal to the Lethality rating.
SUPER-INTELLIGENCE: elder things’ five-lobed brains and alien science are a billion years in advance of humanity. The Elder Hermit may uses its INT test for any Science skill, or other human skill it has a few hours to study.
TORPOR: When reduced to 1 HP, the Elder Hermit enters a torpor which—due to its alien nature—is nearly impossible to differentiate from death. Only pre-knowledge of this state, or a critical success in an appropriate science skill roll, can detect the faint pulse of autonomic life.
RITUALS: Elder Sign (no WP cost), Raise from Essential Saltes, any others at the Handler’s discretion.
SAN LOSS: 1/1D10

ANOMALOCARIS (The original apex predator, bigger and better than ever before)

STR 25, CON 25, DEX 15, INT 5, POW 5
HP 25
SKILLS: Alertness 40%
ARMOR: 5 points of chitinous carapace
ATTACKS: Great Appendages 50%, d6 and Grapple (see GREAT APPENDAGES)
HUGE: Anomalocaris is a huge target. Lethality attacks automatically fail and inflict HP damage.
GREAT APPENDAGES: Anomalocaris uses its spiny tendrils to pierce/pin its prey. A creature hit by this attack is automatically grappled. Anomalocaris can make a roll to pin on the following round: if successful, it pulls its victim to the round stony maw on its underside and begins chewing on it for d10 damage every round.

HALLUCIGENIA (Giant velvet worm, correct side up this time)

STR 10, CON 10, DEX 15, INT 5, POW 5
HP 10
SKILLS: Alertness 40%
ATTACKS: Poison spines 40% d4 (see POISON SPINES)
POISON SPINES: Hallucigenia is covered with an array of keratin spines for defense. It is not aggressive, but if attacked in melee it can always make a poison spine attack as a reaction. The spines inject a fast-acting toxin with lethality 5% - in addition to the normal rules for poison, a spined creature must make a POWx5 test or suffer terrifying hallucinations for several minutes (1d6 SAN and automatic Temporary Insanity )


In Elder Cipher. Study time: months or years. Unnatural +15%, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering +15%, Elder Cipher +15% SAN loss 2D8.
A soccer ball sized dodecahedron made of rust-red clay. Its faces are smooth and impervious to harm, and can be rotated. With a little experimentation, the device can be activated to project three dimensional “pages” in the space above it. This is the Hermit’s journal.
The Hermit was very intelligent even by the standards of its race. To study the entire contents of the journal, written over millions of years, would be the work of a lifetime and almost certainly drive a human reader mad. These are the recollections of an ancient and alien mind, and the revelations gleaned from these schematics and musings would revolutionize any human science. More practically, it gives the reader a +20% bonus on rolls made to activate elder thing artifacts.
SPECIAL: Parts of the journal are displayed in wavelengths the human eye cannot capture. If the reader has some means of recording ultraviolet and infrared light, double the skill gain and san loss.
RECOMMENDED RITUALS: Elder sign, summon/bind shoggoth, raise from essential saltes, and almost any other.


An object the size and shape of a footlocker, made of some kind of glassy material with a mottled brown-grey hue. It weighs about 20kg. Its only features are heavy ridges around the middle, and a lens-like opening on one end.
The device can be activated by manipulating the ridges; treat this as a ritual activation roll. Once activated the box drains 10 WP from the operator (d6 SAN loss) and begins to emit a glow from the lens; further WP expended projects a thick blue vapour that sinks downward and dissolves any solid material it contacts, at a rate of 10 HP per WP spent. The vapour ignores armor. An elder thing is capable of fine adjustment and can use the device to project a laser-like beam, but a human operator can only turn it on or off.


This slate black stone cube has over two hundred holes and unusual pictoglyphs carved in its surface. These “buttons” allow an elder thing to trigger one of many effects. It can instantly erect a field of protective energy that provides an additional 12 points of Armor (when the shield is active, the elder thing cannot move). It can project a bolt of force inflicting a Lethality attack of 40% (a Dodge roll is permitted) and ignores all forms of damage resistance. It may be capable of other effects at the handler’s discretion.
The box is a relic from the war with the star-spawn, and is powered by an entity from Outside bound within. After ten uses its power source is expended and must be replaced. The Handler is left to determine how this is done, if it is possible to do at all.
A human can operate the cube by making a ritual activation roll and spending 6 WP (d4 SAN); this must be done per attempt.


This is an irregular vaguely knife-shaped shard of granite-like rock, grey-green in colour. It is capable of many effects. A single touch can drain a human target of 2D10 WP; inflict 1D10 HP damage; or knock a living creature (even a shoggoth) unconscious for 1D10 hours. It may have other functions as well.
As with the other artifacts, a human can operate a stone knife by making a ritual activation roll and spending 3 WP (1 SAN).


This was an entry to the 2019 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by William Roy.

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.