|Not to be confused with the DGML member, the Man in Black.|
Man in Black — Chris Huth
The Man in Black has no name, no history, no identity. He doesn't remember where he came from, who he was, who his family or friends were, or what his job was. It was all taken from him. He wants it back. His bizarre inverted Capras delusion works like this: His target stole his real body and his memories along with it, and shunted him into his current body. He plans to observe them—to learn about himself—and, when he has learned enough, take their place—his place. His delusion isn't helped by his ability to steal appearances. In reality, it works like this: he fixates on a person, who becomes the center of his delusions, and then uses his semi-consciously known tradecraft and espionage skills to learn about them before killing and replacing them, taking their appearance along the way. Then the cycle begins again. This scenario targets one character in particular for the Man in Black to focus on. This works best if you're running a session for a single player, or if you're running it alongside an scenario where one character has little to do.
Since the second contact may target an agent's home life, you can use it to flesh out the background of new agents or throw new mystery into the life of a newly-insane one. This scenario works better if the Agents share a home city, or if there's an urban area which they visit frequently—which means, in a standard airplane-hopping Delta Green game, the city where their family, friends and day jobs reside.
The Man in Black
Whoever or whatever he thinks he is right now, the Man in Black has a few distinctive features and a consistant modus operandi. These features might be the last vestiges of their original identity, or they might be broken fragments of the previous identities he's run through:
- He wears black shades. These get broken or lost frequently.
- He smokes.
- He wears a black suit jacket—the same one. It's worn but mended, slightly faded, and has a small white chemical stain in the upper left shoulder. Forensic analysis shows multiple significant overlapping blood splatters. Whether it fits depends on who he is right now.
- He absentmindedly tweets and whistles very accurate birdsong. Weird bird sounds outside the target's window might tip them off that they're being stalked.
Other things that might tip off the target to being stalked include:
- Brief glimpses of the Man in Black on his daily rounds, using very professional tailing procedures.
- Any counter-surveillance measures the target routinely takes might make contact—once.
- Missing personal objects and stolen mail, stolen on brush-passes or by break-ins.
- Family members or identified coworkers being gently interrogated by the Man in Black in casual encounters about family history or the target's personal habits.
- Simple, consice and traceless notes: YOU STOLE ME.
Once the Man in Black feels that he has 'reclaimed' enough facts about their past identity, he sets up an ambush. If the target lives with others, he isolates them by luring them into an industrial area, park or abandoned building. If they live alone, he breaks in while they're out and waits. He prefers strangulation by garrote, and eschews firearms, toxins or chemicals. It's up to the Keeper whether he uses Consume Likeness, Body Warping of Gorgoroth, or some other, perhaps unique, way of taking someone's appearance. However it works, the Man in Black requires skin-to-skin contact or fresh DNA before he can do it. Keep in mind which methods require disposing of a body. The Man in Black's DNA target is identical with the body he stole, but the aging markers on the cells are different. Most of them are remarkably newer. The Man in Black's fingerprints and retinal patterns are different, too. Both are not determined genetically, but are distinctly grown by each individual—even a clone wouldn't share the same pattern. This would lead some to assume that, somehow, the Man in Black is a heretofore-unknown twin of the replaced character, or the recipient of impossible surgery.
After the replacement, other evidence of the switch remains:
- He secretly keeps his dossier of collected information—photos, notes, daily routines, receipts, a reconstructed history—with him until he's confident he's memorized it all.
- Lack of deep memory. He assumes his amnesia is only temporary, and that it will return slowly now that he's back in his real body. So, he keeps covering his memory holes with his dossier and avoiding unexpected topics.
- The Man in Black gets his hair cut to match the replaced victim's haircut, or trim an incongruous leftover style, at an out of the way barbershop the victim's never been in before.
Someone might notice the absence of the stalker who had been dropping notes and following them around at odd hours. If the friends and family of the replaced react with fear or suggestions that he needs psychiatric help, his paranoia drives him to flee with whatever he can take and triggering the next cycle. The stalking period might be as little as a week, or it might be a few months of compressed time; it's up to the Keeper's dramatic needs. Practically, the stalking period would depend on how much access the Man in Black has to the target. Stalking a neighbour would be easier, and therefore faster, than living on the street, stealing equipment and dodging police.
This scenario refers to the Man in Black as male, but there's no reason for him to be. In fact, if the Man in Black changes sex, with a delay in their gender behavior catching up to the stolen identity's gender behavior, it can only add to the frisson.
First Contact - Introduction
At some point, the Agents run into the Man in Black as an incidental witness or background colour. He's a distracted young man with a black suit jacket, trying to repair his busted shades with black duct tape while whistling birdcalls or asking around for a cigarette. The Keeper could also retroactively insert the first contact as a memory after the second contact, if the player asks if anything from the second contact seems familiar.
Second Contact - Insinuation
The second contact occurs when the Man in Black replaces someone near the Agent. This could be someone they've just met, or an important part of their life outside of Delta Green. If you're running this concurrently with another scenario, the Man in Black replaces a witness in a current case. Alternately, a family member could have been converted. This works best if the character has already been established in-game, or if you're willing to distract the players from the obvious by introducing a more mundane family emergency or gathering for the Agent to deal with. He does a fairly good imitation of the family member. If the Agent is in their 20s or 30s, spouses or active parents are good targets. If the Agent is older and has teenage or young adult offspring, their unseen deaths might be the most poignant of all. Replaced siblings work for Agents of any age, and have the added bonus of in-laws. If a day job and co-workers have been featured in-game—sympathetically—then they can work too.
Third Contact - Escalation
This is where things get ugly. The Man in Black's delusions have completed their cycle, and he's gone back to square one: take back my old identity from the monster who stole it-: the Agent. If the Agent doesn't go on the offensive against the replaced individual, the Man in Black executes his usual tactics, depending on which he thinks will be more effective.
The Man in Black, Raindrop In the Cloud of Unknowing.
Attributes depend on the body he's taken at the moment, but INT, EDU and POW remain the same:
INT 17 EDU ? POWER 14
Combat skills equal the target Agent's +15%.
Sneaking and surveillance skills equal the target Agent's Listen, Spot Hidden and Tradecraft skills +10%.
Who is the Man in Black? Is he a Delta Green agent? A ghoul who ate too many Delta Green agents? A subject of project CATALYST or RECOIL? It's up to the Keeper.
If you think that's a cop-out, or want to tie it into your larger campaign, likely suspects are Darren Houghton from "Unfriendly" or another atavistic Serpent-Man, Van Dyson from "Nemo Solus Sapit", or a senile DeMonte gone off their rocker. If you want to play up the conspiracy angle, the Man in Black is a bizarre form of Manchurian Candidate, his seamlessly-internalized 'orders' transmitted to him through third-generation MKULTRA mind control programming.
- Realizing the truth about the Man in Black: 1/1d6 Sanity.
- Helping the Man in Black realize the truth: +1d3 Sanity.
- Killing the Man in Black: 0/1d6 Sanity, 0/1d4 Sanity if in defense of another
(see Delta Green: Eyes Only).