To the Tune of "Greensleeves"

Objective

A Friendly (Dr. Tobias Riordan) who’s remained out of the loop since the 2000s has asked to come back into the fold due to a threat to his family. Your goal is to secure his granddaughter (Genevieve “Jenny” Riordan, junior, medical major at Johns Hopkins University) and confirm her safety to ensure his compliance.

Background

Dr. Riordan is an academic who specializes in art as a political weapon and occult symbolism. In the 90s he was involved in decrypting and contextualizing Neo-Nazi/right wing/domestic terrorist symbolism and propaganda. He was brought in as a Friendly when his research made him aware of the Karotechia’s recruitment efforts and ties to domestic hate groups, applying his help to identify and trace origins of occult symbols. He understands Delta Green to be a benevolent conspiracy though is less sure of their effectiveness in the modern age. Riordan only drifted away from DG because someone lost his number in the restructuring and they haven’t been contracting his help. He currently has a comfortable living as a consultant for activist groups dedicated to combating hate by helping decode terminology and symbols.
 
Jenny Riordan is on excellent terms with her grandfather. The two have bonded in the past over their love of art and their academic drives. People describe her as reliable, blunt and dedicated with excellent grades. Jenny blends in with the medical major crowd and is studying for a specialty in trauma surgery. She has a small pool of friends (all medical), mentors and no known enemies.
 
When Riordan last visited, he noticed a Yellow Sign framed on her wall that she ignored when he tried to bring it up.
 
Jenny (along with the rest of her dorm) is being targeted by an entity from Carcosa (L.G. Reynolds). Riordan was familiar enough with the dangers of the symbol to break his silence. Using illicit terms on an unsecured phone line put him in contact with Agent Tyson who’s been negotiating Riordan’s return. Tyson is the handler for the PCs and currently with Riordan at a hotel in Baltimore for the debriefing.

Lyle Gregory Reynolds

Reynolds was born in Baltimore in 1897 and was the middle child of an upper-class family. His presence was ignored and he was given free rein to do as he pleased so long as nobody got pregnant. Not assertive or especially charming, his peers pushed him around until he found solace as a young man in books and the budding Jazz Age. Reynolds threw himself into musical theory, jazz cigarettes and live shows by black performers. At first, he lurked on the fringes of the budding scene. Then in 1920 he fell in with a group of dilettantes back from Paris talking about a revolutionary new ideology and a lost city.
After two years of research and amateur occult practice, Reynolds disappeared and was reborn in Carcosa. Giving up his old life, he assumed the identity of L.G. Reynolds: decadent musician, party animal, aspiring virtuoso of the King’s court. The years have been a whirlwind of pleasure and mindless self-indulgence, but deep-down Reynolds is a lonely vain soul. In his mind, the citizens are poseurs, not as deep or hip as him.
 
Reynolds wants to bring new blood to Carcosa to join him, to be better than everyone else. Reynolds is also unaware that 73 spent years outside of Earth have left him insane. He’s used his ego as a bulwark against the City, remaining an independent entity at the cost of his sense of reason. Reynold's narcissism grounds him to the extent that he’s coherent and “collected”. Outside of that, he’s desperately lonely and struggling to continue his "cool" persona. In person he’s manic, frazzled and crackling with powers he doesn’t exactly comprehend.

Reynold's return from the City has left him half-bound to what is now dorms for medical students. He’s imposed on space to add his apartment to the architecture though it’s not clear to the outside. Inside there is a strange stretch of blank wall on the third floor by Jenny’s room. The apartment is accessible only through ducts or damaging the walls of the dorm. Reynolds uses his half-bound nature to travels into people’s rooms. He selects them for companionship by defacing their room with Yellow Sign in some way. At night, he plays orchestral phonograph records and sings into the air ducts to manipulate his selected companions into joining him. using the Sign as a hypnotic suggestion and the music as a lure. He hasn’t yet been successful and has been considering dropping the Pied Piper act to kidnap people.

Investigation

Agent Tyson only knows what Riordan has told him. If he knew more, Tyson would be handling this with seriousness with A Cell’s blessing. As it stands, he’s treating it as a trivial favor. If you question Riordan, he’s forthcoming with a basic story. He saw dangerous esoteric symbols in the dorm and wants Jenny's safety. If pushed, he’ll admit in hushed confidence that he can’t talk about what he saw or share further details for fear of spreading an influence. If things get bad and the PCs push, he’ll likely help them in the field because everyone is in too deep.
 
If the players need cover, flashing a federal badge or imposing force of will can do the job. They can also use Riordan as cover.
 
The dorm is a five-story block of co-ed single apartments. Investigating reveals that people hearing music and baritone singing late at night, attributed to inconsiderate students. There is also an increased rate of sleepwalking, strange unconscious behavior and a general atmosphere of restlessness. This is blamed on stress. The PCs are capable of seeing the Yellow Sign (0/1 SAN check). The students living with them cannot see the Sign or acknowledge the music. They become agitated when pressed despite humming the music (1/1d4 SAN checks, Helplessness). This includes Jenny who is generally willing to cooperate and answer questions. Despite this, she'll refuse to leave, citing her studies and dismissing Riordan’s fears.
 
Four good avenues of progression are: 

  • Investigate the music (“someone is blasting a LP and singing along at 3 AM, I can hear it in the vents when I’m trying to study”). 
  • Studying the history of the hall. It was once a three-floor tenement building for bohemians until the 1970s. There are also articles on Reynold’s disappearance).
  • Investigating the fact that the building is bigger on the outside (Alertness check, give information based on further probing or INTx5 observations).
  • Staying at night to witness the music. The music is audible throughout the whole building through the vents. Exploring the vents will allow the players to find Reynolds' apartment. His apartment is baroque, bohemian and messy with clutter, art and instruments.

 
Keeping Tyson and Riordan informed will provoke paranoia and worry, causing an increase in DG attention and reluctant Riordan to offer breadcrumbs of further information.

Escalation

The thrust of the scenario is for the players to dig deep into the “hauntings” and realize the scope of what’s going on before confronting it over a few days. This scenario takes a loose approach to plotting, relying on responding to your players' reactions to the information they learn. That said, throwing in an unwanted escalation or twist can help. Suggestions include:
 

  • A Cell (by way of Tyson) demands liquidation of all affected students despite Riordan’s protests.
  • The players decide to kidnap Jenny.
  • Reynolds does take someone in the night.
  • Riordan helps the players but bungles the execution.

Endgame

If Reynolds takes someone, this doesn’t stop his plans. He will continue until he or the building is destroyed. Killing/banishing Reynolds returns 1d6 Sanity and causes his apartment to violently return to the City, closing the link.
 
Failure to help Jenny means Riordan withdraws his offer.
 
If Riordan and Jenny survive and stay friendly, they'll make good future allies. He'll provide information and she can provide medical care.
 
Tyson won’t bear grudges but will report insubordinate behavior to A-Cell. If things get particularly bad, the dorm may be destroyed later to purge the taint.
 
The players are now affected by the call of Carcosa, drawing the eye of the King and all that entails.

Stats

Dr. Tobias Riordan

(late 50s, black man, reasonable, hiding his fears)

STR 10 CON 10 DEX 10 INT 17 POW 16 CHA 14
HP 10, WP 16, SAN 72, BP 64
SKILLS: Art (history, theory) 75%, History 50%, HUMINT 50%, Occult 60%, Science (Political) 45%, Unarmed Combat 50%, Unnatural 10%
Attacks: Fists 50%, 1d4-1

Jenny Riordan

(early 20s, black woman, fatigued but friendly)

STR 10 CON 10 DEX 15 INT 16 POW 15 CHA 12
HP 10, WP 15, SAN 70, BP 60
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Dodge 40%, First Aid 60%, Medicine 50%, Science (Biology) 50%, Surgery 50%.

Lyle Gregory Reynolds

(mid-20s, white man, gangly but slouched, manic with a rasping voice)

STR 9 CON 13 DEX 15 INT 12 POW 10 CHA 6
HP 11, WP 10
SKILLS: Alertness 40%, Art (Music) 60%, Dodge 30%, Persuade 40%, Melee Combat 40%, Stealth 40%, Unarmed Combat 50%
Attacks: Fists 50% 1d4
Ornate Flick Knife 40% 1d6
Out of Sync: There is a 60% chance that on a successful attack Reynolds will be incorporeal. The attack will pass right through him (1/1d6 Unnatural Sanity check when seen for the first time). Each attack avoided further grounds him to our reality and reduces this defense by 5% until he’s damaged. When hurt, this ability resets to full strength.
Virtuoso: A successful Art (Music) check allows Reynolds to sing. His song targets all people who have lost Sanity to the Yellow Sign or experienced prolonged exposure to Carcosa. His song inflicts a -10% penalty on all actions to resist or oppose Reynolds as long as they can hear him sing. Temporary deafness, isolation or plugging one’s ears will suffice for breaking immersion. On a critical success, victims are stunned for 1d4 rounds and are compelled to walk to Reynolds. On a critical failure they are immune for the rest of combat. Reynolds’ song lasts for 1d6 rounds.

Lyle Gregory Reynolds’ Notebook

In English. Study time: days. Art (Music) skill +5%. Occult +5%. Unnatural +5%. SAN loss 1d6.
The notebook is a collection of hundreds of notes spanning decades that detail Reynold’s life in the city. It also contains musical notation, lyrics, none-more-hip posturing and musings on musical theory. Reynolds compensates for lack of literary talent with passion and compelling descriptions of the city. Attunes the reader to the pull of Carcosa.

Excerpt

Where royal galas are held each night
And music flows on the winds alight
Over the streets warmed by soft gaslight
Is the seat of the king, lost Carcosa.
 
Sing, home of the golden crown.
Sing, place of the play renowned.
Sing, memories lost and found.
By the shores of the lake, sweet Carcosa.

Credits

This is an entry to the 2018 Delta Green shotgun scenario contest, written by James Estes.

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.