Delta Green

Delta Green is a setting for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game created by Adam Scott Glancy, Dennis Detwiller, and John Scott Tynes, a.k.a. the Delta Green Partnership, of the Seattle gaming house Pagan Publishing. Delta Green is set in the contemporary era, revolving around a highly secretive organization known as Delta Green, tasked with protecting the United States from paranormal and alien threats. Delta Green takes the classic setting of the Cthulhu Mythos from Call of Cthulhu and mashes it with conspiracy fiction.

Delta Green
Delta Green sourcebook cover
Designer(s)Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, John Scott Tynes
Publisher(s)Pagan Publishing
Arc Dream Publishing
Pelgrane Press (The Fall of DELTA GREEN)
Publication date1997 (Sourcebook)
2016 (Arc Dream Publishing) (Standalone RPG)
2018 (The Fall of DELTA GREEN)
Genre(s)Horror, Conspiracy fiction
System(s)Call of Cthulhu, GUMSHOE

In August 2011, Arc Dream Publishing and the Delta Green Partnership announced development of a standalone Delta Green role-playing game.[1] Funding began in 2015 and in 2016 the Agent's Handbook was released followed by the Handler's Guide in 2018. Arc Dream Publishing also made a partnership with Pelgrane Press to release a prequel named The Fall of DELTA GREEN using the Gumshoe System in 2018.[2]


Delta Green is a contemporary setting, starting in the mid-1990s with intermittent updates thereafter. The game revolves around a fictitious secret organization, created by the U.S. Government following the covert raid on the town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts mentioned in H.P. Lovecraft's The Shadow Over Innsmouth. The organization takes its name from its World War II era codename.

Delta Green agents work undercover through other U.S. government agencies, recruiting across a wide range including the FBI, ATF, CDC, and DEA. It appears to have "gone rogue" somewhere between the 1960s and the 1980s, following a disastrous operation in Cambodia and a "deal" struck by Reagan-era rivals in Majestic-12, ostensibly with "Greys".

The 2016 edition advances the history from 1997 (Original release of the sourcebook) to the current year. In 2001, the September 11 attacks greatly affects the Intelligence community, including Delta Green and MAJESTIC-12. Majestic was weakened and destroyed while Delta Green has been brought back into the government fold, given a budget and official standing, using the War on Terror as a cover to their operation. There's also a group of old guard agents that were opposed to the restructure of Delta Green, preferring to maintain the old conspiracy running, forming their own splinter group known as "The Outlaws", as opposed to the official "Program".

The group was introduced in the seventh issue of The Unspeakable Oath, a Call of Cthulhu fanzine created by Pagan Publishing, in early 1993. Four years later, the Delta Green supplement appeared and spawned a number of its own supplements and novels. The premise is similar to The X-Files (although the original incarnation of Delta Green preceded The X-Files by almost a year[3]). Both draw on federal alphabet soup folklore, UFO conspiracy theories and other modern legends.

The Delta Green supplement lays the groundwork for organized investigations into paranormal crime and horror, setting up the initial plot and providing players with their motivations and the resources they need to carry out their tasks. It also provides a source of replacements for characters who go mad or are killed. Canonical materials revolve around threats from the Cthulhu Mythos, but the framework is very flexible. Delta Green agents typically know little about the Mythos.


The original 1997 edition of Delta Green was a sourcebook for Call of Cthulhu, as such, it used the Basic Role-Playing system that Call of Cthulhu had.

The 2016 standalone edition takes the percentile dice of Basic Role-Playing and Call of Cthulhu mechanics and introduce modifications adapted for the setting. Player Characters are called Agents and the Game Masters Handlers.

Sanity is still rolled everytime characters meet unnatural horrors, but now also in violent situations and where the Agents feel helplessness. Agents can "adapt" to violence and helplessness after three failed SAN checks. Unnatural cannot be adapted. Excessive loss of Sanity can result in agents developing Mental disorders. Delta Green introduces the concept of Bonds, which are the friends and family of the Agents, and Motivations, the reasons why the Agents fight. The latter serve as character-expanding tool for players and a sanity-regulation mechanic, as they can be used to half the SAN loss. At the point of their relationship with bonds, if the relationship points fall, the connection with the bond will be crossed out. With the bond mechanics, the Home scenes are also introduced. These are between-mission vignettes focused on the everyday lives of the Agents. They can be about building relationships with bonds, investigating the unnatural, or going to the therapists, among others.

Since player characters are members of the U.S Government, there are new rules to acquire gear and equipment, they can be both requisitioned from the organization the Agent is part of. Requisitioning requires the skill Bureaucracy, the more expensive and advanced equipment the harder will be to make a roll, failure might even result in the Agent getting blacklisted, fired or even arrested. It also possible to use the Agent's personal wealth, especially for illegal objects, however it will risk the relationship with bonds.

Combat was also streamlined to be quicker, more tactical and deadly. The main mechanic combat mechanic introduced is Lethality, weapons that deal damage above 2d10 have a "lethality rating" from 10% to 90%, if the percentile roll is below the rating the targeted enemy dies instantly, otherwise the damage dealt is the sum of the result of the percentile dice.[4]

The Fall of DELTA GREEN uses Pelgrane Press' own Gumshoe System, used in other Pelgrane games such as The Esoterrorists, Fear Itself and Trail of Cthulhu.[5] Differently from the standard D100/BRP derivate that both Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green use, the Gumshoe system is focused in going from scene to scene gathering clues and interpreting them, using minimal die rolls and when necessary only a small 6-sided dice.[6]

Fall of DELTA GREEN also introduces new mechanics for the Gumshoe formula, adapting the new rules introduced by the standalone edition of Delta Green: Bonds and Motivations complement the sanity system (Itself based on the one used in Trail of Cthulhu), adaptation to SAN loss was included, Revelation works similarly to the "traumatic background" in Delta Green's character creation and a few new abilities were added, most prominently was the ability of "Agency" to represent the capability of the Player Character to manipulate their employing agency's (Such as the CIA, MACV-SOG or the Federal Bureau of Narcotics) resources in their investigations. [7]


The setting was first introduced in 1992 in the seventh issue of The Unspeakable Oath, Pagan Publishing's Call of Cthulhu's fanzine, in the scenario Convergence, which would be later republished in the first Delta Green sourcebook. The scenario introduced Delta Green as a loose organization within the US Government dedicated to secretly fight the creatures from the Cthulhu Mythos.[8] Convergence was also followed by a sequel named Transference published in the Volume 2 Issue 2 of the Cyberpunk 2020 fanzine The Interface, although later published material disregards this scenario.

Pagan Publishing would then expand the setting resulting in the publishing of the Delta Green sourcebook in 1997.

In 1998, Delta Green won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1997.[9] The setting also won two awards in 2000: Best Game-Related Novel of 1999 for Delta Green: The Rules of Engagement and Best Roleplaying Supplement of 1999 for Delta Green: Countdown.

On May 1, 2006, the Pagan Publishing homepage was updated with an announcement describing the reasons for the delay of the new release of Delta Green, and stating that the d20 edition of the game should be available in time for Gen Con Indy. While there were a few show copies available there were no copies available for sale to the public as most of them were "still being shipped from China".[10] As of May 2007 the book, which is a reprint of the 1997 book with the addition of D20 stats, was finally reprinted and was available in stores.[10]

A hardback compilation of the three Delta Green Eyes Only chapbooks, along with additional material, was released in November 2007. The book was published in cooperation with Arc Dream Publishing. The entire 1,000 copy print run was sold out by February 2008.[11] The hardback edition of Delta Green: Eyes Only was a finalist for the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Supplement of 2007. A softback version of the compilation followed in September 2008 and is available to retail distribution.

Pagan Publishing and Arc Dream Publishing began work in mid-2008 on a new sourcebook, Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity, which was released as a limited-edition hardback in June 2010, to be followed by a softcover retail edition.[12][13] As of August 2011 the entire 1,000-copy print run of the hardback limited edition was sold out. In August 2011, Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity won silver (2nd place) Ennie Awards for Best Writing and Best Adventure.[14]

Arc Dream Publishing released an ebook edition of the novel Delta Green: Denied to the Enemy in January 2011.[15]

As of October 29, 2015, a Kickstarter Campaign by Arc Dream Publishing funded a series of new Delta Green products, converting the setting into a standalone role-playing game.[16] On February 26, 2016 a quick-start rulebook Delta Green: Need to Know was released for free download with the Agent's Handbook following soon after on April 27, 2016. The Handler's Guide was released October 31, 2017 in PDF and on March 8, 2018 a compilation of several other Delta Green adventures released by Arc Dream was released in only one book Delta Green: A Night at the Opera, containing the adventures Reverberations, Viscid, Music from a Darkened Room, Extremophilia, Star Chamber and Observer Effect.

In February 2018, Pelgrane Press released The Fall of DELTA GREEN, the Vietnam Era game financed on the 2015 Kickstarter as a GUMSHOE counterparent to Delta Green's Basic Role-Playing.[17][16][2]

On July 9, 2018 returning co-creator John Scott Tynes started a Kickstarter Campaign to fund Delta Green: The Labyrinth, a new sourcebook containing "new threats, allies, and mysteries to deepen the terrors of your campaign."[18]

In 2018 Delta Green won six ENnies awards. Gold in Best Rules, Best Production Values for Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game and Best E-Book for Delta Green: A Night at The Opera categories; while Silver in Product of the Year and Best Game for Delta Green: The Roleplaying Game and Best Adventure for Delta Green: A Night at The Opera.

In April 18, 2019, the sourcebook Delta Green: The Complex was released, containing information on federal agencies and related professions that didn't appeared in the Agent's Handbook, such as the ATF, NSA, Booz Allen Hamilton, United States Coast Guard among other federal law enforcement, intelligence, military and private contractors agencies that work for the US government.[19] Later in April 24, the collection of scenarios Delta Green: Control Group was released in PDF format[20], the scenarios in Control Group are meant to be introductory for both players and their characters, the scenarios use pre-made characters that are not in the Delta Green conspiracy.


Pagan Publishing game books

  • Delta Green (February 1, 1997), the basic sourcebook; ISBN 1-887797-08-4.
  • Delta Green: Countdown (1999), the 2000s sourcebook, by John Tynes, Dennis Detwiller and Adam Scott Glancy, ISBN 1-887797-12-2.
  • Delta Green Eyes Only Volume 1: Machinations of the Mi-go ISBN 1-887797-13-0.
  • Delta Green Eyes Only Volume 2: The Fate.
  • Delta Green Eyes Only Volume 3: Project Rainbow ISBN 1-887797-21-1.
  • Delta Green (May 2007), the basic sourcebook with dual BRP/D20 stats; ISBN 1-887797-23-8.
  • Delta Green: Eyes Only (November 2007), a compilation of the Eyes Only chapbooks with additional material; ISBN 1-887797-27-0.
  • Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity (2010), a sourcebook detailing five new evils, by Warren Banks, Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, Kenneth Hite, Shane Ivey, and Greg Stolze, illustrated by Todd Shearer; ISBN 1-887797-31-9.

Arc Dream Publishing game books

  • Delta Green: Black Sites (Hardback) (April 2020 PDF and Print);
  • Delta Green: The Labyrinth (Hardback) (12 November 2019 PDF), sourcebook with new enemy groups and allies; by Jonh Scott Tynes; ISBN 978-1940410487
  • Delta Green: A Victim of the Art (Paperback) (11 June 2019 PDF; POD), by Dennis Detwiller; ISBN 978-1940410388
  • Delta Green: Control Group (Hardback) (24 April, 2019 PDF; 19 August 2019 Print), A collection of original adventures to introduce players to Delta Green; by Shane Ivey, Greg Stolze; ISBN 978-1-940410-44-9
  • Delta Green: The Complex (Paperback) (18 April 2019 PDF; POD); by Christopher Gunning; ISBN 978-1-940410-41-8
  • Delta Green: Need to Know (Quickstart Rulebook Only) (6 November, 2018), by Shane Ivey and Bret Kramer; ISBN 978-1729257623
  • Delta Green: Sweetness (Paperback) (27 March 2018 PDF; POD), by Dennis Detwiller; ISBN 978-1940410388
  • Delta Green: Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game (Slipcase) (9 March 2018 PDF; July 23, 2018 Print), by Dennis Detwiller; Adam Scott Glancy; Kenneth Hite; Shane Ivey; Greg Stolze (Author); ISBN 978-1940410326
  • Delta Green: A Night at the Opera (Hardback) (8 March 2018 PDF; 30 November 2018 Print), by Dennis Detwiller, Shane Ivey, Greg Stolze; ISBN 978-1940410319
  • Delta Green: Viscid (Paperback) (2 January 2018 PDF; POD), by Dennis Detwiller; ISBN 978-1940410302
  • Delta Green: Music From a Darkened Room (Paperback) (18 October 2017 PDF; POD), by Shane Ivey; ISBN 978-1-940410-29-6
  • Delta Green: Extremophilia (Paperback) (21 September 2017 PDF, POD), by Shane Ivey; ISBN 978-1-940410-27-2
  • Delta Green: Handler's Guide (Hardback) (31 October 2017 PDF; 1 July, 2018 Print), the Game Master-only book with lore information and enemy statistics; by Dennis Detwiller, Adam Scott Glancy, Kenneth Hite, Shane Ivey, Greg Stolze; ISBN 978-1-940410-28-9
  • Delta Green: Observer Effect (Paperback) (13 December, 2016 PDF; POD); ISBN 978-1-940410-25-8
  • Delta Green: The Star Chamber (Paperback) (25 July, 2016 PDF; POD), scenario by Greg Stolze; ISBN 978-1-940410-26-5
  • Delta Green: Lover in the Ice (27 May, 2016 PDF), PDF scenario by Caleb Stokes
  • Delta Green: Agent's Handbook (Hardback) (27 April, 2016 PDF; 1 August 2016 Print), players-only core rulebook; ISBN 1-940410-21-5
  • Delta Green: Kali Ghati (Paperback) (27 April, 2016 PDF; POD), scenario by Shane Ivey; ISBN 978-1-940410-24-1
  • Delta Green: Need to Know with Handler's Screen (27 April 2016 PDF; 1 August 2016 Print), by Shane Ivey and Bret Kramer; ISBN 978-1940410203
  • Delta Green: The Last Equation (Paperback) (4 April 2011 PDF; POD), by Dennis Detwiller; ISBN 978-1940410333

Pelgrane Press game books of The Fall of Delta Green

  • The Fall of DELTA GREEN (February, 2018); ISBN 978-1-912324-00-2

Additional material by the original creators

Scenarios by Dennis Detwiller, published online and (since Sep 2014) through Patreon:

  • Music from a Darkened Room (2005)
  • The Last Equation (2010)
  • Future/Perfect (parts 1 through 4 as of 2012)
  • Viscid (Jan 31, 2016)
  • Sweetness (Feb 28, 2016)

Adam Scott Glancy wrote a regular column titled "Directives from A-Cell" in the first six issues of Worlds of Cthulhu magazine. The column was then transferred to The Unspeakable Oath from Arc Dream Publishing, starting with issue 20. The latter magazine has featured a lot of Delta Green-related articles since 1993.

Other publishers

Fantasy Flight Games Live Action RPG supplements:

  • Cthulhu Live: Shades of Gray (2000); ISBN 1-887911-92-8.
  • Cthulhu Live: Delta Green (2000); ISBN 1-887911-43-X.

Ronin Arts:

Pyramid Magazine:

  • Green Box (8/21/02 & 10/9/02), with d20 stats.
  • Jack Frost by Shane Ivey (12/24/99 & 12/31/99), a scenario.

Dungeon Magazine:

  • PX Poker Night (issue 96), scenario with d20 stats.


  • Dia de Los Muertos, issue 52.


  • Delta Green: Alien Intelligence (Tynes Cowan Corp, March 1998), anthology, ISBN 1-887797-09-2.
  • Delta Green: Dark Theatres (Armitage House, 1999), anthology, ISBN 1-887797-17-3.
  • Delta Green: The Rules of Engagement (Tynes Cowan Corp, 2000), novel by John Tynes, ISBN 1-887797-16-5.
  • Delta Green: Denied to the Enemy (Tynes Cowan Corp, distributed by Impressions, 2003), novel by Dennis Detwiller, ISBN 1-887797-24-6.
    • Ebook edition (Arc Dream Publishing, 2011), ISBN 978-0-9832313-0-1.
  • Delta Green: Through a Glass, Darkly ebook edition (Arc Dream Publishing, 2011), novel by Dennis Detwiller, ISBN 978-0-9832313-6-3.
  • Delta Green: Strange Authorities (Arc Dream Publishing, 2012), collection of previously published fiction by John Tynes, ISBN 978-0-9853175-0-8.
  • Delta Green: Tales from Failed Anatomies (Arc Dream Publishing, 2014), collection of short stories by Dennis Detwiller. ISBN 978-1-940410-08-1 (hardback edition).
    • Paperback edition, ISBN 978-1-940410-07-4.
    • Ebook edition, ISBN 978-1-940410-09-8.
  • Delta Green: Extraordinary Renditions (Arc Dream Publishing, 2015), anthology.
  • Delta Green: The Way It Went Down (Arc Dream Publishing, 2018), collection of short stories by Dennis Detwiller. ISBN 978-1-940410-36-4 (hardback edition)
    • Paperback edition, ISBN 978-1-940410-35-7
    • Ebook edition, ISBN 978-1-940410-34-0


See also

The following novels and short stories share similar backgrounds to Delta Green:

Other role-playing games with similar premise:


  1. "Unspeakable! Special Presentation: The Unspeakable Oath and the Delta Green RPG". Unspeakable! Special Presentation: The Unspeakable Oath and the Delta Green RPG.
  3. Delta Green/Frequently Asked Questions Archived 2006-03-24 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Delta Green: Agent's Handbook. Arc Dream Publishing. 2016. ISBN 1-940410-21-5.
  7. The Fall of DELTA GREEN. Pelgrane Press. 2018. ISBN 978-1-912324-00-2.
  8. Tynes, Jonh (1992). "Convergence". The Unspeakable Oath. Seattle: Pagan Publishing.
  9. "Origins Award Winners (1997)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-31. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  10. Pagan Publishing
  11. Delta Green Eyes Only Archived 2008-02-25 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ArcDream's Upcoming Page
  13. Arc Dream Publishing Online Store
  14. "2011 Ennie Awards" (PDF). 2011 Ennie Awards.
  19. ""Delta Green: The Complex" Now Available". Delta Green. 2019-04-18. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
  20. "Download "Control Group" Now". Delta Green. 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2019-04-25.
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