Modern Horror RPGs


Awesome Delta Green art!

About right now, two of my favourite horror RPGs – Delta Green and KULT are coming out in new guises. Delta Green recently finished a successful Kickstarter and the KULT kickstarter just started.

I always thought that they were kinda similar in scope. Despite vastly different mythologies, they cater to the same style of adventures.

Yeah, I know, some Kultists mean that CoC/DG is about cosmic horror while Kult is about personal horror, but I’d argue that both game systems can be used for either type of game. 

A few years back, I wrote a few posts on the Yog-Sothoth forums about using the CoC/Delta Green rules for Kult style adventures, including some ideas for a mental balance mechanic for CoC. Sadly, that project petered out to nothing as I got absorbed in other games since my player group weren’t into playing modern horror games at the time.

When thinking back, there were a bunch of similarly themed games that I bought in about the same time frame – Kult, Cthulhu Now, Dark Conspiracy, Delta Green. I remember them coming out almost simultaneously, but they actually came over a period of years:

  • Cthulhu Now (1987 1st ed, 1992 2nd ed)
  • Kult 1991 (1st Swedish ed, 1993 1st US ed)
  • Dark Conspiracy 1991
  • Delta Green 1997

We played some Cthulhu Now, but my crew always seemed to prefer the classic style 1920s game and to be honest, that Cthuhu Now book is rather lackluster. We also played some Kult (1st Swedish ed) and while I loved the Kult mythology, I always preferred straight BRP/d100 rules over the BRP derived variant that Kult was using. I also bought GDWs Dark Conspiracy game that was a biy more on the gonzo and combat side, but had some nice ideas that could be lifted out. And finally, when Delta Green came out in 1997 I knew I was home. This was a game that I could utilize for all my modern horror RPG needs. Alas, by then, our RPG group had been split up and people were busy being adult (or trying anyway). So, we never got to play DG. Still, I kept reading and collecting the books as they came out.

The last few years I have also been sketching on a Delta Green campaign incorporating elements from the Kult universe. And then, out of the blue sky, within months of each other, there are kickstarters for new editions of both these awesome games! Very expensive kickstarters also, I might add…

Anyway, after some serious consideration and wallowing between which system to go for, this week I decided to go… wait for it… Delta Green!

Why? Mainly the game system. I love the d100/BRP engine and all games in the family are more or less compatible, meaning that I can move over gear, weapons, monsters, rules, spells etc. The new Delta Green RPG is based on the OGL of Mongoose’s Legend system, which I like a lot. The new Kult edition on the other hand is based on Apocalypse World, which is a game I know very little about. These days, time for gaming and game prep is precious, so nor having to learn a new system is a huge boon for me as well as my game group (as they might be the laziest rules reading bastards on the planet). So, staying in the d100/BRP fold makes great sense for us.

I will probably still get the new Kult edition to mine for ideas, but not during the KS. Hell, it’s a Swedish game so I’ll probably just pop down to my favourite FLGS and grab a Kult book off the shelf and head down to a coffee shop to browse through my new book- a luxury I almost never experience these days of online shopping.

I also have a few adventure book projects cooking on my hard drive:

  • “Natasha says” – Originally written by me for the Swedish 1e Kult rules, this adventure takes place in Malmoe, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark. A detective murder story with supernatural elements, where the players will slowly discover that things aren’t what they appear to be.
  • “Longpig” – Originally a Kult adventure, written in french by Romain Grolleau. I have gotten the author’s permission to use the adventure as well as the art to do a Delta Green conversion. This is a 100+ page beast featuring murder, cannibal cults and other nasty surprises for the players. You will like it. Also, this is what I will baptize the new DG rules with.

Stay tuned for more posts and articles on modern horror roleplaying, and while you’re waiting, be sure to check in some inspirational movies/TV-series:

  • True Detective (1st season)
  • X-files (new or old, doesn’t matter)
  • Supernatural (the earlier seasons)
  • Jacob’s Ladder (very Kultish movie)
  • Seven (need I say more)
  • American Horror Story

Also, here’s some useful links for Delta Green from the DG section of this blog!