RPPR Episode 133: God’s Teeth Campaign Post Mortem

summoningCaleb’s Delta Green campaign, God’s Teeth, has been concluded but there’s still a lot to talk about. From the opening raid on the orphanage to Working Group Masticate’s last scene, we discuss what worked in the game and what didn’t. How did the new rules for Delta Green, like bonds and crippling injuries affect the campaign? Caleb also explains how he came up with every scenario for God’s Teeth. If you enjoyed this campaign, consider supporting Delta Green by buying the Agent’s Handbook or any of its other fine products.

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Song: Atone by Chinese Hackers.

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  1. Awesome, I was just thinking today about a Gods Teeth Post Mortem. I’m glad it didn’t slip through the cracks with all the Gencon stuff.

  2. it’s interesting that you say that Delta Green plots are a more sophisticated/high-concept than conventional Cthulhu games, because even though I’ve been listening to you nerds play DG for, uh…six years now? that thought only first popped into my skull while listening to those DG panels from this GenCon. I think I’d always lazily/unthinkingly/affectionately classified it as “X-Files but with the kind of aliens I find interesting,” but you’re right that it deals with…like…an altogether weirder but simultaneously more science-flavored take on the Miffos than often do the classic “you see a monster and know its name and Monster Manual stats” CoC adventures. weird that it can do that while still being a very firefight-friendly game. just…short firefights! as observed here.

    far and away my favorite element of God’s Teeth was the ripped from the headlines angle, and I loved that explicit “the drone pilot just assumed that he could get revenge on his commander because of course his boss would be able to see the sigil, but actually-of-course his boss didn’t know shit and just farmed all that KNOWLEDGE stuff out.”

    I get four-dimensional tube shivers when I try and grasp exactly how the agents became the Teeth. like…because the ritual was done, they had always been the Teeth? starting from that moment? yechhh. nasty. great stuff! you are a master of the terrible fate and the grim implication, Caleb!

  3. A hell of a campaign, I’ve been impressed pretty much all the way. The hello kitty folder will forever be a touchstone moment of RPPR history.

    You guys definitely need to let Caleb slowly eviscerate your characters’ minds and bodies again sometime.

  4. Yeah *shame*… I regretted that post the second I hit the “post comment” button… I had just learned my step-dad had cancer and there was no “delete post” button… it was a shitty day.

  5. Hi. Hi Caleb.

    Yeah you know this comment is coming. Old World of Darkness explicitly states that the worst of human history (formation of Nazi party, the Holocaust, Manhattan Project and dropping nuclear bombs in WW2, 9/11) is caused by humans solely.

    The as written “supernatural community”, because they are/were humans at base, get swept up in political and religious movements like fish dragged by the tide.

    Ultimately, humans are responsible for the worst evil. There is no supernatural excuse.

  6. Great insights into a great campaign. That first episode, especially, is surely one of the all-time RPPR greatest hits. Just one solid gold scene after another.

    I really liked the fundamental design of the scenarios, combining real-world awfulness, a single paranioa-inducing element of cutting-edge modern technology, and a dollop of Mythos weirdness to exaggerate the situation into horror. It was like a workshop on how to write contemporary horror. I sure hope Arc Dream bites on publishing ’em all!

    Speaking of which, if you don’t mind a little inside baseball, what sort of format did your pitches take? Scenario outlines? Paragraph-long synopses? Bullet-point lists? The wanna-be freelancer would love to know.

  7. I like that you revisited the “trigger warning” from the beginning of the campaign. There were some (generally guarded) criticisms of this tactic, but it’s worth doing to prepare listeners properly. I have had difficult experiences in my life, and honestly did find some of the situations evocative of those experiences to the degree that I had to stop listening and come back to it later.

  8. @Glen. I agree. Some of these episodes were HARD to listen to. I have had a trauma free life and I still had to turn the APs of every now and then and come back to them later.

  9. Do you guys have an episode where you discussed Delta Green fiction? I’m interested in reading some of the books, but I’m not sure where to start.

  10. Author

    Here’s a complete list of DG’s published works: http://www.delta-green.com/games-and-fiction/

    If you want the meta plot for DG, as it were, read Delta Green (the original book), Countdown, then the novella Rules of Engagement (inside Strange Authorities) then Through A Glass Darkly. That will lay out the major characters and how DG went from the cowboy era to the current era.

    Denied to the Enemy is a WW2 era novel that stands alone but is worth reading.

    Alien Intelligence, Dark Theaters, Tales from Failed Anatomies, and Extraordinary Renditions are all short story anthologies. The stories vary in quality, but tend towards very good and worth reading. Strange Authorities has a few other stories in it, but Rules of Engagement is the majority of the book.

  11. Can you say when the scenario where you did not have a briefing will be released?

  12. God’s Teeth was awesome. Really enjoyed every episode. So much so that I stole the first two episodes and the framing device to use with my group. God’s Legs was amazingly creepy.

  13. As one of the first ones into that original “trigger warning” conversation, I gotta say, I didn’t really mean anything like “political” about it, but it was at a time when the phrase was hitting a saturation where it started to lose a lot of meaning, and APs are one of those new media things which have I think a very conversational or familiar (albeit one-sided) feeling – where I feel like I’m just sitting at the table same as anyone else. And my original comments we basically what I would have actually said if Caleb had given his multiple various warnings to my face. But, y’know, listening to him talk about it in the post-mortem is good, because I also feel like Caleb wasn’t really putting any agenda into it, he just genuinely has empathy for potential listeners and doesn’t want to bring anybody down out of the blue – he’s doing something I think people need to just do more and not be an asshole. But sometimes it’s hard to do that “not being an asshole” philosophy because we have, y’know, deeper issues of language and context to get through. I still think there are more optimal ways to say it (Drunk and Ugly’s YT LP of “I have no mouth and I must scream” has I think one of the best “content warnings” you can do, every episode starts with “Yo, shit’s bad, we warned you” on an intro title), but I hope I said at the time and I say again now, I’m super cool with the sentiment. And I can kind of understand that writing from a real place thing too; it’s not quite the same, but I can’t tell you I have heard a lot of “Omega, don’t you have a phobia of bees? Why are there so many bees in this game?” from my players.

    Also, the original descriptions of a lot of these episodes did not do them justice. I kind of got away from God’s Teeth after like, episode 4 because of a lot of delay between episodes and God’s Breath not immediately catching my attention like the earlier ones, but actually hearing you guys talk about the last couple sessions is got me way more interested in them, I think I’m gonna go back and listen to everything in order again. The thing with like, the yellow sign in phone apps is like 50% of the way to my current Eclipse Phase campaign.

  14. I really, really liked the God’s Teeth(nee: Teeth of God) Delta Green episodes. I have always been a big fan of DG, and I’m glad Caleb came up with a really good way to tie the narrative together.

    God’s Eye with the WTF Stakeout stituation and Tom’s Astrophysicist was a memorable scene.

    Great roleplaying, all around! I really came to hate and dread Aiden appearances. I knew that guy was up to no good. 🙂

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this campaign from start to finish. Integrating modern technology into the mythos and showing how it could be twisted or utterly unhelpful gave fresh life to older ideas. Part of me is disappointed the Red Market’s Kickstarter was so overwhelmingly successful because I know it reduces the chances of seeing God’s Teeth in print anytime soon.

  16. During your campaign Caleb ,you said that you can be adapted to Violence or Helplessness ,but not both. Reading over the Agents Handbook ,I can’t find that rule. Is that a beta test rule that was changed in final print or just a house rule. If that rule is in there then I am just blind.

  17. @james burns

    Most of this game was run from playtest packets and proofreading drafts. Something may have changed since the main book came out. Or I could have just been talking out of my ass.

  18. @Twisting H : Well, White Wolf said that, but then they turned around and wrote Tzimisce SS officers as Vampire NPCs. Like a lot of things in the WoD, there were some all over the place aspects.

    @james burns: I couldn’t find that rule either in the latest rules. A character is pretty messed up if they’re adapted to both, of course.

    God’s Teeth is one of my favorite RPPR campaigns, and you have some great ones. The lethality and bleakness of Delta Green can make it difficult to keep a campaign going in terms of coherent narrative, even with the framing device of DG itself. The player characters being marked by Bast worked wonderfully. It kept the plot moving while being extremely creepy whenever the characters got hungry.

    In general, God’s Teeth did some great things with perception – from the Hello Kitty folder to the showdown at the orphanage to the bloody tongue biker. Each one of those felt alien, uncomfortable, and personal at the same time.

    The conceit of using the different messages and really ramping up the paranoia in God’s legs was different but also effective – even when just listening to it.

    I really appreciated the breakdown of how you structured the different scenarios. The structure of “ripped from the headlines” plus something alien or old really worked throughout. God’s Madness dropped a few days after the Pulse nightclub shooting, if I remember right, and felt even more bleak as a result. (I realize it was recorded much earlier.)

    And overall, God’s Madness was phenomenal. That game and the movie High Rise captured a lot of the feeling of 2016 for me. The literal version of people’s social bubbles seemed prescient. The glimpses into the alternate worlds – and the existential despair that there might be no true reality, just a series of people’s nightmare realms connected by Picky Eater – provided a very human sense of horror. And hey, you creeped Ross out with Carcosa as well.

    I appreciated the content warnings. I expected it to be dark between Delta Green and Caleb’s other games, but I was still surprised by just how pitch black certain moments were.

    Finally, the episode mentions a multi-part series with the Companions using a draft of the new DG rules. Have those been released anywhere? I’d love to hear them as well, even if the rules don’t match the eventual release. (If you’re still doing B-sides, maybe there or on Patreon?)

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