Friday, June 29, 2018

The Lovecaftian Thing a Day (2018) No.180: Delta Green: Countdown

In a follow-up to the classic Call of Cthulhu supplement, Delta Green: Countdown elevates the Lovecaftian conspiracy to a global stage, all the while marking time before the apocalypse. Taken together, Delta Green and Delta Green: Countdown constitute for me an apex of rpg material which, to this day, has still not been surpassed.

One of the notable things about Delta Green: Countdown is how every aspect of the product infers the horrifying possibilities underlying a Cthulhu mythos-inflected reading of 20th Century history - where both text and illustrations form part of a cryptographic mosaic in which neither entirely reveals the meaning of the other, and by which much is hinted but very little revealed. Take for example the cover illustration to Countdown: Nazi officers - and who? Scientists? High ranking party members? - happily surround some monstrous and suggested form encased in glass and metal. Yet nothing in the text of Delta Green: Countdown explicitly references to this. Whilst the illustrations do occasionally relate directly to the text, there is a sense in which the art itself adds another interpretive layer to the chillingly occult and occulted history of wartime and post-war Europe. Nice.

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