WIRDG: ToO (The DeMonte Clan)

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On to Chapter Three. The DeMonte Clan is 40 pages, and is also by Adam Scott Glancy. It’s the Delta Green take on ghouls, set in New Orleans, which is pretty promising. All things considered. Hopefully there won’t be any tunnels.

The chapter opens with history: where does the DeMonte Clan come from, and why are they in New Orleans? Unsurprisingly, they’re from France (with the obligatory shout out to the Cathars), and they were driven out of France by too much attention. Amusingly, this was attention brought on by the publication of Honore-Balfour’s Cultes des Ghoules. Nice nod to the classic Mythos tome. Also nice: the Clan cooperated with the authorities, which maintains the theme of governmental corruption.

From France, they went to Haiti. Once again, Glancy knows his failed states and his history. As was the case in his previous chapter, the supernatural isn’t the cause of the real historical atrocities. They’re just the benefactors. There’s also a sidebar here implying that the DeMontes have a special method of creating ghouls. Hey, there’s going to be a twist! One you already know if you remember your Delta Green history.

Finally, the Clan arrives in New Orleans. The lack of tunnels is explicitly addressed immediately; the Clan fairly quickly became the monopoly owners of — oh, this is clever. Not the cemeteries, but the businesses that built the tombs and the services that transported bodies. So the setup is a corrupt family that’s integral to the fabric of society. This is an elegant contrast to the ghouls as outsider parasites.

Lots more good history follows. I won’t summarize the whole thing, but the reasoning behind the Clan’s support of the human rights movement is awesome. Also, they’re big contributors to the EFF. I could wish for a Huey Long sidebar, but I’m of the opinion that I’ve never seen a gaming product that wouldn’t be improved by a Huey Long sidebar, so maybe don’t listen to me about that.

OK. Seventeen or so pages in, and we get to the Delta Green connection. This is fine — the history was great and Delta Green was mentioned a few times. Obviously Jean Qualls is a big deal here. The history is pretty detailed, expanding on Ms. Qualls’ backstory, which I guess is appropriate. The real question is whether the aftermath provides a lot of good gaming possibilities, and it does.

Although, hm. OK, Katrina comes next. There are several pages outlining the Katrina timeline, plus an extensive list of federal agencies involved. This is good if you’re playing a Delta Green campaign set during and after the events of Katrina — and there is a section on exactly that — but I’m not sure it’s useful if you’re going for a 2010 game. Further, a lot of the interesting material we just read on the history of the DeMonte Clan becomes irrelevant, given how dramatically matters changed post-Katrina. I still like knowing the history, I suppose, but I wonder if it could have been condensed.

Possibly it wouldn’t be Delta Green if it didn’t have extensive descriptions of the true history of the world. I’m not even being (too) snarky there; it’s important for the feel and tone. Every time a Delta Green author shows us the shadows under which truth lurks, it reminds us how grim and unknowable things are.

At the last, we get the NPCs, who are mostly Clan members. The art here is really awesome; the animalistic faces on human torsos work super-well. There are some great plot hooks buried in the NPC descriptions, as is not entirely uncommon in these RPG things.

I’d say this chapter is somewhere between the first two in terms of Delta Green material. The DeMonte Clan is not inherently fixed in the Delta Green fiction; you could easily use them in a standard modern era Cthulhu game. On the other hand, the cat and mouse cold war between Delta Green and the Clan, that’s totally DG. It’s also up to the quality standards of Chapter Two; just slightly less conspiratorial.

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