DG: The Tombstones

“Who’s watching us? […]Who, exactly, is us?”

  • GURPS Horror

A gang of monsters in human skin for Delta Green RPG

When certain flawed versions of hypergeometric rituals are used for either resurrecting people, animating zombies or speaking with the dead, the result may instead imbue corpses with unnatural outer-dimensional intelligences that name themselves “Others”. These “Others” inhabit any dead animal that had an INT of 1 or more in life – albeit stronger and faster than it was in life. The horrid creatures may draw upon the memories of the corpses they animate and pilot, although their bizarre natures limit what they can mimic and extrapolate from. Most are more cunning than intelligent, but any one of the Others may develop their intellects and social skills over time, to better infiltrate humanity and work towards a shared goal of destroying hated enemies. Others at first will resemble the dead bodies they inhabit (1/1D8 SAN loss Unnatural), but can attain a semblance of normal human life (including a CHA stat) by feeding on fresh blood and flesh regularly. Most Others do not bother to pretend that they are the same person their borrowed body was, they simply pack up supplies and escape into the wilderness or distant rural hamlets instead – feeding on any unfortunate human they can find.

The Tombstones are a gang of Others who have found themselves hiding out in fly-over country and travelling up and down America’s midnight roads. They have developed enough intelligence to aspire to higher objectives than survival, and banded together to share skills and resources. Right now, their secondary shared desire is to seek out various unnatural entities and eliminate them as brutally as possible.

The gang hunts cautiously, overall. Most days, they simply journey into uninhabited areas and catch animals to eat. If they do target a human being (to become “fresh” and take on human form, typically), they use tactics normally used by serial killers and kidnappers – because that is what they are. The five of them can easily entrap and overpower a normal human being. Sometimes, one pretends to be dead or attacked by other gang members, then surprises the unwary with a bite on the back of the neck when the prey intervenes. Other times, one fakes being lost or sick, and leads the prey into an ambush. At least one of the gang has considered starting a cult, as their knowledge of the unnatural and hypergeometry would make for a tempting reward in return for safe haven and sacrifices. For now, however, the gang simply travels up and down the least populous areas of America, by car if they can steal one, by foot if they can’t.

Polaris/That Which Was Lucas Goodman

Tragic overdose, now host to something Other

This Other, who goes by the human name Lucas Goodman but privately names himself Polaris, is the leader of the gang. The original, real Lucas Goodman was an unlucky friend of someone who had tried to “cast a spell” on his very recently dead body – another casualty of the opioid crisis. The ritual was mistranslated and badly recorded, so Polaris opened Goodman’s eyes and immediately clawed the wanna-be wizard to shreds. Polaris met his fellow Others on the road to a music festival being held in Knoxville – he suggested that they all team up and travel together as a self-styled “family”. Unofficially, he is the leader of the Tombstones, but he doesn’t really mind his fellow monsters bucking his order and authority – he is confident that they will all eventually see the wisdom of his ideas.

Because of its scrambled understanding of human social mores, Polaris gives money and assistance to anyone who approaches him, no questions asked and with full effort applied – no matter how apparently dangerous, silly or inappropriate. Isn’t that what a normal human being would do, after all? The idea that humans would understand the context of such gestures and withhold aid to another in certain contexts is something it doesn’t get at all.

This monster has an instinctive and unreasonable hatred of anyone who has been resurrected, zombies or any Liveliest Awfulness. It can detect such creatures within 10 metres of itself perfectly. It will lash out with intent to kill, no matter how outmatched or inappropriate.

The undead horror appears as either how Lucas Goodman looked in life or death. The first is a dull white man of medium height and weight with brown hair and blue eyes. The second form, however, is a clammy, pale and sunken corpse with a greenish light blue glow in its empty sockets instead of eyes and visible discolored veins all around its face and arms. It dresses in generic brand practical clothing all the same.

STR 21 CON 25 DEX 17 INT 11 POW 11 CHA 10*

HP 23 WP 11

Skills: Alertness 50%, Athletics 99%, Craft (Mechanic) 48%, Criminology 36%, Disguise 65%, Dodge 40%, Drive 40%, HUMINT 34%, Navigate 74%, Persuade 60%, Pharmacy 70%, Search 33%, Stealth 50%, Survival 77%, Swim 83%, Unarmed Combat 75%, Unnatural 44%.

Attacks: Claw or Bite 75%, 1D4+3 damage, AP 3.

Armour: 3

Undying: Heals 1 HP per turn unless the body is completely destroyed. At HP 0, the Other drops prone but twitching and begins to heal. If the body is destroyed, the incorporeal Other abandons the vessel and jumps unseen into another corpse within 10 metres. Hypergeometric rituals can trap and/or destroy an Other in its non-physical form. Exposure to certain exotic materials/energies (ozone, anti-matter, high-pitched sonic vibrations, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet light, etc.) may also destroy an Other in spirit form, at GM’s choice.

SAN loss: 0 if freshly disguised. 1/1D8 if the true form is revealed.

Lyrae/That Which Was Lois Conroy

Obsessive medicine woman, now host to something Other

Lois Conroy was a life-long scholar of medical knowledge – she had no time for friends, family, sex, or hobbies. She worked as a brilliant and decorated researcher in the private sector. Her last job was in a secret March Technologies lab, trying to figure out hypergeometric rituals that promised healing and eternal life. One little mistake with a badly flawed ritual killed Conroy instantly by tearing off the front skin of her face and torso and then slicing up her nervous system. The Other jumped into the bloody mess immediately, having already staked out a position watching over the lab for years.

The monster using the dead body of Lois Conroy promptly escaped after a quick massacre of her fellow scientists and the lab security. She took reams of data and a large tome with her. When it joined up with the rest of the Tombstones, it adopted the nickname Lyrae and settled into the position of the gang’s “smart girl”. The monster spends the least amount of time interacting with humans, and it has some very clearly strange mannerisms (her very fast monotone and occasional random outburst of hysterical screaming, for instance). She lets her comrades take care of the talking, of course.

Compelled by some ineffable instinct to continue the work of her “original”, it takes any free time it gets to further study the field of medicine. It viciously interrogates any med student, doctor, biologist, pharmacist or nurse it kidnaps for insight into the life sciences before it murders and devours the poor bastard.

Lyrae in her human guise is a filthy and weather-beaten hispanic woman with rotten teeth and greasy hair. Her true form vaguely resembles raw hamburger crossed with a badly designed anatomy mannequin – one that walks and talks with terrifying predatory menace.

STR 21 CON 25 DEX 17 INT 15 POW 16 CHA 6*

HP 23 WP 16

Skills: Athletics 99%,Computer Science 50%, First Aid 85%, Foreign Language (Spanish) 64%, Forensics 55%, Medicine 82%, Occult 56%, Persuade 40%, Pharmacy 91%, Science (Biology) 75%, Surgery 75%, Unarmed Combat 75%, Unnatural 67%.

Attacks: Claw or Bite 75%, 1D4+3 damage, AP 3.

Armour: 3

Undying: Heals 1 HP per turn unless the body is completely destroyed. At HP 0, the Other drops prone but twitching and begins to heal. If the body is destroyed, the incorporeal Other abandons the vessel and jumps unseen into another corpse within 10 metres. Hypergeometric rituals can trap and/or destroy an Other in its non-physical form. Exposure to certain exotic materials/energies (ozone, anti-matter, high-pitched sonic vibrations, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet light, etc.) may also destroy an Other in spirit form, at GM’s choice.

Rituals: Ageless Banquet, Healing Balm, Preserve Living Brain, Raise from Essential Saltes, Reanimation Formula.

Unnatural Documents: Collected Research Notes (In English and Spanish. Study times: months. Medicine +4%, Pharmacy +2%, Science (Biology) +4%, Unnatural +2%. SAN loss 1D6. Rituals: any Healing the GM likes.)

SAN loss: 0 if freshly disguised. 1/1D8 if the true form is revealed.

Draco/That Which Was Dirk Hamilton

Disgraced treasure hunter, now host to something Other

The Other who named himself Draco has minimal memories of the man he is a mockery of. Past some vague details and his name, Dirk Hamilton, the monster barely understands who his corpse was. If the monster ever bothered to research these things, he would find Dirk Hamilton was a successful but hated “treasure hunter” who spent a lot of time running from the proper authorities of Central Asia, after he smuggled some antiquities to crime lords. The money was very good, but it didn’t make him happy. He had no friends and every one of his family disowned him before his 30th birthday. Hamilton died in an accident at home, falling down the stairs. The Other possessed his corpse because Hamilton had foolishly drunk some alchemical potion that he was informed would make him super-intelligent, but really just tagged him for physical subversion by unnatural powers.

Draco is the least mentally developed of the gang. It still knows a fair bit more than its “younger” days, but the monster still hangs onto its habits from the time it spent floating around the space between spaces. Notably, it compulsively panics and snarls at any bright light in the middle of the night. He has some flashes of Hamilton’s skills and talents, however. His place in the gang is to do the sneaky and shady stuff.

Driven by ancient and cruel grudges against the Great Race of Yith, the monster seeks out any rumours of time-travellers and demonic possessions in the off-chance it encounters a Yithian to savage and sabotage.

In his human guise, Draco is a reasonably handsome but awkwardly dressed man of indeterminate race, with hair dyed blonde and bright green eyes. His true form, sallow and twitching, always foams at the mouth with gruesome blue bile, and craggy bones jut out from his neck and chest.

STR 21 CON 25 DEX 17 INT 9 POW 11 CHA 11*

HP 23 WP 11

Skills: Archaelogy 49%, Athletics 99%, Criminology 50%, Drive 60%, Firearms 36%, Foreign Language (Arabic) 33%, Foreign Language (Spanish) 40%, Foreign Language (Russian) 18%, History 37%, Law 25%, Melee Weapons 66%, Occult 46%, Persuade 30%, Search 57%, Stealth 94%, Unarmed Combat 75%, Unnatural 44%.

Attacks: Claw or Bite 75%, 1D4+3 damage, AP 3.

Armour: 3

Undying: Heals 1 HP per turn unless the body is completely destroyed. At HP 0, the Other drops prone but twitching and begins to heal. If the body is destroyed, the incorporeal Other abandons the vessel and jumps unseen into another corpse within 10 metres. Hypergeometric rituals can trap and/or destroy an Other in its non-physical form. Exposure to certain exotic materials/energies (ozone, anti-matter, high-pitched sonic vibrations, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet light, etc.) may also destroy an Other in spirit form, at GM’s choice.

SAN loss: 0 if freshly disguised. 1/1D8 if the true form is revealed.

Columba/That Which Was Polly Wainwright

Witch of the wilds, now host to something Other

The poor unfortunate soul who donated her body to this monster was a widow and hermit named Polly Wainwright. Shunned as a creepy witch after the mysterious death of her husband, the aging and childless loner Wainwright spent much of her days foraging in the woods and trying out strange new drugs in the hopes that it would distract her from her despair and isolation. The hallucinogens she found in nature eventually made her dream of strange beings, who taught Wainwright the secrets of magic. As Wainwright grew older and more entranced by the glory of magic, her personality twisted into itself, becoming more and more blackhearted and power-hungry. When her body began to fail her, Polly Wainwright sought out dangerous rituals that would reverse her decrepitude. Instead, the rituals she discovered were broken and turned her entire body into one big cancer. Some decades later, the Other who now calls herself Columba found the corpse of the witch while feasting on a burst of unnatural energy, and hijacked it as a body.

Columba is the “oldest” of the gang – the one who knows most about hypergeometric rituals and humanity. She is perfectly convincing as a human being. Perhaps some backwash of her megalomaniacal original’s memories and dying desperation infects her, as it drives the monster to learn more and more rituals whenever she can. It has already stolen valuable tomes from occult researchers and March Tech labs. Her contributions to the gang are mostly social – she looks harmless to a casual observer and speaks rather eloquently. She never stops smiling, never.

In her human form, Columba is a wizened and willowy lady with silver stringy hair and faded brown eyes, dressed in delicate and dainty fashions. Under the illusion, however, is a hideous crone-like zombie whose skin bubbles and throbs with disgusting vitality.

STR 21 CON 25 DEX 17 INT 18 POW 18 CHA 9*

HP 23 WP 18

Skills: Alertness 75%, Anthropology 80%, Art (Singing) 65%, Athletics 99%, Craft (Garment Making) 78%, Disguise 70%, Dodge 75%, First Aid 44%, Foreign Language (any four) 56%, History 94%, HUMINT 84%, Medicine 39%, Occult 95%, Persuade 90%, Pharmacy 66%, Psychotherapy 30%, Ride 88%, Search 80%, Stealth 50%, Survival 97%, Unarmed Combat 75%, Unnatural 82%.

Attacks: Claw or Bite 75%, 1D4+3 damage, AP 3.

Armour: 3

Undying: Heals 1 HP per turn unless the body is completely destroyed. At HP 0, the Other drops prone but twitching and begins to heal. If the body is destroyed, the incorporeal Other abandons the vessel and jumps unseen into another corpse within 10 metres. Hypergeometric rituals can trap and/or destroy an Other in its non-physical form. Exposure to certain exotic materials/energies (ozone, anti-matter, high-pitched sonic vibrations, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet light, etc.) may also destroy an Other in spirit form, at GM’s choice.

Rituals: Call Zombies, Clairvoyance, Dust of the Thresholds, Fascination, Finding, Infallible Suggestion, Obscure Memory, Open Gate, Petrification, The Powder of Ibn-Ghazi, The Primal Lay, Release Breath, See the Other Side, Song of Power, Soothing Song, Speaking Dream, Speech of Birds and Beasts, Swarm, The Voorish Sign, Withering.

SAN loss: 0 if freshly disguised. 1/1D8 if the true form is revealed.

Virgo/That Which Was Tanya Nelson-Brown

Greedy aristocrat, now host to something Other

Back in the Gilded Age, a scion of an old money robber baron family distinguished herself as a woman who lusted after money and breathed spite. That woman was named Lady Tanya Nelson-Brown, and she was hated as a legendary rent-seeking overlord, hiring private goons to enforce her own brand of “vulture capitalism” in her company town. Anyone who annoyed her on a personal level was in for a truly bad time.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when she finally died of disease at age 58. She left no inheritance to her heirs, preferring to entomb her vast riches in a distant underground vault where no living soul could ever get them. Her heirs paid her back by leaving her corpse in a hastily dug hole, instead of the fancy funeral she specified to her lawyer.

The dead body of Lady Nelson-Brown was then promptly stolen by an amateur necromancer, who figured he could use a magical ritual to speak with her ghost and force the deceased dame to give up the secret location of her hoarded wealth. Instead, the flawed ritual summoned the Other who would later call herself Virgo into the body, sealing the fate of the grave-robber.

The second oldest of the gang tends to clash the most with her fellows. Virgo often starts fights with humans in bars and clubs, killing at least one person every second month – and that number would be much higher if her gang did not restrain her with severe violent means. Operating off the fragments of its original’s greed and jealousy, the Other makes sure to constantly steal money and precious things – antiques, gems, gold, bearer bonds and so on. It hoards such things in big burlap sacks and briefcases, strangely proud of earthly riches. Virgo is determined to take the secret treasure vault of its original to its own second grave. Virgo is the most combat-savvy of the gang, comfortable with guns and melee weapons. If they were so inclined, Virgo could also help out with the gang’s financial situation and run a business.

Virgo looks like a wrinkly but austere white woman of middle age when disguised, her grey eyes constantly scanning and scrutinising the world around her for threats and prey. She keeps her rusty red hair tied up in a bun, with dirty pink ribbons keeping it there. Stripped of her human veil, the monster is a gruesome visage of a rotting and rat-bitten deadite with eye sockets filled with swirling and physics-defying red liquid and sparkling purple fog streaming from the mouth.

STR 21 CON 25 DEX 17 INT 14 POW 11 CHA 14*

HP 23 WP 11

Skills: Accounting 57%, Alertness 45%, Athletics 99%, Bureaucracy 50%, Dodge 71%, Firearms 50%, Heavy Weapons 8%, Law 62%, Melee Weapons 75%, Persuade 47%, Ride 55%, Stealth 86%, Unarmed Combat 85%, Unnatural 44%.

Attacks: Claw or Bite 85%, 1D4+3 damage, AP 3.

Glock 20 heavy pistol 50%, 1D12 damage.

Machete 75%, 1D8+4 damage.

Armour: 3

Undying: Heals 1 HP per turn unless the body is completely destroyed. At HP 0, the Other drops prone but twitching and begins to heal. If the body is destroyed, the incorporeal Other abandons the vessel and jumps unseen into another corpse within 10 metres. Hypergeometric rituals can trap and/or destroy an Other in its non-physical form. Exposure to certain exotic materials/energies (ozone, anti-matter, high-pitched sonic vibrations, nuclear radiation, ultraviolet light, etc.) may also destroy an Other in spirit form, at GM’s choice.

SAN loss: 0 if freshly disguised. 1/1D8 if the true form is revealed.

Using the Tombstones

Gas Stations and Grave Markers: The gang are serial killers, full stop. Federal law enforcement will eventually notice the five are kidnapping, murdering and eating people all across the United States. Any Delta Green presence within the FBI may realise the latest manhunt is after an unnatural quarry, and assign the agents to get in on the task force and settle the matter. Can they track the corpse-puppets all over America’s backroads?

Stay in Your Lane: The Tombstones hate some species of unnatural intelligences. If a mission pits the agents against any one such monster, they may also encounter the gang as rivals in the hunt. The gang will not treat the agents kindly.
Wanted Undead or Alive: One of the gang’s original humans, Dirk Hamilton, is still wanted for international crimes and has never been confirmed dead. When an unlucky television news crew shot films the Other in a crowd while covering a big movie festival, an Interpol agent spots him and puts out a call to get him arrested. The ensuing manhunt goes poorly…the bounty hunters after the smuggler turn up very, very dead. That’s when the group enters the scene, wondering why some dumbass treasure hunter who stole some dusty statues is now capable of ripping and tearing multiple people apart.

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s