On a Bank, by Moonlight
Author: Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan
Publisher: Pelgrane Press
Page Count: 36
Available Formats: PDF & Print
PDF – FREE
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Print – Varies
On a Bank, by Moonlight is a one-shot scenario for The Fall of DELTA GREEN roleplaying game published by Pelgrane Press. It’s one of two scenarios included in Pelgrane Press’ 2018 Free RPG Day supplement. The other included scenario is for their Cthulhu Confidential roleplaying game. Both scenarios utilize a variation of the GUMSHOE system.
A brief summary of The Fall of DELTA GREEN RPG is in order for those not familiar with the core game, taken from page 12 of The Fall of DELTA GREEN core book.
This game adapts Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game from Arc Dream Publishing to the GUMSHOE rules system used by such Pelgrane Press games as Night’s Black Agents and Trail of Cthulhu.
Arc Dream sets Delta Green: The Role-Playing Game in the “present day,” the early 21st century. The Fall of DELTA GREEN is a “prequel” set in that game’s back story: specifically in the 1960s, the decade when the DELTA GREEN program destroys itself in overreach.
On 24 July 1970, the Joint Chiefs of Staff officially disband DELTA GREEN, and it becomes an illegal conspiracy burrowing into the walls of the federal government.
Until that date, you have a warrant to save the country and the world.
Players take on the role of DELTA GREEN operatives, assets, and friendlies, in deadly one-shot adventures or in a campaign spanning the years from hope to madness.
On a Bank, by Moonlight takes our Agents to a place in the latter part of the 1960s (in a year to be determined by the Handler) in a little fictitious town in New York, near the Connecticut state line. The Agents are dispatched to look into the deaths of two people who died on the same day—one by way of an auto accident and the other by way of an altercation with the Sheriff. Both deaths raised enough suspicions to attract the attention of Delta Green.
Agents arrive in town with the barest of information that is provided to them via a phone call from their Delta Green handler. With little to go on, it’s enough to get them going in the right investigative direction. Throughout the scenario, Agents will uncover the cause
s of death for these two locals that brought them to town, but in doing so, they will uncover much more. As they investigate various lines of inquiry, chat up locals, and peel back the layers, they’ll find there is a whole lot more going on than they expected to find.
Through their investigation, they will learn that Delta Green’s curiosity was piqued for a reason and will connect the two victims to a nearby hippie commune. The commune, known to locals as “Erato House”, is what it seems to be, a communal gathering of hippies creating art, making music, and doing drugs. The owner of the commune is Dr. Weber, a Brown University professor who is actually conducting a scientific experiment, trying to get the members of the commune to reach a deeper state of collective unconsciousness by finding the correct stimuli. Dr. Weber doesn’t know that he and the commune members are being manipulated by MAJESTIC-12, a parallel shadow government agency to Delta Green. MJ-12 has their own motives, but I won’t spoil it for you here.
Throughout the scenario, Agents will have to contend with determining the victims’ connections to Erato House and learning what’s going on at the commune itself. There are several short inter-linked subplots that the Agents can get involved with as well. While none of these are critical for solving the mysteries of the scenario, they do add more thematic details the players may enjoy, and they add the possibility of finding new non-core clues that will potentially help them with their investigation. Additionally, they can also provide the Handler with interesting and exciting Antognist Reactions or alternative routes to the “end game.”
The scenario is a great beginner foray into the world of The Fall of Delta Green, far better than the scenario included in the core book. It’s designed to allow Agents a chance to investigate several possible plot lines, all interwoven and leading to the conclusion. Handlers can easily work Agents into and out of these various plotlines with ease. For new Agents or Handlers, the scenario also includes several pages of basic rules. A quick skim and players will understand what the two types of abilities are and how they are used, how to find clues, how to overcome obstacles, dice rolling, combat, what to do when you need a specific “inventory” item or a particular contact to call, and more. There’s a lot packed into those five pages, but it’s well presented and easy to understand.
The scenario also includes six pre-generated Agents that give players an excellent array of abilities if your table happens to have a full complement of six players. If not, you can easily reassign any essential abilities from any pre-gens that were not selected to other characters that were. This will enhance the skill sets of the chosen pre-gens.
Free RPG Day products, industry-wide, have a tendency to sometimes be rushed out the door to meet deadlines. While I am not sure that is the case here, but it’s worth mentioning that there are some editing errors. Only one of the errors could potentially confuse the Handler (like it did for me); there is an investigative ability that is misidentified as Evidence Collection (p. 61) and should have been Forensics. All other errors I noted are very minor, and most people won’t even notice them. I should note that at Pelgrane Press’s request, I have submitted a list of the errors/corrections so that they can revise the PDF.
Other than the concerns mentioned above, the scenario is well-conceived and smartly laid out. Though I must admit that I am not a fan of the hand-drawn artwork that’s included. Compared to other Pelgrane Press releases, it comes across as below their usually high aesthetic standard. These art pieces do serve there purpose well, and your mileage may vary.
I have been running this scenario for one of my gaming groups organized through the Rolling Boxcars Discord server. On a Bank, by Moonlight is meant to be one-shot game run in 4-5 hours; my group has been playing for about 9 hours now, and we still have several more to go. Why? My players typically like to get deep into the weeds, and I let them fully explore these lines of inquiry and story elements. While it does lengthen our games measurably, they always seem to have a far more enjoyable time. I think this scenario is great for both a one-shot and a more in-depth exploration like my group is doing. There’s enough meat on the bones with the sub-plots to allow for a more profound game experience.
To wrap this up, On a Bank, by Moonlight is a well-crafted scenario with a plausible plot that will have players quickly into the thick of it. Just what you’d expect for a The Fall of DELTA GREEN game. If the theme of the core game is something that interests you, I recommend you head over to Pelgrane’s website and grab this free PDF. What do you have to lose? It includes a quickstart that’ll have you playing in no time!
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3 Comments Add yours
Hey, how does this relate to the actual book The fall of DG? Is it just a scenario in the gumshoe system or does it lead in to the scenarios in the book?
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“On a Bank by Moonlight” is a scenario for the “Fall of Delta Green” game. It is completely stand alone and serves as a solid introduction to the game. Unfortunately, there is little published for the “Fall of Delta Green,” but there is a massive glbe-spanning campaign that is currently on pre-order. When I was at Gen-Con back in August I spoke to Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan and advised that campaign would be available in the spring of 2023.