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Delta Green: Impossible Landscapes
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2021 14:39:52

I love the mythos around Howard Chamber’s The King in Yellow, and I love Delta Green, so when I found out about this campaign I was pretty damn excited. So does Impossible Landscapes live up to the hype? Is it Delta Green’s version of Masks of Nyarlathotep? The short answer is yes. This book is nothing short of amazing and if you like Delta Green you should buy this book immediately.

I’m the kind of person who reads RPG books for fun, even modules that I have no intention of running. I’ve read quite a few books for many different RPGs, and I feel pretty comfortable saying that Impossible Landscapes is probably my favorite RPG module of all time. It’s sprawling, ambitious, horrifying, and most importantly, creative as hell. It explores and expands upon the Carcosa mythos more deeply than any other piece of media I’ve seen, while at the same time respecting Chamber’s original vision.

Impossible Landscapes is broken into 4 interconnected segments. The introduction, set in 1995, is a reimagining of an older scenario which sees the Agents looking into the disappearance of a young artist in New York City. From there, the action jumps forward to 2015, where the same Agents are once again enlisted by Delta Green, this time to look into some disappearances at a psychiatric facility in Boston. Without going into too much detail, this sets the Agents on a journey of surreal horror and madness as they discover the true nature of reality.

This module asks a lot of both the Agents and the Handler. Agents will have to be clever and inventive to solve many of this campaign’s challenges. There’s actually not a ton of combat in Impossible Landscapes, but due to the sheer amount of horrific circumstances and revelations that are thrown at the Agents, PC death and especially insanity is probably going to be very, very common. But for the Handler, this module is nothing short of intimidating, with tons of NPCs, handouts, plot details, and possible encounters to keep track of. And on top of that, there are many cases where the Handler has to keep track of and remember many, many small details at once as they unfold in real time. This is definitely not a scenario for a newer Delta Green Handler.

This is also not a scenario for the squeamish, as it contains disturbing and unsettling scenes and motifs throughout. It never really goes into anything sexual, but there is lots of violence, body horror, psychological horror, and just plain insanity. Just reading Impossible Landscapes is pretty unsettling, and the authors definitely lean into that in some fun ways. There’s a lot of creepy little details in this book that only the Handler will ever see.

My only real complaint with Impossible Landscapes has to do with NPCs. In my opinion, this book doesn’t do a great job when it comes to introducing NPCs to the Handler. It’ll tell you a lot about what they look like (the NPC portraits in this book are fantastic, by the way) and how they interact with the Agents, but it doesn’t really communicate their overall place in the story. There were a lot of times when an NPC would be introduced, seeming to be one type of character, and then like 100 pages later would be revealed to be something completely different. Or an NPC who seemed initially of little importance would suddenly become vital to the story much later, without any warning. These types of twists are fun for the Agents but there’s no reason to throw them at the Handler. I just wanted a few sentences like: “This is so-and-so, right now the Agents think he is [x] but he is actually [y]” or “This NPC might not seem very useful right now, but make sure that you set him up properly because he’s going to be very important later on.”

This is a relatively small complaint though, and overall I can’t recommend this book enough. If you have a Delta Green group you owe it to them and yourself to run this scenario. Impossible Landscapes is a must-buy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Delta Green: Impossible Landscapes
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New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley - An Anthology of Call of Cthulhu Scenarios set in the 1920s
Publisher: Stygian Fox
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/27/2021 11:51:04

This book is a good, solid collection of CoC scenarios. I bought it mostly for Seth Skorkowsky's A Mother's Love, which is one of the better scenarios in the book, though it does have some typos and it's a bit shorter than I would have hoped. The two Kingsport scenarios, Malice Everlasting and The Night War, are both fantastic, with The Night War in particular being one of the most unique and interesting CoC scenarios I've ever read. The remaining scenarios all average out to be pretty good, except for Spirit of Industry, which I just plain didn't like. It's just too slow-paced and relies too much on NPCs accompanying the investigators everywhere for my taste.

I really appreciate how all of the scenarios explore the history and details of the towns in which they take place, almost treating the town as a character in the story. There's definitely a healthy respect for and knowledge of Lovecraft's work on display here. If you need some more 1-3 session scenarios for CoC, this book is definitely worth considering.

It's worth noting though that Proof of Life and The Night War contain some pretty intense and graphic scenes, so you probably shouldn't run those two with younger players.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley - An Anthology of Call of Cthulhu Scenarios set in the 1920s
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D&D Solo Adventure: The Death Knight's Squire
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/28/2020 11:47:14

This was my first experience with a D&D solo adventure, and I mostly enjoyed it, though in my opinion it has a few issues. The story is compelling enough and has some genuinely cool and surprising moments, but overall I was left feeling like it should have been a bit better. In a solo RPG experience, the story has to do a lot of the heavy lifting to keep things interesting and the plot here just doesn't quite have enough going on. In terms of difficulty, I actually found this module fairly easy, but I think that's because I was playing a paladin and had a pretty high AC. Playing this adventure solo with a spellcasting class or a squishier martial class would probably make it much more difficult. The map areas just aren't all that exciting either. They're all pretty small and straightforward. The book tells you to print them out, but it honestly doesn't even feel worth the paper or ink to do so since the map tiles are so tiny and simple.

Another thing that got a bit offputting after a while is the way that the module handles checking for traps. Every time you enter a new area, the module asks if you'd like to check for traps (which you'll almost always do; even if you're playing as a character who isn't particularly perceptive or wary, it just feels idiotic to not check). But doing these checks and then reading the resulting passages just starts to get really boring and tedious after a while and it felt like way too much of my playtime was spent this way. I realize that traps are a tricky thing to do in a solo RPG experience, but this really isn't the ideal way to handle them.

I think the biggest gripe I have about this adventure is that it just doesn't feel like it's worth $10. It's pretty short (you'll definitely complete it in 1 or 2 sittings) and it's not really all that replayable in my opinion. I certainly didn't experience all of the module's content in my playthrough, but I also don't feel compelled enough to roll another character and go through it again; it just doesn't really feel worth the time or effort. There are plenty of full-fledged, fleshed out campaign modules or sourcebooks out there that you can get for less than the price of this short little module, so the $10 price really isn't justified in my opinion. I fully agree with the notion that the author should be rewarded for the work that he put into this module, but a $5-7 pricetag really feels much more fair. There just isn't $10 worth of content here.

Death Knight's Squire is a fairly fun way to spend an afternoon, but it's definitely not the mind-blowing, euphoric experience that many people here seem to think it is.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
D&D Solo Adventure: The Death Knight's Squire
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