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Delta Green: Impossible Landscapes
[978-1-940410-54-8]
€60,91 €30,92
Publisher: Arc Dream Publishing
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by Jacques d. V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/25/2023 06:32:19

SPOILER ALERT

Our group finished Impossible Landscapes last weekend. Looking back, I find it is an amazing experience, so much so that I’m sad I’ll never get to play in it. I’ve played one-shots where doom and inescapable horror is the premise. But to pull that off well in a campaign that took our group 5 or 6 months to finish, playing mostly weekly, is a considerable feat. The secret, I think, is the sandbox nature of much of the campaign, which gives you a lot of choice despite the inevitable end (c'est la vie).

By far the best chapter in this regard is A Volume of Secret Faces, if you take the trouble to flag up all the different threads that can be explored. And the Night Floors is also exceptional. I feared that The End of the World of the End would suffer from railroading, based on concerns others have raised. But I don’t really understand where this complaint comes from. It’s pretty clear what the players need to do and where they need to go. But there are many ways to navigate their way there. The ability to mentally conjure objects and situations is a masterstroke in this regard, and the whole setting is so atmospheric (tip: soundtrack this with the last pieces in The Caretaker's aptly named Everywhere At the End of Time mega-album, using the very final track for the Masquerade itself). There is also so much tension in navigating a war-stricken city, and the Factory and Gallery of Shades are amazing locations to explore. I’ve heard at least one person advise against using the countdown clock during the Masquerade. But it worked wonderfully well in our final session.

My main issues with the campaign concern the two lethal ‘funnel points’, the clown chase and STATIC chase, where there is little to no agency and only one correct action to take. These were the weakest points for the players, who found both frustrating. And I don’t think it’s incidental that the span between these two sequences was, for them, the least engaging part of the campaign, even though their investigation of the Samigina House during the Like a Map Made of Skin chapter was a campaign highlight.

I think these two chases are doubly problematic because of their lethality. It’s one thing to have a bit of railroading in a campaign that is otherwise very open. It’s another when these two sequences are likely to kill you. My players did not have fun dying in either (and STATIC was a TPK). No cool stories or reminiscences (unlike the War Zone in Chapter 4). Just quiet disappointment until I encouraged them to vent their frustrations.

So I’ll definitely be changing up those two chases the next time I run this. Taking a page out of Night's Black Agents' chase rules, for the clown chase I'll give some thought as to how players can attempt skill checks to obstruct the clown, which provide bonuses to the Agent being chased. And I'll probably come up with some other ways to get into Broadalbin, using the various STATIC sightings as a kind of countdown clock ('You feel them pulling nearer each time you see them'), with the chase as a fail state.

But all in all this was fantastic! Definitely going to run it again, both because of the fun I had, and because it was so prep intensive that I deserve even more from the time I invested. This is not for a novice GM, and it's not for all players (asking your players if they want to play Twin Peaks: The Roleplaying Game is not a bad litmus test). But if you're down for a detailed campaign of bleak surreal horror, this comes close to a gold standard.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Delta Green: Impossible Landscapes
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