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Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium
 
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium
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Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/18/2018 08:56:13

Apparently there's a burnt-out old mansion to the south of town, about which there are all sorts of rumours, fuelled no doubt by the fact that it used to be a mental hospital. Who in their right mind would go near a place like that? The party, that's who, given sufficient incentive.

The background material for the DM includes a detailed backstory explaining just what's going on there, a list of monsters, scaling information and more... and if you pick up the print version there's a CD with appropriate mood music keyed to different locations and events in the adventure. If you have bought the PDF version, you don't get this but are provided with a link to where you can pick up a copy. If you like background music to your games, this is a neat opportunity to have something specifically tailored to it - there are detailed instructions as to what should be played when.

If you haven't guessed yet, this is a horror story. The hooks provided to get the party involved bear that out, ranging from a dying member of staff scared that their spirit might be drawn back there to merchants and town officials concerned about a malign influence on the town. Like any good haunting, the way to deal with the spooks here is to find out how to grant them rest, so there's a fair bit of thought involved as well as combat. The backstory is quite extensive and, rather neatly, opportunities are provided for the DM to share it with the party by means of visions. It's a massive place to explore, and there's a lot to find (and fight) - given the large number of undead clerics and other pious characters are recommended for your party.... and how do you fancy being accosted by an animated straitjacket that just wants to give you a hug?"

Descriptions are evocative, and there's a wide variety of encounters to keep the party on their toes. Some of the ghosts are even prepared to talk rather than fight, and may have useful information to impart. The adventure ends when all the spirits are enabled to rest, and the remants of the mansion fall into even more ruin. A good spooky adventure.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium
Publisher: Goodman Games
by James B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/02/2012 12:28:58

Players loved the game, only problem I ran into was that there seemed to be a few items on the map that had some errors, like missing door or items in the room should have been on the map. Otherwise it is great, players have been loving it, and the soundtrack is awesome, players repeatedly said this is creepy, exactly what I was going for.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium
Publisher: Goodman Games
by Nathan C. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 10/17/2007 10:51:44

I tend to rag on Goodman Games because of their slogan that implies that all NPCs meant to be killed. Yet time and time again, they have these great NPCs in their adventure whom should not be killed. Whereas I could see their point that the NPCs I have pointed out before could go either way, Dungeon Crawl Classics #34: Cage of Delirium, is clearcut proof that there are NPCs in these books whom should not die, at least not by the PCs.

And it’s a great thing.

Regardless on if NPCs should or should not be killed in their adventures, Goodman Games does a great job with designing compelling characters that you can judge in an instance whether you love or hate. Cage of Delirium contains a good deal of such characters. Following the traditions of a classic Haunted House novel, the PCs are led to explore this Haverthold Asylum. Their goal is to survive while uncovering its secrets and defeating the evil entities inside. Whereas the grounds and first floor are pretty combat focused the top floor and the basement are very much role playing and puzzle oriented. This separation creates a very unique and appetizing style that is quite absent from a lot of genre adventures.

The story revolves around two brothers. One of which impersonates the other, performs sick experiments and imprisons the other inside the Asylum. Eventually all hell breaks loose and the Asylum burns, all the inhabitants were trapped. The descriptions, traps and creatures are all creepily written and set a dark atmosphere. The writing style might not fit all campaigns. The setting is very Victorian and presumes that there are both clerics and doctors in your game world. You may want to place this home in a far off city that incorporates science along with your traditional magic.

The adventure itself is lengthy, and will take at least two six hour sessions if your PCs explore every nook and cranny of the asylum. The print version of this adventure comes with a cd of creepy music and you can’t help but wish that the cd was included with the PDF version as the book often points out track numbers that are appropriate for the encounter.

There are a couple of nagging features of the adventure. Most of the creatures you encounter are allips, which does not provide a lot of variety. I recommend buying a companion monster book and pop some creepier creatures into those places where you want to add a bit of spice. Delirium also did not include enough artwork. I wanted some more images of the creepy things that are disguised. My final gripe comes with the fact that the writers are so intent on keeping with the Goodman Games tradition that all NPCs are to be killed, that they nearly spoil the second floor encounters by including combat stats for them. It seems like such a waste to have these great puzzles and then give the pcs an option of ending it all with the tip of the sword. I do not think the combat options should have been completely removed, but lower rewards should be given for not freeing the ghosts.

The Iron Word Haunted House movies are my favorite, and it is difficult to make a good one these days. Same with Haunted House adventures. In the Dungeons and Dragons world, it seems very difficult to scare a party who has to hack up dragons for a living. Cage of Delirium comes very close to capturing the fear of a Haunted House movie without taking too much away from the Dungeons and Dragons aspect. It may be difficult to fit the Victorian style into a tradition campaign city, but if you are aiming at a different pace of fear for your party, it may be worth it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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