Continuing on the theme of exploration and survival in a vast automated prison-starship that's fallen through a rift into an unspeakably horrible dimension, in this adventure the characters explore a section of the ship originally designed for housing the criminally insane... only now it seems that more than the inmates have gone completely crazy!
Whilst one might expect that a bunch of the criminally insane would, if let loose unsupervised, set about killing each other with enthusiasm, this is not a mere wander through a spectaularly awful bloodbath. Sure, it is not safe and most of the place operates on a 'kill or be killed approach' but there's more... and this is what the characters will have to discover if they harbour desires to get out alive.
This begs the question: why should the characters visit the insane asylum in the first place? If starting a new campaign, they could begin as inmates who are now free but need to find a way to survive, but if you are already running a campaign it is harder to explain. The suggested hooks for existing campaigns are either that the characters are chased into this area by hostiles - and soon come to wish they'd stopped to fight instead - or that they hear that odd things are going on and decide to investigate. Once you've got them in, however, there's plenty for them to do and places to explore.
The layout is quite non-standard compared to the rest of the ship. Each location is well-described in atmospheric terms, with those little touches that help bring it all to life, and with plenty of information for the GM about what will or might happen when the characters arrive, and how those already there will react to them. Naturally most are completely mad, and the GM will need to be prepared to babble nonsense, giggle and otherwise role-play insanity to portray them to best effect. As many of the inmates resent intruders, characters may also decide to pretend to be insane...
If you think this all sounds crazy, there is more to come as the characters penetrate deeper into the complex and encounter even more extraordinary madness of... well, demonic origin. Reality itself will warp around them, and if you are the sort of GM who really likes to mess with people's heads, there is plenty of scope for that here. A puzzle of epic proportions based around a madman's mind, which must be figured through to reach a maze in which the controlling entity is to be found. Even if, as is likely given the way in which it's all presented, the characters get there, they may well still be baffled... players who like an element of wierdness ought to enjoy this, but if yours prefer concrete defined challenges best defeated with the use of force, this adventure may not be to their taste.
Run with attention to atmosphere and sensitivity to the intent to disturb, this has the potential to bring home the essential wierdness of what has befallen the Gehenna prison ship and all those aboard her... it is an unusual scenario, strange and compelling. If pushing boundaries and exploring beyond the limits of normality appeal, consider running it.
[4 of 5 Stars!]