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.