Posted on September 9, 2008 by Flames
This is a supplement to the role playing game created by Evil Hat called Don’t Rest Your Head. It is a game that has more than a few horror aspects to it. If you are unfamiliar with the game you can read a review of it -here-.
WARNING! This is an adult game and this supplement is a VERY adult book. If you decide to check it out someday you should know that. Adult language and adult themes are prevalent in this book. If you are easily offended or squeamish, it may not be the right one for you. Just felt like I should warn you.
We now return to your regularly scheduled broadcast.
Since this is a supplement, I am not going to go into mechanics and focus on the specific material. The supplement was made to give players options for their madness skills. Madness skills are skills that your character can do that he/she would not normally be able to do. They can range from super hero like powers to teleportation to psychic abilities. The only limitation is the one that you put on yourself. The downside to them is that the end result can end up in madness, even if you succeeded in the conflict.
So the format they used was to have a new madness ability for each letter of the alphabet. That in itself is a very easy and interesting way to go about it. It gives them plenty of material and the game plenty of options, or even better, enough examples so they can go and created their own madness talents.
The writing of this book was very good. I came away extremely impressed with Benjamin Baugh’s writing ability. He used so many different styles and none of them seemed forced or trite. At times a bit disturbing, but it is a disturbing game so you have to expect that a bit. They also switched up the book. On one side was A-M and if you flipped the book over, it had N-Z. With very cool art on both sides. Very nice.
Here is a small breakdown of a few of them.
B is for Breath. You only need one breath and it can sustain you forever. You can push it out of your lungs and bring forth mammoth force of wind, knocking a truck through a building. With enough madness dice it can even change the temperature by raising or lowering it. Even freezing or burning someone.
D is for Dino. The dinosaur in your mind is very, very real. It is a 45 foot T-rex. In the past, only you noticed it, but others can now as well. Other people now see the tremors and the shaking it causes. With more madness dice the Dinosaur comes closer and you can even become the T-Rex and you are very, very hungry and there are more than a few people to munch upon.
F is for Fuck. Fuck is the universal intensifier. The word makes everything much more extreme. For instance if you say it is “fucking cold”, it is suddenly freezing. You get the idea. The more madness dice you roll will magnify the results of effect the word has on what you are describing or saying.
T is for Teddy. Your Teddy is there for you. A friend when the world was dark. It soaked your tears when you cried. It can do things that are just creepy as hell. Stick a pin in the bear and someone else hurts. Shake him and knock someone over. The more madness dice you use, the greater the mayhem.
Z is for Zap. Probably, the most obvious one of the bunch. You can blow things up with bolts of lightning. The difference is that it has a mind of its own. You can control it to a certain extent. The more madness dice, the more damage. A lot of them and you are a walking disaster waiting to happen.
There are many more, but I did not want to ruin all of it for you.
The rest of the book is mostly tips and tricks on how to make the madness work. Especially helpful was a section that helped you figure out what your madness talent could be by looking at each part of the character creation process. (i.e. what’s keeping you awake, what’s happened to you, etc). This was kind of cool to see how each part of it could be used to figure out the talent. There was also an optional rule of using madness dice to help an ally out. Normally this is done with the discipline dice, but by using madness dice you have a better chance of succeeding, but also of the conflict being more mad or chaotic.
The Good. New and refreshing ways to look at madness talents. Much more clear about it than it was in the book for Don’t Rest Your Head. Some of them were really out there, but most of them were cool. And more importantly, made me think. That is the best thing a supplement can do in my opinion.
The writing was very good. Very odd at times, almost always disturbing, but very well done.
The Bad. A few of the talents were pretty damn gross. Including one where you eat an object and excrete into something tangible that could help you. It was pretty damn gross.
The ugly. A few references to sexual assault. It was never done distastefully, and was part of the story for that particular letter, but it is still always a dangerous thing to do.
My rating. Amazingly good read. 8.0 out of 10. Overall a very good supplement to Don’t Rest Your Head. It made me think about what a madness talent could be. Very unique examples. A lot of fun.
Review by Stacey Chancellor
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