Game: The Clinic
Series: Dreamwalker: Active Exploits
Review Dated: 4th, December 2004
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10 [ Really good ]
Total Score: 8
Average Score: 8.00
It’s easy for a Dreamwalker supplement to be light on stats as the alien dream creatures, the Taeniids, only come in a few shapes and sizes and core rule system is incredibly streamlined. You’re not supposed to be very good with numbers when you dream so this is probably a good thing!
The Clinic is free. You can pick it up for nothing at all. It’s 55 pages long, has numerous illustrations, bookmarks and new material. You can’t fault it for value for money!
The Clinic is for adults. This supplement deals with mature themes, settings and scenes. The dreams of the insane are dark and scary places. If you suspect you can think of a nightmare scene might freak you out too much then this isn’t a supplement for you.
The Clinic is also a pre-written adventure as well as expansion so that’s another reason to stop reading this review and click on an advert instead. Ha.
The Clinic is an alternative to Project Dreamerwalker. In fact, The Clinic was active before the Dreamwalker Project The Clinic’s approach is different to the Dreamwalker Project, it’s more aggressive and this is one of the reasons a group of dreamwalkers broke away and founded Project Dreamwalker in the first place.
There are no mystics in The Clinic as Dr Endell doesn’t think they’re disciplined enough. All The Clinic’s dreamwalkers are highly educated and continue their academic studies once in the project. Within The Clinic there are three security levels and the dreamwalkers are at the top. Within the top bracket there are a further three security levels. Whereas it can be quite fun playing the promotion game it’s noted that the very top security level might be unsuitable for players as it means characters would be embroiled in long, slow, investigations. The middle classification of dreamwalker does not always help out the Dreamer and try and deal with the Taeniid infestation. In The Clinic sometimes dreamwalkers engage in international or corporate espionage. Further more and rather alarmingly these dreamwalkers may also attempt to capture and study Taeniid.
The Clinic introduces the prospect of Broodkings entering “waking space”. It happened in The Clinic and it’s happened before. The Clinic is situated in the Valley of Ravens a picturesque but… haunted place. Lucid Entertainment is clever here. We’re not actually told the place is haunted; we’re simply given the well written and often horrific history of the place with all the deaths, sexual assaults and kidnappings document. It’s easy to assume there’s something dark going on there. It’s good because the GM can do what he wants with it.
The third appendix in the supplement talks about “Bridges” as places where the barrier between the dream and the waking world is especially thin. It’s a nice idea and a good way to throw a curve ball into the usual Dreamwalker games.
Broodkings are unpleasant creatures. Broodkings free in the waking world are free to do unpleasant things to people they catch. The Clink introduces the Broodspawn as the half-human or half-animal offspring of the “real world” creature.
From the history of the Clinic we learn about a third group of dreamwalkers who turned up to deal with the Broodking incident. When a Broodking was able to invade the waking world after an encounter with Clinic dreamwalkers a group of mystics (which the Clinic won’t use) calling themselves The Sword of Gaia turned up, caught the beast in a net of mana and then vanished. All this in the waking world. I sense a future Lucid Entertainment product.
The PDF does more than run through the history of The Clinic and biography interesting people there. This free supplement looks at the geography and people of the nearby town – David’s Claim.
We’re treated to a chapter of adventure seeds and a pre-written scenario which has the unfortunate characters trying to sort out the dreams of a mentally disturbed rapist.
The Clinic does more than just tell us that the dreams of the insane are dark and scary places. There’s discussion here on how to run a dark and scary game – as well as cautions to be sensitive to real life issues too. We’re encouraged to be psychological and not just toss around buckets of gore. This just the sort of advice I’d offer to and so it’s not surprising that I agree with it.
It’s impressive (or perhaps foolish!) that The Clinic is free. Alright, Dreamwalker isn’t the most well known RPG available but it does exist in paper format so it’s gone further than many products make these days. As a showcase for Dreamwalker this PDF is very successful – providing, of course, you can cope with the mature subject matter. I think it’s safe to say that The Clinic is a style of supplement that many gamers won’t care for. Controversy is most certainly not mutually exclusive with publicity though!
What ever Lucid Entertainment’s reasons for giving The Clinic away for free are it doesn’t really matter to Dreamwalker players. It’s free. Grab it.