DMs Guild Review – Delia’s Doppelganger Dilemma

A role-playing heavy mini-adventure that scales for all four tiers of D&D.

dms guild review

A review copy of “Delia’s Doppelganger Dilemma”¬†was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Matthew Moyer

Delia’s Doppelganger Dilemma sounds like a cheeky story in an alliterative children’s series, but it’s actually a serious, role-playing heavy mini-adventure. The twist behind the dilemma is richly compelling, but the entire product is undermined by an unattractive layout and some shocking tonal dissonance¬† in the first act.

Delia’s has the dubious honor of being one of the worst-looking DMs Guild products I’ve reviewed. Plain font, no act breaks, very little art (and what art there is doesn’t look good), and ugly boxed chat boxes. It’s a messy design, but thankfully the writing and story are pretty solid, save for one major problem.

The adventure is very short, and shockingly scales for any level of play. Indeed there are four different levels of rewards, NPCs, and combat encounters that you can use, depending on what tier your party is at – though I’d hazard to guess it would make more sense, and be easier to run, for tier 1 and 2 level parties.

The story begins as a beleaguered man asks the traveling heroes to return to his farm, as his daughter has recently been kidnapped by someone who looks eerily similar to his wife. But his wife, Delia, an apprentice mage, was there with him when this odd doppelganger showed up, angry, and attacked them and took the child.

The problem I had with this otherwise compelling inciting incident is how the parents react when the party goes to the farm. The mom serves them a nice stew, cracks jokes at her husband, and calmly tells the party about the attack. HER KID WAS JUST KIDNAPPED!

If you’re going to endanger a child, you need to treat it with all the seriousness and gravitas that entails. There’s no way in hell a parent would sit around and act like it was a small inconvenience. Even worse, Delia had gone to a friend, her old mentor wizard, to get a device that would track down the doppelganger kidnapper. Yet here she is just hanging around waiting for help. Absolutely ridiculous.

dms guild reviews

From there the party can easily track down the mysterious woman, who appears to be Delia, except as a hardened warrior from another dimension. The interesting twist that the PCs will soon discover is that this Delia is a carbon copy, created when the mage Delia traveled to another dimension, and believes she has finally made it home only to find an impostor living her life.

It’s a fun sci-fi trope and leads to some interesting role-playing opportunities, especially in a fantasy world with lots of red herrings like doppelgangers, illusion magic, and other shapechanging powers. The adventure does a great job detailing the many dialogue scenes by providing the most likely questions the PCs will ask, followed by the NPC’s responses, which I greatly appreciate.

The sole combat encounter comes from a portal opening up and a demon trying to take the warrior Delia back to the other world. This encounter is in bad need of scaling up, as a single demon is no match for a fully rested party of the same tier, let alone adding Delia, who’s fully stated as a powerful Barbarian PC with scaling levels.

I was impressed that the climax is completely social, as the party can confront the Delia mage back at the farm, become more confused (in a good way), and finally confront the nearby wizard mentor to get all the answers. From there the party can hopefully work out a joint custody case between the two women and come to a satisfying conclusion.

I like that not all adventures have to end with a climactic boss battle. The adventure is very heavy on the role-playing but thanks to solid writing and a neat self-contained little story, it mostly pulls it off – though I would either remove the kid from the story entirely, or ratchet up the dramatics, with both parents found haggard and hysterical on the road.

Pros:

  • Loot, monsters, and NPCs scale through all four tiers.
  • Gridded and non-gridded battle maps
  • Extensive, detailed notes for major dialogue scenes.

Cons:

  • Unattractive layout and design.
  • Very little art.
  • Severe tonal dissonance with a kidnapped child.

The Verdict: The interesting twist behind Delia’s Doppelganger Dilemma helps elevate an otherwise poorly designed package.

A review copy of “Delia’s Doppelganger Dilemma” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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