Madness Cards for Out of the Abyss

I recently started a new campaign with the Dungeons & Dragons group for which I am DM’ing. It is one I had been planning for months. When polled about where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do, players immediately said “The Upside-Down!”

I thought to myself: “You want to play in a shadow-world with a heavy emphasis on madness where Demogorgon features prominently? I think we can make that happen!” I am using Out of the Abyss as the spine for this campaign, adding elements of the Shadowfell, and leaning heavily on madness as a theme.

Rather than adding a Sanity ability score, or the monotonic short-term, long-term, indefinite madness cycle in the DMG, I came across John Scott's Madness Card Deck and that inspired me to reedit, reformat, and reimagine them.

I had a set printed, and I am pretty happy with the results (here is a representative sample):

Seeing them in person shows that they print darker than I realized they would, but it’s far from fatal.

It’s all built with XSLT & FOP. The sources to build the deck (and add your own cards, or tweak mine) can be found on Github, and you can download the PDF, or a tarball of the PNGs at 300dpi. I’ve been toying with the idea of adding a textured background in place of the flat black. But for now I am going to call this run done.

I would love feedback on them, and suggestions for improvements!

Finally, I would like to give a big thank you to the artists whose works made this possible: CylionDrawSkyrawathi, and M-Delcambre.


These are so cool! I think they would make an unmistakable addition to my games. I have to ask for a little assistance in creating some new ones, however. I have a few good ideas for some new ones, but I'm having trouble with the process of it. Would this be the right place to ask those kinds of questions?

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This page contains a single entry by Erik Ogan published on May 9, 2018 11:20 PM.

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