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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep $0.00
Average Rating:4.1 / 5
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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
Publisher: The Hapless Henchman
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/31/2016 01:18:12

Note: Normally, I wouldn't bother leaving a negative review of a free product, but since there is print version available for a price and a number of gamers who prefer to handle physical product in lieu of PDFs, I felt there was justification for such a course of action. (As one of the reviewers below notes, given the Choose-your-own-Adventure format of the adventure, using the PDF version is somewhat bothersome, which might encourage a potential buyer to pull the trigger on the print version.) I would strongly encourage you to download the PDF for free and look it over before you choose to buy; after all, reviews inevitably reflect the biases and individual quirks of the reviewers, whether good or bad, so it's important to take a look for yourself in order to judge whether or not the reviewers see things the same way you do.

So, with that in mind, let me explain why I disliked this adventure so much. First off, as you can quickly surmise for yourself should you download the product and take a look, this is a solo adventure written for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, in particular a solo funnel adventure where you play a hapless 0-level adventurer dropped against their will into a deadly scenario. As noted in the afterword, this is based on the old solo Ghost of Lion Castle adventure put out by TSR back in the 80's. This tells you a number of things off the bat: this adventure will be difficult, very much so--you will undoubtedly die many times before succeeding, if you ever do at all. That may turn some people off, in which case you can stop reading now--clearly, you are not the intended audience for this product. This does not bother me, however, having played the old solo TSR adventures back in the day (and no, I do not think I ever legitimately beat one) and also having played in DCC funnel adventures as well (which are a great deal of fun, in a black-humor sort of way). This makes me the intended audience for the adeventure, but two points in particular really turned me off.

First, the adventure is, to put it bluntly...dull. DCC adventures are famous for their crazy, off the wall scenarios and ideas, but this adventure is a bog-standard explore an old, ruined castle taken straight from any number of previously published adventures generated in the last four decades. As I played through it, I kept expecting some crazy plot twist or at least an intriguing encounter or two to really give the adventure some sparkle, but I was disappointed in this regard. There is absolutely no creative spark to this adventure, nothing to make it stick out in your memory. The most creative thing the author was able to come up with was inserting goofy lines from famous 80's flicks such as Ghostbusters. This really is jarring considering the game system he wrote it for; if you're going to write for the DCC system, free adventure or no, you need to bring your craziest ideas and most outlandish scenarios. You need to turn it up to 11, in other words; the best this author could manage was a 2.5 or thereabouts. If he had written this for, say, Labyrinth Lord, I would overlook it, but in my opinion this is a serious flaw for a DCC adventure.

Second, as you are likely aware, DCC is usually classified as an "OSR" game, a term which is defined in many different ways according to a wide variety of criteria based on the individual's preference, but generally refers to a game that (in some way) reflects the spirit of the first generation of fanatasy RPGs played back in the 70's and early 80's (and even this generalization isn't always agreed on). Unfortunately, within the ranks of gamers who self-identify as OSR gamers (and a fair number of DCC players do), there are a number of indivduals who fall into the tiresome practice of forever lecturing the unwashed masses on what an OSR game is supposed to be and why it is the only correct way to play a RPG. The author firmly falls into this camp; he makes this clear at the end of the book when, while explaining why he made the adventure so lethal decides to lecture you on why this is the "correct" way to enjoy adventures. He even says that if you played the game "correctly" (yes, that's the word he uses, you unwashed masses!) by focusing on the play and not the character or the RULES (I assume he capitalized the word just to make sure us, the ignorant readers, wouldn't miss this particularly important bit of his enlightened wisdom), you will have learned an important "lesson" (i.e., the way games ought to be played, according to him).

The sheer pretentiousness of his approach is extremely off-putting, and likely reveals the real reason he produced this adventure--not because he wanted to provide fellow gamers with a free adventure, a labor of love on his part, but rather so he could have yet another opportunity to pontificate on why he is so much more wise than the rest of us when it comes to the "correct" way to enjoy RPG games. It seems lost on the author that some of us have been playing the game for as long as he has and are capable of deciding for ourselves how to approach such games without the benefit of his lecturing.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
Publisher: The Hapless Henchman
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/27/2015 10:26:00

This is a eighty nine page can of 'Choose Your Own Adventures' or 'Fighting Fantasy' style Dungeon Crawl Classics Madness in the form of a free PDF adventure from Hapless Henchmen games. HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep .This is actually three products in one, you get a choose your own adventure solo book, a monster book for the adventure, and a really nice map of the Keep. Basically this is one very large and well put together solo dungeon that acts as a complicated PC funnel generator for the Dungeon Crawl Classics game using a modified set of DCC rules and some really nasty encounters. This isn't made to be an easy dungeon at all but its DCC folks. I personally died twice trying this adventure at four am this morning. Its a neat and fun little crawl put together with lots of twists and turns with a twisted sense of humor this side of a Nineties cartoon from Nickelodeon with an over flow of Adventure Time style hi jinks thrown in for good measure. Believe it or not this is a big module designed for solo play and your really going to need a solid copy of this adventure in other words a physical copy. The adventure unfolds around your character and does three rather interesting slight of hand tricks at the same time. One the story of the adventure's frame work happens around you. Two you want to read more to see what happens to your adventurer and three the damn adventure has your attention span in its clutches. All of this happens while your playing and reading it. I suspect that Noah Stevens not only played a hell of a lot of solo adventure books in the Eighties but he also played a ton of the video game Dragon's Lair because this has that feel to it. That classic playability is another factor that these various influences also share with HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep. This was done with a solid intent and all of the classic elements of OSR design are in the Keep. Are the encounters balanced? Yes they are with a solid base and they are beatable but this is Dungeon Crawl Classics and your going to have to think your way past several of the best bits and pieces of the Keep. Before even attempting to play through this adventure there are several things to keep in mind. One have more then a passing familiarity with the DCC rulebook and then familiarize yourself with this adventure's modified rules set. It does exactly what it says on the can, this creates a solo played PC whose ready out of the gate for further adventures with a regular party of DCC adventurers. This book emulates and twists around many of the conventions of solo play adventure books. This being the case your going to die several times and that's not something to worry about at all. The play is the thing here because its going to generate some solid PC elements in your brand new ready to take on the world character. But is the adventure worth your time and effort to download? Yes I do think so because of its utility and here's what can be done with it. Adventure locations like Halthrag Keep tend to attract adventurers like flies to a corpse. These places are prime to generate a whole party on their own. Buy this adventure and pass it around to the players like a joint at a hippy party. The players will get killed have a kick ass time with the adventure and you dungeon master will have PC who have been forged in the fires of the Halthrag Keep. There are several reasons to grab this adventure as well if your a dungeon master. This adventure comes with a spiffy monster book and with a bit of easy slight of hand these mad bastards could easily be repurposed for your own Dungeon Crawl Classics campaign and perhaps with a bit of easy back fitting could be dropped into your campaign so that the Keep itself becomes a dangerous but minor campaign element in your own games. This way the solo play adventure might be used to create a new adventurer should one of your players have his own characters killed off during play. With DCC this happens frequently and its a trick I've used several times over the years, especially with games such as Gamma World second edition. The Endless Quest books were dismissed by 'serious players' but I came across more then a few at various tag sales and library sales. The setting of those books were pretty damn well done and with a bit of modification became a minor back part of a campaign and introduced a brand new green horn adventurer to the group. A trick that HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep can do in spades. Do I think that The Hounds of Halthrag Keep is worth downloading? Yes and I'll go one better I think that its worth getting the physical book because my eyes are bleeding from reading the eighty nine page pdf, a physical book is so much nicer to have. Five out of five for content and inventiveness with lots of old school fiddly bits and pieces. Eric Fabiaschi Sword and Stitchery blog Want to know more? Check out the expanded review right over here. http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2015/09/review-and-commentary-on-free-pdf-for.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep
Publisher: The Hapless Henchman
by Jake B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/25/2014 22:13:48

Great introduction to DCC RPG and lots of fun on your own. This reminds me of the old adventure books I used to read as a kid except with the DCC rule set. The story is fun a well written and the monster guide is just awesome. Had tons of fun with this one.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Publisher Reply:
Thanks for the excellent review, Jake! I\'m sorry I\'ve left it unacknowledged for so long. I\'ve updated some of the files, included a map and a DCC bestiary, and hope to have a print version out not too long after the New Year! If you\'ll send me your email address to my address included in the text, I\'ll clue you in on when the thing hits the streets! Thanks again and stay frosty
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