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    Trouble at Hobgoblin Hill $0.99
    Average Rating:3.0 / 5
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    Trouble at Hobgoblin Hill
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    Trouble at Hobgoblin Hill
    Publisher: Witherwind Games
    by Thilo G. [Verified Purchaser]
    Date Added: 02/06/2013 07:06:32

    This solo-adventure (no GM required) is 14 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page back cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page author's note, 2 pages SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

    This being a module for strictly one player, I can't give away any of the content without spoiling the ONE person who will play it, so...I won't. Instead I'll tell you what to expect in the broadest terms:

    In the style of the choose-your-own-adventure-novels, we get "if x, then read z"-formulae. There are a total of 21 different entries to read and in contrast to Kobold Press' "Party of One"-series, combat works via fully provided statblocks and the usual rules instead of any slimmed down version. That being said, there is not that much combat going on and while you hire a fully stated hireling to help you.

    The module per is the definition of a short dungeon-crawl and has nothing too exciting going for it, though the maps overall are impressive at this price-point: 3 full color maps and one b/w-overview of the area schematic map are provided in the module. Now where the concept unfortunately falls a bit flat of its own premise is in its lackluster use of skills: The module railroads you much more into a given path than required: You can't e.g. opt for stealth and the module clearly presumes a rogue as pregen, but sans providing one: You have multiple times the option to pick a lock, but no DCs are ever given, neither is the option to use stealth being taken into account.

    While a given base of railroading is inherent in such a book, this one in particular feels more linear than it should be. Additionally, if you opt to play this with a spellcaster (no pregen, remember), then the whole thing comes apart at the seams.

    Conclusion: The overall production values of this solo-module are actually quite good, with nice cartography for the price and a commendable lack of editing and formatting glitches. Layout adheres to a printer-friendly, no-frills two-column standard and the pdf has no bookmarks, but its "if then"-sections are linked for your convenience, which is a GREAT idea for a solo-module. The story of this solo-adventure left me rather cold and not much in the terms of characters to identify with, which is also reflected in the fact that no-one in the module seems to have a name: Neither NPCs, nor monsters. The overall flow of the module works, though it is very constraining regarding your actions and their results, more so than feasible. The additional lack of options to take specific basic behaviors like "stealth" into account and the lack of pregen further hurt what definitely has potential. After playing through this, I felt positively surprised by the production values, but terribly underwhelmed with regards to story-telling/linearity. So much so, that it kind of spoilt the whole module for me. The line has definite potential and future modules may be better, but I'll settle for a final verdict of 2 stars on this one.

    Endzeitgeist out.

    [2 of 5 Stars!]
    Trouble at Hobgoblin Hill
    Publisher: Witherwind Games
    by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
    Date Added: 12/18/2012 06:22:17

    This is a well-set-up if basic adventure for a single low-level (probably 1st-level) character, presented as a solo adventure to be run without GM - as Christmas approaches it's worth having a few of these to hand in case all your role-player friends vanish like mine do until after the holidays!

    The set-up is simple, and can be run as a follow-on from another adventure from Witherwind Games (assuming you survived it), but there's sufficient detail to start with this one. The village of Banning (which rather preteniously calls itself a 'town' despite its size!) has just hosted a market, and people there were grumbling about the dangers of one of the main routes travelled to get there... so your character has been hired to deal with the problem. Rather neatly, you can hire on an additional fighter if you don't feel confident about handling it on your own!

    Most of the time, you get two or more options after reading a paragraph, but they can be limited and there's quite a lot of 'go to paragraph #' without any choice given. The adventure itself mostly involves fighting with, um, whoever it is that's living on Hobgoblin Hill and pestering passing traders, and then clearing out their base, but the process is enjoyable if not madly challenging.

    Map support is good, with Banning itself mapped out as well as part of the trade route and the stronghold itself. Easy to get your bearings. However, no use has been made of hyperlinks, even between paragraphs, so you end up scrolling up and down the PDF a lot.

    The suggestion is made that the adventure could be run by a GM for a small group of first-level characters, although the standard solo gamebook presentation would not facilitate that readily. The GM had best prepare beforehand rather than try to pick it up and run it.

    Nice, introductory fun!

    [4 of 5 Stars!]
    Creator Reply:
    Thanks to Megan Robertson for her detailed and very helpful review! I appreciate the time she has spent helping make this adventure more enjoyable. I will be certain to make some tweaks and adjustments so that this, and future adventures will be even more detailed and fun. Sincerely, Dave Savedge
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