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Basic Game Adventure B5
Horror on the Hill

(1983)

by Douglas Niles

 

 

 

 

Editor:

Laurie Mann

 

 

 

Assistant Editor:

Tim Kilpin

 

 

 

Graphic Designer:

Ruth Hoyer

 

 

 

Cover Artist:

Jim Roslof

 

 

 

Interior Artist:

Jim Holloway

 

 

 

 

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The ideal dungeon crawl, this module starts with a fully fleshed-out expedition through a forest that successfully sets the atmosphere for an excursion into an ancient monastery devoted to a dark god. Below the monastery lies a massive dungeon complex filled with humanoids and worse, as well as the poor unfortunates captured by the hobgoblin king who has claimed the Hill as his own. The dungeon itself is filled with the sense of a place that is truly alive and moving around the PCs. A great deal of care went into the creation of this adventure, and it is a real treat to play or DM.

Realm Rating: 5/5

 

Dawn and Foy, Around the Realm:

 

I know I said I was going to do the Slaver's module next but Ray suggested this one as a nice short game to follow up the epic Lost City (game04).

The premise of the game is that you are at Guidio's Fort (I'm not making up that name!) in the far East. At the end of the road for civilization. Across the great river Shrill is the mysterious, fog shrouded, tree covered "Hill". The Hill is rumored to harbor many vicious monsters, kept at bay only by the vast mile-wide river. Many brave adventurers travel there but none ever return. Sounds like an invitation to me! The game is for 3rd to 5th level characters.

I played through it the first time with my 7th level party, fresh from the Lost City. I guess I hurried through it and finished it up fairly quickly. I found the game to be a huge bore, just a bigger version of Keep on the Borderlands. Fortunately Dawn had a lot of fun with it and kept mentioning things I had never seen and so I finally decided to play through it again. For the second time around I picked an older party that was 4th-5th level and I spent my time exploring every nook and cranny. I enjoyed myself much more the second time around.

Things I liked:

*Lots of different kinds of things to hack! I just loved the little piranhakeets. There are a wide variety of little beasties to kill from small to large.

* Very large, interesting dungeons with little surprises everywhere. There is certainly plenty to do. The forest feels very much alive.

* The events were well coded and I didn't find but one bug and it was at the end. Some of the longer text events should have been flagged to wait for an enter key.

* The forest "walls" were well done so that there was no 'skipping' about.

* The rest/training event on the underground river was much appreciated and came at exactly the right time.

* Some of the artwork was well done, I especially liked the big pic landscape. The color cycling lizards were very good too, a nice touch.

* I really liked the music, very good, overplayed maybe, but very good.

Things I disliked:

* Repeating text. What review from me about the Realms wouldn't include this complaint? For my second attempt the first thing I did was go in and flag several of the forest text events as 'once only' and most of the rest as not requiring the enter key to continue.

* The hints from the old man. I had no idea that he would give more than one clue the first time I played. It wasn't until my second attempt that I realized you could keep going back to the bar and he would keep talking to you. I think it could have been handled better.

* Big bug at the end. If the party tries to return to the hill by going to the pier, an old guided tour event takes over the party and ends up taking you outside the fort.

* A fountain that increases or decreases the PC's attributes or hit points. The intention is laudable, it was done in several Gold Box games going all the way back to the infamous book in POR. Unfortunately this can't be done in UA. The instructions to the player on how to accomplish this miracle of hacking is a jarring reminder in the middle of your quest that it is, after all, only a game. I don't happen to have a character editor and have no intention of editing my characters anyway, even with permission from the DM!

* The ending. Very unsatisfying, although I don't doubt that it is the way TSR wrapped up the p&p version. I wish I could have traveled back to the Hill to try to find some of the stuff I left behind.

One question... was the barbarian caves supposed to be so confusing. It had an awful lot of guided tours and transfer events that caused both of us no end of confusion. On my second pass I finally went in and turned on area view so I could see what was going on.

Overall, my wife and I enjoyed the game. It was mindless fun with more good points than bad. If what you want is a good hack-and-slash adventure, this is the game for you! For our next game we went back to the West for the newly released Game19, GA3 Tales of Enchantment.

Foy

 


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Horror on the Hill, the third design I played, was much more like Keep. The wildernesses and caves were done even better than in Keep, I thought, and though pictures didn't show the locations of the waterfall or the 'compound in the distance,' the text describes them very well, and the maps made a lot of sense to me.

The fountain inside the compound interested me, as I've never seen something like that in a design. Though I wish there had been more possible results of drinking the water, the fountain's alterations were exciting. My elf fighter now has a 21 dexterity! The game has several other nicely done areas: the eight-door room and the last, grey cavern. Toward the end of the game, the party can traverse a darkened passageway and cross a shaky bridge over lava. Those were two of the best locations I've encountered in dungeons.

 

Dear Mr. Dyer,

First of all I'd like to say thank you for the effort you put into the Horror on the Hill conversion. I know its probably not a correct choice to play after Keep on the Borderlands, but it was the other module I remember playing - when I was playing the pen and paper versions - and had big fun in process.

I was not disappointed. Again a really great module. I actually have no complaints, though I got smoked a couple of times by the ants. The only thing I could add is that the ants and the kobolds were harder to take care of than the final dragon - great use of those little buggers (The Kobolds, I mean).

Anyway, thanks again for the Horror on the Hill, Keep up the great work...

 

 

 


All of the preceding modules and game worlds are trademarked property of TSR Inc, which is now the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. I take no credit for the stories or ideas presented here, I merely converted them to a playable format for SSI's Unlimited Adventures game.