The Hell House Beckons
- Although it's not perfect, there's a lot of useable content here for 10$
- I'm surprised the book didn't include the absolute best hook involving haunted houses—the players inherit or win the deed to the haunted house. Instead it suggests that they are "Cleansing" it for some local lord.
- There's quite a bit of repetition within the text. Most of it is due to being designed to be used at the table as a reference, but some is contained within the setup and background information and doesn't need to be repeated.
- * Considering that it's written, illustrated, and laid out by a single person, these are minor quibbles. It's a 70 page adventure that is different every time you run it, and works as a toolkit you can pull from for other adventures.
- The imagery of some of the horror is fantastic. There are some terrifying things that can happen within the house. To avoid spoilers, I'm not going to mention anything specific, except inside this spoiler tag.
- Spoiler! Horses smashing their heads through the windows, and killing themselves? Shocking! A mutated halfling with shears wearing a burlap sack that just won't die and keeps popping out in random places? So much fun. Ghosts, hallucinations, forgotten burial grounds, in any other setting then a tabletop game, it would seem like too much. End Spolier
- Imagery that's not only terrifying, but fair. The adventure doesn't pull any punches, but unlike most adventures from 1984 to the turn of the century, there are no bullshit gotchas. This adventure isn't on rails, the characters can approach it however they want. There's a whole page devoted to talking about the perspective and attitude to take when running this adventure. I think that's awesome.
- The adventure isn't without its challenges to run, either. Minor spoilers ahead, so you may want to avoid reading if you plan to play in it. . . A large portion of the adventure revolves around satisfying ghosts, and in order to know how to do that, there's 800 words of backstory that either has to be read to the players or handed out to them. Players, as we all know, are a lazy breed, and that's a lot of investment to ask of them. I think it's best to just print it out and give it to them in letter form. It suggests that and is already formatted that way for ease of use. (Although you'll have to copy and paste from 3 pages and do a little reformatting in a text editor before printing)
- Each room is detailed in bullet point fashion, making it easy to use on the fly.