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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag KeepClick to magnify
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HHSOLO 1 - The Hounds of Halthrag Keep

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Long ago, as children, we flipped furiously through curious little tomes in which fate was delineated for us, Choosing Our Own Adventures, Fighting Furiously, little Wolf Pups All Alone under the covers, scribbling and erasing and picking entries

Die, start over, repeat.  Keep your finger on the page so you can get back to the fork, you cheating cheater? Of course you did it!  We all did it.

Now that we are Men and Women, and Whatevers, we have shiny new things and do them the way we like.  Dungeon Crawl Classics is a slightly newer thing, and this thing you see here is a way to blend that Old Peanut Butter with your Spiffy New Chocolate.

The Hounds of Halthrag Keep is a story - the second oldest story - in which an innocent schmuck is plunged feet-first into the Flames of Truth and Adversity, to Die Badly or Win Big.  That's all it is.  It's hard.  It's unforgiving. It's relentless.

It's a complicated funnel character generator, for you DCC folks in the know.  If you're not in the know, but you're interested in DCC, then what you get inside is a 80's-era throwback in PDF form, with digital hyperlinks so you can flip furiously back and forth and get the end that you want.  Shoehorned inside it is a subset of the Dungeon Crawl Classics rules, so that once you've mastered the contents, you'll know the Basic Ways of DCC and also have a hankering for the flavour.  Yes, the flavour.  I spell it that way for a reason.

89 pages (204 in the softcover!) of random encounters, extradimensional evil, Appendix N-flavoured solo 0-level madness, sure to make you grit your teeth in aggravation and generate (should you escape it!) a pretty spiffy character ripe for tromping all over the multiverse in any DCC game with a little gonzo in it.  Explosive laser pistols, 0-level cantrips (heresy, I know!), a bunch of pseudo-random tables, and an assortment of slimy bad guys that prey upon the innocent and that just beg for you to power up and open a can of whoop-ass on them!  It can be done, I assure you!

I did almost the whole thing, soup to nuts, except two illustrations by Russ Nicholson and Sam Schultz, and I couldn't have done it without the inspiration and insights of the DIY RPG community on G+.  Special thanks to Paul, for Vendel Re'Yune, and to Clay, for Psionic Gifts!

Thanks everybody!

Update: The digital version is, by necessity, different from the softcover version, since they are laid out in 8.5 by 11 and 6 by 9, respectively.  If you enjoy holding game-books in your hands, then the Softcover/Digital combo may be your best bet.  I've included the 6x9 digital file for those who prefer to use it.  There are (very minor) textual edits and significant layout changes to the softcover to permit cramming it in the smaller space.

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Reviews (6)
Discussions (5)
Customer avatar
Jordan C September 05, 2023 1:36 pm UTC
I can't even make it out of the first room. The gatehouse has become a crypt of at least 20 of my "adventurers", and I have completely memorized the character creation process.

Not a complaint: just wanted to share. The space beyond the gatehouse has become my white whale, and I am determined to hunt it down.
Customer avatar
Harry H January 05, 2022 4:36 am UTC
"The Shadow stole all my gear, but at least I escaped with my life!" - Meryck the Mudlark, my 7th 'zero' and so far lone survivor of Halthrag Keep.

I intend to return to the keep, and maybe try and roll a few more survivors. I will also admit that I used a not-insignificant amount of homebrewed Judge Fudge to get out alive, this module is BRUTAL!
Customer avatar
Noah G July 29, 2018 4:57 am UTC
I'm using this book to teach myself DCC and am loving it! I would leave a 5 star review but I'm a publisher (Old Lingolf House, shameless plug) so the system won't let me.

The reduced set of DCC rules is perfect for someone like me. Out of six characters I have two survivors (one got out through the gap in the north wall, the other left on the Gnome boat) whom I will next use to teach myself the class system and everything else in DCC. Still planning to keep playing this, either more funneling or bring back the two leveled-up survivors and attempt to clean the place out using the full DCC rules.

I wanted to let you know I got all the references in the thief random encounter (the "lean and hungry gentleman"). Let's just say I wish I could have handed him a delicate treasure egg for him to open, and am wondering why he was wielding a "rusty knife" (which should be magically cursed to turn against him) instead of a stiletto. Or should I say . . . hello, sailor! (Nothing...See more
Customer avatar
Noah S May 05, 2019 10:49 pm UTC
Hey Noah!

Thanks for “getting it”! I think I gave him the rusty knife because you can find the Stiletto elsewhere ;) I hereby give you permission to cross out Random Treasure entry (determined by d100) and write in “Delicate Faberge Egg - worth 300 gold, but reduces Luck by 2.”

If you give this the to Thief, he will escort you to the exit, where you can try to kill him and get it back!
Customer avatar
Noah G May 18, 2019 1:49 am UTC
Thanks for your reply! I will add those :-) . It's always a good feeling when Infocom references come up in OSR games - to me there is a very close relation between the two.

I have played this a bunch more times and feel reasonably comfortable with DCC. Played a couple of first level games with my friends and this book definitely helped! Thanks again.

Customer avatar
Todd B December 31, 2017 10:00 pm UTC
I just finished playing this. My first two characters died quickly, but somehow my third lasted quite a while, thanks mostly to burning a ton of luck. Did the 1st level adventure that was supposed to explore this setting in more detail ever materialize? I guess probably not, since it's been 4 years now and I don't see it here. Too bad. There were several things in the adventure that I thought were interesting enough to make it into a full blown traditional DCCRPG adventure.
Customer avatar
Noah S March 01, 2018 2:24 pm UTC
Hey Todd! Thanks for your interest. I did, at one point, plan to return to it and even have the outline and some chunks written. Life gets in the way, though. I wanted it to complement the Keep itself af expand on Marburg and the weird magical/alien chaos that comes from nearby. It may still happen! Sorry it took this long to respond to your question; I’m not great, I guess, at checking this section of the site. If you remain interested, check out the other free stuff in my RPGNow catalog - the ‘weird floridiana’ monographs are all linked in subtle ways. Stay Alive, Hound! BTW, I’m running a bunch of zeroes through Halthrag this month at a local con (BFG Con)
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