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B5 Horror on the Hill (Basic)
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B5 Horror on the Hill (Basic)

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Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 25%! For more values, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

The end of the road. A lonely fort stands on the banks of a mighty river. It is here the hardy bands of adventurers gather to plan their conquests of The Hill, the hulking mass that looms over this tiny settlement.

The Hill is filled with monsters, they say, and an evil witch makes her home there. Still, no visitor to The Hill has ever returned to prove the rumors true or false. The thrill of discovery is too great to pass up, and only the river stands in the way. The adventurers' boat is waiting!

This adventure is designed for use with the D&D Basic Rules. A trip through the wilderness begins a unique challenge for the novice player and Dungeon Master.

Included in the module are 11 maps, 3 new monsters, and a complete set of pre-rolled characters.

Product History

"Horror on the Hill" (1983), by Douglas Niles, was published in 1983. It was the fifth Basic supplement published and the first one that wasn't introductory in nature. Though B5 is intended for characters of levels 1-3, there's no extra effort spent teaching players or gamemasters how to play the game - as had been the case for the first four Basic adventures.

New Trade Dress. "Horror on the Hill" was the first Basic supplement to use the new, upgraded D&D trade dress, recognizable by the diagonal banner at the left being replaced by a long banner across the top. That trade dress was actually a pretty big deal, because it resulted in adventures that looked more professional, especially in their graphic design and in the quality of their artwork.

Under the new trade dress, adventures also began making regular use of boxed text that was to be read to the players. "Palace of the Silver Princess" (1981) played with the idea, but this was the first time that it became a regular part of the Basic line.

A Hint of Wilderness. Before the D&D Expert Set (1981), Basic D&D adventures were almost entirely set in dungeons, caves, and ruined dwellings. The Expert Set opened up the possibility of wilderness adventuring. Thus here we have some outdoor encounters atop the hill - though most of the adventure is still set in dungeons and caves. (Players would have to wait until B8: "Journey to the Rock" [1984] for a full-scale wilderness adventure using the Basic Set.)

The Keep Konnection. B5 is quite similar in general nature to B2: "Keep on the Borderlands" (1980): It includes a home base out in the wilderness - here, Guido's Fort - and from there players can trek to monster-infested areas. We can speculate that this might have been a purposeful replacement, as TSR was releasing the third-edition Basic D&D set at the time, and thus B2 (which had been a staple of the first and second edition Basic D&D sets) was dropping out of print.

The biggest difference between "Horror" and the classic "Keep" is that Guido's Fort is given almost no detail, leaving the gamemaster to create any roleplaying opportunities for the home base itself. Of course, as some have suggested, you could just replace Guido's Fort with the Keep on the Borderlands!

About the Creators. Niles was doing a fair amount of Basic D&D writing in the early '80s. He authored X3: "Curse of Xanathon" (1982) the previous year, and would go on to design two different Companion Set (1984) adventures in 1984.

About the Product Historian

This history of this product was researched and written by Shannon Appelcline, the author of Designers & Dragons - a history of the roleplaying industry told one company at a time. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to

We (Wizards) recognize that some of the legacy content available on this website does not reflect the values of the Dungeons & Dragons franchise today. Some older content may reflect ethnic, racial, and gender prejudice that were commonplace in American society at that time. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. This content is presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. Dungeons & Dragons teaches that diversity is a strength, and we strive to make our D&D products as welcoming and inclusive as possible. This part of our work will never end.

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Reviews (6)
Discussions (11)
Customer avatar
mike K July 06, 2021 2:06 am UTC
I ran this with my brother with his Norse Barbarian some years ago. It was a blast with a few minor changes. Basically I moved the location of Guido's Fort into far northern climate and changed the underground levels into ice caverns beneath the haunted Monastery ruins. The lower level became a underground frozen river populated with a few snow apes.
Customer avatar
Iain B June 06, 2021 3:17 pm UTC
Why isn’t this available as print on demand?
Customer avatar
Peter B May 31, 2021 8:05 pm UTC
Please make this POD please
Customer avatar
Blue P March 03, 2021 11:58 pm UTC
WOTC and Dm's Guild no longer allows for map packs anymore with previously published titles unless I also create additional encounters, etc. for it. This rule is nonsense and penalizes not only me but you. Complain about it. In the meantime, those with "special" privileges get to ignore the new, arbitrary rules sent down from WOTC. Complain about that too. I have and have gotten nowhere. I guess WOTC and Onebookshelf don't want to make money.
Customer avatar
George F July 01, 2020 7:40 pm UTC
In all the years I've had this adventure, I've never noticed this before.
The stat blocks for the Piranha Birds and Steam Weevil are switched in the appendix.
Customer avatar
Joel G August 11, 2019 7:26 pm UTC
POD option please.
Customer avatar
William S March 02, 2021 3:57 pm UTC
Agreed. A PoD would be great. Wonder why only some material has this option....
Customer avatar
Iain B April 29, 2021 5:47 pm UTC
Same here. I'm really puzzling over why some modules are only PDFs and some PoD. I contacted Wizards of the Coast but they don't reply to specific enquiries. Kind of maddening.
Customer avatar
Ian M October 15, 2018 11:59 am UTC
There are four "bad" modules in the B series (in my opinion), and B5 is one of them. These are the ones that feel thrown-together, and populated by random dice roll. The actual journey part isn't too bad, but somewhat contrived. The main dungeon itself is horrible.
However, a little seasoning to taste can resolve all of this to make for a fun adventure. You can time-limit it to push players along, which adds to the module's intensity. It needs this because, if played as a "normal" adventure module, it's pretty dull.
Customer avatar
Jim P March 31, 2019 8:50 pm UTC
From comments I have seen elsewhere, the provided characters are too week for this module. Some lesser potions and scrolls for first and second level would be a good idea.
Customer avatar
Chad K June 22, 2018 5:48 pm UTC
This adventure is loads of fun. BUY IT! I have an original copy, but if this would be available as POD I would get another copy. Fun, not too serious.
Customer avatar
Blue P January 21, 2018 11:36 pm UTC
If you need maps for B5: Horror on the Hill, check out my map pack on this site: (copy/paste link below),
Customer avatar
William S March 02, 2021 4:01 pm UTC
Maps are no longer there. Conversion guide to 5e is.
Customer avatar
Blue P March 03, 2021 11:58 pm UTC
WOTC and Dm's Guild no longer allows for map packs anymore with previously published titles unless I also create additional encounters, etc. for it. This rule is nonsense and penalizes not only me but you. Complain about it. In the meantime, those with "special" privileges get to ignore the new, arbitrary rules sent down from WOTC. Complain about that too. I have and have gotten nowhere. I guess WOTC and Onebookshelf don't want to make money.
Customer avatar
Blue P January 06, 2018 8:36 pm UTC
For those wanting a 5th edition conversion guide go here on this store (link):
Customer avatar
Chuck P October 04, 2014 5:27 pm UTC
I have a copy of the compilation B1-9 In Search of Adventure. In that compilation, this module is called The Hobgoblin King. As I enjoy reading about the background on the modules, I was wondering if there is any information on the reason for the name change.
Customer avatar
George F July 01, 2020 7:39 pm UTC
All of the intro and wilderness information has been cut in the compilation.
There's an entire section about adventuring on the Hill that includes close to 20 encounter areas.
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Platinum seller
Publisher Stock #
TSR 9078
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11.4 MB
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File Last Updated:
January 28, 2013
This title was added to our catalog on January 22, 2013.