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The Waking of Willowby Hall €6,95
Average Rating:4.9 / 5
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Holly [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/27/2024 09:24:25

Ran this for my players today and they loved it. A great one-session adventure to throw into your game wherever you want. Tons of interesting treasure, very dangerous, and generally pretty good momentum. (Make sure seals break pretty frequently so the house isn't in Sleeping mode forever.) My players ended up completely missing all the ghost NPCs but still had a good time with the other party and the giant. Do be sure to bring a deck of cards for the blackjack game--rolling for it just isn't as fun.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Michael I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/25/2023 13:57:37

Picked this up after hearing about it on the Fear of the Black Dragon podcast. It's by the Questing Beast, which is probably the best D&D tangential rpg reviewer on Youtube. Everything from this dude should be an auto-buy! If you are bored with typical adventures for D&D, buy this now!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by David S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2023 08:06:11

This is a great (potentially) one-shot adventure. It's well laid out with great set pieces, NPC's, and a constantly growing level of danger that should make for an extremely memorable game. The writing is setup in such a way that prep level is minimal and easy to reference mid session.

SPOILER WARNING In this adventure, the PC's are actually the SECOND adventuring party to arrive at Willoughby Hall. The first group recently stole the goose that lays golden eggs from the giant that lives in the clouds. In his rage, the Giant has taken the magical church bell and is using it as a flail. Periodically, when the bell rings out, a cataclysmic curse drives the game closer to complete destruction. It's up to the players to avoid the gaze of the giant as he searches for the first group that stole his goose, meanwhile you have to deal with the castles denizens, ghosts, and other physical dangers.

This product is almost perfect. My complaint feels a little nitpicky, but I'd like to see a print version that allows you to print it out into the booklet form you see on the website here. This probably won't bother most readers, but it's something that I would have liked.

This is definitely in my top 5 favorite one-shot adventures, and an excellent product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Chad B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/06/2022 14:02:47

I can't really add much to what others have said, but this is easily one of the most fun adventures I've run in a long time. (For the record, my players encountered this at random while playing Troika!, it was pretty easy to scale things since most anything goes in that system.)

It's an interesting scenario for both DM and players, extremely well laid out and I am always thrilled to see maps I can use for the players.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Seamus H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/19/2022 23:50:09

THINGS I LOVED:

  1. The layout is about as good as it gets: Ben Milton, who is probably the #1 advocate for product usability in the OSR community, practices what he preaches here. Every room is keyed via its page number (rather than an arbitrary key #) so flipping is made easy as can be. Every time a room, object, concept, or NPC is referenced a page # is provided. Great bolding and hierarchical layout for information. Terse but evocative prose. Altogether wonderful.
  2. Tight, dynamic adventure design. A simple, exciting danger mechanic: a cloud giant circles the haunted house and slowly elevates the danger level within. The mechanic is easy, fun, actionable, and easily integrated in your regular random encounter roll. It makes the adventure feel very accessible for a GM: you understand immediately the sorts of things that playing this adventure will entail, and lends itself nicely to quick GM decisions on the fly to keep things moving and keep the blood pumping.
  3. Good random encounter tables. There isn't a particularly large number of things to fight in here but the encounters that are here are all awesome. In my playthrough, there ended up being an EPIC battle between the Death Knight, the fireball-hurling NPC wizard, and my PC party, who was also trying to wrangle the golden goose in a nearby room, which was on fire. It was unforgettable, people jumping out of windows, fireballs sending rooms up in smoke, the cloud giant peering in and trying to snatch up his goose, and a simultaneous impaling between the death knight and a PC to finish the fight. Boy were my players pissed when the Death Knight came right back! Great potential for awesome chaos in this module.
  4. ZERO empty rooms and lots of interactivity everywhere. Even the least exciting rooms always have good flavor text, stuff to poke or prod, or some level of danger. Things to eat (mushrooms, of course), collect (black candles), steal, read, draw, play (mini-games, harpsichords, etc.), or just admire in every room. Really, really, masterfully designed so that there isn't a single boring room in the whole place.
  5. Good, interesting loot! All the treasure here is unique and memorable: taxidermied wyvern heads, alchemical miscellany, ancient weapons, decorative urns, etc. None of the treasure is boring book loot.
  6. Honestly, great potential for more adventure here! In my game, two of the three NPC adventurers escaped the manor (Helmut got tossed into the woods by the Cloud Giant, poor fellow) and can definitely be recurring villains (or potential allies) for the heroes.
  7. Lots of tough problems which can be solved with other stuff in the adventure. Lots of dangerous weapons, for example, which could be used to kill the giant (bombs, ballista, lightning bolts and fire balls, etc.) even though my players never really considered that route. Lots of clues (in mapping and elsewhere) to the secret areas here.
  8. No fear on Ben's part in offering awesome, game breaking items. Even though my players handed the goose over to Tom about as fast as they got their hands on her, there are lots of awesome treasures in here which will absolutely fuck up your game world, make your players incredibly rich and/or powerful, and that's badass! Let the players have awesome stuff that changes your game going forward.

THINGS I HAD TO ADJUST:

  1. I ended up ignoring a few things that Ben wrote which didn't sit right during my individual playthrough of this module (this aren't criticisms per se, just small tips I'd have for others wanting to run the game). For example, my players were DEAD SET on negotiating with the Cloud Giant; I didn't want their foolhardy attempt at diplomacy to kill a PC outright in the first half hour of the six-hour session it ended up being, so I let them chat with him a bit. He didn't stop clanging the bell against the manor or anything afterwards, and still created danger for the PCs, but I let them be on neutral terms because they absolutely had their hearts set on talking to him. So I ignored the "Tom can't tell human-sized creatures apart" thing.
  2. I made the Owl Bear a bit tougher because with AC 10 and 18HP a large third level party (even with B/X rules, which I play with) can probably obliterate him pretty easily.
  3. I added a rule where skeletons turn as 3HD when enthralled by the Death Knight so that they couldn't all just be turned automatically by the lvl 3 cleric in my party, and I had them arrive in greater numbers. It made for a fun, goofy, Jason and the Argonauts feel as my players cut through them. But I LOVE the flavor of skeletons wearing aprons and cookware for armor and wielding mops and rolling pins.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This was a perfect weekend reunion game for two splintered groups of players whose characters had long been apart. It was an epic one-shot that will have repercussions for both groups, introduced lots of new NPCs and loot that will affect my game long term, and produced some awesome, awesome memories for everyone at the table. PLEASE BUY AND RUN THIS ADVENTURE! Your players will think you're an awesome GM, and that's what a good aventure does!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Jake C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/02/2021 09:36:36

Great layout and really dynamic dungeon! Bolded keywords, the map is repeated every page with relevant rooms highlighted, the main map at the front keys the rooms with page numbers as well as gives a summary of what's inside, and a great mechanic for ratcheting the tension up a notch as they spend more time in the house. Ran it just yesterday and we all had a blast, itching to do it again for another group. With this and how sleek Knave was... I'm sure to be looking at anything Milton puts out!

Edit: I used some fan-made maps for VTT, here: https://www.reddit.com/r/osr/comments/mtjsub/the_waking_of_willowby_hall_vttready_maps/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Waking of Willowby Hall
Publisher: Questing Beast Games
by Sam C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2021 17:08:11

Had an amazing time running this, everything's laid out clearly and precicely, easily the most painless adventure I've run in quite a while. The loot is generous, the danger very understandable and ever-present and the progression of the waking mechanic keeps things fresh throughout with extra challenges and a slow build of action as the players progress through the mansion. I'm already looking forward to running this again with a new group to see how things change, as there's more variety here than you can see in one play through :)

I've had to dock a star though because the player maps (included as textless versions in the creators own words "for use on virtual tabletops") INCLUDE THE LOCATIONS OF SECRET DOORS. Please do NOT use these as player facing maps, they completely ruin several fun surprises, we were really disappointed by this when we noticed it by one of the players saying they try opening the door which was on the map but supposedly hidden behind something in the game :(



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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