Author Topic: REVIEW: The Horrid Hag of Hom (by Rob Douglas)  (Read 905 times)

Offline Olivier Leroux

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REVIEW: The Horrid Hag of Hom (by Rob Douglas)
« on: February 03, 2009, 09:31:36 AM »
The Horrid Hag of Hom
by Rob Douglas

Reviewed by hans

     
    Well, I got an early start, and have been playing (and enjoying) Robert Douglas' The Horrid Hag of Hom (HHoHom.zip), but I think I'm stuck.  I need to go to a faerie ring and sleep, but I can't find it and so can't do it.  I'm in the forest, but, I guess I don't have something I need. 

    Unfortunately, I believe there's a bug there, because the chain event in that Zone didn't fire -- that is, it didn't until I inserted a blank text event before it, set to "always happens."  I don't know why (I've never bothered with chain events in my mods) but that did the trick and I was able to finish the game.

    There was one other big bug that I wandered into.  When my party tried to enter the wilderness when leaving Dungeon 2 ("Hom - two"), it hit a stair event, that's clearly mis-set, which sent us to column 0, row 0 in that same Dungeon (essentially out of the game, permanently).  I simply reloaded from a previous save, but I'm assuming you wanted a transfer module event there, instead.

    Anyways, those are two big bugs -- gamestoppers, so I recommend that you upload a fixed version, because this is a fun mod that I bet players will want to finish after they've started.  Other than those two, the only other problems I saw were a few spelling errors.  Nothing major.

    As for the story itself, I really enjoyed it.  The humor was very nice, throughout, and sometimes truly inspired.  I couldn't help laughing out loud when my party got drunk.

    Your premise behind the town of Hom was also an interesting one.

    I hope this is just the beginning of a long and prolific career as a FRUAuthor for you!

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: The Horrid Hag of Hom (by Rob Douglas)
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 10:51:40 AM »
The Horrid Hag of Hom
by Rob Douglas

Reviewed by Ray Dyer


    This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk...



    Opening:   (8.5 out of 10)

    Talk about a game that kicks off in the heart of the action! My characters wander into town and suddenly they are besieged by the undead and a wicked hag. Elminster shows up and then the hag is shown to be a significant threat, probably on a global scale. At this point I stepped back and raised my eyebrows. After all, isn't the "banish Elminster" idea used a little too often? Still, this is a very interesting premise, and--after all--I am always glad when I remember that Bram Stoker didn't say, "Vampires? No, someone already thought of that."

    Body:   (7.5 out of 10)

    It was fun to walk around the village. I like it when shopkeepers do more than sell goods. The Spam Shop didn't exactly appeal to my sense of humor, but it was handled well as the front that it was intended to be.

    I found a bug while investigating the town. When I entered the School of Music, I received a message that no one was home. Then there was a flash and I was teleported outside the village, with no way back inside.

    At the mayor's urging, my little band turned about to begin its investigations. Rob's focus on the hag's wand--as opposed to the hag itself--lent some real credibility to the logic of involving a group of such low-level characters in this sort of epic adventure

    One bug arose that actually made me go into the editor in order to be able to continue playing. I went into the faery circles (three of them), dead faery in tow, and slept for weeks without incident. For some reason, the rest event would not fire to take me into the land of the faeries till I did some tinkering in the editor. Very strange, and frustrating, since I wasted a lot of time thinking that I must have overlooked a step!

    The arena was also a nice diversion. Between the arena and the shops selling potions and miscellaneous magic, Hom had a very "Forgotten Realms" feel to it. Not usually a fan of mindless combat, I found myself strangely emotional over my self-appointed task of depleting the village's crocodile population.

    By far my favorite part of this design, however, was the school of music. I kept going back to see what they had at any given point. It was a nice way of learning that I had indeed managed to progress the plot along, but the bards were definitely more in tune to my own sense of humor. They were great!

    Conclusion:   (8.0 out of 10)

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHH!

    That was for the abrupt, boots-you-out-without-a-chance-to-save-your-character ending. Other than that, I was merely filled with despair when I realized that I didn't possess a single weapon that could injure the hag, and that I was doomed to die. Not sure how I feel that such abject failure was accounted for in the actual creation of the design, so the plot advanced nonetheless. A few more games at the arena and I could have bought a magical quarterstaff...And with that (and her Armor Class 8), I think I would have stood a decent chance against her!

    Art:   (9.0 out of 10)

    I have no problem with the game's default artwork, and it's use is doubly cool when a chosen picture fits well. When a design author makes us look at one of those ten-year-old pictures in a new way, it can be a lot of fun. By and large, the pictures chosen for Hom were appropriately used. Some of the key images, though, could have benefited from a quick trip to Rosedragon or Corhub. The faery queen, for instance, is such an important character that having an image of a faery might have worked better than an old stand-by. Another image that caught me a little off guard was the look of the faery lair--It looked an awful lot like hell. I would have expected something a little prettier; maybe some extra descriptive text might have explained the setting more clearly.

    Spelling/Grammar:   (8.0 out of 10)

    The further I got into the design the more spelling errors began to creep in. It was relatively easy throughout the design to read through possessives created without apostrophes ("Elminsters cloak" instead of "Elminster's cloak") but the latter half of Hom showed more typographical errors. Never anything big or too confusing, but more than a few "speed bumps" while playing through

    Overall Score: 8.2


Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: REVIEW: The Horrid Hag of Hom (by Rob Douglas)
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2016, 01:48:49 PM »
Lots of text and very few combats is not my idea of a fun design. That is, before I play it.

This was actually quite a fun design with well designed areas, and good use of skill/race events. The completionsist needs a Halfling in the party to enter a bonus dungeon.

Exploring the town was actually fun; it's small and with lots of events. You can even talk to shopkeepers and have the party discuss "what next?" in the pub.

It could have been a classic if the author had made a few updates:

1. Run the text through a spell checker.

2. Play test it. As noted by the other reviewers the crucial Fairy Ring event does not fire, and if hans had not mentioned how to edit the event, it would have been a game stopper for me, 'cause the solution is one I wouldn't have though of.
There was also a Transfer Module even in town that did not work properly.
Also, why drop and add the NPC every second step while in town? Not a bug, but weird.

3. The combats are highly unbalanced. The majority are far too easy while the last one is next to impossible. I think the only way to actually kill the Hag is to use a Mirror to reflect her Gaze attack, but for that you probably have to hide the character with the mirror while she wastes her spells, or Silence one of your own guys and place next to her, and then hope she Gazes instead of attacking with weapons.
I don't think the Quarterstaff +2 would have made a difference, since your allies with magic weapons could not scratch her.
So in the end it was up to Elminster Ex Machina to save the day...

My party members ended their quest with about 6600 XP each.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2016, 01:58:16 PM by PetrusOctavianus »

 

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