Author Topic: REVIEW: The House of Magic (by Jacek Dobrzyniecki)  (Read 864 times)

Offline Olivier Leroux

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REVIEW: The House of Magic (by Jacek Dobrzyniecki)
« on: February 03, 2009, 09:50:16 AM »
The House of Magic
by Jacek Dobrzyniecki

Reviewed by hans
 
   
    The House of Magic is Jacek "JudgeDeadd" Dobrzyniecki's second mod, and, notably, marks his first use of imported art.  I'm guessing that the art itself was also done by Jacek, by which he introduces a new monster -- a Leek monster (as in the edible plant).  I'm always in favor of new monsters, and the Leeks art is quite charming (as unique and whimsical as the monsters themselves).
     
    Jacek shows himself quite adept with the sheer mechanics of a mod.  The construction is orderly and incorporates the mainstay device of a town base from which the party journeys out to a problem area, and then returns for respite.
     
    There a some humorous touches, a few of which I wish had been embellished further.  For example, this is the first mod I've played that includes a dentist's office, but we are not given the chance to see the dentist in action.  It set me to wondering how a dentist in the Forgotten Realms would operate.  Would the practitioner use special magical salves or enchantments?  Or would the work involve some inquisitorial mixture of pliers and pain?  That, however, is only a minor sidenote.
     
    More significantly, while the mod is playable, enjoyable, and a complete story, there was one major thing that I felt was missing:  There was never a point where the main villain revealed his master plan.  While it may certainly be a cliche, such boastfully fiendish speeches serve to answer the players'/readers'/audiences' questions of "why is the villain doing this?" and "what does he hope to gain?" and "what awful event may still be store?" and sometimes even "how the heck is he doing what he's doing?"
     
    Jacek's writing style, however, is more sparing.  He implies and gives clues, leaving it to the player to connect the dots for themselves.  While that's a legitimate technique, I feel that it's more dramatic to give the villain his grand (if corny) center stage soliloquy tell-all.  A third option is to have a character other the villain explain everything (but which is rarely as dramatic as allowing the villain a chance to do it himself).
     
    In his text file, Jacek suggests a party size of four Player Characters.  Although they all start out at first level (and there's a good chance they'll finish at the same, since this is a relatively small mod), the smaller party size is not too great a disadvantage.  The fights are all fairly easy.  In fact, desirable of a greater challenge, I played the game a second time with a single, multi-class PC, and survived with a greater sense of satisfaction.
     
    I found no bugs in either of my plays.

Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: REVIEW: The House of Magic (by Jacek Dobrzyniecki)
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2009, 10:43:30 AM »
The House of Magic
by Jacek Dobrzyniecki

Reviewed by Ray Dyer



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

    Opening:   (7.5 out of 10)

    Very brief and to the point. I'm here for adventure, and it may or may not be in the house in front of me. Not that I need more, but it would be nice to have some tidbits. Where am I? Where have I come from? What do I know about this house, and how long did it take to get here? Okay, okay, this adventure is only supposed to take fifteen minutes, so I'm asking for too much...But it would be cool!

    Body:   (9.0 out of 10)

    Well, I was curious, so I traveled to town before investigating the house. It was a pretty neat place, and I did in fact learn about the area and the folk living there. It was cool to find a hospital, and this village is--I'm relatively certain--home to FRUAdom's only dentist!

    Reminded of a certain other house in the woods (a la the classic module U1), I thought I'd check around for some other entrance. Alas, there was no back door to be found. Jacek included descriptive text to keep the house interesting. Dust and bats and cobwebs abound.

    Jacek continues to tell a very interesting story, linking the villagers to the haunted house. I even found the leeks to be very interesting. It's always fun to find a new creature, and one that is made plausible is cooler, still!

    Conclusion:   (8.0 out of 10)

    The town throws a "big party" and I got to sleep for free at the inn. I did get to save my game, and as I said above, the town was a very interesting little place. The characters were fleshed out just enough for a design of this scope. The ending itself could have been a little more in-depth--maybe a picture or two (even from the defalt art stock) to accompany the description of the gathering.

    Art:   (9.0 out of 10)

    While most of this design made good use of default artwork, there was a memorable encounter involving something that certainly did not come in the original FRUA package. Nicely done, and well-used, the new art enhanced the story. There weren't any moments when I looked at the game and wondered at Jacek's choice, and on several instances, I remarked to myself how well everything seemed to line up.

    Spelling/Grammar:   (8.5 out of 10)

    There were some typos and punctuation errors in this design. Nothing that made it impossible to follow, but more of the "speed bump" sort of errors. These were the sorts of mistakes that pull the player out of an involving story and remind him that he is reading something, not actually there in the thick of it. In every instance, the story continued and became more interesting; nothing here that was too distracting!

    Overall Score: 8.4

Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: REVIEW: The House of Magic (by Jacek Dobrzyniecki)
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2016, 02:50:17 PM »
A short, enjoyable module, but very easy.
My characters ended up with about 1,000 XP each, most of it as "quest reward" for being lawful citizens.
No showdown with the owner of the House of Magic was a bit of a letdown.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2016, 03:36:00 PM by PetrusOctavianus »