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H1 Keep on the Shadowfell (Dungeons & Dragons) Paperback – 20 May 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Wizards of the Coast,US; 4Rev Ed edition (20 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786948507
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786948505
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 0.7 x 28.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 561,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By N. A. Freeman on 26 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
Physical Aspects:

When you extract H1 from its wrapping, you get a card folder containing a thick book, 3 double-sided poster-sized miniature scale maps and a thin book. The books are a little flimsy, not having card covers, and in my copy the ink tends to smudge a bit. This is not true of all copies of H1, apparently, and may be down to a particular print run. The maps are a bit lower in quality than some I've seen, but that's not a major complaint. Also, you should know that some of them duplicate maps that have appeared in previous products.

The thick book contains several pages of fast-play rules, but mostly the adventure itself. Encounters are laid out very well in a format which means you never have to turn the page during combat. This is a great advance in DMing from the days where stats were at the back of the book and you had to continually flip pages!

The thin book contains some fast-play rules aimed at the players and some pregenerated characters.

First impressions, then, are: why have they wasted a fair bit of space on rules when there was only a couple of weeks between publishing this and the rule books? I will never look at the thin book again. Also, why are the pregenerated characters in a book at all, rather than on individual sheets? I don't fancy cutting up my book. This could have been thought through better.

First impressions, however, are a little deceptive, and once you're past these things it starts to get a lot better.

There is a lot of play potential in this book. My group has played it now for three weeks and we've only just got to the main section. My estimate would be that there's something like thirty hours play here.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dik dastardly on 30 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Having bought the full product I have to say it is a nicely balanced and varied simple module ideal for beginners as it was designed to be an introduction to the new rules set of 4th edition. However this also makes it a little poor on the value front. As other reviewers have pointed out, much of the printed information is taken up by a basic rules set which is now largely redundant if you have the proper core manuals. You should also be aware if you can really do without the pull out battle maps (which are pretty good but don't cover all the locations by a long way), you can now download the whole caboodle completely for free from the Wizards of the Coast website as a PDF. I've done this anyway even though I have the printed version as it is searchable and I can print player aids out without having to resort to a scanner.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Sa James on 28 May 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a "perpetual" Dingeon Master, the schlub who writes the games and runs them.... 3.5 ed D&D was awesome, a brilliant simulation design of fantasy gaming, but it had one huge problem: it was hellishly complex to run!

I've got M.E., nasty illness, stress is bad mojo for me, and DMing 3.5 ed games was big stress...so I had to call it a day after 20 odd years of DMing, sigh. :(

4th ed seems to be exactly what I've been needing: much simplified, but still fun and lots of (quick) strategic, D&Ding! Yaaaaaaay! :)

This adventure is well written out. I think the latter 2nd edition end days showed how NOT to do things, as back then, the quality of layout/print was IMHO, poor, compared to the highs of early 2nd ed. 3rd ed improved things again, and by end of 3.5, the way they had seperated encounters out, with neat maps and monster stats, was a brillaint change and improvement.

Keep on the Shadowfell goes even better:
-Full colour layout inside. This feels a very excellently designed (art wise and readability) product.
-Full sized poster maps of all the locatiosn ot play on your table, very neat!
-colour map insert on each page noting where enemies should start from. The colour and larger size mini-map than 3rd ed means it's easier for DMs to get the jist of things.

My only complaint is that the booklets are printed on paper stock that's too thin!! Easily damaged and print ink can smear. A shame because the standard of layout is excellent. As an "old school" DM, going from the densely printed, with almost no layout mess that was 1st ed stuff, to this over the year, it's a very sweet evolution. My hobby is very slick and well made now.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Belleini on 22 May 2008
Format: Paperback
Played the first part of this last night with my regular group.

The books themselves are soundly produced and well set out. Good descriptions of the locations and excellent primers for first time DM's (and reminders for older ones who have forgotten about things). The adventure itself is interesting, and the challenges so far are engaging. Kobolds are strong!

The best thing about the new system (you did realise that this was a D&D4 product?)is the fluidity it lends to combat. Once the players realise the possibilities and the potential for mobility in combat then the fights start to sprawl and move around. Don't get isolated! As a DM it is simple to run and the players do much of the book-keeping themselves (if you trust them!).

The battle maps are fab. It will be hard I think to run this game without some form of marker for the fights. We use a wipe-clean notice board with a grid, and drywipe pens usually. THe maps made an attractive change. They are not required for inventive groups but the system does lead strongly in that direction. Wizards are keen to push their miniatures and good luck to them.... BUT - you don't have to buy them. Make a choice as a group and work with it. We have used dice for years along with my aging Warhammer collection and the miniatures from the D&D board game (available from all sorts of places at a knock down rate). Heroquest dudes have also shown up from time to time!

So... Good quality, engaging ideas, fun system. Some irritating gaps in the rules primer (How much do things cost? Does standing from prone provoke an attack of opportunity?) but if you want to play 4th Ed then this isn't a bad place to start. You could always wait for the main rules of course and use imagination. But this takes a lot of work out of preparing adventures and I guess that's the point.
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