H1: Bloodstone Pass (1985)

OK, H-series modules, here we come. This is H1: Bloodstone Pass (1985). This is the first official module tied to the mass combat Battlesystem Rules (hip, hip: booooo). It is one of very few titles that makes owning the Battlesystem box set a requirement—most modules that use the rules either make them optional (DL8, sorta) or just include them in a leaner form (like DL11). Even the rest of the H-series modules back off the Battlesystem requirement.

This…isn’t as bad as I want it to be. Players journey to the village of Bloodstone (some wilderness encounters on the way, some roleplay in town), then they go through a bunch of events during which they build an army. Then the players and the army defend the town against bandits. It’s D&D plus Seven Samurai. I like this construction a lot, actually. I don’t really want to run Battlesystem, but I could maybe be convinced to play this. There is some nice foreshadowing, too, with an important secondary villain in this module being a priest of Orcus.

Whatever the quality, it is an odd package for TSR: a half inch box with flaps at the top and bottom, so it will never stay closed once you open it. Two booklets inside, the adventure and the battle lists. My copy is incomplete (resellers want far more for complete copies of this thing than I will ever be willing to pay) so I don’t have the chits. There are also a bunch of standees and cardstock cut-and-fold buildings (missing some of those, too). I think the strangest thing is the Jeff Easley cover. I don’t dislike it, but the composition is bizarre, with the Danny DeVito-esque hill giant (Maybe? Dunno why he is blue?) tumbling over dramatically and weirdly weightlessly. One of very few TSR covers depicting a bloody wound, too. Love that piggie orc, though!

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