Review: Open Design – Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach (Party of One)

Party of One: Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach
Kalgor Bloodhammer and the Ghouls Through the Breach is an epic fantasy, solitaire adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game written by Matthew J. Hanson and published by Open Design.
By The Warden

The solo adventure. Either a refuge for the eager player finding himself without a game night or a pathetic excuse to roll dice. Or more accurately, an ornate version of the classic Choose Your Own Adventure books of the 1980s, where dice rolls, equipment, and other standards of role-playing games carry as much weight as your decisions.

Inspired by the Fighting Fantasy novels from Steve Jackson Games, Party of One allows a lone player to engage themselves in a game of Pathfinder by taking on the character provided within. In this case, it’s Kalgor Bloodhammer, aspiring dwarven defender of the Iron Shields.


From a nostalgic standpoint, Party of One is a fun hoot and it was nice to have no choice but to play the game rather than read, consider, then hopefully play it. While the first page provides nothing more than credits and legal text, the second dives right into the adventure.

Kalgor Bloodhammer is a hopeful candidate for the Iron Shields, a collective of loyal dwarves sworn to defend their underground homeland from harsh invaders. The adventure begins with your final trial: hand-to-hand combat against another dwarf, thereby offering details on how combat works. While this is a Pathfinder-stamped adventure, this book uses an incredibly loose version and keeps things simple. Dice, attack bonus, damage rolls, Armor Class, hit points. Occasionally, you’ll make a Strength check when the text requires, but that’s as far off course as you go.

Once you’ve proven yourself, the bulk of the main story begins. Considering the nature of the product is to play it for oneself, I’ll mention only as much as the title suggests: ghouls.

Aside from many of the standards found in similar products, the author has found a couple of neat tools to add to its repertoire. During the course of the adventure, Kalgor can acquire specific equipment useful at any point, such as the Guardian Shield to negate all damage received from a single attack and Holy Water. Another involves secrets discovered as you delve into different directions. Head to the House of Healing and you may learn Secret A; along the wall, you can learn Secret B. Each secret does not provide specific information, but unlocks unique sections for additional directions in the plot. Each secret provides its own potential, some of them combined and some of them solitary. The trick is to find your way towards the right combination of secrets and it’s a handy device for this solo endeavor.


I played this adventure twice. The first time, I was killed. On the second, I discovered a disturbing secret which lead to my dismissal from the Iron Shield and the dissolution of the Shields as a whole. While I wouldn’t say my second route was a rousing success, it was heroic enough.

At 14 pages and listed at $2.95 USD on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG, it’s a fun romp when you’re looking to roll some dice. I’ve enjoyed one of these every now and then and if you’ve tried one before and liked it, you’ll definitely repeat that feeling with Kalgor and his quest against the ghouls.


Publication Quality: 7 out of 10
A couple of full-color pictures and good clean layout, the one thing I felt would have been an extra – and useful – touch were links directing you straight to the text of your chosen path. It’s not a big deal to page flip, but linking plays up on the skills of the technology in which the product is published.

Mechanics: 8 out of 10
Pathfinder it may be, but a very loose version. The system is used to simplify the game’s process for those already familiar with PF and roleplaying games in general, nothing more. There are two complete Pathfinder character sheets for Kalgor at the back if you want to use this adventure as an origin story for this dwarf in your next campaign, which is handy.

There’s one part where you may find yourself in a battle against a much superior opponent. At first, I thought the game was trying to screw with me, but there was a very clever device allowing you to make choices during the fight and turn the tide towards survival, loyalty, or a simple fight to the death.

Desire to Play: 7 out of 10
I’ve never been a huge fan of this genre of gaming, but always enjoy one when I sit down to play. Hey, I’m a dice junkie. Any excuse to roll is never an excuse.

Overall: 7 out of 10
Kalgor Bloodhammer & The Ghouls Through the Breach is a well-written and interesting sample of a potentially ongoing series of solo games. For around 3 bucks, it’s good for killing a couple of hours and if you combine it with a dice rolling app on your iPad, it’s a quick way to wait for your flight to arrive. Worthy and enjoyable.

Playing Kalgor reminded me of an idea I had for solo adventures long ago and thought now would be a good opportunity to bring it up: time travel. If you created a time traveling adventure allowing players to revise their decisions and jump back in time to make a new choice, thereby allowing them to play the adventure as one continuous go rather than rebooting, it would play up to the medium. Let’s face it, we all go back to that last fateful decision and continue on from there anyway. This format would embrace that aspect of the game and theoretically enhance the experience for the player.

If you agree, you gain 10,000 xp. Read #73.
If you disagree, this review is over and your character is dead.

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