I ran this adventure yesterday as a Halloween spin-off for our group. It went very well and was on-point for what we needed; theme-appropriate and a bit spooky. I especially like the way that the encounters are set up in a way that (repeatedly) have the adventurers walking straight into the trouble. They never fully learned the lesson partly because it was usually a different character each time who was doing something and the others who had gotten 'got' before were silently waiting to watch something bad happen to them too. The highlight was when they entered the library. I honestly thought reading through this encounter that it would be an obvious trap; I have to describe a burned down library with the only thing standing being a cloak on a hanger. I thought for sure that would put them on alert, but the first they said was 'Ooo, magic cloak' and sent the wizard to identify it. The cloaker then proceeded to eat his head.
All in all this is a great adventure for two reasons; it is spooky and fun both, and also it is fertile ground. By that I mean that it is relatively easily to customize to make it fit your game better.
A few suggestions, but not really issues that I would be remiss not to bring up;
- The map is not really suited for tactical play. My players and I really enjoy tactical play, so I took the map and sized it to print out so that it would be fit for miniatures. The map looked awesome and was super cool, but it brought up some things such as it was obviously not made/drawn for the express purpose to work on the grid. The map has a grid on it, but there are a lot of 'half squares' and other bits that just don't quite fit the grid right and thuse prompted questions by players if it was a valid space they could move in. Also, playing through in this way meant that the 'secret doors' were not really a secret at all. The secret doors, on the map, are just like all the other doors but with a dot in the middle; no way really to hide the fact that there is a door there if you're playing it on a grid. Not a huge issue, just worth pointing out.
- The basement puzzle is a little... convuluted. I get the sequential number puzzle, I just think it's a bit odd. It screams 'made to be a puzzle' wheras the scenario itself seems to be made to be a more natural scene.
- 40% chance for the doll to show up in any one room was suprisingly rare for my playthrough. I would highly suggest instead of making it completely random, make sure it happens a few times. For one, the bit on the first floor where someone has to stay by the griffon statue and pull it to switch the random doors; this is made so that the party has to split up. Well, if your group is like mine and leaves only a single person on either side; that is an awesome time for have the doll show up. Besides that, I would probably suggest definitely using it in the first room they check on the second floor.
[5 of 5 Stars!]