Last night I ran an adventure from this book: DAL00-11c I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Pain for a party of Tier 2 Adventurer's League characters. The run time went to 3.5 hours, but we did include three Liar's Night encounters merged into the existing adventure encounters. One player commented: "I thought from the title that it would be scary, but there was more comedy than horror" (Note: happy DM). The party gladly accepted the initial adventurer's hook, and leapt into their adventure with enthusiasm. This was not lessened by the first scene which brought about inventive solutions and angles to the challenge. The party of adventurers fitted in quite well with the scene in the local environment, and then took on the puzzle challenge. I found that it was necessary to clearly describe how the puzzle had to be solved because they were way off track, but then they came up with their own crazy method anyway. The scene with the NPC that follows is delightful, and the hilarity reached fever pitch. It was at this point that the party became the most enthusiastic and creative. So I would put this moment as the highlight of this adventure. Things turn slightly more grim as the players are lulled into a false sense of security, having felt like they had become accustomed to their new surroundings. A challenging fight ensued, with a strong ending and plenty of prizes to collect and nicely round off a fun evening of D&D.
Since my initial review, I have run the above adventure again, and also both DAL00-11b When the Debt Comes Due and DAL00-11d The Love Triangle Contract (twice). Players reported excitement at the idea of visiting the planes of Hell, and they appreciated Pipyap being their travel agent for their adventures, particularly when they get paid when they reach home. They then experience the due amount of horror when they come face to face with the actual nightmare that is Hell! Finally, after all is said and done, they gladly seek out further opportunities to travel to Hell, particularly to discover a completely new plane to explore. The unique atmosphere of each planar setting is well described, and is brought to life by the challenges and encounters that the PCs face. It is particularly relevant to play these adventures during Season 9, where the theme fits in so well with the rest of the season content, and deeply expands on the player experience and engagement thereby building a more immersive aspect to the season.
Specifically, for DAL00-11b When the Debt Comes Due this is a fun Tier 1 adventure. The minions that the players received were welcomed, but somewhat overlooked during the adventure. Due to some of the open ended aspects, the adventure was difficult to run within 2 hours, but I think after running it the first time, I would be able to cut it down to two hours. The actual run time was 3 hours. I anticipated this and agreed with the players that we would take our time to enjoy this module rather than rushing through.
For DAL00-11d The Love Triangle Contract (Tier 2) the plane of Malbolge is almost fleshed out as though this were a sandbox adventure. This adventure could easily be stretched out for an extended period of time. During a fixed AL timeslot, multiple shortcuts will be required to complete the adventure in a satisfactory period. The players were very keen to get their PCs out of the prison as soon as possible, none of them expressed any desire to discover all the jail cells! They were curious about the terrain that they travelled on in this plane, but preferred not to ask too many questions! There is so much depth in this adventure, I found that I expanded my enjoyment of this experience on the second time around.