I highly recommend this adventure, 5/5! Worth every penny. Perfect for use between Chapter 1 and 3 of WDH and/or use it as a way to level up people that are new to your Waterdeep campaign. Gives current players a chance to make some alts to add to their burgeoning Trollskull Alley Mercenary Company.
Pros: Stellar map; Fun traps; Many secrets; Interesting rewards
Potential Cons: This can take much longer than expected to complete
Silver Lining: You're definitely getting what you paid for and more.
//Start of original post!
DDHC-WDH-03 Spoilers, I guess kind of a partial review. I'm not perfect, but we had fun and I felt like sharing my thoughts with you. Not only did we have fun, we raised like another $15 and 300 bits towards the St. Louis Children's Hospital bringing the total raised to $1741.52.
My main WDH group (The Lucky Lyres) has had some turnover and new players have joined the fray.
We've done the first chapter, then we did all six T1 DDAL modules and those who have stayed are currently level 5. This week was meant to be an off week while we waited for the T2 DDAL modules are released to DMsGuild. One of my players is a DM and he offered to DM some Eberron content. I was super excited at the prospect since I haven't touched that material at all, but I love the setting. Alas, he got called away to do work at the last minute and I had to throw together my backup plan, DDHC-WDH-03 "Blue Alley." We had 5 players with level 2-4 characters. I introduced the module in The Lucky Lyre Tavern (Trollskull Manor) and one of the main party members got used as an NPC who are testing the mettle of these new characters. He introduces them to Mirt who fills the group in about some of the details. I used one of the recommend NPCs as a hired mercenary for Mirt and one of the character immediately challenges her to an arm wrestling match. He loses while the merc downs a pitcher of ale and then she brings him in close to warn him about one of the dangers of the mission Mirt is sending them on. The players eventually make their way toward Blue Alley and that's when the fun begins...
This is supposed to be a 4 hour module, but my party is cautious in pursuit of the objective and I rarely handwave stuff if it seems like the party is enjoying what's happening, sooo they cleared 8/28 rooms in a 4 hour span. I'm not sure if they will actually explore all 28 areas, but they have decided to stay in the Alley and play this module again next week instead of moving on to WDH or T2 DDAL Modules, so I guess it was a success.
The traps in this place definitely set the tension, probably adding to how cautious they were being. I've been trying to make sure I monologue less frequently, especially here, so that the players can be more engaged. I let my players know ahead of time that they might want to take notes, especially when I footstomp some clues. I think that might be going well so far... we'll see at the end.
I personally made at least one error because I either misread the map or missed the text that explains it, but things seem alright. I retconned it that one of the players (the arm-wrestler) did a feat of strength which allowed them to pass a barred off area.
The high res map is BEAUTIFUL and I am glad I was able to correctly set it up so it aligned with the grid in Roll20, but it definitely took some finagling.
I am hesitant to confer a rating on this yet because we haven't completed the whole thing (hence this isn't on DMsGuild yet) but this is shaping up to be a 5 out of 5 scenario.
//Follow up Post!
The party completed spent another 4+ hours in the Blue Alley and still didn't uncover all the secrets within. They ultimately did find the main thing they were looking for and returned to Mirt, the quest giver... but they did so empty handed and managed to deceive him about it. Overall, I really loved playing this module and I'd give it a 5/5.
Session #1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFs4G_kAXQI
Session #2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5u4ZHXdT6s