(My apologies, I thought I had posted this awhile ago and I missed it – plus I had to cancel gaming last weekend because I was at a professional conference…)
So, the first thing to say is that adapting earlier modules to 5E is easy, but doing it on the fly is probably a more work than I would generally prefer unless it is really simple. The best part of the last session is that I had completely forgotten about the adventure seed re. the Kingsholm Graveyard until we sat down to play and people mentioned it! LOL!
So… the session started when Rhys returned from his families holdings with a surprise. Gwynneth had gone off to discuss things with her people and seemed to have, in typical Elven fashion, lost track of time. So rather than spending time tracking her down Rhys asked his cousin Ta’sara, a Druid and Wizard, to join him and help the party. After spending some time in introductions, as well as a quick review of the what the party had learned in the last two months, the party decided to take up the offer of work from the Sentinels (the mostly honorary guards of the graveyard) and investigate the mystery of a missing family and the two Sentinels that also disappeared after being sent to investigate.
Insert obligatory comments about nonsensical fantasy town structures and sizes…
Escorted to the entrance of the graveyard, the party quickly made their way to the mausoleum when bodies were prepared, quickly discovering the sentinels laying in pools of their own blood – and being attacked by a pair of wolves that were quickly slain. A warg was killed trying to flee the scene, and the party quickly investigated the mausoleum – determining that the sentinels were slain inside and then dragged outside. Opening the door to a sublevel, the party found the bodies of most of the missing family but upon moving to investigate were attacked by a pair of zombies and even though they were quickly dispatched a trio of skeletons further back proved to slightly more problematic (though also quickly dealt with).
After dealing with these, they discovered Tyra, the traumatized daughter of the family, who had barricaded herself in a side chamber and decided to quickly accompany her out before returning to explore further. Through her somewhat incoherent ramblings the party was able to discern that consisted of goblins and khazan, led by a human mage of some sort, and that they were definitively searching for a way into the deeper tombs.
Exploring further once they had gotten Tyra to safety, the party continued into an even deeper mausoleum discovering an magically sealed door with a bizarre puzzle-lock of verses and diagram on the door. After working through it, the party (those that were able to even see it – as some of the party couldn’t for some reason) opened the door, in order to find a series of steps going down – but in a much older, and much more finely made stonework style.
This puzzle was based on Beholders (which I don’t have as a “thing” in my campaign, though some one-off abomination is certainly possible) and was also, originally, some incredibly overwrought puzzle room that I can’t imagine anyone actually building if they had the magic to create the door locking mechanism in the first place. It was a classic example of “cool, but over-engineered DM idea” that can be found in so many modules.
Not to say that I haven’t been guilty of doing it myself when I write my own…
Overall though, I’m pleased with the module so far. I think the explanation of “no town cleric” makes more sense if the local priest or Lightbringer is away on a pilgrimage or travelling for some short bit and the priests left behind are way out of their league. Plus, some of the already mentioned issues with Kingsholm are a bit too caught up in fantasy-game conventions to fit perfectly into my game world. That’s fine, I’m used to tweaking modules as I go along, though I think that due to the newness of 5e I’m going to have to do a bit of prepwork instead.
Next game is next Saturday, it will be interesting to see how the party handles the next phase of the adventure. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a dungeon-crawl because I tend to run more urban or wilderness adventures, and this module certainly qualifies!