March 19, 2012
The skill challenge here is really well written, and strays pretty far from the original model of "garner x successes before y failures". Namely there are a lot of group skill checks, and not all checks incur failures, instead either costing healing surges or modify the DCs of other skill checks. Mostly I like that it kept both players trying, instead of just relying on one player with a massive bonus making all the skill checks. I also really liked the win-lose results; you either learn about an upcoming drow camp, or wander into the middle of it and get ambushed.
There is also an alright social role-play instance with a galeb dhur (earth elemental type thing). Given that I only had two players, I had him sink into the ground after talking to him, only to pop up later during the fight against the row to interrupt a charging spider. Speaking of the drow, I drastically altered their stats; reduced damage, having each take a few good hits before going down, stuff that I'd been doing in my home games for the past few months. The other player (the one I do not normally game with) didn't even notice, and both seemed to have a great time.
I really pleased with how the module runs. I have noticed the quality of Encounters gradually improving each time, moving away from an hour-long (or longer) to something that you would more reasonably expect at a home game. I am actually hoping that I get to run again this week, as I left them at the entrance of the dungeon with the galeb dhur in tow and wanna see how it all pans out.