First off, this module is underrated. It’s very well thought out and very tough for first level characters.
It also works well with Adventure Workbook because most of the villains are listed in the back so you can load them into the Opponent List before reading page one of the adventure. The encounters are then easily built on the fly as you progress through the Map. The maps can be cut and pasted out of a PDF and input into the Adventure Board. This is a good idea because there are a couple of large scale combats requiring details on where the villains are relative to the party.
I sent a fighter, a cleric, a mage, and a swashbuckler into the haunted house. (Note: I used Pips, but the general description applies).
The house itself was pretty straightforward, but the party rolled a one on sense motive when dealing with Ned Shakeshaft so he accompanied the party.
They made plenty of noise when burning the rot grubs in the basement alerting the smuggler on guard duty. So, he warned his band. Sanbalet, the leader, devised a plan.
The party rousted Sanbalet’s room and defeated the skeletons beyond the warning sign and used magic to find the secret door to the philosopher’s stone. The mage thought this was evil and could cause an economic disaster so he destroyed all evidence of it.
These adventures gave the smugglers ample time to trap them in the cellar. Ned attacked the mage as the party encountered the smuggler ambush.
The mage survived the assault, but just barely. He was able to run out and cast a color spray on the smugglers.
The fighter and cleric soon joined him and they tried to cut down the smugglers but to no avail. The swashbuckler did defeat Ned straight up though in the skeleton room.
The swashbuckler made a perception roll before engaging the main room and realized the fight was a loss. He hid in the secret room while the smugglers took the others captive.
The smugglers didn’t know who Ned was so they didn’t know what to make of his body there in the skeleton room.
The swashbuckler made it back to town when they left and formed a new party to rescue the members of the old party.
The new party managed to sneak past the guard posted upstairs and pincered the guard in the cellar from the two sets of stairways and killed him before he could warn the others.
They found the secret door to the caves and got the drop on the rest of the smugglers. A fight ensued that the party then won without too much distress. The three original party members that were captured were rescued and this part of the adventure was over.
Note: the bandit template from Paizo was used for the smugglers. So they were marginally tougher than the 1 hit dice listing in the original module.
A combination of the two parties (8 total) then set a trap for the Sea Ghost.
Two members met two of the smugglers to exchange goods. They used a fog cloud to mask the approach of the fishing boat from the port side.
The swashbuckler climbed the anchor easily, but failed his sneak roll. Not sure where the anchor actually was on the boat (a weakness to the maps), I think I made a mistake by having it show up in the poop deck instead of the forecastle.
He was jumped on by the 2 smugglers, the captain, and the conjurer.
The party tried to scale the anchor to help him, but it was like walking into a meat grinder.
The conjurer slept the two best fighters that made it up and the swashbuckler was chewed up by the Captain.
To escape the bad situation, the mage cast a charm on the captain to get the other party members back, but had to let the Sea Ghost go in the process.
The smugglers continue their operations. I’m debating on how to continue with the adventure.
All in all, very good times. The adventure tests greatly the mettle of both the player and the GM, even if they are the same person. 🙂