No rule is inviolate
I continued to use a combo of Ruins of Adventure and the video game with journal for maps and inspiration on encounters.Awesome collection of your work...would have loved to have seen the lost pages but this is a great adaption! Any tips on the last parts at all that you can remember?
Silver Pyramid. The teleports were a work of frustration. In retrospect, any techno-dungeon would've done and I would've avoided that feature. Otherwise, it's nasty experimenting on poor lizard folk.
Politics / Cadorna. Really have to be fluid how the Council plays out. In my campaign, the PCs could've ended up siding with the Boss under the philosophy that they've seen the bad side of mankind and the games it plays, though they gravitated to Cadorna because the idea of the underdog reclaiming things sounded noble. The impetus for quests simply changes no matter who they tend do (if anyone at all), and they could've ended up actively working behind the scenes to stymie growth that mercenaries and other adventuring groups brought. Of course, in the end, the Boss only has one goal, and it's not going to end well for anyone but him.
Valhingen Graveyard. I tracked undead to give value to the time it took for PCs to get here and added mini-dungeons and meaningful encounters so this didn't just become a repetitive slugfest. On the other hand, coming in here without a cleric or the ability to do mass damage should be a foolish act. In retrospect, I would've tossed in scouting reports of undead massacres, the endless numbers, etc. I kept the restocking spectres because it would keep down "hit and run" tactics, and I used the Ruins of Adventure map. This is a part I really hated losing because I recall using Tyr's hammer as part of the Vampire battle (as a CR14 vampire in its lair should have no fear of 6th level adventurers). They had to fend off the vampire while freeing it from an ensorcelled web he was using to drain its powers (inspired by the novels). I made this part before Curse of Strahd was written, but if you have that, think of what having multiple relics does to weaken Strahd. The same went here. Taking out the web took away powers, having someone of good alignment take the hammer further aided the PCs, and I believe I had it function as a Mace of Disruption that protected a good user from life drain or something. This battle was one of the hardest.
Nomads. Ran pretty similar to computer game, a chance to ally with them and face a horde of kobolds. I ran theatre of the mind with 3 waves of 50 kobold grunts each (a slightly weakened version with less to-hit, think 4E minions, led by some stronger ones). Gave a chance for anyone with mass damage spells to really earn their keep. I'm not sure this works well any other way. I scattered our battle map with kobold minis along with random nomad minis (careful for friendly fire) and let the carnage ensue.
Stojanow. Used a battle map, can't really recall the weakened version of the original defenders, but it included a busted gate, chaos, and enemies hastening try and shore up defenses until reinforcements could be summoned. It was a time isn't on your side encounter, and from there, it was clear if they wait, more monsters would be summoned. A strike force had to go and go now, take out the leadership once and for all while the rest of the forces would sacrifice themselves to draw attention away.
Valjevo. Used the Ruins maps, which I think matched the video game journal maps. In retrospect, the PCs might have access to flight, and the Boss would be prepared for an aerial defense (plus everyone might see flying PCs) as well as invisible ones. It's too easy for an invisible force to waltz in, and any Boss would have something in play. Also, I would've made the thorns more deadly in the maze, perhaps a curse rather than poison. I spent some time making this a living area, not simply "kick in the door," and reduced defenses to match the draw away tactic. I also dropped more hints about Cadorna's failed enterprise given their relationship and him being taken captive so they could have that satisfaction if they wanted. Tyranthraxus battle was similar to an action-oriented monster with different stages and some mindless minions to draw attention. Really there's nothing he's going to say that will sway your PCs minds, but I think I had him chat his speech, say someone in their group had already taken his offer, and then tell the PCs to submit to the DM a hidden declaration, without consulting others, of what they would do. Of course, he's a prince of lies and he's merely sowing discord. This was less climatic than it could have been because the PCs largely avoided combat getting here and had stocked up on resources. That's fine. It rewarded them for being careful.
Obviously I toned down the treasure, got rid of "stupid" encounters (like the wandering magician in the middle of the graveyard), and tried to avoid meaningless combats. When the PCs met the Boss, they were at 6th level with the intent they reach 7th by the conclusion for any future adventures. We called it a campaign to try out some new material, and a nice epilogue took place (e.g. joining the council, marrying the clerk, opening an Inn, and so on).