Kestrel said:I ran Night Below about 5 years ago. It was a great adventure. I love the way you're incorporating the kuotoa city from it into your ongoing campaign. Great stuff as always PirateCat!
Thematically, Glubyal is actually an agglomeration of both Night Below (more in mood than specific encounters) and D2 The Shrine of the Kuo-Toa, mixed with the themes of the White Kingdom adventure from Dungeon; in particular you'll see some very familiar elements from D2. What I'm striving for here is the mood and setting from that classic 1e adventure, along with a complicating political conundrum and some more realistic ecologies. In this, I can't thank enough the folks over at the RBDM club, all of whom plied me with some wonderful ideas for Glubyal and kuo-toa culture.
One of the problems with long adventures is that they easily degenerate into a dungeon slog. Many people complained about this with Monte's Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and I took the lesson to heart; too many similar types of encounters and challenges just isn't fun. That's a good thing to keep in mind. I read somewhere that a class ability that is never used really isn't a class ability; of course, this is the logic that led me to desperately try to start cutting off a limb as soon as Velendo gained access to regenerate.
In response, I've tried to structure the White Kingdom adventure with many and varied types of encounters. The dwarven vault provided a respite from butt-kicking, and Akin's Throat injected some much-needed role-playing encounters, even as both advanced the plot. Glubyal is allowing the Defenders of Daybreak to make plans and take their fight to an enemy who doesn't understand what it is that they're trying to do, which is something of a change from the Puppeteer and the White Kingdom's superior intelligence force. Games that are too grim for too long lose much of their immediacy, and the ability to mix in some humor goes a long way to making later encounters more serious by comparison.
I'm finding that the non-linear way in which the Underdark connects can let you change out different encounter types pretty easily. In the actual game, we're now closing on the end of the adventure, and it's fair to say that the decisions that the group has made along the way will have a fundamantal and abiding impact on how things are going to play out. It's a testament to my players that they're willing to embark on such a long adventure, and that they're still having fun as they follow it through with such guile. Good thing that the ghouls have some tricks up their sleeves as well.
Anyways, thanks for the kind words, everyone. I originally ran Eversink because highly political games scared me, I ran the dwarven vault because I wasn't sure that a realistic and traditional dungeon was still viable at such high levels, and I'm running this underdark crawl because I'd never done it before and wasn't sure if I could. You folks are watching me figure the subtleties out, and I appreciate your praise, especially because I'm learning as we go.