This week I started on Gamemastering the "Murder in Baldur's Gate". While I had a lot of fun gamemastering it, and everybody at the gametable loved the scenery (the maps on the DM screen, pictures of the main NPCs+big buildings - which I showed during playing - in the campaign book and stuff like that people liked especially). Trying to keep this spoiler free.
But there was also some criticism. The biggest problems I had were the following three (well asides from this the adventure was great, but these three could put on some flaw, sadly):
1. Nothing in the story if people wanted to investigate the "main story". 2 players were ONLY caring about finding out "where the demon came from/who the evil wizard is who started all this/who decided to kill off a certain well known NPC". There was NOTHING in the adventure book what I did with this (for example the attacker was mentioned to have "thugs" with him - they all died in the attack in our play, but one of the players was mainly about trying to find someone who knew these thugs (she managed to get permission from the big guys to show certain people the bodies of the dead while they were not yet buried). Of course as there was nothing in the adventure it all ended in a dead end. And at least one player did not like this, as for him that was what the adventure SHOULD have been about. He saw the whole stuff with three certain NPCs as "side story" and was not really interested in that at all.
2. Often the characters are sent to investigate certain people, but those people are either completely innocent (basically bullied) or don't know much. My players were always looking for the "big picture", talking to one NPC and trying to see where it lead them NEXT. But at least as it was done in the adventure it lead actually nowhere (I modified this while gamemastering to include some "red line" so they COULD find something out - but it was not perfect due to included at a whim.
3. Too little action/danger for the characters.
What will I do for next time? I will deviate a bit from the original adventure. I WILL work on that the things the characters are sent to do *are* connected to each other (asides from the main plot idea), probably centered around the "Stage 4 Ravengard" story which seems to be what my characters seemed to think was a big chunk of what was going on (I had to introduce that story element early). The guy against whom Ravengard will be up to will be a different one though, not the old man. I will skip a lot of the "smaller" events. And include some new events myselves. I will include a "dark threat" related to the initial story (my idea is that the influence certain things have on certain 3 NPCs does not "just happen", but a dark cult is involved - and the player character who is doing a lot to find out what this whole is about will have a chance to uncover this dark cult - which also will bring in more action - possibly even to make the 3 NPCs aware of what is happening to them (if this in the end can change anything I did not yet decide - I guess a lot in this modified plot depends on the player characters). And I will include a political "bigger picture" story included. And have a very close look at events which lead to "dead ends" and how I could make most of everything somehow fit into the "big picture" (not all, but most), to take out a bit of the "random little job/quest" feeling of it. More of "you do this the NPC wanted you to do, and now you found out this has THAT reason and is connected to THAT" instead of it being just a singular event scene. Especially every little NPC which the characters are supposed to pester for one of the big three needs a back story how he is involved in everything which is happening.
Well, it sounds some work (sorry for the cryptic description, but I wanted to avoid spoilers).