It was a relatively short session, but I figured I'd write this up as a walkthrough, highlighting any issues/comments as they arose.
We had four players, playing: wizard, fighter, rogue, cleric (pelor). Spent some time going over the character sheets. In particular, sorting out the rogue's sneak attack mechanics.
Discussion - how will rogues without the Lurker theme or Ambusher feat be able to sneak attack in melee? Hopefully other themes will provide these methods (e.g. a 'vexing flanker theme' who gains advantage when flanking, a 'beguiler theme' who gains advantage by feinting/bluffing). Still, at this point it looks like the rogue's damage output will be about half of the fighter's (since half his turns will be spent hiding or he'll spend all his turns without sneak attack).
Read the intro text, and hit the canyon. (I even busted out my own copy of the B2 map from my D&D Gazeteer...!) Immediately called for a spot check to determine which cave openings they could see. High roll meant they had spied everything, even the openings behind bushes and trees.
The party decided that the opening hidden behind the biggest bushes must be the most important/lucrative, and so headed for cave G.
After reading the description, the Wizard asked to try to identify the stench, and succeeded on an Intelligence/lore check. He knows his stinks. They continued into the cave, now knowing that the smell was of rotting flesh. They spent long enough at the cave entrance (area 32) that I rolled for a random encounter, but came up dry.
Discussion - what mechanical impact does low/dim light have? After hunting around for a bit, we decided it really only means you have more opportunities to hide (as you'll be obscured more often), and has no obvious penalty.
The party continued on to the murky pool (area 33), and again, an eagle-eyed PC spotted the oozes lurking in the pool. Rolled for initiative.
Combat #1 (party vs. three gray oozes) highlights
- Rogue never had advantage, didn't sneak attack once.
- The party's tactics really shifted once weapon and armor damage started -- everyone switched to ranged weapons / spells.
- Ray of frost was crucial for crowd-control.
- Really noticed the lack of tactical combat rules -- in particular no stated movement cost for diagonals (which I quickly house-ruled to 3.5 one-then-two squares) and no opporunity attacks (which we left stand as was).
After the fight, everyone spent their Hit Die and moved on to the other end of the cavern (area 34) where they heard something that was awakened by their battle.
Combat #2 (party vs. owlbear) highlights
- Rogue finally used sneak attack, one time.
- Ray of frost trivialized the encounter. However, the one time it didn't hit, the fighter got one-shotted by the owlbear.
- This time, everyone switched to ranged weapons when they saw the fighter get mauled.
- Treasure included a scroll for a spell not included in the playtest materials (protection from undead). I assumed it was a level 1 spell for purposes of resale.
- They decided to skin the owlbear, assuming its parts had some intrinsic value. (Intelligence check by the Wizard highlighted what was worth saving.)
It was a long, grindy fight, with the only tension coming from the wizard's turn: will ray of frost hit or will someone die?
After that, they dragged their wounded carcasses back to the (unmentioned) Keep to repair and recouperate. That's when they realised they didn't have nearly enough money to repair all the acid damage from the oozes.
Consensus was it had a very old-school feel to it, and we can't wait for the next batch of material (hopefully with a few more of these lauded optional rules modules highlighted).
Returned from hiatus; getting up to speed on 5e rules lawyering.