Forget about madness, forget about laughs, forget about Wisdom (Survival) rolls, only remember the FEAR!
So yeah, we got that back this week. First off, the party fears the drow pursuit. They are starting to realize that even with the Prince of Demons splashing around, there is something more immediate doggedly following their footsteps. I keep making vague references to drow priestesses they have heard about but not seen. They even blew up a gas cavern. It was enough to deflect pursuit… for now.
Second thing was an umber hulk. Oh man, that was amusing… for me anyway.
I believe that in order to play this module correctly, the characters have to fear being in the Underdark. (Sidebar: The party consists of a half-drow paladin/Favored Soul sorcerer, a dragonborn Deep Stalker ranger, a drow Circle of the Moon druid, tiefling warlock, and a duergar cleric of Deep Duerra. We might get into them more later. <Insert evil DM laugh here.>) They do not fear the darkness, they do not fear getting lost or starving to death (Deep Delver and Wanderer Background features), that takes out a lot of the tension inherent in getting stuck underground. (Sidebar: Never have I played in any 5th Edition game where Background features were so heavily used.) So my refuge for that is not looking at a monster’s CR before throwing them into combat. Let the dice fall where they may, because the drow might eat the body if they fall there instead.
Travel time in the Underdark is tedious, something you might want to play up or down. If you can really drill in the tedium, you can always punctuate that with a frantic ambush or bulette (I forgot about using one of those earlier). I find that making the players roll for random encounters makes it more interesting. They know their rolls means something, but sometimes I throw a curve and let them stew about what it means. I am waiting to see them visibly tense after making them roll.
As I have mentioned before, this is an amazing module. Its subtle rails keep prep easy, but allow for very wide sweeping decisions from the players (without headaches for the DM). If you get stuck, just make the party wander around the Underdark for a few days until you get your own bearings, heh.
Next time (in two weeks) they enter Blingdenstone.
(WordPress is stupid, it keeps wanting to restore an old post… stop annoying me…)
But… what do I know…?