First off let me say that I'm delighted to have some new followers on the blog, many thanks for taking an interest in my nerdy ramblings.
Now to business. Last week I finished playing through an official Wizards of the Coast 4th Edition adventure called King of Trollhaunt Warrens. I really didn't enjoy Dming this and my players, although they had fun, were very critical of the module.
This was the first adventure that saw the characters into paragon, since I wanted a break from writing. It's also the first in a trilogy of adventures that get PCs up to epic level. I don't think I'll be running the subsequent two.
The real problem for me and my players is that it's far too encounter heavy. This may be fine for those who want hack hack hack all day long, but for the roleplayers out there, there is very limited scope to roleplaying.
The dungeon is pretty much encounter after encounter, broken up by a return to a town that's been invaded, which has some pretty cool encounters in it, but then coming back to the warrens that are basically stocked full of the same creatures. Whilst the writer did make use of in-combat hazards such as flaming pits and flammable oil, there was very little in the way of traps. I also can only recall two skill challenges, which is pretty bad considering it took (an edited) 7 weeks to complete.
In the end, it was a bit of a drag. Yes, there's an insane amount of loot to grab at the end, which made the players's eyes light up with glee, but there wasn't a whole lot of substance.
Today I continued the campaign with a new adventure. I winged it since I had no time to write but I felt it went quite well. I included an encounter with a Fen Hydra, a puzzle skill challenge and lots of lovely roleplaying to boot, making it fairly balanced. Ok, the story was a bit poor - fight hydra, go find mage who supposedly summoned it to destroy town, but at least it was interesting.