Well, I've run three games so far....well, sort of 3 games so far. The group is still settling in with each other and I'm still waiting to see if my insistence upon only AD&D 1e with some house rules will scratch everyone's itch.
So, picking up where the last game report left off. The group managed to complete the Training Area. It helped that I cut out half of it. I'll explain why at the end. After the bugbear battle, they headed back to the Healing Room with the goblin entourage they had gathered. Healed up a bit overnight and returned to check out where the hobgoblin had disappeared as well as looting the bugbears' home. They picked up some gold and useful materials and headed further into the dungeon. A few tricks later, they found a room of berserkers. The hobgoblin had charmed the leader and the group was ready for a fight. It was a quick battle with no serious casualties. A quick search and they were done. Honestly, I'm truncating it because there was a lot of kibitzing and silliness and not a lot of play. As I said, the group is determining whether or not they gel. The hour plus conversation at the end about training costs and leveling up and the RAW in the DMG about it vs my take vs what each of us had done in the past, flavor with comparisons with other editions....So, I added a couple of house rules: Training needs to take place for the first few levels, at roughly a cost of 500gp/level (calculated before leveling up). If the PC has no money, they owe their mentor/trainer a "favor", which I as DM use to guide the group to a new adventure in case they can't find direction amongst themselves.
Two weeks pass and we're actually all together again...all possible players are at the table at the same time! Amazing! Rarely happens. I'm surprised still because I honestly didn't think everyone was enjoying themselves. Anyway, the group has finished training up to their new levels. Two have mentors who have asked them to do some "favors", the mage and the thief. The mage is asked to go up to the little town of Farstead (see the map) and check on his friend, and distant cousin, Kanos. No one's heard from the guy in a year and his friend is worried. They take a ship across Lake Teukol, up the Rael River and disembark in Jafli. They had to pay extra for the goblin entourage but everyone arrived safely. They joined a caravan headed toward Farstead which included a group of pilgrims heading up to Kirwan. The pilgrims were a group of neophytes of Ishtar, who gladly proselytized the group....who also were willing participants. In Farstead, the group was met with some caution and long looks as no one had seen goblins in livery before. They were given directions to Kanos's place and learned that not even his servants had been seen in 7 or 8 months.
The group found the manor house of Kanos but it was in disrepair. They walked around the building looking it over and almost got pulled into the well by a "mysterious voice" calling for help. Going in through the side door led them directly into the kitchen...and their first encounter. The marble island in the center of the kitchen looked wet. Tossing a pan on it, the pan dissolved....and the top reared up. It was a gray ooze. A quick battle with fire and the thing was reduced down to a puddle. One of the PC's used some wood and an empty potion bottle to collect some, actually a couple of potion bottles worth. The first locked door was greeted with some ooze, which ate through the lock. Carefully searching part of the 1st floor, one of the goblins was killed by a crab spider in one room. Some hobgoblins in another room slept and killed. One PC found a book of legends in the remains of a library. Another PC found a cursed scroll and so he spent the night paralyzed...staring at a blank scroll. Another room had a couple of stirges which couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. Their biggest fear was a gargoyle statue in the hallway which looked incredibly life-like. Down that hall, they discovered a secret door which led to a secret room which held a set of stairs into the basement. In the basement, they found a partially completed crypt, a storeroom of junk, a hidden passage out that leads back to town (and holding a runaway teen), and a sleeping ogre who got an earful of gray ooze. ugh....
There's still more of the manor to search. The book of legends has several different possible places to go search out (i.e. plot hooks). And we'll play again sometime in February, I think.
Now, as to why I cut the original module short. It was designed to teach players who had never played D&D before. It featured tricks, traps, monsters to fight, monsters to talk to and/or ally with, puzzles, wonder, and fun. This group knows how to play D&D, so it was superfluous to run them through the whole thing. One level was needed for them to show the others their playing styles and to see if the group had a chance to be a long term gaming group. They might be. We'll see.