It’s finally fucking over! It took our party 3 4-5 hour sessions to solve the Waterdeep Blue Alley adventure and I feel like I have to mouth off about it.
The Blue Alley was supposed to be a one-off session (it’s only supposed to take 3-4 hours) allowing two visiting friends to easily join the group for a session. Unfortunately, it didn’t end up that way.
The party consisted of three regular party characters, a tiefling rogue, a tiefling paladin, and a goliath barbarian; two wildcard one-offs, a human ranger, and a duergar warlock; and our visitor’s characters, a sorcerer and a ranger.
My character, the duergar warlock, was a patron of a great old one and had slid at least half off of his cracker in the process. Between the insanity and his alignment, I spent most of my time thinking and/or googling what his reaction would be to various encounters (please don’t let it be snap and kill everyone) — but he did have eldritch blast, and I could stand behind the fray and still fuck shit up and that was nice.
The sorcerer character was also a little soft in the head. In some respects, worse than the warlock. He had a proclivity for licking things and didn’t care if he died, which was all bad behavior to teach the warlock — who logically followed this intriguing new leader.
Additionally, our other one off character — the human ranger — was also somewhere on the more chaotic and/or evil alignment and snuck around, swiped shit from party members while resting, and hid information. So, we were not cohesive at all.
To burn more time, the rogue and the barbarian spent a LOT of time trying to free a cursed jewel from a sword. Spoiler: They ended up smashing the jewel anyway because dumb.
In the end, the DM had to practically hold our hands and lead us to the final spot and then we had to have a discussion that included: “Is Durnik (the duergar) a natural redhead? Er, does the carpet match the drapes?” and “If you’re going to stick that up there, you’re going to have to make a dex roll.”
In the end, the half-insane duergar ended up solving the puzzle while the rest of the party was doing something in another room. They left a broken and naked Durnik desperately contemplating a way to smuggle his arcane focus out of an enchanted room, but came back to a solved puzzle and a fully clothed Durnik pushing the prize down the hallway.
Coming away from that, I’m definitely putting the duergar on the shelf for awhile. His alignment and insanity added another level of thinky mess that often had me taking contrary actions that I knew were going to add to the time fuckery. I can only guess the player with the ranger felt the same way.
Overall , if your party super chaotic, you may want to completely disregard the publisher’s suggested time frame. I’m guessing we were abnormally dense at over 3x the estimated time (okay we did bullshit a lot but still…). However, there are several dead ends and tangents and I’d bet even a much more cohesive party could easily run over the 4 hour estimation.