First and foremost, as a DM I have never been a fan of the TPK possibility of an adventure. Like Captain Kirk with the Kobayashi Maru, I do not like a no win situation.This is not to say characters do not die. When they do it is almost always from an unfortunate series of events. The death of Calori in the basement of Volcano Caves (see that post) was an unfortunate set of events including his rolling poorly on several rolls in a row.
That noted, The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb is deadly. (A good 3.5 version of that module is available here: http://zaffudo.com/012813%20DnD%20Next% ... 20Tomb.pdf
It has plenty of traps and such along with several situations that are completely unavoidable, such as what befell Khalil, which I will get to in due course. However, it is an exciting module. It is because I rue that your gonna die scenario that I decided to use it in place of the Fane of the Egg (as part of the Egg of the Phoenix set). The party had not saved the world but had certainly helped stem the tide of evil and caused it to flow differently and so would be rewarded by, in effect, a chance to pull excalibur from the stone. A challenge offered only to those special elite who make a difference. Make it through the Fane of the Egg and each of you will receive a scroll to advance one level in experience. Fail and you are merely kicked out of this situation.
Second, it is a great reward to me to see that we are now at the point that the whole party is taking individual notes on almost everything. I view that as a compliment regarding the depths of the environment we have created together.
Third, everything is this campaign has been directed towards the Archomental. With that in mind I liberally change things to fit my needs. So, in the case of the Mud Sorcerer, mud is a mix of water and earth. We have met Olhydra (now long ago) and just found the olympic rings in the sunless garden, the ones that when so aligned 'summon' Ogremoch. In one of the bigger temple rooms, I will guess 26, I made certain to have the hieroglyphs detail how Tzolo is in fact the child of Olhydra and Ogremoch. This really helps to continue interlacing everything.
Fourth, I try as best possible to incorporate player stats as much as possible. And so if Embla wanted to pull off a nifty drop equipment, pull out this and fire I would have her roll percentiles on her strength, dexterity and level. There are many variations of this depending on what a character is looking to do. OMGosh did the party continuously roll well, sometimes against stupid odds. At one point Khalil tried a move to which I suggested a 4% chance of success. Boom. Done.
As a result, the party covered a tremendous amount of ground, found most of the things they were looking to find. Khalil did get transported via the pop up blades of room 15. This stunned the crowd into a realization that you can in fact die and get tossed out of this adventure. When we did get to room 26 (pretty sure) where the scrolls are hidden in the fake shin bones, we randomly rolled who looks at which scroll. Bummer for Khalil on that one as he was transformed into a butterfly, thankfully leaving all of his gear in a pile. His bags held two of the found keys. And so he is now 'outside' enjoying the company of his confreres Wasabi & Rhiannon and their host Maledoconious (Doc for short).
Lastly, it was an effort to get Embla and Elrick to try different things They are very hesitant players; it is handy to have Khalil and Trouv Tou available as they understand a good part of the game is about taking a chance, of trying things. So, I changed room 25 to be a sliding wall (which should have been room 19, but they skipped it and I needed a quick trap) whenever the scepter of the dead body was grabbed. Four times the Es kept grabbing at the scepter and then running from the collapsing wall. It was a trick to suggest they, I donno, move the body, or, grab at the whatever instead of the scepter. They finally did, and, I will have to consider other ways to get them to try things.
All in all, a solid session of adventuring that stopped at room 29.