As to Q1: I played on the otherworldly nature of the threat to get the characters drawn in; a "disturbance in the Force", to coin a phrase. It was part of an ongoing campaign, so I already had them together, just had to give them a compelling lead to investigate. I had The Sisters (from the Punjar Gaz) contact them and explain that something terrible was brewing there in the Beggar King's fortress. She felt they were worthy, since a running thread of the campaign was the incursion of outside forces on the world, and they had all had contact with it in one form or other, and all carried the traces of it... They were even thereby just starting to see things that normal folk couldn't perceive at all...
And, sorry, but I can't help you with Q2, since I retro-fitted the adventure to 3.5 and a different level of characters.
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.Playing RPGs since 1977
• Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters.—Here Be DCC Monsters—VOORAK, L, Hunter, S10, A12, Sm10, P6, I13, L13, AC 10, HP 3, Spear +0 1d8, Init 0; R 0, F 0, W -1, Holy water, Pelt, 3 iron spikes, 1d ration, 4-leaf clover (Find secret doors) (+1), Com +1
SARKLA, C, Gatherer, S9, A14, Sm14, P15, I14, L8, AC 11, HP 4, Knife +0 1d4, Init 1, R 1, F 1, W 1, Chest, Basket of veggies, 2d ration, lg sack, waterskin, torch, Seventh son (Spell checks), Com +1
TARR, C, Hunter, S14, A11, Sm15, P13, I7, L7, AC 10, HP 3, Spear +1 1d8+1, Init 0, R 0, F 1, W 1, Holy water, Pelt, 4 torch, flint/steel, 1d ration, sm sack, Fox's cunning (traps), Com
TELVA, N, Herbalist, S13, A6, Sm9, P6, I12, L10, AC 9, HP 2, Club +1 1d4+1, Init -1, R -1, F 0, W -1, Chain 10', Herbs- 1 lb., 50' rope, 2d ration, torch, Speed of cobra (Init), Com