I think the adventure is fine, although I agree that the idea that the Drow can easily pierce most disguises is perhaps I think overblown. After all, the drow do not appear to be concerned that the party members have an accent, are equipped with surface dweller equipment, and are walking around covered by the faces of slain neighbors. In a small city, where a typical dark elf has lived for centuries, the idea that slain dark elves would not be recognized when they returned strains credibility (on the plus side, most of their buddies were also slain or have departed from the city; furthermore nobody may care that they have returned and joined another house -- but nobody caring is different from nobody recognizing). Can "true seeing" see through most magic? Absolutely. Is detect magic used a lot by drow casters? yes. Do the PCs radiate strong necromancy (and either moderate or strong abjuration for the spell resistance)? Almost certainly. Yet the Drow do not terminate the party of PCs for having a strong necromancy spell on them. It is possible that the drow might overlook other auras.
While there may be epic level demon lords in the city, the demon lords probably have better things to do than cast true seeing looking for spies. While many divine casters may desire the ability to see through lies in a city of liars, it is unlikely that divine casters would receive truth spells from deities known for encouraging lies.
I generallly don't make changes to an adventure based on number of players. Sometimes it'll be easier, sometimes it'll be harder.
If things are going really well for the players, a monster might run for reinforcements. If the monster gets away, fighting two (or more) encounters at once tends to provide plenty of threat and danger.
For Paladins and other Lawful characters that engage in acts of deception, treachery, necromancy, and torture, the question of motivation may become important for evaluating alignment.
If you are on a mission from God, and the command from God and the local authorities is to engage in foul acts, then it may be lawful to engage in these acts. There may be no conflict between the acts and the lawful alignment.
The more complicated question is when there are conflicting laws. The command from God is not to engage in foul acts, but the command from the local authorities is to engage in foul acts. In this case, there is a great opportunity for role-playing, angst, rebellion, atonements, and other actions.
Note also however, the distinction between ends and means.
I thought Endless Night is a great adventure. Very innovative. While I might prefer an entire campaign setting, I understand that you are limited on page space.
I find "railroads" to be weak (some living world railroads are so weak as to be almost uncompletable). I prefer the type of adventure where the module lists half a dozen possible motivations as opposed to a single railroad. Some heroes find "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope" as a more powerful motivation than "Offer them anything you can imagine." In Star Wars, Luke was motivated by one and Han by the other.
I never run modules exactly the way they are written. Instead adapting the modules as needed, based on my understanding of the overall setting, the players, and forums like this one.
The fact that the fortress of House Azrinae was not described in this adventure is a blind spot for many groups, but it is easily remedied. You could change Vonnarc = Azrinae. You could use the description above in the forums. Or you could use any of many other drow products to describe House Azrinae's defenses (i.e. D3 Vault of the Drow, Menzonberanzan, City of the Spider Queen, Queen of Lies, Sheoloth, or any other module).
I do agree that almost any group will want to investigate Azrinae.
I agree regarding the cover image. The full-page image at the beginning of Malcanthet's article (Malcanthet with the angel) was better.
I like Malcanthet's kiss ability and the Thrall of Malcanthet PRC.
The Order of the Stick was hilarious.
I liked the Savage Tidings article.
Regarding Sunnis the Princess of Good Earth Elementals, is there also a Prince of Earth Elementals named Entemoch? Siege of Darkness (p. 138) mentions Entemoch as a Prince of Earth Elementals (and Ogremoch as the evil elemental prince).
I want to make a comment about the importance of cover art for Dungeon.
Some issues of Dungeon appear to have art that is tailored for one of the stories in the issue. i.e. good examples include issue 90, issue 112, and issue 121. Other issues have art which might be related to a story, but is hard to tell (i.e. issue 143).
Blurbs on the cover that obscure the artwork actually reduce my odds of buying Dungeon. In that regard, I think the cover for 112 was perfect. It said what it had to say, nothing more, nothing less.
The cover for 121 depicts a scene that took place before the adventure (i.e. the characters on the cover aren't in the module itself) and that's ok since they are iconic D&D characters. But issue 90 and issue 112 actually depict scenes from the module, and that's ideal.
That being said, occassionally a blurb can create interest. But the 5 new monsters and 7 new spells type of blurbs that you find on Dragon -- nope, don't care for those blurbs.
Give me an illustration of some iconic D&D character or a hot medieval female, or better yet, both. The illustration for the cover of Dungeon 143 was cool, but I could not tell which adventure that character was from.
But the blurbs "Who stole the Mask of Diamond Tears?" or "Foil the Great Train Robbery!" ... ummm, I'm not the target audience for them.
That doesn't mean that those types of adventures don't appeal to me. Just that you are unlikely to describe the adventure that appeals to me in under ten words.
edit: Just as an aside, the illustration on page 28 of issue 143 is awesome for this month's Savage Tide adventure.
Are they? I've heard people accusing the duskblade class of being a little too strong. I haven't been able to read up on them myself. So what's the deal with them?
Duskblades are broken and a power-gamer's dream for a fighter-wizard.
A first level Duskblade has full BAB, good will and fort saves, martial weapon profiency, heavy armor and shield profiency, can cast more spells than a 1st level wizard, has a better skill list than a fighter, and receives numerous special abilities that are better than any feats that are available. They only have a d8 for hit points instead of the fighter's d10, but that is their only drawback.
In non-combat situations, their spell-list is not relevant, but likewise, fighters are not relevant in non-combat situations, so this is not really a limitation compared to fighters.
Any chance you might finish the River of Blood series of modules in Dungeon magazine?
Also, on the topic of writing adventure series... When you write an adventure like River of Blood with lots of clues (books, etc.), do you think of how each of those clues will be used in follow-on adventures when you write the first adventure, or do you just throw random clues in and figure out later how to use them in subsequent adventures?