The D&D 5e book Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft includes an adventure called House of Lament. Last year, I ran House of Lament as a side quest in an Expedition to Castle Ravenloft game. This is my review of the House of Lament module as a Game Master. It mirrors my review as a player.
I had every intention of having no host character. I've never thought a host character was a good idea, so I intended to skip it altogether. Because this was a side quest in a larger Ravenloft game, I had Strahd himself deliver the quest to the players.
Strahd wanted the player characters to travel to the House of Lament and free it from its haunting. He told them he wanted this because he was trying to reform his evil ways. He was lying.
Instead, Theodora Halvrest was another previous incarnation of Tatiana. He needed the players to free her spirit from the house because he thought it was preventing Irina in Barovia from assuming her true identity.
That all worked perfectly. Until the players reached the house and entered from the top level. It didn't occur to me to just move the spirit board and other key components of the plot to the third floor, so when they started to spend too much time upstairs, I conjured up a host character and had him come fetch them.
Then I was stuck with a host character for the adventure, which annoyed the players as much as it annoyed me. In the end, it did all work out, though. The host ended up being Khazan (from Curse of Strahd) in disguise, and all the players but the player with the sunsword figured it out, so he got away.
Never again. It seems like a fun mechanic, but the séances were slow, cryptic, unhelpful, and confusing. If I ever run the module again, I'll skip the spirit board.
My players kept stumbling on elements of unrelated plots, and that caused them to follow false leads, which confused them more than the spirit board already had. In the end, I dropped all notion of how the haunting was supposed to be solved, and just followed the players' leads. I let them do all the things they decided made sense to free Theodora's spirit, and wrapped up the module.
To keep things interesting, I had certain elements of the awakened house happen before the house was meant to awaken. That helped a lot.
House of Lament is a pretty awkward adventure. I love a good haunted house adventure, though, and I think this adventure is packed with strong material. Here's what I'm doing next time.
Just some ideas, and they haven't been playtested yet, but I think it'll be better than attempting to run this as written.