Dwelling in Darkness by Benjamin Sanderfer is an impressive adventure by any standard. However, when taking into account that it was created as part of the Seven-Day Challenge of 2017--and it was also the second design created by the same author during the challenge--it becomes even more impressive.
This game captured my attention and my imagination straight from the start. I love the way my heroes were given just enough backstory to justify their high level of experience, but not so much that I felt like they were not my own. I also appreciated the way my story was so skillfully linked to the town I was intending to save, but again without taking away my control of my own characters' stories.
At this point, I've talked too much without mentioning that this is an EGA-style design. Combine that fact with Ben's mastery of the Gold Box format, and you have an adventure that feels, straight from the opening text events, like a recently unearthed AD&D Gold Box adventure, lost since the 1980s. The game never disappoints. The structure of the story, the style of combats, the ability to rest, and the amount and quality of treasure all serve to reinforce the sense that this is a lost SSI gem.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and a fair amount of my enjoyment came from how substantial the adventure turned out to be. While it never wears out its welcome, this is no 20-minute jaunt. There is adventure to be had here, though it doesn't dally once the adventure has been had! The town itself felt "lived-in," with a number of memorable NPCs and not a single site that felt like a "Shop." There were merchants to meet, a priest to encounter, and an innkeeper that I'd like to speak with again in a sequel adventure. There was a sense that this town has more adventures to share, and enough fun to be had that I would love to play them if they are ever unearthed.
And, finally, this design has some surprises even for us veteran FRUA players. Dwelling in Darkness is the work of an author who is not just a master Dungeon Master and expert FRUA designer, but also a master of the Unlimited Adventures toolset, as well. This adventure comes highly recommended...you'll be glad you played it!