I normally don’t run published material and when I have in the past I tried too hard to stick to the script and it was clunky. I am running the module from the Humblewood box set and I am definitely adding my own flare for the NPCs, skipping encounters that seem monotonous, and making sure encounters happen that are cool.
In the beginning I felt like there needed to be a stronger connection to the village and the PCs. They were sort of outsiders and I wanted to add hooks to why they would care about the village. I had each character receive an item from a villager before they departed. It was a spontaneous decision and I really liked how it worked out. My favorite one was probably the hand drawing from a child given to a PC of that child’s father who may or may not be captured by bandits.
The other example was there was this cool big toad but it would only appear if the player characters failed on 3 dex saves when trying to capture frogs for a hedge witch (She is literally a hedgehog and a witch). I thought it was a cool encounter because when the giant toad appears there is a cocoughiny of frog noises. I wanted this encounter to happen and I didn’t think it was likely they would fail 3 dex saves. So I just decided the giant toad will show up once they have filled their bag with frogs. It ended up being a fun encounter because one character was swallowed by the toad.
Lesson learned for me is I can totally use published stuff but I need to run it how it makes sense to me and fits my story telling.
Look forward to the cast!