As the primary author (along with Nate), I want to say that we aimed for the entirety of the DoD experience to be tough but conquerable. I had 2 deaths in my home campaign running through it. It is the Dungeon of Doom, so it is tough in places and can be very tough when events play out in certain ways.AnimeSensei wrote: ↑Fri Jan 11, 2019 12:41 pmI also second milestones over XP leveling. The module lists level ranges for each tier. If you can't find good times where it makes sense for the PCs to level, then just break the module into parts for each level. However I will say that encounter 3 is a beast and is very difficult for level 1 characters.
BUT, that's just how the words were written. The only "truth" is what the DM and their play group will want to see as the truth. Ramp that challenge level up or down. The easiest guideline when playing at levels above 1 is that you can go up or down a level in the monster chart to achieve your desired challenge level - whatever will be fun. At level 1, I like to remove a monster initially and have it appear and join the fight if I need more. Or, subtract hit points, lower damage when a creature hits half hit points and describe them as losing their bluster, etc. Make the experience what you and your players will enjoy.
And, also writing across 10 levels is very tough. The math of D&D 5E is not perfect when it comes to challenge, and combinations of monsters and the room, plus the crazy habits of our dice, will all create an experience you should feel free to adjust for what is fun for you.