I get so stressed out wanting to be utterly prepared and do everything right and then go play and . . . just have so much fun. I had two players. I decided to roll up an NPC mage to add to their firepower because I was really worried about them surviving.
Well, I rolled on my Hireling Traits Spur for my NPC Ciranil the mage and found out he was a drunk with big feet from a distant land. So I made him come from Asile, my campaigns version of France and gave him my version of a French accent. My players were laughing constantly, not because of my accent but because of my bawdy comments. My friend suggested I record and transcribe my crazy dialog.
I did use the NPC to discourage the players from investigating my unfinished megadungeon. I feel kind of tacky about it, but even if the ground level had been finished, the way I imagine it, it would have been too dangerous for this party.
So the party pressed on to the end of the map where, presumably, the remains of St. Cecily lie. At the end of three long days of hiking with no random encounters (!), they reached a rock face filled with cave entrances.
The first they chose was the easiest to enter. A crude stone sarcophagus surrounded by the skeletons of four monks. The party was wary and on attempting to behead one of the skeletons they awoke them all. Only one of the hirelings, the hated Odric, was felled. And he was back in action after Kira the Cleric cast cure light wounds on him. He immediately continued his rant about not being paid enough for the danger of the work.
They found some rare perfume and a brittle, old cloth roll of beautiful feathers in the tomb. The next cave they decided to examine was filled with furry yellow mold. Thankfully, they decided against venturing in (I really am rooting for the party).
The next cave entrance was harder to reach and required either shimmying along a ledge or climbing a rope attached to a grapnel. They chose the latter and the fighter Anselm, lone survivor of last weeks carnage clambered up to be bit on the face by a giant spider and failed his save versus poison. As I was describing it to him, my friend said you know I'm arachnophobic, you don't have to do that. !! I didn't know. What a horrible way to die.
The other player decided to head back to town. I feel bad about them losing characters. And I certainly don't set out to try to kill them. I told my friend, "I try to think of what might live there and then put it there. You have to kind of expect a sort of naturalism". Or something of that sort. But they both seemed to have great fun and want to play again. I think it will be such an event when someone reaches 2nd level we'll need to have a cake.