5E Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?
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    Why does WotC put obviously bad or illogical elements in their adventures?

    So I was prepping for tonight's SKT session which occurs in the Maelstrom. Great setting - looking forward to presenting it to my players and hoping they get the right feel.

    However, I then read that the two guards of the throne room are stupid Hill Giants??!! And you can easily fool them into letting you pass?? WTF? The giant world is in turmoil and the Storm Giants are relying on a couple of idiots to guard their leader? Was it done for laughs?

    Then there's a room with a geyser that erupts every hour (damaging a creature if they're in the room when it goes off) - but no advice on how to track time (perhaps there's something in the DMG but I don't think so...)

    Then there's some sharks that are locked behind portcullises and no indication on how/when they might be released effectively making them a non-entity.

    This is not the first time I've run into stuff like this. But what gives? Why are things like this put in the adventures? With all the assets they have why make these kinds of bad choices.

    (The "Harshnag ex machina" was another crappy design element too IMHO).
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  2. #2
    Well that gives the social focused PC a chance to shine as they outwit the slow Hill Giant guards.

    And the geyser, well you are the DM, have it go off when it will be the most fun at the table, or cause the most havok driving up the tension level. Or track time yourself, I keep a general time when running the game to keep track of day and night and all that.

    the Sharks are there to use as you see fit. I haven't read the module but I'm guessing there is a possibility the PC may be in the water? Good time to have that open up and spit the sharks out.

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    Did you complain when Gandalf so easily tricked the trolls?

    How about when the orc taskmasters in Mordor didn't notice that two of their soldiers were, in fact, hobbits?

    Personally I love elements like the dumb hill giants. It doesn't all have to push players to their limits; sometimes it's fun to just have some...well, fun.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robus View Post
    This is not the first time I've run into stuff like this. But what gives? Why are things like this put in the adventures? With all the assets they have why make these kinds of bad choices.
    Could just be for color.

  5. #5
    I don't see any illogic in your examples. Bad is subjective so no point going there.

    As Flexor says, there are reasons. You don't have to like or agree with them. Here's my interpretation;

    - Stupid guards are a trope. How many times do we see this in fiction? After all, if they were geniuses, they wouldn't be guards. Plus, it allows other interaction rather than just killing them. Smart guards are nothing more than another combat and resource drain. Dumb guards? Well, they could be a drain or they could be many things.

    - Time? You are upset because the adventure doesn't tell you how to track time? The rulebooks tell you how long combat takes, how long it takes to move and explore. If time is important to you or the adventure, then track it. If not, do as Flexor suggests or whatever you want.

    - The sharks? So what if the gate never opens? I'm betting someone will come along and tell us a story how their group broke open the gates and had to fight the sharks because they figured their must be treasure on the other side. Not every thing detailed in an adventure must be interacted with. It's their to provide the opportunity to if needed. It allows creativity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robus View Post
    Then there's a room with a geyser that erupts every hour (damaging a creature if they're in the room when it goes off) - but no advice on how to track time (perhaps there's something in the DMG but I don't think so...)
    As the DM, you are supposed to track every action that everyone takes so that you always know exactly what time it is. If they spend five minutes searching a room, then half a minute in combat and three rounds healing up afterward, then you know that 5 minutes and 48 seconds have passed. If they cast a ritual and then walk down a 120 foot hallway, then that's another 10 minutes and 30 seconds. As the DM, you always know exactly how much time has passed.

    The real question is how well the characters are able to track time. They probably aren't counting the seconds as they search each corridor for traps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flexor the Mighty! View Post
    Well that gives the social focused PC a chance to shine as they outwit the slow Hill Giant guards.
    As written it takes very little to outwit a Hill Giant so not much opportunity to shine

    And the geyser, well you are the DM, have it go off when it will be the most fun at the table, or cause the most havok driving up the tension level. Or track time yourself, I keep a general time when running the game to keep track of day and night and all that.
    I'm definitely tracking general time like you but down to the level of an hour? I just think that would be teachable moment from WotC on how fine grained time could be handled.

    the Sharks are there to use as you see fit. I haven't read the module but I'm guessing there is a possibility the PC may be in the water? Good time to have that open up and spit the sharks out.
    I guess I can do that.

    What I think many people here seem to forget is that not every DM running these adventures is experienced. Putting stuff in and not giving some advice on how they might be used during the session seems unhelpful to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfcrusher View Post
    Did you complain when Gandalf so easily tricked the trolls?

    How about when the orc taskmasters in Mordor didn't notice that two of their soldiers were, in fact, hobbits?

    Personally I love elements like the dumb hill giants. It doesn't all have to push players to their limits; sometimes it's fun to just have some...well, fun.
    Not intimate with LotR so no... I guess I'm looking for some verisimilitude from the game world, we get enough laughs from the crazy schemes of the players without the adventure needing to illogically yuk it up too

  9. #9
    When I find something in a published adventure that I think is cheezy or does not work with my DM style/campaign world, then I change it.

    What does not work for one DM may seem fine for another one. None of the things you mentioned bothered me, but I'm sure if I get SKT I'd have things that I would want to alter to better fit my game.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    I don't see any illogic in your examples. Bad is subjective so no point going there.
    No illogic to having moronic Hill Giants guarding a princess in a time of chaos? OK.

    - Stupid guards are a trope. How many times do we see this in fiction? After all, if they were geniuses, they wouldn't be guards. Plus, it allows other interaction rather than just killing them. Smart guards are nothing more than another combat and resource drain. Dumb guards? Well, they could be a drain or they could be many things.
    So they take a good amount of time building a great adventure environment and then undermine it with lazy encounter building? Why? Any time you get to a palace situation you have elite guards - that's the trope.

    - Time? You are upset because the adventure doesn't tell you how to track time? The rulebooks tell you how long combat takes, how long it takes to move and explore. If time is important to you or the adventure, then track it. If not, do as Flexor suggests or whatever you want.
    If someone hasn't been tracking time at that level then putting in an encounter that is triggered based on time without giving a suggestion (or reminder) on how to make that work seems unhelpful.

    - The sharks? So what if the gate never opens? I'm betting someone will come along and tell us a story how their group broke open the gates and had to fight the sharks because they figured their must be treasure on the other side. Not every thing detailed in an adventure must be interacted with. It's their to provide the opportunity to if needed. It allows creativity.
    As a DM I expect to the adventure to give me knobs and dials with which to bring the adventure to life. If there's not a trigger for a particular thing then tell me when describing the room so I don't waste time scouring the rest of the chapter looking for the room with the shark gate controls!
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