D&D 5E 5e 10/10 Products

Enrico Poli1

Adventurer
Hi there! We're at the end of the first 5e cycle (2014-2023) and before the 2024 rulebooks are published, we can reflect on various aspects in the history of the edition. In retrospect, I still believe that the 5e ruleset is the best ever produced, but I'm really disappointed at the overall quality of the published material. There are in my opinion really few gems, ten-out-of-ten products for 5e.

The excellent products are the three core rulebooks (yes even the DMG is outstanding), the original Starter Set with Lost Mines of Phandelver, Curse of Strahd and Tomb of Annihilation.

Most of the Adventures and of the Settings were really disappointing.
I don't like the direction WotC are going.

Any opinions?
 

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aco175

Legend
10/10 is a high goal, but I feel most people like the core books and LMoP. I have not played Strahd but see a lot of people that like it. The only part of ToA that I played was at a convention with several convention adventures and not the base book. I'm not big on jungle adventures so I skipped it.

I do agree that the recent series of books and adventures has been kind of meh to me. I was excited for the new Phandelvar obelisks book but have not bought it (yet). I'm not a big fan of planar travel and that level of fantastic so I'm waiting to see if the players want to go there.

I thought Vault of Keys or whatever looked ok, but have not looked deeper to see if I could use it. The new deck of many things look cool from the video I watched and I like how you can use the cards for a lot more than just what we used to. The dragons and giants books and the Monsters of the Universe are just more monsters to me and have not caught my attention either.

I did like the essential box Icespire Keep and liked how it gave more options to choose where to go. I would have like to see the town more developed since it was a few years after the first box and I could have added more NPCs and a few new businesses. I'm in the new box set now, Dragon Stormwreck Isle. It seems like it would be better for new DMs and I find I'm adding a lot to make it play better. There is also a lot that can be expanded on to take it above 3rd level.
 


DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My only 10/10 is Curse of Strahd. Small, self-contained area for adventure that had many different and interesting locations that you could go to in various orders, alongside a very strong overarching plot the players could follow along with as it played in the background. And it was also a setting area that had been used in previous products as well, which allowed for more expansion of locations and ideas to really fill out the whole thing even more than what they gave me.

Lost Mines I do not give 10/10 to because while it had several locations to adventure in (in addition to the ones that lead to the adventure conclusion), those locations were not fleshed out. Something like Old Owl Well got just a couple paragraphs, no map, and no real necessary reason for going there... whereas at least a place like Yester Hill in CoS had a map, an unique antagonist, and some interesting description. It wasn't a location the party was required to go, but if they did the adventure made it worth my while to use. LMoP did not do the same. It was only after I combined LMoP and Dragon of Icespire Peak and the locations found within the 4E Neverwinter Campaign Setting that the whole area felt fleshed out enough and on part with Curse of Strahd.

Everything else... well, I can't give 10/10 out of any of the setting books, because all of them are pale shades of their previous incarnations from previous editions. The 4E and 5E Eberron books don't hold a candle to the 3.5 setting book, so how could I give the 5E one 10/10? Even the settings I like, such as Theros, were lacking a lot of maps and descriptions of areas that would have benefitted from it. And the other Adventure Paths all had another issues one way or the other that don't allow me to give out the Full Monty on them.
 

FallenRX

Adventurer
Lost Mines. Its legit one of the best starter adventurers in dnd history.

Curse of STrahd. Probably one of the best adventures ever made.

And thats about it? Maybe Xanathars? but yea.
 

scruffygrognard

Adventurer
I really enjoy the game but really wish that WotC would license out campaign settings to 3rd part publishers. I love detailed campaign settings, especially boxed sets with maps and multiple books... they help me dive into the lore of that setting and immerse myself in it.

Eberron Rising from the Last War probably hits closest to the mark of what I'd want in a campaign sourcebook.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I don't think that this is the best audience to ask.

Most of the products that people now view as great are those that have become sanctified by the passage of time, and hallowed by the excitement of first play filtered through nostalgia.

I am assuming that you would likely get a much more positive reaction if you were asking gamers who started playing with 5e, and that people looking back twenty years from now will have much fonder memories of those products that, to us grizzled veterans, seem merely "meh."
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I do agree that, overall, 5E's ruleset is the best overall we've seen so far, although none of them have been perfect.

I think the challenge with wanting 10/10 adventures is that there's such a wide range of things that can be in an adventure. Folks who like traditional old school adventures might be well served by Tomb of Annihilation, but many of them absolutely hate Wild Beyond the Witchlight, which is excellent, but tonally very different in what it's trying to (successfully) do.

That said, there are also lots of books where it seems like WotC ran out of time and had to ship books that needed a lot more work. (See the recent review thread on Strixhaven for a good example.) Those do seem to be a lot more common than in the 3E era (I skipped the 4E era and can't comment on quality control during that time), which might be a matter of the size of the adventures (the 3E AP books were tiny in comparison to the adventures we get now) or staffing levels or something else.

The percentage of WotC work I've been buying and using for 5E games has been decreasing over time, as I find much of it doesn't speak to me or feels kind of rushed. For instance, I have a lot of fondness for many of the original adventures in Tales from the Yawning Portal, but I find the extremely bare bones approach of just updating the stats and calling it a day to be really uninspiring. I could have done that, for a lot less money. If I'm dropping real money on a book, I'd like to have more meat on the bones, even if that meant cutting an adventure or two. And the tie to the Yawning Portal is extremely weird and forced.
 
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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I really enjoy the game but really wish that WotC would license out campaign settings to 3rd part publishers. I love detailed campaign settings, especially boxed sets with maps and multiple books... they help me dive into the lore of that setting and immerse myself in it.
I suspect they see licensing out Ravenloft during 3E to be a mistake, given how closely they're clinging to their settings now.

That said, there are lots of companies putting out incredibly detailed settings of their own. Kobold Press will be happy to fill every room in your house with Midgard books, for instance. And I've been using the 600+ page Ptolus setting since the 3E era and the new 5E printing is more affordable (for some definitions of "affordable") than picking up the 3E edition.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
I don't know any game that has been known for a preponderance of "10/10 material". The enjoyment of RPGs is so idiosyncratic that getting a hit across many people is a rare, unpredictable thing.
 

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