D&D 5E Adventures for level 15+


I am starting to map out a "sequel" to my Castlevania campaign, covering levels 13->Epic.
As I mentally map it out, I have realized that, especially to be publishable, I am going to have to create a lot of contingent content that may never get used.

Example 1
The party is crossing the ocean to an unknown land (unless they pick up Scrying and Teleport or Transport Via Plants, and succeed on a high DC check to scry someone over there based on nearly no info). This is a multi-day crossing in an air skiff (small-ish flying boat), unless they have a folding boat and a couple of casters who can do Wind Walk or something else. Along the way, they'll run into a hurricane, leading to a nice environmental encounter that may or may not have combat.... unless they use magic to make the air skiff dodge the hurricane. Maybe they'll even crash, or have the skiff land in the water, and have to cross the wet way, encountering sharks, a dragon turtle, and sahuagin or fish-men. Or maybe they won't.

There's a solid half-a-level or more of content that has to be prepared, but is entirely bypassable.

Example 2
The native yuan-ti are being oppressed by their Aaracokra overlords. Maybe the party will use them to infiltrate the Aaracokra capital city, striking directly at the Temple of the Sun after sneaking past a city's worth of guards and troops and assassinating nobles... or maybe they'll just gather forces in the outlands, and only ever get to the capital when it's time for the final showdown, arriving on a fleet of air skiffs backed by Roc-riding yuan-ti and a dragon... thus bypassing the entire "on the ground" segment of the capital and going direct to the final objective.

Again, that's a chapter or more of material, easily, that has to be prepped in a published adventure, but that could be completely ignored by an actual campaign.

It's a lot of extra work to prep entire chapters that may-or-may-not be used, and it means that excess content beyond what is expected or actually needed will have to be created. The only way to keep bloat from occuring is to NOT include the normal levels of detail, which then puts the burden on the DM to actually fill in the details in the published adventure - and that will not meet most peoples' expectations.

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It seems to me that a lot of people just like reading modules even if they never run it. So that extra content is never really wasted. I've known lots of players that buy the campaign books just to read them after playing through them as an adventurer.

1. You can force an encounter with progressively worse weather. Start off with an overcast sky with thick marine layer and surface fog as they leave port so even Control Weather won't work. Then have the winds pick up to hurricane levels a day or two into their journey. Make them do easy skill checks to keep from capsizing. After surviving the hurricane winds, have a water spout approach them. Let them do skill checks with impossibly high DC levels to avoid it. Once they are engulfed by the water spout, have them attacked by sharks or other sea beasts caught up in the water spout.

I think it was Sun Tzu that said the supreme skill of a GM was to make a railroad not look like a railroad. But don't quote me on that.


I don't have access or a budget (this is a hobby) for pretty art, so I don't think I'm going to capture the "Buy for entertainment reading" market.

I do like the Sharknado idea.

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