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5E Anyone else feeling "meh" about recent 5e releases?

jayoungr

Explorer
1) Adventures. I don't know if I'm in a "supergroup," but trying to find an adventure that someone in our group hasn't already played is a real challenge. One player has done Princes of the Apocalypse, another Curse of Strahd, a third has done Out of the Abyss, etc. Having more than 2 or so adventures published a year would help alleviate this as well as giving the DM actual choices.
As others have mentioned, there are tons of excellent 5E adventures not published by WotC; is there a reason you don't want to check those out?

If you do really want to have WotC-published material, don't forget the Adventurer's League modules. It's easily possible to run a season of AL modules as a campaign, and a few of us on the board have been doing it lately. (Shameless self-promotion: I have a thread on my conversion of the Ravenloft season to a campaign on the board.)

Then there are the playtest adventures, also from WotC: Murder in Baldur's Gate, Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Scourge of the Sword Coast, and Dead in Thay. Has your group played all of those?
 

Retreater

Adventurer
As others have mentioned, there are tons of excellent 5E adventures not published by WotC; is there a reason you don't want to check those out?

If you do really want to have WotC-published material, don't forget the Adventurer's League modules. It's easily possible to run a season of AL modules as a campaign, and a few of us on the board have been doing it lately. (Shameless self-promotion: I have a thread on my conversion of the Ravenloft season to a campaign on the board.)

Then there are the playtest adventures, also from WotC: Murder in Baldur's Gate, Legacy of the Crystal Shard, Scourge of the Sword Coast, and Dead in Thay. Has your group played all of those?
My hesitance to try out third party content is the lack of information about them. There are few previews, reviews, or other ways to vet the quality. Sometimes it's even difficult to find out what levels the adventure is for (esp. in compilations) or what the general plot is.

Are the AL modules published by WotC? My interpretation was that it was all fan-written material akin to DMs Guild.

My group has played none of the playtest adventures. Are they still usable with 5e? I have Dragonspear Castle. It seemed a little … rough?
 

jayoungr

Explorer
My hesitance to try out third party content is the lack of information about them. There are few previews, reviews, or other ways to vet the quality. Sometimes it's even difficult to find out what levels the adventure is for (esp. in compilations) or what the general plot is.
Wellllll ... you do have access a whole board full of people who have a wide range of experience and enjoy chatting about things online. It's just possible that if you started a thread asking for information and recommendations on third-party adventures, you might get some answers. Just sayin.' ;)

Also, for basic information about levels, etc., I recommend www.adventurelookup.com. It doesn't have reviews, but it will give you an overview of each adventure in terms of content. And it does contain individual detail on many adventures that are found in compilations.

Are the AL modules published by WotC? My interpretation was that it was all fan-written material akin to DMs Guild.
I believe the writing is mostly farmed out to freelancers, but they are official WotC publications nonetheless. Some of them have editing issues, though--probably caused by the tight schedule of getting them out.

My group has played none of the playtest adventures. Are they still usable with 5e? I have Dragonspear Castle. It seemed a little … rough?
I know some people have had a good time with Murder in Baldur's Gate, which is very roleplay-heavy. For the others, you should probably be okay as long as you use the final Monster Manual version of the monsters and ignore comments about "readiness." They might take a bit of work to get ready, but maybe it's worth it to get an adventure your players don't already know?
 
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Parmandur

Legend
Wellllll ... you do have access a whole board full of people who have a wide range of experience and enjoy chatting about things online. It's just possible that if you started a thread asking for information and recommendations on third-party adventures, you might get some answers. Just sayin.' ;)

Also, for basic information about levels, etc., I recommend www.adventurelookup.com. It doesn't have reviews, but it will give you an overview of each adventure in terms of content. And it does contain individual detail on many adventures that are found in compilations.


I believe the writing is mostly farmed out to freelancers, but they are official WotC publications nonetheless. Some of them have editing issues, though--probably caused by the tight schedule of getting them out.


I know some people have had good luck with Murder in Baldur's Gate, which is very roleplay-heavy. For the others, you should probably be okay as long as you use the final Monster Manual version of the monsters and ignore comments about "readiness." They might take a bit of work to get ready, but maybe it's worth it to get an adventure your players don't already know?
The AL stuff is done by third party freelancers, and isn't intensely playtesteed like the big in-house releases. More like old timey TSR publications in that way.
 

Urriak Uruk

Explorer
Are the AL modules published by WotC? My interpretation was that it was all fan-written material akin to DMs Guild.
They are published by third-party freelancers, but I'm impressed by how "official" they are beginning to look. The ones for Waterdeep in formatting and artwork (and it is reused artwork, but still) are quite good.

Just curious, what content by Wizards are you most impressed with? You mentioned Xanathar's which is largely a expanded player's options book. Do you like any of the published 5e adventures, that's the bulk of what Wizards publishes.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
The AL stuff is done by third party freelancers, and isn't intensely playtesteed like the big in-house releases. More like old timey TSR publications in that way.
I find it hard to believe that the big in-house releases are intensely playtested...
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
It frankly takes a cynical and jaded individual to not feel some excitement over the upcoming 5e releases.
It sure would be, if earlier 5e releases hadn't regularly disappointed in various ways. I'm also a bit surprised to Tiamat making a come back already in Descent...
 

Parmandur

Legend
It sure would be, if earlier 5e releases hadn't regularly disappointed in various ways. I'm also a bit surprised to Tiamat making a come back already in Descent...
It' been five years. Five years after Keep on the Shadowfell was released, 4E was out of print.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Hundreds of groups playing through them, apparently.
Apparently, would be fascinating to see some of the reports. But perhaps they're just using the adventures as setting guides as is often recommended on these boards and not actually trying to follow the convoluted logic of the plots? :)
 

darjr

I crit!
I loved the first two adventure books. I ran the last chapter in a marathon session and drove those high level players within inches of a tpk. We had an audience late in the day and cheers went up when they came through triumphant.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Apparently, would be fascinating to see some of the reports. But perhaps they're just using the adventures as setting guides as is often recommended on these boards and not actually trying to follow the convoluted logic of the plots? :)
I remember on Dragon Talk last year Perkins went into some detail about the playtesting: a big part of his job was to read the hundreds of full reports by the playtest DMs, and adjust the books based on feedback.

I have begun to suspect that the oddity of the WotC adventure design is partly a response to what actually works for the table in practice, rather than working logically from first principles.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
It' been five years. Five years after Keep on the Shadowfell was released, 4E was out of print.
These adventures can take years to complete, so not that long if you just finished ToD (we finished it about a year ago, for example - admittedly slotting in the second half of SKT that extended it, but also dropped some of the talky-talky missions of RoT). :) Not angry, just surprised that big bads are being recycled (and adds to my "meh" feeling...)
 

Urriak Uruk

Explorer
These adventures can take years to complete, so not that long if you just finished ToD (we finished it about a year ago, for example - admittedly slotting in the second half of SKT that extended it, but also dropped some of the talky-talky missions of RoT). :) Not angry, just surprised that big bads are being recycled (and adds to my "meh" feeling...)
I don't think Tiamat has that big of a role in Avernus, it's really more her subordinates. And if you look at their art, I'm happy with the addition.

 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I have begun to suspect that the oddity of the WotC adventure design is partly a response to what actually works for the table in practice, rather than working logically from first principles.
If anything I would think it would encourage them to keep it simple, but instead the convoluted plots and ex-machina devices (and, silly, jaeger endings [SKT and OotA], keep coming :) )
 

Xenonnonex

Explorer
It sure would be, if earlier 5e releases hadn't regularly disappointed in various ways. I'm also a bit surprised to Tiamat making a come back already in Descent...
Earlier not later. A lot of the later 5e releases have been regularly stellar. And the newest releases look to knock expectations out of the park.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I don't think Tiamat has that big of a role in Avernus, it's really more her subordinates. And if you look at their art, I'm happy with the addition.
Perhaps, I just saw a full page stat block for her though (bigger than the one in ToD if memory serves).
 

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