D&D 5E Are DMs getting lazy?

Nellisir

Hero
I can't speak to majority. But I am very much one data point in your favor.

I stopped subscribing a year or so ago, but I own #1 through 78 and I've run three paths.
In zero of the three cases did the story cling to the adventures. Obviously they tended to veer back, thought 2 out of 3 went so far off track we just never went back. (this is a good thing)

I also steal characters, bits and pieces, plot points, and whatever other inspiration.

WotC, or maybe TSR, did a study 15 or 20 years ago. Something like 75% of the people who bought Dungeon magazine never ran a single adventure from it. They just read it. And I was one of them. I steal ideas, I steal encounters, I steal maps, I use them as a guide to balancing my own adventures, but I never ran an adventure from it, and I've never really run a module.

What the Adventure Path supermodules miss is that it's much easier for me to spend $5 or $10 a month than it is to spend $50 or $75 once a year, particularly when it's on an elective basis. Put Dungeon out monthly, and I'll buy at least half of them in a year. Maybe more. Put out two supermodules, and it's unlikely I'll buy either one.
 

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Hussar

Legend
I don't understand. Two supermodules at 15 levels each is the equivalent of at least twelve standalone modules. Thing is, it's not that much more expensive to produce a single supermodules than a standard one. Certainly not six times the cost.

The return on supermodules has tone quite a bit better than on standalone.
 

HobbitFan

Explorer
I don't understand. Two supermodules at 15 levels each is the equivalent of at least twelve standalone modules. Thing is, it's not that much more expensive to produce a single supermodules than a standard one. Certainly not six times the cost.

The return on supermodules has tone quite a bit better than on standalone.

To me, the hardback adventure paths don't seem like the equivalent to 12 modules...they may cover the target level ranges but they do so in an abbreviated, condensed format.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Supporter
An abundance of high-quality published adventures is the only reason I would ever run D&D: if I'm going to make up my own adventures I'd use a much simpler system (like FATE) or one that suits my particular tastes better (like Savage Worlds).
 

I have always created my own worlds and adventures (and more), from the latter half of the 70s up to now. Pre-made adventures and worlds never interested me. As a DM, half the fun was the creation, and the other half was sharing it with others, via the gaming sessions.

Having said that, though, I don't judge people who solely rely on pre-published material. Some people have no interest in creating their own stuff. Some don't have the time. Some feel insecure about doing it. Etc. etc. That has been true throughout the 35+ years I have been playing rpgs.

I don't really care if WotC doesn't publish any support material for D&D 5.0, because I won't use it or buy it. For others, though, the lack of support material may make them lose interest in that particular game. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next few years.
 

In my mind these two points are related--the random charts that form the back end for any sandbox, are also the best tools for QUICKLY filling out a plot-driven adventure.

I have always run sandbox-style games, and rarely use charts of any kind. I create the world in detail and seed it with a lot of characters, critters, places, etc. I throw in rumors relating to those things, but I don't push the characters to move towards any particular one, or to pay attention to them at all. If I have a new group, they might pursue rumor about a treasure, try to locate "bad guys" and defeat them (or "good guys," if they are so inclined), decide to start their own town, buy a boat and start to run a passenger service, or whatever else they have in mind. I have enough detail already in place to be able to run with whatever they decide without resorting to random roll tables. I improvise when needed, but always try to apply logic to the decisions.

When I run games for players who aren't comfortable with a pure sandbox, I throw them more rumors and encourage them to pick one to pursue. Over time they generally start to get ideas of their own and decide they like playing in a more sandbox-y style.
 

Now is the era of the homebrewing DM. I think people are confused about the 70's or early 80's. DIY was a new idea then. If you baked your own bread, you lived on a farm or were a hippy. Now DYI is main stream. And its come to D&D apparently bigger then ever.

In my area, "homebrewing" was the norm back in the 70s and 80s. People would sometimes use modules and such, but most of the DMs I knew generated at least half their own content (at a minimum).

As far as the DIY thing goes, what's old is new again. The DIY ethos in general in America was very strong in the 70s, particularly with younger people. In fact, a large part of the DIY movement in the U.S. right now is very similar to ideas that became widespread in the 70s. It was very strong in 80s computer culture, as well. The acronym wasn't in widespread use, but the idea and practice of it was pretty common.
 

dd.stevenson

Super KY
I have always run sandbox-style games, and rarely use charts of any kind. .... I have enough detail already in place to be able to run with whatever they decide without resorting to random roll tables. I improvise when needed, but always try to apply logic to the decisions.

That isn't a sandbox; at least, not in the sense I meant.

Computer games draw a clear distinction between open world/sandbox levels on one hand, and procedurally generated levels on the other. TTRPGs have not embraced this distinction, (I suspect) because one of the "big lies" of this hobby is that EVERY game is an open world game. So we use the word "sandbox" for both, with the resulting miscommunication we see here.

The person I was responding to meant the word in the same sense as I did, I think. (Otherwise, we're left with him making the questionable assertion that your style of game prep is actually LESS work than preparing for a straightforward railroad.)
 

Reynard

Legend
That isn't a sandbox; at least, not in the sense I meant.

Computer games draw a clear distinction between open world/sandbox levels on one hand, and procedurally generated levels on the other. TTRPGs have not embraced this distinction, (I suspect) because one of the "big lies" of this hobby is that EVERY game is an open world game. So we use the word "sandbox" for both, with the resulting miscommunication we see here.

The person I was responding to meant the word in the same sense as I did, I think. (Otherwise, we're left with him making the questionable assertion that your style of game prep is actually LESS work than preparing for a straightforward railroad.)

Generating playable content is, IMO, less work than making a published adventure (especially an AP) playable. Generating a fully detailed world down to the population of every small village is not. But a pre published world is not mutually exclusive from a sandbox you create yourself. In fact, this is the best combo in my mind simply because compelling, detailed world building is a lot of work. But I'll note it is completely unnecessary work -- you can have a great time playing D&D for 20 levels without ever really worrying too much about what the heraldry looks like or even what the days of the week and months are called.
 

delericho

Legend
I don't understand. Two supermodules at 15 levels each is the equivalent of at least twelve standalone modules.

Agreed, mostly. The two "Tyranny of Dragons" adventures together are probably roughly equivalent to six volumes of the Pathfinder AP, minus the non-adventure 'support' material. That, in turn, seems to be roughly equivalent to the 12-part adventure paths that used to appear in Dungeon.

But, at a guess, that's probably closer to the 8 adventures in the original 3e Adventure Path ("Sunless Citadel" through "Bastion of Broken Souls"). I would be surprised if it was equivalent to 12 such adventures, though I might be wrong.

Thing is, it's not that much more expensive to produce a single supermodules than a standard one. Certainly not six times the cost.

The return on supermodules has tone quite a bit better than on standalone.

This is true, on both counts - it's less expensive to do one supermodule than six standalones, and the return is better.

However, from the fan's perspective it's easier to budget for six monthly payments of $20 than to budget for two $40 purchases. Especially if that $20 is a consistent monthly expense, and double-especially if I can just set up an automatic payment and forget about it (as with the Pathfinder volumes). That's one of the definite advantages of a subscription-based approach.

That's not to say any of these is "the right" approach, or even that any of them is better than any other. Different weightings of the priorities will give a different result, is all. :)
 

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