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D&D 5E Are DMs getting lazy?

dd.stevenson

Super KY
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.

Yeah, for sure.

I consider world building a different thing again than campaign prep, although there will always be some overlap. But the question of published setting or homebrew setting is orthoganal to the ideas of sandbox/railroad/procedural generation--one could just as well use use any of these with either sort of setting.
 

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DaveDash

Explorer
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.

This is only true if you do not plan on running the module as is. Good published modules can be ran as is and be completely playable.

Not every DM wants to run modules as is, and that's fine, but you can have a great experience running things like LMoP as is, with effectively 0 effort except reading it.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
This is only true if you do not plan on running the module as is. Good published modules can be ran as is and be completely playable.

Only if your definition of a "good" module is one that can be run upon opening. Most people consider the Pathfinder APs to be "good modules" but they take a lot of work to prepare, even without changing things. Important information is buried in walls of prose, important information is missing from stat blocks (some of which are located in other books), battle mats have to be prepared, NPC relationships have to be defined and mapped, and plot points, some of which are buried three modules on, have to be figured out. All this prep is more work that creating a similar amount of table time worth of material yourself, in my experience.
 

DaveDash

Explorer
Only if your definition of a "good" module is one that can be run upon opening. Most people consider the Pathfinder APs to be "good modules" but they take a lot of work to prepare, even without changing things. Important information is buried in walls of prose, important information is missing from stat blocks (some of which are located in other books), battle mats have to be prepared, NPC relationships have to be defined and mapped, and plot points, some of which are buried three modules on, have to be figured out. All this prep is more work that creating a similar amount of table time worth of material yourself, in my experience.

Nice that you decided not to quote the part where I mentioned LMoP as my example.
 

BryonD

Hero
This is only true if you do not plan on running the module as is. Good published modules can be ran as is and be completely playable.

Not every DM wants to run modules as is, and that's fine, but you can have a great experience running things like LMoP as is, with effectively 0 effort except reading it.
I agree with what you have said here, and most certainly agree with "playable".

But I'll still stand by my position that for the "best of the best" experiences you can either build your own OR spend just as much time seriously prepping an adventure.

I readily admit that what you are looking for in the game experience will play heavily into this.
 

DaveDash

Explorer
I agree with what you have said here, and most certainly agree with "playable".

But I'll still stand by my position that for the "best of the best" experiences you can either build your own OR spend just as much time seriously prepping an adventure.

I readily admit that what you are looking for in the game experience will play heavily into this.

Yep.

There's also other factors involved as well. For me, map creation is the biggest time sync. We use roll20 and we like to have good detailed maps, because dynamic lightning, terrain, and tactics are a big part of how we like to play. LMoP for example (and a lot of Pathfinder stuff) have great maps online via PDFs or made by the community.
If I was creating my own maps from scratch it would take me much longer than running a published module just due to the map factor alone.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Nice that you decided not to quote the part where I mentioned LMoP as my example.

No reason to get snarky.

LMOP is is fact a great adventure, but so far it is a complete anomaly. WotC's other 5 E modules don't come close and the only thing similar from Paizo is their own Beginner Box adventure. Maybe if more modules were designed under the assumption that they might be someone's first module the balance might shift. You should be able to open a module and run it as you read it. That should be the goal.
 

DaveDash

Explorer
No reason to get snarky.

LMOP is is fact a great adventure, but so far it is a complete anomaly. WotC's other 5 E modules don't come close and the only thing similar from Paizo is their own Beginner Box adventure. Maybe if more modules were designed under the assumption that they might be someone's first module the balance might shift. You should be able to open a module and run it as you read it. That should be the goal.

I've done homebrew and I've ran published. There are more than just LMoP, back in 3.5 I ran Red Hand of Doom more or less "As is" and it ran fantastically. The reason I did that is because I was getting tired of the homebrew workoad.

And hey, sometimes you don't always have inspiration to create. These days I'd rather just consume.

But yes, Hoard of the Dragon Queen is not very playable out of the box. However my DM doesn't spend that much time changing things to make it "playable", could the experience be 5 star if he sunk more time into it? Sure, but we're still having fun.
So, I think you over-estimate the time required of published vs the time required to do homebrew, especially if you DM in the digital world and have to worry about map creation.
 

delericho

Legend
But I'll still stand by my position that for the "best of the best" experiences you can either build your own OR spend just as much time seriously prepping an adventure.

While I agree that the "best of the best" is as you describe (indeed, I might even argue that BotB is always a homebrew adventure), I find that the big utility of pre-gen adventures comes when I don't have the time or energy to get that BotB experience. And here, because so much of the work is done for me, I can get to a good play experience faster than I can homebrew.

(If I were drawing a graph showing "play experience" vs "prep time", I would suggest the pre-gen adventure jumps into an early lead and then retains that lead for quite a while, but does eventually lose out to homebrew.)

You should be able to open a module and run it as you read it. That should be the goal.

I disagree, or at least I disagree that it should be the goal. Because restricting yourself to adventures that you can run as you read necessarily limits the complexity of what can be presented - it becomes much harder to set things up to payoff later, for example.

So I don't think it's unreasonable for companies to provide more complex adventures that do require the DM do some additional work up-front. It would be good, though, if they could give an indication of how much work the DM needs to do before use (the equivalent of "some assembly required").
 

BryonD

Hero
While I agree that the "best of the best" is as you describe (indeed, I might even argue that BotB is always a homebrew adventure), I find that the big utility of pre-gen adventures comes when I don't have the time or energy to get that BotB experience. And here, because so much of the work is done for me, I can get to a good play experience faster than I can homebrew.
Yep.
 

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