D&D General Ben Riggs on how to make D&D a $1 billion brand

Parmandur

Book-Friend
What's the price differential of not organizing their books like it's a first printing 3E core book?

Even if they didn't want printed endpapers or anything else that costs even a little more, reorganizing the books and putting in navigational cues that publishers have used for decades is essentially free. And once you've got the template, you can do it from then on.
I have to be honest, I played 3E for years and didn't ever notice those.
 

log in or register to remove this ad




Hussar

Legend
If you have actual, paid playtesters whose job is to check for this--in exactly the same way that video games get paid QA people whose job is to poke and prod at every little problem--you could do this quite easily. Every day, have one four-hour gaming session, with two hours of prep beforehand and two hours of review after. A campaign that takes two years of once-a-week sessions takes only three and a half months at this pace, and that's only if you intend to publish the entire two-year adventure all at once. Most stuff is published in individual modules; say you have one every 2 levels (3 for 4e), that's 10 modules, meaning ~10.4 sessions per module, or about two weeks of intensive playtesting to finish. That's perfectly plausible as an actual QA effort, and just like QA, it won't be fun, it will be work, because you're playing through a thing trying to stress test every part of it as much as possible. And that's only if your stress-testing is actually done as real "live play" stuff, rather than accelerated stuff.

Edits for space and word count shouldn't be a problem. Just pass them by the QA team leads first. If they've run the campaign (say) three times over a month-and-a-half period, they'll be quite familiar with its inner workings.


Being perfectly honest? Exactly as you've described it--with all the potential for problems--sounds like more playtesting than WotC does.

And WotC does more playtesting than most. Lookin' at you, Paizo.


I dunno. Pathfinder APs tend to get pretty much rave reviews. Same for ENWorld. I still want to play the Zeitgeist (the original, 4e, accept no substitutes) at some point.

At what cost though? A single group - five full time employees for three months is about 75 thousand dollars per play test group. You probably need at least five groups. Now your looking around 3-4 hundred thousand dollars just for play testing.

There’s just no way.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
So, out of curiosity, I looked up the MSRP of the Planescape box set in 1994. It cost $30 then, which is $61 in today's money (I paid $63 for the Spelljammer slipcase due to a pre-order discount, for comparison). Of course, RSR lost money on each box sold of that, so it would cost more than $61 to make a similar box today, let alone what one would pay for it in store.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Because there are two seperate teams working on WotC modules, a story team and a design team.

The design team makes a actual adventure that is more open ended and supposed to be a broader scenario, then the story team adds a odd "story" too it, that usually adds a pretty linear plot too a more open ended thing, with tons of odd rails and stuff to make it a "story".

I've noticed this and its bugged me every since, and notably curse of strahd and a few others which dont have the story team trying to rail it, are some of the best out there.
Utterly untrue.

Story comes first. Once the design for the adventure (the story and structure) is worked out, then the designers go about putting it all together. Things get adjusted as it goes along, sometimes not well.

I believe that the most problematic Wizards adventures have been those with a large team of designers (mostly freelance), because writing just one section of an adventure which needs links to other sections, when you don't know what the other sections are, is terribly difficult. It requires the Lead Designer to stitch everything together - and this hasn't always worked well.

And sometimes it hasn't worked so well that there's been a lot of late changes. I believe Descent into Avernus was originally a lot more freeform/sandbox in nature, but things did not go well, and a more linear plot was imposed - not all that successfully.

The less linear an adventure is, the more tricky to write. I think Rime of the Frostmaiden was an attempt to do as sandboxy as they could go while still maintaining a story. I think its problems derive from that and the "not a small team writing it" issue. Though I haven't run it yet, so I don't have first-hand knowledge of its play.

I do find Rime interesting because it, with its multiple threats, hearkens back to Legacy of the Crystal Shard, an incredible late-4E/5E-playtest adventure. But where Legacy is something I recommend designers study, due to its innovative design and structure, Rime didn't quite recapture the magic of the earlier adventure.

Cheers,
Merric
 

FallenRX

Adventurer
Utterly untrue.

Story comes first. Once the design for the adventure (the story and structure) is worked out, then the designers go about putting it all together. Things get adjusted as it goes along, sometimes not well.

I believe that the most problematic Wizards adventures have been those with a large team of designers (mostly freelance), because writing just one section of an adventure which needs links to other sections, when you don't know what the other sections are, is terribly difficult. It requires the Lead Designer to stitch everything together - and this hasn't always worked well.

And sometimes it hasn't worked so well that there's been a lot of late changes. I believe Descent into Avernus was originally a lot more freeform/sandbox in nature, but things did not go well, and a more linear plot was imposed - not all that successfully.

The less linear an adventure is, the more tricky to write. I think Rime of the Frostmaiden was an attempt to do as sandboxy as they could go while still maintaining a story. I think its problems derive from that and the "not a small team writing it" issue. Though I haven't run it yet, so I don't have first-hand knowledge of its play.

I do find Rime interesting because it, with its multiple threats, hearkens back to Legacy of the Crystal Shard, an incredible late-4E/5E-playtest adventure. But where Legacy is something I recommend designers study, due to its innovative design and structure, Rime didn't quite recapture the magic of the earlier adventure.

Cheers,
Merric
So its the other way around, got it, that is still a mighty awful way to design a adventure.

Something gotta be cut.
 

Jolly Ruby

Privateer
The books become very useful when one sees them as constituent parts to be used like Lego bricks with a suggested build, rather than a fully cooked meal.
This line of thinking can savage some of the worst books. Descent into Avernus, for example, is really bad as an adventure, but have a lot of amazing stuff that can be used to play a homebrew adventure. I played for months using the Baldur's Gate Gazetteer alone, it's on point on information about the city and packed with plot hooks. The same can be said about Dragon Heist (which I don't think is a bad adventure, just one needing some remix and a less restrictive structure).
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top