D&D 5E D&D Out of the Abyss Live

mightybrain

Villager
Has anyone watched this on the Dungeons and Dragons YouTube channel.

There are some technical issues here with volume. But a lot of that seems due to the players and DM not using stage whispers instead of real whispers.

My real worry is how dreadfully tiresome an experience it must be for the poor players. In the best part of 3 hours the players did very little and the characters ended up pretty much where they started. The teaser right at the end was the only real excitement and a blatant deus ex machina to allow the characters to escape in basically the same way they would have done if the DM hadn't shot down every player suggestion and ability along the way. Why not just skip all that with a brief prologue and jump straight into the action?

Is this how this module is supposed to be run? Because this play through isn't selling it to me.
 

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mightybrain

Villager
The second session is up now and in many ways it's a re-run of the first. The volume is better but still a problem with the players frequently inaudible during play while being obnoxiously loud when joking between turns. It's easily fixable but it doesn't make it impossible to watch. Just difficult.


But I'm beginning to think that the gameplay problems are due mostly lack of DM ability. He actually causes one player (not her character) to experience learned helplessness during the game. This is a psychological condition you shouldn't expect to see outside of an actual prison environment. He also spends a good portion of his time playing with his own cast of NPC characters after effectively TPK-ing the PCs.

Once again the players end their session in much the same position as they started it. Only this time with one less NPC.

Trevor Kidd has to correct him on his interpretation of darkvision. He does concede that "if that's how darkvision works in your game that's fine," but it should probably have been brought up earlier if that was the case. I have to feel for Trevor as brand manager watching this DM make such a pig's ear of the module.

I feel like an intervention is needed. Preferably before the next session.

Based on these videos I would steer clear of this module, but my instincts tell me the problems aren't with the module itself.
 

fba827

Adventurer
It's more the design of chapter 1 of the adventure. It is there to make the pcs feel like helpless prisoners. I know my players would hate and feel frustrated by it. If your players are ok with it then they'll feel all the more satisfied when they do escape! I , on the other hand, will be glossing over part of their time as pregame exposition, and also role play out introductions with the npcs as a montage, then pick up as they get told by the guy that he'll give them the key at dinner, then let the players play out the activities for the day knowing there is a plan by night...

Fortunately, the remaining chapters that I've read aren't so demoralizing to -players- as that first chapter so it can be fun, just have to know your players and how much you want to do with chapter 1s situation.
 

mightybrain

Villager
I don't think the problem is the situation. That is, starting a game with the characters all imprisoned and without access to their weapons or gear is a tried and tested scenario over many editions of the game.

I think the problem, in this play through, is the obvious rail-roading. When you consider the countless ways the PCs could engineer their own escape, to dictate by fiat that there is one (and only one) way to escape and that it will be literally handed to you at the appropriate time, is a tragic waste of everyone's time. I also don't think it in any way satisfying to let free by a pre-scripted event.

I think it's fine to have the PCs try and fail in various ways. But it ought to be clear to the players (if not the characters) that their efforts are winning them further opportunities, clues, items, and experience.

If I invited some players to a standard game and gave them a mission to, say, rescue some villagers. But the enemies they faced were so over powered that nothing they could do would have any significant effect and the players are repeatedly knocked out or left for dead over multiple encounters. Lets say that after 2 or 3 hours of play, the players achieved nothing and gained no experience. I don't think those players would be coming back. And I don't think I'd blame them.
 

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