D&D 5E Descent Into Avernus & Mad Max: Why the adventure ultimately failed (to me!)

Sorry. I maybe wasn't clear. Finding things in a quest had been around since year one. I'm fine with that since I started in 1980. For some reason I just despise all the names that have been given to these things. IMO
 

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I didn't buy this adventure for a very simple reason: demons. Demons are boring. There is no uncertainty about their motives, or subtlety about their plans. Their only use is to be summoned as living WMD. (yeah, I know it's mostly Devils, but demons still feature).

However, with regards to the ending, there is something we see in several WotC adventures: it's deliberately left fairly open so it can be tailored to match the decisions the players make along the way. The drawback of such an approach is it lacks the set-piece battle and sense of closure you would expect to find in a good story.

Fetch quests: These are the padding that fills most RPGs. You would be hard pushed to find an adventure that wouldn't be very short if you didn't stuff it with these.
Correction. Fetch quests are the padding for older RPGs. Contemporary video games have largely abandoned constant fetch quests as a model.
 


Yeah quests where you find stuff are fine. For me when everyone started giving everything a term ( DPR, Tank, Sorlock, Fetch Quest, etc) started irritating me and put me off!

Maybe I'm old. Maybe that needs a thread.
Well the thing is, its easier to type Fetch Quest as opposed to typing out "quests about going to grab something for an NPC before that NPC helps you with the thing you actually need to be doing." Terms are there to make communication more effective. I mean, its like you're saying don't use the word "term" and instead use "words that describe abstract ideas."
 

Correction: I play far too many CRPGs, and they are still as dependant on fetch quests as ever they were.
Contemporary triple AAA or highly reviewed indie games? Which? I don't recall many, and the ones I can recall they are very minimal and optional, not the core storytelling technique of the work.
 

Contemporary triple AAA or highly reviewed indie games? Which? I don't recall many, and the ones I can recall they are very minimal and optional, not the core storytelling technique of the work.
Baldur's Gate 3. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Solasta: Crown of the Magister. Divinity: Original Sin 2. Mass Effect: Collector's Edition. Cyberpunk 2077. The Outer Words. Dragon Age: Inquisition. Witcher 3.

To name but a few I have played recently. Even more fetch quests than they have colons.
 

Well the thing is, its easier to type Fetch Quest as opposed to typing out "quests about going to grab something for an NPC before that NPC helps you with the thing you actually need to be doing." Terms are there to make communication more effective. I mean, its like you're saying don't use the word "term" and instead use "words that describe abstract ideas."
Yeah. Still irritating ( I think the massive influx of modern words is all part of it. I think it started with difference-maker). Blech
 

Baldur's Gate 3. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Solasta: Crown of the Magister. Divinity: Original Sin 2. Mass Effect: Collector's Edition. Cyberpunk 2077. The Outer Words. Dragon Age: Inquisition. Witcher 3.

To name but a few I have played recently. Even more fetch quests than they have colons.
I've also played all these games, and I feel like your argument is rather disingenuous, or at least very lazy and handwave-y, because you're ignoring change simply because there still are some fetch quests, and you're ignoring the positioning of the fetch quests, which is increasingly outside the narrative. Which is exactly what @Shardstone said and you totally ignored that bit.

It's definitely true that all these games pad themselves out to varying degrees with fetch quests.

But that's what it is, padding. Witcher 3, for example, if you follow the main path, which still takes you like 60 hours, you will do very few quests that a person could honestly and straightforwardly call a "fetch quest", with a straight face. I mean, obviously we're on the internet, and a lot of people make intentionally reductive and disingenuous arguments to win internet points (I'm not saying you are, but veering very very close with that extremely broad list). Indeed, you have to work fairly hard to find honest-to-god "fetch quests" in Witcher 3.

But back on my point, with the possible exception of Solasta, which is just badly-designed period, all of the above increasingly position actual "fetch quests", i.e. the truly lame ones that are equivalent to those in DiA, that don't really make sense except as a means to bribe artificially uncooperative NPCs, outside the main narrative, . I mean, we can look at some examples.

Baldur's Gate 3 - You can easily play 10+ hours in and not have seen a "fetch quest", and indeed the first time I thought I did, it turned out things were rather more complicated than that.

Witcher 3 - You can play virtually the entire game without touching a "fetch quest" of a real kind. Hell you could do most of the side-content without it. It was an actual design goal to shy away from them, and casually slapping TW3 in this list weakens your entire argument.

ME:LE - (I presume you me LE, not CE, otherwise I have no idea what game you're referring to). First off, these are games from 2007-2012, so that's disingenuous right there. But even then, they don't really have "fetch quests" as a major part of the game. I'm not sure ME2, for example, even has a "fetch quest" in it outside of the most tertiary content. I guess if you stretched it you could try to argue the Reaper IFF, but it doesn't really work because it doesn't fit the fetch-quest structure or reasoning - you're not doing a random-ass task for someone else, you're doing something vital to your survival.

2077 - I mean, if you're going to describe getting the cyberspider for the heist as a "fetch quest", well, you're stretching the definition waaaay past breaking point, frankly, and I can't think of anything else in the main story (admittedly I'm only 90% through, no spoilers please) which is a fetch quest, because you need to go the whole A-B-A thing, and generally they avoid that. Usually it's more like A-B-Something goes horribly wrong-C-D etc.

Pathfinder: WotR - Significantly worse-designed quest-wise than the rest of these games, much lazier approach but also just incredibly, insanely, unnecessarily content-heavy, which includes some genuinely annoying and classical fetch-quests as part of that mountain of padding. Still fairly minimal fetch quests in the actual main story though. Plenty outside of that.

Solasta - The worst-designed game you've listed here, and intentionally old-skool. Definitely has fetch quests in the main story, but it's an outright bad game, and doesn't disprove the trend.

DA:I - Has a nuclear ton of fetch-quests, and much worse, "gather quests" (like "collect X letters home from dead soldiers on this battlefield"). Almost all of them are part the gigantic amount of almost MMO-ish unnecessary quest-cruft it has overlaying the main story. Whereas the main story and indeed most of the companion stories eschew that approach.

TLDR: @Shardstone is right - fetch quests have been seen as bad/lazy writing since before 2010 (as you accidentally show by including ME:LE), and have been increasingly pushed into "padding" rather than included as part of the main narrative.

Pen and paper adventures generally shouldn't need any "padding" at all.
 
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There's nothing inherently wrong with the opportunity for the party to retrieve an item or deliver something to somewhere or someone. the tricky part is to make sure that you properly motivate the players as much as the characters when you do so. Do the fact that players have different motivations and they're constantly shifting means as a DM you need to just work with it.
 

Baldur's Gate 3. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. Solasta: Crown of the Magister. Divinity: Original Sin 2. Mass Effect: Collector's Edition. Cyberpunk 2077. The Outer Words. Dragon Age: Inquisition. Witcher 3.

To name but a few I have played recently. Even more fetch quests than they have colons.
Of these games, Witcher and DA: Origins are the highest rated, and BG 3 isn't done so I haven't played it. That being said, most of those games out more than 5 years ago. Witcher 3 came out in 2015, for example. That doesn't qualify as contemporary design, but is instead just modern design.
 

Unwise

Adventurer
I am curious to know the story behind a vampire who is fiercely loyal to a city with a second sun designed to turn vampires to dust.

For those curious, he is loyal to the previous king, the vampire lord. The upstart theocracy are usurpers, but the city can be saved from them. He was a loyal praetorian guard of the previous ruler, before he got turned into a vampire. Then he followed him into vampirism.

He still has family, kids and grandkids in the city, but he himself was forced to flee when the guardian appeared in the sky. He still keeps in contact with his family.

I can't recall what is cannon and what is just IMC...the vampire lord was never killed, but lurked below the city, awaiting his chance to return. When arriving in Avernus, the PC discovered his old master is alive and was overjoyed. He is helping the vampire retake the city from the devilish incursion. Later on, he will have a point of conflict as the vampire king has no intention of letting the city leave Avernus. In Avernus there is no sun, and the people all turn to him as their saviour. If he goes back to the prime material, that all changes.
 

pukunui

Legend
For those curious, he is loyal to the previous king, the vampire lord. The upstart theocracy are usurpers, but the city can be saved from them. He was a loyal praetorian guard of the previous ruler, before he got turned into a vampire. Then he followed him into vampirism.

He still has family, kids and grandkids in the city, but he himself was forced to flee when the guardian appeared in the sky. He still keeps in contact with his family.

I can't recall what is cannon and what is just IMC...the vampire lord was never killed, but lurked below the city, awaiting his chance to return. When arriving in Avernus, the PC discovered his old master is alive and was overjoyed. He is helping the vampire retake the city from the devilish incursion. Later on, he will have a point of conflict as the vampire king has no intention of letting the city leave Avernus. In Avernus there is no sun, and the people all turn to him as their saviour. If he goes back to the prime material, that all changes.
Wow! That sounds awesome. Mad props to you and your player for working in the lore so nicely (even if there are non-canonical elements).

Are you letting the PC use the vampire rules from the sidebar in the MM or are they using the dhampyr race? (Or something else?)
 

Unwise

Adventurer
Are you letting the PC use the vampire rules from the sidebar in the MM or are they using the dhampyr race? (Or something else?)
That's the really cool thing. They are playing a semi-undead race, Reborn I think. All the rest of the flavour is actually from being a Moon Druid. They are not themed around being a druid at all, that is just the mechanical chassis that gives them their vampire powers.

Their bite/claws are Primal Savegery cantrip. They have charm person, fog, hold person, summon beast, protection from good, wither & bloom, etc. All sorts of appropriate things

They only shapechange into relevant forms. Wolf, Bear (is hybrid werewolf form), rats, bats, I let them turn into swarms of bats/rats too.

The only change I made, is that they use Cha as their main stat, rather than Wisdom. That just helped the character concept a bit. Both a great stats.
 


That's the really cool thing. They are playing a semi-undead race, Reborn I think. All the rest of the flavour is actually from being a Moon Druid. They are not themed around being a druid at all, that is just the mechanical chassis that gives them their vampire powers.

Their bite/claws are Primal Savegery cantrip. They have charm person, fog, hold person, summon beast, protection from good, wither & bloom, etc. All sorts of appropriate things

They only shapechange into relevant forms. Wolf, Bear (is hybrid werewolf form), rats, bats, I let them turn into swarms of bats/rats too.

The only change I made, is that they use Cha as their main stat, rather than Wisdom. That just helped the character concept a bit. Both a great stats.
Kind of confused why they don't use the dhamphir lineage, which has all of these as features haha. Regardless, super cool!
 

if you follow the main path
This is a rather disingenuous additional condition. You can't only play the critical path, since you need to do side quests to gain power and levels. And as I already mentioned, it makes those "huge" games very short. Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 and Dragonage: Inquisition in particular are jam packed with sidequests that don't even bother to dress up their fetch quest nature.
 

Of these games, Witcher and DA: Origins are the highest rated, and BG 3 isn't done so I haven't played it. That being said, most of those games out more than 5 years ago. Witcher 3 came out in 2015, for example. That doesn't qualify as contemporary design, but is instead just modern design.
You can't get much more contemporary than BG3, since it isn't out till next year, and that has it's share of "bring me X" quests. Now you could try to argue that they are "not on the critical path" since it doesn't really have a critical path apart from at a couple of key points. So you never have to do "steel the statue from the druids", "steel the egg from the owlbear", "find the book of evil magic" etc, but you would miss out on much of the game and be under-levelled if you tried to not do any fetch quests.

Not that there is anything wrong with fetch quests. The Holy Grail is a fetch quest. There have always been there and always will be there.
 
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You can't get much more contemporary than BG3, since it isn't out till next year, and that has it's share of "bring me X" quests. Now you could try to argue that they are "not on the critical path" since it doesn't really have a critical path apart from at a couple of key points. So you never have to do "steel the statue from the druids", "steel the egg from the owlbear", "find the book of evil magic" etc, but you would miss out on much of the game and be under-levelled if you tried to not do any fetch quests.

Not that there is anything wrong with fetch quests. The Holy Grail is a fetch quest. There have always been there and always will be there.
You should reference Ruin Explorer's post. A out of the way optional fetch quest vs mainline composed of fetch quest is completely different. You are basically arguing something completely different to what I am.
 

A out of the way optional fetch quest vs mainline composed of fetch quest is completely different.
"Out of the way" is another qualifier. The fetch quests in BG3 are in no way "out of the way". Technically, you could avoid doing them, but in practice you would have to use cheat codes in order to do so.

They are not "out of the way" in Cyberpunk 2077 or Dragon Age: Inquisition either. You are bombarded with hundreds of the things. You can't drive down the street in Cyberpunk without being bombarded with phone calls from fixers wanting you to fetch them something.
 

"Out of the way" is another qualifier. The fetch quests in BG3 are in no way "out of the way". Technically, you could avoid doing them, but in practice you would have to use cheat codes in order to do so.

They are not "out of the way" in Cyberpunk 2077 or Dragon Age: Inquisition either. You are bombarded with hundreds of the things. You can't drive down the street in Cyberpunk without being bombarded with phone calls from fixers wanting you to fetch them something.
Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the worst reviewed games in a long time, and a compelte failure. DA: I is an older game outside of contemporary stuff, and also not super well reviewed for its story.

Regardless, using fetch quests is not the problem. Having a main storyline composed of fetchquests is. I don't know how much clearer I can make this. You are discussing side content, I am discussing the main content.
 

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