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Dungeon 191: Adapting "The Lich-Queen's Beloved"

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
I am really pumped that they're learning from what previous editions did right (in addition to hoping to fix what previous editions did wrong). That's one of the things I feel was absent from early 4e stuff. Thompson is a designer I am more often than not on the same page as, ....


He was involved with Monster Vault, right? Seems to be doing good work.

But for his revalation, i guess all I can say is: about time.

I like 4E, but they seemed to have some pretty restrictive mental models going into it, the main one being: this game is about cool, massive, encounter, and having one cool, massive, encounter after another, and another, and another...
 

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Zaran

Adventurer
The Little Raven said:
Maybe it's because he didn't get paid to convert the adventure to use in his home game, and he isn't obligated to give you all the work he did in his own free time.

If its behind the paywall it should not be just for fun. And when 4e is lacking in adventures I think they should do everything they can to get us useful 4e modules instead of teaching us to do it ourselves.
 

Riastlin

First Post
If its behind the paywall it should not be just for fun. And when 4e is lacking in adventures I think they should do everything they can to get us useful 4e modules instead of teaching us to do it ourselves.

Thing is though, they pay the writers for Dragon/Dungeon by the word, so publishing the entire conversion would have cost WotC a lot more $. This of course assumes he converted the entire module into a publishable format. Now, it could also be that Rodney, like me and many others, doesn't bring extensive notes to his sessions and in many cases just ran with what was on the sheet from the original module, converting some things (other than monsters) on the fly. If this were the case, then publishing his "conversion" would not have been all that much help anyway. It then gets back to asking him to convert it into a publishable format which means either a) WotC pays him more $ (thereby reducing their profit margin) or b) he works for free essentially.

Personally, I really don't have a problem with how they handled this. Its pretty easy to figure out what Rodney did, and more important, he showed us how to do it with other modules. Simply posting the conversion might have made it easier for us to run this particular mod, but would not have necessarily helped us run other mods. As it stands, this gives me some great ideas for my own campaign as I think a lot of this will fit well into a future adventure I have planned -- though I don't intend to simply run the module, rather, I'll be borrowing from it.
 

Zaran

Adventurer
Yeah. I agree that what he gave us was useful. I just am disappointed in the output of actual adventures and I feel that we are paying the same amount for less support that we were getting two years ago. I think that if they don't have the manpower that they should hire more and make up for the extra payroll by producing more product.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
I like 4E, but they seemed to have some pretty restrictive mental models going into it, the main one being: this game is about cool, massive, encounter, and having one cool, massive, encounter after another, and another, and another...

Well, that was because the design philosophy behind 4E always seemed (to me at least) to be the creation and execution of cool, massive encounters regardless of how good or bad the DM is that is running it. What better way to expand the reach of the game than if the system itself gave you a massive jump forward in having fun and exciting encounters, without having to rely on the skills of your DM? If a new DM could get the game 3/4ths of the way there without having any experience whatsoever... then the odds are better that these new players would stick with D&D.

The philosophies Rodney talked about all require DM judgement. It's not just "roll a skill to hit this DC"... it's understanding the creative ideas the players came up with, and interpreting them in deciding results-- success or failure. And for that... a bad DM can definitely screw things up. It's the same with all the talk about improvisation within D&D... if you aren't good at it, you have a better chance of making some horrible mistakes, and possibly annoying or alienating your players to the point where they just don't want to play anymore. And that does nobody any good.
 

Riastlin

First Post
Yeah. I agree that what he gave us was useful. I just am disappointed in the output of actual adventures and I feel that we are paying the same amount for less support that we were getting two years ago. I think that if they don't have the manpower that they should hire more and make up for the extra payroll by producing more product.

Ahh, understandable. I will say that after getting my subscription back up and running this weekend, I read through (very quickly) Force of Nature and I was pretty impressed. I think that's another adventure that can also be easily modified to fit into whatever campaign you want, and can even use it for inspiration for adventures at almost any level. I do think that their recents efforts are definitely getting better. That being said though, I'm just not certain that they will publish many more adventure-only products for retail sale. It seems that they are not particularly profitable at the moment (realizing of course that quality has a lot to do with this). The adventures in their boxed sets though have been pretty good recently.

I think print publication (i.e. for sale in FLGS) of adventures is at best a tricky proposition for them. The problem is that a lot of the time, even if a published adventure is really good, there's no guarantee that every, or even most DM's will purchase it. Add to the fact that DM's only make up 1/6 of the standard play group -- and that players are generally discouraged from reading an adventure that the party will be playing, and you get a real small target audience for published adventures. I think they get a lot more bang for their buck (so to speak) by going the online route. Unfortunately though, more online adventure production does not necessarily equate to higher profits (though certainly I think the more quality product they turn out for DDi the more subscribers they'll get).

At any rate, I think the best thing that comes from the conversion article is the realization that every edition did certain things right (while realizing that every edition has its own problems as well). Looking beyond the horizon of the current edition you are playing can certainly lead to a more entertaining game.
 

TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
[MENTION=98938]DeFCON1[/MENTION]: 4E does make running big/dramatic/dynamic encounters easier then 3E. But, if thats all that happens, players can actually get bored with it, and then you start to look bad as a DM again. I think RTs point about pacing is key.

And I don't think 4E makes life that much easier for the DM in other ways. Skill challenges and the skill system, rituals...not hard, but not really easy either. The DMG and other advice that has come out of WotC, while mostly good, has actually been pretty aspirational. It implies a level of effort that I am not really willing to put in. (and of course, it encourages improvisation, which is good).

People were able to mix things up in past editions. The whole point is that this is not really novel. The best way to give guidance is in adventures, and have elements of exploration, role-playing and small fights mixed in with the big set pieces. Past adventures were good with the exploration and wider range of fights (roleplaying, more of a mixed bag). WotC 4E adventures have a bit of this, but it is mostly about encounter after encounter after encounter.
 

Badwe

First Post
i understand some people's frustration from a perspective of "i'm paying for THIS?", however this was an exciting article for me. For one, it established that deviating from the 4e norms is possible and doesn't break the game (other than when players aren't initially used to the possibilities) and that you can do minimal work converting from 3.x and it works pretty well. To me it's sort of a proof of concept. Also, keeping in mind that the more successful adventure publisher, Paizo, is behind a good number of 3e dungeon adventures, perhaps stealing their storylines is a good decision?

Honestly I would like to see more. I wasn't put off by the low word-count but I would enjoy seeing wordier treatment of the process, possibly with more references to which existing publications are used and maybe spelling out a complete conversion of a few rooms.
 

KidSnide

Adventurer
I think print publication (i.e. for sale in FLGS) of adventures is at best a tricky proposition for them. The problem is that a lot of the time, even if a published adventure is really good, there's no guarantee that every, or even most DM's will purchase it. Add to the fact that DM's only make up 1/6 of the standard play group -- and that players are generally discouraged from reading an adventure that the party will be playing, and you get a real small target audience for published adventures. I think they get a lot more bang for their buck (so to speak) by going the online route. Unfortunately though, more online adventure production does not necessarily equate to higher profits (though certainly I think the more quality product they turn out for DDi the more subscribers they'll get).

That's certainly true. However, it's important to remember that putting out good adventures allows average GMs to run good games and skilled time-limited GMs to run excellent games.

...and there is little WotC can do for the longterm success of the hobby that is more effective or important than allowing players to experience good and excellent games.

-KS
 

Riastlin

First Post
That's certainly true. However, it's important to remember that putting out good adventures allows average GMs to run good games and skilled time-limited GMs to run excellent games.

...and there is little WotC can do for the longterm success of the hobby that is more effective or important than allowing players to experience good and excellent games.

-KS

No argument here. That is why (although I didn't expressly state it) I said it was a tricky proposition for them. It can certainly pay off in the long run for them, but it can also end up being a total dud, perhaps much more so than a lot of their other retail products.
 

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