D&D General Dungeon Magazine's Top 30 Adventures: Do they hold up?

I have run almost all of the modules on the list and my judgment/rating of modules reflects the enjoyment my group and I got out of the module. Whether a module deserves to be on the list is always going to boil down to your play experience and style.
The problem with this is that it doesn't help generate or review a "list". For the list to have value to others it has to be written with an audience other than the author in mind. It has to have something at least partially universal or transcendent about it.

A problem with a list based upon individua play experience is that play experience varies vastly, and one of those variables is the DM. How good is the DM? Have they taken a module like X and spent hours and hours remixing and preparing it for their specific group? And did they do a good job at it? And then the group itself, perhaps they would have enjoyed any module as long as they were together playing it? Or the opposite of any of those.

My experience with Dark Sun is awesome. Is that because the setting is awesome or the DM was or was I just at a point where the theme resonated with me perfectly? I strongly dislike Dragon Lance. Is that because the adventures are poorly written? Or because the DM ran them with little to no player agency and I was at a point in my gaming life where that was not something I enjoyed?

For me to upvote every DS adventure and downvote every DL adventure on a list because of my play experiences with them are not going to do anyone reading the list any good is it? The list needs a basis for what it is listing, if it is going to be valuable. (And this list is not very valuable because it doesn't tell me what makes a good adventure.)
 

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pogre

Legend
For me to upvote every DS adventure and downvote every DL adventure on a list because of my play experiences with them are not going to do anyone reading the list any good is it? The list needs a basis for what it is listing, if it is going to be valuable. (And this list is not very valuable because it doesn't tell me what makes a good adventure.)
Totally agree with your conclusion.

However, I find a lot of reviewers have not even played the stuff they review or "list."

I believe you can ascertain whether something is truly bad with a read through. Beyond that, it really does come down to DMs and groups.

Defining what makes a good adventure can be pretty difficult though. Instead, tell me what your table tends to enjoy. Give me some sense of your bias. That gives it value. On the other hand, if you give me a thorough explanation of what makes a good adventure for you - I may be getting a sense of those things too.

If you were to say a good module is 80% social encounters and 20% combat encounters - I can dismiss your review or list out of hand. Your playstyle and mine just do not match.
 

carmachu

Explorer
So I own and read all but Dark Tower, but once goodman games releases it again in their classic line up as old plus 5th, I will finally have that to.

I have played or run about half of them. Temple is my favorite I know folks like to say overrated but there's a lot to do in it. 2nd favorite is N1 against the cult, another where it has more then a little to do in it.
 


delericho

Legend
However, I find a lot of reviewers have not even played the stuff they review or "list."

I believe you can ascertain whether something is truly bad with a read through. Beyond that, it really does come down to DMs and groups.
Even a play-through is only of limited value, because you only see the paths that are actually taken. The adventure could be horribly flawed and you might not ever see it if your group takes a different route.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Even a play-through is only of limited value, because you only see the paths that are actually taken. The adventure could be horribly flawed and you might not ever see it if your group takes a different route.
Right. Also the adventure could be horribly flawed for some folks but for your DMing style you don't notice it (and vice versa - there can be an adventure that is much beloved by folks that doesn't work for your DMing style at all).
 

delericho

Legend
Right. Also the adventure could be horribly flawed for some folks but for your DMing style you don't notice it (and vice versa - there can be an adventure that is much beloved by folks that doesn't work for your DMing style at all).
And, of course, a group could well have house rules in place that fix the issue. Or the DM could apply a fix without even thinking about it (certainly, I massage the material in any published adventure as I run it).

All of which makes reviewing extremely tricky. Add to that the issue that there's no agreed standard of what makes for a "good adventure" (as mentioned up-thread), and it's not a task I envy. :)
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
Add to that the issue that there's no agreed standard of what makes for a "good adventure" (as mentioned up-thread), and it's not a task I envy. :)
Heck I'm not even sure I have a standard for what a good adventure is that I could articulate. I'll bet that for any non-trivial "rule" I come up with for what makes a good published adventure I'd be able to find some adventure that I like that breaks it.
 



pogre

Legend
Heck I'm not even sure I have a standard for what a good adventure is that I could articulate. I'll bet that for any non-trivial "rule" I come up with for what makes a good published adventure I'd be able to find some adventure that I like that breaks it.
Exactly right. I thought I would have no use for The Wild Beyond the Witchlight. However, one of my players bought it for me and I used a significant portion of it and really found it delightful. Whereas, I loved the concept of Candlekeep Mysteries, but the adventures I ran from it fell a little flat.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I believe you can ascertain whether something is truly bad with a read through.
I've learned otherwise. Some modules look great on a read-through but don't work well once they hit the table; while others look pretty bad on initial reading but end up playing just fine if not better.
 



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