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D&D 5E Dungeon of the Mad Mage - Boring?

lkj

Hero
I like DMM. But I just consider it a series of dungeons for me to extract and use in my homebrew campaigns. It's like having a collection of dungeons for any level, and they are interesting enough I haven't had a hard time finding reasons to use them with only modest modifications (to suit the plot of my given campaign).

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Retreater

Legend
I'm stuck in a party playing DMM. I'm sick of it by this time, but the rest of the party insists on staying in it. We're on the 8th level and our characters are 13th level due to some side adventures. We're completely trashing every encounter so far despite having the world's worst Sorcerer build in the party. We have a cleric, a rogue/ranger, and a rogue/bard/sorc. I was playing a fighter and just switched to a Paladin after we leveled.

This adventure path is like having an entire world to explore, and we're stuck in mom's basement.
Sounds like your party is way over-levelled for the adventure. The book recommends 10th level characters for that level.
Maybe ask the DM to ramp it up a bit?
 

And yes, I can embellish it and make it more interesting. But the amount of work to do that, especially when trying to run it "off the cuff" on a Virtual Tabletop, for a group of guys just wanting to explore an interesting dungeon, fight monsters, avoid traps, solve puzzles, etc., it seems unnecessary.
It didn't dawn on me until you said this. I put together a dungeon room description generator to help me come up with unique room descriptions for my Undermountain. It's on the DMsGuild. If you're not sure if you want it, message me your email address and I'll send a complimentary copy.

If you are using FG, their is a link there for an FG version, that will make a story entry for you using a template and be setup and ready to go. You can add to the template generator to even put in encounters/NPC and other things too if you wanted.
 

Retreater

Legend
It didn't dawn on me until you said this. I put together a dungeon room description generator to help me come up with unique room descriptions for my Undermountain. It's on the DMsGuild. If you're not sure if you want it, message me your email address and I'll send a complimentary copy.

If you are using FG, their is a link there for an FG version, that will make a story entry for you using a template and be setup and ready to go. You can add to the template generator to even put in encounters/NPC and other things too if you wanted.
Great. I'll take a look at it. Always happy to support indie authors.
 

I feel like with this adventure Wizards wasn't even trying

The Original 1e box set was only 3 levels, each left “unfinished”. The product was explicity designed so you could customize and fill in the blank areas.

Undermountain is at it’s best, in my view, when the forays are short.

The characters need to question the Black Viper about a murder she witnessed during a heist, but she is hiding in Skullport....type things. Now the mission becomes, how to get to X location, and back home, quickly and hopefully unchanged.

Trying to clear it out, is just too tedious. I always try to make the Underhalls: wierd and deadly, but also rewarding.

I want the players to dread going into Undermountain, because any journey in is fraught with peril, but yearn to find the unique rewards it offers in spells, magic items, and other boons. Learning Portal shortcuts, should be a very sought after information.

My advice, is buy the old versions from RPG Drive through, and drop those elements in.
 

We stopped playing DotMM on about the 8th level.

Simply put, the best things we found were a wand of fireballs and half of a pair of boots of elvenkind. And the DM dropped hints so we would find the wand. I'm not joking when I say there wasn't anything else. There were a few potions and scrolls, a wand of secret door detection, and that's all. Over eight dungeon levels. What's the point of spelunking a dungeon if it's literally just a series of semi-connected combat encounters. The maps were fantastic, but everything else was just boring and dull.

Just because the game says it's "designed so you don't need magic items" does not mean that you should never find anything! Magic items not being required means that they actually make you better than you should be. It means that magic items give you a real mechanical advantage instead of making you par for the course. In other words, magic items should be a real reward!

What good is a dungeon with no rewards?! What good is the giant list of magic items in the DMG if you never put them in the game?

I'm convinced that the authors thought the PCs would be using the new DDAL rules and get magic items that way.
 

Mepher

Adventurer
We stopped playing DotMM on about the 8th level.

Simply put, the best things we found were a wand of fireballs and half of a pair of boots of elvenkind. And the DM dropped hints so we would find the wand. I'm not joking when I say there wasn't anything else. There were a few potions and scrolls, a wand of secret door detection, and that's all. Over eight dungeon levels. What's the point of spelunking a dungeon if it's literally just a series of semi-connected combat encounters. The maps were fantastic, but everything else was just boring and dull.

Just because the game says it's "designed so you don't need magic items" does not mean that you should never find anything! Magic items not being required means that they actually make you better than you should be. It means that magic items give you a real mechanical advantage instead of making you par for the course. In other words, magic items should be a real reward!

What good is a dungeon with no rewards?! What good is the giant list of magic items in the DMG if you never put them in the game?

I'm convinced that the authors thought the PCs would be using the new DDAL rules and get magic items that way.

We noticed the same thing. I don't have enough experience with 5E Adventure Paths to really have a qualified opinion on this but we have run LMoP, DragonHeist, DotMM, and Ghosts of Saltmarsh and found the same to be across the board. Because of bounded accuracy items with pluses to attack and armor class are fewer and further between. While my players found some items to be interesting, items like paper birds aren't the reason people adventure. For me it was much more exciting in the AD&D era to defeat that BBEG and see that pile of treasure. I have yet to see any treasure awarded yet that gave the joy or that treasure pile with a +1 Flametouch, +3 Battle Axe, +2 Ring of Protection, Bracers of AC 6, Wand of Magic Missiles, etc.

DotMM is pretty weak on treasure.
 

As a DM, that's not how I award treasure. I award it according to the guidelines in the DMG. And then I tweak it to taste. If the published adventure has cool/iconic magic items then I'll award those too.
 

Mepher

Adventurer
As a DM, that's not how I award treasure. I award it according to the guidelines in the DMG. And then I tweak it to taste. If the published adventure has cool/iconic magic items then I'll award those too.

The problem is those guidelines. 5E by the book is all about balancing classes, balancing encounters, balancing progression, balancing treasure. /yawn

I don't advocate throwing piles of treasure just in a horde because you can but just like the players, intelligent monsters like to accumulate treasure and wealth. Equip those monsters just like the players would and make them earn their treasures. Want to give out a Vorpal sword? Equip the badass Death Knight with it and let the players risk life and limb to earn it. They designed a system that undoubtedly makes the players into the superheroes they want to be, so why aren't we giving them those cool items that this game has always been about.

For some reason 5E decided to make items like wands rechargable. Stop letting items recharge and give them limited charges and you will be able to award more over time without inflating their abilities too much. I just think by the book that 5E is weak on the magic item front. The guidelines are pretty boring.
 


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