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

However the later levels are much more interesting - miniature castles, space docks, wizard schools and teleportation mazes. Luckily our group started on the fourth level so we skipped the dull sections.

I mean, I'm pretty sure literally all those things (maybe not the wizard school?) are in the original Ruins of Undermountain. I literally just mentioned the space dock in another thread. The miniature castle definitely is, it's quite memorable (I think we're thinking of the same thing).
 

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Retreater

Legend
I've all but decided to switch to The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan from Tales of the Yawning Portal to replace the current few levels. Maybe we can pick up on a more exciting level of Mad Mage down the road?
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I've all but decided to switch to The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan from Tales of the Yawning Portal to replace the current few levels. Maybe we can pick up on a more exciting level of Mad Mage down the road?
Level 1: Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
Level 2: Sunless Citadel (sunless, because it takes place underground)
Level 3: Forge of Fury (which takes place under a mountain)
Level 4: White Plume "Undermountain"

Huh. This just might work...
 

Retreater

Legend
Level 1: Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
Level 2: Sunless Citadel (sunless, because it takes place underground)
Level 3: Forge of Fury (which takes place under a mountain)
Level 4: White Plume "Undermountain"

Huh. This just might work...
And then springing off to Sinister Secret of Skullport on level 5?
 

jgsugden

Legend
Any prepublished menu … errr ... module leaves a lot of room for impreovement.

D&D is an RPG - a role playing game. Characters play an interactive role in a story they tell with the DM. A prewritten module that does not interact with the backgrounds, flaws, traits, bonds and ideals of each PC is missing part of the formula that I've seen in all of the great games I've played during the past 40 years.

The best way to use these modules is looooooosely. If you're not adding or tweaking elements to better serve the PCs stories and backgrounds, you're likely missing out. To that end, it is kind of nice to have some "expendable" rooms that you can fill with other fun stuff without doing damage to the stories that are established.
 


Mattynew

First Post
I DM’d Curse of Strahd. After a year of near weekly 4 hour sessions, the six players successfully killed Strahd. When the mists lifted they were sent back to the Forgotten Realms (which is where they started before being pulled into Barovia). Now the Mad Mage from Barovia lives in Under Mountain and he is now an ally of Strahd’s and seeks revenge against “The Six”. I am having the Mad Mage torment the players on every level just like Strahd does in Barovia. Those looks into puddles that they used to see their own dead face - they’ll now see the Mad Mage mage laughing at them - predicting their demise etc. By the time they killed Strahd they HATED him. The build up was super fun. Hopefully they’ll feel the same about the mage by the time they reach him.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
This thread got resurrected like a fresh corpse to a necromancer, but I've now spotted it and I feel like chiming in: I've run very nearly all of 5e's "official" adventures (barring the latest couple, only because I can't keep up) and I gave up on DoMM very quickly. To be fair, I've never been fond of oversized dungeons. (Which is funny, I guess, because I LOVE Vault of the Dracolich and Against the Giants, both of which are Lair Raids, which is a type of Dungeon adventure).

Even the original version of Rappun Athuk lost me, and it's supposedly one of the best ever examples of the MegaDungeon.

Anyhow, Mad Mage is underwhelming. I think the designers of it don't expect anyone to run it - I think the idea is to steal bits of dungeon here and there for your homebrew.
 

pukunui

Legend
Anyhow, Mad Mage is underwhelming. I think the designers of it don't expect anyone to run it - I think the idea is to steal bits of dungeon here and there for your homebrew.
I’ve been running it for some time now. We’re just about to hit the obstacle course on level 15. The PCs are all 13th level.

I’ve just been running it as an old school, kick in the door, beer and pretzels adventure, and my players have all been having a blast with it.

Yeah, there’s no plot, but my players don’t mind. They’ve been having fun exploring, killing the monsters (or making deals with them) and building their own story.

We even had a TPK early on (against the drow in the temple on level 3), and they wanted to keep going.

I told them at the start that we didn’t have to play through the whole thing. We’d just keep going till enough of us got bored, but so far that hasn’t happened yet.

I think for us it was just the right thing and the right time. I’d previously tried running Odyssey of the Dragonlords followed by the Acq Inc adventure (Orrery of the Wanderer). Both fizzled out. The pandemic was wearing everyone down. I sold Mad Mage as a simple adventure that wouldn’t require them to remember what had happened a few weeks back, let alone months before. They could just show up and kill some monsters. It’s been a real palate cleanser / stress reliever in that regard.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
This thread got resurrected like a fresh corpse to a necromancer, but I've now spotted it and I feel like chiming in: I've run very nearly all of 5e's "official" adventures (barring the latest couple, only because I can't keep up) and I gave up on DoMM very quickly. To be fair, I've never been fond of oversized dungeons. (Which is funny, I guess, because I LOVE Vault of the Dracolich and Against the Giants, both of which are Lair Raids, which is a type of Dungeon adventure).

Even the original version of Rappun Athuk lost me, and it's supposedly one of the best ever examples of the MegaDungeon.

Anyhow, Mad Mage is underwhelming. I think the designers of it don't expect anyone to run it - I think the idea is to steal bits of dungeon here and there for your homebrew.
Someday if I ever start a blog, one of my first posts will be about how mega dungeons are not adventure paths. They are settings - and should be treated as such - both in design and in at-the-table execution
 

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