D&D 5E I can’t seem to DM written adventures.

rgoodbb

Adventurer
I can’t DM written adventures.

Not sure why but when I get my hands on an adventure that someone else has written, it turns me off DM’ing. It’s not that I can’t understand the writing (although some could do with an editor’s clean-up), and it’s not that I haven’t bought a lot of material/adventures, but when it’s someone else’s words and style and creative imagination, I just can’t seem to do it. Something doesn’t work for me. So I’m just doing homebrew little one-shots or three-shots before another DM takes the next big adventure on. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy to play and I just chip in sometimes when a DM needs a break.

Not complaining. It's not a problem. Just curious if I am alone here or does this chime with anyone else?
 

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aco175

Legend
I do not think it is uncommon. I have run a couple of the campaigns Wizards has put out like Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA) and found some of the same thing. There were parts that I did not like the writing or not quite understanding the intent in other locations. Some parts I would make up more NPCs or monster types to enhance the encounters. I would also modify the items and locations to fit my campaign more and more as the levels added up.

I'm also guessing that some/most of the adventures I put on DMsGuild might be the same way when someone else buys the product. I know what I meant when writing and understand the trap or the item, but a new person might not. I feel adventures should have some modification needed to fit each specific campaign and DM, but leave enough to be able to run it without wholescale changes. I think the reason people get the pre-published stuff is to save time and making me spend the same amount of time changing it becomes not worth it anymore.

There may also be a problem with the scale of the adventures. I buy a 1 night adventure as a side quest and feel that it can be run for the most part as is. If I buy a 300 page campaign, I find the longer it goes, the more changes it needs. That can be tiresome. I vote for smaller modules of 1-2 levels but the money is in the bigger books.
 



iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I can't run them without significant hacking because of the way they structure things. This is partciularly true of plot-based adventures which I find very weird to DM since you have to hide the plot then hope you can still somehow funnel the PCs down it. It's really not for me. I've found that OSR adventures are actually way better than WotC adventures, both in structure and presentation. So I'm more inclined to get those and convert them to D&D 5e than try to hack apart a WotC adventure built for the system. Sometimes OSR adventures have a D&D 5e version, but I find those authors don't really seem to understand the system as well, so it's clunky. I'd rather do it myself.

Otherwise, they sometimes have the odd gem of an idea, which I'm happy to steal and claim as my own.
 

dave2008

Legend
I can't run them without significant hacking because of the way they structure things. This is partciularly true of plot-based adventures which I find very weird to DM since you have to hide the plot then hope you can still somehow funnel the PCs down it. It's really not for me. I've found that OSR adventures are actually way better than WotC adventures, both in structure and presentation. So I'm more inclined to get those and convert them to D&D 5e than try to hack apart a WotC adventure built for the system. Sometimes OSR adventures have a D&D 5e version, but I find those authors don't really seem to understand the system as well, so it's clunky. I'd rather do it myself.

Otherwise, they sometimes have the odd gem of an idea, which I'm happy to steal and claim as my own.
What you describe seems very similar to my issues with adventure designs (any really, not just WotC or Paizo or Chaosium). How are OSR adventures formatted better so that they are easier for you to run.
 

rgoodbb

Adventurer
I must say this is indeed both comforting to hear that is not just me, but also disheartening to hear as it seems there might be a problem with the way adventures are written at their basic core.

Is this individual inelegance or an issue due to the standard set-out/set-up of what is written I wonder
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
What you describe seems very similar to my issues with adventure designs (any really, not just WotC or Paizo or Chaosium). How are OSR adventures formatted better so that they are easier for you to run.
Often they are written with bullet points, some that are even on the map itself, instead of long paragraphs of prose. This makes it easier to run at the table. Also they tend to be location-based, not plot-based, so it doesn't usually include a lot of assumptions about what the PCs will or must do, which players being players is never a guarantee.
 

Shadowdweller00

Adventurer
I don't know if it helps at all, but at least as long as you're not trying to run Adventurer's League or something similar, you're entirely free to introduce your own NPCs, plots, subplots, and the like on top of the published material. You can substitute or replace stuff with your own homebrew variants if you like, substitute adventure locations for other stuff, move things around however you personally see fit.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
I must say this is indeed both comforting to hear that is not just me, but also disheartening to hear as it seems there might be a problem with the way adventures are written at their basic core.

Is this individual inelegance or an issue due to the standard set-out/set-up of what is written I wonder
Personally I suspect it's because if you're selling a product to DMs, it needs to be interesting to read and fill up a certain page count. In general, I would say WotC adventures are more interesting to read than some of the more simplified OSR modules. But to me, the play experience is the thing, not the time I spend on the toilet reading the module, so the latter are going to be my preference.
 

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