D&D 5E Is it right for WoTC to moralize us in an adventure module?

TheSword

Legend
Regarding Prisoner 13, I play on VTT and I had an idea for how to operate it.

I convert the map of the prison into a simple sepia line drawing on a scroll background, I have a few black and white tools for map drawing on campaign cartographer. I then create a transparent footsteps token that the map shows. A La the the Marauders Map.

The PCs get to see all this map on the VTT. I then cut into transparencies the various rooms from and actual battle map and store them on the GM Layer along with any creatures.

When the PCs enter a room - that room and it’s creatures get moved to the map layer/token layer and removed when they lose sight.

The idea of multiple foot tokens converging on the PCs post could be a lot of fun… im getting strong Aliens vibes here.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Stopping an invasion, freeing slaves, stopping bandits, saving townfolk, saving the world - PCs assumed to accept an adventure because they are heroes who will do the right things has be one (of many) valid hooks since the hobby started. And in-game having various groups pushing their viewpoint and/or agenda is also common.

I homebrew my settings and adventures, tailoring them to the group (both the group of characters and the group of players) - but that doesn't mean that there aren't moral quandaries. I've had everything from colonialism to is it okay to torture or kill an enemy after you've accepted their surrender, mental slavery, politics, etc.

All of this seems rather par for the course, but I like my adventures meaty. There's nothing wrong with play that's just escapism - adventuring for adventuring sake or personal reasons. To me that's a little too light, I like characters forced to evolve and make hard choices.
 

Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
The difference between a movie or book that has what you consider to be an unforgivable plot hole and a D&D module that does, is that you get to fix the D&D plot hole.
I stopped DMing for a long time, and then got back into D&D recently. I found myself reading a lot of WoTC 5E adventures, and finding a lot of issues. Then I went online and found a lot of people complaining that many adventures were unplayable as written.

If we just think about ourselves, then sure, these things are fixable in our bubbles, given enough time and effort and patience and imagination.

So I accept your premise that D&D plot holes can be fixed. I'd reject the premise that suggests this is optimal for me or the community in general to fix the most glaring plot holes.

You said that you "hate it when people make me defend WoTC", so why not just not stop doing that?
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
I stopped DMing for a long time, and then got back into D&D recently. I found myself reading a lot of WoTC 5E adventures, and finding a lot of issues. Then I went online and found a lot of people complaining that many adventures were unplayable as written.

If we just think about ourselves, then sure, these things are fixable in our bubbles, given enough time and effort and patience and imagination.

So I accept your premise that D&D plot holes can be fixed. I'd reject the premise that suggests this is optimal for me or the community in general to fix the most glaring plot holes.

You said that you "hate it when people make me defend WoTC", so why not just not stop doing that?
I didn't use the word or even suggest it was optimal. You are arguing with no one.
 


It's always nice to find a thread that reminds me of why I hate modules so much. :)
I used to love adventure modules.

Then I met WotC.

They've broken me when it comes to adventure modules. All games have always had some bum adventures, either badly designed, or dumb, or missing bits, or moralistic in weird ways that are incoherent with the setting even though they came up with the setting (yeah I'm looking right at you MIKE PONDSMITH - you heard me!). But in most games it's like, maybe 20-30% of adventures fall into that category. The rest are serviceable to great. Once WotC took over D&D properly and produced 3E, they basically straight-up reversed the proportion, and what's truly astonishing is, they've maintained this incredibly bad standard for three editions, and I'm sure they'll make four. That takes determination, guts, and a real commitment to putting out crap adventures.

And it's not like it's "a product of our modern times" - plenty of other games manage to still produce serviceable to great adventures. Spire for example is notable in being a modern game with a lot of pre-written adventures/campaigns (which is not a common thing any longer), and easily 70-80% of them are good. There is one book where like 50% of the adventures are a bit incoherent, but that's because they're all in service of a specific goal which is a fundamental mismatch to the Spire rules structure and to some extent setting (and the book sort of acknowledges this).
 

Clint_L

Legend
I don't think alignment really matters in this situation.
Judging by the conversation, it seems to. In another thread, @pemerton discusses the difference between design that makes you lean into the fiction versus design that makes you lean into the rules. For me, alignment is the epitome of the latter. Instead of focusing on what makes for a good story and believable character motivations, much of this conversation instead focuses on what counts as "good" or "lawful" or whether gold dragons have to be lawful good, etc.
 

TheSword

Legend
It's always nice to find a thread that reminds me of why I hate modules so much. :)
It’s ok for for modules to not be for you. I don’t really like heavy metal but I accept that other people do and me not liking it is not a statement about the quality of the song.

In other words you not liking modules doesn’t have any impact on whether a module is good or not in the context of other modules. Too often a comment on how a module could be improved turns into a diatribe for why modules are awful. It kinda misses the point.
I stopped DMing for a long time, and then got back into D&D recently. I found myself reading a lot of WoTC 5E adventures, and finding a lot of issues. Then I went online and found a lot of people complaining that many adventures were unplayable as written.

If we just think about ourselves, then sure, these things are fixable in our bubbles, given enough time and effort and patience and imagination.

So I accept your premise that D&D plot holes can be fixed. I'd reject the premise that suggests this is optimal for me or the community in general to fix the most glaring plot holes.

You said that you "hate it when people make me defend WoTC", so why not just not stop doing that?
This is the problem. It’s not defending WotC it’s defending the premise of a module.

By definition a module is one persons interpretation of a scenario, and while there is room for some precognition and forward planning there has to be a balance between more stuff and more explanation of stuff that is already in there and might not be needed anyway. I don’t want authors filling pages with what might happen. Fill it with stuff and I’ll work the rest out. Just give me a heads up on the worst pitfalls.

All too often folks approach a module thinking about the things they don’t like. As if they were personally insulted by the author telling their story that way. It is absolutely optimal that you be able to fix the issues you don’t like. Because there will be 5 million people all with their own opinions and you getting what you want means I have to fix the things I don’t like and so on and so forth.

Modules have to be adapted because the game is designed to be flexible and not every party will have a brand new group of one fight, one cleric, one rogue and one wizard. Neither will they all have the same stats or approaches. You have to ride the wave where it leads you - not say ‘so it is written’ I will not budge.
 

Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
In other words you not liking modules doesn’t have any impact on whether a module is good or not in the context of other modules. Too often a comment on how a module could be improved turns into a diatribe for why modules are awful. It kinda misses the point.
What is "the point"? Maybe I missed your point, but you missed my point? Who gets to own or define "the point"? What if your "the point" is different than my "the point"?

This is the problem. It’s not defending WotC it’s defending the premise of a module.

By definition a module is one persons interpretation of a scenario, and while there is room for some precognition and forward planning there has to be a balance between more stuff and more explanation of stuff that is already in there and might not be needed anyway. I don’t want authors filling pages with what might happen. Fill it with stuff and I’ll work the rest out. Just give me a heads up on the worst pitfalls.

All too often folks approach a module thinking about the things they don’t like. As if they were personally insulted by the author telling their story that way. It is absolutely optimal that you be able to fix the issues you don’t like. Because there will be 5 million people all with their own opinions and you getting what you want means I have to fix the things I don’t like and so on and so forth.

Modules have to be adapted because the game is designed to be flexible and not every party will have a brand new group of one fight, one cleric, one rogue and one wizard. Neither will they all have the same stats or approaches. You have to ride the wave where it leads you - not say ‘so it is written’ I will not budge.
This is a valid opinion. I am just not sure what are your intentions or conclusions here. Also who are you referring to when you wrote "not say ‘so it is written’ I will not budge" and what does that mean specifically?

Unlike those who simply advocate for their personal opinion, I started this poll because I was curious what people preferred from a 5E published adventure as written. I think there is a lot of value in diagnosing a problem and seeking the opinion of the wider community. Assuming I am not missing "the point"?
 

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