D&D 5E My #1 hope for D&D Next

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
When you get down to it, there's one thing that I really, really hope that Wizards do and do well with D&D Next, and it has nothing to do with the system.

It is supporting the game with great adventures. Lots of them, and a lot of them available in printed form. Not, "here are the first nine, and then we'll forget about them", no, an ongoing stream of them.

It's the one thing I think Paizo do really well. It helps them massively that they also tied their products to a subscription plan. (Honestly, I don't think that their normal adventures, player guides or campaign supplements would have survived without that).

But, of course, Paizo has recently discontinued their monthly stand-alone adventures. Now they only do 4 per year. This doesn't bode well for the market that Wizards are going into.

And, most of all, I hope that Wizards aren't hampered by a stupid institutional directive that the adventures have to be only combat.

Cheers!
 

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Kinak

First Post
Absolutely.

Great adventures are for RPGs what great exclusives are for a video game console. They showcase what your system can do and encourage people who might not be sold on the system to make that final leap.

You're spot on with your Paizo example. The Adventure Path line is really their main line, driving the sales of their other RPG products.

Looking into that a little bit further, you can also see where it's driving things like Mythic Adventures (to support Wrath of the Righteous). Plus the card lines, the minis sets, and the player's guides. They have a whole ecosystem of products that feed into each other and really build up an impressive net of sales.

Cheers!
Kinak
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
Chris Perkins needs to be in charge of the adventures with no input from Mike Mearls and the others whose names appear on some of WotC's disasters in the past.

WotC adventures need a fresh start. There have been too many motherless dogs with fleas published and the customer base is rightfully wary of further WotC offerings.

Do them right this time, WotC, and put your best adventure-writer in charge.

(And hire Rich Baker back. You really do need him.)
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Agree but I think the most important thing might be to have no strategy. Try different things, offer radically different types of adventures - as they did in AD&D period.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Agree but I think the most important thing might be to have no strategy. Try different things, offer radically different types of adventures - as they did in AD&D period.

Well they got off to a good start with Murder in Baldur's Gate; despite problems in execution - especially as part of D&D Encounters - it doesn't lack for ambition and innovation!

Cheers!
 

delericho

Legend
It is supporting the game with great adventures. Lots of them, and a lot of them available in printed form. Not, "here are the first nine, and then we'll forget about them", no, an ongoing stream of them.

Amen to that. Though bear in mind that, in both 3e and 4e, there was much more 'official' adventure support than you're crediting them with: Dungeon.

It's the one thing I think Paizo do really well. It helps them massively that they also tied their products to a subscription plan. (Honestly, I don't think that their normal adventures, player guides or campaign supplements would have survived without that).

Agreed. The subscription model means that Paizo can safely print their monthly AP, safe in the knowledge that they'll sell enough copies to make a profit. If every one of their subscribers were to stop and instead switch to buying the same products from the webstore each month, the added risk might, by itself, be enough to kill the line.

Unfortunatetely, WotC don't have the same sort of direct-sales model in place on which to build a subscription for print products, so they probably can't go down that route. And relaunching Dungeon as a print venture is a non-starter - the magazine industry is dying, so it's a bad time to get into it.

That means that their most likely approach for providing ongoing adventure support is via eDungeon and the DDI. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, provided they really do bring the magazines back from hiatus.

But, of course, Paizo has recently discontinued their monthly stand-alone adventures. Now they only do 4 per year. This doesn't bode well for the market that Wizards are going into.

I suspect that Paizo found that their monthly standalone adventures were competing with their monthly adventure path adventures. Sure, some people would buy both, but a lot of people would buy only one, and so they removed the less-popular line.

They've also changed the format of the now-quarterly adventures, so that instead of being short, cheap adventures, they're much longer and more deluxe. Each covers several levels, and is probably good for some months of gaming.

My gut feeling is that WotC would be best supporting 5e with adventures as follows:

- At launch, they should produce a few standalone adventures. Ideally, there should be two distinctly different 1st level offerings available on release day, and then a few more low-level adventures over the next few months. And, ideally, they should be structured so that you can run several different 'chains' of adventures as a coherent mini-campaign.

- The majority of adventure support should be via eDungeon. Each month, they should try to provide three adventures - one low-level, one mid-level, and one high-level (though skewed towards low-level at the start of the edition). Also, each month should feature one Adventure Path adventure and two standalones, and they should have a smattering of setting-specific adventures in there (maybe four a year). Basically, that's what Paizo did with Dungeon for the last couple of years in print, and it worked extremely well. So, duplicate that.

- Finally, about once a year, they should publish a large, deluxe, super-adventure. Ideally, they could publish as a big book, with a second support product providing minis, dungeon tiles, item cards, etc for use with the adventure (but also usable as a standalone, of course). Or they could take the "Madness of Gardmore Abbey" approach, and have the adventure product incorporate both those things. Either way, ideally there should be some sort of 'hook' to the adventure that makes it difficult to present via eDungeon, and thus justify its being published as a print product.

(Of course, I haven't mentioned the need for all these products to be high quality adventures. That should go without saying. But then, WotC's record on adventure material has never been good, and that needs to change or they might as well not bother. Sadly, I can't say "Murder in Baldur's Gate" gave me much hope in that regard.)
 

innerdude

Legend
Sadly I think this will likely be a case of past performance being an indicator for future behavior. If they were any good at it, wouldn't they be doing it already?
 

Scrivener of Doom

Adventurer
Well they got off to a good start with Murder in Baldur's Gate; despite problems in execution - especially as part of D&D Encounters - it doesn't lack for ambition and innovation!

Cheers!

The businessman in me despises the piss-poor execution.

I just can't give gold stars for effort when I am paying for the product. They really must get the execution right.

(Damn, MerricB you have also hit on the basic problem with Next....)
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
Sadly I think this will likely be a case of past performance being an indicator for future behavior. If they were any good at it, wouldn't they be doing it already?
I'm not sure what on earth was wrong over there during the 4E period. Over the years I've run several of the H and P series and dozens of adventures from Dungeon, and there was a lot of good stuff to be found, but overall if you ran those things as-written you'd deliver a frighteningly uninspired and laborious game of D&D to your players. I have to conclude it was simply a combination of top-down cultural malaise, lack of time and manpower, and a general view that their resources were better and more profitably spent elsewhere.

Right now Vault of the Dracolich shows that a spirit of innovation and experimentation is alive and well at Wizards towers. Let's hope it survives the transition to a published 5E that has to start bringing in the cash.
 

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