D&D 5E Nominate Today's Top Adventures for Use in 5E

pukunui

Legend
The Amazon is a bit too Wonder Woman), but the balance is just off.
The amazon ranger subclass is also problematic in that it was obviously built using the long-abandoned UA revised ranger format rather than the PHB ranger format.

There's also at least one creature in the book with an incomplete stat block.

It's obvious they did very little playtesting / proofreading.
 

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TheSword

Legend
I’m sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying it. My party seem to be having a blast. I think this is one of the difficulties of a player judging a module without understanding how much of it was influenced by the DM.

Playing. 5d6+5 is 22.5 damage on average. That means if you have 11 hp or less, you'll flat out die more than half the time ... and even if you have 12 or 13 hps, a slightly high roll will do it.
I’m not sure if you’re aware but the DM guidance specifically states that the boar targets a hunter guide on its first round, not a PC. The boar is also bleeding heavily so gains a level of exhaustion each round. By my maths there’s about a 1 in four chance of a PC dying in the encounter less if they optimized. But that doesn’t mean the end of character at that point because of the paths. I don’t want to spoil things, but dying in the boar encounter is not player death.

That is not the problem with them - they're badly balanced and mechanically poorly designed. The paladin gets the following spells: Hunter's Mark, Find Familiar, Fly, and Haste. That is a really strong set of spells. Then they get a 60 foot frighten with a set DC of 14 at a low level (3rd). They're evocative (some perhaps too much - The Amazon is a bit too Wonder Woman), but the balance is just off.
I think you’re being a bit harsh. Most of these Paladin spells are already on other Oath’s lists and the example of haste doesn’t come online until 9th level by which point the party almost certainly has far more beneficial stuff. Not to mention that most of these spells are concentration and the Paladin is already tight on spell slots. Sure the fear aura is good but other Oaths also have a fear aura or other similar powers. DC 14 is good at 3rd level but let’s be honest a normal paladins saves at that point are probably going to be DC13 and balance will reduce its effectiveness when they get to higher levels.

It does make me chuckle that the Amazon is too Wonder Woman when WW is directly based on an Amazon and is the representation most modern players are going to be familiar with. This seems like a bit of a low blow. Particularly as they have several abilities that WW doesn’t seem to.

The Epic Quests are laid out, so I do not considerf this too spoilery - they start storylines that players engage in and then the storylines dry up if the PC is not there to complete them. That isn't too bad. However, if the PCs bring in a new PC late in the game, there are story elements that were to have taken place for their epic destiny that may no longer make sense because NPCs that were involved in that storyline are no longer in the same situation. Yes, you can awkwardly modify them, but - awkwardly. And a lot of these Epic Destinies feel like side quests in old MMORPGs - but ones that just happen along the storyline of the main game. You get them because they fall in your lap.

I’ll be honest I don’t understand this part. The epic paths are there to give players compelling reasons to engage with the campaign world. Early on they are part of the main campaign but as campaign expands into its sandbox it gives you reasons to explore. Maybe you haven’t got to this bit yet.

I don’t really understand why if you brought a new NPC in you wouldn’t have simply had the early stage interaction already happen. A character has already met that NPC and got their answer or item and is now looking for the next stage. The paths are actually a really good way of introducing a new character… they join with the party because they are looking for X and the party has the means to get there.

All in all, you are of course entitled to your opinion and I’m sorry you feel the campaign isn’t very good. I can’t help feeling this is because you’re seeing half the picture.
 

pukunui

Legend
I can’t help feeling this is because you’re seeing half the picture.
I saw the whole picture, and you know how I feel about it.

And I'm one of the people who backed it at a high-enough tier to get my name in the credits. I was so disappointed with it that I've pretty much sworn off backing any more kickstarters.

In the 5e era, the only two campaigns that I've quit running partway through because my players and I were absolutely fed up with the material were Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Odyssey of the Dragonlords. I'm genuinely amazed that anyone can have fun with either of those books.
 

TheSword

Legend
I saw the whole picture, and you know how I feel about it.

And I'm one of the people who backed it at a high-enough tier to get my name in the credits. I was so disappointed with it that I've pretty much sworn off backing any more kickstarters.

In the 5e era, the only two campaigns that I've quit running partway through because my players and I were absolutely fed up with the material were Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Odyssey of the Dragonlords. I'm genuinely amazed that anyone can have fun with either of those books.
Well obviously not massively amazed…
I am running this campaign at the moment. The players are loving it!

I get that things can change and campaigns run out of steam but let’s not pretend that the campaign isn’t fun. My PCs are still going strong and enjoying it and we are well over half way through. That’s not to say things won’t change in the future. Just that I haven’t seen anything that would make me feel that way so far.

That’s said, I suspect based on your earlier comments that you have different expectations to me from a campaign book.

My key point was that @jgsugden ’s point that it was too deadly at first level wasn’t taking into account facts that the DM has access too.
 

pukunui

Legend
Well obviously not massively amazed…
We weren’t that far in when I posted that. By the time we got to Lutheria’s barge, we were all heartily sick of the messiness. One player decided he needed to take an extended break from D&D because he’d become so disillusioned by his experience with Odyssey (and he had also been one of the ones most looking forward to it).

I get that things can change and campaigns run out of steam but let’s not pretend that the campaign isn’t fun.
It has bits that can be fun, and I suppose if you have time to put a lot of effort into fleshing out the numerous thin spots and fixing the many errors, inconsistencies and nonsensical bits, then yes, perhaps it could be fun.

My key point was that @jgsugden ’s point that it was too deadly at first level wasn’t taking into account facts that the DM has access too.
I was concerned about the lethality of that initial encounter too so I took steps to make sure it wasn’t going to be an issue. I don’t remember what exactly I did, but I was annoyed that I had to do it. Eventually my annoyance with having to constantly fix things got unbearable.
 


TheSword

Legend
We weren’t that far in when I posted that. By the time we got to Lutheria’s barge, we were all heartily sick of the messiness. One player decided he needed to take an extended break from D&D because he’d become so disillusioned by his experience with Odyssey (and he had also been one of the ones most looking forward to it).
what was it that drove him to such a place?
Eventually my annoyance with having to constantly fix things got unbearable.
Thats DMing
🤷‍♂️

Tailoring things to suit your expectations and your party.
 

pukunui

Legend
what was it that drove him to such a place?
I’d rather not get into it here.

Thats DMing
🤷‍♂️

Tailoring things to suit your expectations and your party.
The issues I’m talking about are not simply a matter of “tailoring”. In this context, the adventure is riddled with errors, inconsistencies, incomplete and/or unbalanced mechanics and stat blocks, nonsensical and/or railroady encounters, and more. I shouldn’t have to rewrite the adventure just to make it playable. There’s a big difference between that and “tailoring” it to suit my group. 🙄
 

delericho

Legend
Thats DMing
🤷‍♂️

Tailoring things to suit your expectations and your party.
The thing is, I (and I suspect many others here) now have enough adventure material to last the rest of my days - indeed, enough even if I did nothing but run games using that material. That being the case, the more "tailoring" I have to do to make an adventure usable, the less value that adventure has for my - why would I not instead use an adventure that doesn't require that work?
 

TheSword

Legend
The thing is, I (and I suspect many others here) now have enough adventure material to last the rest of my days - indeed, enough even if I did nothing but run games using that material. That being the case, the more "tailoring" I have to do to make an adventure usable, the less value that adventure has for my - why would I not instead use an adventure that doesn't require that work?
I think because the more complex the product/plot threads/complex npcs/involvement of the PCs in the world… the greater the likelihood of adjustment being required to fit a party and events.

I like campaigns where PCs can make an impact in the wider world and are personally invested in the campaign so products that are based on that will rate higher in my book. In effect I like games with depth so I don’t criticize then for needing work.

I think the idea of a pre-written campaign product that is both detailed and deep while simultaneously accounting for every eventuality and fitting perfectly with every party is a myth.
 

pukunui

Legend
I think the idea of a pre-written campaign product that is both detailed and deep while simultaneously accounting for every eventuality and fitting perfectly with every party is a myth.
For the record, I'm not asking for a product that covers every eventuality and fits perfectly with every party. I think you are deliberately misrepresenting my position in an effort to defend your own.

I am arguing that Odyssey of the Dragonlords is poorly written and edited and doesn't deserve to be in a best of list for 5e adventures.

It didn't get enough playtesting, nor did it get enough proofreading. There are literally unfinished stat blocks in the back of the book, and a subclass that was built using UA material that never got officially adopted.

I paid a premium for a product that essentially came unfinished. WotC's adventures are by no means perfect, but they mostly only require superficial fixing in terms of nonsensical plot elements (e.g. two years without sun in Icewind Dale) and tailoring, as you say, to suit your own players, rather than major rewrites of unbalanced/unfinished mechanics and encounter setups that just don't work as written and so on and so forth.

I think we are at the point where we are seriously derailing this thread, though, so perhaps we should continue this discussion elsewhere.
 
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TheSword

Legend
For the record, I'm not asking for a product that covers every eventuality and fits perfectly with every party. I think you are deliberately misrepresenting my position in an effort to defend your own.

I am arguing that Odyssey of the Dragonlords is poorly written and edited and doesn't deserve to be in a best of list for 5e adventures.

It didn't get enough playtesting, nor did it get enough proofreading. There are literally unfinished stat blocks in the back of the book, and a subclass that was built using UA material that never got officially adopted.

I paid a premium for a product that essentially came unfinished. WotC's adventures are by no means perfect, but they mostly only require superficial fixing in terms of nonsensical plot elements (e.g. two years without sun in Icewind Dale) and tailoring, as you say, to suit your own players, rather than major rewrites of unbalanced/unfinished mechanics and encounter setups that just don't work as written and so on and so forth.

I think we are at the point where we are seriously derailing this thread, though, so perhaps we should continue this discussion elsewhere.
I’m sorry to hear that you write off an amazing piece of work for what seems like minor criticism. So minor that I’ve had a good look through and I can’t find these incomplete stat blocks? Can you point them out, I’d be very interested to see them. It’s notable that none of the reviews and let’s read threads, I’ve read (and there are many) mentioned editing and proofreading.

This is the eternal challenge. Someone comes up with something creative and original and there’s always someone to pull it down. When a person makes sweeping negative statements that seem to conflict with ones own experience and the general discussion on the topic, it’s natural to push back in the absence of… well… examples.

We’ve already seen one negative view based on the initial difficult encounter that turns out didn’t include crucial methods of balancing difficulty.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I’m sorry to hear you aren’t enjoying it. My party seem to be having a blast. I think this is one of the difficulties of a player judging a module without understanding how much of it was influenced by the DM.
I've been playing since the 1970s. You don't need to assume I'm incapable of evaluating the situation. A lot of my evaluation stems out of the specific PLAYER materials.
I’m not sure if you’re aware but the DM guidance specifically states that the boar targets a hunter guide on its first round, not a PC. The boar is also bleeding heavily so gains a level of exhaustion each round. By my maths there’s about a 1 in four chance of a PC dying in the encounter less if they optimized. But that doesn’t mean the end of character at that point because of the paths. I don’t want to spoil things, but dying in the boar encounter is not player death.
Everything you spoke about there is design of which I'm highly critical.

Dictating player strategy, assuming that a hunter will be a primary target and heroes will not try to PROTECT their allies, a 25% chance of outright death in the first encounter ... and then making death a fake out? These are all bad design philosophies. A module should anticipate likely player strategies, but it should not ASSUME them, or be reliant upon those assumptions.
I think you’re being a bit harsh. Most of these Paladin spells are already on other Oath’s lists and the example of haste doesn’t come online until 9th level by which point the party almost certainly has far more beneficial stuff. Not to mention that most of these spells are concentration and the Paladin is already tight on spell slots. Sure the fear aura is good but other Oaths also have a fear aura or other similar powers. DC 14 is good at 3rd level but let’s be honest a normal paladins saves at that point are probably going to be DC13 and balance will reduce its effectiveness when they get to higher levels.
Most paladin spell levels are spent on smites, so your concentration idea holds no water. Further, it isn't the presence of one or two of these spells on the same list - it is the presence of all of them. Across the board, the spell lists in the player options tend very strong, often gravitating towards the spells that are class features in disguise like find familiar, hunter's mark/hex, etc...
It does make me chuckle that the Amazon is too Wonder Woman when WW is directly based on an Amazon and is the representation most modern players are going to be familiar with. This seems like a bit of a low blow. Particularly as they have several abilities that WW doesn’t seem to.
YMMV. However, this design feels out of place with the materials, is poorly balanced (every attack made against the ranger in our party for the last 10 sessions has effectively been against AC 25), and feels more like a comic book character than a greek inspired figure.
I’ll be honest I don’t understand this part. The epic paths are there to give players compelling reasons to engage with the campaign world. Early on they are part of the main campaign but as campaign expands into its sandbox it gives you reasons to explore. Maybe you haven’t got to this bit yet...
You already have reason to explore, and they do not encourage you to explore unique options enabled by the selection of an Epic Destony ... the storyline just falls in your lap, unmotivated, and without effort. You don't have have to try to obtain your epic destiny. The DM is essentially just telling you when it happens as you go along ... and the way it is written, you get to pick magic items as rewards for reaching certain parts of the adventure? I just completed my Epic Destiny, and it felt highly destined ... (it was going to happen regardless of any effort on my part), but does not feel Epic.
All in all, you are of course entitled to your opinion and I’m sorry you feel the campaign isn’t very good. I can’t help feeling this is because you’re seeing half the picture.
I'm most of the way through the sandbox. My assessment is based upon a lengthy play experience here with a pretty darn good DM. My perspective is based upon the experience of a player, which most people usingt he module will be... so perhaps is more relevant than that of a DM that sees everything behind the screen... (although it isn't like the stuff behind the screen is too myserious ... when a big secret is that characters with distinctive names are in fact ... the beings with those distinct names that the PCs have heard about and are described in the play materials ... well ... weak sauce.

You're a DM. You elected to run the campaign. You're invested. This gives you a tendency towards bias in support of the thing you selected. I'm someone that was presented with the option. I did not choose it. I am experiencing it as a receptive audience.

All this being said, I would consider running this as an adventure path with meaningful rewrites to address my concerns. The basic storyline is interesting, but the implementation is flawed, the mechanical aspects are problematic, and you could take the basic ideas of the Epic Desitny concepts and make them more interesting by adding significant additions to the setting that RELY upon the epic destony storyline and provide options for failure rather than just being 'toss ons' we get for free.
 

edosan

Explorer
The thing is, I (and I suspect many others here) now have enough adventure material to last the rest of my days - indeed, enough even if I did nothing but run games using that material. That being the case, the more "tailoring" I have to do to make an adventure usable, the less value that adventure has for my - why would I not instead use an adventure that doesn't require that work?
Also there is a massive difference between "I need to customize this adventure to fit in with my players' backstories/motivations/whatever" and fixing problems with an adventure. I think everyone gets that "well, my party is all dwarves so some customizing is required" is part of being a DM but having to fix flaws that should have been rooted out in playtesting is another thing entirely.
 

The recent ones I ran for my groups have been fun.

LMoP was perfect for me coming back to DMing after a long break and great at teaching me 5e.

Princes of the Apocalypse/Storm Kings Thunder - I ran these as a pair with Princes immediately following LMoP (even in the same general region) and then wove in Storm Kings. Great mix of more linear dungeons that are full of flavor and great maps with a sprawling wander the land adventure. Great big boss fights at the end that make sense and interesting to see the party balance the dual crisis.

Dragon Heist/DoMM. The first set up a 4th level party while introducing them to Waterdeep and the second is a very varied mega-dungeon. DoMM is the only hardback with really high level adventures in it. Dragon Heist has complete railroad sections, but I am a very experienced DM and the Waterdeep Encounters book from DM’s Guild was a huge help to allow for more wandering and to break the sandbox feel.

I find the newer the hardbacks the more wildly inconsistent they are as writing teams ballooned in size. Candlekeep and Tales of the Yawning Portal both have very strong individual adventures in them.

I ran Out of the Abyss right to the end. I hated the huge cast of NPC to start it all off and I found it hard to run without pushing the party forward as really scant information if the party varied from the path that was set out.
 






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