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


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
The thing is that although it's fairly basic, it's implemented very well - there are opportunities to highlight all three pillars of the game, there are multiple paths through all the dungeons, there's a good mix of challenges, and so on.

And it's unfortunately quite telling how many published adventures don't do all those basics at all well. An awful lot of them have a bunch of cool ideas put together and have the potential for greatness... only to fall agonisingly short.

For instance "Storm King's Thunder" has a great concept. But it has the big problem that for a huge part of the campaign the PCs are just wandering around the region with no real ties to the plot - it's not until the Exposition NPC shows up at level 7 that they get to know why.

Or there's the "mystery you can't solve" problem - in order to achieve something necessary to the plot, the PCs have to perform some action that is simply impossible to them. I actually ran into this in "Curse of Strahd" (which is otherwise far and away the best of the storyline books) - the PCs needed to cast greater restoration, but the party included no Cleric or Druid (and the Bard didn't know it).
Usually the weakness is the overarching storyline, which is usually pretty sketchy. The component modules are usually strong, and can be removed easily enough. The overarching plots are usually not ready to go, in my opinion, and need some customization work to get going, particularly with integrating PCs into it.
 

delericho

Legend
Usually the weakness is the overarching storyline, which is usually pretty sketchy. The component modules are usually strong, and can be removed easily enough. The overarching plots are usually not ready to go, in my opinion, and need some customization work to get going, particularly with integrating PCs into it.
There's a lot of truth in that. Personally, if I'm buying one of WotC's "campaign in a book" books, it's because I want a campaign in a book. So if the overarching story falls down, that's a big minus IMO - I'm much less interested in the ability to pull out components. YMMV, of course.

That said, that "mystery you can't solve" problem from "Curse of Strahd" occurred when I'd done exactly that, pulled out a component. (I don't claim to be completely consistent. :) )
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
There's a lot of truth in that. Personally, if I'm buying one of WotC's "campaign in a book" books, it's because I want a campaign in a book. So if the overarching story falls down, that's a big minus IMO - I'm much less interested in the ability to pull out components. YMMV, of course.

That said, that "mystery you can't solve" problem from "Curse of Strahd" occurred when I'd done exactly that, pulled out a component. (I don't claim to be completely consistent. :) )
Well, that may be the fault of their marketing. Really, they are themed "Dungeon Annual" collections of individual modules with a pretty thin veneer of connection. Enough to be used, frabkly: I managed to run Hoard of teh Dragon Queen without prep, so any of them can work, I'm sure. But some extra preparation is probably ideal tonreally get them across the line.
 


Personally, if I'm buying one of WotC's "campaign in a book" books, it's because I want a campaign in a book. So if the overarching story falls down, that's a big minus IMO - I'm much less interested in the ability to pull out components. YMMV, of course.
This is why I stopped buying WotC APs/campaigns. None of them are actual APs/campaigns. They range from being like 50% to 90% of one.

Whereas plenty of 3PPs will sell your APs/campaigns that are more like 100% to 150% of what you'll need.

Personally for 5E, I'm just going to nominate one:

Odyssey of the Dragonlords - A 3PP campaign some famous Bioware people, with a Ancient Greece-themed setting but done in an interesting and complex way rather than as a straight adaptation. I guess it seemed obviously good to WotC because WotC immediately hired all the people who made it and gave them their own AAA CRPG studio - Archetype Entertainment.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
My personal favorite module is The Last Breaths of Ashenport by Ari Marmell that was published twice... first in the Dungeon 152 newsstand magazine for 3E, then again in the online Dungeon 156 during 4E. It's a C'thulu-esque, mind-control, Dagon, cultist adventure with a strong time table and interesting locations in a seaside town. I've run it several times (usually in conjunction with a number of the 5E Adventurer's League adventures in Phlan) and find it to be a lot of fun-- both for me and for the players.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
This is why I stopped buying WotC APs/campaigns. None of them are actual APs/campaigns. They range from being like 50% to 90% of one.

Whereas plenty of 3PPs will sell your APs/campaigns that are more like 100% to 150% of what you'll need.

Personally for 5E, I'm just going to nominate one:

Odyssey of the Dragonlords - A 3PP campaign some famous Bioware people, with a Ancient Greece-themed setting but done in an interesting and complex way rather than as a straight adaptation. I guess it seemed obviously good to WotC because WotC immediately hired all the people who made it and gave them their own AAA CRPG studio - Archetype Entertainment.
Plays nice with Theros, too.

I keep buying them, but I'm interested in them as raw material to take apart and reassemble with other and original material to create Frankenstein monster campaigns.
 

FitzTheRuke

Legend
I'm terrible at picking favourites because I like bits of everything and all of nothing.

I would agree that both Dragon Heist and Tyranny of Dragons are significantly better than the flack they get, but I don't know if they'd deserve to be on a best list. Bits of them, maybe.

I've run Scourge of the Sword Coast many times. I love it, but I don't like it's follow up Dead In Thay (I always thought that it was a shame that they chose DIT for Yawning Portal and not SotSC - though I assume it was to fill in level gaps.) So, yeah Scourge would be on my list.

I wish I had time to run more Paizo APs. I don't like Pathfinder much, but I've always admired a Paizo adventure. Never run them, though.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I'm terrible at picking favourites because I like bits of everything and all of nothing.

I would agree that both Dragon Heist and Tyranny of Dragons are significantly better than the flack they get, but I don't know if they'd deserve to be on a best list. Bits of them, maybe.

I've run Scourge of the Sword Coast many times. I love it, but I don't like it's follow up Dead In Thay (I always thought that it was a shame that they chose DIT for Yawning Portal and not SotSC - though I assume it was to fill in level gaps.) So, yeah Scourge would be on my list.

I wish I had time to run more Paizo APs. I don't like Pathfinder much, but I've always admired a Paizo adventure. Never run them, though.
Comparing the big compilation books of today directly to old modules is problematic, because people rarely take apart the compilations and judge the chapters as discrete modules the way that the old paperbacks are obviously set up to do.
 

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