D&D General Orcs on Stairs (When Adventures Are Incomplete)

Smackpixi

Adventurer
Does no one listen to Dragon Talk? Perkins has repeatedly said when any gap in logic shows up that it was done on purpose, to provide space for the DM and players to imagine their own game. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.
 

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James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Again, genuinely curious. How does an author create multiple sections that can be completed in any order and have a timeline. Wouldn't the timeline effect the sections, which in turn, make those sections incredibly lengthy?

I always like these. I also think there are many players that like to write their own backgrounds, and incorporating those seems to be more work than hooks. But, that is a part B to this part A. (Sorry for the side rant.)

I am all for incorporating interesting and unique features into combat. I really like it when they do this. That said, sometimes I think it is like salt: use too much and it overwhelms the senses. Use just enough and the food tastes just right. But we all have different salt levels. ;)

The only thing I disagree with you. The troubleshooting is so different, table by table, I feel like the DM should handle it. But that's just me. I think I am in the minority here.
Any help the DM gets when it comes to troubleshooting problems is well received, in my books. I've seen some adventures that take the time out to do this, but not many.

Ok, here's a sample timeline:

Week -2: a new gang of bandits has begun to more brazenly attack merchants and pilgrims along the King's Road.

Week -1: a heavily armed caravan, along with an escort of mercenaries, is attacked by bandits, along with ogres. The merchant's daughter is kidnapped.

Day 0: having heard about the reward posted for the return of the merchant's daughter, as well as a bounty placed on bandits, the players have come to the village of X.

Day 1: the village is attacked by the bandits. This is actually a cover for the real culprits, a group of drow, to steal the town's sacred treasure.

Day 2: the mayor announces the loss of the treasure, which the locals believe will cause them misfortune. A reward for it's return is posted.

The players now have two hooks, and an overall goal to collect bounties on bandits. They can investigate the caravan, and hope to track the bandits back to where they are keeping the girl, OR head to the east, where the thieves who took the treasure were spotted.

This opens up Objectives A and B. Objective A gives the players the opportunity to find an old watchtower, where some bandits are holding the girl captive, this is Objective C. Objective B will lead the players to a group of bandits, who, when defeated, have clues about Objective D (the bandit camp) and E (the drow cave).

Completion of Objective C gives a clue about Objective D. And completion of Objective D gives a clue about the drow's overall goal.

Day 5: if the girl isn't rescued, she is taken to the caves the drow have set up as their base.

Day 6: the drow begin a ritual to defile the sacred treasure and offer up the girl as a vessel for Lolth to possess.

Day 7: the ritual is complete, and the girl is possessed, not by Lolth but by one of her servants, a Marilith. She is confused by only having 2 arms and is weakened. If the original sacrifice was rescued, the drow use a backup, but this angers Lolth and she turns the priestess into a Drider. The Marilith will have reduced statistics to compensate for having to make due with the body of a peasant girl.

Day 8: having regained some of her strength in her new body, the demon has become a Demi-Marilith, that possesses two additonal arms and some of her old powers. In this form, she rallies whatever bandits remain and attacks the village. If the bandits are dead, she will raise them as zombies, and attack on Day 9.

Either way, Objective E is to defend the town until...

Day 10: the King's soldiers will arrive and put an end to the threat, as long as the village was not destroyed. The town priest offers the players Objective F, to journey to a forest shrine and attempt to purify the town's treasure...
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
I disagree. The whole point of published modules is to have situations. Whether those situations are "fun" or not is going to vary widely from one table - or even one player - to the next, no matter how they are presented.

The main variables the author does have control over are a) how unique or unusual or different those situations are from what's been done before, and b) how clearly and succinctly the material is presented to the DM such that she can run it without hedaches.

Of these, a) comes down to random guess whether any given players will find any of these odd situations fun or not, while getting b) right will always make a DM's job easier regardless of any other considerations.

Yes, the writer sets up scenarios and situations. But he must still ensure they are properly player facing and that proper opportunity for engagement exists -the potential "fun" of the situation as it were. Too many modules ignore that.

To dump on Dragon Heist some more, for example, the (intended) end of the adventure involves the PCs getting over their heads and bailed out by NPCs who are supposed to help with the other NPCs. Basically, as written the PCs are spectators. Doesn't matter how well the module explains the scenario, the scenario itself is flawed because it backseats the PCs.
 
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Mort

Legend
Supporter
Does no one listen to Dragon Talk? Perkins has repeatedly said when any gap in logic shows up that it was done on purpose, to provide space for the DM and players to imagine their own game. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.

I'll have to listen to that, especially to hear the tone in which it was said! I would hope it's said self deprecatingly, as an everyone makes mistakes admission.

Otherwise it would seem to be a way to excuse bad adventure design/writing.

Of course writers and designers can't anticipate all eventualities, but that doesn't mean the scenario, as written, doesn't need to make sense.
 
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MGibster

Legend
I mean consider the early D&D adventure I mentioned earlier, The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. It's very existence makes no sense whatsoever. Who built it? Why? What do the creatures who live there eat? Why do they never leave their rooms? How do they avoid triggering the traps?
It was precisely this kind of thing that inspired the original Ravenloft module. The Hickmans were playing in someone else's campaign where they randomly encountered a vampire in a dungeon. Why was he there? They didn't think it made any sense and believed a vampire shouldn't be a random encounter but instead an epic villain in his own right. But, a lot of early D&D was more of a beer & pretzels kind of game. A lot of people didn't care that it didn't make sense. But then some people, some of my favorite Dragon Magazine articles were "The Ecology of..." series where they explained how various creatures fit into their environment.
 

MGibster

Legend
Does no one listen to Dragon Talk? Perkins has repeatedly said when any gap in logic shows up that it was done on purpose, to provide space for the DM and players to imagine their own game. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.
Perkins was joking, right? This is tantamount to saying, "A wizard did it," which isn't satisfactory either.
 

Medic

Lawful Neutral
Does no one listen to Dragon Talk? Perkins has repeatedly said when any gap in logic shows up that it was done on purpose, to provide space for the DM and players to imagine their own game. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.
This can't be real. I refuse to believe this. It would be a tacit admission that they were aware of the flaws in their material, knew that said flaws could be ameliorated, and just... didn't.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Does no one listen to Dragon Talk? Perkins has repeatedly said when any gap in logic shows up that it was done on purpose, to provide space for the DM and players to imagine their own game. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.
That's not so reasonable if he said that, others already addressed the glaring logic flaws there, but there's a huge difference between backporting an excuse & not bothering to draw attention to problems deliberately inserted for the GM to solve after crashing into them. Despite the difference neither is reasonable.
 
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billd91

Hobbit on Quest (he/him)
I disagree. The whole point of published modules is to have situations. Whether those situations are "fun" or not is going to vary widely from one table - or even one player - to the next, no matter how they are presented.
That's a really weird perspective. Yes, "fun" is going to vary from table to table because tastes differ from table to table. That's why a DM should be judicious in the published modules they choose.
But the idea that an adventure writer isn't putting together ideas and situations without considering the fun players might have at the table is pretty ludicrous. Of course they're doing so - every single one of them is going to think about what's going to be fun for players when writing their adventures. They're not thinking "Oh, let's put together a set of encounters and locations that are going to bore the socks off players" or "let's make some fun-neutral materials that a DM can use to cobble together a real corker of an adventure". No, I guarantee they're more often thinking "This can be a fun situation/encounter/locale. Let's see how interesting and fun I can make it!".
 




That just isn't how 4E or 5E work. Period. I dunno what else to tell you.

Particularly if, say, looking at 5E to keep it simple, in this case you fell 1000ft or whatever and Urriak sez "You're dead, they'll never find the body because even I have no idea where it is as I'm not keeping track, please roll another character", and then few months later, someone falls off an airship 2000ft, and you actually use the falling rules, and they're just reduced to 0 HP, and someone manages to drop down and help them before they're out of Death Saves (or they otherwise self-stablize), I think the players are going to have some awkward questions for you about why Throknar got auto-killed but Xixor The Magnificent got to actually use the rules?

Now maybe in your group that is totally fine and consensual and they're all totally into the DM using fiat to kill off PCs. I've seen stranger things. But that just you describing how it would work in your group. It is most assuredly not extensible to all groups, or even most, I would suspect.
This is actually pretty simple...If they want to play by the rules...role the damage from the fall...20d6...this is from them hitting the side of the pit...but they aren't finished...every round they take 1d6 to 20d6 as they continue to fall...they are falling down a slope of the pit...when it finally finishes...they are dumped in an underground stream...start the drowning rules...with no end in sight...as the river goes miles and miles...
 
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