5E rise of tiamat ap with rodney thompson ..

Selkirk

Visitor
so i just saw this-a play thru of part one of rise of tiamat ...dm'ed by rodney thompson

[video=youtube;eq3RpqYe7kM]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq3RpqYe7kM[/video]

i was pretty interested in this to see how the designers run their own games and in particular this ap. as a showcase of the game the video demonstrates problems i have found with 'modern' game design/dm'ing. there are so many red herrings and dead stops one wonders if the players would have continued if they hadn't been filmed(or weren't employees of wotc :D).

why is the tribe so hostile to the party? the party is repeatedly told to leave the island in no uncertain terms. there is nothing interesting or notable about the tribe and the party has no hooks to continue. i would have just left the iceburg and flipped a bird at the shaman and the chief. but even given the conceit that the tribe is hiding the dragon how is the party supposed to 'know' that they need to go investigate this building? seemed like sheer luck that it even continued.

so the party facing nothing but stonewalling and again outright hostility from the tribe finally gets a way in-they can fight the champion! problem is the champion is unbeatable (90 hps :mad:). i felt sorry for the guy battling the champion-he thought he was doing well and actually was putting up a good fight only to be told that the champion still had most of his hp. you can feel the guy just deflate at this deadend. but the real problem the champion poses(and this goes for many 5e setpieces) is why is the party even there to begin with? the tribe can obviously defeat the dragon if they wanted to (the champion alone could almost take him). the relative uselessness of the party is arguably more irritating than the unbeatable opponent trope.

and the party is game and enthusiastic but you can feel them tiring and getting bored/confused. so the party grimly soldiers on trying to find something that will give them a reason to stay on this iceburg. at this point i have two questions 1) is this actually how most people run this part of the adventure? and 2) why the deadends and walkaways in an adventure? why the railroad? if it had been my party we would have gotten back on the ship and sailed back home. the hook about the tiefling isn't enough to stay.

you have convinced a party to undertake a grand adventure and the party's first encounter has so many ways to just end/have the party quit-seems like a failure of design/dm'ing..possibly both.

notes-i use the term 'modern' only in the sense that this adventure was published in 2014
 
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Prism

Explorer
You travel for many days to the far north on a vital mission. You try and befriend the first villagers you see but they want you gone so you nod and head home. Really? This is a high level party - there are plenty of ways of overcoming this small hurdle even if they lose the fight against the champion

Most of our high level stuff is like this. We are lucky if the DM even tells us where the adventure is! Typically in any adventure we run there will be one or two road blocks to circumvent. Yes it can sometime be frustrating but very rewarded once we have found a solution
 

Selkirk

Visitor
this isn't a roadblock this is a deadend street. the villagers are openly hostile to the point that it could readily lead to the party slaughtering them...which would be a viable option if only the party could beat them. absent that a large amount of handwaving/backpeddling is necessary to maintain any sort of interest...the hooks are weak for the party to stay and the idea that the party would go camp on the other side of the iceburg and sneak into a tent (how do they know this tent is special?) is really stretching things.

but again the huge problem is that the villagers are more than capable (and certainly more capable than the party) of dealing with the dragon on their own. even if it's proven that they are in league with the dragon it just makes things worse- now the party would rather fight the dragon than the villagers. the party is neutered at the start and sand kicked in their face by the champion. there isn't opportunity for negotiation(the shaman just insists they leave) and further nothing worth negotiating for.
 
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Prism

Explorer
If the party doesn't feel strongly enough about staying and trying to work out what to do next then they surely wouldn't have boarded the ship in the first place. The hook is strong only if the party want to complete the quest. If they aren't interested I think the whole module isn't worth running

Lets say that the human village was in fact an orc village - clearly hostile. Does that change things? The party can't beat them in combat but must find a more sneaky way in. I would say that is a very fair and standard no combat type of encounter - as is this except that the villagers are not as hostile initially.

I can think of many ways to get past this. The way they did it in the video was a decent way - distract the villagers while on party member scouts the place out. Or they could capture and charm a villager. Or scry the head villager. Or go in disguise or under illusion. Or bribe them

And I doubt that the villagers could remotely deal with the dragon without major loss of life. I doubt the party can either btw. Having seen the other video on this module run by Chris Perkins the party ran for their life when the dragon appeared
 

Prism

Explorer
Part two is up. Haven't watched yet

[video=youtube;5Xvl1ROOkx4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xvl1ROOkx4[/video]
 

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