D&D General (SPOILERS for Vecna: Eve of Ruin) Are My Standards Too High for Adventures?

the Jester

Legend
So I have been reading Vecna: Eve of Ruin, and it has made me wonder whether my standards are too high, or whether it (and other 5e adventures) just really has major fundamental flaws.

So specifically for Eve of Ruin, I have a number of issues with it. Do these bug other people, or am I just too bristly about this kind of thing in my dotage?

1. One of the big picture issues I have is that the adventure's seven-part fetch quest is just too easy. There's no chance of failing to find the pieces of the rod, you get to go straight to each one, this is a damn artifact, and it should never be easy to get one- in my mind. Yeah, I know, there's only so much room in the book; but maybe they tried to cram too much fanservice into too small of an adventure here?

2. Speaking of fanservice, how about all those cameos, huh? We get some of the most famous villains from D&D's history- most of whom have basically nothing to do with the actual adventure and are just there as fanservice. Kas, Vecna, Miska- those guys serve important roles in the adventure. Strahd? Acererak? Lord Soth? They are wasted on this one, IMHO. These are top level villains who should be a dominant presence in an adventure, if not the BBEG, not just passing npcs.

3. Talking npcs who probably just met you into giving you their best magic items with a simple Persuasion check. That is... not to my taste.

4. One of the main conceits of Ravenloft is that it is not easy to leave once you're in there. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy. That really violates the whole nature of the setting. If you're going to set part of a grand adventure in Ravenloft, you need to play by Ravenloft's rules.

5. One of the main conceits of Planescape is that you can't just walk in or out of Sigil, you need to find a portal. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy- AND you can go, rather conveniently, wherever you might need to go. Again, that violates the very nature of the setting.

6. Vecna doesn't even appear in the adventure until the finale. Not only that, you don't even see any effects of his machinations. You have the Wizards Three telling you how bad he is, but a good adventure should let you get some skin in the game so you actually have reason to hate and fear the BBEG. You should get a chance to at least deal with the aftereffects of his horrible acts, or with his agents, or something.

I've found myself complaining about some fundamental issues in some other adventures- to name the most egregious instance, there is a Fiend that you can get on your side by doing nice things for their lackey, which seems to imply that Fiends have all kinds of compassion and empathy. Which... no, they are literally MADE OF EVIL.

So yeah, am I the only one bothered by these things?
 

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Necropolitan

Adventurer
I think you might enjoy the Chains of Asmodeus campaign if you're looking for high-level play.

You need to WORK for the things you're looking for (Damned souls, they're the point of the entire adventure), any cameos that do happen actually matter, NPCs need way more than a Persuasion check to get their help, it doesn't have the issue of getting in and out of Hell easily, and Asmodeus's works are on full display since the PCs are journeying through Hell (and meet him at the end of the adventure).

Also the Fiends would meet your expectations. If one of them is acting nice it's either an act or there's something wrong with them.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Not familiar with that one but fairly typical WotC adventure design.

The hardcovers just aren't that good. Plus side they're not terrible generally.
 

Yes.

But beyond that, remember that this is a special 50th anniversary adventures. A significant part of its purpose is, explicitly, to give all that fanservice that you're concerned about, and for it to do that, travel is made easier than usual.

As for #5, that's explained in the text. Why the Lady of Pain hasn't done anything about it isn't explained, but either Alustriel altering one of Sigil's portals doesn't cause her any concern, or she's just being as inscrutable as usual.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
But beyond that, remember that this is a special 50th anniversary adventures. A significant part of its purpose is, explicitly, to give all that fanservice that you're concerned about, and for it to do that, travel is made easier than usual.
It's possible to go heavy on the fanservice and still make a satisfying product. Avengers: Endgame and the surprise last season of Parks & Rec (after they were cancelled and had a finale) both spring to mind.

Lowering the bar because it's the 50th anniversary seems like the wrong impulse to me.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
So yeah, am I the only one bothered by these things?
No. You are not.

I'm running Vecna: Eve of Ruin at the moment and while we're having fun, and the individual sections generally play well, there is no doubt that it lacks vision.

And this is not something I felt in the early years of 5E. The first few years of 5E adventures didn't always work perfectly, but they had vision and ambition. Dragon Heist is an absolute mess, but it's a mess that inspires me.

The little missions in Eve of Ruin to find the rod segments are mostly incredibly linear. They show a lack of understanding of many of the settings. (The Mournland adventure is the one I go "Oh, they understand Eberron", but its actual structure feels very constricted).

It's not only that they don't like paying attention to the history of D&D in any more than lip service, but they don't even pay attention to things they set up. Why is there no mention of the Obelisks at all? And why is the "big revelation" in the Shattered Obelisk about the obelisks exactly the same as the revelation about the obelisks in Rime of the Frostmaiden?
 

So I have been reading Vecna: Eve of Ruin, and it has made me wonder whether my standards are too high, or whether it (and other 5e adventures) just really has major fundamental flaws.

So specifically for Eve of Ruin, I have a number of issues with it. Do these bug other people, or am I just too bristly about this kind of thing in my dotage?

1. One of the big picture issues I have is that the adventure's seven-part fetch quest is just too easy. There's no chance of failing to find the pieces of the rod, you get to go straight to each one, this is a damn artifact, and it should never be easy to get one- in my mind. Yeah, I know, there's only so much room in the book; but maybe they tried to cram too much fanservice into too small of an adventure here?

2. Speaking of fanservice, how about all those cameos, huh? We get some of the most famous villains from D&D's history- most of whom have basically nothing to do with the actual adventure and are just there as fanservice. Kas, Vecna, Miska- those guys serve important roles in the adventure. Strahd? Acererak? Lord Soth? They are wasted on this one, IMHO. These are top level villains who should be a dominant presence in an adventure, if not the BBEG, not just passing npcs.

3. Talking npcs who probably just met you into giving you their best magic items with a simple Persuasion check. That is... not to my taste.

4. One of the main conceits of Ravenloft is that it is not easy to leave once you're in there. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy. That really violates the whole nature of the setting. If you're going to set part of a grand adventure in Ravenloft, you need to play by Ravenloft's rules.

5. One of the main conceits of Planescape is that you can't just walk in or out of Sigil, you need to find a portal. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy- AND you can go, rather conveniently, wherever you might need to go. Again, that violates the very nature of the setting.

6. Vecna doesn't even appear in the adventure until the finale. Not only that, you don't even see any effects of his machinations. You have the Wizards Three telling you how bad he is, but a good adventure should let you get some skin in the game so you actually have reason to hate and fear the BBEG. You should get a chance to at least deal with the aftereffects of his horrible acts, or with his agents, or something.

I've found myself complaining about some fundamental issues in some other adventures- to name the most egregious instance, there is a Fiend that you can get on your side by doing nice things for their lackey, which seems to imply that Fiends have all kinds of compassion and empathy. Which... no, they are literally MADE OF EVIL.

So yeah, am I the only one bothered by these things?
1. Getting the Seven parts does not seem any easier than it was in the 2e adventure.

2. Acererak and Lord Soth don't actually appear in the Adventure, so that does not really apply to them. Other than that I enjoy cameos.

3. The NPC who can do that is possibly doomed without your aid.

4. Artifacts have always been able to break the rules.

5. Once again artifacts, and the big portal is one of Sigil's Portals, that has been altered though powerful magic (And the permission of the Lady of Pain as she has not done anything about it).

6. His influence and forces do show up early on. The party will even get a glimpse at his planned future through the link.

Who is the fiend you can get on your side by doing nice things?
 

dave2008

Legend
So I have been reading Vecna: Eve of Ruin, and it has made me wonder whether my standards are too high, or whether it (and other 5e adventures) just really has major fundamental flaws.

So specifically for Eve of Ruin, I have a number of issues with it. Do these bug other people, or am I just too bristly about this kind of thing in my dotage?

1. One of the big picture issues I have is that the adventure's seven-part fetch quest is just too easy. There's no chance of failing to find the pieces of the rod, you get to go straight to each one, this is a damn artifact, and it should never be easy to get one- in my mind. Yeah, I know, there's only so much room in the book; but maybe they tried to cram too much fanservice into too small of an adventure here?

2. Speaking of fanservice, how about all those cameos, huh? We get some of the most famous villains from D&D's history- most of whom have basically nothing to do with the actual adventure and are just there as fanservice. Kas, Vecna, Miska- those guys serve important roles in the adventure. Strahd? Acererak? Lord Soth? They are wasted on this one, IMHO. These are top level villains who should be a dominant presence in an adventure, if not the BBEG, not just passing npcs.

3. Talking npcs who probably just met you into giving you their best magic items with a simple Persuasion check. That is... not to my taste.

4. One of the main conceits of Ravenloft is that it is not easy to leave once you're in there. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy. That really violates the whole nature of the setting. If you're going to set part of a grand adventure in Ravenloft, you need to play by Ravenloft's rules.

5. One of the main conceits of Planescape is that you can't just walk in or out of Sigil, you need to find a portal. And yet, in this adventure, it's not just possible, it's easy- AND you can go, rather conveniently, wherever you might need to go. Again, that violates the very nature of the setting.

6. Vecna doesn't even appear in the adventure until the finale. Not only that, you don't even see any effects of his machinations. You have the Wizards Three telling you how bad he is, but a good adventure should let you get some skin in the game so you actually have reason to hate and fear the BBEG. You should get a chance to at least deal with the aftereffects of his horrible acts, or with his agents, or something.

I've found myself complaining about some fundamental issues in some other adventures- to name the most egregious instance, there is a Fiend that you can get on your side by doing nice things for their lackey, which seems to imply that Fiends have all kinds of compassion and empathy. Which... no, they are literally MADE OF EVIL.

So yeah, am I the only one bothered by these things?
Well we don't have the whole series of "Enhancing" adventures for no reason. Here is a whole thread for "Enhancing Vecna Eve of Ruin."

I generally find if you want to play a published adventure (from any publisher) it is best not to think about it - just play it (or not).
 
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