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

Eubani

Legend
It seems to me that the writers are too scared for the villains to be Evil and commit Evil deeds for the offense it may cause to some thus weakening the story. On top of this so focused are they on bringing in new players that they have become complexity adverse limiting what can be done with the plot. Weak characterization, weak story, weak writing and weak depth leads to weak stories.
 

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DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
The answer to this is a person in charge, a creative director, a person whose vision drives the whole production.

If WotC doesn't have that, what are they even doing?
They are trying to simultaneously manage the revised editions of the three core rulebooks. ;)

I am willing to bet that whomever was working on Eve of Ruin was not ONLY working on Eve of Ruin. Every single D&D designer, developer and producer was/is probably on several different projects all at once in various stages of development, having to go from meeting to meeting, product to product, trying to push every single one of them forward on their conveyor belts. So the idea that WotC has these editors sitting around that will have the time to spend several weeks doing nothing but stripping the entire 150 pages book down to its roots and making sure every single bit and bob makes logistical and logical sense against every other bit and bob in the book is probably a bit unrealistic.

Yes... a single individual or two for a small indy company who are only working on their one project for months/years on end can edit their adventure down and hopefully tie everything into a tidy bow. Which is why more people should be buying those adventures, rather than poo-pooing them and stating that they're "probably unbalanced" and "probably aren't playtested". Better that, than wait around for WotC's books to get released... only to find those books as "probably unbalanced" and "probably aren't playtested" in their opinion.

People keep thinking that bigger companies should be able to make the same things smaller companies do, but better and cheaper. But that's just not what increasing size and numbers actually does. More people means more logistics and more opportunity for small things to fall through the cracks.
 

Remathilis

Legend
It seems to me that the writers are too scared for the villains to be Evil and commit Evil deeds for the offense it may cause to some thus weakening the story. On top of this so focused are they on bringing in new players that they have become complexity adverse limiting what can be done with the plot. Weak characterization, weak story, weak writing and weak depth leads to weak stories.
What? Venca is trying to remake the universe. Kas is trying to usurp him doing that by manipulating the PCs to do his leg work and betraying them. That is classic villainy 101. Did you expect them to enslave, assault and eat the PCs?

If you don't like it, fine. I hope some other company can fulfill your edge desires.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think what Reynard is suggesting is that rather than produce a single full-size book, WotC should instead produce two books that each have roughly half the wordcount of a standard 5e hardcover.

In other words, a change of business strategy to produce smaller (and presumably cheaper) books, but release them more frequently.
Unfortunately, printing costs don't work that efficiently: a book half the size is not going to be half the cost.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I could absolutely imagine people complaining how WotC went from selling seven adventures in a 320 page $50 book to selling one 32 page module for $20.
Oh, a 32 pagesoftcover now would be about $30, IIRC. And that's just based on inflation of the TSR prices, printing has actually gotten more expensive in the past 40 years!
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I could absolutely imagine people complaining how WotC went from selling seven adventures in a 320 page $50 book to selling one 32 page module for $20.
In fact, I worked out the numbers a while back:

I can get a used Expedition to Barrier Peaks on Amazon for $70, what does inflation say it should cost?
So, in the day (per my research a while back), they cost about $7-9, which today would be $25-$30 MSRP. That's just inflation, but my understanding is that printing prices have actually gone up well aheadd of inflation since the 80's...but for the sake of discussion , let's go with $25-$30 as a realistic-ish modern module price point in your FLGS.

Tales from the Yawning Portal is currently $24.99 on Amazon.

So, buying all 7 5E versions of the Yawning Portal Modules as independent booklets (totally doable, obviously) would cost somewhere between $175-$$210.

As opposed to $24.99

looks sidelong at threads where folks are rending their garments and donning sackcloth and ashes over a $10 price increase in hardcovers
 


DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
They are trying to simultaneously manage the revised editions of the three core rulebooks. ;)

I am willing to bet that whomever was working on Eve of Ruin was not ONLY working on Eve of Ruin. Every single D&D designer, developer and producer was/is probably on several different projects all at once in various stages of development, having to go from meeting to meeting, product to product, trying to push every single one of them forward on their conveyor belts. So the idea that WotC has these editors sitting around that will have the time to spend several weeks doing nothing but stripping the entire 150 pages book down to its roots and making sure every single bit and bob makes logistical and logical sense against every other bit and bob in the book is probably a bit unrealistic.

Yes... a single individual or two for a small indy company who are only working on their one project for months/years on end can edit their adventure down and hopefully tie everything into a tidy bow. Which is why more people should be buying those adventures, rather than poo-pooing them and stating that they're "probably unbalanced" and "probably aren't playtested". Better that, than wait around for WotC's books to get released... only to find those books as "probably unbalanced" and "probably aren't playtested" in their opinion.

People keep thinking that bigger companies should be able to make the same things smaller companies do, but better and cheaper. But that's just not what increasing size and numbers actually does. More people means more logistics and more opportunity for small things to fall through the cracks.

A large company with more resources should be able to put out a better product then a small company with less. And yet…

WotC has consistently been dropping the ball on its adventures and when you only put out 1 every few months, that shouldn’t happen or at the least very rarely.

You would think after Spelljammer and Dragonlance they would realize you can’t half ass this stuff. Not when trying to grow the brand larger and larger.

Then again, people still buy it and maybe they make enough money that WotC feels they can serve under par products. Basic capitalism, do it as cheaply as possible while raking in as much cash as you can.
 

Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
It seems to me that the writers are too scared for the villains to be Evil and commit Evil deeds for the offense it may cause to some thus weakening the story. On top of this so focused are they on bringing in new players that they have become complexity adverse limiting what can be done with the plot. Weak characterization, weak story, weak writing and weak depth leads to weak stories.
What? Venca is trying to remake the universe. Kas is trying to usurp him doing that by manipulating the PCs to do his leg work and betraying them. That is classic villainy 101. Did you expect them to enslave, assault and eat the PCs?

If you don't like it, fine. I hope some other company can fulfill your edge desires.

There's a large gap between Saturday Morning Cartoon "remake the multiverse" vague evil and assaulting/enslaving/eating the player characters.
... Actually, assaulting and enslaving happened all the time on SMCs- like, every week or two. Capture the party, send them to the bylaxian gem mines to help the enslaved gnomes dig up the ancient evil we're looking for.

Eubani asking for the villains to commit more compelling evil acts, and then you Remathilis jumping to the extreme of saying Eubani's asking for the villain to "eat the player characters" and saying they have "edge desires" is a pretty rude way of exaggerating and dismissing a criticism.

Now personally, for this adventure, yeah the scope is huge and the evil is less focused on the villain doing awful things- it's focused on stopping the villain, we already know he's doing bad things. The separate earlier adventure is sort of evil, the cultists are kidnapping people. WotC 5e adventures have had evil stuff in them previously, I wouldn't criticize them in general for that and not every adventure needs it... although Vecna's a pretty weak presence in this adventure.
 

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