D&D General Tangent from Vecna - How Many Actually Good Adventures Are There?

Hussar

Legend
Call me crazy, I suppose. I'd expect that after posting on a site devoted to discussing different ways we play the game for over 20 years, one might actually consider so basic a possibility as using materials as written.

I guess I expect too much.

To me it’s not really that simple though. Even in recent era modules, there is still tons of blank spaces. DMs guild is filled to the brim with add on elements for WotC APs. Never minding things the various rewrites by all sorts of folks.

Every AP has a dedicated Reddit channel with hundreds of expansion ideas. Is it really that surprising that I’m surprised that people run adventures as written? You’re presuming for some reason that this is the standard way to run modules. I’m saying that this has never been my experience with punished adventures. It appears we’re both arguing from our personal experiences.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

ECMO3

Hero
Among the discussion about Vecna: Eve of Ruin here ... D&D General - (SPOILERS for Vecna: Eve of Ruin) Are My Standards Too High for Adventures?, it's been brought up that it's hard to write high level adventures, or maybe WotC doesn't care, or maybe the best adventures come out early in an edition's life cycle, or various other rationales.

Someone mentioned "Keep on the Borderlands" as being a great adventure. Sometimes "Curse of Strahd" is mentioned as a more recent example.

But I'm wondering ... how many actually good adventures have you run?

You can't count things you've merely read or suspect would be good. You can't count things you've been a player in - because you can't know what a GM did to modify the adventure.

I mean, you sat down with a group of players and you ran the adventure with minimal adjustments, from roughly beginning to end. How many of those were "good?" And be willing to name them.

Any edition. Heck, any game system. As long as it's a professionally produced adventure.

There are a ton of good adventures, far too many to list. If you restrict it to 5E and you restrict it to WOTC, I would offer that the following are "good":

Descent into Avernus
Tomb of Annihilation
Ghosts of Saltmarsh
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Lost Mine of Phandelver (but not the new remake PAB)

That is about all that I would consider "good" and I have played or DMed most of them. Many mention COS as being good, but I have not played or DMed that one.
 

Clint_L

Legend
There are as many good adventures as you like. I enjoy tons of published adventures, but I tinker with all of them and mostly just use pieces.
 

Scourge of the Sword Coast. I would love to run that one again. It is, to me, nearly perfect for what it is. It's unfortunate that it exists only as a D&D Next playtest adventure. It's a real hidden gem, I think.
I bought the PDF when it first released. I wished they would have released a print version like they did with Murder in Baldurs Gate and Legacy of the Crystal Shard. I unfortunately didn't get the chance to run it but read it several times and thought it was awesome.

On to the OPs topic.

Lost Mines was really fun and I've ran it several times now. Probably the best starter adventure I've seen in a starter set.

Sunless Citadel (5e) was also fun. The only thing I did with this adventure was place it near Phandelin. I'm planning on the BBEG to make a return too! Meepoo was a favorite and still hangs out with the party.

Tomb of Annihilation was also great and has a special place in my heart. The only mod I did for this was limit the jungle exploration due to time constraints. I'd very much love to run this adventure again.

Witchlight was a blast as well. Especially since combat isn't the only option. I introduced my kids to D&D with this adventure and they had a blast at the carnival. I was put off when this one released but I definitely recommend it.

The Shattered Obelisk we are only part way through. So far we are really enjoying it and I plan to run it directly into Eve of Ruin.

Keep on the Shadowfell wasn't the worst but it did feel like just a series of encounters. All in all we had fun just playing and not taking it too serious.

Pyramid of Shadows fell apart and we didn't finish it. We just couldn't get into it. If felt like it was structured really weird.

*Edited to add some points
 
Last edited:

Hussar

Legend
I was doing some preparing for my session tonight and this thread tweaked my memory.

I'm running a module to give our DM a break. I'm running The Infernal Machine Rebuild - a module that was done for the charity Extra Life. It's a fun module that really dives incredibly deep into the history of D&D - you travel to the Tomb of Horrors while it's being built and travel to the Temple of Moloch - the iconic cover of the 1e PHB with the thieves trying to steal the eyes - with the map being based on the map that was included in the 1e DMG.

The module is just chock a block with all sorts of historical lore references. But one thing they mention in the module is that there is a small village near the Temple of Moloch that supplies the temple. Nothing is detailed about the village. It's basically a throwaway paragraph in the module.

I took that and ran with it. My village is full of cultists of the Hopping Prophet Wastri (the original Tomb of Horrors is set in the Vast Swamp, near where the temple of Wastri is located). I'm doing all sorts of deep dives on Greyhawk lore for buildling this village. It's not a huge thing - just a handful of houses and some NPC's. I figure the players will fiddle about with it for an hour or so and then move on.

But, that's what I meant by never running a module straight from the book. I honestly don't see how people do that. Most modules have all sorts of throwaway bits like that where the DM is more or less encouraged to put their own stamp on the module.

Just some thoughts that were running through my head.
 

TheSword

Legend
Adventures I have ran that I enjoyed.

WFRP

Shadows over Bogenhafen
Death on the Reik
Power Behind the Throne
Something Rotten in Kislev
The Horned Rat
The Doomstones Quartet
Dying of the Light
Deaths Dark Shadow
Ubersreik Adventures 1, 2 & 3
Rough Nights and Hard Days

2e

Doom of Daggerdale
The Randal Morn Trilogy
Freedom
Black Spine
Night Below

3e
Sunlit Citadel
Forge of Fury
Cormyr: Twisting of the Weave
Shadowdale: Scouring of the Land
Shackled City AP
Age of Worms AP
Pretty much anything from Dungeon Magazine over that period.

Pathfinder

Rise of the Runelords
Curse of the Crimson Throne
Shattered Star
Kingmaker
Way of the Wicked
Skull and Shackles

5e

Curse of Strahd
Tomb of Annihilation
Dragon Heist
Dungeon of the Mad Mage
Descent into Avernus
Odyssey of the Dragonlords

There are a few I’ve missed out out because I didn’t enjoy them or we didn’t get very far in. Rime of the Frostmaiden for instance and some of the 3e soft cover adventures like Speaker in Dreams that was simply dire. But largely I’ve found them excellent and had a blast.

I’ll say this again. If you’re not enjoying DMing, it isn’t because the adventures aren’t good enough.
 


Zardnaar

Legend
Call me crazy, I suppose. I'd expect that after posting on a site devoted to discussing different ways we play the game for over 20 years, one might actually consider so basic a possibility as using materials as written.

I guess I expect too much.

A really good adventures to me is most people will have fun with it most of the time with an ok DM.

A bad adventure frustrates experienced DM.

Minor tweaking and DM style is fine but needs to be accounted for. Along with bias I cant fairly rate megadungeons or Wild Beyond the Witchlight for example.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
There are a ton of good adventures, far too many to list. If you restrict it to 5E and you restrict it to WOTC, I would offer that the following are "good":

Descent into Avernus
Tomb of Annihilation
Ghosts of Saltmarsh
Hoard of the Dragon Queen
Lost Mine of Phandelver (but not the new remake PAB)

That is about all that I would consider "good" and I have played or DMed most of them. Many mention COS as being good, but I have not played or DMed that one.

For 5E I woukd use your list, delete HotDQ and add Dragon of Icespire Peak and some individual ones in the anthologies.

DiA I can't fairly rate not familiar enough with it.
 

TheSword

Legend
For the record, minimal adjustment/prep for me would be.

  • Reading the adventure properly
  • Adding or removing magic items to suit the party size and make-up
  • Adding removing extra numbers of monsters to suit the size and make-up
  • Adding in the occasional relevant side quest module whole-cloth
  • Adding an NPC patron or recurring villain relevant to the PCs.

None of these require much work and really just facilitate the game or the experience.

Does anyone remember the little sidebars that dungeon magazine used to have so you could run at a higher or lower level. E.g add a second hydra to room 15 for instance. That’s the kinda stuff I’m talking about. I’ll often run a module for a lower level than the book recommends as our group is pretty darn competent.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top