D&D 5E The Audience - Do you feel like you're the target audience?

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I share your same concern regarding DM's guild. My experience is pretty limited, but the little I have seen was quite... pedestrian. I can come up with a better adventure with little effort. Perhaps I had bad luck?
DMs Guild content, IMO, is often inferior to D&D content on DriveThruRPG.

Being on DMs Guild just lets you say "Elminster" and use carrion crawlers. It also takes a bigger cut of proceeds than DTRPG does (well, WotC takes its cut, which is effectively the same thing), so most of the pros prefer DTRPG or their own third party stores.

But if you're looking for good adventures at either site, I recommend either looking at works by @M.T. Black or The Arcane Library. (The latter are extremely streamlined, so not heavy on lore, but are designed to be able to run with zero preparation, coming to the adventure cold. They're really a marvel of presentation.)
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Some of the later ones were significantly better laid-out which may be what he's thinking of. But the first few? Ooof. They were absolutely a car crash as you say. Keep on the Shadowfell is an absolutely astonishing "What not to do" piece on virtually every imaginable level. The encounters are completely unbalanced to a hilarious degree. Some of the maps are just wrong (like it has the PCs approaching from the wrong direction in like the first map) or contradicted by the text. The text itself is deeply self-contradictory and confused about what the plot is. Several plot and dungeon elements make absolutely no sense, and not in a fun way, just in a "I wrote this at 4am, what was I thinking?!" kind of way. The overall plot particularly makes very little sense in context. Really the killer, above all this, is that it is appallingly badly organised and formatted.
And yep, KotS was the first 4e adventure I converted and ran. :)

I didn't care about the "unbalanced" encounters (they'd have been just as unbalanced had I written it myself), but I think I ran aground on every one of the other things you mention.

Never mind the adventure as written assumes the PCs will roll through it pretty much non-stop or maybe - maybe - with one overnight rest, but that sure didn't happen in my game! The adventure site was about a week's walk from town, and during the adventure they returned to town several times for different reasons. Fortunately I saw this coming and was able to make adjustments, but sheesh! :)
 

Hussar

Legend
I share your same concern regarding DM's guild. My experience is pretty limited, but the little I have seen was quite... pedestrian. I can come up with a better adventure with little effort. Perhaps I had bad luck?
It's been a fair few years now though. There's some great creatives on there now. @M.T. Black is a fantastic place to start. Check out the more established adventure writers and you should be good.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
we had adventure paths in 1e already, it just was a sequence of modules rather than one book… Against the Slave Lords, Against the Giants, the Drow series, Desert of Desolation, … not to forget Dragonlance with 12 adventure modules
Indeed. The difference, however, was that most of the modules* in those quasi-paths could be split out and run standalone if one desired. I've run G1 twice (or three times?), G2 once, and G3 once; every time as a standalone adventure in each case.

* - the exception being the Dragonlance modules: I own 11 out of 12 and IMO there's only one or two in there that are even vaguely salvageable anyway; the rest are poor.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Indeed. The difference, however, was that most of the modules* in those quasi-paths could be split out and run standalone if one desired. I've run G1 twice (or three times?), G2 once, and G3 once; every time as a standalone adventure in each case.

* - the exception being the Dragonlance modules: I own 11 out of 12 and IMO there's only one or two in there that are even vaguely salvageable anyway; the rest are poor.
It's not really a difference, though, it's just formatting. Of thr chapters of Storm King's Thunder were split into paperback modules, theybwould be no more nor less easy to run separately than the old G modules. It's just that theybare in a physical hardbound book together instead.
 


Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Kinda, sorta. GDQ starts at 6th or 7th level. Slave Lords only covers 4th - 8th. These were extended adventures, sure, but, not entire campaigns. And, while you do name those four, they were VERY few and far between. Also, remember, three of those came out before 1985. In the following twenty years, there were few module series like these.
I think Night Below was one, though the nearest I've got to it was playing through some of it in the mid 90s. B10 Night's Dark Terror almost approached being another - there was enough in that thing to cover the first 3 or 4 levels easily, if the party went on all the little side quests. And if 3pp stuff counts, Judges Guild had the City State of the Invincible Overlord in place before any of this, the followed up with ...World Emperor.
Even once Paizo started doing Adventure Paths in Dungeon in the latter days of 3e, it was still a new thing. The idea of Campaign in a Box hasn't been really explored until 5e.
Personally, I far prefer standalone modules that I can string together - along with homebrews - in my own way in order to create an adventure path I can embed into the bigger campaign I'm running. One series I did went:

Adventures in the Dune Sea (conversion of 4e's Marauders of the Dune Sea)
Clergy of Halai-Zek (homebrew)
Sataka's Doom (Tomb of the Lizard King, tweaked so some players who'd seen/run it before wouldn't recognize it right away)
The Glass Pyramid (homebrew)
Razor's Edge (Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, again tweaked to be less recognizable to those who had seen it before)

I overlaid a backstory on it all, and I dare say - to my pleasant surprise - it worked out quite well. Ten-plus real-world years later and the campaign is still unknowingly dealing with consequences from things that happened in Razor's Edge, and probably will be until the campaign ends. :)
 

So many long interesting and revealing posts, thank you everyone for sharing. Just a FYI though, none of you are the target audience. Not cause you’re old, but because you spend hours online discussing whether or not you’re the target audience, it‘s cute you do, but says you are way to invested to be the target audience. I refer you to all the threads on here about balance for races and classes…so much debate missing the point, WoTC sees races as balanced when the people playing them are equally happy, which isn’t anything really discussed here, oddly.

The target audience for WoTC is not the people that buy every single book. It’s the people that buy a book every now and then that Appeals to them and they can run or use to supplement the game they’re running. Casuals you might call them. I feel like this gets missed in all these discussions, but WoTC is real big into not being particular or prescriptive on play. They constantly say, here is some stuff to play with, do what thou wilt…and here on EnWorld people have conniption fits about it or adore it unquestioned. Both being somewhat weird reactions WoTC doesn’t understand, which is why you’re not target audience.

You’re “supposed to” go, oh hey, I like giants, or hey, i’ve always wanted to do a wizard school, and pick up a book and take some and leave some for you’re game and move on with your life. People that do that, and then bend it for their own purpose, are actually the target audience. And they sell assloads of books to the target audiences.

This is not unique to D&D, it’s the same for every game, or movie franchise, or aquarium filter, the people super invested that spend their days discussing and debating and expecting their thoughts should be considered most important because they’re so engaged and know so much about the game/aquarium filter, they’re not the target audience and that’s why they get so pissed about not being listened to.
 

Hussar

Legend
It's not really a difference, though, it's just formatting. Of thr chapters of Storm King's Thunder were split into paperback modules, theybwould be no more nor less easy to run separately than the old G modules. It's just that theybare in a physical hardbound book together instead.
To be fair though, there is VERY little tying GDQ together. It's very easy to ignore one or more of the modules. The adventures are more tied together by a theme rather than any actual story or plot. I mean, these modules are what, 30 pages long for all 3? There's not a whole lot of story going on there.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
It's not really a difference, though, it's just formatting. Of thr chapters of Storm King's Thunder were split into paperback modules, theybwould be no more nor less easy to run separately than the old G modules. It's just that theybare in a physical hardbound book together instead.
I bought Princes of the Apocalypse for just this reason. I don't give a flying fig about the AP it's supposed to be; what I saw was about 15 little adventures I could bust out and use standalone, and 15 modules for the price of maybe two or three seemed like a pretty good deal.

The formatting sucks, and that it's a hardcover without detachable maps sucks, but hey - beggars can't be choosers. :)
 

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