WotC Vecna: Eve of Ruin Player Advice from WotC

Senior designer Amanda Hamon offers advice for players playing through the upcoming Vecna: Eve of Ruin.


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Zaukrie

New Publisher
Even linear adventures have differing levels of player agency.

In Hoard of the Dragon Queen, there are some sections that can be approached completely differently depending on the group. Consider Castle Naerytar, for instance, where you can incite a revolt, go in all spells blazing, sneak in, bluff your way in, etc. Hoard's overall structure is very linear, but each chapter tends to give more agency to players.

Curse of Strahd has a beginning and end point, but the path in-between has pointers but the players can choose how to approach it. (Want to go to the Amber Temple with 3rd level characters, be my guest!)

An adventure like Descent into Avernus feels a lot more constrained. (It's one that feels like it began as more sandboxy, but then had a mostly linear plotline imposed on it. And the final chapter is from the first draft...) Generally each section has very little agency about how the players approach them. Shadow of the Dragon Queen, despite being an adventure I generally liked, also felt more linear. (I dislike how it represents the setting, but I think the adventure is fairly solid).

The Shattered Obelisk (the new sections) had differing levels of agency for players. I think The Briny Maze was a real missed opportunity - far more linear than it should have been. But at other times there were more options. (I still consider it, as a whole, disappointing). It strays towards the more linear side of things.

I'm not expecting much from Vecna, but we'll see how it goes. (I expect a lot of very shallow nods to other settings).

Cheers,
Merric
The maze really needs a new map and more interesting choices for sure.
 

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MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
The maze really needs a new map and more interesting choices for sure.
The encounters in that section feel really strange. Overall, it feels so underwhelming. It's more "here are some kooky inhabitants of the Far Realm" rather than much that is actually threatening. Or disturbing to the players.

Cheers,
Merric
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
The encounters in that section feel really strange. Overall, it feels so underwhelming. It's more "here are some kooky inhabitants of the Far Realm" rather than much that is actually threatening. Or disturbing to the players.

Cheers,
Merric
We're running it now, not sure what I'll do as we get near the end
 

Everything in Stairs is lower Level, but I could see someone using the frame of the Genie guy in the Infinite Staircase, and re-do the fight against Vecna as coming from him instead of some Wizards after the party has cleared all the lower Level challenges.
The last adventure in Stairs is 10-13, which conveniently overlaps with the 10-13 starting level of Vecna. So run Stairs, drop in Nest at level 4, then go on to Eve of Ruin and you have a 1-20 campaign.
 




The issue is it takes a special set of skills to run non railroad adventures. But learning those skills is hard when you are mainly given adventures that are railroads. So we keep getting railroads.

WOTC missed an opportunity with the Lost Mines reissue with not just turning it into a expanded low and mid level sand box and using it to teach a different style of play.

Many players have also be trained to think they enjoy the railroad, that being part of some predetermined storyline is part of the game and that they have to follow the plot to "help" the DM.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The last adventure in Stairs is 10-13, which conveniently overlaps with the 10-13 starting level of Vecna. So run Stairs, drop in Nest at level 4, then go on to Eve of Ruin and you have a 1-20 campaign.
Yup, same with Radiant Citadel, Golden Vault, Cabdlekeep Mysteries, Yawning Portal, or any combination thereof. Or any of the low-to-mid Level Campaigns. Very clever approach for a high Level Campaign, as opposed to the admittedly fun grab-bag of Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Several of WotC's other adventures are a bit of a sandbox (Tomb, Rime), but this one both appears to use the tropes of "only you can do this" and having a doomclock to push the players along. Also, on the video they did spend over half of it talking about "the adventure goes a lot smoother if the players buy into their roles as saviors of the multiverse." Hence, my snarky remarks.
 

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