D&D 5E Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Post-Mortem (Spoilers)

TheSword

Legend
It can be read in a completely different way, since it says that it provides everything, for one, and second, of course there will be co-creation when the game is run, but if everything si provided, it should just leave it for the DM to run it, no seek something else elsewhere...
Needs are not the same as wants.
 

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Retreater

Legend
A question I often wonder, if I wasn't on forums and such, watching YouTube videos, etc., would my perspective of these adventures be different? Would I be able to tell Dragon Heist was a "bad" adventure? Do I really need tips and tutorials to run the adventures?
So I look at some of the adventures I've DMed:
1) Curse of Strahd - no real advice taken from the Internet (with the exception of some interpersonal issues, but nothing about the adventure itself) - ran great.
2) Princes of the Apocalypse - no advice taken from the Internet - ran fine
3) Storm King's Thunder - no advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
4) Dragon Heist - lots of advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
5) Dungeon of the Mad Mage - no advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
6) Rime of the Frost Maiden - lots of advice - ran poorly
7) Tomb of Annihilation - no advice - ran great
8) Out of the Abyss - no advice - ran ... average?

What is the revelation from this? I don't know. Maybe that a great adventure is going to run great (for me) without any external sources, but no external sources is going to make something "bad" run well.
 

TheSword

Legend
A question I often wonder, if I wasn't on forums and such, watching YouTube videos, etc., would my perspective of these adventures be different? Would I be able to tell Dragon Heist was a "bad" adventure? Do I really need tips and tutorials to run the adventures?
So I look at some of the adventures I've DMed:
1) Curse of Strahd - no real advice taken from the Internet (with the exception of some interpersonal issues, but nothing about the adventure itself) - ran great.
2) Princes of the Apocalypse - no advice taken from the Internet - ran fine
3) Storm King's Thunder - no advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
4) Dragon Heist - lots of advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
5) Dungeon of the Mad Mage - no advice taken from the Internet - ran poorly
6) Rime of the Frost Maiden - lots of advice - ran poorly
7) Tomb of Annihilation - no advice - ran great
8) Out of the Abyss - no advice - ran ... average?

What is the revelation from this? I don't know. Maybe that a great adventure is going to run great (for me) without any external sources, but no external sources is going to make something "bad" run well.
It might just have been that some of these aren’t to you or your groups taste?

I think I agree with you that Tomb of Ann and Curse of Strahd are the two best modules. But plenty of people can’t abide Tomb. I had one player who thought it was really quite mediocre but three that really enjoyed it.
 

Retreater

Legend
It might just have been that some of these aren’t to you or your groups taste?
That's true. Some people hate Strahd and love Dragon Heist, but if you look at popular opinion, it's usually the other way around.
So we should realize that there is something quantifiable that worked with Strahd and did not work with Dragon Heist - for "most" people, of course.
I do realize that I'm something of an outlier when it comes to liking "Princes of the Apocalypse" and disliking "Storm King's Thunder" (and maybe to a lesser extent "Rime of the Frostmaiden").
But when I look about what I didn't like about Storm King's Thunder (the weak intro, the flying giant tower, etc.), most people don't like that. Even if they can look past that and enjoy the rest of the adventure, they dislike the same stuff I disliked. I just couldn't look past it.
The same is true for Rime of the Frostmaiden.
Even though I liked Tomb of Annihilation a lot, I'm guessing that I disliked the same stuff about it that your one player did - but the rest of it appealed to me enough to overlook what I didn't like.
And when it comes to rankings, it looks a lot like most groups like Strahd and most don't like Heist. Figuring out why will help us all become better designers and DMs.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
“Provides everything a Dungeon Master needs to create an exciting and memorable Mag experience…”

Not that it creates it for you. Or it is already created.

It’s a collaboration. You need to season it your groups taste.

Any reasonable person will interpret the sentence to mean "you can run this adventure using just the stuff that is in this book." Anyone who is not desperately and pedantically trying to twist the meaning of the sentence will reasonably conclude that this is marketing copy that would very much lead one to assume that the adventure can be enjoyably run using just the adventure and not other material you add to the adventure.

I mean obviously they're not gonna write, "Provides everything a Dungeon Master needs to create an exciting and memorable experience provided the Dungeon Master devote hours of work into pains-takingly re-working, editing, proof-reading, and correcting it, plus creating or buying additional supplementary material."
 
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I don't know what to make of your results either. Only I can say that for example Dragon Heist I ran with a lot of advice and a deep dive into the Alexandrian with a ton of changes on my part and the party loved it. It went very well for us. And I know if I was a better DM it could have been epic.

So many variables, so little time!
 

TheSword

Legend
That's true. Some people hate Strahd and love Dragon Heist, but if you look at popular opinion, it's usually the other way around.
So we should realize that there is something quantifiable that worked with Strahd and did not work with Dragon Heist - for "most" people, of course.
I do realize that I'm something of an outlier when it comes to liking "Princes of the Apocalypse" and disliking "Storm King's Thunder" (and maybe to a lesser extent "Rime of the Frostmaiden").
But when I look about what I didn't like about Storm King's Thunder (the weak intro, the flying giant tower, etc.), most people don't like that. Even if they can look past that and enjoy the rest of the adventure, they dislike the same stuff I disliked. I just couldn't look past it.
The same is true for Rime of the Frostmaiden.
Even though I liked Tomb of Annihilation a lot, I'm guessing that I disliked the same stuff about it that your one player did - but the rest of it appealed to me enough to overlook what I didn't like.
And when it comes to rankings, it looks a lot like most groups like Strahd and most don't like Heist. Figuring out why will help us all become better designers and DMs.
I think I look at Witchlight or Candlekeep and wonder why on earth people like it. I don’t claim it’s s#!t or a failure though. At this point I am of the opinion that we can afford to have a little variety and maybe there will be a book or two that isn’t to my taste.

I still think Dragon Heist attempts to do something that few (if any) modules have tried. Which is to create a compelling city adventure.

Dungeon crawls are easier, bounded by walls and doors with easy rules and little explanation required.

Wilderness adventures are easier because they’re largely empty and the writer includes pockets of interest and the party have little else to interact with, unless the DM puts it there first.

A city adventure is chock full though of NPCs and locations and far harder to control or direct. I think it’s inevitable that in place of such limitless options DMs would need to tailor plot hooks and engagements to the party in front of them.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Any reasonable person will interpret the sentence to mean "you can run this adventure using just the stuff that is in this book." Anyone who is not desperately and pedantically trying to twist the meaning of the sentence will reasonably conclude that this is marketing copy that would very much lead one to assume that the adventure can be enjoyably run using just the adventure and not other material you add to the adventure.

I mean obviously they're not gonna write, "Provides everything a Dungeon Master needs to create an exciting and memorable experience provided the Dungeon Master devote hours of work into pains-takingly re-working, editing, proof-reading, and correcting it, plus creating or buying additional supplementary material."
Nah. It just means you don’t need other products beyond the big three.

It absolutely doesn’t say. “This adventure will be fun and enjoyable if you run it exactly the way we have written it here”. Which is the meaning you seem to want to put on the words.

Making the adventure your own is referenced at several points in the book. It’s the same for all modules to a greater or lesser extent. Stop pretending WOC are guilty of false advertising.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
Supporter
Nah. It just means you don’t need other products beyond the big three.

It absolutely doesn’t say. “This adventure will be fun and enjoyable if you run it exactly the way we have written it here”. Which is the meaning you seem to want to put on the words.

Making the adventure your own is referenced at several points in the book. It’s the same for all modules to a greater or lesser extent. Stop pretending WOC are guilty of false advertising.

Oh, I don't think they're guilty of false advertising in the sense that I assume they actually believe you can run them as written and they'll be good. It's just that for most of them, that isn't actually true. Of the ones I have run or played in, I would say that it is true, in my experience, of Curse of Strahd, Lost Mine of Phandelver, and Tomb of Annihilation - I did change stuff in those, but I didn't feel like I had to. Any other official WotC 5E adventure that I have run, I have felt the need to pretty substantially change.

Obviously this whole thing is subjective. But I'm mainly responding to your claim that you "can't understand" why "anyone" thinks they can run the adventure as written. In fact, assuming that you can run the adventure you paid $50 for pretty much as written is a perfectly natural assumption and one that I guarantee the majority of purchasers - who are casual gamers and not dedicated ENWorld posters, pro DMs, or DMs with 20+ years of experience, definitely make.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Nah. It just means you don’t need other products beyond the big three.

It absolutely doesn’t say. “This adventure will be fun and enjoyable if you run it exactly the way we have written it here”. Which is the meaning you seem to want to put on the words.
Which is the meaning that they are selling it with.

First time DM wants to run, they pick up a module or adventure and run it. That's been true since Basic D&D days. Good DMs could and would customize them, but there has never been a general expectation that running a module straight would be an failure, that it was only intended as a starter kit to customize.

Never.

Making the adventure your own is referenced at several points in the book. It’s the same for all modules to a greater or lesser extent. Stop pretending WOC are guilty of false advertising.
No, they are marketing it like they intend. WotC is guilty of just putting out some bad product at times.
 

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