D&D General What are the minimum standards for a published adventure campaign?

TheSword

Legend
This is not something I want. I am looking for a reference: a reference on how to run a decent adventure. Parts of it I want to be interesting to read: the overall summary, the backstory, the player information. That gets you my first criteria. After that it I want it written solely to facilitate running the campaign at the table.
I don’t know why being interesting to read is mutually exclusive to a useful reference.

I’m not saying I want a novel or information the players will never discover or even crazy plot twists.

Maybe I didn’t explain myself well. I don’t want a book full of rooms with monster stats and superficial details. I want NPCs who leap off the page and make me want to play them. I want locations that are interesting and evocatively described. You’ve got to be able to write in such a way as to capture my imagination. Otherwise its not going to get to the table.
 

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I’d probably want to see substantive qualities aside from association before buying it. Lol

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Yeah, this most definitely isn't that. On occasion, with less frequency as the years roll by, I've had players who simply wanted to watch the campaign burn or who simply reveled in whatever chaos they could cause. I suspect many of us have witnessed such behavior from time-to-time, Vampire the Masqurade has the infamouse Fish-Malk, and it's quite frustrating when it happens. I don't believe there's any written scenario that can counter players acting in bad faith. John Wick gave good advice on this back in the late 1990s, basically just telling GMs to put an immediate stop to it.
Indeed. I have seen a player like that since the 1990s, thankfully. I don't think all wild campaign-derails are intentional twonkery though, sometimes players just profoundly misunderstand things, which can potentially act as a learning opportunity for all involved!
 

ichabod

Legned
I don’t know why being interesting to read is mutually exclusive to a useful reference.
They're not, but they aren't the same thing either. If the parts that need to be a useful reference are interesting to read as well, that's nice. But if they aren't, I don't care.
 

MGibster

Legend
Indeed. I have seen a player like that since the 1990s, thankfully. I don't think all wild campaign-derails are intentional twonkery though, sometimes players just profoundly misunderstand things, which can potentially act as a learning opportunity for all involved!
Yeah, it happens. I had a major campaign twist when one of the PCs decided the people they were working for were just as corrupt as their enemies. Their enemies being a horde of mutants in Las Vegas who wanted to wipe out humanity and their cyborg allies from Denver who wanted to enslave all of humanity. The PC in question ended up destroying a vital piece of equipment necessary for their settlement to survive the combined cyborg/mutant forces descending on the city, and the campaign ended with only a partial success as they PCs managed to exile the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse but their home city was ovverrun and everyone they knew was either murdered or enslaved.

Even though all of us were surprised by the player who thought his city was just as evil as the other two, it made sense within the context of what was going on and it didn't make any of us mad. He wasn't just stirring the pot to stir the pot.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Yup when you agree to play a prepublished adventure it helps if players engage.

I run fairly sandbox but ask my players what sandbox they want to play in. They chose ancient Greece.

Put about 20-30 hours prep into that campaign. Any new poster I would expect to want to engage in what I've designed.

I wouldn't mind if they wanted to leave the main area and sod off to Athens but if they say wanted to depart to Egypt and discover the source of theNikle that's a problem.

I could run a game like that but tell me that to begin with. If DM and players can'tconme up with something between them odds are no campaign. My players pick from a curated list of themes (they can suggest themes).

I'll offer sonething like.

Greek
Drow
Egyptian
Norse
Forgotten Realms (aka generic)
Eberron
Midgard (Mostly generic)
Ravnica

Well 5 of them anyway done Egypt, Drow, currently Greek themed)
Why not just put Greek, Norse, Drow, Egyptian, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and a bunch more all in the same world?

That way, they can start out Greek (my current campaign did this) but later move on to different cultures-realms-societies if-when either the plot or their own whims-desires take them there.

Doing this also gives players more leeway in the potential culture options for their characters; e.g. one could play a Norse character in an otherwise-Greek setting if there's a Norse culture elsewhere she could have come from.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don’t know why being interesting to read is mutually exclusive to a useful reference.
Usually it's because making an adventure interesting to read means putting in a lot of extra words and story (and art) that only serve to get in the way when one is trying to use it for quick reference in mid-session.
 

Usually it's because making an adventure interesting to read means putting in a lot of extra words and story (and art) that only serve to get in the way when one is trying to use it for quick reference in mid-session.
Or having organisation of the facts of the adventure that makes it fun to read - like hiding a big twist until late on - but that makes the adventure much worse organised from a reference point of view, and means earlier stuff doesn't have the full context, so you might even run it "wrong" unless you read the whole thing before running it, and then go back and re-read the earlier sections with the twist info in mind. Hell, one adventure I read in the 1990s (possibly for Earthdawn? I forget) had a late twist which actually made earlier stuff which happened no longer make any sense, like the writer(s) themselves had forgotten it, or only added it later.
 

MGibster

Legend
Why not just put Greek, Norse, Drow, Egyptian, Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and a bunch more all in the same world?
I don't know about anyone else here, but my time is somewhat limited. If I take the time to come up with a series of Greek-like islands, for the Ancient Greekesque campaign my players agreed to participate in, I'm going to be extremely unhappy if the players decide to piss off to Egypt instead. We agreed to play a game set in Greece, so why would I have anything prepared for Egypt?

That way, they can start out Greek (my current campaign did this) but later move on to different cultures-realms-societies if-when either the plot or their own whims-desires take them there.
Later is fine. But I'm not going to be prepared for them to out-of-the-blue just declare they're headed to Egypt.

Doing this also gives players more leeway in the potential culture options for their characters; e.g. one could play a Norse character in an otherwise-Greek setting if there's a Norse culture elsewhere she could have come from.
I typically don't like doing this. It's like having a player who agrees to play in your Vampire game coming and asking to be a Mage or a Werewolf. No. We're playing Vampire not Mage or Werewolf.
 

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