D&D 5E Which of these possible endings do you prefer to see in every published adventure *as written*?

Which of these endgames do you like to see in every WoTC 5E adventure as written? [multiple choice]


Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
I won't write much here as to hopefully avoid biasing the results of this poll.

If helpful, benchmark examples of:
  • Only 1 ending examined & explored as written = i.e., Wild Beyond the Witchlight
  • No heroically good ending written as is = i.e., Prisoner 13 of Keys from the Golden Vault
  • Adventure as written concerning itself with moral correctness = i.e., Mazfroth's Mighty Digressions of Candlekeep Mysteries
I want to emphasize the poll question is asking about your preference regarding what's actually published as written (and not what you could add in with your own time and effort)

Defining what is morally correct or not is subjective and up to your interpretation!

I also left a lot of other options so you don't feel like you're being put in the wrong box. Hopefully I covered most of them!
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Though you phrased this poll as 5e-specific, the questions you ask are quite edition-agnostic and can apply to adventures from all editions. Further, an adventure from any edition can be converted and run for any other edition.

And so - even though my closest-ever approach to any 5e adventures will likely be to pick up a few (I have already), read them, and maybe convert and run them - I feel no guilt in voting. :)
 

Emoshin

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Though you phrased this poll as 5e-specific, the questions you ask are quite edition-agnostic and can apply to adventures from all editions. Further, an adventure from any edition can be converted and run for any other edition.

And so - even though my closest-ever approach to any 5e adventures will likely be to pick up a few (I have already), read them, and maybe convert and run them - I feel no guilt in voting. :)
Ha. I chose 5E specifically, because a) I am selfishly concerned primarily with 5E, and b) other D&D editions and other systems might lean to different sensibilities.

For example, OSR games might lean more to a different moral code (I don't know for sure, just surmising).

In any case, I'd be grateful to anyone participating in the poll, so thank you for feeling guilt-free :)
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I like heroic characters and happy endings, so I voted for that first option. But I also prefer those endings to come from effort, not just be handed on a silver platter--that feels disingenuous at best and outright dangerous at worst (teaching people that they never need put in effort to make the world better.) So I chose other options to reflect that.

In general, I prefer there to be at least four loosely-considered endings: the "best" truly heroic/moral ending, a "good enough" ending if things didn't go well but didn't go poorly, an ending that is bad but at least tolerable/fixable, and a truly "bad ending" where it's clear the players have really screwed up and things will be bad, perhaps not forever, but for a long time.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Sometimes the happy ending is simply that the characters - or at least some of them - get to the end. :)

More seriously, oftentimes adventure authors seem to expect things will end a particular way and give little or no consideration to alternate possibilities, which can really leave a DM twisting in the wind if that ending the author had in mind isn't what happens in play.

SPOILERS AHEAD for H1 Keep on the Shadowfell - I assume most here know it well, but for those who don't now might be a good time to skip to the next post. :)







I mean, consider an adventure like Keep on the Shadowfell, where the goal is for the party to interrupt a ritual and prevent an interplanar gate from opening. It's set up such that when the party arrive on the scene the ritual is well underway, the gate's already partway open, and a huge extraplanar creature is coming through it. There are so many different ways this could end:

--- the PCs interrupt the ritual and find a way to close the gate before the creature gets through (the heroic option)
--- the PCs fail to interrupt the ritual in time and either have to deal with the creature (good luck with that) or flee for their lives (the "we tried" option)
--- the PCs allow the ritual to finish, somehow get the creature to ignore them, and then go through the gate themselves to see what adventures might await on the other side (the stand-the-campaign-on-its-ear option)
--- the PCs themselves join and-or continue the ritual in hopes of gaining control of the creature (the facepalm option)

The author of the module so clearly expects the first option above to be what happens in play that no guidance whatsoever is given on how to deal with the other three situations (or any others) should they arise. When I ran it, half the party went for the first option and half for the last; it came down to a single timing roll to determine which group won, and the gate-closers succeeded a mere few seconds before the gate-openers would have......
 

Shiroiken

Legend
I think an adventure should include the worst case scenario, where the party fails. That way the character's actions have consequences, where at least part of the world is altered by their failure. Obviously this assumes the party survives, but it can also include when the DM continues using the same campaign setting for the next game.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Only two votes for me:
1. No preference, I write my own endgame scenarios, and
2. I'm not concerned about the PCs' moral correctness.

My reasonings for voting the way I did:
1. This isn't by design; it's just the way things usually turn out. My players tend to go their own way and do their own things, and I don't try to force them to stick to the adventure outline. The result is that they usually end up pretty far from the author's intended ending when all is said and done, so I have to get creative with our ending.

2. This is not to say I don't pay attention to it, keep track of it, and plan NPC encounters accordingly. I'm just not concerned about it. I play D&D with my friends, and we're all adults...there is no cause for concern.
 

delericho

Legend
I prefer to see at least two (preferably three) endings explored:

  • What happens if the PCs succeed?
  • What happens if the PCs fail (but survive)?
  • And perhaps a third giving a variant of one of the other two (a disastrous fail, or an alternate success)

I don't particularly care whether those are "heroic", "morally good", or whatever - I'm quite happy if the adventure posits that the PCs are amoral mercenaries doing a job, in which case 'success' may well not be 'good'. (Naturally, I wouldn't run such an adventure with every group... but then I wouldn't run a 'heroic' adventure with every group either.)
 

For the most part, I agree with what @delericho said.
I checked the morality things, though, because I appreciate it when an adventure discusses the repercussions of major actions on NPCs or factions (and I try to also reflect that when I run games). However, the adventure should ideally not make any assumptions on the morality of the adventuring party.
 

I definitely prefer that there be more than one featured ending. If only one ending is considered a success...that isn't really more than one featured ending, it's just a single ending telling you how to deal with degrees of success.

That being said, I don't need pages of detail on each of these. Just enough to give some guidance on what might happen in the world as a consequence of certain events. I like the ending to be open-ended.

I'm also not a fan of adventures where the only way you get the best result for the world is by having a PC die (or otherwise suffer some undesirwable result). You don't see that as much in D&D because of resurrection magic, but in another game I'm seeing more than one adventure like that (reading, but haven't played). There is a place for that, but it requires a very specific mindset which I'm not seeing as inherent to the game. I have at least one player likely to revolt over it. As I said, not terribly relevant to D&D, but relevant to the poll options.
 

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