D&D General Why 5E Adventurs Suck!!!!!

Osgood

Hero
I like the idea of adventure paths in theory—and we had a lot of fun with Age of Worms when it came out—but in practice, they always seem to fall apart some where along the way.

Several people in this thread have used the old term “module” in this thread, and frankly, I think going back to those days would be smart… rather than a single campaign-length adventure that covers 10, 15, or 20 levels, have shorter adventure modules that can be plug and play. The modules in a series mare linked by theme or what have you, maybe with a loose thread to link them (Ghosts of Saltmarsh comes to mind), but make it easy enough to mix and match.
 

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Zardnaar

Legend
I like the idea of adventure paths in theory—and we had a lot of fun with Age of Worms when it came out—but in practice, they always seem to fall apart some where along the way.

Several people in this thread have used the old term “module” in this thread, and frankly, I think going back to those days would be smart… rather than a single campaign-length adventure that covers 10, 15, or 20 levels, have shorter adventure modules that can be plug and play. The modules in a series mare linked by theme or what have you, maybe with a loose thread to link them (Ghosts of Saltmarsh comes to mind), but make it easy enough to mix and match.

Well that's my main point. They fall apart later either because D&D doesn't work well at high levels or players /DM get bored.
 

GuardianLurker

Adventurer
I think this is one of those 3e legacies that went awry. 3e's Adventure Path (Sunless Citadel, Forge of Fury, Speaker of Dreams, ...) is a series of (loosely) thematically tied adventures. They are clearly written as example adventures for their respective levels. E.g. Deep Horizons - "if you're designing a Lv 13 (Tier 3) adventure, expect your PCs to have access to Teleport, Scry, and various other information gathering and travel spells."

One of the common complaints was that the Theme wasn't strong enough. And the first modern "Adventure Path" knocked that out of the park. And was generally very well regarded. The first full adventure path's descendants have maintained their thematic focus (or so I've gathered), but at a cost of an apparently very single-threaded plot (i.e. railroad), and a generally weak endgame. (I mean that's what this entire thread is about.)

The other problem with the 3e adventures is that they did a poor job of explaining what they were trying to demonstrate. As an example, the first few times I read Deep Horizons, I kept trying to figure out how the areas were supposed to be linked together, travel wise. The module certainly didn't call it out explicitly (that I remember, anyway).

Between those two factors, I can't help but feel that the modern APs (especially the early ones) are focusing on the wrong things. The original Phandelver adventure worked so well, because it did not lose track of what it was, and what it had to do. It's a introductory adventure, and it shines at walking new 5e GMs through the various mechanics (including factions!), and also dropping hooks for the early Adventure Books - it has hooks for Tryanny of Dragons, Out of the Abyss, and even Storm King's Thunder, IIRC. And it's reasonably short, which help keeps the focus tight.

Which of course, is my point (and others), about why "modules" (shorter adventures) work a little bit better when trying to build a long campaign.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Several people in this thread have used the old term “module” in this thread, and frankly, I think going back to those days would be smart… rather than a single campaign-length adventure that covers 10, 15, or 20 levels, have shorter adventure modules that can be plug and play. The modules in a series mare linked by theme or what have you, maybe with a loose thread to link them (Ghosts of Saltmarsh comes to mind), but make it easy enough to mix and match.
As I always point out, WotC still makes these in the form of Adventurer's League adventures. But since they're not published as physical books, they seem to fly under the radar for a lot of people. They absolutely vary in quality, but there are some real gems among them. It's pretty common to have several that can be strung together as a mini-arc, too.
 

If you believe there are modern audiences (see the thread about modern audiences going), then adventure paths are doomed to fail for them. If you believe older audiences need modules like The Keep on the Borderlands with their open airy feel, then adventure paths are doomed to fail.

I really don't feel either of those things are true. I think there are DMs that put in the work needed to run a good campaign, and often, those DMs find players that congeal as a table. It only takes one player to run an adventure off the rails. This is true for any style of play: hexcrawl, sword and sorcery, epic, sandbox, linear, etc. It only takes the DM to not read the book or supplement the book based on their table's needs to make an adventure feel bad.

The published adventures are long. Skull & Shackles for Pathfinder took us forever. But we had a table that trusted the DM. The Crimson Crown went well too. We just finished Candlekeep, and because of the extra work our DM did, it turned out great. I played part of Saltmarsh. It went great. I played two campaigns that were the DM's creation. Those went great. It's up to the DM to make it work, and sometimes, just sometimes, it's up to the group to help out a little.
 

GuardianLurker

Adventurer
As I always point out, WotC still makes these in the form of Adventurer's League adventures. But since they're not published as physical books, they seem to fly under the radar for a lot of people. They absolutely vary in quality, but there are some real gems among them. It's pretty common to have several that can be strung together as a mini-arc, too.
Are they published at all? I thought they were strictly internal to the AL, and since I'm not a member, I couldn't get access to them? If, however, they're released to the public at some point (including DM's Guild), then I'd be interested in taking a look (and receiving recommendations).
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Supporter
Are they published at all? I thought they were strictly internal to the AL, and since I'm not a member, I couldn't get access to them? If, however, they're released to the public at some point (including DM's Guild), then I'd be interested in taking a look (and receiving recommendations).
All AL adventures except for Epics are available on the DMs Guild (with a few exceptions that are late).

Linky: Dungeon Masters Guild - D&D Adventurers League -

Cheers,
Merric
 

nevin

Hero
Honestly, I think your point about Adventure Length is the primary driver. As you say, it's hard to write a single adventure that covers 10 levels. I personally feel that a series of smaller adventures, collected into a thematic whole, would be a better creative model.

Especially if the adventures are more ... "modular"... in terms of the plot. Where you can treat each module as it's own node the the campaign's flow chart of plot - to include branches.

The problem with this is that the it still demands content creation. A LOT of content creation. And in a hobby that's notorious for being niche and low-margin, the kind of content that the hobby considers low-margin.

We do have a couple of potential sources for this kind of content - DMs Guild for 5e, Pathfinder Infinite, even the corresponding organized play groups - but none have really produced any outstanding ones that I am aware of. (And if you have some, please list them.)
this has been a problem for the hobby since the beginning. small adventures are great and popular but they don't bring in the revenue that boxed sets or bigger adventure paths do. However bigger boxed sets and adventure paths take the money out of the front end and GM doesn't need to spend as much later one. No one has cracked the ebb and flow of content to create a steady money stream. May be that it's not possible with any model used to date.
 



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