D&D (2024) WoTc and TSR... what is D&D

teitan

Legend
I'm not gong to claim they are all winners (since this was in the context of Tyranny of Dragons), but name any of the Adventure "paths" and you can break out how they have individual chapters that are equivalent to older modules.
Yeah but they aren’t the same. They aren’t stand alone. It’s not like throwing down Keep on the Borderlands and then throwing down X1 or Tomb of Horrors. They’re more tightly woven than even Queen of the Spiders when it pulled G,D, & Q together. It’s more like Temple of Elemental Evil where each chapter, sure, is a dungeon or sub adventure but they’re still tied to each other and carry on a story. Comparing Princes of the Apocalypse to Yawning Portal? They aren’t the same. They aren’t modular. It’s cool you think so but it’s demonstrably a weak attempt. Yes they’re 16-32 page signatures, cool Chris, but they aren’t 16-32 page adventures that are complete one and done and they aren’t sold as such. You can, with work, extract bits of them but I can’t sit down on a Thursday and read Chapter 3 of Avernus and run it standalone on Saturday. I can sit down with Yawning Portal and grab a random adventure and run it with little prep work and no need to extract it from a larger narrative while the Adventure Paths do have a narrative structure.
 

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Staffan

Legend
I'll have to disagree with Perkins that these are individually satisfying adventure locations like traditional modules. Looking at something like Rime of the Frostmaiden, you have numerous locations that are 2-3 rooms in a dungeon with 1-2 encounters in it. Compare that to something like The Sunless Citadel, which has traps, monsters, factions, story, multiple levels, a memorable boss fight, etc. This was the stuff that we used to get in previous editions as a 32 page adventure.
Not only is The Sunless Citadel better than any of the side locations in Rime of the Frostmaiden, I'd go so far as to say (in my opinion), it's a better adventure than the climax of Rime, which essentially had one encounter worth fighting in the whole darned castle.
And I'm not trying to promote Sunless Citadel as the pinnacle of adventure design. It's merely above average, but compared to most of 5e's adventure design it's a masterpiece.
Personally, I think Sunless Citadel is too big. Or rather, it is too big a dungeon. My preference these days is for dungeons you can deal with in a single excursion, or at least that have separated bits (which I guess you could call levels) of about that size. Instead of focusing on the dungeon, make an adventure out of getting to the dungeon.

Or to put it more succinctly: 32 page adventure yes, 56-room dungeon no.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yeah but they aren’t the same. They aren’t stand alone. It’s not like throwing down Keep on the Borderlands and then throwing down X1 or Tomb of Horrors. They’re more tightly woven than even Queen of the Spiders when it pulled G,D, & Q together. It’s more like Temple of Elemental Evil where each chapter, sure, is a dungeon or sub adventure but they’re still tied to each other and carry on a story. Comparing Princes of the Apocalypse to Yawning Portal? They aren’t the same. They aren’t modular. It’s cool you think so but it’s demonstrably a weak attempt. Yes they’re 16-32 page signatures, cool Chris, but they aren’t 16-32 page adventures that are complete one and done and they aren’t sold as such. You can, with work, extract bits of them but I can’t sit down on a Thursday and read Chapter 3 of Avernus and run it standalone on Saturday. I can sit down with Yawning Portal and grab a random adventure and run it with little prep work and no need to extract it from a larger narrative while the Adventure Paths do have a narrative structure.
I think you overestimate the connective tissue of these books: they are usually pretty thin, though they will serve if desired. Perkins particular example of an Adventure he likes to use as a random insert in his own games is "The Sea of Moving ice" from Rise of Tiamat, a ~15 page Module that is very lightly connected to the overarching story of the book. Rise of Tiamat actually has a very weak structure, but very clear Module lines.
 

teitan

Legend
Personally, I think Sunless Citadel is too big. Or rather, it is too big a dungeon. My preference these days is for dungeons you can deal with in a single excursion, or at least that have separated bits (which I guess you could call levels) of about that size. Instead of focusing on the dungeon, make an adventure out of getting to the dungeon.

Or to put it more succinctly: 32 page adventure yes, 56-room dungeon no.
Sunless Citadel was really a “how to run a Dungeon” dungeon. It was the first 3e adventure and followed the same format as all the older modules and was meant to illustrate the whole “back to the dungeon” philosophy that helped D&D back to being the 900 lbs gorilla of the TTRPG industry. It helped a lot of us to understand how to play 3e since it was so different from 2e and a style of play that TSR had foregone since at least the early 90s for the most part.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
There are also forums, like rpg.net, where the 4e love is almost over-effusive. At least here you get a rounder picture.
I don't mind criticism of a thing, I can be quite critical of 4e's weak points. But when the criticism is basically a dismissal as being "like some thing it's not", that bugs me. I still get irritated when I hear people call the Book of Nine Swords "too anime" as their rejection of the premise, or say Psionics are "too science fiction".

Though I will admit, the power names for The Tome of Battle are a bit over the top. Now a real objection, like "The Warblade is just better than the Fighter in most respects, so rather than fix the Fighter they made a Neo Fighter" I could stand- though I will point out this is par for the course for WotC.

Look at all the different attempts at making a "gish" in 3e, each slightly better than the last, rather than just fixing one. Eldritch Knight to Spellsword to Hexblade to Duskblade to Abjurant Champion (and a few that I missed in between).
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm not gong to claim they are all winners (since this was in the context of Tyranny of Dragons), but name any of the Adventure "paths" and you can break out how they have individual chapters that are equivalent to older modules.
If the one my players gave to me is any indication, it takes a fair bit of work to pull a section out and then fit it in as a stand alone in your setting. It takes quite a bit less work in my experience to pull the actual stand alone adventures out of the books and insert them.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
If the one my players gave to me is any indication, it takes a fair bit of work to pull it out and then fit it in as a stand alone in your setting. It takes quite a bit less work in my experience to pull the actual stand alone adventures out of the books and insert them.
Less work? Certainly.

Which one do you have, btw? I know you've said on here...somewhere.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Less work? Certainly.

Which one do you have, btw? I know you've said on here...somewhere.
I have two. The one I bought is Dungeon of the Mad Mage, because I love undermountain. Those are just dungeon levels so it's easy peasy to pull those out. There's no real story to it. You just have to ignore references to Halaster and maybe change a few names. The one the player(well, one really) got for me is Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Compare that to the one I pulled out of Candle Keep. I didn't even have to use Candle Keep. All I did was stick the magic book that led to the adventure in with some other treasure that they found.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I have two. The one I bought is Dungeon of the Mad Mage, because I love undermountain. Those are just dungeon levels so it's easy peasy to pull those out. There's no real story to it. You just have to ignore references to Halaster and maybe change a few names. The one the player(well, one really) got for me is Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

Compare that to the one I pulled out of Candle Keep. I didn't even have to use Candle Keep. All I did was stick the magic book that led to the adventure in with some other treasure that they found.
Now Hoard of the Dragon Queen opens pretty wildly, but Episodes 1-3 can be viewed as one 21 page module pretty easily, Episodes 4 and 5 are just kind of bad for 14 pages (useable, sure, but not stellar), and then things really get going with episodes 6, 7 and 8:

- Episode 6: Castle Naerytar is a 30 page Ruined Castle with a Black Dragon overlord(s) and factions brewing in the dungeon that can be exploited. Very weak connection to the "plot."

- Episode 7: Hunting Lodge is a 10 page madcap fight Dungeon that is also party thinly connected to the plot.

- Episode 8: Castle in the Clouds is probably my favorite in this book, and is a 15 page dungeon with all sorts of weird politics dividing the monsters that can go a bunch of weird ways.

Rise of Tiamat gets even more episodic than this. Most subsequent Adventures try to speed past the 1-5 range and get at the meaty stuff.
 

Retreater

Legend
What I hated about Dragon Queen was the middle section, which was I think featured guarding a caravan as it went on a railroad tour of the Sword Coast. It was probably the dullest, most pointless adventure segment I remember running in the past twenty years. Basically a tabletop videogame cutscene that lasted for weeks of play. The rest of it might've been awesome, but that one section really hit me bad.
 

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