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

Parmandur

Book-Friend
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.
I quite liked the low level intro, and once you get to the castle in Episode 6, it gets pretty good again, but that middle is...meandering.
 

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Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
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).
WotC was allergic to fixing things in 5e until very recently. Of course, I generally don't like the fixes, so they can't win with me.
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
WotC was allergic to fixing things in 5e until very recently. Of course, I generally don't like the fixes, so they can't win with me.
That is unfortunate, and while I think there are things about the game that can be improved, leaving behind the people who are happy the way things are isn't really fair either.

Of course, it all comes down to the direction they are fixing things. Turning 5e into the "magical warrior" edition might solve a problem here or there, but it repeats a problem the previous two editions had, where the non-caster classes were usually relegated to the dust bin, and the magical types got all the new shiny toys.

I mean, what did we get in 3e, Barbarian, Fighter, Rogue, Knight and Marshal? Warblades (debatably).

Then in 4e, we didn't get anything approaching a Martial Controller until Essentials with that one Ranger variant and it was...meh.

And we had more "magical" power sources than you could shake a stick at, Arcane, Divine, Primal, Psionic, Shadow...

I guess at the end of the day "cool stuff" = magic almost exclusively. Feels kind of meh to me.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I bought it for myself on Amazon for Christmas one year. I think they were doing a buy 2-get-1 free deal - I picked up Saltmarsh, Eberron, and Descent into Avernus. (I tell myself Avernus was the free one - it makes me feel better.)
I really liked the original Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh adventure. I had converted it to 3.x back in the day and had a great time. Then it was the first thing I tried to run in the D&D Next Playtest.
I was thinking about running it for my 5e group, but one of the players had to go and buy the adventure and read the whole thing. Now it's on my "can't run it list."
But the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is definitely solid - the other two in the trilogy (Dunwater and the Final Enemy) are less so. I don't really know about the rest of the compilation's contents.
I'm stuck halfway through running Secret of Saltmarsh, that party is on hold right now until some players return to socializing.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
I guess the question there is how easy those chapters are to chop out and run as standalone adventures, i.e. how much effort is required to divorce the adventure from the backstory and built-in plot of the published AP, and divorce layout-wise from the rest of the complex if several chapters occur in one location or site.

With PotA it's quite easy, with other APs maybe it's not so much.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I guess the question there is how easy those chapters are to chop out and run as standalone adventures, i.e. how much effort is required to divorce the adventure from the backstory and built-in plot of the published AP, and divorce layout-wise from the rest of the complex if several chapters occur in one location or site.

With PotA it's quite easy, with other APs maybe it's not so much.
It's always pretty darn easy. The "plots" are mighty thin. Usable enough to work as a campaign framework, but honestly it's probably about as easy to completely extricate any given module from their respective plots as it is to make the plots work for one's group.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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 could probably sit down and run any one of several parts of PotA as a standalone with virtually no prep whatsoever, if I suddenly found myself in need of a dungeon complex and didn't have one ready to rock.

The only thing I'd have to do would be to put some sticky notes on the map to cover over passages that connect to other chapters, which would take me maybe a minute, tops.

Converting it to match my 1e-variant system I could do on the fly; it's not like I haven't had any practice. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
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.
Which is great until the moment your PCs get access to fast overland means of travel (flight devices, reliable means of teleport, etc.), at which point you become reliant on the dungeon itself to provide the interest.

Sunless Citadel, while not my favourite module (Forge of Fury is way better!), is about the size of adventure I usually run; i.e. more or less comparable to many of the "classic" modules and certainly smaller than some (Dark Tower, Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth to name two).
 

James Gasik

We don't talk about Pun-Pun
Supporter
Yeah adventures about getting to a location can run into some issues. First, players can get access to abilities to trivialize overland travel. This is nothing new, it's been this way for a very long time, and yet many classic adventures from earlier versions of the game act like this isn't the case and the journey should be difficult.

And then there's the other extreme- the players run into a roadblock and never reach the location in the first place...
 

Staffan

Legend
Which is great until the moment your PCs get access to fast overland means of travel (flight devices, reliable means of teleport, etc.), at which point you become reliant on the dungeon itself to provide the interest.
That just means you need to have other fun stuff for the "journey". You might need to prepare certain things to get to the dungeon, even learn its exact location, negotiate with locals to gain access, or maybe even have a changed focus for the adventure to "help locals do a thing" with the dungeon just being part of the whole.

While it does not translate directly to D&D, think of a game like Ocarina of Time. You don't go directly from dungeon to dungeon, but instead each dungeon needs you to do a number of things before entering (or before you have a chance to deal with that dungeon's challenges). Before going into the Shadow Temple, go to Kakariko Village, and learn that an evil spirit trapped beneath the village has broken free and infested the Temple. In order to enter the temple you need to have the Eye of Truth, in order to deal with all the illusions in there, and getting the Eye of Truth is a mini-dungeon of its own. That's the kind of thing I want, but adapted to D&D.

That's why one of my favorite D&D adventures is Dragon's Crown. It's a really big adventure, and it takes you from Tyr, to Urik, to the Sea of Silt, then back across the whole setting to the Ringing Mountains, the Forest Ridge, crossing the Hinterlands, and eventually breaching the Dragon's Crown fortress. There are certainly dungeons, but there's also raider tribes, negotiating with a sorcerer-king, a weird gladiatorial game that's a cross between a battle and a football game, travel across the Sea of Silt, multiple instances of discovering ancient history, negotiating with man-eating halflings, handling thri-kreen driven mad by the adventure MacGuffin (and encountering a distant traveler possibly setting things up for later), and exploring a forest full of flesh-eating plants. In addition, there are a number of side treks you can throw in along the way. Now, that's significantly more than a 32-page adventure, but you could easily do the same thing on a smaller scale.
 

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