Dungeon 213 Compilation

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D&D Insider ArticleDungeon 213
Compilation

By Christopher Perkins, Steve Townshend, Jeffrey Ludwig, Gary Gygax

hope you like owlbears, pirates, and deathtraps, 'cause this issue's full of them! This month in Dungeon: Storm the island stronghold of the dread pirate Braxis. Race your owlbear over the mountain. And survive the Tomb of Horrors! We proudly present for your gaming pleasure, Dungeon 213.

Talk about this magazine here.


Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I've been waiting for this issue all month long.  I'm really looking forward to getting my group together for some "Fast and the Furious:  Owlbear Drift."

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Could not help but to think of their similarity


The only redeeming feature [barely] of this issue, was “The Dread Pirate Braxis”, although I did not care for the Triton/Sahuagin curse background.  I personally felt it demeaning to the Sahuagin’s rich gaming history


“Owlbear Run” – well let us just say I will let it slide as an April comedic relief.


“Tomb of Horrors” has been explored to death and a better avenue to highlight 5E could have been done.  As it is I will still expect WotC to actually publish it when 5E comes on line,


[edit]  The "female" mummy art from the crypt looks like crap, more like a skeleton in bandages than a mummy.  That is assuming the typical fantasy/horror mummy vice a RW mummy.
A couple of things were done differently in issue 213, and we'd like to hear feedback on them. 

First, we embedded far more internal hyperlinks in this issue than we've done before. In Tomb of Horrors, for example, map locations are linked to their descriptions: click or tap a room on the map and the PDF will jump to the page with that room's description. Wherever you're directed to show players an illustration, clicking or tapping the illo's number takes you to the illustration, and clicking the number on the illo takes you back where you came from. 

Second, in The Dread Pirate Braxis, all the monster stat blocks are gathered at the end of the adventure instead of being placed in the encounters. They aren't hyperlinked directly from the encounters, but the monsters are listed individually in the PDF's bookmarks (which are also far more extensive than the bookmarking we've done before). 

What we'd like to know is, do you use these links, and do you prefer embedded links, bookmarks, both, or neither?

Steve 

If your only tool is a warhammer, every problem looks like a gnoll.

I liked embeded hyperlinks linking map locations to their descriptions and think its useful for quick lookout of a adventure location without needing to go through all the pages. Very useful.

I am finewith monster stat blocks appendixed at the end of adventure with bookmarks. I find readability is better if the adventure texts aren't broken by stat blocks. 


Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

A couple of things were done differently in issue 213, and we'd like to hear feedback on them. 

First, we embedded far more internal hyperlinks in this issue than we've done before. In Tomb of Horrors, for example, map locations are linked to their descriptions: click or tap a room on the map and the PDF will jump to the page with that room's description. Wherever you're directed to show players an illustration, clicking or tapping the illo's number takes you to the illustration, and clicking the number on the illo takes you back where you came from. 



Yes, this is really great and I'd love to see it continue in the future. I especially liked having the map linked to the descriptions. Very useful. Please keep this feature.

Second, in The Dread Pirate Braxis, all the monster stat blocks are gathered at the end of the adventure instead of being placed in the encounters. They aren't hyperlinked directly from the encounters, but the monsters are listed individually in the PDF's bookmarks (which are also far more extensive than the bookmarking we've done before). 



I'm totally okay with this, in fact I might prefer it. While it is useful to have the monsters right next to the encounter description (especially if I'm just skimming through it), it can disruptive to the flow of the narrative. It's nice to be able to read the descriptions without the stat blocks, but this change is something I'm on the fence over while the linked maps I was jumping up and down with joy.
You're welcome guys




one idea i am doing for one of my adventures is putting all of the monsters at the end of the adventure. maybe you could do it that way and still get the smooth text feel

First, we embedded far more internal hyperlinks in this issue than we've done before. In Tomb of Horrors, for example, map locations are linked to their descriptions: click or tap a room on the map and the PDF will jump to the page with that room's description. Wherever you're directed to show players an illustration, clicking or tapping the illo's number takes you to the illustration, and clicking the number on the illo takes you back where you came from.


To be honest, I had not noticed them at all until you pointed this out. I like it, though I would not make great use of it - I would not run the adventures digitally. I don't know if Wizards has run numbers on the percentage that:
- Never run an adventure, just read to get ideas or steal bits
- Run it from printed page (or static 'captured' info in an online game)
- Run it from the issue being read digitally (on a laptop or other device while running)

I like the features, so long as they don't take away from other features.

What I most find useful is when authors or Wizards add hyperlinks to other content. So, where it says, "This adventure can be run as a sequel to “Captain Slygo’s Treasure” (Dungeon 208)", I would want to see that hyperlinked to the issue. I would also like hyperlinks to mentioned powers or other Compendium content when it makes sense to do so.

Second, in The Dread Pirate Braxis, all the monster stat blocks are gathered at the end of the adventure instead of being placed in the encounters. They aren't hyperlinked directly from the encounters, but the monsters are listed individually in the PDF's bookmarks (which are also far more extensive than the bookmarking we've done before).


I like having monsters at the end. It is especially useful if Wizards will start supporting multiple editions.

Organizationally, I don't like the "organized by groupings". Ideally I would want an index of monsters by encounter, followed by alphabetical monsters.

Encounter 1: Giant Ant Lion, Flumph
Encounter 2: Vegepygmy

Then, the alphabetical list of stat blocks (separated by edition)

Another organization method I like is by part of the adventure:

Monsters from Part 1 Voyage to the Caves:
Flumph stat block, etc., organized alphabetically.

Monsters from Part 2 Clown Attack:
Vegepygmy stat block, etc.

Both the downside and upside of the second approach is that it varies by adventure. That allows the editor to group monsters logically, but also makes things less predictable for the reader.

When I look at the Dread Pirate article, I fear I would waste a bit of time flipping back and forth. "Oh, right, that's under the Drakes category...."


Some unsolicited feedback: I love seeing reprints of organized play adventures. Many have been asking for this for years, and it really helps to showcase the great adventures that have been written for conventions, RPGA rewards, and OP programs. BUT, I don't like this being 1/3rd of my content. I want to have a digital version of what I saw at a convention, but I also want to see more than two new adventures in every issue.

Finally, I see Chris Perkins' name on the adventures. He's unquestionably fantastic and the adventures with his name as co-author have been really great. But, I also don't want the adventures to require such a high standard and oversight by great staff that the volume is so small. Even a few sidetreks or short adventures would vastly improve the value of the offering for me. They don't have to be top-level work or co-authored by top staff - just cool ideas we can take and run with. I would love to see more Map-Pack scenarios, more adventures using a single Dungeon Command set, more quick adventures that can be dropped into a specific campaign setting, etc.

Thanks for asking for feedback!

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

I like alphastream's suggestions. Definitely need more than what we're getting adventure wise, though, especially if we're now splitting issues with Next. Dungeon barely supported itself before...

Also, more Epic content, please. Looking ahead to next month, there is again nothing I can really use for my game without considerable work and substitutions.

I would really love if we'd get a Heroic, Paragon, and Epic adventure each month. There are DMs and playgroups playing all three tiers at this point in the edition's lifecycle. Please stop pretending no one gets to level 21+.

I'm also starved for new, quality battle maps in high resolution, preferably without ugly token placements.

Appreciate the call for feedback.

First, we embedded far more internal hyperlinks in this issue than we've done before. In Tomb of Horrors, for example, map locations are linked to their descriptions: click or tap a room on the map and the PDF will jump to the page with that room's description. Wherever you're directed to show players an illustration, clicking or tapping the illo's number takes you to the illustration, and clicking the number on the illo takes you back where you came from. 
 


Steve, I hadn't noticed the links at first and I thought the illos were a pain in the ass. Just went back to it, tested the links. Excellent! Makes reading and processing the adventure much easier. Flipping 10-20 pages is a pain in a pdf, this made it as easy as with hard copy. FYI, I'm reading it on my ipad, and the links work perfectly in GoodReader.

Thanks for making a smoother read!

Baron
Also, +1 to Alphastream's suggestions. And thanks for taking feedback!
I also didn't notice the bookmarks before. Very cool. I'm not sure it'd beat actually printing things out, but it does make reading on an iPad much nicer.

I liked the Tomb of Horror reprint. Its interesting comparing the 5e version with the 1e version. (I'm hoping you guys release all the illustration booklets / maps from Dungeons of Dread as PDFs. It'd make running adventures from the book much easier.)
Finally, I see Chris Perkins' name on the adventures. He's unquestionably fantastic and the adventures with his name as co-author have been really great. But, I also don't want the adventures to require such a high standard and oversight by great staff that the volume is so small. Even a few sidetreks or short adventures would vastly improve the value of the offering for me. They don't have to be top-level work or co-authored by top staff - just cool ideas we can take and run with. I would love to see more Map-Pack scenarios, more adventures using a single Dungeon Command set, more quick adventures that can be dropped into a specific campaign setting, etc.



My bad--at least for this issue. 

Although I wrote and designed the adventure, I did it based on Chris's ideas and specifications and didn't feel right taking credit for the whole thing. Chris also drew far better maps than the roughs I gave him to work with. It's not normally necessary to include the producer's name in the byline, but in this particular instance Chris's guidance was so essential to the project that I added it before my own. 
I love that guys like you and Shawn Merwin are so humble despite writing such great stuff!

I do still worry about the vital Wizards resources and do still want to see at least one more new adventure per issue of Dungeon.

Follow my blog and Twitter feed with Dark Sun campaign design and DM tips!
Dark Sun's Ashes of Athas Campaign is now available for home play (PM me with your e-mail to order the campaign adventures).

I understand completely.

And Shawn Merwin has a black belt in graciousness.