Dnd Modules - Boring?

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So I have been playing Dnd for a very long time - at many local game shops, and just around the neighborhood with friends. I tend to play with pre-created modules in order to save time. When I DM, which I tend to do, it takes me a lot of effort to make the pre-created Dnd modules "come alive." I find these modules to be dull, and boring, with a typical story, and not much text for the DM to say. There also is a lack of important choices, and riddles, and tricks which have serious consequences.

So my question is a two-parter:

1. Does anyone agree with this? Does anyone feel that pre-mad Dnd modules are dull, and perhaps WOTC should work on making them more involved and exciting? 

2. Do you know of any pre-made modules which are exciting in this way? With tough decisions and riddles and the like?

Thanks.
 
There are a WIDE variety of modules available from different sources. They have a vast range of quality and different ones emphasize different styles of play too. There are many that are considered high quality, but it is impossible for us to say which ones you will find to your taste. That being said there are some general observations:

A lot of the low-cost 3PP stuff you can get online in places like Drive Thru are probably not going to be that great. There are some gems in there, a lot of cheap/free mediocre stuff, and a lot that is pure dreck. If you look at the more professional stuff you're likely to find a higher ratio of at least decent material, though even the best of the pros won't produce material that you like everytime. Sometimes they even lay some eggs. Different publishers have their own styles too.

All that being said: Paizo is generally acknowledged to be producing a lot of good adventures these days. They write for their own Pathfinder system, but it is just 3.5 with some hacks. The upshot being they are pretty classic D&D material and can be ported to 4e or AD&D etc without a lot of trouble. They don't make 4e adventures though, sadly. Other people do though. Kobold Press/Wolfgang Baur has done a lot of good stuff, much of it is sponsored material, so you can buy in, help write the adventure/setting/whatever, and get a copy of the results. A few other people have also started using kickstarter. Amongst free stuff many people have enjoyed Fourth Core adventures (super ridiculously deadly, but amusing). A lot of the adventures available in DDI are good solid material. I'd say with DDI that the quality of adventures has generally gone up with time. WotC published adventures have also steadily improved over time. The 9 HPE modules published with the release of 4e were frankly dull with a few interesting bits here and there. Later adventures, like the ones published in the Essentials material, and things like Gardmore Abbey are pretty good to excellent.

In general I personally like to just make up my own adventures. I think its more fun to come up with things that I know the players I run for will like and that will play to my strengths as a DM. Modules are never quite as good in that sense, but the best ones do have some good plotting, challenges, etc in them.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Thanks for the response! I'll try creating my own adventure if I have the time.
I'm not a huge fan of premade adventures, not because they're boring, but because they tend to be a little too linear for my liking, or on the flip side with things like Caves of Chaos they're so sand boxey they're basically just a setting more than an actual premade adventure, which itself is kind of neat.

I personally prefer to always write my own adventures so that I can write for my players and for their characters. I always make sure to include little story arcs for every character so everyone gets a turn in the spot light and gets to fee like THE hero. Modules don't usually allow for that sort of personal intimate story telling, though with a little work, and some help from your players I'm sure you could do it.

The premade modules I enjoy the most are the ones that are the most unique. They have some unique setting, or bad guy, or hook or something. Something that makes them really stand out from basically the whole of LFR's sort of samey cookie cutter modules.
I think you'll find that a lot of early D&D modules which are considered beloved and classics also were hacked a lot by the DMs who ran them. Even Paizo's Gamemastery modules and compaigns have a lot of railroady elements, because it is very hard to write a coherant storyline within having Point A to Point B.

There are sandbox-style 4E modules which are very good, but require more work from the DM. Gardmore Abbey and Slaying Stone are two which come to mind. Hammerfast and Vor Rokoth are setting books with tons of story hooks, but it is up to the DM to create an adventure/story out of them.
Yeah, I think the main thing is that writing modules has certain inevitable limitations. They are always a bit railroady because customers want to get their money's worth, so having a module you can finish and leave most of the material unused don't make a lot of sense. There are some 'sandbox' adventures, but in general they are restricted enough in scope that the party will hit just about every part of the adventure anyway. Techniques exist to try to avoid these sorts of issues, but they aren't easy to implement and frankly a lot of groups would rather run a very linear sort of adventure. A lot of the 'old classics' are BASICALLY railroads with some sandbox elements. For instance the 'G' modules are very set piece, but there are plenty of tactical choices, you can enter each lair a couple different ways, and take out the various encounter areas in different orders.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Modules are bound to be relatively linear by their nature. Good ones can anticipate (or even encourage) certain degrees of variance, but at the end of the day it all has to go on a "track" from beginning to middle to end. It's just a limitation of having certain things set in stone ahead of time.

That said, they can still be enjoyable and most can serve as the 'base' for a much better story if you're willing to take the time and effort to flesh them out and adjust them for your group.
I'm not a lawyer, I just play one on TV.


2. Do you know of any pre-made modules which are exciting in this way? With tough decisions and riddles and the like?

 



I've heard a lot of good things about the module Court of the Shadowfey. It's not made by Wizards, if I understand correctly, and can be bought at DrivethruRPG: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/82368/Courts-of-the-Shadow-Fey?term=Court+of+the



Tomb of the Sand King's Daughter is a really awesome epic tier 4e adventure, my party is currently having an utter blast going through it. I made a few mods to fight the theme of my campaign, but all the basics are there.
Does anyone feel that pre-mad Dnd modules are dull

Yup, many of the purchaseable 4e adventures unfortunately were. That said, WotC's free adventures (Encounters and especially Lair Assaults) were surprisingly good if used in a home campaign.

2. Do you know of any pre-made modules which are exciting

I'm partial to the LFR adventures. I like them much better (plus there are hundreds, they're free, and official). I also like the adventure that came with the Red-box, and I've heard good things about Gardmore Abbey.



2. Do you know of any pre-made modules which are exciting in this way? With tough decisions and riddles and the like?

 



I've heard a lot of good things about the module Court of the Shadowfey. It's not made by Wizards, if I understand correctly, and can be bought at DrivethruRPG: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/82368/Courts-of-the-Shadow-Fey?term=Court+of+the




yeah, I was a sponsor on that, its a good sandbox with some fun sidequests and a nice little mini-game. I will say this though, it is a tricky module to run! Like any really story-heavy module you have to study it carefully, make some notes, and be prepared to wing it when the players take a left turn.
That is not dead which may eternal lie
Tomb of the Sand King's Daughter is a really awesome epic tier 4e adventure, my party is currently having an utter blast going through it. I made a few mods to fight the theme of my campaign, but all the basics are there.



I've run another adventure by this author and it was also really good. It was a Heroic Tier adventure and it had a bit of a mystery/paranoia feel to it. And it also had some room for me to insert my own narrative into it. Good stuff. It was called The Last Breaths of Ashenporte.
Tomb of the Sand King's Daughter is a really awesome epic tier 4e adventure, my party is currently having an utter blast going through it. I made a few mods to fight the theme of my campaign, but all the basics are there.



I've run another adventure by this author and it was also really good. It was a Heroic Tier adventure and it had a bit of a mystery/paranoia feel to it. And it also had some room for me to insert my own narrative into it. Good stuff. It was called The Last Breaths of Ashenporte.



Last Breaths of Ashenport was AMAZING. I ran that a few years ago for my group, and they enjoyed it.
So many PCs, so little time...
We had fun with Ashenport. I blended it into a larger campaign. There are lots of good RP opportunities, and if you are a Lovecraft fan you will really enjoy it. My only suggestions are to up the monsters to MM3 power levels, and to drop a few of the less important encounters to make it slightly less grindy at points. If you want to just tweak the monsters on the fly without having to individually edit them, you can do so easily with a couple of tips: frothsof4e.blogspot.com/2012/03/quick-fi...
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