Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle Review

Note: this guy is known for being a pretty tough reviewer. He doesnt really pull punches. As a result, I think WOTC should be thrilled to death with this review. Even though there are plenty of negatives pointed out, for this to be in any way positive is a real victory for WOTC.

tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=2078



by Jeremy Crawford & Christopher Perkins
D&D Next/5E
WOTC
Levels 1-10


WOTC has done about as well as can expected with this adventure. It contains a lot of very very good content in it; a great number of good ideas and ‘advice through examples.’ It’s also a railroad with a whole of bad ideas thrown in … but maybe that a given these days, at least the railroad part anyway. I suspect the real goal of 5e/Next is to produce content that the entire range of D&D editions can use, as well as the Pathfinder crowd. I don’t think this product does that. But it is close … a lot closer than anything that has come before. It’s close enough that I’m keeping an open mind and will buy the next one.


(read the rest at the link above)



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Great read.

Makes me want the reviewer to re-write the adventure so I can buy it. 
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
Yep it's an accurate review! Also, it's four different adventures by different authors that was then stitched together. Might explain some of the railroad nature; that was added later.
good read, thx for posting. this part made me lol

That’s a real example, I’m not making it up. Every door description indicates it’s immune to poison. Come one guys, I know some asshat players somewhere is going to argue his poison should count for the damage done to a door. I know it. The DM should then punch that player in the face and that should be the end of it.

Very thorough review, thanks for posting! 
Yes, thank you for posting. 

Isn't every adventure a railroad? Unless you create a world, then present it to your characters as a sandbox, you railroad in some way. 
It depends on how pedantic you want to be in your definitions. There is certainly a spectrum with almost nothing appearing as an absolute at either end.

This product skews enough to the Railroad side for me to label it as such. "The best the adventurers can hope to do is gain Bob's trust" If the adventures had been structured more as a setting  with an opportunity for adventure and the real ability to defeat/hinder the plans of the wizards then it would have skewed to the other side ... and maybe even one of those two goals would have been enough for me to label it as such.

An excellent example of a a more open style, still containing adventure is Scourge of the Demon Wolf. It clearly has an adventure that should go a certain way but is structured in a way that allows the players to explore more ... or rather helps the DM if/when the players go off the rails. It's this marriage of styles that I would have hoped to see. That would have allowed the product to appeal to both gamers who want a more sandboxy setting and gamers that want a story.

I should also note that 'railroad' doesn't have to be a dirty word. I don't prefer it but I don't pretend that others don't also. Hopefully there's enough information in the review for you to decide if the product is what YOU are looking for, regardless of what my standards are.

Find a new Dungeoncrawl www.tenfootpole.org

Thanks for the comment Bryce, and keep up the good work at your site!
omg, I so much want this book now!


guess my only chance is throwing 200 bucks at ebay?

Cry   

My RPG Campaigns

 

I joke that D&D Next is what happens when, A Christmas Carol-like, 3rd & 4th edition's ghosts travel back in time to an evening near the end of AD&D 2E's life, and say "this is what is coming" and so AD&D 2E heads off in a different direction. So, it's like alt-reality AD&D 3rd, maybe?Cam Banks

 

omg, I so much want this book now!


guess my only chance is throwing 200 bucks at ebay?

Cry   

You can currently find it on ebay for $30-$90

www.ebay.com/bhp/dungeons-and-dragons-ca...

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

That magic shield sounds awesome and should be the way that magic items are presented in D&D going forward.
Tim Eagon My DDI Articles Follow me on Twitter @Tim_Eagon
That magic shield sounds awesome and should be the way that magic items are presented in D&D going forward.



No doubt
omg, I so much want this book now!


guess my only chance is throwing 200 bucks at ebay?

Cry   

You can currently find it on ebay for $30-$90

www.ebay.com/bhp/dungeons-and-dragons-ca...



I may or may not have all these auctions on my watchlist. My threshold is definitely below $80 but above $30... looks likely that some will go for below $70, but I'm waiting to see. Haven't quite figured out what I'm willing to pay for it, so I'm interested in seeing what the equilibrium will be. 
Just be patient. The first one listed went for over $100 but that should mellow out considerably and looks like it already has some. I came home with 5 copies myself waiting to be distributed amongst members of my gaming groups locally. The promo dice for the delve were also ridiculous intially with the first set I saw going for over $75.

It depends on how pedantic you want to be in your definitions. There is certainly a spectrum with almost nothing appearing as an absolute at either end.

This product skews enough to the Railroad side for me to label it as such. "The best the adventurers can hope to do is gain Bob's trust" 



I haven't actually seen this adventure, so I'm only going on what the reviewer said, but based on that my suggestion would have been for their to be 5 outcomes depending on how many keys (0 through 4) the adventurers recovered, with a different ending for each. Then make each key recovery an indepenent success/failure.

I.e., a railroad with five possible tracks.

"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk
I'm based in Europe, many don't ship to another continent, those that do charge a steep price...

WotC, sell me a pdf already! 

My RPG Campaigns

 

I joke that D&D Next is what happens when, A Christmas Carol-like, 3rd & 4th edition's ghosts travel back in time to an evening near the end of AD&D 2E's life, and say "this is what is coming" and so AD&D 2E heads off in a different direction. So, it's like alt-reality AD&D 3rd, maybe?Cam Banks

 

omg, I so much want this book now!


guess my only chance is throwing 200 bucks at ebay?

Cry   

You can currently find it on ebay for $30-$90

www.ebay.com/bhp/dungeons-and-dragons-ca...



I'd wait a few months.  Give it a chance for the hype to die down, and for people to play it and relist it on ebay.
It depends on how pedantic you want to be in your definitions. There is certainly a spectrum with almost nothing appearing as an absolute at either end.

This product skews enough to the Railroad side for me to label it as such. "The best the adventurers can hope to do is gain Bob's trust" 



I haven't actually seen this adventure, so I'm only going on what the reviewer said, but based on that my suggestion would have been for their to be 5 outcomes depending on how many keys (0 through 4) the adventurers recovered, with a different ending for each. Then make each key recovery an indepenent success/failure.

I.e., a railroad with five possible tracks.




The guy you quoted is the reviewer.
It depends on how pedantic you want to be in your definitions. There is certainly a spectrum with almost nothing appearing as an absolute at either end.

This product skews enough to the Railroad side for me to label it as such. "The best the adventurers can hope to do is gain Bob's trust" 



I haven't actually seen this adventure, so I'm only going on what the reviewer said, but based on that my suggestion would have been for their to be 5 outcomes depending on how many keys (0 through 4) the adventurers recovered, with a different ending for each. Then make each key recovery an indepenent success/failure.

I.e., a railroad with five possible tracks.




The guy you quoted is the reviewer.



Oh, I didn't pick up on that.  Doesn't change anything, though, except maybe I would replace some pronouns.
"Therefore, you are the crapper, I'm merely the vessel through which you crap." -- akaddk

I haven't actually seen this adventure, so I'm only going on what the reviewer said, but based on that my suggestion would have been for their to be 5 outcomes depending on how many keys (0 through 4) the adventurers recovered, with a different ending for each. Then make each key recovery an indepenent success/failure.
I.e., a railroad with five possible tracks.



Generally I agree with your approach. I suspect that in this case WOTC can't do that. I suspect that this adventure, and Murder in Baldur's Gate, and every other adventure released between now and the official 5e launch, are going to be somehow linked together to form some grand story that ends with blah blah blah Farun blah blah blah Ao blah blah bah the release of 5e. So they HAVE to get all the keys. Otherwise, Yes, your plan would have been much better. 

It also would have been nice if this were more of a setting with the people and places detailed instead of 4 sequential adventures. That would have made is much easier to adapt for ALL play styles, and then your throw in your Hydra Railroad concept and you've got a REALLY nice adventure.  

Find a new Dungeoncrawl www.tenfootpole.org

Very interesting review, thanks for posting it. I havent read the module but think i have a sense of it now.

Disappointed about the railroad aspect, that is just terrible, the baddies will get the keys no matter what the party does. And NPC who cannot die or derail the plot ....  i LOATHE that kind of module. It's the number 1 no no for me and i would end up changing those parts of it, somehow... if possible..  its just a real pain.

But the remainder sounds really good. I dont mind waffle about history, motivations etc. I will only read that once, and who knows i might be able to use it somehow. The magic items sound excellent. Wandering monsters cool. Agree that stupid stuff like "door immune to poison" is useless filler.

Hopefully once 5e comes out they can go more sandboxy without needing to worry about the Sundering garbage, and start churning out some really great flexible adventures.