Feelings about Published Adventures

36 posts / 0 new
Last post
I just wanted to try and get a quick idea of how people are feeling about WotC's published adventures that are planned. I've pre-ordered H1-3, but I'm a lot more reluctant to pre-order P1 and P2 for vague general reasons.

What's everyone else's plans in regards to these?

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

I have not pre-ordered anything.
I am White/Black
I am White/Black
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.
I'm both orderly and selfish. I act mostly for my own benefit, but I respect and help my community - Specially when it helps me. At best, I'm loyal and dedicated; at worst, I'm elitist and shrewd.
 The Best in Gaming!
I've pre-ordered H1 for two reasons. First, it'll give my group an opportunity to start becoming familiar with the rules for a few sessions before the core rulebooks come out. Secondly, I'll see how it's formatted (stat blocks and such), which will provide a baseline for writing my own adventures.

Unless I'm totally swept away by H1, I don't foresee buying any other modules, and will probably abandon the pre-gen characters and adventure, in favor of my own, long before reaching the end.
I haven't pre-ordered any of the adventures yet, but I do intend to purchase H1 in hopes that it will mean I'll be able to start playing 4th sooner.

If it is even 1/2 as enjoyable as the Expedition to... series has been, then I will probably be buying any and all published adventures that WotC presents.

I usually make up my own adventures, but it is nice to have some around to gain inspiration from or to simply "toss in" when I'm a little short on planning time or ideas

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

I have pre-ordered H1 for the same reason as TragicMagic.

However, I doubt I'll be continuing the series. I expect to be homebrewing my own adventures instead.
Bought and paid for already. Woot...4E's at the printers too.:D
I wanted to throw a bit more into this thread since I think my late-night "post before you forget" idea is a little thin.

In the last 6 months or so I've come to realize that I'm not actually that great at writing adventures. I can be, but I don't have the time to devote to making *great* adventures, or even entirely good adventures. Passible, I suppose.

Part of this came from prepping my 4e campaign, going back through old notes and whatnot and realizing that good stories were in there, good settings, but the adventures themselves were kinda on the bad side. This mingled with experiences as a player where we ran through a few pre-written adventures amidst the usual homebrew and I started to wise on to the fact that hombrew does not inherently equal good, and began to feel that Homebrew has been set up by the community as a kind of Holy Grail of "real D&D".

On the other side from that was coming to the boards and seeing people talk about Temple of Elemental Evil, Keep on the Borderlands, Undermountain, and other iconic adventures that have effectively entered the communal language of "what D&D is" but they're all adventures that I've never played.

Last little factor is that any given pre-written adventure probably won't be any worse than what I would probably write, and still saves me a lot of time.

In that regard this topic really isn't about "who's pre-ordering" as it is about general feelings towards the pre-written campaigns: who's planning on getting them and for what purpose, what are the pros and cons of pre-builts, and is it a good idea that WotC is trying to shape the GSL for the express purpose of encouraging more adventure writing?

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

I've never been able to run a pregen adventure, my world never have standerd races or culture so they have never really fit in.

Since I wouldn't touch the PoL concept with an 11' 1/2'' pole and what I'm writing for my 4E setting I am thinking it might stay with way.
Even though my setting keeps to the PoL idea and a little bit of the cosmology my setting is still to far-out there for anything but adventure modules that somehow were made just for my setting.

I also, while I do run my games through "episodes" (normally 2-3 sessions per episode) which have their own minor plotlines and could branch out into more major plotlines later on in the campaign. I still have a main plotline that I follow from start to finish (it just doesn't come up every episode) so adventure modules that deviate to greatly from that plot don't work.

That being said if I was playing a basic PoL 4e game I would look into it.
I tend to run premade adventures by now, since there is plenty of leeway in them anyway. Of course, I mostly run adventures for 1/2 ed, so there is plenty of reworking to do :D

I preordered H1-3, then dropped H2-3, and now I readded them and added P1 as well. Let's see where I end up in the end ;)
I've preordered the big three, but imma wait until H1 is released and buy if from my F(not so)LGS when it comes out, gotta support the only game store within 50 miles, ya' know!
gotta support the only game store within 50 miles, ya' know!

Quoted for Truth.. (I do buy other stuff from there - miniatures, books and boardgames, really) :embarrass
Quoted for Truth.. (I do buy other stuff from there - miniatures, books and boardgames, really) :embarrass

I would have waited to buy the big three from them as well, but I just couldn't turn down the ~30% discount Amazon had to offer.

I just bought a box of minis yesterday and some dice to help pad my crown royal bag o' dice.
I am going to "pre-order" it with my local gaming shop. Unlike most of the group I game with, I enjoy reading through and using the pre-written adventures. So I'll end up getting all of them to read through and use bits and pieces as I go. H1 will also be our sneak peak that I will play test with our other DM to check out the new system.
Great thread LFK!

I have bought alot of WoTC published adventures, but always feel they start with an interesting premise and then degenerate into a pretty mindless dungeon-crawl e.g. Speaker in Dreams. That could have been a wonderful adventure if it had had a greater depth of story. The problem with all modern published adventures is that the NPCs are pretty cardboard for me. Talking of cardboard, the production values of adventures has always been the lowest versus other products. This said, the big campaigns like Mysteries of the Moonsea and others were better. Yet I have to confess, despite owning almost all the WoTC adventures, I have never actually RUN any of them, despite DMing all through the 3.5E period.

I do have some 3rd party adventures, from Necromancer and FFG, and I feel they are very inferior to WoTC products and some are very short. Their production values (layout and artwork) tend to be pretty ordinary and the stories are sometimes so lame. I only have three from the early part of 3E release and so can't comment on the later releases. I know Necromancer came out with some great stuff latterly.

I was very surprised to discover this about most 3.5 E published adventures, since many 1e adventures were great (though just as many really weren't), if a little screwball, but it turns out that from a financial viewpoint, adventures aren't very profitable for WoTC and hence they don't spend much time on them; they simply don't sell that well (I have heard this repeated by industry insiders on the EN World boards many times; don't know if it is true).

I suppose the problem is, as this thread has exposed, alot of people create their own unique settings and adventures, and so many people don't actually buy adventures because they can't convert them. I must confess that I don't really understand why adventures don't sell.
I wanted to throw a bit more into this thread since I think my late-night "post before you forget" idea is a little thin.

In the last 6 months or so I've come to realize that I'm not actually that great at writing adventures. I can be, but I don't have the time to devote to making *great* adventures, or even entirely good adventures. Passible, I suppose.

Part of this came from prepping my 4e campaign, going back through old notes and whatnot and realizing that good stories were in there, good settings, but the adventures themselves were kinda on the bad side. This mingled with experiences as a player where we ran through a few pre-written adventures amidst the usual homebrew and I started to wise on to the fact that hombrew does not inherently equal good, and began to feel that Homebrew has been set up by the community as a kind of Holy Grail of "real D&D".

On the other side from that was coming to the boards and seeing people talk about Temple of Elemental Evil, Keep on the Borderlands, Undermountain, and other iconic adventures that have effectively entered the communal language of "what D&D is" but they're all adventures that I've never played.

Last little factor is that any given pre-written adventure probably won't be any worse than what I would probably write, and still saves me a lot of time.

In that regard this topic really isn't about "who's pre-ordering" as it is about general feelings towards the pre-written campaigns: who's planning on getting them and for what purpose, what are the pros and cons of pre-builts, and is it a good idea that WotC is trying to shape the GSL for the express purpose of encouraging more adventure writing?

I think that pre-written adventure modules are handy for new DMs and for new editions. My groups first campaign will probably start with the WoTC adventure modules while we familiarize ourselves with the new rules, before branching out into home-brewed content.

We do run our own home-brewed world, but our group is more into the Fritz Lieber, Robert E. Howard style of fantasy than Robert Jordan epics, so it's really just an open sandbox with a few dangling plot threads that exist as adventure hooks for PC's. Our world is no more "real D&D" than Forgotten Realms, Eberron, Starjammer, or some other groups home-brew world.

The only advice that I really have to impart about writing good adventures is A) Let the players drive the plot, don't let the plot drive the players; and B) Give the PC's something to do besides kill and loot. Give them a mystery to solve, or a few cool riddles and puzzles, or a rapidly crumbling tower from which to escape, or a volcano god to appease, whatever. The key is throwing in a little variety, because kill, loot, repeat gets monotonous after a while. Oh, and a little absurdity here and there never hurts either:D
I am probably going to pick up H1 as an inexpensive 'proof of concept' for 4e before I decide whether to drop the cash on the three main books. After that, though, I probably won't buy any of the other adventures unless I see them at the bookstore and am totally swept away by them. I generally prefer to write my own adventures and only use published ones when I am either having a bad case of "DMs Block" or the adventure just sounds too good to pass up.
I just wanted to try and get a quick idea of how people are feeling about WotC's published adventures that are planned. I've pre-ordered H1-3, but I'm a lot more reluctant to pre-order P1 and P2 for vague general reasons.

What's everyone else's plans in regards to these?

Definitely plan on getting H1; I'm hoping that if H1 - H3 can all work pretty well in the new FRCS, that this could be the backdrop for a 4E campaign sometime in the fall.
I will get H1 and H2 for ideas and possibly for running if the stories are good. I find that premade adventures are useful for ideas and encounters that I can pull for my own adventures even if the whole module does not work for my campaign. That really assists me with the campaigns I run.

I still pull ideas out of the old Book of Lairs books that I own, as well many other 1st and 2nd edition modules.

For play testing 4e I am going to rework the Forge of Fury, replacing Orcs with Kobolds. I think overall it will work fine and there is enough information available now to do it with a few modifications.
I will most likely preorder H1. If I like it, I'll get the others. Even with the adventure being designed for premade characters, I will probably let my players make their own characters based on the rules in H1 and the previews online. They can be fixed after the PHB comes out.
Thanks for bringing this up. I'd been wanting to run a 4e game when I went to Akon with a few friends in Dallas, but that's the early part of June and I doubt that I'll get my copies of the big 3 before then. However, I could get the preview adventures well before then. Thanks for the thread!
Great post. I LOVE published adventures. At one time, I owned every Basic D&D module. I just think they are great reads, even if you never use them.

That said, I'm planning on DMing for 4E and have pre-ordered every WoTC adventure listed on Amazon (where are you "Demon Queen's Enclave"?!). I'm planning on basing my entire campaign on them and filling in the gaps in between levels. I have no doubt that they will be 10 times more creative and better put together than I could ever accomplish - that's if I even had the time to try!

I hope they continue pumping them out on a regular basis, even after this particular "path" is completed (presumably with E3). Hopefully they'll start a new path right after that (H4?) so I can start up a new campaign !
Published adventures are sure handy when you don't have the time to come up with something yourself. I've found with homebrew modules, though, that it's better to sketch out a few basic ideas and just make it up as you go along. Adventurers never follow the path you intend for them, and it's nearly impossible to pre-generate all the potential other paths they could take.

That said, I find that I don't much care for the sort of fantasy world presented in most published materials these days. You know: where there's a magic shop in every village, various humanoid species and fantastic beasts mingle freely without raising an eyebrow, spellcasters outnumber farmers, and although there are people with noble titles, civic governments are democracies with public police forces.

I prefer my fantasy in the mould of Conan, Middle-Earth, Lankhamar, or Bulfinch's Mythology. Where magic & monsters are wonderous & mysterious instead of commonplace, and where some semblance of historic social structures prevail. I seem to be in the minority, though, based on listening to other gamers, and seeing what published materials are available.
I haven't preordered anything, but I'm looking forward to it all. I haven't DMed in years, and I missed out on 3rd Ed, so I need to be shown how it's done before I start making up my own stuff again.
I have not pre-ordered, but I plan to buy the first one for review. I prefer pre-made adventures, often buying from Paizo in the past. I sadly just don't have time to flush out a full adventure myself and my gaming audience is luckily young enough that their world really doesn't have to have a long tedious plot and logical connection between adventures!

"Virtus junxit, mors non separabit."  

I've preordered the big 3 but I'd like to buy H1 and possibly more... the only difference is I want to buy them and give them to someone else to DM with. I really need to find a good local DM to support. :D
I preordered H1 through my local FLGS so that my group can play test the new 4e rules system. I won't order any of the other adventures. For the most part I make up my own, but by no means do I ignore the published adventures. If the first adventure was a lot of fun, I will consider getting the whole series but beyond that, I don't know. I'll probably look at the modules at Barnes and Noble when they come out before deciding anything.

I have preordered the core 3 books from Amazon, couldn't pass up the deal. I'll probably get one or two of the other books that are coming out later this year if the system looks good and plays well. (Tome of Treasure and perhaps Manual of the Planes.) beyond that is well, fluid...
Thanks for the replies. I wanted to drop this chunk of text in here. I wrote it in another thread on the Concerns and Criticisms board and felt that it was pertinent here as well.

I'm tickled that WotC is publishing adventures again because if they can get more and more groups to stop chasing the Holy Grail of homebrew (I have nothing against homebrew, hand off that "quote" button) then Wizards will see regular revenue from Adventure sales that will allow them to take more time with rules supplements. It also means that 3rd party publishers making Adventures see an increase in sales as general demand for adventures goes up. Basically everyone wins. This is why I've already pre-ordered H1-3, literally putting my money where my mouth is and supporting a (in my mind) superior business model. That all ties into one more point.

The DM thing. Probably the biggest change that 4e is promising and so far delivering (I've been running tests with the preview material as much as possible) is a reduction in terms of DM 'server load.' DMing a 1st level 4e Adventure doesn't feel like DMing, it feels like playing the game. Since 1e D&D has actively promoted a segregation between DMs and Players, encouraging DMs to keep the DMG away from Players and advocating changing the rules on the fly specifically to counter Players who may have read the DMG. If 4e can do anything to take the elitism out of "being a DM" then it will expand/regenerate/whatever the hobby. If lapsed players, perhaps "lacking a DM", hear that word on the street is that 4e is Fun, Easy to DM, and has some great time saving pre-built Adventures out there then there's a reasonable chance that they (who many not even be spending money on RPGs at all) say "hey, I can be the DM" and come back to the hobby, bringing along some fresh blood with them.

The solution to "the people who normally run tables" not switching is to equip new people to run tables.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

"I'm tickled that WotC is publishing adventures again because if they can get more and more groups to stop chasing the Holy Grail of homebrew (I have nothing against homebrew, hand off that "quote" button) then Wizards will see regular revenue from Adventure sales that will allow them to take more time with rules supplements."

I agree completely. I have nothing against homebrew either, its just that I find it makes much more sense to leave a lot of the story and crunch to the professionals. WoTC (and 3rd parties) can write "scene one" for me by publishing adventures. The players (and to some extent, dice!) get to effectively write "scenes two and three."

I have some cool ideas for adventures, but to think I could flesh it all out and make it flow as well as "the pros" - without spending weeks on it - is a little unrealistic. Bring on the MODULES!!
I have pre-ordered H1-3 and plan to run them at the library I work at. I will promoting them as a way to check out the new edition. I tend to get support for these evens from my FLGS that does not have room to run such events. So he tends to donate things and I hand out his business cards...
I have pre-ordered H1-3 and plan to run them at the library I work at. I will promoting them as a way to check out the new edition. I tend to get support for these evens from my FLGS that does not have room to run such events. So he tends to donate things and I hand out his business cards...

That's a great idea. I wonder if the nearby, all-too-under-used Library would let me do similar... but at the same time I live in a city with a couple sizable game stores so I'd probably be using my own personal materials and doing it all out of the goodness of my heart.

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial,
who, squatting upon the ground,
held his heart in his hands, and ate of it.
I said, "is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter – bitter," he answered;
"but I like it,
"beacuase it is bitter,
"and because it is my heart."

That's a great idea. I wonder if the nearby, all-too-under-used Library would let me do similar... but at the same time I live in a city with a couple sizable game stores so I'd probably be using my own personal materials and doing it all out of the goodness of my heart.

Well if the "couple of sizable game stores" are doing game days you could do the games there. You don't want to step on their toes.
I've preordered H1 and will decide on the other adventures based on the results of our playtest, i.e. based on the decision wether to switch to 4e or remain with 3.5e for the time being.

I heavily use - and really love - published adventures. Which does not mean that the payers would necessarily recognize it when they would read the adventure after having played it.

My style is rather improvisational during each session, so things don't exactly run as planned by the author. After a session I decide wether I a want and how to steer the play back to a certain plot point in the adventure.

The result is a rather free play which nevertheless adhers to the basic plot of the adventure. Basically I use the plot and a few/several/many/most of the encounters.

I've learned that my own adventures tend to be logical and consistent, but often a bit stale, without the crucial twists and turns which make a good story.

---
Huldvoll

Baron von Bomberg

Huldvoll

 

---Baron von Bomberg

 

Former DDI subscriber

Great thread LFK!

I have bought alot of WoTC published adventures, but always feel they start with an interesting premise and then degenerate into a pretty mindless dungeon-crawl e.g. Speaker in Dreams. That could have been a wonderful adventure if it had had a greater depth of story. The problem with all modern published adventures is that the NPCs are pretty cardboard for me. Talking of cardboard, the production values of adventures has always been the lowest versus other products. This said, the big campaigns like Mysteries of the Moonsea and others were better. Yet I have to confess, despite owning almost all the WoTC adventures, I have never actually RUN any of them, despite DMing all through the 3.5E period.

I do have some 3rd party adventures, from Necromancer and FFG, and I feel they are very inferior to WoTC products and some are very short. Their production values (layout and artwork) tend to be pretty ordinary and the stories are sometimes so lame. I only have three from the early part of 3E release and so can't comment on the later releases. I know Necromancer came out with some great stuff latterly.

I was very surprised to discover this about most 3.5 E published adventures, since many 1e adventures were great (though just as many really weren't), if a little screwball, but it turns out that from a financial viewpoint, adventures aren't very profitable for WoTC and hence they don't spend much time on them; they simply don't sell that well (I have heard this repeated by industry insiders on the EN World boards many times; don't know if it is true).

I suppose the problem is, as this thread has exposed, alot of people create their own unique settings and adventures, and so many people don't actually buy adventures because they can't convert them. I must confess that I don't really understand why adventures don't sell.

I wanted to throw a bit more into this thread since I think my late-night "post before you forget" idea is a little thin.

In the last 6 months or so I've come to realize that I'm not actually that great at writing adventures. I can be, but I don't have the time to devote to making *great* adventures, or even entirely good adventures. Passible, I suppose.

Part of this came from prepping my 4e campaign, going back through old notes and whatnot and realizing that good stories were in there, good settings, but the adventures themselves were kinda on the bad side. This mingled with experiences as a player where we ran through a few pre-written adventures amidst the usual homebrew and I started to wise on to the fact that hombrew does not inherently equal good, and began to feel that Homebrew has been set up by the community as a kind of Holy Grail of "real D&D".

On the other side from that was coming to the boards and seeing people talk about Temple of Elemental Evil, Keep on the Borderlands, Undermountain, and other iconic adventures that have effectively entered the communal language of "what D&D is" but they're all adventures that I've never played.

Last little factor is that any given pre-written adventure probably won't be any worse than what I would probably write, and still saves me a lot of time.

In that regard this topic really isn't about "who's pre-ordering" as it is about general feelings towards the pre-written campaigns: who's planning on getting them and for what purpose, what are the pros and cons of pre-builts, and is it a good idea that WotC is trying to shape the GSL for the express purpose of encouraging more adventure writing?

The thing you have to understand about published adventures is that for every fantastic adventure that WotC or any one else publishes, there are probably nine others that kind of suck in comparison. This is nothing new or unique to adventures either, the same goes for novels, movies, games, and any other creative material.

The thing about the "Iconic" adventures is that they've been around long enough to distinguish themselves from the other 9 out of 10 that get chucked in the back of the closet and sealed away with the most powerful magics at the DM's disposal. The Iconic adventures on the other hand have proven that they were not only fun the first time, but that they could be fun a second time, and a third time, and so on. This is an extremely rare quality.

This doesn't mean that you can't have fun with the other 9 out of 10. On the contrary, someone somewhere thought it was a good idea and you might too; it just doesn't measure up in terms of replayability.

The other thing is that the DM running the adventure has a great deal to do with the fun involved. The first time I did Undermountain as a player, the adventure sucked, royally. The thing you have to understand is that, as written, Undermountain is basically empty (while this isn't true of most adventures it was a major factor in this case). Undermountain was written with a great deal of leeway for the DM, which is a good thing unless the DM opts not to do anything with it (like mine did).

The audience is another key component. On several occasions I've shooed away my players after an adventure that I though was kind of lame but it turns out that my wife enjoyed it (it's the same with the others, but I don't get as many opportunities to interview them about it). The thing is that they are all different and have different ideas about what is and isn't fun. What's important is that they keep coming back.

As for your own adventures being lackluster, I've also noticed the same thing with my own adventures. Sometimes I'll run one that is just…awesome; most of the time my adventures can be classified as "meh". Let me clue you in on a little secret:

ALL DUNGEON MASTERS SUCK!

I'd wager that this statement is true about 90% of the time. People say "a good DM…" and finish with their own values but the fact of the matter is that no human being can be a good DM all of the time. Human beings are fallible, horribly inconstant beings.

The good news is that DMing is a skill not. Like any other skill, talent only takes you so far, the rest is practice and patience. If you think there is room for you to improve (and you had better, this is the only thing I can think of that is true of everyone at all times) the solution is really quite simple. You only have to do two things: First, ask your players questions (what did you like; what didn't you like; et cetera). Second, listen to what they say. You don't have to implement all of their suggestions, but it is important to understand what they consider fun. The real trick is playing to that information without compromising what makes it fun for you.

The important thing to remember is that any time you add a source of creativity and independent thought to the table you are also adding another variable to whether or not the adventure is a good adventure. In the end, it doesn't matter a great deal whether it's your own adventure or someone elses. If it turns out to be fun, great; if not, then you need to figure out why and correct the problem in the future.

Sorry about dropping an essay on you. For the record I intend to purchase H1-H3, whether I end up using them or not. I like having access to other people's work. I believe it's helpful to me to see other people's approaches to what is fundamentally the same problem.
I just wanted to try and get a quick idea of how people are feeling about WotC's published adventures that are planned. I've pre-ordered H1-3, but I'm a lot more reluctant to pre-order P1 and P2 for vague general reasons.

What's everyone else's plans in regards to these?

If they're of the same quality as what we've seen on D&DI and WotC's 3rd edition adventures, I will skip them.
The thing you have to understand about published adventures is that for every fantastic adventure that WotC or any one else publishes, there are probably nine others that kind of suck in comparison. This is nothing new or unique to adventures either, the same goes for novels, movies, games, and any other creative material.

...

This doesn't mean that you can't have fun with the other 9 out of 10. On the contrary, someone somewhere thought it was a good idea and you might too; it just doesn't measure up in terms of replayability.

Good post. I bolded the key terms there. The thing is, those 9 that kind of suck in comparison to the fantastic adventures are still probably better than anything I could every come up with. They may not be "iconic" adventures, but they're all time-savers. And if they are relatively cheap and easy to follow, then I'm sold.

As an example, back in the day we played through B9-Castle Caldwell and Beyond (its currently my avatar on TOS :D ). If I remember correctly, it had about 5 adventures in it. From what I can gather, it is not a very well thought-of module. But we had a good time with it, and my DM didn't have to do a heck of a lot to run it. Surely its not an iconic adventure, but it was plenty good enough.

If between H1-H3, P1-P3, and E1-E3 we get one iconic adventure, and 8 "serviceable" ones, I'll be a happy guy. That's not to say I wouldn't welcome more than one fantastic module...;)
Sign In to post comments