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Author Topic: Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?  (Read 3496 times)

Ulairi

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2018, 04:52:11 PM »
Quote from: Larsdangly;1034947
Whatever the reason, I think the spread of this style of adventure material has all but ruined the core population engaged in the hobby. If this is what you think D+D is, then you've basically resigned everyone at the table to passive roles, either spooning out or eating dollops of whatever 'story' you are all supposedly enjoying. It is so unlike the experience of actually playing D+D that I find it almost unrecognizable. But, in fairness to the current authors, we started sliding down this slope a long time ago, when TSR started re-formatting their adventure modules to include a block of text the DM was supposed to read at each room entry - a subtle little tweak on earlier game play that gets everyone conditioned to the idea that the module is in charge of the game instead of the players. There is a straight line from that boxed 'color' text to adventures in which the whole arc of play just follows along from one scripted event or encounter to another. And then, of course, you only get to 'enjoy' the adventure if you survive and 'win'. So, the rules of the game have to be adapted to make sure each character has a predictable and very high chance of surviving each encounter, which leads to another requirement that each character more or less 'resets' after each encounter, so the outcomes remain highly predictable. And here we are. If it weren't for the OSR and its close relatives, this hobby would be a big shit show right now.

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finarvyn

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2018, 05:31:59 PM »
Quote from: Larsdangly;1034947
Whatever the reason, I think the spread of this style of adventure material has all but ruined the core population engaged in the hobby.
I'm not sure that it's ruined the core as much as changed it, and change is always evaluated by each person as a good or bad thing. I played OD&D for maybe 20 years before I ran a "module" adventures on a regular basis (I don't count products like the City State of the Invincible Overlord, as it's more of a sandbox play area). My group at the time was really into a style which allowed us to improvise and "wing it" a lot, and we didn't need much prep time to run an adventure. And if we played a store-bought adventure it was usually something like the G-series modules which were very open-ended and allowed for characters to act in many ways to reach a conclusion to the storyline. Most of my sessions still run that way today.

On the other hand, there are many players who like a particular level of structure. They want a clear goal and a way to get there. Adventures run through Adventurer's League require a certain degree of uniformity in terms of encounters and style of presentation and rewards given at the end. It's a different style, designed to attract a different customer base.

As folks have noted, much of this is about money. WotC can't sell me more pads of graph paper and I already have as many rulebooks as I need in order to play my freestyle method of play. No real money to be made in that, unless they want to sell me official "D&D" pens and paper. What they can do, however, is offer a variety of adventures that folks might buy in the hopes of promoting the more structured style of play.

Overall, I think that the OSR has done a good job of bringing back a simpler style of rules for simpler types of adventures. I'm not sure that the stuff that WotC is selling is bad, only different. I know that when I watch players at my local game store playing in the AL adventures they seem to be having fun.
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Mistwell

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2018, 05:35:06 PM »
Quote from: Ulairi;1034899
I picked up "Into the Borderlands" today which is an homage to B1 and B2 and reading through it reminded me how much more useful the old modular adventure products were compared to what 5E is releasing. From my understanding, and I could be wrong because I quit buying the 5E product after the Timat adventures (which were two books) Prince of the Apocalypse. I know that Wizards is trying to do fewer books but what they are producing are a single book that takes parties from level 1 all the way to level 10+. When I got started we were buying the classic module model that may be a module for new groups (B1 and B2) or different modules for parties from 3-5 or 5-7, or what have you. This made my move to "sandbox" gaming so much easier because I could repurpose content from these modules and easily slot them in.

Is the market for the modular style adventures just not there anymore? Folks want the linear product that takes their group from beginning to the end?

One more thought for those folks look to get "Into the Borderlands" It's $50 and I wish it would have been a box set that had the modules printed in the original format.

Not that I think you're wrong, but you should also know they got MUCH MUCH better after Tiamat. Some of the more recent adventure books are excellent, and nothing like Tiamat. Indeed, a lot of the more recent ones are intentionally broken up to be more modular, and sandboxed.

And, as mentioned above, Tales from the Yawning Portal is just a bunch of entirely modular adventures from the past.  There is a rumor WOTC is planning another one of those, as it sold well and was well received.

KingCheops

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2018, 05:46:15 PM »
They actually have a very good spread of things right now.  There's the main "Storyline" as they call it for each year or "Season."  Tying into that is the Adventurer's League modular organized play style adventures (available for purchase if you don't play in the league).  They further added to that by starting the Guild Adept program where selected community members create official products for that season.  Based on Tomb of Annihilation that includes the full gamut of adventures, delves, encounters, classes, rules, spells, etc.  Then you have the DM's Guild where you can find anything and everything from the community the publishing of which is aided by Wotc/OBS.  Lastly you have the 3PP.

Their marketing strategy for all this has been remarkably integrated and rather innovative in the table top space.  Several of the seasons were actually written by 3PP and Guild Adepts and Adventurer's League content is often created by 3PP.  Dragon+ will often spotlight DM's Guild products as well as Guild Adept products.  And ALL of this ties into their online content delivery (DnD Beyond youtube and blogs, D&D youtube, the various recorded gaming shows, and the video games).

There are an absolute TON of adventures available for play ranging from free to expensive covering the entire gamut of quality.  Why would WotC want to publish these little modules with all their overhead and expensive writers when they can take a cut from DM's Guild community members writing decent stuff and cross promoting them in Dragon+.

In my personal opinion this is the absolute golden age of D&D content.

happyhermit

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2018, 05:50:01 PM »
Well I will say personally, getting me to buy anything other than a decent sized hardcover is like pulling teeth, I just don't like softcovers these days. Prior to 5e I barely ran any published adventures, basically just a few classics to give players a bit of that "shared experience" but we always preferred homebrew (still do). I have bought several of the 5e hardcover adventures though, and a very satisfied with them for my purposes (which means most of the content will not be run and is, certainly not all in the order presented). I have swiped a lot from SKT and CoS, TftYP is just a collection of modules. Most of them aren't actually very linear, even if run straight from the books, though apparently the first few were sound like they weren't great anyways.

For those who really want new modules they sell hundreds if not thousands on DMsGuild.

So, I doubt I'm typical but their strategy worked in my case, I doubt I would have bought more than a couple modules (if that) probably only a hardcover complilation like TftYP which I bought anyways. As is I bought several pricey hardcovers and I'm quite happy with them, even though I'm mostly running homebrew.

JeremyR

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2018, 05:51:04 PM »
I think it's one of the things they learned from the end of the TSR era (and even the d20 boom era).  Shorter modules have much less profit margin, require a lot of shelf space, and have a lot of churn, while bigger, more expensive hardbacks can stay on the shelves longer.

They probably won't maximize profits that way, but it's a way to make the most money with the least effort.
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estar

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2018, 06:05:10 PM »
It no different today than it was back in the late 70s. The first adventures sold like hotcakes. People combed Dragon Magazine and then later Dungeon. The main difference between the early 70s and late 70s was that due to the lack material everybody was forced to roll their own regardless of whether they liked or not.

If anything the situation is better today with numerous readily accessible alternatives to the model that Paizo and Wizards uses. Alternative formats for adventures. More variety of adventures. Even extensive how-tos on making everything on your own.

The first golden age was only that way because of scarcity. Today the second golden age is a result of people finally able to get the alternative out without having spend an arm and leg on capital costs. Or having to bow to the distributer and publishers that be.

Before me and the other people who worked on the Wilderlands boxed got into it the hexcrawl formatted setting was all but dead. But then over the years the bunch of other and other who were inspired to do their own thing brought back to life as another way of presenting a setting.

I don't care that the majority of settings are still formatted like they always been as travelogue. If that what floats their boat so be it. All I know that when it comes to the hexcrawl there is more variety today than ever before.

And that just one example out of many.

estar

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2018, 06:12:14 PM »
As for why the dominant format the way it is. The reason is simple. When Judges Guild show that pre-packaged adventures and setting sell what was on hand that was readily publishable? Tournament dungeons.

The keyed map followed by a numerical listing of locale contents with a intro section of special stuff and rules (like wandering monsters) are all straight out of the tournaments they ran for Origins, Gen Con and other conventions. They had to be that way so that hundreds of players were treated in a fair manner by dozens of referees running the event.

Which had nothing to do with what useful or needed for a campaign run for a bunch of friends at home. This is not the last time that organized play fucked up what the industry offered the players of the hobby.

One good thing about 5e is that organized play is separate from what they actually published. Instead of the home hobbyists being shoved whatever Wizards (and others) cooked up for organized play. It is the other way around. Just look on the DMs Guild and search for the various published official adventures and see all the supplemental material made for organized play. And how different it is from how the published book reads.

Abraxus

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2018, 06:48:57 PM »
I have not run any 5E modules as of yet. I have been singularly unimpressed with Paizo APs. I'm not asking for the APs to be written for a four person overly optimized group. As written even a minimally optmized group can defeat most if not all the creatures in a AP. Yes I can change them to suit my needs but I bought the APs to save prep time as a DM not lose prep time. That being said they will keep publishing them as long as they make money. With PF 2E they can re-release all the old APs as single hardcovers though it might anger their fanbase.

Robyo

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2018, 07:47:15 PM »
I have yet to buy any of the 5e adventures. The price is just too high, just for an adventure. Plus, I don't see my group sticking it out for 10+ levels of adventure pathism.

There's tons of OSR stuff out there that I can grab, for cheap or free, and run with. And besides (as it's been stated), converting older modules to 5e is really not that hard at all.

fearsomepirate

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2018, 08:26:11 PM »
I had fun playing Rise of Tiamat. I would have bought Yawning Portal, but I already had the originals and had converted most of them to 5e myself! Another thing about books is the slow release rate gives them staying power. It's much easier to remember the catalog when there are only a few books in it rather than hundreds of softcovers.

IMO the books are a better deal, too. $50 for a year of gaming...what would that get you, maybe 4 or 5 softcovers to take you through level 6?
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Steven Mitchell

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2018, 08:33:48 PM »
Quote from: Haffrung;1034934


2) A great many DMs today do not create their own material. They don't feel confident in it, they don't have the time - whatever. But where DMs used to fit modules into a homebrew campaign, many DMs today don't have a homebrew campaign to fit it into.


And on the flip side of that, anyone that creates their own material has alternatives, and the confidence to exercise them.  So they might not buy it even if you put something out for them.  I've been so irritated by the early WotC stuff and their insistence on the big "campaign in a hardback" format that it forced me to do my own thing with 5E.  Now that I've built up my own campaign world and supporting materials, I don't even bother to look at much of the DM Guild stuff.  Frankly, I look occasionally and read a few reviews to see if there is something I want, but always end up preferring my own things to theirs.

It's not really in their best interest to encourage people to be self sufficient.

fearsomepirate

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2018, 07:24:03 AM »
Why would you be irritated at them selling things if there's nothing you would buy?
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Steven Mitchell

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2018, 08:47:04 AM »
Quote from: fearsomepirate;1035033
Why would you be irritated at them selling things if there's nothing you would buy?

Emphasis added:

Quote
I've been so irritated by the early WotC stuff and their insistence on the big "campaign in a hardback" format that it forced me to do my own thing with 5E. Now ...

Haffrung

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Why did Wizards of the Coast move away from the modular adventures?
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2018, 11:47:05 AM »
Quote from: finarvyn;1034962
Overall, I think that the OSR has done a good job of bringing back a simpler style of rules for simpler types of adventures. I'm not sure that the stuff that WotC is selling is bad, only different. I know that when I watch players at my local game store playing in the AL adventures they seem to be having fun.

The other things the big books-in-a-campaign offer is a shared experience. Everyone who has gone through Out of the Abyss can share and compare their experiences with other gamers, whether it's IRL, or on Youtube channels, blogs, etc. Those shared experiences have always been an important part of the ecology of the D&D hobby.

And it should be noted that the WotC campaign books are way less scripted and railroaded than Paizo's adventure paths. So kudos to WotC for at least trying to encourage a setting-based, more sandboxy approach to play within their published campaigns.

Quote from: KingCheops;1034967

There are an absolute TON of adventures available for play ranging from free to expensive covering the entire gamut of quality.  Why would WotC want to publish these little modules with all their overhead and expensive writers when they can take a cut from DM's Guild community members writing decent stuff and cross promoting them in Dragon+.

In my personal opinion this is the absolute golden age of D&D content.

The thing WotC isn't providing is support for DMs who run their own settings and campaign worlds. The DMG includes a lot of good advice on creating a world and running your own homebrew campaign. But since they published the DMG, they've provided nothing. And I'm not talking about shorter adventure modules, which as  you point out, 3rd party publishers have covered. I'm talking about DM aids. Lairs, NPCs, organizations, inns, ships, caravans, mercenary groups, bandit gangs, wizard guilds, maps of ruins, support for exploring forests, deserts, or underwater. Stuff that inspires and takes the load off a DM running his own campaign. Because at this point, a DM has the choice of A) running an entire campaign in a book, or B) making up everything himself. I think a lot of DMs want something in the middle.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2018, 12:05:56 PM by Haffrung »