In Search of Adventure

As much as I love 5th edition, I do wish the WotC would release short adventure modules as they and TSR did from the late 1970s until the late 2000s.

While I do have plenty of classic adventures that I can easily convert to 5th edition, it would be great to see something new get released.  At the same time, it would be awesome if they also re-released classic adventures, in pdf format, that are statted out for 5th edition.  

My informal method of converting AD&D adventures is to start by dividing all treasures’ value by 8 to get its 5th edition value.  For monsters, I pretty much use their 5th edition counterparts (when available) or substitute level appropriate creatures for those that I can’t track down.  NPCs are slightly trickier but, thankfully, they are easy enough to generate.  

Megadventures that cover the entire span of a campaign don’t thrill me because I prefer running adventure arcs that could change dependent upon the players’ action.  Right now, for example, the party has completed A0:  Danger at Darkshelf Quarry and could now take several different paths that could lead them to either T1:  The Village of Hommlet, N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God, or U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

Megadventures, even those that allow players to take the lead as to how to proceed through the adventure, strike me as too limiting and, with 5th edition, too earth-shattering.  Every one of WotC’s current megadventures has vast destruction as the price for the PCs’ failure. I’d much prefer short adventures that I can plop into my campaign, with some minor tweaks, to create a story that revolves around the players’ actions and choices.

Some of my favorite classics, in no particular order, are:

  • B1:  In Search of the Unknown
  • B2:  Keep on the Borderland
  • G1-3:  Against the Giants
  • I1:  Dwellers of the Forbidden City
  • I2:  Tomb of the Lizard King
  • I6:  Ravenloft
  • L2:  The Assassin’s Knot
  • N1:  Against the Cult of the Reptile God (the boss fight needs to be tweaked)
  • S1:  The Tomb of Horrors
  • S3:  Expedition to the Barrier Peaks
  • T1: The Village of Hommlet
  • U1:  The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
  • X1:  The Isle of Dread
  • The Red Hand of Doom
  • Rappan Athuk

3 thoughts on “In Search of Adventure

  1. I would agree with you in that I wish WotC would release “short” adventure modules. Their 5e release schedule is cachectic to the point where I wonder if they really are working on “new” material; and I would love to see the return of Dungeon and Dragon magazines (which I think would solve the “short adventure problem”).

    However, I think that campaign adventures have their place as well. Typically with a slower burn the payoff is that much better – there's a bigger sense of accomplishment after destroying Lolth at the end of Q1 (and yes the G-D-Q series is a campaign) or the Slave Lords in A4 than there is in defeating the generic BBEG at the end of a one shot.

    If you look at a campaign as a series of interconnected adventures, then there is a just as much of a chance for the characters to affect the outcome than there is in a shorter adventure. think of Masks of Nyarlathotep or Age of Worms. The little victories (of defeats) have as much effect on the outcome as a shorter “campaign”.

  2. “Cachetic.” Wow! Just wow! ;P

    I guess I prefer to run a pulpier, episodic, campaign that has more of a sandbox feel to it. Long term campaigns can easily get derailed if the players aren't on board with following along with the scripted path and signing on to the social contract to follow the DM's lead. Also, using GDQ as an example, long-term adventure arcs can suffer if a portion of that arc is subpar in relation to the rest of the adventures. In the GDQ series, I'd say that G1&3 and D1-2 are excellent… with G2, D3, and Q1 requiring a lot of DM tweaking to be successful. The same could be said for T1-4. Hommlet and the moathouse are nearly perfect (other than Lareth worshiping Lolth.. wuh?), while the temple portion (particularly the nodes) becomes a long slog that loses it's momentum.

    Campaigns that, at least, give the illusion of options allow for players to take different tacks to achieve their goals. For example, in my current game, the players have heard bits about humanoid incursions into the Verbobonc area that ties into Keep on the Borderlands and have encountered black-robed monk/cleric worshipers of the Elder Eye in the slave-dug mines of Darkshelf… which ties those mines to the Slavers series, the Blackthorns splinter sect of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and The Temple of Elemental Evil. At the same time, some of the slavers have escaped with a group of prisoners on the Jewel River. If the party tracks them down, it'll tie into U1: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (with the “haunted house” being on the outskirts of Safeton and the smuggler ship, The Sea Ghost, being refit as a slaver vessel.

  3. I recognize your setup Chris, sounds familiar and brings back memories of a few years ago.

    As you know, adventures are the least profitable endeavor for a game company of the various types of publications, the Bastards had talked about this a few years ago too. But I am certain that there’s at least a niche community in the gamers and geeks forums who would love to see old adventures re-published. When I started the facebook page for Bregales I started putting up links for 2 publishers (Green Ronin Press and Margaret Weiss Productions). MWP has won numerous awards for several of their adventure publications, and their firefly rpg adventures are currently among the hottest purchases on DriveThruRPG. And their support and forums are much more responsive than Green Ronin, which is like WotC when it comes to getting info about forthcoming products or issues, fixes, errata, etc. MWP has also re-published several of the Serenity RPG adventures for it’s fireflyrpg’s rules (which are like a 2nd edition), so at least one publisher is doing updates to adventures.

    I was wondering if you’ve contacted Wizards and offered your services to modify classics into 5th edition? If not, well I see absolutely no reason why not. Tout the work you’ve done with the rules (your AD&D3E alone was a monumental task that you did for love of rpgs and no thought for profit, not to mention the conversions you’ve made to the various D&D editions. That gives you years of experience.

    What would Wizards’ issues be:
    *Risk – quite low. Assuming they own all of the adventures, they do not have to worry about legal issues from another publisher.
    -**Legal: I do not know what the legal issues are, but if a representative from Wizards agreed to contact you about such an enterprise then their legal department would assess the risks, you would not be expected to deal with those issues, and their lawyers would deal with the issues. ~They would be able to discuss the difficulties of listing the original authors and artists…
    -**Art: they probably would not and/or could not print the original art from the original TSR adventures for various reasons, largely due to possible lawsuits from artists or their estates. But then they’d have to pay the artists they contract with to supply new art.

    I have not looked at a Wizards product since I gamed with you guys (2011 technically) so I have no idea what they produce nowadays. Some companies as you know have terrible to practically no proofreaders in their editing and production staffs, I also don’t know if they bother to go over adventures to make sure they don’t have errors regarding the rules. Knowing you personally I believe you’re one of the best people in the world when it comes to that sort of thing, but I’m writing from their perspective. ~I also do not know they playtest any adventures they have published. Again I am just stating what comes to mind from a first read of this post and yours and Mike’s replies.

    I would SERIOUSLY suggest you contact WotC. Bring up the points we’ve mentioned in this thread. Tout your history of modifying adventures for various published editions of D&D and your loyalty to the franchise, but given your ‘professional’ career you know how to write professionally and not just sound like a fanboy. State that you have adventures ready to submit to them to review and consider (maybe name them, but wait for a reply before actually submitting them).

    And lastly, as I have continued to be employed as a temp at Constellation since I moved upstate I have been hired for many projects including my current contract because my proofreading has been beyond reproach and now I’m just pimping myself to read your stuff! 🙂 No worries, everything I’ve written until this last paragraph has been in earnest and with all sincerity; I absolutely believe you should contact them and believe if they have anyone on their staff who is as dedicated to D&D and the concept of supporting the community, then they should contact you for consideration.

    And if they are just a mammoth mega-conglomerate corporation which doesn’t give a damn, you’ve only wasted one correspondence, maybe a couple of hours of your time. So please consider it.

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