Merric Blackman did a great job summing it up here.
I'm using art by Jeff Carlisle, who was really awesome but never quite got his due for some reason. He seemed to stop doing D&D art right when he got really good.
Here's some topics from this seminar that stuck out to me:
A Lot of Old D&D Books Were Bought and Never Used
Also, in every edition there were so many sourcebooks full of things that I am still sifting through. There's just only so much stuff you can fit into a session. For example, say you get a book on seafaring. You have to wait until your heroes are near an ocean to use it! And if you're running Out of the Abyss now, and maybe a Ravenloft campaign next, then that book you bought will be sitting idle on a shelf for a very long time.
A good portion of this blog is really just me sifting through all the old volumes and pulling out cool material.
I think one of the unique things about role playing games in general is that a huge portion of the people who play the game also have the desire and ability to create material for the game. DrivethruRPG is full of 3rd party stuff for 5e, far more than anyone could actually use.
I think that the ultimate goal for the creators of D&D is for when people look back on Out of the Abyss, they think of December 2015 and the friends they had at that time, the music they listened to, all that kind of thing. Sort of like the Marvel comic book crossovers. The Infinity Gauntlet miniseries brings me right back to the late 80's/early 90's.
The Adventures Are Too Long
In fact, these adventures aren't just a little too long, they are way too long. Out of the Abyss takes a group from level 1 to level 15. I don't think there's too many gaming groups who will be even close to done with it in 6 months of play.
I wrote quite a bit about the other groups in my game store back when I was running Adventurers League games. If you remember, there was one table that played Hoard of the Dragon Queen every week for six months. After all that time, they had only made it to chapter 4! That group would need about two years of weekly play just to complete Tyranny of Dragons.
Judging from the search results in my blog, by far the thing people are googling the most is stuff from Tyranny of Dragons. That's the first storyline. People are still playing the first adventure.
I think groups play slower than Wizards of the Coast expects them to. I also think people for the most part, at least those outside of the Adventurers League, do not play D&D on a weekly basis. I think they get together when they can, but when they can is more of a monthly schedule than a weekly one.
So right now we are in this weird situation where Wizards of the Coast are putting out adventures that are so big that groups won't be able to play (or have the need to buy) the next book for a very long time.
I have been trying to figure out the best solution to this. How long should an adventure be that groups can complete in six months?
What Length is Best?
So if you're making a 5th edition adventure that takes 6 months of real life time to finish, I guess you could make it where characters start at level 1 and they finish at about level 8. People can definitely do that in 6 months, I think. The hardcover book might be a little shorter, but that's OK.
But it seems like wizards wants these adventures to be epic. The final battle in each path has been with a major entity: Tiamat, Imix (or another prince of elemental evil), and Demogorgon (or other demon lords).
If these adventures only go to level 8, then that means we don't get those fights. Also you'll run into the problem where players are going to want to keep leveling. It happened over and over again in the 4e encounters program. After every season ended, the next adventure started at level one and players got annoyed. They wanted to keep going with their old character.
I personally like the idea of Wizards putting out one adventure for levels 1-8, and then another one for levels 8-15. So then groups could level their characters all the way up over the course of one year. But I wonder if putting out a book for high level characters will be harmful, as new players need to start at level one and thus won't buy that book.
"One upcoming adventure will be very short, but is very, very replayable: it can be played 200 times and you would never play the same adventure twice. The adventure can be played two or three times in 6 months, and it really changes up the model for adventure design."
The thing that pops into my mind when I read this is Baba Yaga's Hut. All of the rooms are connected in a weird way, but there's room to shift them around and there's a lot of interdimensional stuff going on.
Or maybe this adventure is some kind of random chart scenario? Where you roll to see what room or area comes next?
I'd really like an adventure set in Sigil, and one in the city of Greyhawk. All of this Forgotten Realms stuff just isn't my thing.
Are the 5e Adventures Classics?
I think that the 5e adventures are good but are missing a certain inspired element. I can't think of too many really crazy moments in
any of the adventures that players truly got excited about.
did like the beginning of Hoard of the Dragon Queen, with the town under
siege. The problem there was that the whole thing was too difficult to
run as written. To me, the very beginning of an adventure is
where there should be a classic memorable scene or encounter of some
kind. That's partly because not everyone is going to play through to the
Play Every Week
schedule keeps everything fresh in people's heads. It gives the campaign
a ton of momentum. And it's something to look forward to, really.
one of the great things about D&D. It's a pretty healthy hobby to
have. You're not doing drugs, you're not getting wasted (well, probably
not). You are socializing with friends.
I just watched this documentary on loneliness. A lot of people out there are having a hard
time feeling connected. D&D is the perfect way to connect in a safe
and healthy way. It is an excuse to get together and to sit and laugh
and create with other people.