Alright, so my assumption that the next great D&D release is going to be a railroad got lots of
"hurrumphs!" about railroads and sandboxes and my general predisposition D&D Next.
Now, I'm not going to be making ANY assumptions about the Tyranny of dragons in this post, except that it has something to do with a "tyranny" and perhaps "dragons" are involved. Might even involve Tiamat, who is certainly an underused property by the fine folks over at WotC. But I digress.
No, I'm thinking about adventures that were written to tell a story. We don't have to look in the recent past - we have it in the glory days of gaming. I'm not even going to focus on Dragonlance, the "Big Daddy" of telling a story at the expense of player empowerment.
I'm thinking of the horrid 'Time of Troubles" storyline that brought the Forgotten Realms from AD&D 1e to 2e in the most heavy handed manner possible.
No more "assassins" in 2e? Let's do away with those pesky assassin cults. Change the bards while you are at it too.
Throw in wild magic, spell plague, gods walking the realms, replace certain gods with characters from the books that are telling the same story as the series of adventures - oh, and don't allow the player characters within those adventures to have any real effect on the progress of the story...
I could write more, but someone else has already done a better job than i ever could. I'll wait.
You read it, right? Shit is spot on.
Yes, Shadowdale could very well be the worst adventure ever, at least as far as TSR put out. The fiction trilogy wasn't much better, either.
So, "tell a story" or "enable a story"? Rails and sand are inconsequential in the larger scope of things.