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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Baur and Winder Talk 5e and Tyranny of Dragons on IO9



Wolfgang Baur and Steve Winter were interview on IO9 yesterday about their work writing Tyranny of Dragons for WotC and Kobold Press.

You can read the entire interview here.

Personally, I think their are skilled RPG writers, and the following quotes gives me hope that WotC is going for an old school feel with both 5e and the adventures for the new edition:
The adventure starts by dropping characters into the middle of a major raid against a town by the Cult of the Dragon. That's a long night of battling raiders, sneaking through sewers, rescuing hostages, plugging breakthroughs in the defenses, and even squaring off against a dragon—albeit briefly, since the characters are only 1st level. 
From there, they go into some espionage and infiltration of the cult, then a dungeon crawl, then a long road trip with all sorts of oddball encounters, more skullduggery, some "Heart of Darkness"-type action in a swamp, negotiations with a traitor, and a huge, dynamic finish that people will remember for a long time. And that's just Hoard of the Dragon Queen. There's much more in The Rise of Tiamat with just as much variety... 
The action starts out simple, with short, basic fights against raiders in the town. But after that, the adventure becomes pretty free-ranging. There are specific tasks characters should undertake and a sequence in which they happen, but we don't hand the DM a script. 
This adventure lays out what's going on, then relies on the DM to use that information dynamically while interacting with the players. There's very little "This is Tuesday, so this must be Belgium" about these adventures. I suppose some people consider running a game that way to be 'advanced' DMing, but I don't. It's a natural form of play, with lots of give-and-take between players and DM and also between the DM and the adventure itself. 
I suppose that's tougher than reading a script, but it's also a lot more enjoyable.
I'm hopeful. Ever hopeful...

9 comments:

  1. Still sounds rather rail-roady to me.

    -Ed

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    1. i do see the rails, but if it is significantly less railroady then recent WotC releases, I'm willing to give it an honest go

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  2. Sounds like an utter railroad: how else can the encounter with dragons have been predetermined, and also predertermined to be brief? I'll pass.

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  3. All published adventures are a railroad to the extent that there are planned encounters. It can still be written so that the player characters have meaningful choices that impact the path they take through it. A homebrewed campaign will give you more freedom, but this is an adventure PATH, and for groups that prefer such a thing it sounds like a fun one.

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  4. I hate it when people get on their high horse about railroad adventures. Publish your own excitingly original adventure and prove your assertions.

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  5. No shit.

    Bet most of the meet in a tavern or your caravan is ambushed is hex12345 are railroady as hell.

    Some of the best adventures ever written are railroads. Look at Enemy Within Campaign for Warhammer FRP or Masks of Nyarlathotep for CoC.

    Basically, anything with a real storyline.


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  6. If I wanted I storyline I can't affect, that's what novels are for. You guys are hilariously defensive about your love for railroad adventures. That's cool if you like it when the GM has the outcome predetermined for you; I happen not to.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah wandering aimlessly is sweet.

      The outcome is never pre-determined, that is left up to play at the table. Just because an adventure is plotted out doesn't mean it all woks out in the end.

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  7. My point about the adventure being "rail-roady" was meant to address the final paragraph above. The interviewees claim that DM's will have to use the material "dynamically" to adjust to the player's actions, but from the description given, the adventure sounds fairly linear. It makes it sound like all the events described WILL happen, and in the order given. Though it may be the final product will allow the players to change up the order of some of these encounters, so who knows. Just saying, from the description given, the adventure doesn't sound terribly "dynamic."

    -Ed

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