This is in reference in large part to yesterday's blog post about my group's latest play experience.
There is an argument that has been made that pretty much any commercial / pre-written adventure can not be successfully run without the DM making his own adjustments to it, whether in advance or on the spot. Doubly so for "mega-dungeons".
It's an interesting argument. I'm not sure if it's 100% valid, but I do see where tweaking the adventure to your party's history and the current campaign is necessary to properly integrate most adventures, but that should only affect flavor and possibly motivation. The core of the adventure should be able to stand on it's own without major tweaks.
Now, if your campaign has no background, and the adventure is the kick off point, depending on the direction you want your campaign to go, there may be no need to tweak.
Me? I'm a habitual tweaker. I can usually spot the TPK encounters in advance, and tone them down or not, depending on the purpose of the encounter. I go through the adventure and make changes that I perceive will enhance the play experience of my party. It's what a skilled DM does.
But what about a lesser skilled or new DM? Shouldn't an off the shelf adventure be able to give an acceptable return on investment without the tweaks? I'd expect so. A well written adventure should be usable as is by the novice DM and be easily tweaked by the experienced DM, whether it's a one page dungeon or Rappan Athuk.
I think one of the issues with my group's recent gaming session wasn't just running something "untweaked", but the product, even though the latest update shows the 1st level as "laid out", isn't complete. Background references to a history that isn't yet presented (and would have been beyond my ability and available time to backfill) helped create an ambivalence to the dungeon dressing . In it's current state, Dwimmermount would not serve a novice DM well. Thankfully, it's not yet complete. As I said elsewhere, I'll revisit Dwimmermount when it's complete and try a few other dungeons (mega and otherwise) in the meantime.
Oh, and "yes", the experiences will get posted here ;)
I Spek - All my Audio Interviews and Podcasts - My voice - surprisingly nasal. Here is a page of links, like a library of all the podcasts and recordings where I have been interviewed by, or talked with,...
1 hour ago