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View Full Version : Best "Dragon Magazine" adventure paths?



Douche
2018-12-11, 06:10 PM
Hello all,

I'm running a 5e game that will wrap up soon (that includes racist elves apparently). Since I'm tired of my players making social commentary on stuff that I conceived, I'm instead just going to run a published adventure. That way, any social commentary does not fall on my shoulders and I won't have to deal with the dread of wondering if the players are judging my worldview based on how I present the D&D world.

The thing is, none of the 5e books are that exciting for me. I'll explain the sort of playstyle I'm looking for - but basically I was going to run SKT until one of the other players revealed that he is DMing an SKT campaign. That guy happens to be a powergamer so I don't want him to know everything that happens and where to find all the hidden treasures. The other campaign I run is a Curse of Strahd, my girlfriend is one of the players there, and also in the one that will be ending soon... She's in both of my campaigns. So I can't do two CoS's, although I would like to because Curse of Strahd is really great.

So anyway I don't much like any of the other campaign books at a glance, and this is all a really long winded way of saying that I want to get one of the old Dragon Magazine campaigns. I'm wondering if anyone here has any recommendations.

My playstyle is to put roleplaying first, and the people i play with seem to favor that as well. Therefore it would be great to have strong character driven stories (like CoS). Combat comes second in my campaigns, but is usually abrupt and explosive like a Tarantino film... the PCs usually decide to murder everyone when things go south, ya know? But there's not much dungeon delving. However, I recognize this as a shortcoming of my own - I don't prioritize or incentivize exploring lost ruins too much. I would like to strengthen that aspect. Exploration is another weak point of mine - just the nature of writing my homebrew campaign, it ended up turning pretty linear with me presenting each goal rather than the PCs exploring and naturally learning their goals. My CoS campaign, I'm much better at presenting the exploration aspect since the book lays it out quite well.

Anyway, enough of the biography. To summarize: I'd like to find something with good characters and roleplaying opportunity, dungeons & combat aren't that important.

Age of Worms I have available to me from a friend, but I am getting mixed reviews from what I see. What are my other options?

PS if I wasn't clear this is 5e but obviously I'm going to convert it.

gkathellar
2018-12-13, 06:42 AM
By Dragon, I take it you mean Dungeon? :P

Anyway, Shackled City is bad and the people who wrote it should feel bad.

I know people who swear by Age of Worms, but it's got some typical Paizo BS in terms of its encounter and dungeon design (some of which a 5E conversion will circumvent on account of mechanics.). In any case, it's serviceable.

Savage Tide is actually pretty cool, especially the endgame which has an amazing trek through the Lower Planes, but it also deals heavily in "YOUR POWER IS NOT POWERFUL ENOUGH TO OVERPOWER MY POWER," which 5E is not amazing at doing.

Rynjin
2018-12-13, 06:08 PM
I love Age of Worms. The longest running (and currently still going strong) PbP I've ever been in is an Age of Worms game over on Paizo's site we've been playing since...March of 2014 already.

It has some brutal, bull**** moments but they're spread out enough to make the AP feel difficult (which most are not at all) without feeling like it's a constant "gotcha!" like a Tomb of Horrors style game would be. The first book is probably the worst in terms of that, being a classic dungeon crawl with big "**** you" buttons everywhere, but as long as you're up front about how careful the PCs will need to be to your players, it shouldn't be that bad. We only had one death in the first book (second encounter, actually)...and that was a Wizard that dumped Dex and Con (and I mean DUMPED, single digits in both) trying to cast in melee without casting defensively.

Mike Miller
2018-12-13, 08:09 PM
I would recommend all 3 dungeon APs. However, you say you and your group prefer roleplaying. Just know that all 3 dungeon APs lean heavily on the dungeon-delving side of that stratum. If you don't mind changing a bunch of things, they could all be good for your group, though. I disagree with the above posters that says Shackled City is bad. I would recommend SCAP for your group and just tell you to alter dungeons for your group. You would probably want to decrease the number of combats and focus more on the large NPC cast of the AP.

My group is filled with people who don't take charge or make executive decisions, so they tend to not interact heavily with NPCs. Their lack of independent initiative to go off the rails leads to a solid party for dungeon delving. Therefore, I run the SCAP as is and it works well. It really is one dungeon after the next after the next if the PCs don't bother to come up with things to do. It is a shame, since there are so many NPCs. However, it sounds like your group would enjoy it.

RedMage125
2018-12-14, 03:28 PM
I ran Age Of Worms in 3.5e a year ago. I cannot sing its praises enough. There are a lot of dungeons, yes. But there's also plenty of opportunity for roleplay. Hell, one of the modules, Prince of Redhand, is almost entirely roleplaying, with listed xp story awards.

Now that 5e has stats for Spawn of Kyuss and the froghemoth, it shouldn't be too hard to convert to 5e. Individual NPCs with class levels will be the only problematic conversions.

JMS
2018-12-14, 03:45 PM
I like the 4e Scales of War (I think thatís the name?) Similarish to the two 5e Tiamat paths in dragon themes, but has different parts, and a more military/war effort rather than race theme.

Of course, it will take some work to convert it into 5e.

RedMage125
2018-12-14, 06:57 PM
I like the 4e Scales of War (I think thatís the name?) Similarish to the two 5e Tiamat paths in dragon themes, but has different parts, and a more military/war effort rather than race theme.

Of course, it will take some work to convert it into 5e.

I agree, that was also excellent. And much harder to convert. How does one even convert a system that ran from 1-30 back down to 1-20?

Beleriphon
2018-12-14, 09:28 PM
I agree, that was also excellent. And much harder to convert. How does one even convert a system that ran from 1-30 back down to 1-20?

Mostly by doing a bunch of conversion work. The monsters tend to fall into the same kinds of brackets, at least generally. A pit fiend is still a top tier threat in both game systems, same with ancient dragons. For 4E to 5E there is a lot of keeping the maps and the names the same and finding similar enough monsters.

Florian
2018-12-16, 05:36 AM
@Douche:

Does it need to be one of the old ones? I find that the old 3.5E APs haven't really aged well and it shows that the team(s) behind them had to get familiar with the new format itself. Some of the more recent ones (now by Paizo), explore really great themes, enough roleplaying opportunities and sometimes of setting lore in spades.