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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DrowGirl

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    Default Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    I've been pretty solidly a homebrew-everything DM for most of my life. I've run exactly two modules, only one of which was ever finished, for reasons (Oddly, Tomb of Horrors was the one everyone survived).

    I'm not overmuch a fan of published adventures, but I recognize that they (of course) have a place, and at their very worst, can provide some handy reference or jumping off points, or even be radically modified for your enjoyment.

    Adventurer's League utterly baffles me. I can see it as a framework for allowing people to play the game that might not otherwise be able to, for lack of a stable table, but it just doesn't seem fun. As a DM or as a Player, I can't wrap my head around wanting to re-run a lot of the same modules nearly exactly as written.

    So, in the most roundabout way, DMs and Players, what kinds of games do you like to run/play, and why?

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    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde View Post
    I've been pretty solidly a homebrew-everything DM for most of my life. I've run exactly two modules, only one of which was ever finished, for reasons (Oddly, Tomb of Horrors was the one everyone survived).

    I'm not overmuch a fan of published adventures, but I recognize that they (of course) have a place, and at their very worst, can provide some handy reference or jumping off points, or even be radically modified for your enjoyment.

    Adventurer's League utterly baffles me. I can see it as a framework for allowing people to play the game that might not otherwise be able to, for lack of a stable table, but it just doesn't seem fun. As a DM or as a Player, I can't wrap my head around wanting to re-run a lot of the same modules nearly exactly as written.

    So, in the most roundabout way, DMs and Players, what kinds of games do you like to run/play, and why?
    I don't have much time for D&D. so I like AL because I can save my progress and play with different masters. Also, their limits of houserules make the games run smoother. Without houserules and limited DM powers, I can try different builds without fear of character dying without being resurrected (except season 7).
    Also, Faction Charity and everlasting ability to retrieve character's corpses trivializes death, allowing to treat AL sessions as a MMORPG, and not to be drastically upset about a character's death.

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde View Post
    So, in the most roundabout way, DMs and Players, what kinds of games do you like to run/play, and why?
    Perhaps you should make a survey? You won't learn much from a few random anecdotes...

    For me, AL does not appeal. I prefer to run my own game, by my own rules. AL just seems like it would be stifling and not very fun.
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    MonkGirl

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    I do a fair number of conventions, so I keep a few AL characters going to play those. I wouldn’t really do it for my ‘home game’ unless that was the reasonable option in my area (which I know is probably the case some places)

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    I prefer to use my own campaigns, often my own houserules, and sometimes even my own races/classes/feats/spells/etc. The last 5e game I ran took place in a totally non-standard world-- a human colony spelljammer crashed on a plane structured vaguely like Europa, with a frozen wintery surface, an endless network of tunnels running through miles of ice and rock, and an ocean core deep below that. Besides humans and planetouched humans, the only available races were homebrew based on Slavic mythology.

    The Forgotten Realms are boring.
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    QuickLyRaiNbow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    The Forgotten Realms are boring.
    Without comment on any other element of the AL rules or modules, ugh, yes they are.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    This was something I was also pondering after reading the other thread about AL.

    I get the appeal of it allowing players to 'save' their characters and play with different DMs and whatnot, but doesn't it get boring when you're limited to published adventures?

    Wouldn't it be better if you had all those features but DMs were able to come up with their own adventures?

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Keral View Post
    Wouldn't it be better if you had all those features but DMs were able to come up with their own adventures?
    How would you do that though? If one DM comes up with their own campaign and then has to hand over to someone else, they need to record everything that had happened up to that point, and be able to provide a plan for where the game was supposed to go next. They'd need detailed logs and records that were easy for someone else to parse and build on, maps, copies of any homebrew (including unique monsters)... I can't see it working.

    Even for me, I mostly do play-by-post and keep fairly detailed records, but I wouldn't expect a. n. other DM to be able to just step in and take over.
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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    How would you do that though? If one DM comes up with their own campaign and then has to hand over to someone else, they need to record everything that had happened up to that point, and be able to provide a plan for where the game was supposed to go next. They'd need detailed logs and records that were easy for someone else to parse and build on, maps, copies of any homebrew (including unique monsters)... I can't see it working.

    Even for me, I mostly do play-by-post and keep fairly detailed records, but I wouldn't expect a. n. other DM to be able to just step in and take over.
    Well, perhaps I didn't understand what's happening in AL, but don't you kinda have the same problem if you're running modules?

    Unless you manage to start and finish it in one session? (I've always played custom campaigns, but I thought that even modules lasted a bit longer than that).

    Assuming modules don't all start and end in one session (and if they do the point is moot, just require the DMs who wish to play custom campaign to build them so they're equally short), when you have to pick up characters who played at another table and got to different points of the module, how do you handle it? Is there so much turnout that you usually manage to find enough people who are at the same point?


    What if I played module#1 got to about half of it, then next time I go to play there's noone running it. I assume you can just hop in and do module#2 and not have your character locked until you finish the first. So the same way, one DM goes with a custom campaign? You'll (probably) finish it with the same DM at another time, assuming someone willing to put in the effort to produce custom work won't drop off the face of the earth except for dire reasons.


    I hope what I meant is clear, what with english not being my first language and all. Also, just ignore me if my assumptions about AL are wrong (again), I'm just going with what I read about it.

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    Ninja_Prawn's Avatar

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    In fairness, I've never played AL, so I don't really know how it works. But I imagine that it's at least theoretically possible to say to a new DM "we got to the end of chapter 3 last time, can we pick up from there?" That's something you could never have with homebrew games/settings.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Ninja_Prawn View Post
    In fairness, I've never played AL, so I don't really know how it works. But I imagine that it's at least theoretically possible to say to a new DM "we got to the end of chapter 3 last time, can we pick up from there?" That's something you could never have with homebrew games/settings.
    You can certainly do that.

    I prefer to play AL for consistency and the ability to build up characters and use them at various times.

    I DM AL only when I have to, and vastly prefer to run my home brew. The only pleasure in DMing for is creative expression and story building which you don’t really feel with someone else’s story. Nothing like giving your players that “Oh ****” moment...
    Want to Multiclass? I wrote the book on it:http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showt...classing-Guide
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    I am an avid optimizer and love to give fire to the people... So long as they are restrained first so they have disadvantage on their dex saves.
    Feel free to PM me for one on one build advice.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by PeteNutButter View Post
    You can certainly do that.

    I prefer to play AL for consistency and the ability to build up characters and use them at various times.

    I DM AL only when I have to, and vastly prefer to run my home brew. The only pleasure in DMing for is creative expression and story building which you don’t really feel with someone else’s story. Nothing like giving your players that “Oh ****” moment...

    What happens if you're the only one who needs to run the module from that point forward? Or if the DM is only playing another module? Don't you get to play?

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DrowGirl

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Keral View Post
    What happens if you're the only one who needs to run the module from that point forward? Or if the DM is only playing another module? Don't you get to play?
    The short answer is that there's no such thing- the characters are expected to drop in and out of games. I find it utterly maddening, but that's part of AL's function- you should always be able to play.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    I vastly prefer published campaigns and modules over homebrew games.

    Playing in a published game makes me feel connected to the gaming community at large. When I've played the same games as many other people, it creates a sense of community and a connection for us to bond.

    When I play a homebrew game, I feel isolated. I'm playing this game that only a handful of people will ever experience, and if I never see those people again then that memory is mine alone. No one will ever want to hear about my halfling fighter/thief in such and such game. But I can share stories about my experience with Out of the Abyss and listen to to others and we have a sense of connection.

    So AL and published adventures let's me be connected to the world at large.

    (It's also the same reason I prefer live radio to CDs or online streaming).

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde View Post
    The short answer is that there's no such thing- the characters are expected to drop in and out of games. I find it utterly maddening, but that's part of AL's function- you should always be able to play.
    Then I don't understand what problem a custm campaign would pose. If you're not done with it you drop out of that and into another. The same way you'd do with modules...

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    DrowGirl

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by mgshamster View Post
    I vastly prefer published campaigns and modules over homebrew games.

    Playing in a published game makes me feel connected to the gaming community at large. When I've played the same games as many other people, it creates a sense of community and a connection for us to bond.

    When I play a homebrew game, I feel isolated. I'm playing this game that only a handful of people will ever experience, and if I never see those people again then that memory is mine alone. No one will ever want to hear about my halfling fighter/thief in such and such game. But I can share stories about my experience with Out of the Abyss and listen to to others and we have a sense of connection.

    So AL and published adventures let's me be connected to the world at large.

    (It's also the same reason I prefer live radio to CDs or online streaming).
    Hmm, that prompts a question, if you'll indulge me. I play dungeons and dragons almost exclusively with close friends, and perhaps some non-mutual acquaintances. I'm nearly always the DM, and I find my homebrew efforts are largely an extension of "I made this for you". It's incredibly and increasingly difficult to set up, however. The only reason my current campaign exists is because Roll20 does (comments on the efficacy of the service aside).

    It sounds to me, and forgive me if I'm wrong, that your gaming groups tend to be more ad-hoc, people brought together because of the game. Is that accurate? I absolutely see the appeal for published adventures in that case, and everything you've said makes sense in that context.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyde View Post
    Hmm, that prompts a question, if you'll indulge me. I play dungeons and dragons almost exclusively with close friends, and perhaps some non-mutual acquaintances. I'm nearly always the DM, and I find my homebrew efforts are largely an extension of "I made this for you". It's incredibly and increasingly difficult to set up, however. The only reason my current campaign exists is because Roll20 does (comments on the efficacy of the service aside).

    It sounds to me, and forgive me if I'm wrong, that your gaming groups tend to be more ad-hoc, people brought together because of the game. Is that accurate? I absolutely see the appeal for published adventures in that case, and everything you've said makes sense in that context.
    Yes and no.

    My first gaming group was in high school. We played many different games together throughout high school and for several years after. I only keep in touch with one person from back then, and only when we happen to be in the same state at the same time (usually business, family, or mutual friends bring us to either his state or mine and we visit each other).

    My next gaming group I was with for 12 years, but we had a massive falling out and I have never seen any of them again. It got so bad that none of the players really talk to each other anymore. The DM ended up being an obsessive controller and got super pissed (screaming at people) if they didn't do things the way she wanted them to be done. It didn't get that bad until near the end though.

    I was also in the army for a number of years, and the people I gamed with would change often.

    Now I have one stable group that I've been with for about 6 years, but even this one is falling apart as all our careers and families grow and we have a hard time all meeting on the same day. I just saw one of them last night for the first time in a few months; he drove up for dinner.

    Beyond that, I do a lot of PBP games. These games tend to come and go quickly, and I find that quick AL modules which last 3-8 weeks is the perfect time to keep everyone involved and playing. Even someone who can't do pbp anymore due to schedules will usually stick it out a few more weeks just to finish up the game. And there's quite a few regulars, so we all get to say hi every time we're in a game together.
    Last edited by mgshamster; 2017-12-06 at 03:08 PM.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Homebrew, Modules, and AL

    Quote Originally Posted by mgshamster View Post
    I vastly prefer published campaigns and modules over homebrew games.

    Playing in a published game makes me feel connected to the gaming community at large. When I've played the same games as many other people, it creates a sense of community and a connection for us to bond.
    I also share this sentiment.

    For me, one key enjoyment of running or playing in a module comes from being able to compare yourself with other groups afterward, and having that "shared" experience across multiple groups and tables in the "community".

    (Obviously, while playing the game, the fun is shared with the rest of the table, and it makes no difference whether it's a module or homebrew, as long as the whole table is having fun; but a module opens up additional possibilities afterwards or between sessions.)

    As DM, I've just started a group through Lost Mine of Phandelver. One of my players simply could not believe me when I told him I had watched two different playthroughs of the adventure on YouTube (the one from Eric Watson's group, plus the one from Wizard of the Coast themselves - covering only the first part of the adventure).

    Watching those playthroughs helps me in my preparation (I can poach ideas I like, get inspiration for "voices" for NPC - one of my big weaknesses - and also see which parts of the module required adjustments from other DMs who went through the same thing).

    In the same vein, I really enjoy reading blogs or other posts filled with suggestions on how to improve things in a module (the Power Score blog is a good example of that).

    The only thing to be careful of is to remember that your table is unique, and to try to tailor the challenge to your specific players (integrating their backstories in the adventure, allowing every character a chance to shine, etc.). But afterwards, it's cool to look back on things and see how different groups take different approaches when faced with similar/identical challenges.

    One important point to remember as a DM when running a module is that it is not a time saver. Prep will be just as long (if not more) when preparing to run a module than a homebrew campaign. There are aspects that are already built in the module (you usually don't need to draw maps, you have clearly identified villains and NPCs with motivations - to a certain extent - treasures and magic objects are predetermined, and you have stats blocks for monsters), but you often need to think, plan, and work out strategies for the monsters and further expand the environment (as an example, with my group in LMoP, I was really glad that for the initial dungeon - Cragmaw Hideout - I gave consideration not just to the monsters and the map, but also to the actual hill the dungeon is sitting under; the first thing my players did was to climb atop the "hill" to survey the environment and try to gain surprise on any enemy exiting that cave entrance). So it's just a different kind of planning for the DM.

    As a player, I have been playing under 3 different DMs in the last year. One was using full homebrew, the second is using a pre-made module, and the third I do not know (if he used modules, they are old modules reconverted to 5e, or stuff he found on DM's Guild; not any of the current 5e campaigns). Each had its pros and cons, but I found that the modules covered a lot of the bases that the homebrew campaign did not (a lot of the stuff having to do with world building). I think it had probably more to do with each DM's style than with the actual use of a module or not.

    I won't speak about AL specifically, however, as I never participated in it. I'm not sure I would enjoy it much (either as DM or player) because of the restrictions put on the DM to adapt and evolve the content based on his players, and also because of the issues inherent in not knowing who the players are in advance. That certainly creates its own breed of challenges, but they are not challenges I'd be interested in tackling; luckily, I've been able to find groups of players to regularly play in person; and if I could not, I would probably turn toward online play instead of going to an AL event.

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