Found a Module Format I Like
by, 07-07-2011 at 08:19 AM (1879 Views)
A while back, I complained about the lack of useful content in the D&DI subscription. Just recently I found a section that I really like, I donít know that it makes the subscription worthwhile, but its certainly a bright spot in it.
Most of the modules they offer are on the bland side, very little RP, then a dungeon crawl. This is probably a format that probably works for a some players. Myself, I prefer a story that is told throughout the adventure, there ought to be places between the combats where the plot is advanced. Something more than a pretext for getting into a bunch of encounters. For the most part I tear up their modules to get encounter ideas, occasionally Iíll come across some story idea that I like but its not too common.
Anyway, some time ago they started releasing new Domains of Dread; so far I think theyíve released 4 of them. Initially I had overlooked these, I wasnít playing in Ravenloft so it didnít seem worth reading at the time. Now though two things have changed; first the Shadowfell book is out, and second the Shadowfell apparently has absorbed Ravenloft. As my current campaign will eventually lead the players to the Shadowfell it gives me the opportunity to throw in some Ravenloft elements, so the domains of dread are viable choices.
The Domains of Dread that Wizards have put out are like the perfect module, in my opinion anyway. They describe the area that can be explored, the people and prominent NPCís, define a goal which allows the players to leave, and then offers a few thematic monsters to have them run into. There isnít a single encounter in the entire article.
What you end up with is this pristine sandbox that the players can explore and the DM has the freedom to put in whatever events are needed to tell the story. Finally, a non-linear module! Not only that, but some extremely clever players might even be able to solve the whole thing with role play alone.
The only real trouble I have is that all of these places are self contained. These Domains are all cut off from the rest of the Shadowfell, so the only way to get there is if the shadowmist brings you there. This seems like a minor complaint though, with a bit of creativity you can find ways to get the players there and make it pertinent to the larger story of the campaign.