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Bonus to your Save vs. HotDQ

Written by MythicParty - Published on August 31, 2014

WARNING: This is not a review.  In fact, I don’t own the product in question.  Haven’t even flipped through it.  What this is, instead, is an attempt to make a decision about said unowned book based on information gathered from the Interwebs.

Ok, still with me?

I had done a piece about the first actual module for D&D Next- Hoard of the Dragon Queen, & why I was recommending people ‘pass’ on it.  It garnered some reaction, mostly negative, so before I delve a little deeper, (most likely in a follow-up to this follow-up) I wanted to reply to the criticism.  Here we go.

Now my recommendation mainly came from a single review on a website called tenfootpole.org which up to then, I hadn’t known about.  But bar none, it was absolutely the most thorough review out there.  However here’s what bothered readers as well as my responses to them:

  1. he seems to think that adventures should spell everything out and that the DM should not be using what he finds as a spring board for a really creative adventure.” Honestly if I’m paying 20 bones for an adventure written by acclaimed game designers who have won awards, then yeah, I expect things to be pretty well spelled out.  That’s what I’m paying them $ for; anyone can come up with a stop-the-cult-before-it’s-too-late idea. More importantly if this is the flagship of a new edition which is supposed to do nothing less than revitalize the ailing D&D brand by introducing a new generation to it, then yes, some hand holding is in order, no?    
  2. There’s very little in the various editions of D&D that meet his (the reviewers’) high standards.”  Actually there’s a list of 45+ adventures that Bryce gave an A/B rating to: http://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?page_id=844 
  3. MythicParty did not dig even 10′ deep by reading one review and judging the product solely on the contents of that review.”  Just FYI, I started with everything about it on Amazon (16 as of when I write this), then branched out.  Read one from Diehard GameFan which was lengthy but felt pretty general, a Nerdvana one which called it a ‘cult classic,’ then onto TheRPGsite where I learned in a book missing monsters there was a page of ads, & ended with tenfootpole.  Was that enough to form an intelligent opinion?  Guess it depends. Also although I usually genderbend & play female characters, very much a dude.
  4. I was hoping for a substantive review when I saw this, and what I got was a regurgitation of someone else’s opinion. This in no way helps me decide whether or not this module is worthwhile for me.” I get the expectation looking for something deeper, but the reality is rather than pay for the book then find out it wasn’t up to snuff- contrary to most of what’s out there- I thought it instead worthwhile to offer readers a dissenting opinion via pointing them towards an actually comprehensive review: 5,550 words of comprehensiveness.  
  5. {paraphrased} “I already have the book”/”I wasn’t buying the book.” Congrats to you both- but I still think there’s something to be gained from reading a detailed analysis of what an experienced module reviewer felt didn’t work & why it didn’t work.  If you have the book, you could modify things for when your group plays through the adventure.  If you weren’t going to buy the book anyway then you still might learn some things to look out for.  The very least of which is to not blindly trust Amazon reviews.

That’s it for now guys.  Part 2 of this I’ll highlight those things from the tenfootpole review I found to be the most convincing & why you might want to pay at least a little attention to them.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Written by MythicParty

Dog-loving, movie-watching, pizza aficionado. Content Editor for DMing.com, Project Manager for AvatarArt.com, & player of the coolest characters in a weekly D&D game. Halflings are the real heroes.

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Thanks for reading.

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 Comments

4 Responses to “Bonus to your Save vs. HotDQ”
  1. Garrett says:

    Have the people bad mouthing ten foot pole’s review actually read hotd? I did on my ride back from gencon. I flipped back and forth trying to figure out where relevant information was and where the encounter details vanished to. Being an encounters judge I had to face running it and decided to scrap half of it and rebuild the encounters in my image. In the first episode, how about a lurker kobold inside a pie shop, who on his turn pops out the window and hurls a pie, on a hit, the character is blinded until he spends an action to wipe pie off his face. This dude made it personal for our dragon born. Not all dms can reimagine boring encounters is produced by jim henson and written by terry jones. I pity hotd players who do not have such a dm.
    garrett

  2. Blotto Otto says:

    Re: #1 – It’s actually $30, not $20 and the D&D fanboy in me reacts with the same emotions with regards to the flagship product line of reasoning.

    A published adventure is ABSOLUTELY a springboard for a really creative effort from the DM. It’s the designers job to give the DM the foundation to launch from. Publishing something that says “U r a caravan guard. Go stop teh cult!” and then providing the results from random monster rolls from the 1E DMG is not exactly laying that foundation. The designer must provide a solid foundation by inspiring the home DM with TERSE and evocative encounters/environments that instantly spring to life in the DMs mind and allow their fertile imaginations to build from there. That’s what you’re paying for: the designers imagination and vision.

    “6 kobolds” don’t do that.

  3. Eric Ullman says:

    While I appreciate some of the points made in the tenfootpole.org piece, it’s more a rant than a review. To be frank, I found its many typos, frequent use of hyperbole, and all-caps-emphasis to be so distracting, that I only made it half-way through before giving up. Do those issues discount the author’s opinions of HotDQ? No. Do they reduce the credibility of the author and the site? They do in my eyes. I’d have preferred the author followed his own advice and provided some bullet points for each chapter instead of WALL OF TEXT. ;)

  4. MythicParty says:

    @Eric Ullman-
    Hi Eric, summarizing the piece is actually just what I’m going to do in the follow-up. Basically stick to the main points for each section so the critique is there but the length isn’t.

    @Blotto Otto-
    MSRP can be whatever they print, (in this case $29.95) but the going rate is what I was using- Amazon has it for $18.94 w/Prime, so call it $20 after tax.

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