Worst Dungeons & Dragons product ever!!!
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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 4:36 am 
 

johnhuck wrote:Didn't think I'd find a fellow DL-hater. I remember playing DL1. We all thought it was a BoS. But we persevered with DL2. Then halfway though DL3 we just decided to give up through boredom.  





You got to the modules?  I didn't even make it halfway through Dragons of Autumn Twilight!  Everyone in my group (well, except for one black sheep) thought it pretty much. . . sucked.  



The beginning of the end. . .


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 8:32 am 
 

Can I be a lone dissenter? I liked DragonLance.  :D

Well, basically all the stuff by Tracy Hickman ruled.

But the first DragonLance Tales book after Chronicles and Legends?

Now that was the beginning of the end!

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:39 am 
 

Sorry pretty much everyone I know who played hated the stuff.  It was an ambitious idea to invent a new high fantasy heroic campaign and pantheon..



It was just not that good.  And why play it when you had Greyhawk (or as some friends did, customise the merp modules and play in middle earth?)

  


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 11:17 am 
 

My gaming group never played the Dragonlance modules. I read most of the early books and liked them. I tried re-reading them recently, found they didn't age well.



Like Dragonlance or hate it, there is no denying the importance it had in the development of the AD&D game. For the first time, TSR had buck$ to spend. Without that capital, the history of AD&D would have been much less colorful.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 1:39 pm 
 

They did a LOT better when they didn't have $$. It forced them to put out good products in order to be able to sell them. Same as any other company.


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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 6:06 pm 
 

DL had one very simple problem (two if you count the lame storyline): Unless you substituted the players own characters with the vommit-inducing group they tried to force you to use, there was nothing compelling for the players.



Just looking at the illustrations made me wonder if the modules should have been called Hippy-Lance. Everyone gets feathers ... yeah ... feathers for everyone! I think I'm gonna get sick just remembering...



Some modules (mostly tournament versions) require players to use other pre-gen characters, and that is ok, because the goal is to solve the problem (score tourney points) and not character development. DragonLance single-mindedly forced players to follow prewritten character development lines for characters that had no connection to the player. That was a major flaw...but not surprising when you consider the authors (I am not a huge Hickman fan). With all that focus, TSR screwed themselves royally.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 6:13 pm 
 

bbarsh wrote:...lame storyline...vommit-inducing...nothing compelling...Everyone gets feathers...gonna get sick...




I couldn't have put it better myself.  :D  :D  :D



Is this turning into a DL berating thread?  Should we set one up?

  

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:30 pm 
 

I'll happily join in some DL bashing.... it may have been coincidence, but it was when the DL modules started appearing that my gaming group started to look for other games. We all hated the set storyline, and the feeling of having to follow set courses of action. Where's the fun in that?



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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:51 pm 
 

I dunno...I kinda liked the draconians.  Particularly the ones that turned into YOU when you killed them.  My CE magic-user/priest animated them and had some decoys for a while...

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Post Posted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 8:36 pm 
 

Yes, I do believe DL deserves its own post, but until then...



There were some cool things to DL - some good new monsters, more flushing out of dragons than previously published, good maps.



Of course, we have to include the crap: villians that were mostly lame, completely incompetent opponenents, etc.



Then we have those totally irratating gully dwarves that permeated the entire series. What the hell were they thinking. I know it was supposed to be comic relief, but it was really totally stupid and without any value.



But as a whole, the "enemy" was designed to be defeated...and that was evident from every turn.


And I could've bought these damn modules off the 1$ rack!!!

New modules for your Old School game http://pacesettergames.com/

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 9:22 am 
 

Ok, here are some of the things I liked :

- the maps - dunno whether DL1 was the first module to have a 3D (isometric) map but anyway I thought it was way cool

- the idea of having events that trigger at certain points in time - made the world feel a bit more alive

- encountering the different types of draconians for the first time was cool

- also the encounters in a lot of ways just seemed more fleshed out which made us feel we were part of a story as opposed to some of the sparse descriptions you got in the early modules where monsters just existed in rooms with no purpose whatsoever



BTW Did *anyone* ever play the Fifth age SAGA stuff? I've always wondered what it would be like...

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Post Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:03 am 
 

They did a LOT better when they didn't have $$. It forced them to put out good products in order to be able to sell them. Same as any other company.



Uh-huh. There might be some fuzzy nostalgia there. Before Dragonlance, what was TSR putting out? Some of the modules were quite good for their time (A1-4 series, GDQ come to mind) but way too many were just glorified treasure zoos.



While I could write pages on the weaknesses of Dragonlance, one aspect it really pioneered for TSR was the cohesive campaign world. A storyline, with linked events; it's much like comparing episodic nothing-ever-changes-old-Star-Trek to... Babylon 5 or Firefly, where what happens before matters later in the story. Many individual DMs of course built cohesiveness into their campaigns from the beginning, but they got little help from TSR in this regard.



Personally, I wish the Gygax/TSR feud hadn't doomed Greyhawk. I would have preferred that the attention had gone there instead of DL or Forgotten Realms.



And yes, while its chic to say that money doesn't matter, small is beautiful, blah, blah... The fact is that if a company is going to make an impact in its field, it needs capital. Wishing otherwise doesn't make it so. Look at Palladium, SPI's DragonQuest, or Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying... each excellent game systems  in their own way, but doomed to obscurity through undercapitalization.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Aug 18, 2004 1:12 pm 
 

red_dawn wrote:They did a LOT better when they didn't have $$. It forced them to put out good products in order to be able to sell them. Same as any other company.



Uh-huh. There might be some fuzzy nostalgia there. Before Dragonlance, what was TSR putting out? Some of the modules were quite good for their time (A1-4 series, GDQ come to mind) but way too many were just glorified treasure zoos.



While I could write pages on the weaknesses of Dragonlance, one aspect it really pioneered for TSR was the cohesive campaign world. A storyline, with linked events; it's much like comparing episodic nothing-ever-changes-old-Star-Trek to... Babylon 5 or Firefly, where what happens before matters later in the story. Many individual DMs of course built cohesiveness into their campaigns from the beginning, but they got little help from TSR in this regard.



Personally, I wish the Gygax/TSR feud hadn't doomed Greyhawk. I would have preferred that the attention had gone there instead of DL or Forgotten Realms.



And yes, while its chic to say that money doesn't matter, small is beautiful, blah, blah... The fact is that if a company is going to make an impact in its field, it needs capital. Wishing otherwise doesn't make it so. Look at Palladium, SPI's DragonQuest, or Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying... each excellent game systems  in their own way, but doomed to obscurity through undercapitalization.




I think both of you are right.  Small company or huge, multinational corporation - both types have their advantages and disadvantages. If the company is successful or not, relies mostly on whether they recognize and are able to use their strengthes to their advantages.



For example, the small company, which is forced to create innovative products might sell out to the huge corporation later. Both sides are happy - the former small company owner is then a millionaire, the big company has a new, innovative product. - Just like Microsoft does all the time.


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Post Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:11 am 
 

dathon wrote:Part of the "appeal" of the compendiums was that you could buy new sets and then combine them... except you really couldn't since you wouldn't be able to alphabetize them properly with monsters in each set printed on both the back and front sheets.  



Worst D&D "whatever" of all time is probably the movie.  



Worst D&D adventure of all time would be the Ruins of Undermountain box set.  A bunch of maps with very little description of the contents of all those rooms.  Basically the DM spends a chunk of money and then has to spend hours upon hours attempting to flesh out some TSR cartographer's map of rooms.  Advertising it as a complete mega-dungeon adventure was pretty close to false advertising.




    Actually, I'd rate Ruins of Undermountain one of the best RPG products ever released by not just TSR, but any company.  Different strokes I suppose.  I mean cmon, it was four gigantic maps of three levels of a superdungeon with dozens of the rooms detailed plus plenty of room to place your own encounters.  Not to mention pages and pages of supporting material, treasure cards, new monsters, campaign and adventure hooks, entire adventures, very detailed areas, etc.  I'd rather have lots of blank areas where you can develop your own ideas than pages and pages of monster listings...besides, I like to personalize anything I run almost to the point if a player bought the same item he would be clueless to what follows.

    With just this boxed set, FR1 Waterdeep and the North accessory, and the Volo's Guide to WD plus many of my own materials, I ran a 3 and a half year campaign adventuring every week or so where the party only left the environs of the city/UM dungeon one time (twice, if you count the time they accidentally took a gate to a lich-haunted castle on a distant island....and hastily jumped back through the gate after getting their ass kicked).  By far the most fun and interesting campaign I've ever run....

   My vote for worst products goes with the useless 2 volume Magic Encyclopedias and the geek a rama AD&D player plastic suitcases (both covered in depth by another poster)



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Post Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:38 am 
 

Ralf Toth wrote:
red_dawn wrote:They did a LOT better when they didn't have $$. It forced them to put out good products in order to be able to sell them. Same as any other company.



Uh-huh. There might be some fuzzy nostalgia there. Before Dragonlance, what was TSR putting out? Some of the modules were quite good for their time (A1-4 series, GDQ come to mind) but way too many were just glorified treasure zoos.

.




For my purposes, I enjoy a good or interesting map, monster, locale, or hook.  I can fill in all the pieces.  Thus, I buy material that I can actually use either as a whole or piecemeal. However, when I first started out I typically ran adventures just as they were written.

  When I first got into D&D in the late 70's, I bought everything released by TSR, Judge's Guild, etc.  The worst products were the ones I came back to time and again but could never, never not just run the adventure but use ANY part of it.  At one time or another I ran every 1st edition adventure multiple times...except the following, which I never had any use for, so despite the nostalgic leanings here are my worst 1st edition adventures:



1.  UK1 Beyond the Crystal Gate...This sucked, as far as I can remember, this is one of the first adventures where you virtually do nothing except parlay with sylvan creatures to find a lost couple of teenage lovers...by the end you are begging to kill something, even the lost lovers if they happen to show up.



C2 Ghost Tower of Inverness....I only ran this once.  It is written as a tournament adventure, and is really pretty much a typical tournament adventure, you know where you run into the Medusa in one room, the next has a vampire, etc.  No rhyme or reason.  



EX1 and EX2....Did anyone ever run these?  Were players really clamoring for a D&D type adventure based on Alice and freaking Wonderland? IN TWO PARTS!!!!!  To think that Gary wasted time on these when he could have been releasing actual playable material.



WG7 Castle Greyhawk....Castle Craphawk.



Honorable mention:

The CM and IM series for basic D&D.....horribly overpowered, I could never even use the floorplans or monsters, these completely useless to me.  Even stuff like the DL series I can use, if nothing else I recycle the floorplans, whereas the above mentioned series didn't even have useful floorplans.



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Post Posted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:30 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
    Actually, I'd rate Ruins of Undermountain one of the best RPG products ever released by not just TSR, but any company.  Different strokes I suppose.  I mean cmon, it was four gigantic maps of three levels of a superdungeon with dozens of the rooms detailed plus plenty of room to place your own encounters.  Not to mention pages and pages of supporting material, treasure cards, new monsters, campaign and adventure hooks, entire adventures, very detailed areas, etc.  I'd rather have lots of blank areas where you can develop your own ideas than pages and pages of monster listings...besides, I like to personalize anything I run almost to the point if a player bought the same item he would be clueless to what follows.

    With just this boxed set, FR1 Waterdeep and the North accessory, and the Volo's Guide to WD plus many of my own materials, I ran a 3 and a half year campaign adventuring every week or so where the party only left the environs of the city/UM dungeon one time (twice, if you count the time they accidentally took a gate to a lich-haunted castle on a distant island....and hastily jumped back through the gate after getting their ass kicked).  By far the most fun and interesting campaign I've ever run....

   My vote for worst products goes with the useless 2 volume Magic Encyclopedias and the geek a rama AD&D player plastic suitcases (both covered in depth by another poster)



Mike B.




Making maps of empty rooms is the easy part, filling them is the hard part.  80% of the maps had no content provided in the product, even though the blurb on the back of the box described it as a complete product.  And it's even more difficult to fill a map of empty rooms that someone else draws up than if I did it myself.  I knew what I was trying to do when I draw up a map, but I haven't a clue what the original mapmaker was thinking when he puts rooms all over the place.  And Undermountain is actually not an easy dungeon to fill, and have it make some sense.  There's not much rhyme and reason to the place's raison d'etre, except that Halaster is mad and just keeps filling up the rooms after adventurers come through.  One of the reasons I bought the produce in the first place (besides to collect it) was to find out how the designers would pull off such a massive dungeon and have it make some sense.  But, instead, they dodged the whole issue by leaving 80% of it empty.  Uh, guys, I just plunked down $20, please give me a complete product as you described it on the back of the box, thanks.  As for the monsters and magic items, there are plenty of other products to find those, but a truly massive and fabled dungeon that is fleshed out... well, there are not many of those.  The 20% of the rooms that were fleshed out looked interesting; it's too bad TSR dropped the ball and didn't flesh out the rest (or at least 50% of it anyway, geez...).  The first Undermountain box set is the worst D&D module ever in the sense that it was woefully underdeveloped and incomplete.  Even something as bad as Gargoyle could at least be run, even though it would still suck.  

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 10:27 am 
 

EX1 and EX2....Did anyone ever run these? Were players really clamoring for a D&D type adventure based on Alice and freaking Wonderland? IN TWO PARTS!!!!! To think that Gary wasted time on these when he could have been releasing actual playable material.




I'm with you on most of your choices, but I actually had fun running these two. Once I toned down the treasure, we had a great time with these. My players were taking themselves a little too seriously and these two modules lightened the mood.



I'd have to throw in a vote for WG7 as one of the worst modules ever. I understand there was supposed to be some satire in it, but really.



(Dis)honourable mentions go to WG9, WG10, I11 (the worst thing Frank Mentzer ever wrote) and N4. Did anyone actually enjoy N4?

  

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Post Posted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:11 am 
 

dathon wrote:
Badmike wrote:
    Actually, I'd rate Ruins of Undermountain one of the best RPG products ever released by not just TSR, but any company.  Different strokes I suppose.  I mean cmon, it was four gigantic maps of three levels of a superdungeon with dozens of the rooms detailed plus plenty of room to place your own encounters.  Not to mention pages and pages of supporting material, treasure cards, new monsters, campaign and adventure hooks, entire adventures, very detailed areas, etc.  I'd rather have lots of blank areas where you can develop your own ideas than pages and pages of monster listings...besides, I like to personalize anything I run almost to the point if a player bought the same item he would be clueless to what follows.

    With just this boxed set, FR1 Waterdeep and the North accessory, and the Volo's Guide to WD plus many of my own materials, I ran a 3 and a half year campaign adventuring every week or so where the party only left the environs of the city/UM dungeon one time (twice, if you count the time they accidentally took a gate to a lich-haunted castle on a distant island....and hastily jumped back through the gate after getting their ass kicked).  By far the most fun and interesting campaign I've ever run....

   My vote for worst products goes with the useless 2 volume Magic Encyclopedias and the geek a rama AD&D player plastic suitcases (both covered in depth by another poster)



Mike B.




Making maps of empty rooms is the easy part, filling them is the hard part.  80% of the maps had no content provided in the product, even though the blurb on the back of the box described it as a complete product.  And it's even more difficult to fill a map of empty rooms that someone else draws up than if I did it myself.  I knew what I was trying to do when I draw up a map, but I haven't a clue what the original mapmaker was thinking when he puts rooms all over the place.  And Undermountain is actually not an easy dungeon to fill, and have it make some sense.  There's not much rhyme and reason to the place's raison d'etre, except that Halaster is mad and just keeps filling up the rooms after adventurers come through.  One of the reasons I bought the produce in the first place (besides to collect it) was to find out how the designers would pull off such a massive dungeon and have it make some sense.  But, instead, they dodged the whole issue by leaving 80% of it empty.  Uh, guys, I just plunked down $20, please give me a complete product as you described it on the back of the box, thanks.  As for the monsters and magic items, there are plenty of other products to find those, but a truly massive and fabled dungeon that is fleshed out... well, there are not many of those.  The 20% of the rooms that were fleshed out looked interesting; it's too bad TSR dropped the ball and didn't flesh out the rest (or at least 50% of it anyway, geez...).  The first Undermountain box set is the worst D&D module ever in the sense that it was woefully underdeveloped and incomplete.  Even something as bad as Gargoyle could at least be run, even though it would still suck.  

My two coppers...




I can actually fill up ten posts with examples of $20 (not to mention $25, $30, $40 and $50) products that cannot be used, but truthfully ROM was not one of them.  I found placing my own encounters...hell, my own entire adventures....within the framework of the dungeon challenging.  I created my own backstory (Halaster was a legend that didn't exist, and the true purpose of the dungeon was even more sinister...). The idea of a 1000+ room dungeon being placid enough to place 1000's of set encounters is ludicrous...such a structure would be more fluid, with small power bases, random type encounters, and targets of opportunity (roving bands of deadly creatures).  I think you missed the entire point of the product, but I've always been surpised (even sometimes shocked) by DM's who run prepackaged modules absolutely exactly as written, with not even an iota of imagination or ingenuity involved.  Which is why there are tons of crappy DMs out there, myself not being one luckily.   I mean, technically, S2 White Plume Mountain give the characters involved one of the most overpowered and campaign wrecking magic items ever devised...and so most of my contemporaries had their campaigns immediately wrecked after they ran the module and characters decided to keep Stormbringer....err, Blackrazor I mean...for themselves.  Many of them just shook their heads with glum resignation as they told me the story.  They were so locked into running the adventure as written they allowed it to destroy whatever campaign they had running..when the solution was as simple as having the item work differently than written, or having it stolen from the PCs almost immediately by a more powerful being, or having it corrupt and destroy the wielder after a short period of time...in short, something anyone with imagination and vision would have come up with.  

    As relating to ROM, I guess I like a basic structure, plotline or locale with some specific encounters, characters or the like, and I enjoy working up the rest myself.  Then again, I have quite an imagination, and have been told by almost everyone I've DMed the last 25 years that I'm the best DM they have ever had.  If I could turn the worst D&D module ever into a three and a half year campaign for 7 players and 17 adventuring characters, then I guess I'll accept my gold medal....damn, I have got to start charging these guys for my services any day now.   :wink:

  BTW, if you wanted a superdungeon fleshed out entirely room by room, there was always WGR1 Greyhawk Ruins.  Now, THAT was a piece of shit, and a good example of why what you wanted doesn't work.



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