Friday, June 12, 2015

D&D 5: Expensive Modules

I am not a fan of the $50 adventure module format. I miss the days where adventure modules were lined up and sold like $6-$8 32-64 page folios, almost like magazines on a rack.

Yes, these new adventure modules are great-looking, with super-high production values, gorgeous art, and they are beautiful collectors items. But to me, they are just that, collectors items. Without a PDF so I can run them from my tablet, they have little use for me. They feel like they are primarily for reading and not playing. Would I like to read them? Yes, I am a fan of fantasy and would, but I still have that buyer's regret of never being able to use them.

Yes, you can get these for $30 on Amazon, but that's not the point. You are killing my FLGS if the price of these things are so high I feel forced to go to Amazon to buy. And yes, Pathfinder's adventure paths are more than two to three times as expensive for a 6-book run of $20-25 each, I get that (but those can be picked up in PDF for $12-14 each). But with the adventure path, this is a spread out release across a longer period of time and it sort of is like buying a quarterly magazine.

Still, I miss the old days. Not every adventure needs to be turned into a summer blockbuster. While it is nice to see some of the classics re-imagined, my group doesn't find much enjoyment in living in the grand spectacle. We tend to like the small, personal, local, and gritty adventures where things are down to Earth and less IMAX save the world. I miss the original Tomb of Horrors in that thin little paper folio, or the Slave Lords series. They are now purchasable via PDF, and that is a good thing, but I feel the larger direction here is all wrong - at least for me and my group.

With an expensive module, I have buyer's regret. I could buy the Witcher III for this price. I simply don't know if I will ever use another mega-module or if my group will ever play it.

Core rulebooks? Yes, I can justify those, since they open up options for all adventures. Modules? I prefer them to be smaller in scope and in price. Not every release needs to be a huge, AAA affair, and the lack of third-party support hurts my choices for buying the adventures I want to buy. It feels like it is getting harder for me to stay excited for this version because of the lack of options in rules, creative third-party support, and adventures. The D&D 5 system has beautiful books with an interesting simple system, but I dislike how tightly controlled everything feels with this version of the game.