Princes of the Apocalypse is D&D’s killer app

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PoA is pretty much being universally hailed as far as fun, interesting, and character driven APs go. I would love to either run or play it, but my group is stuck on Pathfinder (though I managed to start a RuneQuest 6 game with them).

I still really, really like 5e and I have high hopes they won’t ruin it with ill conceived splatbooks like 3.5 (and 2e to a degree).

There is no more iconic role-playing experience than the dungeon crawl. It’s the DNA of all RPGs (…)

Yeah, right. Say that out loud to pen & paper enthusiasts, and you’ll be taught different. The dungeon crawl is widely assumed to be the most boring role-playing experience, because it’s very little about role-playing, and mostly about killing stuff and loot. It’s so infamously not role-playing, that there’s Munchkin, designed by one of the most famous role-playing game designers, to parody how not to role-play.

It would be funny to read this if that same attitude wasn’t reflected in everyone who’s never really role-played much.

[None of which is to say that dungeon-crawling cannot be fun. Of course it can be.]

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Credit really should be given to the guys at Sasquatch Games, who developed and designed this adventure for Wizards. These guys do great work.

Unwesen, I’m with you. Dungeon-crawls typically are boring and kill role-playing. However, the sandbox nature of this campaign means a group can also inject a lot of role-playing into their games.

For the record, my son and I regularly play Munchkin and its sequel Star Munchkin. The cards are worn out and the game is still fun, more so because he’s old enough to get all the references.

Minor nitpicks: “the Colossus (a giant race built for tank characters)” The race is named Goliath, not Colossus. While they are a bit stronger than the average human, and have a racial ability to shrug off damage, that doesn’t necessarily pigeonhole them into the “meat shield” role. In the debut of Dragon+ (a D&D magazine app for iOS/Android) they show an example Goliath who’s a sage wizard.

“their presence will consistently raise questions from NPCs. That’s not
necessarily any different from the Dragonborn and Tiefling” Just want to point out that NPCs being suspicious or guarded around races that may not look like them or come from cultures different from them is not part of the base rules. In the default setting, Tieflings have an infernal heritage and may be distrusted, and most people think the worst of Drow, but DMs and players are free to collaborate to change up default assumptions. (In the Eberron campaign setting, for example, orcs are more likely to live a peaceful lifestyle that includes reverence for life and the earth, while elves are more likely to be pillaging xenophobic marauders.)

No, “iconic” is absolutely the correct word. The hobby originated in dungeon crawling, and the sales figures suggest that it remains the most popular activity by a solid margin. “Iconic” is not the same thing as “objectively most fun,” and I can certainly appreciate a political LARP or a Dogs in the Vineyard session as much as the next guy, but “bashing orcs in a cave and taking their stuff” is indisputably the origin of the tabletop roleplaying hobby.

If you prefer a more narrative-oriented experience, that’s fine! But I do get tired of the Real Roleplayer types who are too smug to admit how much they loved bashing orcs as teenagers, or how much they owe to Gygax and Arneson rolling funny dice and making stupid puns in the basement.

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I’m in agreement that “bashing orcs in a cave and taking their stuff” is the root of role-playing (roleplaying? role playing?). With only the least bit of source material to go on, a good DM can weave a story behind it all, and interested roleplayers (er?) can stray as far as they like from the bashing and still get back to in time for pizza. Role playing doesn’t have to be three hours of description without a die roll along the way. I think a mix of hack and slash with some storytelling keeps it light and fun. I’ve played games where the DM just put a dragon at the end of a hallway, rolled everything on the treasure tables and told the party “There it is, see if you can kill it.” It was fun, players died and those that didn’t barely made it out alive. None of the treasure ended up being permanent for our characters (stupid DM), all those who died were ‘rewound to the start’, free heals etc. Good times.

In fact, I kept a transcript of the dragon battle, and I’ll share a bit of it here:

Tim: There he is!
King Arthur: Where?
Tim: There!
King Arthur: What? Behind the dragon?
Tim: It is the dragon!
King Arthur: You silly sod!
Tim: What?
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that’s no ordinary dragon.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered lizard you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You tit! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that dragon’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!

Oh I was hoping it was an app.

The original campaign is one of the only TSR generated ones I have played through, and that was a long time ago.

You’re assuming I’m a “real roleplayer type”, I think.

All I’m saying is that “iconic” means, amongst other things, “representative” - and that’s not been the case for the last 30-odd years, otherwise we could not even have this disagreement.

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