Wednesday, May 8, 2024

I Am Now Become Death, Destroyer of Worlds

 Spoken by J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting from the Bhagavad Gita, it could very easily have been said by Vecna in the latest offering for D&D 5th Edition.

I know I have been down on Wizards of the Coast for the last year and half after they pull some moronically stupid shit with the OGL and Pinkertons, but also for completely dropping the ball on both Baldur's Gate III tie ins and celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons. Well, this adventure at least goes a little bit into the right direction.

Vecna: Eve of Ruin

Vecna: Eve of Ruin

Basically, the plot is this. Kas is going to destroy the D&D Multiverse and rebuild it in his own image. You have to stop it.

This is part Marvel's Infinity Saga and part DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, so it already has my attention. Then in what can only be described as Wizard's trying to win me back, your characters are "hired" by Alustriel Silverhand and Tasha the Witch. Then there is a romp through the D&D Multiverse to reassemble the Rod of Seven Parts. I don't care that I did that once before I also like to rewatch the Doctor Who serial "The Key to Time."

The Wizards Three

So Vecna is the Big Bad. Yeah, I also fought him in the past, but I still don't care, glad he is back. Plus, I can work all the shit he did on Taldorei before this. 

In addition, we have Kas, Tiamat, Count Strahd Zarovich (punching way above his weight class here), Lolth, Lord Soth, Acerak, Mordenkainen, Miska the Wolf Spider, and even a FREAKING ASTRAL DREADNOUGHT.

There are a ton of twists and turns here and I have no idea how it runs, but I love what I am reading. 

This is not the first time D&D has given us big Universe shaking events between editions. The Forgotten Realms had their Time of Troubles, the Spellplague, and the Second Sundering. This one takes it up several notices.

I am a little disappointed that Mystara doesn't show up here, but that is fine I can deal with that.

The adventure is for levels 10-20, so it is meant to be big and deadly.

If I were to run this, I think I would let players pick their favorite characters from any game they have played in the past. It wouldn't matter if they were from the same timelines; in fact, that is a plus. 

And this seems appropriate; play us out, Barry!

No. Not that one. We need to remember the first battle with Vecna and the loss of a great bard.


JB said...

This sounds like a lot of fanservice BS, man. I mean: does it really excite you? Your post reads "excited" to me, I don't doubt your sincerity, but I'm a little surprised that an old hand like you isn't at least a little jaded at this rather blatant "once-again-milking-the-cash-cow-Gygax-created" adventure offering.

[I suppose "Miska the Wolf Spider" is new...never heard of that one]

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Yes. It does.

My son and I were reading over it have a great time. I am not so old and jaded that I can't sit back and say, "fuck it, I am going to have some fun." I don't need a seven-course gourmet meal all the time. Sometimes, I want a bacon double cheeseburger with fries. And sometimes I want four sliders from White Castle and wash it down with some Faygo.

Honestly, I am sorry you don't feel this. But this is supposed to be about fun, and this adventure puts a smile on my face.

Timothy S. Brannan said...

Oh. Miska the Wolf Spider was from the original Rod of Seven Parts set. So from 1996. So about 28 years ago.

JB said...

I remember when the Rod of Seven Parts box came out. I never purchased it as I was very much a "non-D&D" gamer in the '90s.

You and I will have to agree to disagree on this one. I understand being in the mood for a cheeseburger sometimes. For me, that would be analogous to "running another tomb" adventure. I can even see wanting another McDonald's cheeseburger sometimes...that would be "running another PRE-PUBLISHED tomb adventure" (or even "another WOTC tomb adventure"...or pick your fave publisher).

But this offering doesn't fit the analogy. In a game that's supposed to be about creativity and imagination, there sure is a lot of going back to the same well in this product. Jeez, man: the better analogy IS the comic book one. This, to me, looks as dumb as H4: a thin veneer of "plot" over a railroad of "let's fight all the toughest monsters found in the Monster Manuals." Except instead it's a thin veneer of plot over "let's use all the most popular IP (that we've already recycled multiple times over the years)." It's pretty my opinion.

And, yeah, it IS supposed to be about fun. This does not look fun to me. It looks pretty marketing forces trumping creativity. And rather than a smile, that puts a frown on my face, and causes me to roll my eyes and shake my head. It's not the game I'm disillusioned with...just the company.

But as I admit: we disagree on this. For you, this is fun and exciting. Okay. You're clearly the target demographic here and I am (clearly) not. And that's fine. I'm just surprised, I guess, to find you in that category. Even if I played 5E, I wouldn't see anything "exciting" about this product.