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Pandemonim Post #4: Bye Phandalin

Welcome, dear reader, to the fourth post of the Pandemonium Post. I, your humble servant, once again return to you with new speculations. I heard that WOTC recently moved our favorite starting adventure, "Lost Mine of Phandelver," to legacy content, which I consider a terrible move, given how this module is a fan favorite, even for seasoned players. "Dragons of Stormwreck Isle" is replacing "Lost Mine of Phandelver," and I believe this is a significant mistake on WOTC's part.

Before we critique this change, let's consider why Wizards of the Coast is taking this path. I genuinely believe that the decision-makers aim to make Phandelver a premium content for the players. Design-wise, "Lost Mines of Phandelver" is a well-balanced adventure, even with the goblin ambush, and it is player-friendly. It introduces new players to the mechanics, lore, and culture of DnD. This classic adventure revolves around a town as its hub and heavily involves dungeon crawling. It also includes instances where players face social encounters. Most importantly, it is extremely easy to run. "Lost Mine of Phandelver" is the perfect example of a cookbook adventure, providing a clear pathway for adventure design. It follows a straightforward path with branching questlines that allow players to delve further into the realms' story and explore various paths after the adventure's conclusion.

On the other hand, "Dragons of Stormwreck Isle" is not as open as "Lost Mines of Phandelver." It takes place in an area away from most civilization and does not connect to any other adventure. Of course, one can argue that a DM can easily link the adventure to "Hoard of the Dragon Queen," but these links are not as clear as they are in "Lost Mines of Phandelver."

The timing of this change is even more concerning. WOTC recently released "Phandelver and Below," which offers a return to our favorite town. In this book, players go through a modified version of "Lost Mine of Phandelver" and follow a quest line linked to aberrations coming from the far realm. I believe the main goal of this adventure was not to provide another follow-up adventure to "Lost Mines of Phandelver." Instead, this module aims to create a completely different adventure for the zone, and I don't understand this design choice. While I enjoyed the presentation and the overall design of the adventure, I think it could have been integrated more smoothly to complement the existing starting adventure. I hope someone writes a suitable alternative beginning to this adventure that connects "Lost Mine of Phandelver" to "Phandelver and Below."

Returning to my speculations, I think WOTC intends to shelve "Lost Mine of Phandelver" for a reprint with One DnD. I believe we will receive a new digital version of the adventure modified for the new ruleset in the upcoming years. Similarly, I think the same scenario will happen for "Curse of Strahd." I wonder how long it will take for WOTC to realize how they might be growing complacent with the material they publish with each new edition. Perhaps shutting down the publishing department was not a good idea after all. Maybe those novels were actually helpful in creating interesting and engaging stories that complement the adventures.

Once again, I thank you for bearing with me through my musings. I can't say that I'm saddened by this development. It is what it is. I believe the situation could have been handled much better, but I'm content with the path they've chosen.


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