Since coming back to TTRPGs circa 2018 I’ve become increasingly interested in adventure modules. Listening to Between Two Cairns helped that too. One thing that seems to come up a lot is that adventures are just unpleasant a lot of the time. More what I would think of as things to endure than enjoy. When I think of “adventure” I think of things which are challenging but ultimately quite good fun. I’m interested in the sorts of places you want to explore for the sake of the place rather than places you’re forced to endure for some other reason. I don’t mean free of challenge or conflict or anything. Things that make you think “this place is cool, I wonder what’s going on”.
What adventures would people recommend that are nice?
I think in Chris Kutalik’s Marlinko, there’s some golden desert ships or something in the Slumbering Dunes.
Troika’s starting adventure at the end of the book has just a full hotel and a party on the roof.
Those are my first thoughts.
I haven’t run it yet but I feel Black Wyrm of Brandonsford can be very “nice” as you put it
Especially because NPCs rarely actively want to harm the PCs, except maybe from the eponymous Black Wyrm, but even then you can play it otherwise. This gives the impression that there are no bad guys, just people and creatures with their own thing going on : the PCs can buy into it or go to the next location and do something else.
I’ve been thinking about this too. I’ve been running Tomb of the Serpent Kings for a couple friends, because I really wanted to try some honest-to-goodness dungeon crawling, and introduce us all to a more old-school play style. But as we go along, I’ve been wondering if creeping through a nasty dungeon is what they really want.
Amanda Lee Franck’s adventures that I read (Vampire Cruise and Garbage Barge) feel pretty funny and escapist. Maybe funny isn’t necessarily what you were asking about. And endless garbage and vampires aren’t nice. But I think the tone of the writing goes a long way to make them feel escapist and fun (though I haven’t gotten to run them yet).
I agree that the NPCs who interact with the PCs go a long way toward setting the tone. NPCs that just want to make you a nice cup of tea and hear news of the world, or just want to tell you bad jokes… that kind of thing. Pleasant or wondrous social interactions could really lighten up an adventure that was written to be grim and horrible.