Some people complain about using published adventures/settings instead of using homemade materials. Now, I could go into the other reasons of why I feel it’s ok to use such products, but today I’m going to give you only one good reason and I think it is one often overlooked.
I find that when I am writing up an area for my world setting or writing adventure #56 for my campaign I tend to do the same thing again…and again. Sure, I try to keep things varied but there is only so much I can do with one brain. Even if I can come up with something unique, I still use much the same words and writing style as I have for every other thing I’ve written.
Using someone else’s product means my campaign/adventure is using someone else’s words and style of using those words. Their descriptions of areas include things I normally would not. Their NPCs react and say things differently than the ones I write up. This keeps things fresh for my players, both in content and context.
As an example, I tend to have a formula when writing adventures. I happen to think my formula works well, which is why I use it. Basically, for every combat encounter I throw at the characters I will endeavor to include one puzzle in the adventure and then I add in one role-playing situation to the overall adventure. While I try to keep the encounters interesting and new, the overall expectations are often the same. However, if I use a published adventure they will take different approaches. Maybe they use no puzzles in the adventure; maybe they focus more on role-playing. By utilizing such an adventure I will have strayed from my formula and given the players something unique, something separate from myself. In a way, it’s like having a guest DM for the night.