Vox Populi Forum
(1) TSR / WOTC moved away from thin modules a long, long time ago.
(2) The writers who write for TSR like to write.
(3) 4th edition was meant to support a Warcraft like D & D game (yet they said they did not).
(4) Modules aren't eliminated by a great mission generation system / DM's tools, it's strengthened by it.
While oxygen and hydrogen can run an engine, water doesn't.
I would love to believe that there is a grand conspiracy in the game world to not include one of the most useful tools that a referee could have ... but ... sadly I can't get there.
They are just nitwits (with all due respect) who think the players love what they write. (Look at the 5e player's book if you don't believe that.) We watched them talk about D&D 5 for 3 years at GenCon. I believe they loved the product but in the end, nothing special.
WOTC / Hasbro figured it out, you sell 100 player's manuals for every referee guide. That's where the money is. Yea, in this game you need a good referee guide to make the game playable but that's outside their experience. (King Oil does not need a referee.)
There are a handful of generators that have popped up on the net but they are all incomplete (and mostly not wide spread). There seems to be a move to ... "you don't need a generator with a 1,000 ideas when you can do it all with 10". The players can't tell the difference anyway.
If WOTC had picked one and supported it, there would be opportunities for sales. (There was a Dungeon Master Design Kit which sort of did it and there are a few scattered generators but they are limited.) Even Pathfinder only half supported it.
There even is an "adventure generator" in the current 5e DMG but it's a bit muddled. One can't simply dice and go.
A few iterations and they would have been pretty good.
But, writers like to write and the management of the company is lost. So, look another book about how cool monster 275XB is.
Even the expansions have to include content for the players so they will purchase it. (+1 Winky power so I'm elitzor!!!)
The "modules" are now hard bound and cost 30 bucks and come in threes. (Still, a great deal at $90 bucks.)
Plus, each referee things they are the next Tolkien and they may well be. So, each wants to write their own take on the universe. Rolling dice for a mission doesn't get you there. "Pippin races forth in the Battle of Pelenor fields to defy the Lord of the Nazgul and pulls out a .... (45 Muffing Tin ... oh damn ..... 68 Cheese Grater .... frick .... 45 muddy boot ... yea that will do ....) Sometimes the Universe isn't Mad Libs ... sometimes it is.
I would love to see a really great DM Guide with all that neat stuff in it . Since the DM's guide is a loss leader but necessary for the game, why not make one great guide and never make it again? (Sell the blades baby!!!! Look another book ... "Rubes guide to things Rangers like to eat for breakfast".) The campaign would have to be integrated into the DMG. I get the sense the fighting over who owns the Egg of Coot will shut that down. (Who owns Dragon Lance? I can't speak to Dragon Lance because it never struck my fancy.)
Never forget stupid is always a more likely reason than some nefarious scheme (unless Moriarty is involved).
Water Engine Conrad