Top 10 Best D&D Adventures (5e)

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What Are The Best D&D Adventures?

Dungeons and Dragons is known for its modular nature. This idea starting from the very beginning, when the only instructions for the DM writing an adventure were “Make it fun, make it cool, and make it include a dungeon”. Now, in our enlightened older years, adventure creation has become an art form and the market for well-written ones has skyrocketed as-of-late.

The following list counts the best 10 D&D adventures currently on the market in no particular order. This isn’t just any list of adventures, this is the decisive list as of 3/31/19. These are some of the best adventures for D&D5e.

Enjoy!

10. Uncaged | Volume I

The adventurers come to Waterdeep only to be hired be a mermaid to kidnap a bard and punish a witch that stole her voice. This was not the mark on history the players thought they would make, but it pays well. Uncaged is an anthology series dealing with 25 unique, folk tale style adventures for levels 1-4.

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • It is beautifully written and drawn to life
  • The adventures are all for low-levels, allowing its use to be spread out across several playthroughs
  • Makes you feel as if you’re in an ancient epic

Tips for running Uncaged

As a DM, try not to pile all of these adventures into a single campaign, it will overstimulate the players with the idea of fantastical storytelling. Mix in basic adventures and simpler plot lines to keep from burnout.

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9. Barrowmaze Complete 5e

A small town on the edge of rolling fields spreads rumors among the visiting adventures. Those are no natural hills. They are ancient barrows, crypts for great warriors and nobles, defended by traps, monsters, and magic. Inside they can find some of the most incredible treasure to be found in this section of the world. Can the players complete the Barrowmaze?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Almost all of the 70+ crypts are connected beneath the earth into a mega-dungeons known as the Barrowmaze
  • Completing this dungeon piece be piece can take literally years of campaigning
  • Rival adventuring parties
  • Tables for restocking used dungeons

Tips for running Barrowmaze Complete

This is going to be a long haul, with the campaign lasting years before you can finally finish the entire Barrowmaze. I suggest getting the book as an anthology tool, using it to help provide you small, mini-dungeons for other campaigns mostly, then running it in full when you can find a dedicated party.

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8. The Chapel on the Cliffs (5e)

The town of Kennmouth has been left abandoned for almost 50 years now, coming after a local fisherman unearthed an ancient object from the depths of the sea. Now it is a haunted hamlet, one that preys on those foolhardy enough to enter its wretched walls. Can the heroes be the ones to free this lost settlement of its curse?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Loosely based off of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story Shadow Over Innsmouth
  • A manageable 10+ hours of gameplay
  • Gothic horror floods the seen
  • At least 35 pages of stunning artwork
  • Mass combat

Tips for running The Chapel on the Cliffs

The adventure itself is incredibly well written and needs very little change to have the best experience. My only suggestion is that (if you are playing a campaign) hint about Kennmouth through side characters before actually sending the players there. Make it a well-known myth, a legend, and then capitalize on the curiosity building up in the players.

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7. Curse of Strahd

Count Strahd von Zarovich, crusader, tyrant, vampire lord. One of the greatest villains in D&D history lives inside of this book, with a tragic and dramatic backstory so rich with lore it questions the ability for some DMs to know everything before going in. Make sure to get a set of Tarroka cards before continuing.

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Open-world exploration
  • Several villains, each interesting enough to star in their own miniature adventure
  • The vampire mastermind Count Strahd von Zarovich tests the players repeatedly by using the words in the book to manipulate the DM in order to allow them to lose
  • Randomly decided locations of important items, people, and events that are set during a fortune telling session

Tips for running Curse of Strahd

Play up the horror. This book has many horror elements that are required to be pressed on by the DM in order for everything to run smoothly. There is a section inside of the book that explains exactly how to create an aura of gothic horror, this tip is only here to remind you (as the DM) to READ IT. If your players aren’t at least nervous, when exploring a new dungeon, that is not good.

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6. D&D Solo Adventure: The Tortured Lands

This is the only adventure on the list that is can be run entirely by one person, for one person. In case you did your math as I did upon first hearing of this adventure, no, that is not one PC and one DM, this is all run/ played by the SAME one person. This follows your hero as you find adventure across the frozen wastes known as Tortured Lands. Can you survive these terrific perils alone?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Fantastic artwork
  • Playable completely solo
  • Has conversion tables for playing with multiple players as well as a DM (which means yes, the adventure can run itself while you and up to three friends brave it)
  • It has some of the most interesting puzzles I’ve experienced in a while

Tips for running The Tortured Lands

I would suggest running it solo by yourself before DMing it for your friends, that way you not only get twice the use out of the product, but you have a much more in-depth knowledge of how the game progresses before you play it with others.

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5. Murder in Baldur’s Gate (5e)

Murder in Baldur’s Gate was one of the best adventures for D&D4e, the forgotten edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It is, in my professional opinion, second only to The Keep on the Shadowfell. However, 4e was not to be, with scathing reviews (undeserved). Finally, WOTC has blessed us with a 5e version of Murder in Balder’s Gate so we may continue its tradition of awesomeness. Duke Adrian Abdel has died, and the city of Balder’s Gate convened to mourn his loss, but murder is afoot. Can the PCs stop the bloodshed?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Interesting, in-depth mysteries
  • Fantastic combat sequences
  • Flavorful characters
  • Can be played in either 4e or 5e (that’s pretty rare)

Tips for running Murder in Baldur’s Gate

Give the game a chance, I know 4e isn’t everyone's favorite edition, but there are diamonds in the rough. Proof of that statement is this adventure right here. Don’t knock it till’ you try it is my only tip for skeptical DMs.

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4. The Dark of Hot Springs Island

The only reason The Dark of Hot Springs Island is not copy-pasted as each of these Top 10 is that it is technically system neutral. Which means it is recommended for veteran DMs who can make rulings on the fly. The Dark of Hot Springs Island has the players acting as enforcers for a sort of fantasy East India Company that is sending an expedition to the Swordfish Isles, specifically Hot Springs Island. There they find so much gold there are actual inflation calculators at the back of the book. Mysteries, lost civilizations, planar interference, need I say more?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Faction interplay
  • Player’s in-lore companion book that’s over 80 pages
  • Open-world, hex-crawl, free-roam, lots and lots of dungeons
  • Fun to read
  • Elves are bad (which is good, they are dumb)

Tips for running The Dark of Hot Springs Island

Be aware that this entire book requires you have an in-depth knowledge of 5e’s rules if you are attempting to run the adventure in 5e. It will not help you in that regard.

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3. Lost Laboratory of Kwalsh

The great arcane inventor Kwalsh had left on a maddening journey decades earlier, never to return. In that time he constructed portals to other dimensions, lost everything only to rebuild it once more, called down at least one great curse upon an entire city, and was tricked by a demon. He lives alone, studying his arcane studies, inventing his arcane inventions. Until the players need his help. Can the party pick through Kwalsh’s horde of mistakes, surviving the horrors he left in his wake, in time to get his help?

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • All proceeds go to Extra Life, a charity that gives money to hospitals in order to help sick and injured kids, all funded by gamers like us
  • An intricate and mysterious backstory that brings Kwalsh to life
  • At least 2 cults, completely different in mannerisms

Tips for running Lost Laboratory of Kwalsh

Kwalsh is supposed to be a… different kind of guy. He has experienced, even interacted with, alien minds so foreign we cannot fathom how they operate. As such, his actions may seem weird to us, but trust me when I say when you’re roleplaying Kwalsh do not let the players convince you otherwise.

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2. Complete Adventures of M.T. Black Vol. I

This is another anthology, but unlike its predecessor which has a large number of adventures that all share a similar theme, Complete Adventures is a bundle that is selling 14 award-winning adventures in a single package. Each one of these modules is fantastic, the art is stunning, the writing is inspiring, and the stories they tell are powerful.

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • Over 200 pages of award-winning content
  • Enchanting art, that inspires powerful emotions in the viewer
  • Well written gives the reader few if any questions

Tips for running Complete Adventures

Playing these adventures back to back is not as bad as doing the same with Uncaged, as these adventures do not all have similar themes. Each of these adventures also excels from the age-old adage “read your modules in full before you run them”.

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1. Hoard of the Dragon Queen

This was the first official campaign released for Dungeons & Dragons, which means it has some problems. Its descriptions are at times confusing, its progression is concerning, and the story itself is questionable, but this adventure is the one that taught me how to DM on the fly. In this campaign, you have to improvise as a DM, because while the broad strokes are presented, almost all the details are muddled. Think of the campaign as a test of a DM’s skills.

What’s AWESOME about this adventure?

  • It shows the original mindset of how 5e was to be played
  • It follows a story that is epic in scale about the uncovering an ancient cult
  • More than enough room for improvement

Tips for running Hoard of the Dragon Queen

As I have said a thousand times already, this adventure makes it necessary to be good at messing things up. It is almost a training program to allow the DM to stretch out their improv skills, picking up new talents to help fill in the gaps.

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