Top 10 Best DnD Campaign Ideas

Best DnD Campaign Ideas
Goblins preparing to give Adventurer's some work.

What are the best ways to build a campaign? 

Creating a campaign yourself is a daunting task. It takes time, knowledge, experience and creativity to write adventures that will inspire great stories. In the internet age, you never have to feel like you can’t DM because you don’t have an epic campaign of your own design. Below is a list of campaign ideas to get your party started.

10. The Necrodancer

Original Necrodancer comment

Redditor Daneruu’s campaign idea is centered on an evil, superstar bard. That bard is on a global tour with an ever-rising fandom of the undead. Craft a plan and see where your players take the show.

The Necrodancer’s potential lies in its elegance. It’s a villain and a scheme that can be adapted to almost any place with people. Turn it into a bit of a mystery and bury the undead plot for a while. Just imagine it now: the rhythmic shambling, the monstrous crowds, and the profane smells. Adventure and stardom await!

9. The Mad Manor of Astabar

The Mad Manor of Astabar was a D&D Next campaign contest entrant and honorable mention. One of the most intriguing submissions, this campaign for players level 1-3 brings you into the mysterious home of a long-gone wizard. A Poltergeist-like adventure unfolds as the players explore and engage in this monster-lite encounter.
You get a nice range of puzzles and non-combat encounters to stump your players. The style is a refreshing departure from standard dungeon crawls. Mad Manor could be adapted to center around a castle or town if you want to expand the adventure. You could fuel sessions worth of adventure with this supplement as a start.

8. Windows to the Past

Windows to the Past Download

Alan Patrick’s Windows to the Past was published for the Adventurer’s League and is a canon campaign. This dynamic adventure can be set at levels 5-10, 11-16th, or 17-20th. Playtime varies by style and can range from 4 to 12 hours. Windows to the Past employs a fresh hook, with remnants of a Thayan expedition to the North returning from an expedition to the frigid north. The survivors were left mad by what happened there.

Seeing one of the franchise boogiemen scared to death is an interesting start. The lure of deeper lore will spark curiosity in those who love the exploration aspect of D&D. When your players hear rumors of what they may lie in the ancient pyramid and they’ll be in deep. This module will bring out the best in your game with intrigue and thoughtful encounters.

7. Plane Shift: Ixalan

Plane Shift: Ixalan from Wizards

Less a module and more of a sprawling campaign setting, Wizard of the Coast’s Plane Shift is a brilliant idea. It takes the settings of Magic the Gathering and adapts them to the D&D multiverse. Limitless possibilities await you in this franchise of unimaginable depth. Get your feet wet with published material and then strike out on your own through the wonderful worlds of Magic.
This crossover breathes new life into the game in a number of respects. It’s amazing to be able to write a Magic story after playing the game for decades. Theatre of the mind comes easily to you and your players as decades worth of artwork flood your mind with a word. This specific volume of Plane Shift is set on Ixalan, a plane of exploration and mystery. Pirates, Dinosaurs, Vampires, and Merfolk, oh my!

6. Tome of Adventure

Tome of Adventure from DMs Guild

The Tome of Adventure is truly something to behold. This campaign book features 12 unique adventures, each touching on classic Dungeons and Dragons themes. The adventures engage you through intricate detailing and masterful construction. Four best selling authors and over a dozen artists contributed brilliant writing and immersive imagery, making this a pleasure to run.

Tome of Adventure’s strength lies in craftsmanship and versatility. These adventures can easily be placed in any setting with minimal adjustment. Every group will find something in the variety of adventures presented here. The numerous perspectives and inspirations lend themselves to musing about possibilities for your own adventures. You'll learn a thing or two about this game from the Tome of Adventure.

5. Rage of Demons

Rage of Demons on DMs Guild

Rage of Demons is the storyline featured in the Out of the Abyss supplement. This epic adventure takes you through 15 levels in the depths of the Underdark. Drow, Demons and unknown dangers lurk down below the surface. There are mysteries to solve and prizes to win. If you can survive the horrors that lurk in the dark.
This campaign is diabolical in depth. You face off against a number of interesting foes with distinct motivations in a complex environment. Out of the Abyss could easily be modified to expand into higher levels. The Blood War could suit you quite well as a backdrop for later events with only minor additions to the earlier narrative. You could use the time you save by reading through level 15 from the book to craft the last five levels.

4. Planescape: Stargate

Planescape Stargate on Fantasy Grounds

Planescape Stargate is an ingenious interpretation of the Planescape campaign setting by Fantasy Grounds user The High Druid. Stargates were the lifeblood of over 15 years of TV, it’s hard to imagine where the possibilities end for a game like D&D. Sigil serves as the perfect setting for a similar font of ideas.
By basing your party out of Sigil you have a natural explanation for an infinite number of portals. You could incorporate the factions of Sigil into the narrative as backing or competition. The multiverse is full of opportunity, and who wouldn’t be trying to make the most of it? If you and your party love the idea of something a little more fast-paced and varied, look no further than the center of the everything.

3. Tyranny of Dragons

Tyranny of Dragons on DMs Guild

Tyranny of Dragons is available in hardcover as The Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat or online from Wizards. An official Adventurer’s League storyline, this series is a great way to get the game rolling. A classic Dungeons and Dragons threat, the Cult of the Dragon, is raging across Faerun. Brave heroes are needed to stop them before they give the world over to the dread dragon-queen.
This supplement comes with everything you need, which makes DMing as easy as can be. Everyone gets the most of their playtime. If your group appreciates a story, this one is layered and diverse. You get to wear a lot of hats and use a lot of cool tricks as DM, which will wow your players and keep everyone interested for many sessions.

2. Curse of Strahd

Curse of Strahd on Wizards

Curse of Strahd is available in serial through the Adventurer’s league and in a single hardcover. Set in the once defunct Ravenloft campaign setting, this is a wonderful departure in terms of theme and storytelling. This is a fear-driven, Gothic Horror narrative in a sandbox format. The evil Count Strahd has the land of Barovia in his clutches and only despair remains.
The intriguing environment of Barovia will keep your party enveloped in mystery. The gamut of encounters makes this one of the best adventures available. The freeform narrative is truly terrifying. Your party can find themselves wildly unprepared for a total party kill. Hear your hearts pound as you explore this murky, horror-full land.

1. Tales From the Yawning Portal

Tales from the Yawning Portal on Wizards

Tales from the Yawning Portal is the best collection of adventures there is. It is an anthology of seven curated adventures that can carry a party into higher levels. The adventures are taken from amongst the best official content released in the history of Dungeons and Dragons. The final adventure is the infamous Tomb of Horrors. Gary Gygax’s supremely inventive dungeon was made to serve as the ultimate challenge to his personal playgroup. Should you choose to listen, you will be swept up in Tales from the Yawning Portal.
The adventures are varied, ranging from dungeon crawls to sprawling intrigues. A wide variety of factions, monsters, and traps are showcased throughout the book. It is both riveting for players and inspirational for DMs. You could run this anthology out of any tavern or work it into a larger narrative, providing a nice base for your campaign.

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Alex traverses the multiverse in search of a greater understanding of storytelling. His Int is higher than his Dex and he’s put most of his skill points into writing, survival and arcana.
Gamer Since: 1997
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Torment: Tides of Numenera, Bloodborne
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