The Best D&D 5e Adventures for Beginners
A new Starter set is coming in 2022 so the question of “what the best D&D 5e adventures for beginners are right now” has reemerged.
The Starter Set, Dragon of Stormwreck Isle, is dropping exclusively at Target in July followed by a wider release in October 2022. It’s rumored that THIS SET will guide all players into the next era of D&D.
When Critical Role became a Pop Culture juggernaut the number of fans trying D&D for the first time skyrocketed.
But where do these new players go? What is the best campaign or module to dive into for a newfound Player or Dungeon Master?
Narrowing Down the Best D&D 5e Adventures for Beginners Options
With close to 20 official 5e campaigns available and hundreds of independent D&D options to choose from, it can be hard for beginners to know where to start. Then there is the enormous back catalog of official D&D published adventure books from the previous 45-plus years.
The sheer number of options is overwhelming, to say the least.
Since newcomers tend to find the game daunting we’ll stick with only the officially licensed D&D 5e campaigns for this article.
So, let’s journey through the catacombs of D&D modules and uncover what the best D&D 5e adventures for beginners are.
Candlekeep College: A Dungeon Master BFF!
The Dungeon Master is instrumental in guiding the players through the story. Candlekeep Mysteries is a perfect example of a user-friendly campaign and a straightforward great introduction for 1st time DMs. There is ample opportunity for roleplay which is perfect for the crowd who found D&D through Critical Role. Those looking for classic dungeon crawls need not apply!
Candlekeep Mysteries is a series of high fantasy adventures released in 2021. Inside the adventure book, you’ll find 17 shorter, standalone adventures. Each adventure is designed for characters of levels 1-16. As mentioned before the emphasis is on Roleplay and solving mysteries rather than straightforward combat so there are not many dungeon crawl options.
There are plenty of opportunities to reach the goal with violence but many issues in Candlekeep Mysteries can be solved through exploring and roleplaying.
Since each of the 17 modules is condensed, they can be run in sequence or added to your own stories as ongoing side quests. This is an overall great starting point for a New Dungeon Master and New Players alike.
Yawning Portal Tales
Published in 2017, Tales from The Yawning Portal is an anthology-based approach to adventuring. It is a collection of classic adventures from previous editions in Dungeons and Dragons history that have each been updated for the Fifth Edition. These are some of the best adventures for a first campaign.
Yawning Portal is another example of modules that can be played in order as presented in the book or dissected and each module is used as standalone side quests in your own adventure. This also provides opportunities for the long-sought-after dungeon crawl.
This is also another example of a user-friendly campaign for Dungeon Masters. Made even friendlier since each module is pulled from earlier adventures, some dating back to the ’70s.
Unlike Candlekeep Mysteries, Yawning Portal can be a dangerous place for players. Some of the modules inside Yawning Portal are combat heavy and may be a deadly place for player characters.
Overall, the flexibility of the anthology approach is a great place to start for newer players who are looking for a more intense and combat-focused adventure.
Get Gritty with Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is a mostly urban adventure that is crafted to lead players from first-level characters through 5th level. Released in 2018, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is the first part of a two-part campaign setting with Dungeon of the Mad Mage advancing further adventures in the Waterdeep setting.
Dragon Heist is for parties who want a long-form basic story, exploration-heavy campaign full of intrigue, and roleplaying opportunities. It is designed as a learn-as-you-advance type system which acts as a fantastic way for beginners to discover the game rules.
There are plenty of combat option moments, but the party can rely heavily on their problem-solving skills and roleplaying to accomplish most goals.
The Dungeon Master is guided to run the adventure straight from the book but is also encouraged to explore options to morph the adventures to their specific group. The adventure as written can feel a bit like it is on rails so new DMs comfortable with improvisation may help add some spice to the campaign.
The overall draw of Dragon Heist is the freedom to explore the city of Waterdeep and interact with the setting at large. This interaction is a great first impression for those who are new to the world of tabletop gaming.
Welcome to Barovia—We’re not in the Forgotten Realms anymore!
This is my favorite Dungeons and Dragons campaign of all time. Curse of Strahd is a gothic horror story and a masterpiece in tabletop role-playing. Curse of Strahd was released for 5e in 2016 and is based on the Ravenloft published adventures from 1983. The 5e campaign takes players from level 1 to level 10.
The themes inside Curse of Strahd are all perfectly developed and presented on an epic scale. There is a large playground with the entire land of Barovia presented as a character unto itself. The feel of the game is larger than life with each interaction presented as consequential.
The largest hook with Curse of Strahd is the freedom that the players have to explore Barovia in a sandbox type of environment. This is a great first adventure full of random encounters!
The party explores a haunted house—or a death house if you rather. You will spend campaigns just exploring all the stranger things around Barovia. The adventure pays off with an epic showdown within the Hellish halls of Ravenloft Castle.
Strahd is one of the most prominent figures in D&D making this a perfect large-scale campaign for new adventurers.
With the Strahd Campaign, new DMs must take on the daunting task of cat wrangler. The adventure works in a sandbox more than other options on this list.
This will require more on-the-fly decision-making and improvisation but the overall experience is well worth the added headache. This is a great module full of memory-making encounters and is a perfect adventure for Dungeons and Dragons beginners.
LOST MINE OF PHANDELVER: The Best D&D 5e Adventures for Beginners
No “beginner list” is complete without the 5e classic, The Lost Mine of Phandelver. This module is THE best introductory adventure for new players in D&D 5e and is just a perfect short adventure.
Lost Mines was released in 2014 and is included in the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set. This Set includes a campaign book and everything needed to play Dungeons and Dragons right out of the box. It even comes with pre-generated characters and a condensed version of The Player’s Handbook.
Behold The Lost Mines…
The Lost Mine adventure is perfectly balanced and acts quickly to get players into the story without overloading their senses. The early structure of the module is “learn as you go” without feeling like a tutorial at all.
Lost Mines delivers on roleplay opportunities, and combat options and throws in ample mysteries to be solved along the way. It achieves a sandbox feel while maintaining a very linear approach to the storyline. There is even a bit of dungeon crawling and a long-abandoned fortress to be discovered along the way!
This provides new players and Dungeon Masters the opportunity to become comfortable with the functional aspects of D&D 5e. It does this in a fun way that feels so natural and unforced that you pick up rules before realizing it.
Taking Place in the Forgotten Realms setting the adventure is self-contained and will take a handful of sessions to complete. This is perfect for new groups who want to focus on the community-building aspect of Dungeons and Dragons. The point of any D&D endeavor is to have fun and make memories.
Lost Mine of Phandelver is a mini-campaign that provides an abundance of opportunities to deliver on both points. It is a well-rounded and unforgettable adventure that every New Player would be lucky to call THEIR first D&D adventure.
The Best D&D 5e Adventures for Beginners!
Whether a new player, new Dungeon Masters, new to 5e or a veteran dice slinger this list is for YOU. These Adventures grab ahold of Beginners to turn New Players into Return Players and THAT is a win for everybody!
Dragon of Stormwreck Isle’s new Dungeons and Dragons Starter Set releases in 2022 and this list may be altered… or it may not. Time will tell what future adventures of high fantasy await and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. Until then, this list represents the best D&D Fifth Edition adventures for beginners to play right now!
What do YOU think?
Did we miss other adventures that YOU feel deserve a spot on this list?
Let us know in the comments below and we’ll follow up!
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