The best adventure for every D&D tier

So you’re looking for an adventure to run.

Yeah, us too.

When you’re plotting out your next D&D campaign, it’s hard to find something both appropriate for your campaign, your party, their level. And once you’ve finished off a certain tier, where do you go from there?

It’s never good to get two play sessions into an adventure and realize it’s not gonna work for your table.

We took the headache out of that, breaking down Dungeons & Dragons into four tiers and figuring out which 5th edition adventures work best for those levels.

Something to note: Many of these adventures work for a wide range of levels. Our decisions here have less to do with which levels work, strictly speaking, but have much more to do with which levels are more fun. (Example: Curse of Strahd can be run at level 1 all the way up to 10 or higher, but you really hit the meaty fun in the latter half.)

Let’s get into it.

Levels 1-5

Lost Mine of Phandelver

The adventure in the 5e Starter Set, Lost Mine of Phandelver is a true introduction to the latest edition of Dungeons & Dragons. It slowly introduces players (and the DM, too) to various aspects of the game and its rules, building up slowly from a trap to a small encounter to a battle to a full-on dungeon crawl so that everyone gradually cements their knowledge of how everything works.

It’s fantastic, and it’s cheap, too.

Get it here.

Hoard of the Dragon Queen

It’s a great introduction to the Forgotten Realms and D&D in general. It pits players against dragons (woo!) and a cult (woo!), takes them to towns under siege (fun!), features nefarious factions such as the Zhentarim (yay!) and, with the inclusion of its sequel, Rise of Tiamat, it turns to an epic campaign. It’s everything a player might want from a low-level adventure, especially if they’re new to the game.

Get it here.

Levels 6-10

Curse of Strahd

The Death House is fun. (And dangerous.) So are the hag-infested windmill and the creepy mayor of the town of Vallaki. But this vampire-hunting, undead-fearing, scary-ass adventure really gets going in its second half. That’s when the party might battle furious werewolves inside a cave, find itself battling revenants in a ruined mansion or actually venture into Castle Ravenloft itself. Though there’s some interesting stuff to do early, it’s those later parts that have the haunted flavor.

Get it here.

Storm King’s Thunder

This fight against the giants is a high-stakes adventure full of battles with giants of all stripes, invasions of giant strongholds, exploration of the Forgotten Realms, traveling on airships and (potentially) battles with a kraken and an ancient blue dragon.

Though it’s billed as an adventure for characters levels 1 to 11, it really doesn’t get going until the higher levels where the adventurers tackle giant lairs and full of crazy monsters and, well, giants. The end-game really shines with an attack on the giant stronghold Maelstrom and a further encounter where you pursue an ancient blue dragon with a few giant allies at your side.

Get it here.

Levels 10-15

Princes of the Apocalypse

The low levels of this adventure are fun, but raids on the Temple of Elemental Evil at the higher levels are a really good time. Elemental cults have some wild and huge temples that are insanely fun to dive into. Characters will be in danger, and relationships they establish with NPCs in the story are very important. And the friends they make may be in danger, too. It’s a whole lot of fun.

Get it here.

Rise of Tiamat

The sequel to the lower level adventure Hoard of the Dragon Queen, Rise of Tiamat takes adventurers all the way to the five-headed dragon goddess herself. Of course, there’s cults and evil and all that, but the adventure really shines with dragons and the fights against them. This is classic D&D stuff right here.

Get it here.

Levels 15-20

Tales From the Yawning Portal

Remember all those crazy-ass temples and dungeon dives and epic adventures we all used to talk about? This hardcover features seven old adventures updated to 5th edition, and the high-level ones are maybe the most fun.

Those are Against the Giants (whose maps are awesome because, well, they’re built for giants, and small PCs are not quite the right fit) and Tomb of Horrors (the adventurer-killing tomb from the legendary lich Acererak).

Get it here.

Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Dive into Undermountain with this brand new adventure.

The Mad Mage’s dungeon is the entire lair of Undermountain, and it’s an epic dungeon delve. It can be run for characters from levels 2 to 20, but it’s the high-level dungeon levels that really shine. (Also, you don’t have to run it in sequence. You can grab a dungeon level and use it for whatever level you feel like.) These things are death traps, and they’re a hell of a lot of fun.

Get it here.

   

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