So you’ve got your Dungeons and Dragons group together and are looking for the best adventures for new players in D&D 5e?
With D&D more popular than ever before, it’s great that there are published adventures that are incredibly fun for all players regardless of their experience level with the game.
But it can definitely be intimidating to those who are new to the game! There’s a ton of adventures available to choose from whether you’re looking at adventures published officially by Wizards of the Coast or those created by the community.
Today, we’re going to take a look at adventure modules released officially by Wizards of the Coast that are the best introductions to D&D 5e for new and returning tabletop gamers!
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
For group who want to focus more heavily on exploration, intrigue, and roleplaying, Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is a fantastic introduction to the game.
There is some combat, but the party will have to rely primarily on their wits and skills to succeed.
The DM is given tons of tools and space to tailor the adventure to their group. The main flow of the adventure is largely on rails, but the freedom to explore the massive city of Waterdeep and interact with the world creates a unique experience for those who are dipping their toes into the water of tabletop gaming. They still get the freedom of choice and the ability to experience the world, but the story continues in such a way that it’s unlikely they will get so distracted that the campaign derails.
The Sunless Citadel
The Sunless Citadel is a prime example of what a beginner module should look like. It is written in a way that expertly teaches players and the Dungeon Master alike how to play the game.
With plenty of goblins and kobolds to fight, traps to overcome, and a clear narrative, the Sunless Citadel adventure is able to see characters from level 1 to level 3.
This adventure is found in the Tales from the Yawning Portal book. The whole book is a fantastic collection of D&D’s most popular dungeons of all time updated to fit the current 5th edition ruleset. There’s not a weak entry in the book and Sunless Citadel rightfully deserves its place in the collection.
It is worth mentioning that this book is not a giant adventure and is instead a collection of adventures. There are suggestions for incorporating the adventures in Tales from the Yawning Portal into your world, but trying to tell them all as a single story would be tricky.
For new players, I would particularly recommend staying away from The Tomb of Horrors adventure in Tales from the Yawning Portal. This is one of the most punishing and legendary dungeons of all time and will likely scare away new players. It’s definitely one to check out as your group gets more comfortable with the game though!
The Dragon of Icespire Peak
This module is specifically designed as an introductory adventure and is included in the Dungeons & Dragons Essentials Kit box set.
This box set is perfect for new groups and Dragon of Icespire Peak wastes no time in getting players to explore the world. NPCs and quests are memorable while the focus on exploration allows players to quickly immerse themselves in playing their character and interacting with the world around them.
Plot lines are genuinely intriguing and there is no shortage of opportunities for players to do heroic things. I’m currently playing this adventure in a group of friends with mixed experience levels with 5th edition and it has been a wonderful time for everybody!
The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
This adventure is similar to The Sunless Citadel in that it is a classic module from the early days of D&D that will see characters from level 1 to level 3.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh works similarly to Tales from the Yawning Portal in that it collects another 7 classic adventures (this time with a focus on sea-based adventures) and updates them to 5th edition rules.
The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh gives a nice horror vibe as well. The players’ characters begin the adventure by exploring a haunted house before continuing the adventure to conduct a raid on a sailing ship.
This adventure (in fact, the entire Ghosts of Saltmarsh book) is brilliantly laid-out so that a DM can quickly understand and prepare the adventure.
Curse of Strahd
For a group that wants a gothic horror story, Curse of Strahd is a masterwork of an adventure. This 254-page adventure takes groups from level 1 to level 10.
The theme in Curse of Strahd is perfectly crafted and the entire land of Barovia contributes to the story and feel of the game in a meaningful way.
As the party unravels the mysteries of this strange land, they are able to explore and meet the friends and foes that the adventure has to offer. Part of the greatest appeal to Curse of Strahd is the freedom that players have to explore in a sandbox type of environment.
The characters are unforgettable, the scenery and events are sure to give your characters chills, and the villain is one of the greatest in all of D&D’s lore. This adventure takes a bit more work to run than the others on this list, but the experience that it delivers is well worth the effort!
I’m a huge fan of everything about Curse of Strahd. In addition to being one of my favorite adventures of all time, it absolutely deserves a place as one of the best adventures for new players of D&D 5e.
If you do decide to run Curse of Strahd, it’s worth also checking out our post on Running Horror in D&D to help you really capture the gothic horror elements.
Lost Mines of Phandelver
The top pick for our list on the best adventures for new players in D&D 5e is The Lost Mines of Phandelver.
This adventure is included in the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set which includes everything that you need to get started playing D&D.
This adventure gets players right into the thick of the story while providing just enough structure to prevent them from getting overwhelmed with options. The Lost Mines of Phandelver provide a solid storyline with great opportunities to explore all of the different aspects of D&D 5e in a natural way.
The adventure will likely take a few sessions to complete (which is perfect for new groups.) New DMs will also get the assistance of very useful information and advice throughout the adventure to help them.
For a new group that wants to get straight into what D&D is, Lost Mines of Phandelver takes the crown!
Conclusion – Best Adventures For New Players
There you have it!
These are the best adventures for new players in D&D 5e.
Whether your players are new to D&D 5e, new to tabletop gaming altogether, or seasoned dice rollers, these modules have something for everybody that keeps them fun and engaging without being too confusing to new players.
If you are looking to get a group together, you may check out our article on finding a D&D group.
New to D&D 5e? You’ll want to read our article covering actions and combat in D&D 5e!