When playing D&D, you’ll most likely play through a Campaign or something shorter like an Adventure.
Each one of these playthroughs usually has its theme, specific creatures, setting, and narrative.
Just listening to that means there are thousands of different ways each Campaign or Adventure feels, and when brought together with so many different items, creatures, and magic, the game truly feels real.
Editor’s Quick Picks
- Best Overall: Dragons of Stormwreck Isle
- Best For Beginners: Lost Mine of Phandelver
- Best For Veterans: Curse of Strahd
- Longest Campaign: Tales of the Yawning Portal
- Most Challenging: Tomb of Annihilation
- Best Survival Campaign: Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden
The Best 5e D&D Adventures and Campaigns
These books have been placed in order from “Just play it later” to “Must play.”
Some books have been left out, so if you don’t find something that interests you (I doubt you will), you can always look for older Campaigns and Adventures incorporated into 5e.
Note: You can even make your own, using the Adventures below as guidelines to create your own world and story.
15. Storm King’s Thunder (SKT)
Storm King’s Thunder (SKT)
- Take a stand against the giants in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game. Giants have emerged from their strongholds to threaten civilization as never before.
Published: 6 September 2016
Levels: 1 – 11+
SKT takes players to the Sword Coast region in the Forgotten Realms, where they are confronted by a massive world torn apart by a Giant civil war.
Players must choose sides, make alliances with Giants, and restore order to the Sword Coast region before the war engulfs the entire region.
SKT is one of the most extensive sandbox Adventures on this list, as it covers the entire Sword Coast region and individual locations.
DMs will have an exceedingly difficult time narrating SKT, so it’s recommended only for experienced or very experienced DMs. Conversely, players will have a difficult time but won’t fall over each other, panicking to stay alive.
14. Tyranny of Dragons (ToD)
Tyranny of Dragons (ToD)
- Tyranny of Dragons combines and refines two action-packed Dungeons & Dragons adventures—Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat—into a single sweeping campaign.
Published: 17 January 2023
Levels: 1 – 8
ToD is an ancient Adventure that was first written in two separate books, Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat.
ToD can be described as a railroading high-fantasy Adventure that focuses more on the bold moments in the Adventure and less on player choice and exploration.
While the Adventure has many breathtaking moments, players who don’t like being directed to each of the following quests immediately after finishing the previous one might not like it that much.
Both DMs and players will have a challenging time adapting and following the Adventure, so keep experience in mind.
That aside, ToD remains a great Adventure that all players should experience at least once.
13. Prince of the Apocalypse (PotA)
Prince of the Apocalypse (PotA)
- Called by the Elder Elemental Eye to serve, four corrupt prophets have risen from the depths of anonymity to claim mighty weapons with direct links to the power of the elemental princes.
Published: 7 April 2015
Levels: 1 – 15
If you love giant dungeons and daring encounters, then PotA is for you!
Players will embark on expeditions into 4 dungeons to stop 4 crazed cults devoted to the 4 elements.
DMs will find PotA easy to narrate, while players must gather their strength and soldier on through extreme odds.
12. Tales of the Yawning Portal (TotYP)
Tales of the Yawning Portal (TotYP)
- Within this tome are seven of the most compelling dungeons from the 40+ year history of Dungeons & Dragons. Some are classics that have hosted an untold number of adventurers, while others are some of the most popular adventures ever printed.
Published: 4 April 2017
Levels: 1 – 15+
TotYP isn’t a standalone Adventure, as it contains the basis of seven unique dungeons.
- The Sunless Citadel (Levels 1 – 3)
- The Forge of Fury (Level 3 – 5)
- The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (Levels 5 – 7)
- White Plume Mountain (Level 8)
- Dead in Thay (Levels 9 – 11)
- Against the Giants (Levels 11 -13)
- Tomb of Horrors (High Level)
Each dungeon featured in TotYP can be included in a current D&D Campaign or become part of a D&D Campaign the DM thinks could use a good dungeon.
TotYP dungeons are unique, featuring dungeons like a DM vs. player dungeon (Tomb of Horrors) and a hack-and-slash gore-fest dungeon (Forge of Fury).
11. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (WDotMM)
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage (WDotMM)
- In the city of Waterdeep rests a tavern called the Yawning Portal, named after the gaping pit in its common room. At the bottom of this crumbling shaft is a labyrinthine dungeon shunned by all but the most daring adventurers.
Published: 20 November 2018
Levels: 5 – 20
If you enjoyed the story of WDH, you’ll want to play WDotMM, an Adventure that picks up where WDH ended.
Even though the plots aren’t similar, the setting extends into Waterdeep, eventually leading players to the mega-dungeon, Undermountain.
As the player, you will need to dig deeper than any party before, discovering the truly endless dungeon and its inhabitants.
Players will find WDotMM relatively easy, while a DM will need to be a bit more experienced due to the sheer size of the Adventure.
10. Ghosts of Saltmarsh (GoS)
Ghosts of Saltmarsh (GoS)
- Ghosts of Saltmarsh brings classic adventures into fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons. This adventure book combines some of the most popular classic adventures from the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons including the classic “U” series.
Published: 21 May 2019
Levels: 1 – 12
GoS isn’t really a standalone Adventure; instead, like TotYP, it acts as a collection of Adventures featured in previous D&D editions.
The book also contains a lot of helpful information that can benefit players and DMs alike.
So if you want to go on an Adventure once played by players many years older than you, or if you just want to know a little bit more about D&D, then GoS is perfect for you.
9. Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen (DSotDQ)
Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen (DSotDQ)
- The Dragon Armies are on the march, their ranks swelled by ogres, minotaurs, and humans who seek a share of the spoils, while rumors of the return of the Dark Queen’s dragons swirl among the people.
Published: 6 December 2022
Levels: 1 – 11
DSotDQ takes players to the world of Krynn – the realm of Dragonlance, where the players’ party will become part of a war between the armies of the evil Dragon Queen and the free people of Krynn.
The party must set off on daring missions to undermine the armies of the Dragon Queen in hopes of freeing the people of Krynn.
DMs will find DSotDQ easy to narrate, while players will find it exceedingly difficult to fight fearsome enemies loyal to the mighty Dragon Queen.
8. The Wild Beyond The Witchlight (TWBTW)
The Wild Beyond The Witchlight (TWBTW)
- Once every eight years, the fantastic Witchlight Carnival touches down on your world, bringing joy to one settlement after the next. Its owners, Mister Witch and Mister Light, know how to put on a good show. But there’s more to this magical extravaganza than meets the eye!
Published: 21 September 2021
Levels: 1 – 8
Start at a mysterious gothic circus in the Material Plane and progress to the plane of the fey, where three hag sisters have assumed control over a fey domain named Prismeer.
Players are rewarded for diplomatic actions as they explore a world of impactful player choice, problem-solving, and open-world exploration.
DMs and players will both have a relatively difficult time with this Adventure. Still, because of the exciting plot and massive world, both parties are expected to have tons of memorable moments in the long run!
7. Out of the Abyss (OutA)
Out of the Abyss (OutA)
- The Underdark is a subterranean wonderland, a vast and twisted labyrinth where fear reigns. It is the home of horrific monsters that have never seen the light of day.
Published: 15 September 2015
Levels: 1 – 15
OutA follows players as they escape from a Drow prison in the Underdark, where they return to the surface and eventually head back into the Underdark to take care of some unfinished business.
OutA has some truly spectacular settings that DMs can easily plot down and use in their follow-up Campaigns.
It also does a great job of emphasizing just how twisted and ruthless Underdark denizens like the Drow, Duergar, and other races really are.
Players will have a relatively difficult time in the Underdark, but an experienced DM is needed to set the perfect tone for OutA.
6. The Lost Mine of Phandelver (THMoP)
Published: 15 July 2014
Levels: 1 – 5
The D&D Starter Set includes THMoP, one of the most well-known short Adventures ever made.
It takes players to a small map where they fight goblins, wolves, and evil mages. The Adventure is well-crafted and offers many iconic encounters and interesting dungeon crawling to keep a newer player group entertained.
Even though it’s iconic, players will still have difficulty dealing with enemies, as the combat is made to have players experience D&D in its true form.
On the other hand, the DM can rest easy, as their job is made effortless with the in-depth explanation of each chapter.
Note: Be sure to read the chapters carefully, as it’s quite easy to misunderstand some of the locations, especially the city of Neverwinter, which isn’t as bustling as you think!
5. Tomb of Annihilation (ToA)
Tomb of Annihilation (ToA)
- The talk of the streets and taverns has all been about the so-called death curse: a wasting disease afflicting everyone who’s ever been raised from the dead.
Published: 8 September 2017
Levels: 1 – 11
ToA shies away from the traditional high-fantasy D&D experience, opting for a more Indiana Jones/Walking Dead experience.
You travel through a dense jungle filled with man-eating plants, zombified dinosaurs, and other mythical creatures like unicorns, where you’ll often stumble upon temples acting as dungeons.
Though an experienced DM can manipulate the story, the structure is easy for even a newer DM. The player experience is challenging, as the randomness of the jungle can sometimes be overbearing.
4. Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus (BGDiA)
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus (BGDiA)
- You’ve just started your adventuring career, but already find yourself embroiled in a plot that sprawls from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War!
Published: 17 September 2019
Levels: 1 – 13
Travel to the first layer of the Nine Hells, Avernu, where Baldur’s Gate awaits the unfortunate party who dares set food in its walls.
Players are met with a fetch quest introduction within Baldur’s Gate, where they move into Avernus, and their main goal becomes apparent – stop chaos from spreading onto the Material Plane.
DMs will find this Campaign relatively difficult, and players will also experience relatively difficult encounters within Avernus.
3. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (WDH)
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist (WDH)
- Welcome to Waterdeep. You’re summoned by Volothamp Geddarm, famous explorer and raconteur, to complete a simple quest. Is anything ever really simple though?
Published: 18 September 2018
Levels: 1 – 5
WDH is a shortened Campaign that takes players on an Adventure in the city of Waterdeep, where players will be exposed to all kinds of NPCs and a formidable justice system.
The story revolves around investigating a heist that took place 5 years ago. DMs will find the story relatively difficult to narrate, but players will find it easy to play through and rather stimulating if they like investigative roleplays.
There is a choice between 4 villains that the DM can let become the main villain, meaning this Adventure does have some replayability, even if the villain choice doesn’t change much about the story.
2. Curse of Strahd (CoS)
Published: 15 March 2016
Levels: 1 – 10
Curse of Strahd isn’t your traditional fantasy RP, but it sure does something right, as many players describe it as “The best Adventure I’ve ever played.”
CoS has players trapped within a demi-plane named Barovia, where they must explore, fight, and escape their horrific situation.
One catch is that CoS is extremely difficult for the DM and players, as the DM needs to embrace the themes and narrate with passion to enthrall the players. Players also need to understand that this gothic horror isn’t going to go easy on them.
1. Dragons of Stormwreck Isle (DoSI)
Dragons of Stormwreck Isle (DoSI)
- This complete game experience contains everything you need to leap into adventure, including an adventure book with everything the Dungeon Master needs to get started; a rulebook for playing characters of levels 1–3; 5 ready-to-play characters, each with a character sheet; and 6 game dice.
Published: 4 October 2022
Levels: 1 – 3
DoSI explores a compelling story that teaches the DM and the players how to play D&D.
The introductory combat and easy-to-follow quest make it easy to grasp and leave a long-lasting impression on newer players.
Not only that, but the Adventure itself is very enthralling, especially when players have to choose which quest they follow in the middle of the Adventure – changing the experience going forward and making player decisions meaningful.
Note: Many players prefer Lost Mine of Phandelver, but if you have a beginner DM, then you should definitely take DoSI above LMoP.
Other Great Campaigns and Adventures
While this list does have a plethora of great Campaigns and Adventures, below are a few that didn’t make the list that you should definitely consider checking out:
Explore the northern region of the Sword Coast and see if you can survive in its inhospitable environment.
The Adventure takes you from level 1 to level 12, is relatively complex for a DM, and is difficult to survive as a player.
Take part in a heist-themed Adventure that takes players across many different locations across the 5e multiverse.
The Adventure takes you from level 1 up until level 11, being easy to DM and relatively tricky for players to play through.
Become a student like Harry Potter did at Hogwarts as you embark on an Adventure within Strixhaven University.
The Adventure starts at level 3 and ends at level 12, being easy to DM and easy for players to play through.
Candlekeep is a book-themed Adventure that has players solve different mysteries.
The Adventure lasts from level 1 up to level 16 and is easy to DM but relatively difficult to play through.
Adventures and Campaigns FAQs 5e
What are 5e Adventure Modules and Campaigns?
Campaigns are massive stories filled with interconnected Adventures, usually containing other quests that provide their own lore and interwoven experiences.
Note: Some quests may even change the way the campaign is played onwards, but if the player never went on the quest, they never would’ve known about it.
On the other hand, Adventures are a series of different scenes and quests that are usually woven into the Campaign’s overarching story.
Is There a Difference Between an Adventure and a Campaign in 5e?
As explained in the previous question, Campaigns are just a series of Adventures, while Adventures refer to a series of different events, scenes, and happenings players experience.
Campaigns and adventures can have some of the most interesting, thought-out, and well-designed stories that can go from deathly simple to annoyingly intricate.
These worlds are brought alive by talented DMs and creative designers who put their heart into making captivating tales that can even make someone like Tolkien proud.
Even if some of these adventures are intricate, all that does is build and inspire D&D players to create their own ever-growing, ever-changing D&D campaigns!