D&D 5E 5e Sandbox Adventures

Orlando29

Villager
I am planning on running my second 5e campaign for my group. I ran Dragon Heist previously, but I think this group would prefer something a little more sandbox. I remember princes of the apocalypse being fairly non linear when I played it in another dms game. Are there any more adventures or adventure series put out by wizards that fits the same mold as PotA?
 

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Quickleaf

Legend
Out of the Abyss is mostly an Underdark sandbox, though the urgency of the first part escaping the drow sort of nixes the exploration factor initially.

Tomb of Annihilation is sandbox in Chult, though you need to tweak the urgency of the death curse to allow for exploration & as far as hex crawls go it is really sparsely populated.

I haven't run Storm King's Thunder, but there's a lot of setting info there that strikes me as very sandbox-y.
 

Ghosts of Saltmarsh is a sandbox setting. It provides a home base with plenty of plot hooks for you to use, and a series of adventures you can use as desired. Combined with some adventures from Tales of the Yawning Portal, it creates an ideal sandbox campaign.
 


Rabbitbait

Adventurer
Tomb of Annihilation is also one of the best pre-written campaigns I have DMed in my 42 years of DMing. It ranks up there with Red Hand of Doom.

Really good to play up how hard it is to survive in the jungle and use those outdoor exploration and survival skills.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
I am planning on running my second 5e campaign for my group. I ran Dragon Heist previously, but I think this group would prefer something a little more sandbox. I remember princes of the apocalypse being fairly non linear when I played it in another dms game. Are there any more adventures or adventure series put out by wizards that fits the same mold as PotA?
I strongly recommend Tomb of Annihilation
 


aco175

Legend
I enjoyed PotA when I ran it. If you already played it, you might be able to make it a better play for your group. You may also be bored and it becomes not fun for you though. I have seen some supplemental material for it since it is an older book on DMsGuild and other sites which may help run it.
 

Ibrandul

Adventurer
Princes of the Apocalypse is a great sandbox adventure. It’s my favorite of the 5e adventure paths I’ve played or run. It does require a lot of work from the DM to run, however, partly because the adventure deliberately leaves a lot of gaps for you to fill in, and partly because the book itself has some real flaws with the way it presents information (a byproduct of WotC’s decision to combine what was intended to be two separate books into a single release late in the development process).

But if you’re willing to cope with that, then what you have in PotA is a campaign with two features that I think are definitive of sandbox play: unlike pretty much any other official WotC 5e content, a large portion of the book is optional side quests; and the various stages of the main adventure do not have to be explored in a predetermined order, meaning that unless the DM decides to adjust encounter difficulty on the basis of party level, parties can venture into very deadly places.
 
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Orlando29

Villager
I enjoyed PotA when I ran it. If you already played it, you might be able to make it a better play for your group. You may also be bored and it becomes not fun for you though. I have seen some supplemental material for it since it is an older book on DMsGuild and other sites which may help run it.
Reading it now, it certainly looks like a different adventure than I remember. I think the DM might have been struggling with it. We had a lot of new players and I think he might have been more focused on them instead of the adventure. Reading the DMguild guide helps, I might give PoTA a go.
 



Orlando29

Villager
Not a WotC product, but I’d recommend Goodman Games’ Isle of Dread 5e. I also like ToA and PotA, but Isle of Dread is still a much better sandbox campaign.
Maybe I should clarify. I am not looking for a hex crawl. Just a game where the plot can resolve in a non linear fashion.
 

I found that running Dragon Heist using the Alexandrian Remix was very non-linear. Very enjoyable for the players. But dang was that a lot of work to remix a published module.
 

Composer99

Adventurer
Maybe I should clarify. I am not looking for a hex crawl. Just a game where the plot can resolve in a non linear fashion.

If by "the plot can resolve in a non linear fashion", you mean "there is more than one endgame state for the adventure, including or solely consisting of endgame states the players choose for themselves", then 5e adventures as written aren't really suitable.

Tomb of Annihilation, Princes of the Apocalypse, Curse of Strahd, and Storm King's Thunder are all pretty sandbox-y, but they each have a single endgame state that the PCs are working towards, one that is set by the context of the adventure itself.

If you mean "there's no single set path to get to the endgame state", then those adventures are all pretty suitable. For Tomb of Annihilation, I would suggest slowing down the doom clock, and to my mind Princes of the Apocalypse would need more "side content" to really fit the bill.

Tomb of Annihilation is a hexcrawl, so if you specifically don't want to play one, it's not going to work for you. On the other hand, it probably has the most potential to be a sandbox where the players decide what the endgame state is, if you're willing to ignore the adventure's central goal and are ready to add content tailored to the PCs' ambitions.
 


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