D&D General Best Adventure Path (spanning 10+ levels) of all time?

Frankie1969

Adventurer
Large but straightforward question: what is the best collection of pre-made adventure content that follows a full story arc from small-time local heroes (preferably starting at level 1, no higher than 4) to world-hopping legends (preferably reaching 20, no lower than 14)?

Not just in 5E. Any edition, including 4E, PF, 13A, or any other system similar enough to translate.

YMMV, but my personal criteria for "best" are:
  1. well-written plot with logical motivation & consequences,
  2. well-written NPCs who merit emotional investment,
  3. well-written scenarios, preferably organized like instructions not like a novella,
  4. well-balanced & interesting challenges, and
  5. not overly complex to DM (Zeitgeist gets dinged on this last point).
I don't know what my answer would be. I have fond memories of (TA)GDQ but I know it doesn't stand up well by modern standards.
 
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Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
Just a quick aside about GDQ - at least most of the G series and I think many of the others were written as competative moduels to be run at conventions, where the party that did the most got awards. It wasn't until later that they were converted into modules for normal play. So their bones are a lot different then modern modules and adventure paths.
 




Clint_L

Hero
Hitting all 5 is a tall order. I'd probably lean towards some PF1 era APs. Kingmaker, Iron Gods, Carrion Crown. Though, im having trouble thinking of the complete package.
Not to mention covering at least 10 levels, which pretty much eliminates every 1e module, not to mention my personal favourite from 5e, Lost Mine of Phandelver. I guess my pick for 5e would be Frostmaiden.

I don't know enough about Pathfinder adventure paths to comment, but this is kind of their territory, is it not?
 


Not overly fond of APs, since they overall remove a lot of player and DM agency for sake of the story. Oh, and Queen of Spiders was not a particularly well written AP, as I ran it for 5E. I modified quite a bit to make it all work, substituting The Forgotten Temple of Tharzidun and The Lost Shrine of Tsjocanth for Slavers (since the Slave Lords took place after GDQ).

Depending on how you view #3, the OG AP Dragonlance Series would probably be considered the best. While we never finished it because of DM's life changes, I've heard great things about Curse of Strahd.
 


aco175

Legend
I liked the 4e Keep on the Shadowfell (KotS) and the next one with the minotaurs. We never finished the series, but thought it was a good set. Really liked that it had maps for set encounters that went with minis. Could use a few more side quests and NPC development though.
 

delericho

Legend
My immediate thought is "Kingmaker" for Pathfinder 1st Ed. However, I'm wondering how much of that is due to it doing something different after a sequence of 'quest' Paths, and so feeling like a breath of fresh air?

We had a great time with "Shackled City" (for 3.5e).
 






Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
5e version of ravenloft?
I'd ding this pretty heavily on point #4. It was a sandbox of various different levels but part of the party's goals are laid out by the card reading that could (and did) lead the party into challenges very inappropriate for their level. Oh, and Death House, especially the basement, started that trend. While we got good at running away, I remember things like losing a party member to a CR11 vine before anyone had a chance to act, and a huge explosio of a trapped wagon that for several full-HP characters in the party was save-or-die. Plus a whole bevy of encounters just too tough for us that weren't telegraphed that way.

I had a good time playing CoS, but it was in spite of the module not because of it.
 

Bagpuss

Hero
It's not d20 based and Pendragon doesn't have levels as such, and I'm not sure this counts as an adventure path, but The Great Pendragon Campaign surely fits the bill? Starting as squires you become knights and establish a dynasty. Deserves a mention at least under "any other system".
 

TheSword

Legend
I'll have to take a look at that, and read threads about translating it.
WFRP system is definitely a lot farther from D&D than PF.
I also shout out for the Enemy Within campaign. It’s probably the most fun to read and Dm I’ve ever seen. NPCs are very important and detailed. Scenarios are interesting. Lots of investigation and roleplaying.

If I was converting it to 5e D&D I wouldn’t try and make D&D like WFRP that is a tall order. I would just port across the scenarios, NPCs, monsters, locations and plot. Let players play whatever they want to play.

You’ll need to do a bit of work with challenges as most human bandits aren’t a challenge in 5e where as in WFRP they could be. Slow down progression and run it level 1-10. Make daemons really tough.

My players are about to hit Castle Wittgenstein and the tension that has been built up is palpable. It’s very well put together (use the WFRP 4e version, it is substantially improved)
 


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