5E best non-LMoP campaign for new players

GlassJaw

Adventurer
So I might be starting a new campaign for pretty much all new players. Lots of interest and my sense is that there could be some very good role-players. However, there is probably little to no experience with actually playing D&D.

Given my lack of prep time, my first choice is to run a published campaign. I love LMoP but I just finished it with another group and would like to try something different.

My top choices right now are Dragon Heist, Saltmarsh, and maybe Storm King.

I'm currently prepping CoS for another group and it's too complex (IMO) for a group of new players. I also don't want anything too railroady or combat-heavy so the Tyranny series is out.

Any thoughts? Anything I'm missing that I should consider?
 
(Sinister secret of) Saltmarsh is a good one for new players, especially if you think they will be more into role play than hack and slash.

I've also used a 5e conversion of Hollow's last Hope from Pathfinder.
 

Burnside

Explorer
Players are new, but you aren't, so you can probably make anything work. FWIW, of the three you mention: WD: DH is manageable in length (levels 1-5), which is probably good for new players. It has issues, though, and chapter 2 may be challenging if your players are not self-starters. My full review: https://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?653421-Waterdeep-Dragon-Heist&p=7496480&viewfull=1#post7496480. There is stuff available on DMsGuild that can help "fix" it. Saltmarsh - I have read most of this. Not all adventures included in it are created equal. I really can't see myself ever running Danger at Dunwater or The Final Enemy anywhere close to as-written. I do think this is a very interesting book with some great ideas. In particular, there is a suggestion for running this in combination with Tales From the Yawning Portal and cherry-picking adventures from each. However, you mentioned you were short on time, and Ghosts of Saltmarsh isn't plug-and-play; it'll require work on your part to make it feel like a coherent campaign. It has three related adventures, two of which have not aged well, and four stand-alone adventures that more or less exist in isolation from each other. Storm Kings Thunder - Plot is a hot mess. A lot of people like this one, but I just don't. LOT of prep work by you to make sense of it. Suggestions: -Sunless Citadel from Tales from the Yawning Portal -Run the tier 1 adventures from AL Season 5 in sequence: (The Black Road, Uninvited Guests, Beneath the Fetid Chelimber, Chelimber's Descent, Giant Diplomacy, Bad Business in Parnast, Parnast Under Siege). Most of these are very fun, and much easier to run than SKT. Don't worry about AL rules. Together they form a complete story: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/230535/DDAL05-Storm-Kings-Thunder-BUNDLE -The D&D Essentials boxed set comes out at the end of June in Target, with a new adventure for levels 1-6. Of course we haven't read it yet and don't know how it measures up to LMoP, but it'll be designed for new players
 
Last edited:

MonkeezOnFire

Explorer
Sunless Citadel is a pretty straight forward set up. But I also like that it leaves the group choices on how to handle the situation with the kobolds and the goblins. There is opportunity for diplomacy with the kobolds or they can just fight through it all. It's always nice to allow new players the opportunity to discover how open ended RPGs can be and how their choices can greatly affect how things play out.
 

ddaley

Explorer
For some reason I cannot reply to previous comments... the site hangs.

I am not familiar with the AL content for season 5 (or any season really)... but can those tier 1 adventures be run completely independently from SKT? I like the idea of SKT, but as mentioned, it is a bit of a mess and seems that it would require a tremendous amount of prep.
 

timbannock

Explorer
So I might be starting a new campaign for pretty much all new players. Lots of interest and my sense is that there could be some very good role-players. However, there is probably little to no experience with actually playing D&D.

Given my lack of prep time, my first choice is to run a published campaign. I love LMoP but I just finished it with another group and would like to try something different.

My top choices right now are Dragon Heist, Saltmarsh, and maybe Storm King.

I'm currently prepping CoS for another group and it's too complex (IMO) for a group of new players. I also don't want anything too railroady or combat-heavy so the Tyranny series is out.

Any thoughts? Anything I'm missing that I should consider?
For campaign length (at least 5 levels-ish), hands down I'd recommend Hidden Halls of Hazakor. It's built for both new players and new DMs, making it super-simple to prep and to run, and for the players to feel like they are awesome.

Of your listed considerations, Saltmarsh is by far the best. Dragon Heist requires a lot of prep, and given the fact that there are likely to be 3 organizations you use less and headquarters you won't visit, it has a high word count that's just noise to most DMs. Storm King is a wonderful campaign, but it's SUPER prep-heavy and open-ended, which causes similar issues to Dragon Heist (but in different form). It's not newb friendly at all, IMHO, in part because it also leans so heavily into FR lore that it's very easy to miss the ramifications of a lot of the goings on, or for a DM to improperly present such things.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
In addition to those already mentioned, have you considered Princes of the Apocalypse? From what I understand, it's fairly sandboxy, as published adventures go.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
i feel your pain. most of WotC’s contributions leave much to be desired, Dragon Heist especially has been maligned here at least. You’ve not mentioned Tomb of Annihilation? While I wouldn’t go with WotC’s setup, that seems like a fun option? I would have the PCs start out as “tomb raiders” and only once they hit level 4/5 have the whole curse kick in (affecting people they’ve become attached to).
 

Burnside

Explorer
For some reason I cannot reply to previous comments... the site hangs.I am not familiar with the AL content for season 5 (or any season really)... but can those tier 1 adventures be run completely independently from SKT? I like the idea of SKT, but as mentioned, it is a bit of a mess and seems that it would require a tremendous amount of prep.
Yeah, it's a totally independent story. Seasons 1-5 of AL were completely unreliant on the hardcovers. That ended with season 6.
 

aco175

Adventurer
I'm setting up Princes of the Apocalypse for a summer campaign. I have the free supplement for levels 1-5 and may buy the book if they get that far and need it. I seem to be adding a few more encounters to places and most likely will design magic weapons for each PC at lower level than normal.
 

Advertisement

Top