Epic Level Adventures/Mini Campaigns?

solomanii

Explorer
My PCs have requested that instead of stopping soon after hitting level 20 they would like to actually play level 20 characters for a longish adventure or mini-campaign. I can't say I have ever run an epic level campaign, I usually stop at level 20 (or equivalent) before really exploring "epicness". I wonder if anyone could recommend a good epic level adventure(s) from any previous edition as I intend on converting it to 5e.

Since my PCs are level 9 at the moment would want to start foreshadwowing the epic adventure and even tie it in directly if possible to my current campaign sooner rather than later.

Thanks in advance.
 
This can be tricky, but I'd recommend looking at BECMI and 4E for good examples of epic level adventures, since they went above the standard level 20. Some of my favorites were: Five Coins for a Kingdom, The Maelstrom, Vengeance of Alphax, and Twilight Calling (Master level BECMI).
 

Enrico Poli1

Explorer
"The razing of Redshore" in Dungeon Magazine offers an example of transition from Lvl 20 to Epic. It's solid.

Other good examples are: "The lich Queen's Beloved" (Dungeon Magazine), against the Queen of the Githyanki;
the last adventures both from the Age of Worms and Savage Tide Adventure Paths (Dungeon Magazine) - for example you could go against Dragotha;
the last adventure from Paizo "Kingmaker" AP is self-contained and mythic in scope, you could adapt that.

An excellent example of political adventure from BECMI is X10, "Red Arrow, Black Shield"; you could easily adapt to Lvl 20, but you have also to adapt to your own setting.
M1 "Into the Maelstrom" is a planar Odyssey, if you like that genre. For me it's a too literal transposition of the Odyssey. But it's the best - indeed, the only truly playable - Master adventure of BECMI.

From 2e I suggest "Return to the Tomb of Horrors" or also the module in which you save Waukeen from Graz'zt. You have to adapt the challenges.
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
also the module in which you save Waukeen from Graz'zt.
For Duty and Deity - great fun. In 2e it was for 10-12th level PCs, but its pretty epic in scope.

You could probably also adapt some of the end game portions of the official 5e Adventures for high level place since they feature heavy hitter mosters/stat blocks. CR35 Tiamat in Tyranny, all the Demon lords in Out of the Abyss, Zariel from Descent.

Each of the modules include things you can do to "lower the power" of the end boss so its achievable for 15th level PCs to even fight. If you're 20+, you might be able to use those adventure/module scenarios and do them without all the weakening triggers.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
This caught my eye at the DM's Guild:


I haven't run it, but it seems like it could be expanded into a short campaign/longish adventure.

Checking adventurelookup.com, I also found these:


 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
There's also all the AL modules/adventures that are for 17-20 which could probably be beefed up and added to/updated to handle 20th characters.

Note: these are all the AL modules that are built for 17-20. "DDEP" is epic play which means it's supposed to be run with multiple tables of PC's of various levels all to achieve a singular goal. That said, you could probably use some of the elements of the 17-20 tier portions for you!

AdventureTitleSection
DDAL00-02FLost Tales of Myth DrannorDefinition of Heroism
DDAL00-03Those That Came Before
DDAL05-18The Mysterious Isle
DDAL05-19Eye of Xxiphu
DDEP06-03HectacombTales from the Yawing Portal
DDAL07-15Streams of Crimson
DDAL07-16Pools of Cerulean
DDAL07-17Cauldron of Sapphire
DDAL07-18Turn Back the Endless Night
DDEP07-02Drums of the DeadHas a section for 17-20
DDAL08-16A Change of Address
DDAL08-17The Tower of Ahghairon
DDAL08-18Moving Day
DDEP08-03Last Call at the Yawning Portal
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
When you're this high level, you really got to go cosmic. Pretty much everything with a CR of 25 or higher is from the Outer Planes, except Niv-Messit (and it's Ravnica which isn't much different).

You could run a Forgotten Realms, post-Tyranny of Dragons campaign where Tiamat has won and she is invading the world, complete with infernal dragon armies. That would be completely insane!

(Tiamat is the only thing that isn't a Tarrasque with a CR of 30)
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
Picking up on the Tiamat idea, the last five or so adventures of Scales of War (found in Dungeon magazine issues 170-175) make a great high-level arc. Tiamat kills Bahamut and goes on a rampage; players must help to resurrect Bahamut, thanks partially to the sacrifice of an NPC whom you could introduce early in the game, and foil Tiamat's plans. Along the way, they visit Hestavar, Celestia, and the City of Brass.

There's a 5E conversion of these adventures at Scales of War in 5E, but they're designed to end at level 20 rather than starting there. So you'd probably need to do your own conversion, or at least tweak what's on the blog.
 

solomanii

Explorer
This is great team, will check each one out. I have actually played for Deity and Duty as 3e conversion back in the day and I recall we had a lot of fun with it. I am also checking out the 4e Orcus vs Raven Queen arc of adventures, this may actually be suitable as my current campaign is about war and politics in fantasy Japan but I have made it clear through events, dreams etc that the war in Kara-Tur is actually a reflection of a battle between Amatertsu and the oni god Fumeyoshi. So sticking in a demon lord/god standoff/battle will work. As would a BECMI political/War type capstone.

Going to check all these out. Thank you.

This caught my eye at the DM's Guild:


I haven't run it, but it seems like it could be expanded into a short campaign/longish adventure.

Checking adventurelookup.com, I also found these:


I grabbed that in read it and I would say my level 15 party would blow through that. The premise is great but I feel whoever wrote it has never actually dealt with a level 20 party - thematically its solid though. Mobs just need to be beefed up and seems a bit shorter than what I am after.
 

dave2008

Legend
You could probably also adapt some of the end game portions of the official 5e Adventures for high level place since they feature heavy hitter mosters/stat blocks. CR35 Tiamat in Tyranny, all the Demon lords in Out of the Abyss, Zariel from Descent.
Unfortunately, Tiamat is only CR 30.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
This can be tricky, but I'd recommend looking at BECMI and 4E for good examples of epic level adventures, since they went above the standard level 20. Some of my favorites were: Five Coins for a Kingdom, The Maelstrom, Vengeance of Alphax, and Twilight Calling (Master level BECMI).
I wouldn't go to 4e. 4e's idea of epic level is "identical level 5, but add 10 to all the DCs and make the NPCs spikier." 4e characters don't really get epic level powers. They just get bigger numbers. The whole idea was to take the sweet spot of levels 3-9 and smear that power level across levels 1 to 30.
 

solomanii

Explorer
I was actually going to play scales of war as my current campaign but my PCs voted for an oriental adventure campaign instead. So I ended up converting a bunch of scales of war to 5e but its unfinished - including an epic level Tiamat + exarchs.

Road tested her as part of a dream sequence in my previous campaign and she demolished my 6 person level 18 party. Having said that, the PCs said that if they had known they were going to fight Tiamat and therefore had been prepared - which they would have in a normal "PC vs Tiamat" campaign - (and level 20) they felt they could take her.
 

solomanii

Explorer
I wouldn't go to 4e. 4e's idea of epic level is "identical level 5, but add 10 to all the DCs and make the NPCs spikier." 4e characters don't really get epic level powers. They just get bigger numbers. The whole idea was to take the sweet spot of levels 3-9 and smear that power level across levels 1 to 30.
I can actually compensate for that in conversion. What I like about 4e is that they had pretty interesting combats and monsters had interesting powers. Whenever I have converted them to 5e they have worked well.
 

Bacon Bits

Adventurer
I can actually compensate for that in conversion. What I like about 4e is that they had pretty interesting combats and monsters had interesting powers. Whenever I have converted them to 5e they have worked well.
I agree that the adventures are, by and large, fairly well designed. However, I would never qualify those adventures as "epic level" category. Based on what we played, they were just regular adventures with regular monsters dressed up in bigger pants. The PCs didn't have to do anything to win other than go room to room and have a series of 2-4 skirmish combat encounters every day until they got high enough level to challenge the final boss monster. That's not an epic level adventure to me. That's an adventure at levels higher than 20.
 

Prism

Explorer
We play an epic level campaign a couple of times a year which is a continuation of one we played in multiple older editions. The characters are around level 23 in terms of epic boons. It works well when the adventures are custom built for the characters, based on their own desires and plots as pre written plots can feel a bit generic. The characters are all following their own paths but come together sometimes to help each other. We have run adventures dealing with stories involving one character becoming a duke of hell, another trying to stop (or help) the release of Tharizdun, freeing a god from imprisonment and madness.

At this level you don't really have to help the characters get anywhere as they can do it themselves. You don't need to give them much guidance at all. If you design a series of set encounters expect them to completely ignore them and go to the end, call in favours, summon major entities to help etc. Got to be as fluid as possible for this level as play. I don't believe pre written adventures work too well except as a loose framework.
 

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