D&D 5E Favorite 3rd Party Campaign

Reynard

Legend
EDIT/UPDATE: I decided on converting Iron Gods (PF1E) for various reasons -- but please keep letting us know what's great out there, and why.

After a false start, I am looking to run a pre-designed campaign and am.hoping for recommendations.

I am familiar with and have run or played in most of the official 5E campaigns, so I am specifically asking about those put out by a third party. What's your favorite? What the elevator pitch? Why do you think it is a good campaign?

Extra points if it is available on Fantasy Grounds, but it is not necessary, but I should definitely be able to pick it up as a PDF (so the classic reprints/conversions from Goodman are out).
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

Ruins of the Grendleroot by Mike Shea (sly flourish)

More like a collection of ten thematically related adventures that you could pick and choose from - a bit like Ghosts of Saltmarsh in that way.


ETA: I haven’t run all the adventures in this book but I do find his stuff generally very tight in terms of usability and design while also being very flexible for a DM to make calls at the table and adapt to the table’s preferred playstyle flavor. He’s a solid designer that has some great recommendations on his podcast/YouTube for tweaking some of the WotC published material, too.
 
Last edited:

Reynard

Legend
Ruins of the Grendleroot by Mike Shea (sly flourish)

More like a collection of ten thematically related adventures that you could pick and choose from - a bit like Ghosts of Saltmarsh in that way.


ETA: I haven’t run all the adventures in this book but I do find his stuff generally very tight in terms of usability and design while also being very flexible for a DM to make calls at the table and adapt to the table’s preferred playstyle flavor. He’s a solid designer that has some great recommendations on his podcast/YouTube for tweaking some of the WotC published material, too.
Thanks. I am really looking for a full campaign.
 


Odysseus

Explorer
I'm currently running Rise of the Drow. Which I would describe as good, but needs a lot of work in places.
There is Zeitgeist , which was awesome. However I ran it with 4E. And I'm not sure how the 5E version is.
I have heard very good things about Empire of the Ghouls.
 

Rabbitbait

Adventurer
I'm currently running Rise of the Drow. Which I would describe as good, but needs a lot of work in places.
There is Zeitgeist , which was awesome. However I ran it with 4E. And I'm not sure how the 5E version is.
I have heard very good things about Empire of the Ghouls.
Am currently really enjoying Empire of the Ghouls.
 

iserith

Magic Wordsmith
Despite a few issues I had with it, I thought Banewarrens by Monte Cook was interesting. I hear it's being updated to D&D 5e.
 


Smackpixi

Adventurer
Call From The Deep. Levels 1-12. Sword Coast stuff so if you’ve run your players through all the WotC stuff, it will be well trod territory. I’ve not run it myself, just deeply skimmed. Looks great, but can’t vouch for the little details, but if you’ve run all the regular stuff, you’re probably good at adapting. Has a FG option.


I like that it’s wide ranging and heavy nautical, and weird, and good breadth of monsters and challenges. Main baddies haven’t been featured in published stuff much, so there’s that too. Production quality for pdf is on WoTC level almost. Editing maybe not so much, but not distracting. Have no idea about the FG option‘s goodness.

i would also look at Baldman Games AL Moonshae stuff to possibly insert into the above or, if it’s more your speed, pretty easy to build a campaign out of. They’ve made a ton, most is great, good writers.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Stonehell Dungeon. It's designed for earlier editions of D&D via Labyrinth Lord, so you'll have some conversion work to do, but it's one of the few mega-dungeons that makes some kind of sense, IMO. I printed my own copy from a PDF years ago and ran it with Microlite D&D in Rob Conley's free Blackmarsh setting.
 

Campaign as in a setting, or as in an Adventure Path? Setting-wise, I particularly enjoyed Thule, which is a classic sword & sorcery theme, with some Culthulu elements. Adventure-wise, I'd go with Age of Worms; despite having not played, I've heard nothing but good things.
 

Call From The Deep. Levels 1-12. Sword Coast stuff so if you’ve run your players through all the WotC stuff, it will be well trod territory. I’ve not run it myself, just deeply skimmed. Looks great, but can’t vouch for the little details, but if you’ve run all the regular stuff, you’re probably good at adapting. Has a FG option.
Our group is currently playing that campaign and I would agree with the recommendation. It feels a bit like a "best of" album in its choice of locations and monsters, so it's not groundbreaking, but still a solid choice.
 

jgsugden

Legend
After a false start, I am looking to run a pre-designed campaign and am.hoping for recommendations.

I am familiar with and have run or played in most of the official 5E campaigns, so I am specifically asking about those put out by a third party. ...
Which WotC ones did you like the most? Why? That will help us guide you to something that offers you something complimentary.
 

jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
Two that I like, although I haven't run either one yet:


 

Mercurius

Legend
If I was a player and could choose a setting-adventure combo to play in, it would probably be Midgard and either the Scarlet Citadel or Tales of the Old Margreve - or almost anything, really.

This is also a useful article.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Two that I like, although I haven't run either one yet:


I'm playing Odyssey, and own Courts of the Shadow Fey (which I bought with store credit in 2019 to use up the credit and so that I could mine it for ideas for the Feywild).

Odyssey has solid bones, but I have a few criticisms. I am having fun, but I can see a lot of groups struggling - a lot - and there are some elements that make it hard to focus on the story.

1.) There are 'character specific' quests that are laid on the adventure. They feel tacked on, and the DM has to work to make them feel like part of the story as opposed to feeling like the game text you skip over in a MMORPG. In the end, they do not change anything the PC needs to do in the game, really, and you get handed some magic items along the path of the adventure as a result for them. It was a nice idea, but the execution was weak. If I were to run this adventure, I'd modify these to have them take the PCs on actual quests outside the storyline that the PCs would need to decide whether to do as a group or not.

2.) The Subclasses introduced are a bit unbalanced, and tend to have ambiguity in some of their rules (which is a problem throughout the adventure, according to my DM). My suggestion: tell players you'll reserve the right to tweak them as necessary.

3.) There are some balance issues. It is very reasonable for the first attack in the game to be at +8 for 5d6+5 (22.5 average), which is enough for many PCs to flat out die on the first attack of the module. There are several places in the module where a DM running monsters intelligently could get a TPK if the PCs are not cautious - and the PCs do not always have time to be cautious. For example, our party of 9th level adventurers just took on a (tough) CR 17 monster - and 7 CR 6 (or higher?) backups. I'd suggest you look ahead and consider the balance issues and make adjustments. I'd tweak a lot of things in that adventure.

4.) There are a lot of things PCs can 'figure out early' and the module is not prepared for it. At all. According to our DM, the module tells us that if players figure it out early, the DM should have everyon just make coy smiles at us when we try to talk to them about it. This is one of the railroading issues of the module. Try to think up better ways to handle PCs figuring out these truths early, and consider better disguising some of these 'surprises' (example: Have some NPCs go by nicknames).

Courts is intended to run from 7th to 10th level. I considered running it, essentially as is, for a group, but instead decided to mine it for ideas that I relocated to other situations. However, my biggest concern with running it is that the Feywild and Fey should be tricky and unexpected. Using a prewritten material that players might look at themselves ruins the feel of Fey and the Feywild, in my eyes. As such, I would never use prepublished materials for it (or the Shadowfell/Ravenloft, either).
 
Last edited:

Reynard

Legend
I ultimately decided on converting Pathfinder AP Iron Gods to 5E in Fantasy Grounds. I have always wanted to run it but couldn't justify the cost to buy all the things I would have needed in FG to do it via PF1. Also, it will make me prep better and increase my FG proficiency. Win-win.
 

It seems I missed the boat, but ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution is available for online play with Roll20.

I also played Iron Gods in Pathfinder a few years ago. If I can use some advice that my GM explained: the modules seem to have been written as almost three independent two-parters. If run as written, the party may lose momentum.

He recommended having an ally from Starfall - there's a three armed woman whose name i forget - come to Torch after the first adventure to warn that the Technic League has a networked hive mind in their myrmidons, so attacking them is futile unless you can find a way to disrupt that.

That lets them be proactive to deal with the villains by investigating the various Iron Gods of the region, and when they learn of Cassandalee, they figure out she could be a friendly AI to cripple the hive mind and give them a shot to strike the League without having every myrmidon respond and overwhelm them.

Basically, the campaign needs a little better throughline.
 

The great weakness of all PF APs is the massive disconnect between many modules. I've run/ played a lot and you know they are multi authored / near simultaneous written.
Iron God's is one I haven't as it's not my genre
 


Dungeon Delver's Guide

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top