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Intro D&D Adventure for a mixed group

Sloblock

Explorer
hello all

so next weekend I have been asked to run an adventure for a group of friends, 2 of which are new to RPG world and 2 which have played

* Lost Mines of Phandelver
* Tyranny of Dragons - HotDQ and RoT
* Curse of Strahd
* Princes of the Apocalypse

so my question is what would be a good adventure to play that day, as a one off? I have started going through my stash looking for a good mix of role-play and fights etc. but nothing has jumped out.

help as always is appreciated
 

OB1

Registered User
If the two players who have already played LMoP are okay with taking a back seat in making decisions to keep it fresh for the new players, I'd recommend using that. It is an excellent adventure for new players.

If you want to give everyone something new, I'd go with Out of the Abyss, as the opening chapter is a little light on combat but strong on the RP side and can be done in a single session. The Sunless Citadel from Yawning Portal is also a very good introduction for new players, it leans a bit more towards the combat side, but has some interesting exploration and social challenges as well. It will probably take two sessions to complete.
 

Sloblock

Explorer
thanks for your reply.

I have emailed the 2 other players asking about LMoP, and will dig out my copy of OotA
 

TerraDave

5ever
Sunless Citadel is in Tales from the Yawning Portal. Not sure if you would get through it all in the day, but it has a nice tone for a starting adventure.
 

Eltab

Villager
The "In a Caravan" chapter of HotDQ can give you a taste each of a variety of activities. It was the chapter I most enjoyed but we raced through it (about 1/3 of the total possible scenarios) in two weeks.
 

Greenstone.Walker

Registered User
My go-to starting adventure is The Mystery of Malvern Manor by Dan Head.

It has a nice mix of roleplaying (shaking down a merchant on behalf of a local crime boss) and combat. It has a horror vibe (a mad scientist performing unspeakable operations) as well as some tragedy (the victims of the mad scientist).

It also has spiders.

I've run it three times with a mix of new-to-the-hobby and experienced players. All have gone really well, even for the experienced people.
 

haakon1

Villager
It depends on what tone you want to set, and how much work you want to do in converting to the game edition/system you're using. Starting adventures I like:

-- Keep on the Borderlands (original D&D/AD&D) or Return to the Keep on the Borderlands (2e) or Little Keep on the Borderlands (Hackmaster) or the new version coming out for 5e are the ultimate classics. I've run my own homebrewed variant too.

-- As many from mentioned, Sunless Citadel is a more modern classic, for 3e (published standalone) or 5e (in the Yawning Portal book).

The next one I want to try, personally, is Trobridge Inn (written for Harnworld rules & 3e compatible), which I'll run as a neighboring village to the Keep on the Borderlands.

Others I've seen work well are "Three Days to Kill" (3e) and "Keep on the Shadowfell" (4e). Ah, and if you're interested in converting rules, the intro adventure for Song of Ice & Fire RPG, "Peril at King's Landing" has a lot of atmosphere, of course.

Bottom Line: Do what you like!
 
Check out the current issue of Dragon+. It has several free adventures included in it and I think at least a couple of them are for 1st level parties.
 

aco175

Explorer
If people are new to DnD, you may need a more simple adventure that is kind of railroady in leading them to the adventure. Adventure League modules are good like this and you could find some cheap/ free ones online. You also want to provide opportunity for those who played before to get some of the limelight and act out. LMoP is designed for new players, but some of the players you have, have already played it. If you have time you could modify it a bit and place kobolds in the first section or move the encounters around a bit to prevent too much player knowledge.

Another thing I have done for new players in to have pre-generated characters for them to choose from. I also have the 2nd level of these on the back for when the advance. I only make the basic classes and races or the more traditional characters for new players to try out early in their gaming days.

Another thing I have seen with new players and experienced players is that the experienced players are told that it is ok for them to be killed and cycle through PCs while leaving the new players to shine more and survive. Although the new players may follow this lead and several TPKs ensue.
 
I always liked the Wizard's Amulet by Necromancer Games / Frog God Games and they did update it to 5th edition. It gives characters and a neat little backdrop for the adventure which can be moved into Crucible of Freya if one so desired (though Crucible hasn't been converted to 5E).

Edit: I forgot to mention that the Wizard's Amulet is free so the price is right also!
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
I'm a veteran DM and have been running LMoP for a group of 4: 3 new players and 1 with some experience. Everyone has loved it, including me. It doesn't feel like a "starter" adventure at all. Lots to sink your teeth into.
 

akr71

Explorer
As [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION] said, some definite boundaries for new players so that they are not paralyzed by too many options. LMoP is great, but 2 of your players have played it and it is definitely not 1-shot material.

The old tropes work well for new players. My go to is the characters are a bunch of strangers who just happen to be at a roadside inn at the same time. Something attacks and the innkeeper calls out for help "Are there no heroes here to protect the innocent?!" Usually, its a bunch of giant rats in the cellar - the inn was built on the ruins of something far older and the rats tunneled up from there. Once the rats have been dealt with the adventurers might ponder what secrets and treasures lurk below. The innkeeper fears for what else might be under the inn and will pay for the adventurers to investigate. What pushed the rats out of their usual den? What made them grow so large?

Google will easily find you maps of an inn, a cellar and a dungeon.
 

paintphob

Villager
OP, what do you mean by "one shot"? Do you mean an adventure that can be run in a single session, or is separate from an on-going campaign but may take multiple sessions to run?
The answer to that question may help in getting the right answer to you.
 

guachi

Villager
I'm fond of U1 Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. While it's part of a series it works well as a standalone. I've been able to adapt it to 5e easily enough as well as change things to suit the PCs.

It's a fun adventure that's basically a two-parter and I've managed to complete it in two sessions each time.
 
My go to is the characters are a bunch of strangers who just happen to be at a roadside inn at the same time. Something attacks and the innkeeper calls out for help "Are there no heroes here to protect the innocent?!" Usually, its a bunch of giant rats in the cellar - the inn was built on the ruins of something far older and the rats tunneled up from there. Once the rats have been dealt with the adventurers might ponder what secrets and treasures lurk below. The innkeeper fears for what else might be under the inn and will pay for the adventurers to investigate. What pushed the rats out of their usual den? What made them grow so large?

Google will easily find you maps of an inn, a cellar and a dungeon.
Cleric's Challenge from AD&D is exactly this setup. You can run the initial encounter easily enough as it's only zombies that you can plug straight from 5e MM. And if the players are up for
more, the rest is pretty good, too.
 

Slit518

Explorer
hello all

so next weekend I have been asked to run an adventure for a group of friends, 2 of which are new to RPG world and 2 which have played

* Lost Mines of Phandelver
* Tyranny of Dragons - HotDQ and RoT
* Curse of Strahd
* Princes of the Apocalypse

so my question is what would be a good adventure to play that day, as a one off? I have started going through my stash looking for a good mix of role-play and fights etc. but nothing has jumped out.

help as always is appreciated
What are your thoughts on homebrew?

And how is your improv?

Perhaps have the 2 players who haven't played in one area, perhaps a tavern, and start things off with a rowdy tavern patron. See how they handle that.

The other 2 could be doing something else with the main goal heading toward where the other two are, even on accident. Perhaps the other 2 are tracking bandits, and the way they happened to go was the town the other 2 players are at.

Jump back-and-forth a bit between the two groups. See if the new group wants to go first, or if they want to watch the more experienced group go first.

Keep DCs simple, maybe around 8-13, and AC around 10-14.

The way I picture it is you set the setting for the first group, the more experienced group, tell them they've been tracking bandits that have stolen something from them. The bandit group as a whole could of been like 6-8 bandits, but on the way tracking them, they may fight 2 bandits at a time, perhaps 2 separate encounters.

The new group could deal with the rowdy tavern patron, big burly type. Think of a rude, traveling Barbarian type. New to the area, civilization, challenges the civilized man. The two knew players could overcome this challenge however they're able. This leaves a lot of room for them to look like the hero.

After they resolve that situation you could go to the original group who dealt with the first encounter. On their way tracking the overall bandit camp they could come across 2 more from the group who have also fell behind, perhaps just get caught finishing off a poor sap off the side of the road, taking his riches.

Go back to the new group, perhaps a social encounter to help them learn the game in that aspect. Perhaps they come across the remaining 4 of the bandit group who steals something from them, Sleight of Hand perhaps?

Experienced players come to town, somehow run into new players. Both realize they have a common goal, they eventually catch up and confront the remaining bandits.
 

Li Shenron

Adventurer
hello all

so next weekend I have been asked to run an adventure for a group of friends, 2 of which are new to RPG world and 2 which have played

* Lost Mines of Phandelver
* Tyranny of Dragons - HotDQ and RoT
* Curse of Strahd
* Princes of the Apocalypse

so my question is what would be a good adventure to play that day, as a one off? I have started going through my stash looking for a good mix of role-play and fights etc. but nothing has jumped out.

help as always is appreciated
I haven't played any of these, but from what I know about them, perhaps all of them are too long to fit in a single game day, or maybe only LMoP can do?

If you want to be able to complete an adventure in a day, you may also want to seriously cut down the time between sitting down at the table and starting the adventure. Consider the following options:

1- skip rules explanations -> you don't really need to explain the game extensively in advance, your players probably already know what it is about, and you don't need to explain any specific rule until it comes into play; just jump into the story as soon as possible

2- use pregenerated characters -> with 4 players, make 6 ready-to-play characters, give a quick presentation of them (1 minute each) and let the players choose; leave up the narrative details to them (e.g. name, gender, personality) but have all the stats and equipment ready
 
I haven't played any of these, but from what I know about them, perhaps all of them are too long to fit in a single game day, or maybe only LMoP can do?

If you want to be able to complete an adventure in a day, you may also want to seriously cut down the time between sitting down at the table and starting the adventure. Consider the following options:

1- skip rules explanations -> you don't really need to explain the game extensively in advance, your players probably already know what it is about, and you don't need to explain any specific rule until it comes into play; just jump into the story as soon as possible

2- use pregenerated characters -> with 4 players, make 6 ready-to-play characters, give a quick presentation of them (1 minute each) and let the players choose; leave up the narrative details to them (e.g. name, gender, personality) but have all the stats and equipment ready
I've done all of these and none of those can be completed in a day. The Lost Mines is the shortest of the bunch and I guess you could take one of the encounters (maybe the Goblin Ambush and the Cragmaw Castle) could be done in a day but if you are using that whole book, it's definitely longer than that. That's been my experience anyway.
 

Sloblock

Explorer
hi there

sorry I didn't mean that it needs to be completed in one day, I am not sure how the 2 new players are going to react.

I am trying to find something to play that is good enough for a long afternoon of story and if they want to continue then we can do.

LMoP could be a good shout as I could add to that
 

Afrodactyl

Villager
I've ran The Horror At Havel's Cross (DMs Guild) with a new group and it went really well. Has combat, a puzzle and a social bit, all of which you can expand on if you want.
 

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