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D&D 5E Nominate Today's Top Adventures for Use in 5E

Inspired by the discussion of Dungeon Magazine's Top 30 list from 2004, let's see if we can come up with the best adventures for today.

Criteria:
Best adventure as written that can still be used with today's expectations. This does not mean that some DM additions or modifications can't be done, but extensive preparation should not be required.
The adventure does not need to be written for 5E. DM updating of NPCs, magic, and loot is fine.

What to Avoid:
Fond memories, this is not about the best adventures from our youth, but what adventures if you had never seen before and picked up today you would be thrilled with.
Adventures that the DM turned into great adventures, let's look at the best adventures As Written (not as a great DM ran them for you!)

What to do:
List your top 5 adventures, and give a reason why others should consider them.

After we get a list of nominations, then we can put together a poll to generate the list.
 
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Stormonu

Legend
Curse of Strahd - takes what was a good adventure from the start and expands it out into a full-blown campaign that's easily as good.

Lost Mines of Phandelver - 5E's strongest and most original adventures. It hits all the right notes and is a great introduction to the game overall.

B4/OAR4 - Lost City (Original Adventures Reincarnated) - A mini-campaign that has an unusual mix of home base and adventuring location with a "dark secret" twist BBEG. It isn't a typical dungeon crawl adventure and requires a mix of diplomacy, exploration and adventuring. The OAR version fills in what was the latter barebones section of the original, giving a fully fleshed out campaign from start to finish.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh - While I admit my experience with the original U1-U3 adventure influences this choice, it is good overall campaign that starts right in from level 1 onward. Most of WotC's other supermodules kick in at level 3-5, this one can be used from the start of a campaign. It embraces the "zero to hero" mindset and a good mix of adventures with a nautical theme.

White Plume Mountain (TFtYP version) - Great for a one-shot or as part of an ongoing game. It has a good mix of combat and puzzles with the ability to tackle it in a non-linear fashion. The only downfall is Blackrazor, which is the only artifact of the three that's too good to be left in player's hands as is.
 

TheSword

Legend
1st: The Enemy Within Campaign - released by Cubicle 7. Without a doubt the best campaign I’ve ever played and DM’d. (I’m on the third run through!) Brilliant characters, setting and investigation. Locations are evocative. You could easily run it for 5e using the rules for gunpowder in DMG. The perfect mix of plot and sandbox. It also does a very good job of bridging the gap between local heroes and kingdom heroes. All you would need to do is convert treasure and NPC stats. You’d lose a bit of the old world flavor but the adventure is still at core amazing. Highlights include secret societies, carnivals, corrupt nobles, deadly meteors, mutants, lurking ratmen, imperial politics and small but vicious dogs. Run it, you won’t regret it. There is a reason this is on every top ten list of adventures of all time… the re-release is much better.

2nd: Age of Worms. The best of the 3e adventure paths. A really solid campaign of growing evil. Strong individual chapters and a nice overarching theme. Part One [Edit] The Whispering Cairn has probably the best dungeon I’ve seen in a game for tier 1 characters.

3rd: Odyssey of the Dragonlords. Epic, campaign with a capital E. Heroes at the heart of everything in a great setting. Very thematic. Beautiful to read and to DM. Best Greek campaign I’ve seen.

4th: Way of the Wicked. Written for Pathfinder but easily convertible. It has may favorite hook for adventuring and has one of the best story arcs I’ve seen in a campaign. A pleasure to DM. Of course it is for an Evil Party, and the methods the writer uses to keep things coherent is very clever. One of the chapters the party get to build their own dungeon and protect it against adventurers!

5th: Curse of Strahd. The best of the 5e WotC hardbacks. A great tight story which links everything back to the BBEG. Very atmospheric and fun to DM. The only reason it hasn’t placed higher is that I think after the awesome 80% of the book, the castle is a bit of an anticlimax.

Honourable mention: Tales of the Old Margrave. By Kobald Press. Designed for 5e. Again very thematic and atmospheric. A series of beautifully written adventures that capture a Hansel and Grettel theme.

Honourable mention: Kingmaker. It was amazing for pathfinder 1e but had its flaws. A new release should be out soon which improves these and also offers a 5e monster and NPC conversion. Worth waiting for that.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
1st Place: Lost Mines of Phandelver. Years from now, people will discuss this in the same way that grognards reverentially discuss B2, B4, U1 and T1. This is not just a very excellent starting module, it is the best single module yet for 5e.

2nd Place: OAR #2: The Isle of Dread. The OAR series is excellent, but this is remains the canonical example of the hexcrawl.

3rd Place: Curse of Strahd. Easily the best adventure path for 5e by WoTC.

4th Place: Tomb of Annihilation. Unlike the others I have listed, this one actually requires a fair amount of DM modifications, but the basic chassis is so good that it is totally worth it.

5th Place. OAR #4: The Lost City. Is this a total rip off of Red Nails, but this can be an amazing setting for a new players to 5e.

(I know that I am cheating a little with 2 OARs, but if I had to get rid of them I'd probably just put in Saltmarsh and Yawning Portal)
 


Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
1st: Curse of Strahd
It's the best 5E adventure, and everyone knows why. A mini-setting with numerous adventure hooks, the book gives an option for a fairly linear adventure if the DM/players want it, but also is playable as a sandbox if they don't. The PCs can play in this adventure for a long time without ever needing to approach Castle Ravenloft, and most of the encounters are both embracing the gothic horror tropes with their own twists. The Castle itself is a mighty beast of a dungeon, the demerit being it's poorly laid out map... but if you can decipher it, there is fun to be had there as well when you confront the main charismatic antagonist.

2nd: Lost Mine of Phandelver
Only second because it's a tad linear and catered to newer DMs. That said, that weakness is also a strength; anyone can run this including folks entirely new to the game. And that's great as it is a fantastic adventure overall, a series of dominoes that tilt gradually to a nice dungeon and confrontation.

3rd: Dragon Heist
Controversial, I know. The reason people dislike this is due to its overall layout, and elements of railroading that seem difficult to avoid. However, in the hands of a skilled DM this adventure is pure gold. The plot and mystery is well-written to intrigue PCs, and the hook (100,000 gold!) is guaranteed to raise their hackles. The key is to take all the disparate pieces and coalesce them into something truly awesome. Other folks like the Alexandrian have done a great job with this, but I hacked together a version not nearly as complex that worked fantastic. Pick a villain and use their lair as the actual end to the adventure (while giving the PCs help to balance against a possibly too powerful foe) and they'll talk about this adventure for years.

4th: Dragon of Icespire Peak
A series of encounters more than a true adventure on its own, but one can string these into it's own campaign or append them onto Lost Mine of Phandelver if needed. The encounters/locations are very good, and I'd argue this is one of the best modules for a "West Marches" style campaign to be written ever, from any edition.

5th: Tomb of Annihilation
This adventure has it's warts, but it's still pretty great. A huge setting filled with interesting locations, it's biggest flaw is of course the wilderness traversal and random encounters. They range wildly in difficulty and can lead to a TPK, or worse a complete slog. If you take the best random encounters and build them up into planned out encounters, you can take this adventure and make it truly great.

Honorable Mention: The Enemy Within
Honorable because it's not actually built for 5E. Part 1 is also very contrary to D&D design, more at home with a Call of Cthulhu game than 5E. However if it is overcome, Death on the Reik is an incredible adventure for use in 5E with a healthy mix of travel, social encounters, and combat. And Castle Wittgenstein is in my opinion a superior spooky castle to even Castle Ravenloft!
 

Lidgar

Gongfarmer
1. Lost Mine of Phandelver. Pretty much an instant classic. Has some warts, but what classic doesn't?

2. Saltmarsh. This was our pandemic safe haven for a year or so. Lots of seafaring shenanigans.

3. Tomb of Horrors (from TotYP). We had an absolute blast in this updated classic. Not for everyone, not for every time - but a fantastic play on VTT.

4. White Plume Mountain (from TotYP). Stormonu said it all.

5. OAR #6: Temple of Elemental Evil. We are currently playing through this, and again having a blast. Goodman Games really does a fantastic job on the OARs. I might one day include OAR #4 (Lost City) or OAR #2 (Isle of Dread) in this list, but have not played through/run them yet.
 

Stormonu

Legend
1st: Curse of Strahd
It's the best 5E adventure, and everyone knows why. A mini-setting with numerous adventure hooks, the book gives an option for a fairly linear adventure if the DM/players want it, but also is playable as a sandbox if they don't. The PCs can play in this adventure for a long time without ever needing to approach Castle Ravenloft, and most of the encounters are both embracing the gothic horror tropes with their own twists. The Castle itself is a mighty beast of a dungeon, the demerit being it's poorly laid out map... but if you can decipher it, there is fun to be had there as well when you confront the main charismatic antagonist.
The map for the castle isn't poorly laid out. It took a while for me to understand, but after building it in Minecraft a couple times (damn computer crashes), it's actually a multi-pathed maze with a castle dressing. There's two primary and a third secret route to get to the tomb.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
The map for the castle isn't poorly laid out. It took a while for me to understand, but after building it in Minecraft a couple times (damn computer crashes), it's actually a multi-pathed maze with a castle dressing. There's two primary and a third secret route to get to the tomb.

I think you're just reinforcing it's a bad map... if you need to build it a couple of times in Minecraft to understand it, I don't think it is intuitive to read.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
The map for the castle isn't poorly laid out. It took a while for me to understand, but after building it in Minecraft a couple times (damn computer crashes), it's actually a multi-pathed maze with a castle dressing. There's two primary and a third secret route to get to the tomb.

I think you're just reinforcing it's a bad map... if you need to build it a couple of times in Minecraft to understand it, I don't think it is intuitive to read.
 

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