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

Enrico Poli1

Adventurer
5) Test of the Warlords (BECMI). You experience high level play, dominions, wars, etc
4) Tomb of Annihilation (5e). Perfect hexcrawl with a time limit, then a deathtrap dungeon. IMO best 5e Adventure.
3) Reign of Winter AP (Pathfinder 1e). You experience being in a fairy-tale, in sci-fic, in an historical game, finally into myth...
2) Savage Tide AP (D&D 3.5). You play this, and you feel like inside an adventure movie. Also absurdly difficult.
1) Age of Worms AP (D&D 3.5). The quintessential D&D campaign, a true love letter to the game.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I tried to run it as written and it was horrid. I think the part we all hated the most was the very railroady chase sequence. (It doesn't help that 5e's chase rules suck.) YMMV I guess.

I did use the Xanathar's lair to great effect in a different campaign, though. I also gave Trollskull Manor to my DotMM group, but they've been spending 99% of the campaign in the dungeon, so it hasn't really been used. So yes, as a toolkit, it's great. As an adventure, it is absolutely hands down the worst adventure WotC has published for 5e. So I maintain that it does not fit @LordEntrails' criteria for inclusion.
I hear very mixed things about how well it worked for people. We had fun with it, and as a book of urban dungeon modules I think it is good. All the 5E books work as thematic module collections, I feel.

So, my top 3 are getting mentioned by literally everyone, not much mroe to say:

1. Lost Mines of Phandelver. My wife ran it the first week 5E was out with no prior DMing experience as written and it was a blast. Stone cold classic.

2. Curse of Strahd. Chapter 3 or 4 is just I6 reprinted, but everything around it is tied in perfectly. Great experience.

3. Tomb of Annihilation. Welcome to the Jungle.

Now, more controversially perhaps:

4. Princes of the Apocalypse. Great direct followup for Lost Mines if Phandelver, and actually a really tightly designed yet expansive sandbox of Dungeons.

5. Tyranny of Dragons (specifically the edited combo book). Now, I ran Hoard of the Dragon Queen straight out of the book with zero prep and...it went great. This one is a bit uneven, but in balance there is a lot going on in here.
 
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TheSword

Legend
Ugh, no. Both of those are as bad as Dragon Heist if not worse. Age of Worms has some fun moments, but none of them let you affect the outcome of the adventure in any way. Your PCs are just along for the ride. And Odyssey of the Dragonlords is a hideous mess written by people who don't understand that a TTRPG adventure shouldn't be written like it's a CRPG.
Well done for being the first to go negative. Probably more constructive to spend the column inches for why your choices are good, rather than knocking other people’s. It’s never particularly nice to see criticism of something another person likes that starts with the phrase “ugh, no.”

For the record. There are plenty of opportunities to influence outcomes in Age of Worms. It is a series of adventures where PCs repeatedly affect the outcome of each adventure. It sounds like you have a problem with the AP format. Which is a shame because you’ll miss out on some excellent products if you dismiss them.

Odyssey is great. I’m not sure why you think it’s a mess. It has a very clear structure that mixes short linear sections with sandbox and a compelling set of overarching villains similar to the method Curse of Strahd. There’s nothing wrong with bringing compelling elements of quality CRPG (of which BG 1 & 2 are clearly quality) into TTRPG. If only everyone could write so vividly and include PCs in a plot so thoroughly. I seem to remember us having this disagreement before. You’re entitled to your opinion though.
 

pukunui

Legend
For the record. There are plenty of opportunities to influence outcomes in Age of Worms. It is a series of adventures where PCs repeatedly affect the outcome of each adventure. It sounds like you have a problem with the AP format. Which is a shame because you’ll miss out on some excellent products if you dismiss them.
I've only ever played Age of Worms, although I did run part of one of the adventures as a standalone once. The entire time I was playing through the AP, I felt like we were just there to observe the plot as it rolled along on its tracks, and while we could certainly affect things within each individual module, we couldn't do anything to affect the overall plot. There didn't seem to be any way to stop the BBEG from appearing at the end, for instance ... unlike, say, the Tyranny of Dragons campaign where the PCs can actually prevent Tiamat from being summoned if they do all the right things. Perhaps that is a possibility in Age of Worms and we just didn't achieve the things we needed to. Nevertheless, I found it extremely railroady and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Odyssey is great. I’m not sure why you think it’s a mess. It has a very clear structure that mixes short linear sections with sandbox and a compelling set of overarching villains similar to the method Curse of Strahd. There’s nothing wrong with bringing compelling elements of quality CRPG (of which BG 1 & 2 are clearly quality) into TTRPG. If only everyone could write so vividly and include PCs in a plot so thoroughly. I seem to remember us having this disagreement before. You’re entitled to your opinion though.
I don't remember disagreeing with you specifically about this one, but I'm sure people can find my thoughts on the adventure in the threads on that topic if people want to know. I shan't spend any more time on it here.

I will, however, go back and edit my post to include some praise for my top 5 picks.
 

TheSword

Legend
I've only ever played Age of Worms, although I did run part of one of the adventures as a standalone once. The entire time I was playing through the AP, I felt like we were just there to observe the plot as it rolled along on its tracks, and while we could certainly affect things within each individual module, we couldn't do anything to affect the overall plot. There didn't seem to be any way to stop the BBEG from appearing at the end, for instance ... unlike, say, the Tyranny of Dragons campaign where the PCs can actually prevent Tiamat from being summoned if they do all the right things. Perhaps that is a possibility in Age of Worms and we just didn't achieve the things we needed to. Nevertheless, I found it extremely railroady and wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
The general purpose of APs isn’t to stop the later episodes happening. The AP is less about stoping the BBEG from coming back in advance (because you don’t know how it’s going to happen until it happens. Good APs explore a variety of themes and challenges that don’t preclude future ones, allowing success or failure to allow the story to continue - rather than forcing the PCs to succeed to carry on. It’s the opposite of railroad.

If you haven’t DM’d or at least read the Campaign it’s probably best not to start your criticism with “Ugh, no.”
 

pukunui

Legend
If you haven’t DM’d or at least read the Campaign it’s probably best not to start your criticism with “Ugh, no.”
I have read through it, albeit not recently. I disagree with your assessment of an AP not being a railroad but I don't wish to derail (pardon the pun) this thread any further by beating that dead horse.

I have added my reasons for my picks to my original post at your request.
 



TheSword

Legend
I think there is a reason WotC has moved away from strict Adventure "paths" and moved towards sandboxes with loosely connected modules.
To be honest WotC never really did publish APs. With a few notable old examples like against the giants. It was always Paizo that published the APs and they made a very successful publishing company on the back of it.
 

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.

Bold choice, and I think it is too difficult to run successfully out of the box to really rank very high, but I'll definitely say my group had a blast playing Dragon Heist and I wouldn't be surprised if a disproportionate number of the most fun 5e campaigns have been Dragon Heist. At the end of the day most players are just way more likely to come up with interesting things to do with interesting consequences in an urban sandbox than in the settings of any of the other campaigns, and the best part of the game has always been when players try things that the DM and/or the adventure didn't foresee.
 

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