Official Adventures starting at level 5?

Mepher

Explorer
Ok lets approach this topic a little different. My group ran Sinister Secret and Danger at Dunwater, along with some homebrew materials. They are currently level 4, very close to level 5. They have moved on to Waterdeep and I was considering running the Season 8 Waterdeep AL adventures. I asked for some feedback on them and got exactly zero so that doesn't speak very highly for them.

So I have just about every 5E official Adventure released and never run any of them besides LMoP, Dragonheist, and Saltmarsh. Of course I can run some Waterdeep stuff and mix in the remaining adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh or I could bring them into one of the published campaigns. I know most of them don't get into the meat of the adventures until levels 3-5. If I transitioned into one of them which do you suggest starting at level 5? My group has never made it past level 7 in 5E so I really don't wish to start them over just for the sake of running a different adventure. My options are Season 8 AL in Waterdeep, continue with the Saltmarsh adventure, or work them into another adventure such as CoS, SKT, etc.

I also have Descent into Avernus sitting here which it appears doesn't really get into the meat of it until level 5 also.

Suggestions?
 

aco175

Adventurer
I ran a few of the Waterdeep AL modules, but they were for low-level. The trilogy with the vampire looked ok, but I did not read or run it.
 

Ash Mantle

Adventurer
Ok lets approach this topic a little different. My group ran Sinister Secret and Danger at Dunwater, along with some homebrew materials. They are currently level 4, very close to level 5. They have moved on to Waterdeep and I was considering running the Season 8 Waterdeep AL adventures. I asked for some feedback on them and got exactly zero so that doesn't speak very highly for them.

So I have just about every 5E official Adventure released and never run any of them besides LMoP, Dragonheist, and Saltmarsh. Of course I can run some Waterdeep stuff and mix in the remaining adventures in Ghosts of Saltmarsh or I could bring them into one of the published campaigns. I know most of them don't get into the meat of the adventures until levels 3-5. If I transitioned into one of them which do you suggest starting at level 5? My group has never made it past level 7 in 5E so I really don't wish to start them over just for the sake of running a different adventure. My options are Season 8 AL in Waterdeep, continue with the Saltmarsh adventure, or work them into another adventure such as CoS, SKT, etc.

I also have Descent into Avernus sitting here which it appears doesn't really get into the meat of it until level 5 also.

Suggestions?
If your group is based in Waterdeep, there's always Dungeon of the Mad Mage, an adventure that kicks off at 5th level. While there is some level of intrigue and politicking in DotMM, that one's mostly a dungeon crawl, so dunno how your group feels about that.

Another idea might be to take the different sub-adventures from the official adventures and post them up job-board style in the Yawning Portal tavern. You could write a short synopsis of what that sub-adventure is about on a card, objectives, and what needs to be done, but leaving out who's involved and general spoilers, and have the group pick which ones to undertake.

Once they finish the adventures in their level range and progress in levels, more jobs could open up to them.
 

Mepher

Explorer
Already done Dragonheist and parts of Dotmm in another campaign with this same group. I usually do a lot of homebrew added to my campaigns but my free time has shrunk with kids in sports, so I am looking to run a published adventure, as written, for the first time ever. My party loved Dragonheist but really didn't enjoy DoTMM. I think going from such heavy role play to heavy dungeon crawl was too extreme.

I will probably just continue with my plan to homebrew in Waterdeep and keep with the heavier roleplay that they enjoy.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
The main part of Storm King’s Thunder starts at 5th level (bypass the intro adventure and just send them to Goldenfields since it’s the closest one to Waterdeep).

Tomb of Annihilation has guidelines on starting at different levels, including (IIRC) 5th. The default start involves teleporting to Chult.

PCs traveling on the Tyranny of Dragons campaign wagon are expected to be 5th level by the time they get to Waterdeep, so that’s convenient too. This would let you skip the early bits that lots of people don’t like and get straight into the action by heading up into the Mere of Dead Men.

You could also run PotA starting at 5th level without too much trouble. (The adventure has hooks leading from LMoP that you could adapt if needed.)

You could even send them into Barovia and run CoS starting at 5th level without too much trouble!

I’m pretty sure this was all done by design since LMoP takes PCs up to 5th level (and now WDH as well).
 
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ninjayeti

Explorer
I ran PotA starting at level 5 and thought I worked out very well. At 5th level the PCs can take full advantage of the sandbox aspects of the adventure without potentially getting in over their heads the way a 3rd level party can. I also really love the adventure though if you don't enjoy dungeon crawls it's probably not the best choice for you.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
I started Tomb of Annihilation at 3rd level and that worked absolutely fine - I'd imagine that starting at 5th would be fine as well. No adjustments needed.
 
Your problem really is you have too many options. Most of the hardback adventures can be picked up at level 5 - indeed they tend to be very bad at the lower level stuff. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage officially starts at level 5. TFtYP Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan is rated level 5, although I would rate it quite challenging at that level if you have the poison gas stymie resting. GoS Isle of Abbey is level 5.

I think its a case of "what sort of content do your players like?"
 
They like "role playing heavy" games. But all of the modules can involve heavy roleplaying. The description is completely unhelpful.
Not really, some modules don't really have anyone to talk to, so opportunities for role playing are limited. HSoT for example. Well, there is a crab who might talk, but he doesn't know any standard languages.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Not really, some modules don't really have anyone to talk to, so opportunities for role playing are limited. HSoT for example. Well, there is a crab who might talk, but he doesn't know any standard languages.
Hence the operative words "can involve heavy roleplaying"
The crab in HSoT can converse a lot with PCs.
 

Enrico Poli1

Explorer
Dungeon of the Mad Mage: starts at 5, heavy dungeon-crawl up to 20. If you get bored, you can get out, treating Undermountain as a mini-setting linked to the open world Sword Coast, and re-enter only some dungeon levels.

Dragon Heist: the adventure is for low level only, but it offers Waterdeep as a mini-setting, a host of NPCs and villains, and four villain lairs for high level.

Storm King's Thunder: easily, can be started at 5. Very weak plot - I'll say illogical and pointless - but has some good dungeons. The strong part is the chapter that establishes the Sword Coast as an open world, full of mini quests. You can use this framework to link together DotMM, PotA, OotA, Tyranny of Dragons and any other Sword Coast material, TotYP and GoS.

PotA: very boring, but can be adapted for start at 5 or mined for dungeons.

Tyranny of Dragons: railroady and a bit boring. Can be adapted for start at 5.

Curse of Strahd: easily, can be started at 5. Excellent adventure. Barovia isn't linked to the Sword Coast open world.

Tomb of Annihilation: same as CoS.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Only if they have Comprehend Languages spell or equivalent.
Which a bard, sorcerer, warlock or wizard can all know. As a 1st level divination ritual. Importantly the crab can be reasoned with.

My point why just saying heavy roleplaying is extremely unhelpful is because it gives us no idea what type of game they like. Is it swashbuckling adventures? Is it desert survival? Is it X?
 
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Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Which a bard, sorcerer, warlock or wizard can all know. As a 1st level divination ritual. Importantly the crab can be reasoned with.

My point why just saying heavy roleplaying is extremely unhelpful is because it gives us no idea what type of game they like. Is it swashbuckling adventures? Is it desert survival? Is it X?
"Hey OP you might like X or X or X or X:
OP: "Nah I will just homebrew"
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
"Hey OP you might like X or X or X or X:
OP: "Nah I will just homebrew"
Sounds like he wants something more urban - my new group just voted for something similar because they like to talk to people (lucky me...!) @Mepher - have you looked at Murder in Baldur's Gate for inspiration? It was written for D&D Next but it is well liked. I've not checked it out myself. But now I need to look at it, I think...

 
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Mepher

Explorer
Dungeon of the Mad Mage: starts at 5, heavy dungeon-crawl up to 20. If you get bored, you can get out, treating Undermountain as a mini-setting linked to the open world Sword Coast, and re-enter only some dungeon levels.

Dragon Heist: the adventure is for low level only, but it offers Waterdeep as a mini-setting, a host of NPCs and villains, and four villain lairs for high level.

Storm King's Thunder: easily, can be started at 5. Very weak plot - I'll say illogical and pointless - but has some good dungeons. The strong part is the chapter that establishes the Sword Coast as an open world, full of mini quests. You can use this framework to link together DotMM, PotA, OotA, Tyranny of Dragons and any other Sword Coast material, TotYP and GoS.

PotA: very boring, but can be adapted for start at 5 or mined for dungeons.

Tyranny of Dragons: railroady and a bit boring. Can be adapted for start at 5.

Curse of Strahd: easily, can be started at 5. Excellent adventure. Barovia isn't linked to the Sword Coast open world.

Tomb of Annihilation: same as CoS.
This is the type of info I was looking for. We have played Dragon Heist and they loved it. They got bored by the 3rd level of DotMM and we decided in the future we will do Undermountain in small bits.

SKT and PotA I was unsure of. After my first glance at SKT I thought it might be better to use in parts as needed rather than run it as a campaign. Maybe I will do that with both of them.

Heard nothing but good things about CoS and ToA but I have heard that many are sick of the dungeon in ToA by the end. Both sound like a lot of fun to me and Ravenloft is my favorite setting, so that definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I guess the next question about them both is how do they play from level 1? Will my players lose any of the story starting at level 5? I do have stuff I can run in and around Waterdeep indefinitely but will definitely consider running a full published campaign after this ends.
 

Mepher

Explorer
Sounds like he wants something more urban - my new group just voted for something similar because they like to talk to people (lucky me...!) @Mepher - have you looked at Murder in Balder's Gate for inspiration? It was written for D&D Next but it is well liked. I've not checked it out myself. But now I need to look at it, I think...

I will definitely check it out. Thanks.
 

Enrico Poli1

Explorer
This is the type of info I was looking for. We have played Dragon Heist and they loved it. They got bored by the 3rd level of DotMM and we decided in the future we will do Undermountain in small bits.

SKT and PotA I was unsure of. After my first glance at SKT I thought it might be better to use in parts as needed rather than run it as a campaign. Maybe I will do that with both of them.

Heard nothing but good things about CoS and ToA but I have heard that many are sick of the dungeon in ToA by the end. Both sound like a lot of fun to me and Ravenloft is my favorite setting, so that definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I guess the next question about them both is how do they play from level 1? Will my players lose any of the story starting at level 5? I do have stuff I can run in and around Waterdeep indefinitely but will definitely consider running a full published campaign after this ends.
CoS: if I remember correctly, "true" adventure starts roughly at 5; you can just ignore the first part, Death House, that has the function to bring the party to level 5, and enter Barovia.

ToA: play the adventure without any changes (for me, this is even better). Don't give XPs initially, until the PCs reach level-appropriate areas.
The final dungeon is a GREAT dungeon, but it's long and could result in fatigue. But it's worth.
Beware: this Adventure is VERY difficult. But it's also a ton of fun.
 

S'mon

Legend
I ran PotA starting at level 5 and thought I worked out very well. At 5th level the PCs can take full advantage of the sandbox aspects of the adventure without potentially getting in over their heads the way a 3rd level party can. I also really love the adventure though if you don't enjoy dungeon crawls it's probably not the best choice for you.
I'll second PoTA. I started it at 1st using the 1-3 optional material, but really at 3rd even my 7 PC group were not ready for the sandbox and nearly got TPK'd. 5th level start (with slower advancement than I used) would have run a lot smoother.
 

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