D&D 5E Phandelver starting to show up in the wild. NewbieDM looks to be the first!

My personal favorite are the ones that will mock RPG's. But be heavily involved in fantasy football...

Because being emotionally invested in your make believe football team is obviously far more mature than my believe adventurers...
Oh man yes! I was hanging out at a buddy's house when him and his other friends were drafting their teams. I was just hanging out cause I don't follow sports other than MMA and some motor sports. I told him it was no different than D&D lol.
 

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Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
And for the last 3 years, by default everyone starts in Exile's Reach, which a pretty dramatic starting zone which fully introduces you to ideas in WoW in a way previous ones didn't (including a dungeon, boss fights, etc.) - experienced players can opt to pick the old zones still though.
Exile's Reach is amusingly pretty close to Stormwreck Isle, as I understand it, including shipwrecks and a big dragon endboss fight.

It's probably hard to call any newbie experience that ends with "and now we kill a dragon" mundane.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I've just thought of another one: if you're tired of goblins, you could replace them all with xvarts.
Yeah, reskinning elements is my go-to. Make the temple dedicated to a super-weird god! Make the bandits secretly androids! Make the nothic be a hallucination concealing a psychic bear!

I did some of this in my runs, since I don't use the Forgotten Realms and found those elements extremely boring.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Exile's Reach is amusingly pretty close to Stormwreck Isle, as I understand it, including shipwrecks and a big dragon endboss fight.

It's probably hard to call any newbie experience that ends with "and now we kill a dragon" mundane.
Yeah. But there are better. Get weird with it instead of killing a baby dragon. Stormwreck suffers the same problem most other starting modules have: there's a super-powerful NPC literally right there and there's no reason she wouldn't step in. This is even called out in the module. If the PCs suffer defeat the NPC will swoop in and save them.
Yeah, reskinning elements is my go-to. Make the temple dedicated to a super-weird god! Make the bandits secretly androids! Make the nothic be a hallucination concealing a psychic bear!

I did some of this in my runs, since I don't use the Forgotten Realms and found those elements extremely boring.
Reskinning and/or restating monsters to make them interesting is my first stop as well. For much the same reason. FR is boring as are most generic fantasy monsters.
 


M_Natas

Hero
Cool, play as you like.

It was overwhelming the most highly regarded, most completed, and most appreciated campaign 5e have released. Hard to find it as bleak as you suggest. Maybe everyone is wrong though and it really is dull. 🤷🏻‍♂️
I think Lost Mines of Phandelvar is mostly looked at with rose colored glasses, because it was the first 5e adventure most people came in contact with. It was also my first D&D adventure ever. And that of my DM and actually 4 out of 6 players.
But even while running it, we beginners could see the many problems LmoP has.

First of all: it is not beginners friendly at all. Inexperienced DMs and Players will probably get killed very quickly in the beginning.
The Goblin Ambush or the going trough the first goblin dungeon has probably killed more adventurers 5e adventuring groups than any other published or homebrewed adventure.
The motivations to stick to the adventure are also non-existent and we had some players who's characters (everybody made their own) really struggled to find reasons to stay on course and not just leave to go somewhere else. As far as I remember their is literally no good reason to stay in phandalin after you rescued the NPC from the first Goblin dungeon. Non of the NPCs are memorable (like I literally don't remember anyone right now) except for the Nothic (who my character wanted to save, but had to kill in the end because he would continue to pose a threat to the village and there was nothing in the adventure to give him a backstory that we could use to transform him back).
And the story beats are disjointed. The Green Dragon has nothing to do with anything.
The lost mines by itself are a mess to navigate, describe and run, especially for newbie dms and players ...

I mean, I could go on.
But I think the only saving graces of LmoP are that it was the first 5e adventure (so people didn't know better) and that it was short.
I'm sure experienced DMs (which are the target group of early 5e, to be fair) can run it just fine, but if you give it to a Newbie to run you are lucky if he doesn’t quit D&D.

Stormwreck Isle, even with all its Flaws is a way better Beginners Adventure.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think Lost Mines of Phandelvar is mostly looked at with rose colored glasses, because it was the first 5e adventure most people came in contact with. It was also my first D&D adventure ever. And that of my DM and actually 4 out of 6 players.
But even while running it, we beginners could see the many problems LmoP has.

First of all: it is not beginners friendly at all. Inexperienced DMs and Players will probably get killed very quickly in the beginning.
The Goblin Ambush or the going trough the first goblin dungeon has probably killed more adventurers 5e adventuring groups than any other published or homebrewed adventure.
The motivations to stick to the adventure are also non-existent and we had some players who's characters (everybody made their own) really struggled to find reasons to stay on course and not just leave to go somewhere else. As far as I remember their is literally no good reason to stay in phandalin after you rescued the NPC from the first Goblin dungeon. Non of the NPCs are memorable (like I literally don't remember anyone right now) except for the Nothic (who my character wanted to save, but had to kill in the end because he would continue to pose a threat to the village and there was nothing in the adventure to give him a backstory that we could use to transform him back).
And the story beats are disjointed. The Green Dragon has nothing to do with anything.
The lost mines by itself are a mess to navigate, describe and run, especially for newbie dms and players ...

I mean, I could go on.
But I think the only saving graces of LmoP are that it was the first 5e adventure (so people didn't know better) and that it was short.
I'm sure experienced DMs (which are the target group of early 5e, to be fair) can run it just fine, but if you give it to a Newbie to run you are lucky if he doesn’t quit D&D.

Stormwreck Isle, even with all its Flaws is a way better Beginners Adventure.
My wife ran it fine having barely read it, and never having DMed before (and barely played some 4E previously). It is quite newbie friendly, in my experience.

It's not just as 5E's first adventure, Lost Mines also holds up very well to a comparison to Level 1 "You Enter a Town" Adventures from across D&D's history.
 

Reskinning and/or restating monsters to make them interesting is my first stop as well. For much the same reason. FR is boring as are most generic fantasy monsters.
Painting something a different colour doesn't make it interesting. If everything is weird in your game the players will take weird for granted, and it just becomes the new normal.

Without a baseline of normality, weird does not exist.
 

Clint_L

Hero
I think Lost Mines is the best official WotC adventure for 5e.
First of all: it is not beginners friendly at all. Inexperienced DMs and Players will probably get killed very quickly in the beginning.
The Goblin Ambush or the going trough the first goblin dungeon has probably killed more adventurers 5e adventuring groups than any other published or homebrewed adventure.
This is true - the first miniadventure is famously stiff. Though if players are careful it is not as hard as its reputation suggests.
The motivations to stick to the adventure are also non-existent and we had some players who's characters (everybody made their own) really struggled to find reasons to stay on course and not just leave to go somewhere else.
Nonexistent? You are offered money and the chance to do good and solve a mystery. Those are all great motivations!
As far as I remember there is literally no good reason to stay in phandalin after you rescued the NPC from the first Goblin dungeon.
See above.
Non of the NPCs are memorable (like I literally don't remember anyone right now) except for the Nothic (who my character wanted to save, but had to kill in the end because he would continue to pose a threat to the village and there was nothing in the adventure to give him a backstory that we could use to transform him back).
This partly comes down to how the DM plays the characters, but you are given backstory and motivations for a number of NPCs.
And the story beats are disjointed. The Green Dragon has nothing to do with anything.
For me, the standalone mini-adventures are features, not flaws. I really like a sandbox style of gaming where player choices generate much of the story. Choosing to battle the dragon, or not, is an interesting choice.
The lost mines by itself are a mess to navigate, describe and run, especially for newbie dms and players ...
I never found this.
I mean, I could go on.
But I think the only saving graces of LmoP are that it was the first 5e adventure (so people didn't know better) and that it was short.
I'm sure experienced DMs (which are the target group of early 5e, to be fair) can run it just fine, but if you give it to a Newbie to run you are lucky if he doesn’t quit D&D.

Stormwreck Isle, even with all its Flaws is a way better Beginners Adventure.
Stormwreck Isle probably is better for absolute newbies, but for my money Lost Mines does a WAY better job of feeling like an actual D&D campaign.
 

Painting something a different colour doesn't make it interesting. If everything is weird in your game the players will take weird for granted, and it just becomes the new normal.

Without a baseline of normality, weird does not exist.
Whilst I concur in general terms, if you make enough stuff weird aggressively enough, you can absolutely heighten the baseline weirdness of the setting without it becoming normalized/taken for granted. TT RPGs have been doing this for decades - c.f. Tribe 8 or Dark Sun for example.

But you can totally fail at this, as Numenera's default setting shows. Ultra-weird in theory, boring as hell in practice (again, only talking the default setting, the one detailed in the corebook).
 

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