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D&D General Rank these starting adventures

Best starting adventure

  • Lost Mines of Phandelver

    Votes: 34 48.6%
  • Against the Cult of the Reptile God

    Votes: 4 5.7%
  • Village of Hommlet

    Votes: 4 5.7%
  • Sunless Citadel

    Votes: 5 7.1%
  • Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

    Votes: 9 12.9%
  • Lost City

    Votes: 3 4.3%
  • Keep on the Borderlands

    Votes: 7 10.0%
  • Horror on the Hill

    Votes: 2 2.9%
  • Palace of the Silver Princess

    Votes: 2 2.9%

  • Total voters

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I voted for the Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh.

I also enjoy UK 5: Eye of the Serpent as an alternative to starting players off in a tavern. The module has some problems, but it's a nice springboard.


David Howery

depends a bit on how much work you want to put into them. B2 has a fine adventuring area, but the Keep base has to be fleshed out; the NPCs don't even have names! B4 Lost City needs to be reworked a lot... the layout is fine, but there is a LOT of nonsensical monster placement (particularly in the lower levels). Saltmarsh is rather like B2, in that the town isn't detailed much. N1 is ready to go as is. Horror on the Hill is a bit worse than B2; the adventuring area is fine, but the base fort the PCs are supposed to be using isn't detailed at all, not even a map (the one time I used it, I put it near the Keep on the Borderlands, and used both adventures as being in the same general area). Hommlet is pretty much complete and ready to run. Not familiar with the others...


No Secret of Bone Hill? Technically 2-4 but Restenford has been a springboard for a couple of great campaigns for me over the years and easy to start a campaign with- another one I combined with Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh to back in the day.


I voted for the Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh.

I also enjoy UK 5: Eye of the Serpent as an alternative to starting players off in a tavern. The module has some problems, but it's a nice springboard.

I have a soft spot for Eye of the Serpent, but it's more obscure than the others, and was originally written as a single player vs DM adventure. It does work well as a starter though, with a clear objective and only a few ways forward at the beginning.

Of the ones on the list, Saltmarsh is my favourite (and the only one I have run twice, with a separation of 36 years).


I wouldn't choose any of those. From those I only played lost mines and it has some problems (especially for new DMs), like no real motiviations for some parts of the adventure. Dragon of Icespire Peak in the essential kit and the first part of Waterdeep Dragon Heist seem to be better in that regard.

As much as I believe B2: Keep on the Borderlands is a poor starting adventure, I love this image. It paints a grim picture. The borderlands is not a realm of knights and enchanted gardens. It is a barren wasteland of multi-colored deserts, purple-leaved trees, and alien humanoids, vying for domination. Judging by their unified appearance, the hobgoblins are a sophisticated, collectivist people with ritualistic armor and painted faces. The adventurers are a mismatched band of staunch individualists, out for gold and treasure. The image defies the expectation to pit good against evil. Instead, if depicts a struggle for domination in an uncertain, inhospitable world, where even the sand seems alien to the viewer's modern, westernized sensibilities.
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Dusty Dragon
Never heard of this one. Details please?


It is a free dungeon designed specifically for new players. It is designed to use the GLOG, but done in such a way that it is also highly compatible with older editions of D&D (specifically B/X, but also some of the retroclones, as well as BECMI etc). In fact a lot of people run it not even being aware that the GLOG system exists!

the author, Skerples, has worked on it a lot, and we are now in version 4. I wrote a play-through and some of my comments (I ran version 3) were specifically addressed in version 4.

Now, this is definitely for an old-school type of gaming, not 5e. But it's a lot of fun.

The module: OSR: Tomb of the Serpent Kings Megapost

(this includes links to several play throughs. Mine is Slug and Silver, but I think that his own is more entertaining)

The system, if you are curious: OSR: GLOG-based Homebrew v.2: Many Rats on Sticks Edition


I have run all of these adventures and I enjoy them all. I voted for Mines, mostly because it is intended as a starting point for 5E and gives some variable adventures.


Dusty Dragon
Another reason to consider the Tomb of the Serpent King is that is has been translated into 5 languages, has online versions and even a battlemap (this is not some kickstarter stretch goals. this is all free)


I've actually run all of these except Sunless Citadel. All are fun. Far and away the best was Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.

Second place would be Against the Cult of the Reptile God. These are also the two best named adventures on the list. I'm so glad I got original copies off of ebay back in 2016. So worth my money.