D&D General Tangent from Vecna - How Many Actually Good Adventures Are There?


The ones I've enjoyed over the years that I've run straight up have been

S2 - White Plume Mountain
I6 - Ravenloft
A2 - Secret of the Slaver's Stockade (I've run A1-A4, but A2 was the only one that was "enjoyable")
L2 - Assassin's Knot
U1-U3 (both the original and in Ghosts of Saltmarsh)
C1 - Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (but I had to do a lot of reading up on MesoAmerican culture/mythology to get there)
X1 - Isle of Dread (though by its nature it needs the DM to fill in a few spots)
Lost Mines of Phandelver - hands down, D&D's best starting adventure to date

More often than not, over the years I've used old modules as reference material for designing my own adventures and pulling out bits and pieces or as a seed for an encounter or campaign idea in my own games.

I'm going to go a step further too, but put these is spoilers since they don't meet the original question's criteria.

I've had several that I had to significantly modify to be enjoyable, but they had a good skeleton.
RQ1 - Night of the Living Dead (The part with confronting Jean doesn't pan out as it reads, nor does the final battle in the crypt.
DCC4 - Bloody Jack's Gold (3E, Goodman Games) (My party was too high level, so I had to up the stats, but they loved it, especially the Ziggaraut fight)
X2 - Castle Amber (Its quirky, and the whole second part in Averoigne has to be fleshed out before it can be finished; it's why I bought the 5E OAR version, as it's done the work for you - but I haven't had the chance to run it)

There's been some that I thought were going to be great but fell apart running them
B2 - Keep on the Borderlands (everyone dies in room E18 that I've run through it)
N1 - Cult of the Reptile God (Great plot, great mystery, but it usually falls apart when the party doesn't catch on to the mystery and just decides to stay the night at the Inn)
S1 - Tomb of Horrors ("Fun" for the DM, not for the players)
XL1 - Quest for the Heartstone (using the premade characters - Strongheart, Warduke, etc. - wasn't as fun as I thought it would be, the adventure is overall serviceable but mediocre. The climatic battle sucks and is cliche)
Labyrinth of Madness (2E) (This reads like a powered up Tomb of Horrors, but has so much backtracking it gets old quick)
DL1 - Dragons of Flame (The start of this epic storyline is a bit too directionless and easy for the party to shrug and ask what they need to do/where to go next)
RM1 - Roots of Evil (The players quit after the opening scene with unavoidable death. It soured me on running any other 2E Ravenloft adventures due to the similar start in. every. one.)
Three Days to Kill (3E Atlas Games) (It has a great story with a deadline, the problem is when the players get to climax the unexpected happens that only the DM will understand and the whole adventure becomes something else entirely)
B4 - The Lost City (In the age it came out, there wasn't a TSR adventure like it and I failed to understand it properly. Plus there is a lot that's only a skeleton for further development by the DM; Like Castle Amber, the OAR version has done this for the DM, and I look forward to running it in the short term future)

And some are just stinkers
B8 - Journey to the Rock (3 paths and your choice is blind with no hint what's down each way. Only one of the paths is the "real" one).
WG7 - Castle Greyhawk (It's a parody full of puns and nothing I'd ever consider seriously running)
H4 - Throne of Bloodstone ("for up to level 100" at a time when TSR had no understanding of how to make a proper adventure over 15th level)
H1 - Keep on the Shadowfell (4E) (It's just poorly designed)
Lights of Xaryxis (It tries to be Flash Gordon/Guardian of the Galaxy II/Thor Ragnarok and just comes across as cheesy)
Descent into Avernus (Fury Road is great, but not as a D&D adventure set in Hell)
Expedition to Castle Ravenloft (It makes mincemeat of a classic and tries to turn it from Gothic horror into a Lovecraft Horror)

log in or register to remove this ad

Helena Real

bit.ly/ato-qs (she/her)
My favorite adventures I've run throughout the years include:
  • Night of the Walking Dead (I've run it three times for different groups and every time it's been a Gothic horror blast)
  • A Dark and Stormy Knight (I've run it two or three times, for different groups and in different systems. Always sweet and fun for a one-shot)
  • The Burning Plague (I've run it a couple of times, always with good results)
  • The Sunless Citadel (very memorable)
  • Red Hand of Doom (great campaign)
  • The original DL modules. I've never been able to run the full campaign, but I think if I did, it'd most definitely be my favorite.
  • Curse of Strahd (it's really good. Just don't run it with D&D. Use Rhapsody of Blood or Brinkwood: The Blood of Tyrants. Or even Cthulhu: Dark Ages!)
  • Speaking of CoC, Edge of Darkness may very well be my favorite adventure I've ever played and ran. It's just... Perfect. I played it once and I've run it 3 or 4 times at this point.
  • The Weight of Doom, included in the Elric! RPG is another adventure that, although I ran it once, it left an indelible mark in me. It's just a good translation of the novels' /game's themes to role-playing, IMO.
And that's about it! I must have run maybe a hundred other modules from many games and editions (and read hundreds more), but the truly good at the table (without basically rewriting them) are a fair few, IME. Writing good adventures is hard!


There are a LOT of good adventures.

There are many many people who should not run published adventures or talk about them. They're better off designing their homebrews or improvising.

I am generally one of those people, but I had uncommon success with those I listed above.

Kingmaker is a legitimately good adventure.

Dragonheist is a legitimately bad adventure composed of really good bits.

I like the structure of Rime of the Frostmaiden but can't say whether I think ti is "good" or not because I only got through the first act before getting burned out.

Rappan Athuk 5E is a good old school dungeon crawl even if 5E isn't the right game for that.

I hated running Storm king's Thunder but that has more to do with trying to juggle 8 or 9 players via Fantasy grounds at the time. I should revisit it someday.

Lost Citadel of the Scarlet Minotaur is the best introductory dungeon I have ever run, hands down.

Lost Mines of Phandelver is the best introductory "theme park open world" I have ever run, hands down.

The Isle of Dread is the best introductory hexcrawl I have ever run, hands down.

The best not-introductory D&D stand alone dungeon adventure is Forge of Fury, IMO (either 3E or 5E).
What makes isle of dread so good?


How are we defining, "Good"? If we measure that by whether it enabled the players to have a good time, well, then every one I've ever run did the job handily!
I'd define it with a logical story, good layout, appropriate challenge and reward for the theme.
But yeah, if your players had a good time, I'd say that's an important factor too.
By that metric, I'd say that fewer than 25% of the adventures I've run produced what I'd call adequate fun for the work and effort put in. Obviously that's not all the fault of the adventure.


See, while I run a lot of modules, I don't think I've ever run a module straight from the book. I've rewritten or changed or otherwise folded, spindled or mauled anything I've run. Even my current Phandelver campaign spent several sessions in the belly of a giant worm from the adventure - A Tough Tavern to Swallow. Even that small change has had ripple effects - the NPC's from that adventure took over the other bar in Phandelver, for example.


Registered User
I’ve run plenty by the criteria posted:

Curse of Strahd
White Plume Mountain
Against the Cult of the Reptile God
Against the Giants
The Sunless Citadel
Forge of Fury
Night of the Walking Dead
The Created
When Black Roses Bloom

Most of these I ran with minimal changes, normal prep, and were a pleasure to run. Some I’ve run more than once and made changes the second time around to expand based on my own ideas - not because they needed them.

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads