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D&D 5E Where to next? (post LMOP)

Hey all,
Our party is about to finish The Lost Mines of Phandelver and wondering what to do next.
We're considering Dungeon of the Mad Mage, but wondered what other options experienced players recommend (it's the 1st campaign for most of us)
We're a 3 person party approaching L5 and keen to eventually get to L20, but don't necessarily feel the need to do that in a single campaign setting.
Advice? Thoughts? Warnings?
Any and all thoughts appreciated.
 

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overgeeked

B/X Known World
Dragon Heist is great fun. Just bump up the difficulty of the monsters to account for the higher starting level. It's a lot of roleplaying and dealing with factions and a bit of mystery.

There's also Dragon of Icespire Peak from the Essentials Kit. There's also the anthology books: Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Candlekeep Mysteries, and Tales from the Yawning Portal. They have several shorter adventures ready to go.
 

happyhermit

Adventurer
Depends a lot on what kind of game you are running. If LMoP was a bit of a sandbox for you as opposed to fairly linear, then I have had good luck stealing stuff from books like Storm King's Thunder which has a pretty direct tie in and is in the same area. A lot of the adventures have pretty good on-ramps for PCs up to lvl5 as well.
 

aco175

Legend
There are several additional Phandalin adventures on DMsGuild that continue the adventure past the box set. There are some that bring you towards level 10ish but not to 20.

As far as published book adventures, the only one I played was Princes of the Apocalypse (PotA). We started a new campaign and first used the free supplement on the Wizards site and then bought the book to continue the adventure.

Welcome to the boards, there are some great advisers and some ok ones here.
 

Mort

Legend
Dragon Heist is great fun. Just bump up the difficulty of the monsters to account for the higher starting level. It's a lot of roleplaying and dealing with factions and a bit of mystery.
Dragon Heist has some really fun vignettes and the scenarios are interesting. it has a lot of stuff worth mining out.

BUT I found the connective tissue in the actual adventure REALLY lacking and the railroad nature bugged me a lot (especially after Phandelver handled things MUCH better). I wouldn't recommend Dragon Heist to a new DM for these reasons.

There's also Dragon of Icespire Peak from the Essentials Kit. There's also the anthology books: Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Candlekeep Mysteries, and Tales from the Yawning Portal. They have several shorter adventures ready to go.

Dragons of Icespire Peak looks fun (haven't run it.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh is good, especially if you like your adventures a bit retro (my group all grew up on basic an 1e so it really worked for them).

Candlekeep Mysteries has a lot of various stuff some of which looks really neat - but the tone of the adventures varies A LOT.

I'm running Tales from the Yawning Portal now (sequentially) and the group is having a blast. the first couple are particularly good, but a bit too low level for your group (unless you modify them up).

I'd recommend taking a look at Lost Laboratory of Kwalish to see if it's up your alley. goes from level 5 and has suggestions for being run as a 1 shot (4 hours) 2-3 sessions or a full 5-6 sessions. The adventure is fun, thematic and has a decent mix of the various pillars. Cons: Some of the NPCs are a little vaguely defined, a few encounters have balance issues and, unlike many modules, the adventure actually gives out some REALLY powerful stuff to the party (such as a suit of, essentially, power armor). But I found the flow, descriptiveness and overall fun of the adventure outweighed the cons.
 

Storm King's Thunder has an appendix that gives direct suggestions of how to start it from having completed other modules, including Lost Mines of Phandelver, and generally is the published module that most naturally continues with a similar tone to what the party has been doing in Phandelver with a nearby geographical start. It's not necessarily the best adventure, but if you all are happy with what you've been doing and just want it to continue in a similar vein I think it's a solid choice for that with a little clearer official support than you generally get.

That said, I'd ask the players what they were into. Both the groups I ran through LMOP wanted to do something completely different with different characters when we got to the end of it (well both wanted to do something completely different "for a while" before coming back to it, but neither group ever came back to their Phandelver characters). If they do want to continue with their current characters they may well be happier going to a radically different location or even a different plane. It's better if they find the campaign they enjoy even with an awkward transition than that they have a smooth transition to a campaign they don't like.

Had the first of the groups actually got back to it my plan was for them to discover that the reason the spell forge worked and that the pool in the back of the cave had waves was that the mine was on a magical nexus of energies running from the Forgotten Realms through the cavern to a portal hidden under the waters of the wave generating pool going to the bottom of a sea in my homebrew world, which has relatively low magic saturation and thus receives a strong flow of energies from the "everything is magic all the time" world of the Forgotten Realms. An aboleth has made its lair in the dank dark Forgotten Realms sunken cave side, but goes through the portal to hunt. The party would find themselves stranded in the middle of a sea on the other side and "rescued" by pirates, who had been sent by the seer of the pirate island to pick up "some visitors". That was as far as I planned.
 

I like the Beyond Icespire (Sleeping Dragons Wake, etc) but that will only take you so far and you will have to improvise after that.

Dragon Heist is... a poor adventure as written, but a great toolbox to make a fun adventure if you use the Alexandrian Remix.

POTA, will require a bit of understanding from you, but is a good option.

Mad Mage is... I love Umdermountain, but MM is hard to run with the depth of story I want from the UM. It's not that the stories aren't there, it's just that you have to tease most of them out of the location entries. The listed quests are poorly detailed and do not do the potential stories justice. Plus ther w are some changes around poorly done and artificial constraints. The biggest one being the assistant (I forget her name) who's spirit keeps players from going to levels too hard for them. To me, that's a big mistake in adventure design.
 

Storm King's Thunder is the easiest to transition into - it's in the same general area, and even has directions on how to go from LMoP into the adventure. It technically only goes up to level 10 - 11, but you can easily have that go up to 15+ by having them visit all the giant settlements instead of just one (they have to get all 5 of the McGuffins instead of just one, or they're asked by their eventual allies to deal with all of them while they work out where the big bad has gone - which is the method I used). They'll just need less of the provided help in the climatic encounter.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Hey all,
Our party is about to finish The Lost Mines of Phandelver and wondering what to do next.
We're considering Dungeon of the Mad Mage, but wondered what other options experienced players recommend (it's the 1st campaign for most of us)
We're a 3 person party approaching L5 and keen to eventually get to L20, but don't necessarily feel the need to do that in a single campaign setting.
Advice? Thoughts? Warnings?
Any and all thoughts appreciated.
My suggestion? Why stop? Just keep playing and you, assuming the DM, just go with it. Draw up a bunch of maps for various things, or grab some from Dyson Logos (GREAT maps!), then when you have a half hour just start writing down ideas for stuff. Not "adventures", per se, but stuff that players might bite onto.

Maybe write your own "inspiration tables" or go pick up one of the numerous books/pdfs that others have done (the 3e/d20 "Toolbox" books are good, or the "D30 DM Companion" and "D30 Sandbox Companion" I find really fun).

When you have more time, try writing your own adventure modules, dungeons, ruined keeps, cave systems, etc. There is a TON of untapped potential in the Phandelver area...why rush off to some other area of the world for something completely unconnected to what the PC's (and Players) are used to?

But, if you are lacking time...I'd suggest hitting up the internet and looking for adventures written by unpaid professionals (re: us, the people playing the game for the last 7 years or whatever, you know, like you and me and a lot of the folks on these boards ;) ). Maybe check out DM's Guild for some adventures...they don't even have to be for 5e.

I'd go that route LONG before I pay $60 for a hardback "adventure path" that WotC has put out. The only "hardback" 5e adventures I'd recommend are the Goodman Games "Original Adventures Reincarnated". I just (2 days ago) got my #6:Temple of Elemental Evil Slipcase and I must say... GORGEOUS, as always. And if I was to run a 5e game with 5th level PC's all ready to go...I might very well choose to run this one. Every time I've ran it with 1e AD&D, it's been around 14 to 18 months well spent! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

delericho

Legend
We went to "Storm King's Thunder". The transition went really well.

Sadly, SKT isn't a very good adventure, though, so if you go that route I'd suggest your DM needs to be ready to jump away as soon as it starts to flag.
 

MerricB

Eternal Optimist
Here's my slightly older article about it:

Honestly, it depends what sort of experience you want. :) I think Storm King's Thunder is great afterwards, or Curse of Strahd, or Tomb of Annihilation...

Most of the adventures work well afterwards - starting them a little into their run to get past the low levels often improves them.

Cheers!
 

We should note, in terms of what published adventures are on the right level with minimal adjustments that several, including Storm King's Thunder and Curse of Strahd, have "starter area" beginning sections that are intentionally disconnected from the rest of the adventure so that they can be skipped if you are coming in from an existing campaign. Both of those are really campaigns for level 3 and up with an extra mini-adventure at the beginning for levels 1 and 2.

We're considering Dungeon of the Mad Mage, but wondered what other options experienced players recommend (it's the 1st campaign for most of us)

If you want an official 5e megadungeon, Mad Mage is the official 5e megadungeon. It is a particular type of gameplay not to everyone's tastes, and even for people whose tastes it is to it might not want a whole book worth of it, and this particular megadungeon has gotten mixed reviews. I'm not trying to discourage you, just know what you're getting into. Don't just pick it because it is one of the only 5e official campaign books that starts at level 5, pick it because you like the idea of a whole campaign delving the same ludicrous dungeon. It is definitely a change of pace from the "regional sandbox with light dungeoneering" feel of Lost Mines of Phandelver.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Dragon Heist is great fun. Just bump up the difficulty of the monsters to account for the higher starting level. It's a lot of roleplaying and dealing with factions and a bit of mystery.

Dragon Heist is the worst 5e production ever, it's a railroad fest where whatever you do in one vignette has absolutely no impact on the next vignette that is forced down your throat, and where you get outrageously manipulated by extremely high level NPCs without being able to do anything about it whatever you try. Moreover, you end up using 25% of what you pay for as there are four plots using exactly the same locations in another order, as if anyone would like to replay this again...

After that, depending on your group's preferences, you might end up somewhere in the middle between these two advices, but honestly, out of all 5e campaigns, official and homebrew, that we have played since 5e came out it was by far the very worst.

Apart from this, as mentioned, a lot of published adventures can be started at level 5, in particular STK, but it's certainly doable with BGDiA and ToA, and these will provide much, much better play value than WDH. Just be careful that these are way more sandboxy style, in particular a specific section of STK, and this might need to be managed with your groups.
 

Burnside

Space Jam Confirmed
My recommendations would depend on what your players enjoy.

Regarding some of the adventures others have suggested.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T RUN

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist - I am running this now and can't wait for it to end. In my opinion this is among the worst - possibly the worst - official 5E adventure. It's an unfinished product. Chapter 2 in particular is a nightmare for new DMs. For an encore, it covers exactly the same levels (1-5) as Lost Mine of Phandelver, so if you plan to continue with your 5th level characters you'd need to re-work everything. Honestly, you'd have to re-work everything anyway because it's really bad.

Storm King's Thunder - I know this looks good on paper. There is an obvious on-ramp at level 5. It's in the same general region as Lost Mine. But that's where the virtues end. You're already level 5 so you'll mercifully skip the irrelevant levels 1-5 prologue part. Your adventure will begin in a city on the Sword Coast. As a pointless gimmick, in the first session your players will play NPCs assigned to them instead of their own characters as they defend a city from giants. You might think this is smart because then your players will develop an attachment to either these NPCs or the city they are defending. Nope! Your players talk to the NPCs once and then leave the city forever. Then for the next two levels of play you are given 50 pages of thumbnail descriptions of the Sword Coast and told to make up your own adventures (this is not the sort of thing I buy a $50 hardcover for). Finally, around level 7, the adventure (billed as covering levels 1-10) starts. From that point forward it's...okay. Except that the adventure does everything possible to conceal its pointlessly complicated plot from the players - in fact, they may finish it without really understanding what happened.

WHAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO RUN

Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage - If your group really likes dungeons and combat, look no further. It even starts at level 5. To flesh it out and add some much-needed depth and connectivity, grab Wyatt Trull's Dungeon of the Mad Mage Companion from DMsGuild: https://www.dmsguild.com/product/311108/DotMM-Companion-Complete-Edition

Dragon of Icespire Peak - But only if you really want more of the same. It's more Phandalin, more quests (even simpler than Lost Mine). Covers levels 1-6 so again you'd have to re-work a lot of encounters for higher levels, or just skip to the level 5&6 stuff. The free follow-up adventures on DNDBeyond are a mixed bag. Storm Lord's Wrath is pretty great - in some ways better than Dragon of Icespire Peak - but the following two are quite bad.

Curse of Strahd - Still the strongest 5E adventure and actually a great second adventure to run. It's considerably more complicated than Lost Mine but still WAY simpler and limited in scope than most of the other 5E hardcovers. But not the right choice if your group isn't story-focused. Starting this at level 5 is fine, just don't use Death House.
 

Hiya!

Maybe write your own "inspiration tables" or go pick up one of the numerous books/pdfs that others have done (the 3e/d20 "Toolbox" books are good, or the "D30 DM Companion" and "D30 Sandbox Companion" I find really fun).
Wouldn’t even need to go that far. The 5e DMG has tables for generating random adventure ideas, and an appendix for generating entire random dungeons. I used the appendix to create the starting adventure for my campaign and it worked out really well. After determining the original layout, purpose of the structure and the rooms in it, you dungeon-fy it and figure out what has happened since. It took care of a massive amount of the work in a satisfying manner, and I still got something that felt like I had created it after I interpreted everything and added the specific elements I wanted to.

The 5e DMG doesn‘t have as large of a word count as most previous editions, but it is concise and very useful with those words.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
I tend to end LMoP with a quest hook for Princes of the Apocalypse. In PotA, 4 elemental prophetes are contacted by a mad drow wizard who forged 4 elemental weapons/key before the game starts. So I made the drow end boss of LMoP the student of said mad drow, and the magic item forge found in the mine being the one used to craft the elemental weapons.
 

overgeeked

B/X Known World
Dragon Heist is the worst 5e production ever, it's a railroad fest where whatever you do in one vignette has absolutely no impact on the next vignette that is forced down your throat, and where you get outrageously manipulated by extremely high level NPCs without being able to do anything about it whatever you try. Moreover, you end up using 25% of what you pay for as there are four plots using exactly the same locations in another order, as if anyone would like to replay this again...
Sounds like you had a terrible DM run it.
 

delericho

Legend
Storm King's Thunder - I know this looks good on paper. There is an obvious on-ramp at level 5. It's in the same general region as Lost Mine. But that's where the virtues end. You're already level 5 so you'll mercifully skip the irrelevant levels 1-5 prologue part. Your adventure will begin in a city on the Sword Coast. As a pointless gimmick, in the first session your players will play NPCs assigned to them instead of their own characters as they defend a city from giants. You might think this is smart because then your players will develop an attachment to either these NPCs or the city they are defending. Nope! Your players talk to the NPCs once and then leave the city forever. Then for the next two levels of play you are given 50 pages of thumbnail descriptions of the Sword Coast and told to make up your own adventures (this is not the sort of thing I buy a $50 hardcover for). Finally, around level 7, the adventure (billed as covering levels 1-10) starts. From that point forward it's...okay. Except that the adventure does everything possible to conceal its pointlessly complicated plot from the players - in fact, they may finish it without really understanding what happened.
Ouch. That's a fairly brutal assessment. And I can't fault it.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Sounds like you had a terrible DM run it.

No, not really, he's an old friend of mine who has run games for us for 30+ years. Admittedly, he did not spend a lot of time buffing the adventure, he ran it straight out of the book. But I read it afterwards, and I confirm it. It is a total railroad fest where you are led from vignette to vignette by powerful NPCs and events and where what you are doing has zero consequence on the next vignette. Encounters are from 1 to 10, and at the end of each you have a paragraph called "next encounter", with a trigger condition which reveals the location of the next encounter. It's not even a "choose your own path", there is only ONE path.

And I confirm that there are 4 paths, and that when you run the adventure, you only use one of them. Total waste.
 

Dragon Heist, as written, is a very poor adventure. But, as a resource for creating adventures its actually really good. I will say again, using the Alexandrian Remix, or doing your own remix, can turn DH into an excellent adventure.

Those of you who played it and enjoyed it, imo, enjoyed it because of the skills of your DM, not because of the quality of the adventure.
 

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