Best campaigns to run in Dungeons & Dragons (5th Edition)

Recommend these to your dungeon master.

Dungeons & Dragons campaigns are long, immersive stories that the dungeon master will lay out for the adventuring party to travel through. Each story is filled with a living world and creatures within that world to interact with. While it is fun on its own for your DM to make up their own campaign, that process can be taxing on them. There are plenty of already created campaigns available for your DM to draw from. Here are the very best campaigns for your D&D 5th edition party.

Curse of Strahd

Via Wizards of the Coast

Curse of Strahd is a callback to the Ravenloft adventure released initially by Wizards of the Coast in 1983 and was made with help by the authors of that original story. It is a dark tale that will challenge players and can carry them between levels one and ten. Players will travel through Barovia, a land ruled over by a vampire wizard named Strahd von Zarovich. Using the extra deck of tarroka cards, your DM can randomize critical parts of the campaign, including weapons found, allies, and more.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Via Wizards of the Coast

Ghosts of Saltmarsh is another look back at classic Dungeons & Dragons tales. If you run through each story, your characters can go from level one to 12 at the end. Saltmarsh is a settlement on the Azure Sea. Smugglers have taken control of the port, undead sailors plague the waters, and should things play out right, you will take on a Kraken in the depths. This campaign is heavily focused on maritime adventures, with even ship combat becoming a factor. There are not many stories based on ocean life, so having a whole campaign wholly concentrated on sea life and seeing the dangers of the deep is a welcomed change of pace.

Lost Mine of Phandelver

The Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign is an excellent starting story for players new to Dungeons & Dragons. While short (it will only take players from levels one to five), this introductory campaign does everything it needs to help get your player’s feet wet. Your players quickly land in a small town named Phandalin, where they can interact with its people before going on an adventure to journey through a long-abandoned mine. Things never get too complicated in this campaign and can help new players set expectations for what they should expect from playing D&D in the future.

Out of the Abyss

Via Wizards of the Coast

Out of the Abyss places players in the Underdark, a location that is described as a “twisted labyrinth where fear reigns.” In this area, a dark elf has opened a portal to the Abyss, a realm of demons. Now with the demons let loose in the Underdark, your players need to face off against demon lords and prevent them from destroying the world. This campaign will be long and not as systematic as other campaigns. It will take your characters from level one to 15.

Princes of the Apocalypse

Via Wizards of the Coast

In Princes of the Apocalypse, a cult lead by four prophets dedicated to the elements is wreaking havoc across the northern lands of Faerun. As they build temples and get powerful weapons linked to the Princes of Elemental Evil. You might have guessed from the title, but these powers could bring about the apocalypse if not kept in check. Like Out of the Abyss, this story also can take a party from level one to 15.

Storm King’s Thunder

Via Wizards of the Coast

Giants are rampaging across the land in Storm King’s Thunder. From destroying farmland to pushing townsfolk into uninhabitable locations, they need to be put in check. Taking place across levels one to 11, how will your party fight back against enemies who outsize you by so much? The answer lies in taking control of new treasures with rune-based powers and finding the storm giant King Hekaton, who usually keeps the giants at bay.

Tales from the Yawning Portal

Via Wizards of the Coast

Rather than one continuous story, this book contains seven popular adventures from Dungeons & Dragons’ past, all updated to adhere to 5th edition rules. Included stories are Tomb of Horrors, White Plume Mountains, Against the Giants, The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan, The Sunless Citadel, The Forge of Fury, and Dead in Thay. You can either craft a story connecting these together or use them as one-offs when you need a guaranteed quality story.

Tomb of Annihilation

Via Wizards of the Coast

Set in the land of Chult, Tomb of Annihilation focuses on a death curse plaguing the area. The curse kills anyone who has died previously, preventing them from ever coming back, meaning your party has a chance to meet their end for good. Designed to be played between levels one and 11, you will encounter a vast jungle in this campaign, with undead, cultists, and even dinosaurs lurking in its midst.

Waterdeep (Dragon Heist and Dungeon of the Mad Mage)

Via Wizards of the Coast

Technically, these are two different campaigns, but they run on the same line. First is the Dragon Heist from levels one to five, where you are on a treasure hunt within Waterdeep. Depending on what season your campaign is in, you will face different enemies.

Picking directly up from its predecessor, Dungeon of the Mad Mage is a classic dungeon crawl that will carry you from level five all the way to level 20. The Mad Mage has 23 levels to his dungeon, all filled with traps, monsters, and treasures. The journey will be long and dangerous. Can you make it to the end?