Imagine a world where dragons soar through the skies, mystical creatures roam ancient forests, and heroes embark on epic quests to vanquish evil and claim their destinies. This world exists within the realm of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a captivating tabletop role-playing game that has captured the hearts and minds of adventurers for decades. At its core, D&D is a shared experience, where players gather around a table, dice in hand, to collectively craft a narrative. The best Dungeons and Dragons campaigns encourage collaboration, communication, and imagination, fostering an immersive experience like no other. With each roll of the dice, players shape the outcome of their adventures, forging alliances, solving puzzles, and engaging in thrilling battles that can leave you breathless with anticipation.
D&D, and other interactive games like it, could actually be a conduit for how people learn social skills. One study believes that games mimic real-world behavior and may be one avenue in which children learn and practice cultural norms. They can also prepare people for conflict and cooperation in real life and even keep groups together.
Such norms could even promote a healthy love-life between you and your partner. Researchers at Baylor University found that couples who engage in collaborative art projects or play board games together release oxytocin, which scientists call the “hugging hormone,” in higher levels. Interestingly, the researchers also found that men who paint release even greater amount of the hormone out all the groups and couples they studied. Sounds like embarking on games can do more than just make for a fun night at home.
Ready to start your adventure? StudyFinds set out to do the research for you, visiting 10 expert websites to put together this list of the best Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. If you’ve got your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!
The List: Best Dungeons and Dragons Campaigns, According to Experts
This campaign is set in the Gothic horror realm of Barovia, where players must face the ancient vampire Strahd von Zarovich. It is a dark and atmospheric adventure with challenging encounters and a compelling storyline.
“It is rare to find a Ravenloft campaign that is accessible to all players, as Ravenloft is not the most forgiving of realms. Strahd von Zarovich, a powerful vampire, was the first realm-lord of Ravenloft. The players find themselves victims of the Mists, and visitors to Barovia – Strahd’s domain. They soon find themselves working for the Vistani gypsy, Madam Eva. The campaign is for characters of 1st level, and they will typically be around the 10th when it is finished,” says Game Rant.
The stakes are high in this one: “All-powerful and, as Gothic tropes dictate, utterly bonkers, this adventure sees you banding together to take down the bloodthirsty despot. This is not your typical high-fantasy adventure. In Curse of Strahd, the villain has already won, the economy doesn’t exist and you odds of beating him are slim,” adds Dice Breaker.
Simply put by The Gamer, “Any die-hard fan of Dungeons & Dragons will tell you Curse of Strahd is the best 5e module. Spanning levels one to 11, this module is a masterpiece.”
In this campaign, players journey through the treacherous jungles of Chult to uncover the mysteries of the death curse. They must navigate dangerous traps, battle deadly monsters, and ultimately confront the lich Acererak in his legendary tomb.
CBR says it’s worth the fight, “Although designed to be challenging, vicious, and sometimes frustrating, this premade campaign rewards players who stick to it. While hexcrawling can be slow and dangerous, Tomb of Annihilation has some of the best-designed dungeons ever seen in the game, providing tense adventures and immensely satisfying victories for those who stick it out.”
The bestiary will keep you guessing: “The creatures (aside from the undead) are alien enough to most adventures that they should regularly encounter new things, and some pretty cool stuff like unicorn bunnies, zombie T-Rexes, and killer jungle plants,” writes Arcane Eye.
“Tomb of Annihilation might not be designed uniquely for new players, but it’s definitely a good pick for those who want to experience many different elements of Dungeons and Dragons all packed into a great storyline. Players will have to use their wit as they’re faced with a wide variety of challenges throughout the adventure. The campaign also presents a lot of exploration opportunities to players as they venture through the jungle,” explains My Larp World.
This epic adventure involves giants wreaking havoc across the land. Players are tasked with investigating the cause of the giant uprising, facing off against enormous foes, and potentially even ascending to rulership themselves. “The finale is suitably epic against a Blue Dragon (because the giants can’t be real bad guys here) and I love that the players can become actual giants themselves for the fight,” says Game Night Blog.
“To top it off, Storm King’s Thunder offers an immensely detailed campaign book that provides a plethora of outcomes in which players are presented with different ways to complete a quest. With this approach, the campaign avoids railroading but remains detailed enough to be simple enough to run as a DM, whether they’re experienced or new to the franchise,” mentions Polygon.
“It plays like a huge sandbox, that stretches over the entire Sword Coast, and it felt like we could point to anywhere on the map and court adventure there. As a result, we sometimes missed a bit of immediate, driving motivation, but I certainly enjoyed defending various towns against unprecedented waves of giant attacks, using a mix of tactics and brute force,” adds Hipsters & Dragons.
Set in the bustling city of Waterdeep, this urban adventure revolves around the pursuit of a hidden treasure hoard. Players navigate political intrigue, interact with various factions, and contend with dangerous rivals in their quest to find the stolen wealth.
“With the meeting of some of the most famous Forgotten Realms characters of all time and a diverse roster of monsters – Gazers, Mindflayers, Drow, Rakshasa, this adventure has great potential for RP and some more in-depth insight into the lore,” adds Fandom Spot.
Small but mighty, “Waterdeep Dragon Heist, similarly to the Lost Mine of Phandelver, is a shortened campaign running characters from level 1 to level 5. This Adventure takes place entirely in the city of Waterdeep, one of D&D’s most recognizable locations. Wizards of the Coast calls Waterdeep ‘a sprawling melting pot held together by firm laws and swift justice’, which really holds true after reading the 256 page book devoted to fleshing the city out,” affirms Arcane Eye.
Thespians get ready, “Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is one of the best introductory campaigns for those who don’t fancy the high-fantasy and horror elements of Dungeons and Dragons, as the story is set in an urban environment. Additionally, the campaign puts emphasis on roleplaying rather than combat mechanics, making it a suitable pick for those who want more experience roleplaying,” comments My Larp World.
This campaign delves into the dark and twisted Underdark, where players find themselves trapped and must find a way to escape. They encounter demonic threats, forge alliances with strange creatures, and confront the madness that permeates the realm.
“A terrifying tale of survival horror, Out of the Abyss traps the players deep underground in a massive cave complex called the Underdark. Filled with unseen dangers around every corner, will the players survive to see the sun once more? As if the men, monsters and environment that all want to kill them weren’t enough, the Demon Lords have chosen here and now to wage war upon each other and anyone (including the players) who gets in their way,” adds Game Night Blog.
“Beginning the adventure as slaves in a Drow prison, fighting for their survival, players should immediately feel the creeping tension throughout this adventure. There are but a few opportunities for the PC’s to rest safely. And that, combined with the no-joke enemies in this module, might prove too taxing for your group,” says Fandom Spot.
Game Rant comments, “This adventure is epic in nature and features everybody’s favorite enemy: the drow. Some of the demons the players must thwart include Demogorgon and Zuggtmoy. This is an extremely challenging campaign but is also a fairly open adventure that is less linear than most.”
You might also be interested in:
- Game Rant
- Dice Breaker
- The Gamer
- Arcane Eye
- My Larp World
- Game Night Blog
- Hipsters & Dragons
- Fandom Spot
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.