Role-playing Games Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for gamemasters and players of tabletop, paper-and-pencil role-playing games. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am very new to Dungeons and Dragons 4e. I recently picked all the necessary books and surprisingly low priced pound of dice from eBay. I have also coaxed my friends into giving it a shot while I attempt to better my skills before jumping into D&D encounters at a local game shop here in Arizona.

What do you think would be the best adventure to start out with?

Homebrew? Keep on the Shadowfell? Please let me know what you think.

share|improve this question
Are you new to table top? Or just dnd 4e. – corsiKa Jun 6 '11 at 2:28
Which books did you pick up? There are many unique sets of "necessary" What RPGs have your friends played? Also, welcome to the site. :) – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jun 6 '11 at 2:38
@TotalFrickin: I am not new to tabletop but my friends are. And I originally started with D&D 3.5 so 4e is kinda new to me. – Curtis Miller Jun 6 '11 at 3:57
@Brian: Thanks! DM guide, PHB I & II, Monster Manual. My friends have never played any other types of table top games. – Curtis Miller Jun 6 '11 at 3:58
@Curtis Miller Just an aside, D&D Encounters are a great place to learn 4E. Granted, Encounters are more combat heavy, but it definitely helps you learn the rules regarding combat and skills challenges. This is where my fiancee learned to play 4E and she was doing just fine after 2 or 3 sessions. And while there are problems with Keep on the Shadowfell as it was released with the original 4E Core books there is a lot to learn from it too. It has its faults (like being very overpowered at times) but it shines in other design aspects too. It's free on the WOTC site, so I'd at least download it! – Sorcerer Blob Jun 6 '11 at 13:58
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Given the following assumptions:

  • You have engaged in RPing before
  • You want to learn combat
  • Your friends have also RPed
  • You own a copy of the DMG

My recommendation is to not actually start out with an adventure. It sounds like your primary intent here is to learn the combat system. In the back of the DMG, there are descriptions of how to build a random dungeon and how to build random encounters. If you and four of your friends can create an adventuring party, you may learn the combat system (in quite an entertaining way, I must say, having done so myself) through a random dungeon and random encounters in said dungeon. Someone may choose to control the monsters every round, and it's worthwhile to have the duty of controlling them rotate around the people who are willing: that way everyone can start modelling in their head how monsters think and operate.

Once you've gotten a handle on the monsters and combat, then is the time to run adventures. My recommendation would be to use the chaos scar adventures and encounters from DDI, as they represent much later adventure design and this design will be similiar to that run in D&D Encounters at a game shop. Once you've run through those, test your skills with a fourthcore run of the "FourthCore Weekly Grind" which can teach you really important lessons about manipulating and using your environment that can be quite applicable in an Encounters game.

share|improve this answer
My pleasure. I also suggest group character creation, I've had some success with the method detailed in the last paragraph in this answer… – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jun 6 '11 at 4:39
If they're new to role-playing, I'd suggest starting them off with D&D Essentials characters, before moving to the complexity of PH1 and especially PH2 characters. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Jun 6 '11 at 5:27
@Curtis Miller I would echo Brian's assessment of starting off with Essentials characters, they have more of a "classic" feel to them, think 3.5ish, which is what the game designers were going for. Great for beginners to start with (and a lot of fun for those more experienced too!) As for quick little dungeons, check out 5 room dungeons, which you can find with a simple google search! Perfect for what Brian suggested! – Sorcerer Blob Jun 6 '11 at 13:52
@Curtis Miller Also, I find that it is a lot harder to "break" Essentials characters than it is 4E Core characters. With the right selection of powers, even with errata, the Core characters can be loophole-exploiting-power-gods fairly easily (even more so if you have a DDI subscription and the Character Builder!) Essentials doesn't have as much material (or errata) so it's quite a bit harder to "break" them unless you allow Core material into your game. – Sorcerer Blob Jun 6 '11 at 14:02
@Curtis Miller If you like the 5 room dungeons then I'd suggest graduating at some point to Dungeon Delve (…) at some point if you have the money to spend. It's a great read at the very least for dungeon design and as it is newer it makes use of some of the errata'd combat, trap, and skill designs. And it goes from levels 1-30 with suggestions on how to turn the delves into full-fledged modules. They also would be really easy to stick into an ongoing campaign as well. – Sorcerer Blob Jun 6 '11 at 21:31

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.