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I am planning to run an introductory campaign with the scenario Dragon of Icespire Peak, and I would like to estimate how long it will going to take. However, there is nowhere in the book written about the level range of this scenario, unless I have missed some phrases.

What is the level range of the Dragon of Icespire Peak campaign? (I'm specifically interested in the Dragon of Icespire Peak adventure, not any supplementary adventures outside the book.)

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Dragon of Icespire Peak goes from 1st level up to 7th level

In the "Leveling Up" section of the "Running the Adventure" chapter, it gives the following information:

Characters advance in level by completing quests, using the guidelines for leveling up in the rulebook. Regardless of the number of characters in the party, the rate of advancement is as follows:

  • Characters gain a level each time they complete a starting quest, until they reach 3rd level. Once they are 3rd level or higher, completing a starting quest has no effect on their level.
  • Characters gain a level each time they complete two follow-up quests.
  • Characters gain a level if they slay Cryovain the white dragon.

There are three starting quests as shown in the "Starting Quests" section, although as it says above, completing two of will see your party to 3rd level, so you may skip one (or they can do it anyway but without earning a level from it).

Then there are six follow-up quests as shown in the "Follow-Up Quests" section, two of which are required to gain another level, so that's an additional three levels from these, taking your party up to 6th level.

Finally, killing the dragon also gives you a level. Even though this may happen at any point, it's more likely that this will be one of the last things the party will do, if not the last thing they do (when they're at 6th level). Hence this will finally see your party reach 7th level by the adventure's conclusion.

This means that Dragon of Icespire Peak will have your party still active in this adventure at 6th level (hence some places I've seen it listed as 1st-6th level, but that must be referring to the levels actually in play, rather than the level you'll reach by the end).

However, the next in the Essentials Kit series, Storm Lord’s Wrath, starts at 7th level, so I assume the intention is for the party to continue onto that adventure after completing Dragon of Icespire Peak (even though there's no narrative connection between the two, as far as I'm aware).


I personally do not have any experience running this (yet), so I can only guess how long it might take, meaning how many 4-5 hour sessions it would take, but I would guess that the party would likely reach 2nd level within the first session, 3rd level within the second session (probably half way through), and then roughly a level every two sessions after that, for a total of about 10 or so sessions. However, I will restate that this is a guess based on glancing over the adventure, not from any experience actually running it myself.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I ran this with my kids. They took a completionist view and did all the quests and spent some time practising their RPing in town. In all it took two months with two to three sessions a week, with four to five hour sessions. I suppose without all the dawdling they did, it could have been done in half that (but might not have been as much fun). \$\endgroup\$ – user57505 Apr 30 '20 at 10:15
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The adventure as stated in the book is meant to take the characters from level 1-7 however I actually pitched that back a bit with my current party (my second time of running this). I am DMing for a brand new group of players and wanted them to really get a feel for each level rather then have it a whistle stop tour, I also intended for this to be an intro and then transition into my own campaign.

What I have found is that it very much depends on party size, some of the encounters become exponentially easier with a larger party. My current party is 6 players and we are using the PHB and other source materials for character creation as opposed to restricting it to the limited rules that come in the set.

Therefore my rule of thumb for this is, if your party is 3 players or less follow the guidlines as given, 4 or more players then start considering a slower progression rate, it allows every player time to really get to grips with there skills and how the game flows without a jump ever few sessions.

The way I am therefore running this with my current party of 6 is 1 level after the first basic quest, then another level once the remaining 2 quests are completed but I give them more in terms of magic items and loot to find and put a small magical and curiosities store in the town. I also sprinkled a bit more in terms of enemies/traps/encounters through the adventures.

From there I try and judge level increases based on how I feel the party is progressing and getting a handle on things but certainly level 3 by the time they have completed the 3 beginner quests and one follow up quest.

That leaves 5 follow up quests which I found a party of 6 managed very easily so I levelled them up to level 5 as opposed to the suggested 6 over these quests. That meant killing the dragon ended them on level 6.

But like I say this is largely because, even with the additional traps and trickery I added throughout the adventure, my party of 6 would have found it far to easy at a slightly higher level in part because they where so well balanced as a group (sorcerer, Artificer, paladin, rogue, cleric and barbarian)

In terms of time, each of the beginner quests took about a 4 hour session each, we possibly could have powered through and completed 2 in a go but the players where really finding there feet with the game and I didn't want to rush them through.

The medium quests, depending on the quest in particular each took about 6-7 hours to complete but that was with extra description, roleplaying elements in between in the town, and as mentioned minor additions to each quest.

Fnally the dragon battle I find is a single session but, I split it into 2, one session getting to the dragon lair, with encounters and story added in, then the actual fight itself

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