With the free release of the 5e Basic Rules, I'm looking for an adventure to introduce myself and my group to 5e (in the spirit of this question): we want to try the system before deciding if we'll invest resources in the edition.

  • The adventure should be useable out of the box with only free Basic Rules publications. For example, I don't want to rely on Playtest content.
  • The adventure should be free. Like I said, the point is to discover whether we want to dedicate our group's resources to 5e.
  • It should showcase the strengths of 5e. Ideally it's a pitch for "why to play 5e" in adventure form, but at the very least it should be designed with 5e in mind. It's hard for me to imagine that a simple hack/update of a previous edition's adventure would be useful for selling my group on 5e.
  • I'd prefer an official WotC publication, but third-party/homebrew adventures are fine--though answers suggesting non-WotC adventures will, I hope, provide some idea about their production quality in addition to how well they fit the above points.
  • Starting at level 1 seems ideal, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

Some additional info about my group which might influence your recommendations: I expect between two and four experienced players in a face-to-face setting. We can dedicate perhaps three or four sessions of four or five hours each to the adventure.

As always, please remember that RPG recommendation questions have stricter-than-usual expectations about justifying why a particular recommendation is appropriate.


3 Answers 3


There are not really any official free adventures yet. EN world had a contest, sponsored by WoTC for short adventures for the D&D Next Playtest rules. You can get the adventures here (there are 8 of them) While I have not played them, the winner of the contest, "Mind Blast" has gotten some good reviews. Another award winning module is the Wizard's Amulet by Froggod Games.

However, in 2015 WoTC plans on revealing plans for 3rd party support and many are speculating a type of marketplace for user content. Presumably you will be able to get free adventures from that system. The stated reason for this being opened up only in 2015 is so that people have a few months of playing the game before they start making content.

Ofcourse, there will be lots of people playing games on roll20 or G+ with the purchased modules, and there are broadcasts of the Starter Set being played by WoTC employees.

Two more free 5e adventures were announced today, July 6th but their quality is untested.

  • \$\begingroup\$ There's also this that might be worth mentioning, in the vein of "nothing official, but here are some non-WotC releases". \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4, 2014 at 7:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Is it a good module, and does it use the new basic rules or is playtest rules? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Jul 4, 2014 at 10:59

Based on precedent, I'm going to say.. probably not. Wizards makes a lot of their money off of additional sourcebooks when a new edition comes out and even more money from adventure paths that players essentially use because they don't have the time to plan their own adventures.

However! That does not disqualify you from adapting modules from any other roleplaying system into D&D Next narrative-wise. If you already own a module from 3.5E, Pathfinder, or 4E, you can easily take the narrative from that version, pull stat blocks from the current playtest version of D&D Next, and run with it.

One of the key identifying features of 5.0 that I've heard is the keying of the advantage / disadvantage system, in which if you are in an advantageous position when making a roll you roll 2d20 and take the higher of the two results, and if you're in a disadvantageous position you do the same but take the lower of the two results.

This mechanic makes it more difficult to succeed when someone else has the upper hand, (and possibly fatal) and less likely to fail if you have the advantage. I don't think any modules currently listed for 3.5e or Pathfinder take this kind of extreme rule into account, so coming up with something homebrew after reading through the rules would probably be the best course of action until Wizards puts something out.

The above rule makes the +2/-2 Houserule in 3.5 look vastly inferior by comparison. It would be nigh impossible to fail in an advantageous situation and very difficult to succeed in a disadvantageous one. Take this into consideration when determining if you're going to use the new version.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, but I'm looking for something that I can run out of the box with the Basic Rules. Even if I had all the playtest info and wanted to hack it into another edition's module, that rather defeats the purpose of learning what this edition is about. \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jul 6, 2014 at 5:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I take it that you don't want to play through "The Sunless Citadel" one more time, I understand. I think the more important thing when determining whether or not a new edition of D&D Is worth its salt isn't what its about, but rather how it flows and how the game feels. \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Jul 6, 2014 at 5:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've added some information about one of the changes I've read about that could affect the running of a 3.5 or older module. ( Keep away from Spheres of Annihilation using new rules ) \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Jul 6, 2014 at 5:53

The adventure should be useable out of the box with only free Basic Rules publications. For example, I don't want to rely on Playtest content.

Right now your options are limited until they release a bestiary with the Basic D&D PDF. Various companies will release a variety of adventures but they are in the same boat of not having the final 5e Bestiary. But your best bet to evaluate 5e is to buy the Starter set. It will set you back $20 ($13 if you buy it on Amazon) It is the only thing out there that will meet your other criteria except for being free.

The Wizard Amulet product from Frog God Games and the Enworld free adventures are only free products that come close to meeting your criteria at this point of time. But reading them over they don't showcase D&D 5e in the way the Starter Set does. So for now you have a choice between free and sort of 5e or $13 and you get the full experience as Wizards intended.

What you can do with 5e right now is use it run city adventures where the primary antagonists are other characters.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Classic edition adventures." You mean that a person with no prior experience in 5e could easily run games in it using modules designed for AD&D, like those published by TSR, with only the Basic Rules for guidance? \$\endgroup\$
    – BESW
    Jul 5, 2014 at 20:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ When they flesh out the Basic Rules with a Bestiary. Right now it just character generation. \$\endgroup\$
    – RS Conley
    Jul 5, 2014 at 22:45
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Backgrounds and personality are a significant change to the system that should be reflected in modules. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMNoob
    Jul 6, 2014 at 4:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ They now have a bestiary in the DM's Basic Rules. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adeptus
    Nov 17, 2014 at 4:46

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