Top 5 Dungeons & Dragons Modules For New DMs

DnD can be a daunting hobby to get into, thankfully Wizards of the Coast has you covered with these easy to pick up and play adventure modules.

Getting into Dungeons & Dragons can be a daunting undertaking for the uninitiated. Mountains of books, hundreds of monsters, and countless pitfalls that newbie dungeon masters can quickly encounter. However, there is an easy introduction to this beautiful world of fantasy, adventure modules. These pre-built campaigns act as both an introduction to the world of DnD and as a tutorial for dungeon masters who may have trouble coming up with their own story.

However, some modules are more complex, both from a narrative and mechanical standpoint; with that in mind, let me go into a small list of the best modules for new DMs. While reading, keep in mind that these modules are listed in the order of ease of play for new DMs, not necessarily their overall popularity.

1. Water Deep: Dragon Heist

This module takes players into the titular city of Waterdeep, the jewel of the Sword Coast. A massive cache of gold, called Dragons by the people of Waterdeep, is up for grabs within the medieval metropolis. With such a lucrative boon up for grabs, the dungeon master is given a host of villainous, lore rich figures from the Forgotten Realms to choose for the game's antagonist. This adventure will take your players from the first through the fifth level.

Compared to most other modules, it is more roleplay and investigation focused. The plot can be somewhat complicated, but with a good read-through (which will be pretty quick and easy due to the game's short length), even novice DMs can get a handle on it.

WD Dragon Heist Cover
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2. Ghosts of Saltmarsh

The Ghosts of Saltmarsh takes place in the small town named, as you may have guessed, Saltmarsh. It has a strong focus on exploration, sea travel, monster hunting, and city politics. A coastal themed campaign setting and adventure module, this book brings your players up to the twelfth level with a small series of adventures that all interconnect in the locale and its surrounding waters.

The campaign book has some great mechanics to run sea travel and ship play; specifically, it has a great hex map and a treasure trove of random tables that the DM can use to make fantastic encounters. It's a substantial addition to any DMs library. Still, it works exceptionally well as a learning tool for new DMs looking to learn how to make an open world, sandbox adventures.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh Cover Image
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3. Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

The most recent installment from Wizards of the Coast, Rime of the Frostmaiden, brings your players to the far north's icy reaches. A fallen god, deviously evil wizards, and an entombed ancient city, this frost covered module is filled to the brim with some fantastical story elements. This story is long, all the way to the twelfth level, but amazingly rich and incredibly engaging. But beyond the compelling content, the real seller for me is the efficient layout of the book.

Each chapter has a simple and effective structure for their quests, compartmentalizing your characters' play area into easy to play bites. It starts with the main towns, each having a single quest, which brings your characters to the fourth level. Afterward, they go beyond the towns' reaches to the surrounding wilderness and three to four more levels. This process follows into a more linear campaign at level seven, leading directly into the final chapters.

This effective system makes running the campaign DM friendly. Each section of the adventure is easily manageable and contained while still being interconnected.

Rime of the Frostmaiden Banner
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4. The Curse of Strahd

Considered by many, and rightfully so, to be the best module written for the 5th edition regarding narrative, Curse of Strahd is an epic tale to behold. Drawing players into the mystical realm of Ravenloft, your intrepid group will face gothic-drenched danger and blood-soaked intrigue around every corner. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, gargoyles, and a cursed, broken family line make for one of the most compelling narratives and locations in all the Forgotten Realms.

This module has a strong focus on horror and hardship and is not for the faint of heart. This is all great for the players; as for the DM, the tight narrative combined with the enclosed and controlled location makes for a relatively easy DMing experience. Ravenloft is a small location with a good number of points of interest, all of which are relevant to Strahd's tale and Ravenloft's history. Reading through the book is a breeze, and telling the story is both exciting and enjoyable. Overall an excellent experience for new DMs and players, albeit a possibly traumatizing one.

COS Key Art
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5. Lost Mines of Phandelver

The Lost Mines of Phandelver is an adventure in the Essential Kit released at the beginning of the 5th edition. It is considered one of the best-published adventures in 5e as well as the easiest to run. Being written for the functional starter kit of 5e, Wizards wrote this short adventure as an introduction to the hobby; with new players and DMs in mind, it was designed to be as simple as it is enjoyable.

It's a classic and fun-filled tale for new and experienced players from adventuring in goblin filled mines to dark necromancers and spider-filled caverns. All centered around the town of Phandalin, your party will grow as local heroes as they discover the town's dark secrets and confront its powerful adversaries. Overall, it is a great, small scale story that is easy to pick up and play. If you've never run a single session of DnD before, you can buy the Essentials Kit with literally nothing else and get started.

Essentials Kit Cover Art
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Samuel completed his Bachelor of Film and Media Arts from University of Utah and has more than 5 years of experience in high quality content production

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