Dungeons & Dragons: Every Fifth Edition Adventure Module Ranked

With Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves on the horizon, fans of the popular role-playing game have a lot of new adventures to look forward to. The adventures of D&D's Fifth Edition (5e) have been some of the strongest ever, and each seems to be better than the last.

From gothic horror, to classic dragon quests, 5e's adventure modules offer fans a variety of exciting stories to explore. Though they all have merits of their own, some modules were better than others and will go down in history as some of the best of the best.

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16 Strixhaven: A Curriculum Of Chaos (2021)

Dungeons & Dragons Strixhaven Curriculum of Chaos

Importing elements from the world of Magic: The Gathering, Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos hoped to blend the two fantastical realms together. Players can go back to school in the module, and it centers on the Strixhaven colleges and adventures for each year of study.

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Social standing is important in the module, and the game imports new mechanics to facilitate the extracurricular activities at the school. Though it varies wildly from the usual modules, Strixhaven was a unique change of pace.

15 Princes Of The Apocalypse (2015)

A winged being orders people into action from Princes of the Apocalypse

The world is once again threatened in Princes of the Apocalypse, and a cadre of powerful adventurers must band together to stop its destruction. When the Elder Elemental Eye calls forth four corrupted prophets to serve it, a daring group must journey to defeat the twisted cultists before they can enact their plans.

Though exciting in scale, the repetitive nature of the module turned some players off. While it is a tough module to Dungeon Master because of its massive scope, it can still be quite exciting and rewarding when played through with a strong adventure party.

14 The Wild Beyond The Witchlight (2021)

Wild Beyond The Witchlight Dungeons & Dragons Carnival Hosts

Longtime D&D fans had a lot to look forward to with the release of The Wild Beyond The Witchlight, and it was their first full adventure set exclusively in Feywild. Adventurers have the opportunity to explore the Feywild and lose themselves in the wonder and whimsy of the strange realm.

The module was celebrated for adding some of the best new playable races in D&D 5e, and many fans saw it as a template for great home-brew adventures. However, the base plot left a lot to be desired and some players felt that an opportunity was missed when journeying into Feywild.

13 Dragon Of Icespire Peak (2019)

An adventurer squares off with a dragon from Dragon of Icespire Peak

The D&D Essentials Kit included everything that a new player would need, and it also included its own module called Dragon of Icespire Peak. Loose on plot, the module sends the party on various small quests as they level up to eventually take on the titular dragon.

Though not one of the most recognizable dragons in D&D, the module's Big Bad is nevertheless a fun challenge for new players. As a sandbox module, Dragon of Icespire Peak allows burgeoning adventurers to hone their skills and has plenty of tips for new Dungeon Masters.

12 Tales Of The Yawning Portal (2017)

A man leans over a pile of books from DnD

Because D&D has been around for so long, there are plenty of classic adventures that players wish they could embark on. Tales of the Yawning Portal hoped to rectify that and featured several classic modules updated for 5e.

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Similar to an anthology story, the quests within the book are stand-alone stories and can be played in any order. They offer a variety of different modules that span as far back as the 1970s, and also offer a range of challenge levels for each type of player experience.

11 Rime Of The Frostmaiden (2020)

Icewind Dale Rime of the Frostmaiden Cover

Set in the same world as R.A. Salvatore's novels, Rime of the Frostmaiden has all of the familiar accouterments of a classic D&D module. The lesser deity known as Auril has returned and must be stopped before it can plunge Icewind Dale into eternal winter.

With two entry points to the story, the module offers players a chance to level up or jump right into the main plot. With plenty of challenges to tame, the module has a natural incline from more simplistic threats all the way up to the final battle with Auril.

10 Out Of The Abyss (2015)

A giant demon roars from Out of the Abyss

While some modules are loose with their plotting, Out of the Abyss has a very strong through line that carries throughout. After being captured by Drow Elves, the adventure party must escape the Underdark but discover that a host of powerful demons have been unleashed.

Though narrow in its plotting, some players felt that the book relied too heavily on the Dungeon Master's improv skills to carry the tale. Despite this, when executed properly, the module was filled with challenge and intrigue that exemplified a great D&D adventure.

9 Waterdeep: Dragon Heist/Dungeon Of The Mad Mage (2018)

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist cover

As a two part story, the Waterdeep saga was meant to take the players to levels that hadn't been reached before in a 5e module. Dragon Heist introduces the party to Volothamp who sends them on a treasure hunt through the city. While in Dungeon of the Mad Mage, the party explores the levels of the Undermountain to find the mad wizard Halastar Blackcloak.

The epic nature of the two-part storyline featured a gradual increase in challenge, and was an overall rewarding experience for players. Featuring all of the familiar fantasy tropes of D&D, the modules had tremendous variety that put the power in the Dungeon Master's hands to serve up an exciting tale.

8 Storm King's Thunder (2016)

The Storm King stands in front of lighting from DnD

Eschewing the usual fallbacks for most adventure modules, Storm King's Thunder instead opted for all action all the time. When the Storm King is suddenly absent from the Forgotten Realms, giants are then free to lay waste to the land of the small folk.

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Starting the players right in the action was a refreshing change of pace, and the module allows for adventurers to learn about the world on the go, as opposed to overly long exposition. The story was brilliantly laid out in chapters, and the entire tale plays out strongly from start to finish.

7 Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus (2019)

Dungeons & Dragons Descent into Avernus Cover

Getting much darker than the usual fantasy fare, Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus had players literally going to hell. When the city of Baldur's Gate begins to succumb to demonic influences, the party must enter the first level of hell and do battle with a powerful devil.

The module introduces the complicated factions of hell, and gives players something new to learn about. Though very familiar in its adventure structure, the actual content of the module is what made it one of the best of that year's releases.

6 Ghosts Of Saltmarsh (2019)

Dungeons & Dragons Ghost of Saltmarsh Cover

Anthology rereleases had be done before, but Ghosts of Saltmarsh had a clever way to tie them together. Containing classic adventures from the '80s through to the 2000s, the book could be played as a singular story or in pieces like typical anthology.

The module introduces ship-to-ship combat, and when played altogether it serves as a single seafaring voyage. The update did an excellent job of bringing the old modules in line with 5e rules, and the individual stories could be used to spice up any home-brew campaign.

5 Tyranny Of Dragons: Horde Of The Dragon Queen/Rise Of Tiamat (2014)

A swarm of dragons growl from DnD

Though the lands of D&D feature many mystical creatures, quests involving dragons have always been the bread and butter of the RPG. Tyranny of Dragons is a two part tales that first sees the adventure party attempt to stop a cult from resurrecting a powerful dragon. In the second part, they must hunt and destroy Tiamat after the legendary dragon has been revived.

Tiamat is one of the most powerful dragons in D&D, and the entire two-part series does an excellent job of building up the terrifying foe. Though some thought it was too travel intensive, the modules have an overwhelming sense of urgency that adds real weight to the storyline.

4 Tomb Of Annihilation (2017)

A skeleton warrior snarls in front of a giant skull from DnD

Proving that simplicity is sometimes best, Tomb of Annihilation plays like the classic modules of previous editions of the game. A death curse has been placed on all who have ever been revived from the dead, and the adventure party must journey to the center of the jungles of Chult to lift the curse.

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The principal objective is to save a person who afflicted with the cures, and so time is of the essence. The story is laid out in a very straightforward manner, but it allows for a lot of creativity from the Dungeon Master. In a world filled with complicated stories and lore, Tomb of Annihilation is a great module for novice adventurers.

3 Lost Mine Of Phandelver (2014)

Adventures attack a dragon from DnD

Creating a module for absolute beginners isn't an easy task, and the complicated world of D&D can quickly become overwhelming. After the long-lost Wave Echo Cave has been rediscovered, a band of adventurers is dispatched to find it.

Helping to introduce the base concepts of the game, as well as its most famous setting, the Lost Mine module isn't just for new players. Its simplicity also makes it a perfect tale for an on-the-go D&D game, and it's easy to play around with for Dungeron Masters who want to hone their craft.

2 Candlekeep Mysteries (2021)

Candlekeep Mysteries Cover

Heralded for its variety, Candlekeep Mysteries featured a host of different writers who each brought their own spin. The module contains many one-shot tales that can be integrated into an adventure to add spice and intrigue.

Though each tale starts at the titular Candlekeep library, they take players all around the realm and each have important conclusions beyond simple XP and gold payouts. While the entire book was well received, certain one-offs like The Scrivener's Tale received particular attention.

1 Curse Of Strahd (2016)

Curse of Strahd dungeons and dragons

Mimicking the vibe of some of the best gothic monster movies of all time, Curse of Strahd showed that D&D had teeth. Mysteriously summoned to the realm of Barovia, the party must journey to the Castle Ravenloft to dispose of the evil vampire Strahd, who rules over the land.

Integrating the tarokka deck, the Dungeon Master has the chance to truly randomize the events of the journey and add new monsters. Though horrible creatures have always been a part of D&DCurse of Strahd was one of the darkest and most spooky modules of all time.

NEXT: 10 Most Overpowered Subclasses In D&D 5e

2022-08-14T02:39:17.000Z

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