The 25 Best DnD Campaigns for 5e | D&D Books (2024)

The 25 Best DnD Campaigns for 5e (Updated for October 2023)

October 17, 2023

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We break out of our picks for the top Dungeons & Dragon fifth edition campaigns published to date

It’s been over a decade since the launch of the fifth edition of DnD. During the time, there have been dozens of official DnD 5e books, including a number of campaigns from Wizards of the Coast and third-party publishers. These campaigns follow a complete story arc and take players through multiple character levels over multiple sessions (as opposed to single DnD one shot adventures). Yet with a growing variety of campaigns to choose from, it can often be daunting for new and even experienced Dungeon Masters to decide which ones are actually worth picking up.

To help sort out the true gems from the dragon droppings, we’ve put together this list of our picks for the top DnD campaigns published to date for 5e. For ease of reference, we’ve also included the year the book was published, the abbreviated spelling (which is often used online by fans) and our rationale for why we picked it.

But enough talk. Grab your dice and character sheets and prepare for some critical hits as we explore… the 25 best DnD 5e campaigns.

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25. Tyranny of Dragons

Published: January 2023

Why We Picked It: Collecting the two previously published books Hoard of the Dragon Queen and Rise of Tiamat into a single edition, Tyranny of Dragons is an epic DnD campaign that takes players from Levels 1 to 15. Set in the Forgotten Realms, the campaign focuses on the players stopping the dreaded Cult of the Dragon from releasing the evil dragon goddess Tiamat from her prison in the Nine Hells, visiting numerous locations throughout the Sword Coast and recruiting or battling key factions and NPCs along the way.

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24. Princes of the Apocalypse

Published: April 2015

Why We Picked It: Another epic DnD campaign set in the Forgotten Realms, Princes of the Apocalypse is designed to take characters from Levels 1 to 15. The adventure focuses on the players battling four evil elemental cults who have been unleashing a string of natural disasters throughout the land. The story largely takes place in the northern part of Faerûn and is inspired by the classic DnD module The Temple of Elemental Evil. The end result is a sprawling campaign with players taking on some of the most powerful beings in the planes of existence.

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23. Dragon of Icespire Peak

Published: September 2019

Why We Picked It: Included in the D&D Essentials Kit, this introductory campaign takes players from Levels 1 to 6, with players dealing with a vicious white dragon that’s been terrorizing the land. The campaign is fairly loosely constructed, with players able to explore freely in a largely sandbox environment located around the remote village of Icespire Peak in the northern reaches of the Sword Coast. It’s a solid DnD campaign that’s also a great introduction for new players.

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22. Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel

Published: July 2022

Why We Picked It: While technically this is an anthology of 13 individual adventures, it can actually be played as a complete DnD campaign taking players from Levels 1 to 14. The adventure centers on the mysterious Radiant Citadel, a sprawling city that connects a series of different planes of existence together. This includes worlds based on the mythologies and histories of Central America, Vietnam and even the American South. The end result is a campaign that’s perfect for players looking for a something a little more unusual than the standard DnD fair.

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21. Keys from the Golden Vault

Published: February 2023

Why We Picked It: While you can play any of the 13 adventures included in this book, they can also be run as a single cohesive campaign that takes players from Levels 1 to 11. The theme of the book is based around heists, with players working for The Golden Vault, a secretive organization dedicated to protecting the multiverse from the forces of darkness. It’s a solid campaign experience that offers a unique departure from traditional DnD adventures.

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20. Candlekeep Mysteries

Published: March 2021

Why We Picked It: While dungeon crawls and wilderness explorations are always entertaining, sometimes a good mystery is all you need to spice up your DnD campaign. Candlekeep Mysteries offers 17 unique adventures. And while, like other anthologies, they can be also be played as a single campaign that takes players from Levels 1 to 16. The action centers around the library of Candlekeep in the Forgotten Realms, with each adventure and mystery focused on a unique magical book.

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19. The Wild Beyond The Witchlight

Published: September 2021

Why We Picked It: Set in the magical fairy realm of the Feywild, this unique DnD campaign itself takes characters from Levels 1 to 8. The story takes place in the land of Prismeer, where characters are tasked with finding out why a dark presence has invaded the once peaceful realm. While the theme and tone might not be for everyone, the story itself is incredibly well told and brings a unique style to the DnD universe.

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18. Critical Role: Call of the Netherdeep

Published: March 2022

Why We Picked It: Set in the land of Exandria, the setting first popularized in Critical Role podcast, this unique DnD campaign takes players from Levels 3 to 12. Players find themselves battling an ancient evil while exploring a large part of the continent of Wildemount and the dark underwater realm known as the Netherdeep. It’s an incredibly fun and fast paced campaign that showcases much of why the world of Critical Role has become such a massive hit among gamers.

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17. Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage

Published: November 2018

Why We Chose It: If you’re looking for an incredible campaign that puts the “dungeon” in Dungeons & Dragons, then this book has you covered. The campaign takes players from Levels 5 to 20 and takes place beneath the streets of the city of Waterdeep in the infamous mega dungeon known as Undermountain. Each level of this massive dungeon offers its own challenges, NPCs and factions, along with traps, puzzles and monsters. The end result is one of the most epic dungeon crawls of all time.

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16. Tales from the Yawning Portal

Published: April 2017

Why We Chose It: This unique anthology features seven of the greatest DnD adventures ever created in past editions of the game, including classics like The Tomb of Horrors and The Sunless Citadel – all of which are updated for the 5e rules. And while you can play these adventures individually, you can also link them together in a complete campaign story arc, with the action kicking off in the infamous Yawning Portal tavern in the Forgotten Realms.

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15. Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Published: May 2019

Why We Chose It: Like Tales from the Yawning Portal, this book offers a fifth edition take on some of the most beloved DnD adventures of all time. Set in the world of Greyhawk, the nautical-themed adventures can be played individually or run as an epic campaign that takes players from Levels 1 to 11. The story kicks off in the seaside town ofSaltmarsh, with players taking to the high seas to face monsters, pirates, underwater cities and ancient magical artifacts. It’s a solid campaign for players looking to get away from traditional land-based DnD campaigns.

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14. Ruins of the Grendleroot

Published: December 2019

Why We Chose It: Created by legendary game designer Mike Shea (who is best known for the Sly Flourish website and his excellent book Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master) this unique campaign is designed to take players from Levels 1 to 5 as they explore a series of ten sprawling dungeons located beneath the dreaded Blackclaw Mountain. Combining the best of combat, exploration and roleplaying, it’s a complete campaign that offers something for players and DMs of all experience levels and play styles. In short, it’s a masterpiece of TTRPG campaign design.

Get it on DriveThruRPG

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13. Rise of the Drow

Published: February 2019

Why We Chose It: Published by Adventure A Week Games after a massive Kickstarter that generated over $200K in backing, this incredible Underdark-inspired campaign for DnD 5e takes players from Levels 1-15 (with additional options to get all the way to Level 20). As the name suggests, the adventure is all about the devious dark elves, starting out in the drow city of Rybalka and leading to the shadowy heart of the Underdark itself. With brilliant storytelling, incredible art and a massive amount of game material to draw on, it’s proof that third-party publishers can create truly epic DnD 5e campaign books.

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12. Storm King’s Thunder

Published: September 2016

Why We Picked It: Set in the Sword Coast region of the Forgotten Realms, this classic campaign takes players from Levels 1-10. The story kicks off after Annam All-Father, the legendary god of the giants, goes missing, with the remaining giant clans fighting to fill the power vaccum and trampling the Realms in the process. It’s up the players to figure out what happened and turn the tide of the colossal armies ravaging the land. It’s a fast and fun paced series of modular adventures that also features new magic items, monsters, NPCs and maps. Much of the material would also later inspire the sourcebook Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. The end result remains one of the biggest and best DnD 5e campaigns ever created.

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11. Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus

Published: September 2019

Why We Picked It: Set in the Forgotten Realms, this epic DnD 5e campaign takes players from level 1 to 13. The story starts off in the city of Baldur’s Gate as it’s assaulted by waves of demonic forces. To turn back the infernal tide, players must venture into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. It’s a fiery realm ruled over by the fallen angel Zariel where great armies of devils and demons battle in an endless conflict known as the Blood War. Players have two objectives: stop Zariel from carrying out her plan to enslave the Realsm, and try to reclaim the lost city of Elturel, which has been dragged into the pits of Hell. While the first part of the campaign can be a little punishing to new players, it’s still surprisingly flexible and offers a ton of unique elements, including new demonic monsters, terrifying locales and powerful magical items.

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10. Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden

Published: September 2020

Why We Picked It: Set in the Forgotten Realms in the remote, frozen wilds of Icewind Dale (a region first popularized in the Legend of Drizzt books), this unique DnD 5e campaign is designed to take players from Level 1 to 12. The story centers on a never ending winter that’s been cast over the land by the ice goddess Auril. It’s up the players to break the curse, while also exploring the region, taking on a variety of side quests and encountering the many unique NPCs and monsters that inhabit the region. The resulting adventure offers an icy all-you-can-play buffet of combat, mystery, roleplaying and exploration that’s definitely worth picking up.

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9. Dragonlance: Shadow of the Dragon Queen

Published: December 2022

Why We Picked It: This unique campaign marks the first time that the popular Dragonlance setting has appeared in DnD 5e. The series of adventures take players from Levels 1 to 11 and finds them caught up in the devastating War of the Lance (a brutal conflict chronicled in the the popular series of Dragonlance books). Players soon find themselves facing down legions of Draconian soldiers in an effort to thwart the machinations of the evil dragon goddess Takhisis. Combining visceral military combat with classic dungeon crawling and exploration, the end result is an epic rebirth of one of DnD’s most beloved settings and a a solid campaign that’s definitely worth playing through at least once.

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8. Odyssey of the Dragonlords

Published: December 2022

Why We Picked It: Created by a team of video game designers who created titles such as Baldur’s Gate, Dragon Age, and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, this epic DnD campaign for 5e is set in Thylea, a world inspired by Greek mythology. The campaign itself takes players from Levels 1 to 15 and includes a ton of background material, lore, optional rules and monsters. It’s a literal epic that stands out from official Wizards of the Coast thanks to its inspired storytelling, incredible artwork and immersive world.

Get it from Modiphius Entertainment

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7. Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk

Published: September 2023

Why We Picked It: A remake of the popular The Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure, this new Phandelver campaign is designed to take players from Levels 1 to 12 and combines a classic D&D story arc with a touch of horror. The story also explores the strange Black Obelisks that have appeared in other D&D campaigns, and introduces a number of new magic items and monsters. Originally included in the DnD Starter Set from 2014, The Lost Mine of Phandelver is not only a solid introduction for new players, but is also an absolute classic that’s quickly become a fan favorite.

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6. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

Published: September 2018

Why We Picked It: Set in the legendary city of Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms, this urban campaign takes players from Levels 1-5 on a quest to recover a mysterious magical artifact that can help identify a hoard of ill-gotten gold. Along the way players will face down some of Waterdeep’s most iconic factions, NPCs and monsters. One of the most interesting (and often debated) aspects of the campaign is that it features multiple story options that take place during different seasons in the City of Splendors and each of which features a different villain. That being said the popular “Alexandrian Remix” combines all of the seasons and villains into one epic campaign. Whatever option you choose though, Dragon Heist remains the crown jewel of action-packed DnD urban adventures.

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5. Call from the Deep

Published:June 2019

Why We Picked It:While Wizards of the Coast is practically synonymous with with Dungeons & Dragons, the fact is that there are a number of amazing third-party publishers that have released incredible DnD 5e campaigns over the years. Case in point: Call from the Deep, an epic, sprawling series of adventures from award-winning game creator JVC Parry that’s designed to take characters from Level 1-12. Set in the Forgotten Realms, with the action focused in and around the Sword Coast, the story combines high seas action, urban intrigue and a touch of horror. The end result is easily one of the best DnD 5e campaigns ever created and a classic example of the power of third-party publishers.

Get it on DMsGuild

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4. Dungeons of Drakkenheim

Published:June 2019

Why We Picked It:Created by popular YouTubers Monty Martin and Kelly McLaughlin (better known as the Dungeon Dudes) this unique DnD campaign blasted Kickstarter records, getting funded in 5 minutes and generating over $1.2 million dollars in backer support. The complete campaign takes players from Level 1 to 13 and is set in Drakkenheim, a grim dark city which has been destroyed by cataclysm, and is now haunted by rival factions and deadly monsters. It’s an incredibly detailed and original campaign that offers plenty of action for players looking for a darker DnD experience.

Get it on Ghostfire Gaming

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3. Curse of Strahd

Published: March 2016

Why We Picked It: Based on the original Ravenloft AD&D module published back in 1983, this resurrected DnD 5e campaign takes players from Levels 1 to 10. The story takes place in the realm of Barovia, one of the Domains of Dread ruled over by the vampire Count Strahd von Zarovich. Players will have to do everything in their power to escape Barovia, while battling undead monstrosities and terrifying creatures, before a final showdown with Strahd himself. While the Gothic vibes might not be for everyone, Curse of Strahd is still easily of the best DnD 5e campaigns ever created, serving up a bloodspattered blend of horror, action, roleplaying and exploration.

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2. Out of the Abyss

Published: September 2015

Why We Picked It: Set in the Underdark of the Forgotten Realms, a vast subterranean world popularized in the Legend of Drizzt books, this massive DnD 5e campaign is designed to take characters from Levels 1 to 15. The story kicks off with players captured by dark elves and forced deeper into the shadowy depths as they uncover a larger more deadly threat to all of the Realms. Players will have to figure out a way to escape, eventually encountering the other races, monsters, factions and NPCs that inhabit the strange nocturnal world. It’s an incredibly unique campaign that really does offer something for everyone, featuring visceral combat, sprawling exploration and a ton of roleplaying. The end result is one of the greatest campaigns in DnD history.

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1. Tomb of Annihilation

Published: September 2017

Why We Picked It: Inspired by the legendary 1975 adventure module Tomb of Horrors, this amazing DnD 5e campaign is easily one of the greatest RPG experiences of all time. Set in the Forgotten Realms in the remote jungles of the continent of Chult, the campaign players from Levels 1 to 11 and focuses on a quest to find and stop a deadly magical curse. Along the way players will take on deadly monsters, mysterious ruins, and yes, zombie dinosaurs. It’s an incredible campaign that stands the test of time and is something every DnD 5e player should experience at least once. In short, it’s an absolute critical hit.

Get it on Amazon

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Ollie Delano is a Staff Writer who lives in Chicago, Illinois where he majored in Journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s been playing Dungeons & Dragons for over 10 years and currently plays in a weekly game group where he rolls way too many natural 1s and chugs way too much Mountain Dew. His favorite D&D campaign setting is Eberron and his favorite character to play was a Tiefling rogue named Draxiss who enjoys both literal and figurative backstabbing.

*We are a member of the Amazon and DMsGuild affiliate programs, which allows us to earn a small commission off any sales from their websites at no additional cost to you the consumer.

The 25 Best DnD Campaigns for 5e | D&D Books (2024)
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