Lost Mine of Phandelver (2014): Greatest D&D Adventures Since 1985—Number 3

Lost Mine of Phandelver (2014) is fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure by Richard Baker and Chris Perkins for levels 1-5.

Adventures created to introduce new dungeon masters to D&D must be simple to run. Sunless Citadel offered DMs an easy recipe by sticking to the dungeon, but Lost Mine of Phandelver brings a more ambitious design and succeeds brilliantly. The adventure rates so highly because it allows players freedom to roam while offering enough structure and guidance to ensure that a new DM succeeds.

For new players, the adventure serves D&D’s expected and favorite ingredients. To longtime fans like Mike “Sly Florish” Shea, the elements may be familiar, but superb execution makes the adventure a winner. “Even years after its release, Phandelver remains one of the most popular D&D adventures for 5e and is my personal favorite.”

The adventure takes place in and around the town of Phandalin. This setting introduces more of D&D than a dungeon crawl can offer. Alex Lucard describes the scope. “There’s a mix of straightforward dungeon crawls, fetch quests and even sandbox-style mini-adventures, so DMs and players alike get a sampling of various adventure tropes. It’s very well done!”

Merric Blackman explains the design. “Phandelver has a directed storyline, where you’re investigating the kidnapping of a dwarf and the secret of the Lost Mine of Phandelver, and a sandbox feel where many of the characters you meet have their own goals and can send you on missions not directly related to the main quest. This isn’t a linear quest: after the initial encounter, you can choose which way to proceed through the storyline. There’s enough clues and direction so that you’ll rarely feel lost.”

The individual encounters invite more approaches than combat, so players get chances to win friends and outsmart foes.

“Phandelver is a great adventure full of opportunities for you to relax, play loose, and let the story evolve from the choices of the players and the actions of the characters,” writes Mike Shea.

“Overall I have to say Lost Mine of Phandelver is fantastic,” writes Alex Lucard. “Not only is it a great way to introduce new gamers to Dungeons & Dragons, but it’s a very solid campaign in its own right.”

Merric Blackman rates the module this way: “This is an extremely well-designed and well-written adventure. It’s fun to play and run, and offers a lot of scope to the players and DM to make it their own, while still being accessible to newcomers.”

Next: Number 2

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6 thoughts on “Lost Mine of Phandelver (2014): Greatest D&D Adventures Since 1985—Number 3

  1. Oniguma

    While LMoP is a great adventure for players, It’s not really a good Adventures for newbie DMs. I think that the original Redbox is unparalleled on this regard. It was a product that not only tought you the ropes about being a DM, it also enabled you to create your own content. Lost Mines on the other hand expanse little to no time and Paige space to teach a new DM how to conduct the game, which is a grave sin for an introductory module

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  3. "Jester" David

    This surprised me. I wouldn’t have rated Phandelver as one of the greatest adventures since 1985, and certainly not #3.
    It was “okay” at best.

    Like most of Rich Baker’s modules, it’s dungeon heavy with combat focused rooms. There’s few evocative or interesting dungeon chambers, and no traps or puzzles or moments that require lateral thinking or problem solving. The story is thin and you just kinda lurches from dungeon to dungeon.

  4. Jeff

    My group is currently playing LMoP and liking it. 4 of them are veteran rpg players that never played 5th and the 5th player is my 14 yrs old daughter who never played an rpg before. Its also my first adventure as a DM in 5th edition.

    Last sunday they cleared the Tresendar Manor and had much fun doing so. There arent many traps but there are some, at least in 2 encounters so far : 2 of them in the first few encounters and another 1-2 in the manor.

    Its clearly not the best module of all time. Yet i really like the way its built.

    This is a GREAT serie of articles. I’m currently trying to grab all of those adventure in either paper format or pdf if i just cant fork the cash for the paper version.


  5. misomiso82

    Honestly I hate this adventure. I can’t understand why it’s rated highly apart from everyone seems to play it.

    I don’t find the events follow on, it seems cobaled together, and there is no natural ‘flow’.

    Very disappointing and I would never run it for new players. Sungless Citadel is superiour in almost every single way.

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