To create an epic D&D Adventure, be it a one-shot, campaign or side quest, you will need the following resources:
- The Plot clearly outlined
- Monsters and Monster Stats
- Maps and Minatures
- Handouts and Art (optional, but awesome)
If you are new to DMing and aren’t sure where to begin, simply follow the steps outlined below and use the recommended resources and you will be planning adventures like a veteran in no time! If you are a long-time DM looking for some new resources, you are going to love this!
*Throughout this article, I will reference my Patreon and give you some free examples of the work I do. If you like what you see, consider joining! But whether you do or don’t, consider the quests found on this page as free for you to use! *
I hope they give your game advantage, my friends!
Plotting an Epic Adventure
The first step of creating an epic adventure is to think through the plot. There are some debates on how much a DM should plan ahead, but I am a firm believer that truly great adventures are always planned, but open enough to allow for players to change the final outcome.
When deciding how much of your plot to plan, remember the following:
- Having a plot is NOT the same as “railroading.” Players will still have lots of options, even if there are set events that you plan to have occur.
- There are times when you might have to let go of the direction you thought the plot would go because players change it so radically. And that is OK!
- In my experience, players most often are happy to follow the DM’s plot prompts because they want to know the story! So don’t be too afraid of your players “ignoring” you.
- Everyone loves a good story! Your players will thank you for taking the time to plan, I promise!
- Do what works for you. Do you stress about details? Then write them out! Do you think of the best things under pressure? Allow for improv! In the end, it is about doing what works best for you!
Outline Your Plot on Canva
To keep myself on track with the story and quickly reference where I am going, I like to completely outline my adventure using “Acts” and “Scenes” like a play. It is the way my brain works and I recommend giving it a try!
I created this template on Canva, a free online graphic design platform, which you are welcome to use!
I fill out each part of the quest, add some graphics and print it for my DM binder! (if you don’t use a DM binder, I would really suggest giving it a try! Check mine out below for ideas!)
Each of the adventures in my binder follows this setup and you can see a couple of examples below:
Both of these quests were created using the template above! I find it to be a quick and easy method to organize my thoughts. Give it a try! If you need a step-by-step walk-through on how to use the template on Canva, check out my video!
Where to Find Ideas
If you are short on ideas for adventures, there are lots of free resources to get your creative juices flowing! Just a quick google search will give you lots of lists, in fact, I wrote an article myself!
Use articles like these to jump-start your creativity and help you create adventures for your own unique world or simply use them as-is for quick prep!
Remember, when it comes to DMing, good DMs borrow, but great DMs steal!-Halfling Hannah
Here is a list of other articles to check out for some really great ideas!
- Nerdarchy- D&D Side Quest Ideas
- Bocco’s Blessed Blog- 101 D&D Quest Ideas
- Mystic Waffle- D&D Quest Ideas
- Fantasy Plot Generator- Write My Plot
YouTube is another great place to come up with ideas for adventures! You can check out my channel and some of my favorites below!
- Halfling Hobbies- Side Quest Playlist
- The Bottlecap Brigade- 115 Fun D&D Plot Hooks
- CritCrab- 5 More Quest Ideas for your D&D Campaign
If you are in a pinch and need some completed side quests right away, Patreon is an excellent place to find them! You can directly support creators, often times have input on what they create, and get some really cool resources!
If you like what I do, consider joining my Patreon, but there are lots of others out there too! Like these amazing people making DND resources!
Monsters and Monster Stats for Epic Adventures
Monsters from Offical Sources
If you are still having a difficult time coming up with a plot, then start with the monster!
Often times simply knowing what you want your players to fight in the end will give you lots of ideas on how to get them to that point. That is what I did with the “Cat’s Quest” adventure. I started with the lore of the Boneclaw and asked myself, “Who wanted to become a lich and failed?” and that gave me everything I needed for the plot!
For more on how this process works, check out this video!
Finding monsters is easy, D&D makes loads of monster-focused resources! If you don’t have any of the books listed below, I would highly recommend them. Consider buying them from the links below to support a local game store and Halfling Hobbies!
Creating Your Own Monsters
If you are looking to create a monster that is truly your own for your adventure, then D&D 5e Statblock Generator is the perfect resource for you!
It is free and includes all the stats for D&D monsters! This means you can get the stats for any monster you need, tweak them to fit your world, or create new ones! Below are some examples of monsters I have created for my Patreon quests! The best part is, the stat blocks look just like official content!! Cool huh?
NPCs for your Epic Adventures
The next step is to fill in your adventure with interesting and engaging NPCs! Create NPCs for the following parts of your adventure:
- Anyone who might be involved with the plot
- Anyone who might hold clues the players will need
- Figures from the player’s backgrounds and pasts
- Shop keepers, tavern owners, and/or merchants
I like to create NPC sheets using Canva as well. Feel free to use my template!
NPCs for RPGs
If you like the template above and need NPCs that will fit into any campaign to keep on hand, check out NPCs for RPGs! I created this series of eBooks for my own games and I found that having tons of interesting NPCs on hand for any occasion took a LOT of stress off my mind while DMing.
Whether you need random quest starters, merchants and tavern keeps, or even crime bosses and minions, NPCs for RPCs is ready to give your game advantage!
NPC for Hire- App
If you prefer to keep and share your NPCs digitally then NPC for Hire is the perfect app for you! It includes beautiful art, the ability to upload your own art, randomly generate NPCs, and the option to edit existing NPCs or make new ones!
You can even share NPCs with your players to eliminate having to spell out their name 15xs….(I’m not bitter) and don’t worry about your evil plans of befriending the players only to sacrifice them to the chaos god being revealed. There is a section for DM notes that only you can see!
I did a complete breakdown of this app and some of my other favorites in my article on 10 Incredible Apps DMs Need. Check it out or watch the video below!
Maps and Miniatures for Epic Adventures
Alright! You’ve got your plot, your monsters and your NPCs. Now it is time for maps and miniatures! Let’s start with free maps!
He also has lots of map packs you can purchase, which I would HIGHLY recommend doing!
2 Minute Tabletop also has tokens, map assets and lots of other DND supplements! Be sure to check them out!
If you need cheap and beautiful miniatures for your adventure, you need to check out Printable Heroes.
There are lots of free resources on the website you can download and print. If you want access to options and loads of cool features, make sure to support the creator on Patreon!
Want to know how they work? Check out my video on the process!
Handouts and Art
Handouts and custom art are completely optional, but they do add something special to any adventure! I love making physical handouts for my players on Canva (yes, Canva is my best friend!) and printing them out. You can see a few examples from resources I created for Patreon below!
When it comes to custom art, I love to use Fiverr! Two of my favorite artists are listed below, along with examples of what they have created for me! I highly recommend them both!
- 10$ for flat colors.
- 20$ full shaded.
- 30$ full shaded and background!
- Additional Characters are +5$ 🙂
|Package||$10 Basic SKETCH||$25 Standard LINE ART||$45 Premium COLORS|
|Just a clean sketch of your character||Clean Linework of your project with a wash of solid color||clean linework plus flat color without shades|
Now that you have everything you need, get started creating some truly epic adventures!
I sincerely hope this gives your game advantage, my friends!