“Lost Mine of Phandelver,” most often referred to as “LMoP” is a classic staple of the Dungeons and Dragons world. It is considered to be “the” starting adventure for brand new DMs and even comes in the 5th Edition Starters Set.
This adventure is perfect for new DMs and players for the following reasons: it is simple to run and simple to play, it introduces The Forgotten Realms, it has a very clear goal with minimal distractions, it is a starting adventure not a full campaign.
New to DND and looking for some more resources to prepare for your first campaign? Save these resources from Halfling Hobbies for later!
Lost Mine of Phandelver is Simple
LMoP is considered the starting adventure because it is simple to run. It is broken up into four parts, each with clearly defined goals. They are:
LMoP Part 1: Goblin Arrows
While traveling to Phandalin to meet with an old friend, Grundren Rockseeker, the party discovers he has been taken by a goblin ambush. While attempting to save him, they discover he has been taken to “Cragmaw Castle.”
LMoP Part 2: Phandalin
The players arrive in Phandalin only to find it is overrun with a gang called the “Redbrands.” They are troublemakers who don’t like adventurers on their turf. They attempt to run the players out of town, but the players return the favor by storming their hideout below an old manor.
Players learn from the Redbrand leader that they are taking orders from a mysterious figured called “The Spider.” The spider wants the players out of the picture, but who could he/she be?
LMoP Part 3: The Spiders Web
Players need info on The Spider and they have a few options, allowing players to feel like they have a little control. All these options lead to “Cragmaw Castle.” When players go to Cragmaw Castle, they learn the identity of The Spider, meet the Goblin King Grol and find that Grunden Rockseeker is dead.
Here, players will also find Grunden Rockseeker’s map, which shows the location of the long lost Wave Echo Cave.
LMoP Part 4: Wave Echo Cave
The Spider is in Wave Echo Cave searching for the legendary Forge of Spells. The caves are overrun with undead monsters and the players will have to survive before they even get a chance to avenge their friend.
The adventure ends when the players defeat The Spider, clear the mines and restore Phandalin to order and prosperity.
Clear Goals, Minimal Distractions
As it is written, you won’t find any “side quests” in this adventure. It is as straightforward as you can get. Some would even accuse it of being “railroady” (a term which means players are forced in one direction, like a train on a track. This is usually despised by the dnd community).
However, I would argue that it is this very “railroad” nature that really helps players and DMs alike get their feet under them. Being dropped into the middle of a true “open world” can be very intimidating for those new to RPGs.
LMoP acts like a train that delivers new RPGers to the end goal of more open worlds. Is it a railroad? Absolutely. Is that a good thing in this case? Absolutely.
LMoP offers players and DMs clear cut goals and directions to follow while still providing a little bit of choice, enough to get your feet wet, if you will. It will not overwhelm new players with too many options and it won’t overwhelm the DM with multiple plot points to track like Curse of Strahd does. (Sorry, not sorry. Come at me. You know I’m right.)
If you need me to prove my point, check out this article I wrote where I break down all the villages of Barovia and tell me it isn’t complicated. Great story! But complicated.
LMoP does a fantastic job of offering an engaging story without being overwhelming or distracting from the story with too many side plots. For that reason alone, it is THE starting adventure for new DMs and players.
LMoP is an Adventure, NOT a Campaign
LMoP doesn’t pretend to be something that it is not. It is a starting adventure, not a full campaign. This adventure will take your party from level 1 to level 5 while a campaign will often go to levels 10, 15 or 20.
This means you can use LMoP to start nearly any other adventure, even a homebrew! It is a perfect introduction to Dungeons and Dragons for new players while not being a complete adventure.
You can think of LMoP like the tutorial of a video game. If you know the game well, you can skip it without any problem, but if you have never played before, it will teach you everything you need to know, then you still have the whole rest of the game to play!
I suggest deciding what adventure you want to play after LMoP before you start. This will allow you to drop in some hints for the next adventure while you play LMoP!
Looking for suggestions on what to play next? Here are a few of my all time favorites!
Introduction to The Forgotten Realms
LMoP also introduces new DMs and players to the world of The Forgotten Realms. This is the setting that most DND campaign modules use. It is a “sword and sorcery” setting, meaning it is high fantasy with magic and no modern technology.
If you are looking to run another pre-written DND adventure after LMoP, then this perfectly sets the stage for you! Your players will already be in The Forgotten Realms and have ties in it. If you want to change settings, there are ways to do that without starting an entirely new game.
Because so many pre-written adventures are set in The Forgotten Realms, having an easy entry point with just enough information to understand the setting, but not so much as to overwhelm is perfect. And that is exactly what LMoP does.
LMoP is a classic for good reason. It does its job of welcoming DMs and players to an incredible world and amazing setting while teaching them the ropes and giving them an excellent story. It is hard to imagine a better place to start for brand new DND initiates.
Which it why it is THE starting adventure for Dungeons and Dragons.
Until next time,
May your game have advantage, my friends!