8 min read

Campaign ideas for your next D&D adventure

Feature image for Campaign ideas for your next D&D adventure

Adventuring can be hard and so can coming up with an idea for your RPG campaign, so let me share with you some ideas that I have had that you can use! Whether that be a typical D&D adventure or something more niche, these should be a great springboard for you to get those creative juices flowing.

Welcome to a realm where dragons soar the skies, magic crackles in the air, and heroes rise from the humblest of origins to face incredible challenges. Dungeons and Dragons (DND) has long been a gateway to boundless creativity, allowing players to craft unforgettable stories within fantastical worlds.

We present a treasury of 10 captivating D&D campaign ideas, each teeming with intrigue, peril, and the promise of epic deeds. Whether you're a seasoned dungeon master seeking fresh inspiration or a newcomer eager to dive into the realm of tabletop roleplaying, these diverse concepts are sure to spark your imagination and set your adventurers on thrilling quests across realms both familiar and fantastical.

Underdark Escape

Set in the traditional Forgotten Realms with a twist, the entire campaign takes place deep in the earth far below the world above. A treacherous landscape of caverns, filled to the brim with aberrations, monsters, and the Drow of Menzoberranzan. Taking place entirely in the Underdark, the party begins with each PC backstory hooking them into being captured by either the Drow or Mindflayers (thank you Baldur’s Gate 3). Working their way up towards the surface, navigating through the Labyrinth of the Underdark, having to find allies along the Hanging City of Dolblunde, until at last making it to the surface where the sun shines.

This style of campaign would be best within the level ranges of 3-12. Other adventure paths already exist that heavily feature the Underdark, such as Out of the Abyss which begins at level 1! With some proper twists and turns of the narrative, you could even set up some roadblocks that force the party to go deeper, into the Lower Dark where even those who call the Underdark home dare to tread for a higher level adventure.

Legendkeeper would be an invaluable tool for facilitating this Underdark Escape campaign by providing a comprehensive platform to map out the intricate labyrinth of the Underdark, track the party's progress as they navigate treacherous terrain, and manage the myriad NPCs and factions encountered along the way.

The Twelve Trials of the Gods

Taking a step away from the Forgotten Realms, we venture to the Plane of Theros. A fantasy setting very much inspired by Greek mythology with all the love that D&D 5e writers can give.

The campaign is all about each player character being a divinely favored champion or child of a respective God of Theros. The Gods of Theros are fickle and their desires come off very mortal at times. With Heliod recently slain, it is now up to the entire Pantheon to find new champions. The gods commit their children/chosen to a contest: Go through twelve trials, each based on a respective God of Theros, and return as true heroes. Maybe even tease a plot twist that along the way Phenax (God of Deception) has his hands all over this trial and is attempting to thwart them, the true BBEG behind all the plights that the party members have experienced along the way.

Some examples of the trials could be retrieving one of the undead Returned who have escaped from the Underworld back to Erebos. Another trial might be a trial of strength set up by the God of Strength, Iroas who has a tournament set up for those most worthy to enter in to prove their might. A trial for Nylea, the Goddess of the Hunt might be to find a sickly animal in her wilds that she needs to be tended to, a journey to find some precious herbs to cure it.

No matter the trial you may have in store, it’s sure to get the creative juices of your players going as they try to earn favor (or misfortune!) with the fickle Gods of Theros.

Airships, the Sky is the Limit

The sky is the limit when you have a campaign in Eberron, the awe-inspiring steampunk/aetherpunk/magicpunk setting that Wizards of the Coast DnD 5e features. An airship campaign has all the high-flying fun and adventure that a naval or pirate campaign might have, but with all the benefits of that added verticality and extra high fantasy to push it over the top. With the technological advancements of Eberron, magical items can be given that proper magic-tech flair. Your group of adventurers can take to the skies, exploring new lands, and the setting can bring a breath of fresh air into your world-building as a GM.

Gameplay aboard an airship can feature anything from ship-to-ship combat to survival as your players stock up on supplies and much more. With the modern flair of Eberron, you also have a bit more creative freedom when you need to take inspiration from modern fiction. You could even run an airship campaign as a One Piece-inspired series as you travel from place to place trying to gather fame and fortune to the ultimate treasure. One of the things truly at the heart of the setting that Keith Baker created, is a perfect campaign for swashbuckling and noir in a war-torn world.

Hunting Monsters

When it comes down to source material, we can expand further beyond the main line settings for 5th edition. With a little bit of homebrew, we can even create a storyline within the Planes of Magic the Gathering. The best plane for a Monster Hunter-inspired campaign: Ikoria. A world filled with kaiju that threaten the holdouts of whatever is left of mortal holdouts. The people have become militaristic and ingenious in their pursuit to claim dominion over the world. This has been contested highly and now humanity is on the back foot as monsters are beginning to mutate and evolve quicker than they can.

Which means there is a great need for monster hunting. Perhaps the party’s origins are all rooted in the same town that is destroyed by a bunch of giant beasts and now revenge is on the menu? In a setting like this, it also lends itself well to druids, due to the Bonders of Ikoria who form special connections with beasts, connecting to them on a spiritual and magical level. A monster-hunting campaign lends itself well to a heavy wilderness focus and a bounty system, which Legendkeeper can help with to keep track of what monsters are wondering about and what needs taken care of.

An Ancient Civilization Rises

Ever wanted to run a one-shot that could develop into a proper campaign? This may be the campaign for you! Start by giving your players pre-generated low-level character sheets for some delving adventurers who are exploring ancient ruins of the Netheril, a forgotten empire featuring lots of powerful wizards and powerful artifacts. The nation’s hubris led to their downfall and these pre-generated characters are there to recover some of the ancient relics, returning for a big payout. What they find is much worse - accidentally unsealing ancient constructs housing the souls of one of the Netheril cities’ former residents. These powerful mages now re-awoken are going to begin terrorizing the world. You could leave off this one-shot with the party surviving by fleeing, dying to prevent their escape, or leave off a cliffhanger and come back to them later once the campaign begins in earnest.

The Impossible Heist

A classic among tropes for video games, movies, and even some board games and other TTRPG’s utilize the heist as a plot device to carry a narrative. It’s even shown off in the Dungeons and Dragons movie with the main characters coming up with a lot of creative uses of their powers to steal some treasure. A good heist is started by breaking it down into bite-size chunks so you can properly prepare it for your players. What is the prize? Where is the location? What does the security look like? What are any targets? What are our escape plans? What’s the payoff? How should we prepare for this? With a good outline, you can really let your players shine and come up with a lot of fun encounters.

Imagine trying to steal some precious gems and jewels from the courts of the fey. Perhaps you are tasked by a necromancer to steal the phylactery from a lich’s crypts? Your imagination is the only limit when you have a lot of other heist material out there to create a formula with for the perfect heist campaign.

Battle of the Bards

A campaign for a more laid-back group where the group begins as a bunch of bards (multiclassing more should be more than welcome!) as they begin to go on tour. From getting to know your groupies, and engaging with managers, to playing like rockstars at whatever tavern that might let them sing. Of course, such a group is bound to get in a lot of trouble as bards are infamous for getting into shenanigans. When it comes to this style of campaign, focus on building out engaging side quests that may help their future performances. With their rise to stardom, they’ll pick up some colorful rivals who are also aiming for the best band of Faerun.

Class is in Session

Strixhaven opened the door for a lot of us who yearned for a Hogwarts style campaign and the book does a good job of getting us invested into the setting through the AP it offers. A campaign set in Strixhaven will have lots of B-plots, side quests that can help bolster your character’s grades and performance while at school. A setting like this can also be a great way to introduce younger players to the TTRPG genre as it has a very light tone and is good at being relatable.

For your Strixhaven campaign, I recommend running it like a mystery-style campaign. Strange ongoings have been occurring at the school. Missing students, students sneaking out late of their class at night, sudden decline in top performers’ grades while underperformers suddenly are acing the tests, the faculty staff have been acting very strange lately, and the mascots for the Strixhaven teams have all gone missing!

Big Bad Beginnings

Ever wondered what the BBEG or backstory villains were doing before they encountered the party of players? What if you decided to run a campaign dedicated to fleshing out the BBEG and backstory villains with your players? It can add a lot of missing depth to the villains of your setting and that doesn’t require that you even play an evil campaign. Sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Imagine what the story would look like by the end of it knowing the full picture. Whether it’s before the sequel which features the party who has to deal with these BBEG’s or whether it’s a prequel to establish all the trials they went through together before they decided villainy was their destiny.

Prophecies and Calamities

Write up a bunch of prophecies. Make them vague and open-ended. One of those prophecies has just come true, signaling that the others will too. All these prophecies are intertwined, leading to an eventual doom that is on the horizon. It’s up to the players to decipher these prophecies (or come up with better answers than you had!). The great deal about prophecies is that they’re interchangeable and often the more vague they are, the better you can pivot to ensure that they still come true.

Scar Across the Skies

A giant colorful rift has formed in the skies above, another world appears like a reflection of your own far above. Two realities are now connected and reality has been flipped on its head. In this chaotic campaign, the party will deal with what comes across as a giant rift as the world tries to deal with the repercussions of this peculiar catastrophe. This inverted world on the other side can be used for all sorts of inverted tropes of whatever plane or setting it might take place in. If the rift isn’t shut then the two worlds will collide. Only one may stand or both could be doomed by their proximity. Climb aboard your airships, be ferried by angels, devils, or any number of nations as they try to send you over to close the scar before it swallows your reality whole.

Written by Spencer Holmes

Join 3,000+ worldbuilders getting practical tips

The LegendKeeper worldbuilding newsletter provides creative deep dives, RPG content, inspiration, and occasional product updates.

Unsubscribe anytime. Your email will be guarded with unbreakable wards.
Read our privacy policy.