The basic structure of a D&D Adventure comes down to these elements:
- The DM describes the environment.
- The players describe what they want to do.
- The DM narrates the results of their actions.
More often than not, the DM uses a map or some kind of physical setting to track how the party is moving and what the options are.
Recently there are Virtual Tabletops (VTTs) that serve the same function online. I’ve done both and there are pro’s an con’s to each.
A VTT allows me to play with friends and my brothers who don’t live close by. It does involve a bit of set up, and you have to coordinate a way to talk (we use Discord).
I’ve tried Fantasy Grounds, Roll20 and Foundry VTT. I personally think Foundry is the best. It’s the most modern and I was able to integrate sounds, maps and cool visuals to my campaign.
Some Specific D&D Adventures
We’ve gone ahead and written about some famous and popular official adventures:
As if that wasn’t enough, our talented team has created their own adventures that you can find in our Adventures section for free!
With that out of the way let’s talk about the elements of Adventuring
Time in Dungeons and Dragons is kept by the DM. Typically it’s relative to what the party is doing.
In a dungeon or in the wilderness while the players are exploring, you might keep time on the scale of minutes passing.
Traveling in a large city or overland through forests that are uneventful, you might use hours.
Long journeys would be days. Finally, Combat as we learned before, is done in rounds which are 6 second increments.
Movement is another variable decided by the DM. Here’s the Players Handbook on the topic:
The DM can summarize the adventurers’ movement without calculating exact distances or travel times: “You travel through the forest and find the dungeon entrance late in the evening of the third day.” Even in a dungeon, particularly a large dungeon or a cave network, the DM can summarize movement between encounters: “After killing the guardian at the entrance to the ancient dwarven stronghold, you consult your map, which leads you through miles of echoing corridors to a chasm bridged by a narrow stone arch.” – Players Handbook
So while some instances you’d want to be specific, you can generally keep the pace of the story going without getting bogged down by meticulous movement tracking.
Rest is a critical aspect of D&D 5th edition. This is broken down to Short and Long Rest.
A short rest is a period of downtime, at least 1 hour long, during which a character does nothing more strenuous than eating, drinking, reading, and tending to wounds. – Players Handbook
An hour of resting will get you one or more Hit Dice of healing, which is a huge benefit. Your Hit Dice are based on your class and you get 1 per level.
A level 3 Fighter has 3 d10 Hit Dice. 3 from his level, d10 from the chart above.
So on a short rest, he can spend up to 3 d10 of Hit Dice on healing.
Once you’ve spent any hit dice, you need a long rest to get them back.
It’s also important to know that some skills and abilities refresh on a short rest, while others require a long rest.
A long rest is a period of extended downtime, at least 8 hours long, during which a character sleeps for at least 6 hours and performs no more than 2 hours of light activity, such as reading, talking, eating, or standing watch. If the rest is interrupted by a period of strenuous activity – at least 1 hour of walking, fighting, casting spells, or similar adventuring activity – the characters must begin the rest again to gain any benefit from it. – Players Handbook
After a long rest you will have full hit points, and recover half of your hit dice if you spent any on short rests.
You can only long rest once in a 24 hour period.
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Rich is an avid D&D player and DM. He has been playing since the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st and 2nd editions. He has run campaigns of various editions with family and friends for over 20 years. Playing DnD 5th Edition in person at local game stores and online with VTT’s over the past 10 years has provided a consistent connection to how the game has grown. He strongly believes in understanding the source material, but catering the games to your individual players. Feel free to ask anything in the comments or drop him an email: [email protected].