Lost Mine of Phandelver — DnD 5e Starter Set Adventure Guide

Last Updated on January 22, 2023

Lost Mine of Phandelver is many new players’ first exposure to Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Over the course of this short adventure, player characters will battle goblins, bandits, and a dragon to uncover a hidden mine filled with treasure and (hopefully) thwart the machinations of an evil wizard bent on claiming its wonders for himself. 

Key Takeaways

  • Lost Mines of Phandelver is a 48-page adventure included in the D&D 5e Starter Set. 
  • The adventure takes place in the Forgotten Realms setting in and around a frontier mining town called Phandalin. 
  • Player Characters can be expected to advance from 1st to 3rd level over the course of this adventure as they encounter goblins, bugbears, a gang of bandits, a young green dragon, and an evil drow mage. 

What Is Lost Mine of Phandelver?

The 48-page adventure, which is included in the D&D 5e Starter Set Box (from 2014), takes the characters from levels 1-3 and is intended to serve as an introductory adventure for both new players and dungeon masters. It is available for free on DnDBeyond; grab the adventure and a copy of the Basic Rules, and you’re ready to start playing D&D right now. 

In comparison to other adventures and sourcebooks released for 5e, it’s much shorter and is intended to form the framework for a short campaign or adventure that can be completed in about 5-10 sessions.  

The adventure starts with a classic goblin ambush aimed at drawing the PCs into the events going on in the area and then faces them with the problem of a gang of bandits calling themselves the Redbrands who have taken over the town of Phandalin. After that, the PCs are set loose into the surrounding area, where they can have a series of smaller adventures that conclude with them storming a ruined castle full of goblins. 

Finally, all signs point toward the long-lost Dwarven/Gnomish mine called Wave Echo Cave, and the adventure sets the PCs on a collision course with its main antagonist, an evil Drow mage known as the Black Spider (or, for fans of The Adventure Zone, “Magic Brian”). 

LMoP — Adventure Overview and Contents 

The Lost Mine of Phandelver begins with a short introduction for the Dungeon Master — including advice on the role of the Dungeon Master, how to run the game fairly, and what all those damned initialisms mean

The introduction then concludes with a brief history of the region and events leading up to the start of the adventure followed by a summary of each of its key sections, a Hook (a reason why the players’ characters might be going on the adventure in the first place), and four pregenerated 1st-level characters. 

Background, The Lost Mine… 

The setup to Lost Mine of Phandelver is essentially that of its dungeon and final adventure location — Wave Echo Cave, a long-lost mine which, in addition to mineral wealth, was also a source of great magical power. This power was harnessed by dwarven and gnomish miners as well as human mages to create powerful magical items. 

Then, around 500 years before the adventure’s beginning, a marauding force of orcs and evil human wizards swept through the area. They attempted to capture Wave Echo Cave and the riches it contained, but in the ensuing battle, the cave collapsed, and the entrance was lost forever. 

Over the subsequent centuries, the lands ravaged by orc warbands have recovered and are now a rugged mining frontier where many adventurers come to try their luck at treasure hunting. Three such adventurers, the dwarven Rockseeker brothers, have found the location of Wave Echo Cave and intend to resume mining operations. 

However, a drow mage known as The Black Spider (who’s something of a local gang leader with several different groups of monsters and ruffians under his command) has gotten wind of this, and the race to claim Wave Echo Cave is on. 

Part One, Goblin Arrows 

The adventure begins with the party getting ambushed by goblins (from the Cragmaw clan, who work for the Black SPider) on the road to Phandalin. After fighting off their attackers, the PCs discover that their contact (one of the Rockseeker Brothers) and his bodyguard Barry Bluejeans — I mean Sildar Hallwinter — have been taken prisoner. 

What follows is a mini-dungeon crawl through goblin-infested caverns, culminating in a battle with a bugbear and some wolves. Hopefully, the PCs manage to rescue Gundren Rockseeker and finish the journey to Phandalin.  

Part Two, Phandalin 

In addition to being an adventuring hub or starter town (it’s a good one, actually, and can work really well as the focal point for most low-level campaigns, regardless of whether you’re running LMoP or not) where the PCs can rest, purchase supplies, and meet interesting NPCs, Phandalin also serves as the next leg of the adventure. 

The town is being terrorized by a group of bandits called the Redbrands, whose leader is revealed to work for the Black Spider. Running these bandits out of town is what cements the PCs as adversaries of the secretive drow mage. 

Part Three, The Spider’s Web 

At this point, the map opens up a bit, and the PCs are encouraged to follow up on different leads around the local area while using Phandalin as a base. They can “spy on a mysterious wizard at the ruins of Old Owl Well, seek the advice of a dangerous banshee, oust a band of orcs lurking at Wyvern Tor, and investigate the ruins of the town of Thundertree.”

Most of these options then lead the players to clear out the goblin fortress at Cragmaw Castle where it’s discovered that the Goblin King there is also a lackey of the Black Spider. The players also find a map that shows them how to get to Wave Echo Cave. 

Part Four, Wave Echo Cave 

The final stage of the adventure sees the players make their way inside the long-abandoned dwarven mine in search of treasure and to stop the Black Spider. They find the bodies of the two other Rockseeker Brothers as well as dangerous oozes and undead before finally confronting the drow wizard and claiming their reward. 

Treasure

Among other valuables and small magic items that the PCs can acquire throughout this adventure, notable examples include… 

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