The Lost Mine of Phandelver is the introductory adventure for the 5th Edition Starter Set. It is designed for PC levels 1 – 5 and has a good mix of wilderness, dungeon, and village encounters with a decent story. Your players will become heroes as the save the village of Phandalin from hordes of goblins, doppelgangers and worse, all led by a sinister and maniacal Drow mage.
Plus, with the recent publication of The Dragon of Icespire Peak from the D&D Essentials Kit, the two are perfect adventure companions. By adding the sandbox-style message board and the rampaging white dragon to the Lost Mine storyline, you can create an absolutely epic campaign that should take players up to 8th level and beyond. In the maps section, I include a merged map that depicts all the locations of both adventures.
As always, before any campaign, I gave my players a brief summary of adventuring and combat basics – Rules FOUR PAGE. I also give my players a Setting Overview which informs them of the common knowledge that a person in the realms would know, such as money, religion, and the calendar. The official year of the adventure is 1479DR, so I set my campaign in that year – FAERUN 1479. I set the starting date in early Spring, but feel free to change that. Also, if you’d rather run this adventure in line with the rest of the 5th Edition adventures, those take place starting in 1492 DR – FAERUN 1492.
I also give them a List of all the basic equipment commonly available for purchase within the world. Sometimes it is fun to role play the shopping spree, but usually it is just easier and more efficient for them to look it up on their own and tell me what they bought. Obviously, prices can be adjusted, based upon the quality of the available shop. Equipment List
Dungeon Master Resources
One of the things that I always liked about the Old School adventure modules is that they usually included a Monster Stat Sheet that listed, on one page, all of the monsters and NPCs (and their major statistics) that you could meet during the adventure. This kept you from having to flip through the entire module, or worse a separate Monster Manual, just to find some vital information needed in the middle of combat. To that end, I’ve compiled all the monsters from Lost Mine of Phandelver here. Monster Stats Phandelver
Most of the entries should be self-evident, but a few might need explainantion. TYPE also includes it’s size, in this case M for Medium. AC is Armor Class. hp is hit points and is always in Bold. Hit is its Attack bonus and is also always in Bold; if there is a second number, it is for a secondary attack, usually a range weapon. PP is Passive Perception. ATT 1 & ATT 2 list its various attack forms (in italics) and damage dealt. SPECIAL ATTACK would include any extra abilities, such as innate charm, paralysis, breath weapons, etc.. Under IMMUNITY/OTHER, “I” stands for Immunity, “R” is Resistance, and “V” would be Vulnerability. Next comes the Ability Score modifiers, Strenght, Dexterity, etc.. Below that, I’ve listed any Skill or Saving Throw modifiers. Under Language/Vision, I’ll also list any unusual Movement Rates. Finally, in HD/XP, the number in paraenthesis is its Challenge Rating.
I hope this comes in handy. And, if you prefer to create your own versions of this Stat Sheet, I’ve included a blank one here. NPC Stat Sheet
I also find it useful to have a Master Encounter List of all the keyed encounter areas of the adventure. This helps me keep track of every room at a glance; including Monsters, Traps, Treasure and Experience Points that can be found or earned in each room. Here is my copy. Encounter List Phandelver
If you prefer to create your own list, I’ve included a blank one here. Encounter List Blank
In addition, I greatly expanded the village of Phandalin and created a complete roster for every resident in town. In the roster, names in italics are female, the symbol “(c)” indicates a child, and the symbol “(s)” is a senion citizen. A townsfolk with a number after his/her name, indicated a level adventurer, so “(F4)” would be a 4th level fighter. “C” is a cleric, and “R” is a ranger. Also, any name in bold indicates a citizen capable of fighting during the Goblin Invasion that occured in Session 9. Obviously, feel free to add, change, or ignore any details that don’t fit your campaign. Phandalin Village Roster
A few people have asked about how I ran my Siege of Phandalin that occurs in Session 9. There are several great rule guides available about running mass combat and war scenarios, but I just wanted a simple, basic rule set that evoked the chaos of war without all the added math. Please refer to my How To Run a Fantasy Siege in D&D post for more info. Basically, it is a modified version of 4th edition Minion rules where each combatant requires “x” number of hits to kill (goblins take 1 hit, hobgoblins take 2, etc). This method only requires the use of the D20 die and a Battle Chart which I’ve included here to track all the combatants. Phandalin Battle Chart
There are a number of excellent additional resources available online. Here are a few that I use all the time.
Roll 20 D&D 5th Edition Compendeum – Roll 20 is one of the best virtual tabletop systems and they have compiled a complete listing of every rule, monster, spell, and more that is D&D. The link does offer virtual books for sale, but the entire database is fully searchable and completely free. Just use the Search Bar to type in whatever you need to find and get the full description and statistics of that item. This resource is invaluable.
Forgotten Realms Wiki – Every article of fact, trivia, and lore relating to the Forgotten Realms (where the adventure is set) can be found here. This is a tremendous source for inspiration to add favor and spice up your campaign. Perfect for researching the people, places, and events of the world’s greatest fantasy setting. I use this all the time.
Kobold Fight Club – Wandering Monsters are a staple of D&D. Nothing keeps players on their toes better than some random thing jumping out from the shadows. But the tables provided in most modules are pretty boring. Kobold Fight Club uses math, algorithms, and magic(?) to create memorable and unique random encounters for any level. Yip, yip, yip!
This is a complete overview of our experience playing this adventure. There are three sections:
The Campaign Diaries – The full Tale of the Saviors of Phandalin as they attempt to collect on a $50 debt.
The Maps – All the maps that I used to run The Lost Mine of Phandelver, including some custom maps. The Player Maps have all hidden locations, traps, and secret areas removed. They are also great for a virtual tabletop.
The Handouts – The module came with one handout to give to the players. I added 10 more. Most handouts provided further motivation for the players to want to hunt down the main villain, Nezzar, since he has no contact with the players until the last chapter. A few set up future adventure hooks. I usually print them using a variety of construction and specialty papers cut to fit my printer. The Handouts can be printed as is or used as a starting point for your own creative spin.
If there is anything else that you think I should have here to help you run your own campaign, please leave a comment.
Session 1 – Our merry band of mercenaries manages to lose their patron in five minutes and violates the Geneva Convention in ten.
Session 2 – The Mercs with No Name sack a goblin cave, collect some second-hand furniture and find an NPC that I call Captain Exposition.
Session 3 – The Mercs invade the peaceful village of Phandalin, try to be Murder Hobos, and pick a fight with the local gang of thugs.
Session 4 – The Mercs storm the Thug Hideout, pet some monsters, obtain the world’s ugliest valet, and play a wild game of Liar’s Dice.
Session 5 – Gather round while we replay the entire Phandalin section and then go off in search of the creator of the Forgotten Realms.
Session 6 – The Mercs find the ruined town of Thundertree, the spirit of Ed Greenwood in a batty old druid, and, holy crap, a green dragon!
Session 7 – We start with a TPK, then battle a very colorful sorcerer and take on the dragon! At level 2! And they steal some dragon eggs.
Session 8 – The party arrives back in Phandalin to find that everything is not as it seems. Then they trash the only good inn in town.
Session 9 – During the Festival of Greengrass, the goblin army invades Phandalin. Our heroes risk it all to save the village they call home.
Session 10 – The newly dubbed Saviors of Phandalin search for the mysterious four-fingered man and find the bum who owes them $50.
Session 11 – The Saviors finally get to Chapter 5, only to find zero treasure, just strange chucks of humming metal. And a ton of ghouls.
Session 12 – The Saviors negotiate with Nezzar, the evil puppet master, by stabbing him with a sword. Then evil spider god, Lolth, shows up.
Session 13 – Having defeated Nezzar, The Saviors continue to search the dungeon, obsessed with finding more mysterious humming metal.
Session 14 – The thrilling conclusion. The humming metal pays off, secret villains are revealed, and there’s lots of ominous foreshadowing.
That’s it. After 20 sessions that took over a year to complete, we finally concluded the epic Lost Mine of Phandelver. (We played every other week for only 2 hours per session, the limit of a kid’s D&D focus)
We hope that you have as much fun and excitement when you run this adventure. Feel free to use any, all, or none of these extras that I used to run the adventure. Hopefully, you can use them to inspire your own epic adventure.
And if you like these Resources pages, then check out the ones I’ve created for the other campaigns I’m running at the D&D Campaign Resources Page.
As always, it’s better to show than tell, and Game On!