There are plenty of free adventures but not many full campaigns are available for free. If you don’t have much money but want a full Dungeons and Dragons campaign, then this list is for you. This list contains the best D&D 5th edition campaigns that are completely free to play.
You can play D&D short on money (we have an article on how to get started for free or cheap), and there are a ton of free one-shots and short adventures to get you started. But we wanted to focus on the bigger campaigns, the ones that you can play with your party for many sessions.
Requirements for a Full Free Campaign
We wanted the campaigns we listed to provide a full campaign experience, so we only included those that were multiple session adventures. We also excluded any campaigns that were paywalled or required paid subscriptions.
These are the requirements a D&D campaign needs to meet to make this list:
- Be suitable for 1st level characters and go up to at least level 5, but going longer would be better
- Have a coherent storyline for the full campaign
- Free! No requirement to pay, but if you need to sign up for a site or newsletter is fine.
- Be of good quality
Getting this campaign for free is just insane! An almost 200 pages book for a “pay what you want” price, which means you can get it for free! And it’s even better than some of the official content.
This campaign is written by award-winning screenwriter Dale Zawada and will take your characters on adventures across the Forgotten Realms, rescuing the world from a mysterious crime lord who has taken over the underworld.
This campaign will take your characters from level 1 to 20, and there is so much content. There are 18 adventures in the campaign, so this is the only one on the list that will be the type of campaign that you can run with your players for years.
The background of the story and world is well explained, each adventure is well laid out and clear about what the hook is, what the locations are, who the NPCs are, what happens, and what encounters there are.
It is a dark and gritty setting and storyline, so if bleak worlds, people dying, and people driven by greed and corruption is your thing you should go check this out.
2. Adventurers League Season 1: Tyranny of Dragons
Adventurers League is designed to be run as drop-in drop-out sessions of D&D that are generally run in stores. They usually follow along with a parallel story to the main campaign books so people can play both separately. We have a good article if you want more information on adventurers league.
The first season of Adventurers League that matches the Tyranny of Dragons book has a lot of adventures available for free. Enough to string together to make a good campaign.
These are each meant to be stand-alone adventures they don’t necessarily follow on from each other in the same way that the official books do, but there is an overarching storyline and it does come to a good conclusion in Escape from Phlan so it does work well as a campaign.
The free adventure modules for Tyranny of Dragons are:
- DDEX1-1, Defiance in Phlan (for characters of level 1)
- DDEX1-2, Secrets of Sokol Keep (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-3, Shadows over the Moonsea (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-4, Dues for the Dead (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-5, The Courting of Fire (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-6, The Scroll Thief (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-7, Drums in the Marsh (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-8, Tales Trees Tell (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-9, Outlaws of the Iron Route (for characters of levels 1-4)
- DDEX1-10, Tyranny in Phlan (for characters of levels 5-10)
- DDEX1-14, Escape from Phlan (for characters of levels 5-10)
Made by Reddit user u/SpiketailDrake, Army of the Damned is a free 74 page module that takes your players from levels 1 to 5.
The campaign setting is in Innistrad, which is the main setting for the game Magic the Gathering, another game made by Wizards of the Coast (if you’re interested in the differences between D&D vs MtG find out more here). Magic the Gathering has a dark fantasy setting similar to that of Ravenloft, which is one of the main settings for D&D, so the crossover works quite well and you could easily adapt it to be set in a known D&D world instead.
The setting uses a lot of horror tropes, including vampires, werewolves, and abominations doing some really garish things. Because it borrows the world from Magic there are plenty more resources if you want to learn more about the world, and it has a lot of great background lore and is fully fleshed out.
While this isn’t a professional publication, it is well-organized and written, with a compelling storyline that is well-explained and simple to follow. On top of that, it also comes with maps, item cards, handouts and even artwork of the monsters, NPCs and locations, so you have to do very little work to make this an immersive engaging story.
So if you like Magic the Gathering, or like horror campaigns, this is a fantastic option to consider.
This is the first chapter of the published D&D campaign for Storm King’s Thunder, which is one of the more popular beginner D&D campaigns (and the one we recommend is best to start with in our article on the best beginner D&D campaigns).
This is a well organised campaign, and being an official campaign from Wizards of the Coast you know you are getting quality content. And if you do want to keep going in this campaign after level 5 you can buy the book and have your party continue with the same adventure that will take them to level 11.
One downside of this campaign is that it’s only got 22 pages of content for levels 1-5 as it is designed to level your players up quickly, so you are going to have to use your imagination to draw this out if you want to use it as a longer campaign.
Wizards of the Coast has also released the first chapters to some of their other official campaigns, but these don’t meet our criteria as they only go up to level 3. That being said they may also be good for you to take a look at if you are thinking about continuing on to one of the official campaign books.
- Curse of Strahd: Death House (levels 1-3)
- Explorer’s Guide to Wildemount: Frozen Sick (levels 1-3)
- Tyranny of Dragons: Chapters 1-3 (levels 1-3)
- Hoard of the Dragon Queen: Encounters (levels 1-3)
5. Homebrew Your Own
This may be cheating for this list, but you can always homebrew your own adventure and it’s free!
If you want to make a great campaign for Dungeons & Dragons then there are a few things you need to do:
- You need to have a strong plot hook, something that will draw people in and keep them interested
- Then you need to create interesting characters with diverse backgrounds
- Then you need to give them quests that will take them on adventures
- You need to have a good overarching storyline for the players to adventure through
- You need to provide interesting, thematic encounters.
To learn how to make a campaign take a look at how we made a Harry Potter campaign, while we talk about adapting Harry Potter in this article the technique can be used to homebrew an adventure for any story that you like.
A Few Cheap Campaigns to Consider
A lot of work goes into creating a campaign, so it’s hard to find full campaigns available for free.
But for under $15USD there is quite a range of full campaigns you can play. These are not free but hour for hour of gameplay they are pretty good value for money.
- Lost Mines of Phandelver – The adventure found in the Beginners Set is one of the most popular ways to get started with D&D, and for the price, you get some basic rules, pre-generated character sheets and dice as well.
- Dragon of Icespire Peak + 3 additional Modules – The adventure found in the Essentials Kit is also one of the most popular ways to get into D&D, and the kit comes with rules and dice as well. This campaign is more sandbox in style in comparison to The Lost Mines of Phandelver, and also has 3 additional modules you can get online to keep playing the adventure.
- Lost in Shadow – A bestselling adventure on Dungeon Masters Guild, Lost in the Shadow takes players on a parallel adventure to Lost Mines of Phandelver (from the Beginners Set mentioned above). At 73 pages and taking your characters from level 1 to level 5, this is a particularly cool campaign to play through if some of your players have already played the Lost Mines of Phandelver.
- The Second Black Dawn – A 55 page adventure that will take the party from level 1 to 5, and is estimated to be approximately 30 hours of gameplay. This is quite a bit deeper in the storyline than Lost Mines of Phandalver or Dragon of Icespire Peak and is a great option for those into epic fantasy stories. But be aware it does have a follow on adventure, The War for the Throne that you’ll want to get to finish the story.
- The Second Black Dawn – Your party of soldiers is completing a task when madness takes over in Eberron. A Lovecraftian horror that will make you feel a lot of despair, but also a lot of heartfelt moments with your party over the course of a very engaging adventure.
- Serpent Isle – The party is going on an adventure to discover a new, hostile island. This adventure is well written and well explained and takes the party from level 1 through to 8. It’s a sandbox adventure where a lot of the content is adventuring, finding things and fighting monsters. Not a whole lot of roleplaying in this one, but still a great adventure from an experienced author.
- Ruins of the Grendleroot – These adventures, from the author of Return of the Lazy Dungeon Master, work in a similar way to the Lazy Dungeon Master book in that they provide an outline for a low-prep adventure, and it’s up to the DM’s imagination to make it a unique experience. These are intended to be run as one-shots, but there is a way to combine 5 of them into a campaign that focuses on a mysterious consciousness that is corrupting the mountains, and you can turn it into a full campaign by adding a few more side quests.
As you can see, there aren’t many free D&D campaigns available (as in the full-sized campaigns, not one-off adventures). However, the options that are available are excellent, particularly if you’re a new DM on a tight budget looking for advice and ideas.
There are, however, a number of low-cost options you should consider, all of which are well-written, have compelling plots and are good value for money.