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Review: D&D Starter Set & Lost Mine of Phandelver

Who started 5th Edition with the D&D Starter Set with Lost Mine of Phandelver? I sure didn’t.

starterSet.jpg

I was playing D&D3.5 in a Tekumel campaign when our Referee got back from a vacation reading D&D5e Players Handbook. He returned rather excited and had us convert to 5e right away. At that time I picked up the PHb and never looked back.

I didn’t get the Starter Set until I was DM’ing Adventures League Season 2 Princes of the Apocalypse. I had a stable group of 7 players and after finding the way to Rivergard Keep and confronting Jolliver Grimjaw, a wereboar. The party soon realized they had a serious problem as the spell-casters kept missing, and the paladin was the only one doing damage to Grimjaw with smite – which just ran out.

Wereboar.png
Wereboar

So the party escaped and I started them on Lost Mine of Phandelver to get some XP but mostly to get some Magic Items. Lost Mine‘s is still my go-to for getting Tier 1 players magical items – as nothing else has anything for lvl 1-5.

Starter Set Rulebook – D&D5e Basic
The basic rules and some spells. But nothing for creating a character or advancing in levels. Its meant to play with the pre-generated Characters included in the box set.

However, the online basic rules do include some limited races and classes:

Player’s Basic Rules
DM’s Basic Rules

Adventures in Lost Mine of Phandelver!

Part 1: Cragmaw Hideout

A great starting adventure that I hope to never run or play in again. It’s the ideal quick dungeon crawl. Take on the Goblins! I’ve been a part of stealthy parties, and heavy booted “everyone knows we’re here”.

Treasure:
Gold

Part 2: Redband Hideout

Another great adventure that’s only a little longer to run than Cragmaw Hideout. It’s not run as often so, at least for me, it’s not drudgery to get through.

Who doesn’t love searching through the long-forgotten basement of a mansion decayed to the foundations in the town of Phandalin?

Phandalin.jpg

Treasure:
Gold
+1 longsword
Staff of Defence

Part 3: The Spider’s Web

A few short adventures good for quick games or to fill-in some time if an adventure wrapped up.

Conyberry and Agatha’s Lair

A quick adventure that’s all role-playing as the party speaks with the banshee Agatha.

Old Owl Well

A ruined watchtower that’s thousands of years old. Likely dating back to Netheril times. Apparently built by the Wizard Arthindol, who later became a lich and is apparently still around.

Treasure:
Ring of Protection +1

Ruins of Thundertree

Not a dungeon crawl! searching the abandoned and overgrown town of Thundertree. Wear your brown pants as stuff crawls out of the walls and if that doesn’t get you to run, how about the green dragon ‘Venomfang’ who recently moved into town?

Treasure:
Gold
Hew, +1 battleaxe

Wyvern Tor Orc Camp

Defeat the Orcs, asks Townmaster Harbin Wester of Phandalin.

Treasure:
Gold

Cragmaw Castle

Storm a castle you say? Good times in the old ruin tonight! Castle crawl. The hard parts always getting in…

Treasure:
Gold
Scrolls
Potions

Part 4: Wave Echo Cave

All those previous fungeon crawls prepared you for this longer dungeon crawl!

Treasure:
Gold
Boots of Striding and Springing
Wand of Magic Missiles
Gauntlets of Ogre Power
Lightbringer, +1 mace that glows as a torch
Dragonguard, +1 breastplate that gives adv. on saves vs dragon breath weapons
Spider Staff
Potions

I generally enjoy Lost Mine of Phandelver, and I’ve truly enjoyed giving the Starter Set to new younger players and watching what they develop and run with.

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