“The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is a great Dungeons & Dragons campaign for beginners. Don’t believe me? It’s included with the D&D Starter Set for a reason. It offers an interesting story, challenging (but not too hard) combat, and just enough hand-holding to be helpful. It’s forgiving, which is key when designing a great beginner campaign.
“The Lost Mine of Phandelver” takes players through the byroads and surrounding forests outside Neverwinter. There’s enough Forgotten Realms lore to keep veterans interested, but the real goal here is accessibility to beginners. In more ways than one, this campaign from the Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set excels at that.
Dungeons & Difficulty
The campaign is divided up into five chapters. The first chapter takes players into a Cragmaw Cave, where they’ll face goblins, possibly wolves, and at least one bugbear (depending on where the story takes you). Follow-up chapters will take adventurers to neighboring cities, a castle, and the lair of the mysterious Black Spider. It’s the best of Dungeons & Dragons, streamlined into a campaign that’s accessible for everyone.
Long-time players may find “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” to be too restricting. However, it’s necessary for learning players. For example, you can’t go beyond a forest outside of Cragmaw Cave because the thicket is “too thick.” Why can’t I just burn it down? Why can’t I chop through the foliage? All of these are questions veterans might ask, but it may not even cross newcomers’ minds. It’s that kind of hand holding, though, that serves as the real difficulty curve.
While the campaign can be challenging at some points, especially for anyone who’s just started playing D&D, it’s forgiving. With relatively weak enemies, even if a player messes up, it’s going to be difficult to actually die (unless you’re trying to do that, you crazy person!).
Story & Setting
The story to “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is interesting, presenting a mystery that becomes more mysterious over time. It’s certainly enough to keep the momentum rolling between play sessions. However, due to the nature of its being a beginner campaign, the story can be a bit too deep at times. Several major plot points are completely missable, especially if players aren’t used to asking the right questions or searching the places.
Side quests and other great content can be totally missed, especially if a DM doesn’t urge players to try some of it out. It’s a shame, because some of the side quests in “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is actually pretty good. It’s still mostly optional, though, for anyone who just wants to rush through the main campaign.
The settings are varied and offer a quick tour of what Dungeons & Dragons has to offer. From spooky forests, to maze-like caves, a large city, and a sinister lair – it’s like a getting a liberal arts degree at college. There’s a lot to see, but you don’t really focus on anything.
Will longtime Dungeons & Dragons players want to play “The Lost Mine of Phandelver?” That may be the real question here, and the answer is “probably not.” If you already know how to play D&D, there are more in-depth and interesting adventures out there.
Is Lost Mine Of Phandelver Good For D&D Beginners?
However, “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is meant for beginners. Because of that, it has to be judged accordingly. And, honestly, it works great. My four-year-old daughter and wife have been playing this campaign with me, and they’re both newbies. They’ve enjoyed the adventure and are interested in playing more often. You can read about that right here.
So, yes, it’s a great campaign for beginner adventurers. By the time “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” is finished, players should have a better understanding of the game (and be Level 5, to boot!). For anyone looking to start Dungeons & Dragons, this campaign and the Starter Set are both just about perfect for newcomers.
Geek to Geek Rating: 4.5/5