It’s been a long time since I’ve designed or customized a Dungeons & Dragons adventure, but I’ve been feeling the itch and pulling some fifth edition ideas together recently, with an eye on this summer’s Gen Con. So when the chance came up to take a look at some materials from our sponsoring partner Limitless Adventures, I jumped at it.
Limitless Adventures creates and sells PDF collections of standalone encounters, side quests, locations, and non-player characters using Wizards of the Coast’s open source 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons SRD rules. (This post is sponsored by Limitless Adventures, which provided several of its products for review. Opinions are my own.) These collections are designed to help Dungeon Masters expand existing adventures or build them entirely from scratch, providing everything from the nuts and bolts of game stats to story hooks pointing toward new adventures.
Here’s an example from the “Sewers” collection of encounters:
Everything you need is nicely organized and clearly presented, from the brief scene-setting description to the creature stats, and in this case, a nifty bit of treasure. (Information presented in light blue text boxes represents a Limitless Adventures novelty introduced in this encounter – it could be as relatively straightforward as this rust-impervious sword, “Gleam,” or it could be a wholly new creature or an optional rule that is previously unpublished.) If you simply want this encounter to be a one-off battle, it’s easily added to your sewer crawl. If you want to use it as a jumping off point for a longer story, the writers have included a few “Further Adventure” ideas there at the bottom.
Encounters come 10 to a packet and are grouped by environment: Sewers, Grasslands, Coast, Mountain, Arctic, etc. (And not all the encounters encourage combat as a first resort. Some are skill-check based, or might require an inventive escape.) Limitless Adventures has also designed several encounter packets through the Dungeon Masters Guild, enabling them to tie in with some specific Wizards of the Coast intellectual properties, like the “Storm King’s Thunder Encounters” and “Sword Coast Encounters.”
Similarly, there are packets of locations, again offering 10 per collection, with specific spots grouped within a larger environment: a marketplace, for instance, or a village at the edge of a swamp, or the arcane quarter of a city. These settings often introduce items, services, and NPCs.
Most intriguing to me are the Limitless Adventures side quests, since they’re also suitable for adapting into one-shot adventures – the kind you might play at, oh, say, a gaming convention. These tend to consist of three or four encounters packed into a short, straightforward story, along with the necessary maps. Here’s a sample from “Fane of Madness:”
I’ve written here at GeekDad about how much I enjoy just reading my D&D books and materials for fun, and the content from Limitless Adventures fits right in among these things that spark my imagination and get me thinking about collaborative storytelling. The pages are high resolution and print out nicely for reference, if you don’t want to keep a computer at your table on game night, and everything I reviewed fit right in with the kinds of adventures I like to play and think about creating. There are familiar monsters and new creatures, situations requiring cleverness and others needing a magic touch or a hefty mace. And I loved taking a few mental steps down each one of those Further Adventures story hooks while I read.
One final note: You can check these out at a pretty nice price point: Most of the PDFs will run you $1.99 or $2.99 (there are a few bundled offerings with higher price tags) and in fact, Limitless Adventures has a few freebies for download as well, including – as of this writing – a fun-looking, four-encounter “Pirate Treasure Map” adventure.
Here’s to rolling 20s!