Lost Mine of Phandelver is an adventure module for the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, released on July 15, 2014, as part of the 5th Edition Starter Set. In addition to the adventure module, the set also includes a shortened down and simplified copy of the 5th Edition ruleset, a set of dice, and five premade character sheets with a simple guide for leveling up from level 1 to 5. The adventure module was the first-ever released for the non-playtest version of the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (then known as D&D Next during its playtesting stages), predating even the three basic rulebooks (Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual).
The adventure starts with the adventurers on the road to Phandalin, a small frontier village in the Forgotten Realms setting. They have been hired to transport some mining supplies by the dwarf Gundren Rockseeker, who spoke of some great find he and his brothers made in the mountains just east of the village. The adventure kicks into gear when the adventurers find Gundren's and his bodyguard, Sildar Hallwinter's horses lying dead on the road, pierced by goblin arrows. As they look into their employers' disappearance, the adventurers may find that many parties are interested in Gundren's find, and not all of them are friendly...
This adventure module is widely considered as one of the best adventures for the 5th Edition, and has won three awards: A Golden Geek Award in 2014 for "Best Supplement" and two 2015 ENnie Awards for "Best Production Values" and "Best Family Game".
Tropes that may be found in the lost mines:
- An Adventurer Is You: The straightest example in 5th edition. Each of the five premade character sheets is an element of a typical party, and each designed to be a typical member of their class and race. It's not exactly groundbreaking, but it's exactly what you'd expect.
- The first human fighter is a fairly straightforward Melee DPS, getting into the thick of it to dish out damage with a high Strength modifier.
- The second human fighter is a Ranged DPS, with a high dexterity score that lets them utilize ranged weaponry effectively, but leaves them wanting in close quarters.
- The Dwarf Cleric doubles as a Meatshield Tank and a Healer Class. Heavy armor and natural resilience lets them take all but the strongest hits, while their God-given magic keeps their party alive.
- The Elf Wizard is a fairly standard Utility caster, with both powerful damaging spells and utility-focused trickery.
- The Halfling Rogue is your typical Jack-of-All-Trades skillmonkey, with enough damage output to still be useful combined with a lot of skill proficiencies to be used outside of combat.
- And the Adventure Continues: Encouraged by the final pages of the adventure, which lists a number of potential storyhooks. Nezznar's reason for seeking the Spellforge are unknown, the players may have found a mysterious map in Wave Echo Cave and Venomfang is still out there. It's also quite common for it to be used to springboard into other modules due to how low stakes it starts.
- Bandit Clan: The Redbrands, led by a mysterious figure known as Glasstaff, are a local bandit gang that took up residence in Phandalin recently.
- Barrier Warrior: The Glasstaff, Iarno Albrek, can cast Shield and Mage Armor from his Magic Staff. Players can loot it from him, becoming this themselves.
- Big Bad: Nezznar, the Black Spider.
- Very Definitely Final Dungeon: Wave Echo Cave, a legendary mine that contains no less than four bossfights. If you make it past the poisonous fungus, you get to contend with a Spectator and a Wraith in short order. If you go the other direction, there's the Flameskull and the Black Spider himself.
- Continuity Nod: A few. The adventure is entirely self-contained, but there are a few mentions of old lore. The eruption of Mount Hotenow is mentioned as the reason Thundertree is abandoned, Neverwinter appears on the map, the name of the elven empire Illefarn is used as a password, and the players can visit the ruins of a Netherese outpost.
- Disc-One Nuke: The Glasstaff's... glasstaff, a Staff of Defense that will drastically increase the survivability of any character who possess it. By combining its various bonuses, the wielder can get +9 to their armor class (+6 if they're already wearing armor) even before accounting for dexterity bonuses, and it has enough charges that there is little danger of running out unless you're fighting 3 or more encounters every day.
- Due to the Dead: The Wraith in Wave Echo Cave refuses to raise the dead as specters. The flavor text says that this is because he has some respect for the dead, while the mechanical reason is simply that a fully powered wraith would be way too powerful for the adventurers.
- Dungeon Crawling: Of course the iconic adventure features some of this. There are several parts of the adventure that qualify as dungeons, including the Goblin Hideout, the Redbrand Hideout, Cragmaw Castle, and Wave Echo Cave.
- Early Game Hell: The tradition in the 5th edition adventures started here.
- The first encounter should be perfectly balanced in theory, pitting four goblins against four player characters. However, the goblins have a number of advantages that the players will have to overcome. They start out attacking from afar, requiring melee fighters to spend a turn or two rushing to their positions, and they have partial cover, negating any advantage ranged characters have.
- The next part sends the players through a goblin hideout. Not only do the goblins have the time to set up traps, but there are a lot of them, often large groups fought at once, and the boss of the dungeon is a very tough bugbear. All of this is at level 1. It's negated somewhat by the adventure encouraging DMs to let players solve the dungeon through negotiation.
- First Town: Phandalin serves as a Hub Level for the adventure, with every sidequest taking you no more than a day or two away from it. It also contains all the typical traits you'd expect from a starter town; A tavern for news, a bandit problem for the players to solve and ingratiate themselves with the villagers, shops for supplies and lots of NPCs to hand out sidequests.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: The Black Spider. Like most NPCs in the adventure, he's a bit of a blank slate simply fulfilling the requirements and stereotypes of a villain (Drow, Necromancer, Evil Overlord), so first-time players can familiarize themselves with the game without anything too intricate, and long-time DMs can expand on him as they want.
- HeelFace Turn: Iarno Aubrek, an agent of the Lord's Alliance, abandoned his noble mission to form the Redbrand bandits.
- Magic Staff: The Glasstaff, Iarno Albrek, wields a Staff of Defense, which is made of glass and can spend its 10 daily uses to cast Shield (2 uses) or Mage Armor (1 use). It can, however, only be used by mages.
- Magic Wand: In Wave Echo Cave, the players can loot a Wand of Magic Missiles from a corpse.
- Mêlée à Trois: There are a bunch of factions active in Wave Echo Cave, none of which get along. Aside from the players, there's the Black Spider, the Flameskull and its undead, the Wraith and the Spectator.
- Obvious Beta: A bit. The module was originally used for playtesting. During playtest for 5th edition, player characters had more hit points than in the finished game, which was not adjusted for in the published module, resulting in the first encounter being extremely deadly.
- Oculothorax: Wave Echo Cave contains a Spectator, a lesser beholderkin.
- Our Zombies Are Different: There are normal zombies in the adventure, not to mention some ghouls, but the eruption of mount Hotenow spawned a new breed of undead known as Ash Zombies, who are coated in sticky ash and explode when slain.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Venomfang will abandon house if the players deal enough damage, deciding that this new lair is not worth the effort.