25 adventure hooks for your D&D game

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Not sure what to play at this week’s session?

We get that. Sometimes you need a break from the long campaign. Sometimes you need something to break up the monotony of a long journey. Sometimes the adventures go way off the rails and you need something to throw in front of them to slow things down before they go completely haywire. 

To help you out, we created this long list of adventure hooks. Little things to start new games, give some new flavor to a session or to take things in a new direction. 

If you want to pick one randomly, you know what to do: Roll a d20.

  1. Five gems — blue, white, black, red and green — rest inside a wooden box engraved with the head of a dragon. Several humanoids in hooded black cloaks approach, and one says, “I believe that is ours.”

  2. Dragons all over the land are turning up dead. A green dragon comes to see the adventurers, and it offers a quest: Solve the mystery of the dead dragons, and you can have its entire hoard.

  3. A perpetual storm has besieged a small port town. Despite wind and other surrounding weather, the rainclouds never seem to move.

  4. A famed adventurer was hired by a town to investigate a haunted house deep in the woods. Moments after he stepped inside, the house shook and a thunderclap rumbled overhead. The adventurer never came back out.

  5. While sifting through a box of trinkets, a shopkeeper finds a strange, pulsing gem. He’s not sure what it is or how to use it, but it feels powerful.

  6. During a rowdy night at the local tavern, a man falls dead from the bar. Chaos breaks out as the patrons seek to discover what killed the dead man. You see two people in black cloaks slip out the door, and one drops a vial of swirling blue liquid.

  7. A local wizard of some renown has heard of your adventuring party, and he wishes to hear stories of your exploits. When you arrive at his arcane tower at the appointed time, he’s nowhere to be found. When you ask about him back in town, the locals no longer seem to know who he is.

  8. A stranger greets you at a crossroads and offers great riches in return for learning your deepest, darkest secrets.

  9. A pack of goblins charges through town on the backs of giant warthogs. They appear to be having a race of some kind.

  10. An avalanche knocks the snow off of the side of a tall mountain. When the rock underneath is exposed, it appears to be a massive, sleeping snow giant.

  11. Last night, a star fell from the sky and created a massive crater in a nearby forest. The crater appears to glow from a distance.

  12. Local residents have been found just outside their front doors, each completely drained of blood but showing no visible wounds.

  13. After a great storm on the ocean, all sorts of sea monsters have begun to wash up on the shore. One of them is still alive, and it speaks of a great coming cataclysm before it perishes.

  14. A mysterious island appears hovering above a city, and several large vines hang from its shores all the way down to the ground. It seems to have appeared there overnight

  15. An invitation arrives, inviting the adventurers to a dinner that evening at a nearby castle. It contains no other details, and it is signed, “An old friend.”

  16. A boisterous adventurer recruits your group to find a missing artifact in a subterranean dungeon. All the way to the dungeon, he tells elaborate tales of his adventuring prowess. But upon arriving at the locale, he begins to sweat profusely. 

  17. You march into a town, and it is totally abandoned. Everything otherwise seems as it should. It’s as if everyone simply disappeared

  18. Once a week, a dragon appears overhead, circles the area five times and flies away. Today, it circled the area four times and then dove to the ground.

  19. A courier sprints up to you and places a piece of dark parchment in your hands. Before he has a chance to explain, he turns and runs away. When you open the letter, the page is blank.

  20. In the common room of a local inn, a bard regales the crowd with songs and stories. After a few minutes, he falls to the floor, breaking his instrument. When you investigate, you see a glowing blue rune on his neck as it fades into nothingness. 

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