10 Classic Side Quest Ideas For DND
When you start a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, you always need a lot of adventures for your party to enjoy. Side quests are a great way to break up the action of the main storyline. If the main campaign gets a little intense, having a few side quests available will allow your players to take a break from the norm and have fun without as much stakes.
Side quests are also useful when you need more time to work on the next big step in your overall story. Here are several fun side quest ideas that will work great as a fun distraction for your party.
ten A farm in distress
A farm needs help. Something destroys their crops at night and terrifies the farmers. Maybe some never-before-seen Feywild creatures sneak into the farm at night. Maybe a rival farm is trying to sabotage its competitors. Whatever the answer to this mystery will require the group to venture far to the farm, stay a few days, and figure out how to help.
This simple quest probably won’t impact your main campaign, but it’s a great way to earn some extra gold and allies. In addition to this, the group, after being successful, will probably have a new place to stay after long journeys.
9 Create your own tavern
During the main adventure, the party received a dilapidated tavern. This works as a great starting base, but also starts a long-running side quest. They need to save gold to renovate the building and hire staff, and this is a side quest the party can really get into. It’s not too difficult or too long; instead, it’s a peaceful and fun break from their daily adventures.
Soon they will have a tavern that will rival the famous gaping portal. You’ll be able to do future tavern side quests, such as rival taverns causing trouble, supply issues, and mysterious customers, to form a long-running side story for your campaign.
8 escort mission
The escort mission is a staple of video games: the party must protect an NPC from point A to point B. It’s a nice side quest to add to long journeys. There will be many obstacles that will put the NPC in danger. But, if the party overcomes these threats, it will likely have a valuable ally. Alternatively, maybe that NPC will turn out to be the main villain later on instead for a heartbreaking twist.
You’ll want to make sure this escort mission doesn’t get too frustrating by making sure the NPC is useful, even if they’re not in combat. Give them a fun and memorable personality, and maybe the party will want them to stick around for the main quests.
seven lost treasure
No matter how important it is for the group to take down this dangerous dragon atop Icespire Peak, a treasure hunt is very tempting. From hearing a rumor in a tavern to finding an ancient map, there are plenty of ways to introduce this side quest. They will have to follow the clues to find their way to this mysterious treasure. It could contain a lot of gold, or maybe powerful magic items.
This quest does not need to be relevant to the main campaign. It may just be a great spin-off adventure that will also help them restock for the next stage of the campaign.
6 an appointment
Romance can often arise in a long-term campaign. A PC can fall in love with another PC or an NPC. Alternatively, the party could help an NPC find love on their own. Now is the time to set them up on a romantic date by candlelight.
The party needs to make sure the date goes off without a hitch. They will have to avoid many hilarious behind-the-scenes complications. If you’re playing online, players can suggest romantic music to set the mood. This date functions as a light break from the more serious questlines.
5 Peace talks
While lost en route to their next big destination, the group finds themselves caught in a battlefield. The group is captured by one side and taken back to their base, only for their captors to realize they are not their enemy. From there, the group could decide not to get involved or try to end the conflict. They are tasked with finding the rival camp and seeing if they can talk about it peacefully.
With an excellent diplomatic character in the party, perhaps everything will go peacefully. Alternatively, the group could decide to sabotage one side to help the other win. Whatever the outcome, it can be a fun side quest that could give them an entire army or two to call upon if something goes wrong.
4 A wizard’s new spell
An eccentric wizard hasn’t been heard from for a while, and the local villagers are worried. A side quest like this is the perfect opportunity to incorporate puzzles as the party tries to navigate the intricate and confusing Wizard’s Tower. They find out that the wizard was trying to cast a brand new spell, and it went horribly wrong. Can the group help them master this whacked spell? Perhaps they are taught to use the “fixed” version of this unpredictable spell if they do.
An alternative scenario could be that a sorcerer’s apprentice has cast a spell incorrectly and trapped his mentor. They need the group’s help to sort this mess out and maybe calm the mentor down afterwards. This apprentice could become a recurring NPC, providing fun new storylines for the party to entertain as they watch the apprentice fail in other roles elsewhere.
3 The mysterious portal
A mysterious portal has opened in the middle of a village. Some have ventured inside, but none have returned, so the group is asked to investigate and see what happens. Whether it’s being transported to faraway places or even landing in an entirely different realm, this side quest gives you a chance to mix things up. They’ll land in a totally different place than they’re used to, with new monsters and rules to follow. The portal has closed behind them, and they will have to find a new one to return home.
Your party can stay in this alternate world for as long as you choose. It’s a great way to surprise your players if the main campaign gets a bit repetitive.
2 Story specific
Your players usually have a backstory full of characters they hope to appear. Unfortunately, sometimes these characters don’t fit into the main story, but, with side quests, you still have the option of exploring a PC’s arc without it affecting the main narrative. Having a player’s backstory NPC who needs help is a fantastic option to make your players feel more involved in your world.
This returning character may have been kidnapped, or maybe he has important news from a player’s hometown. It’s a great way to let a character take center stage on a quest.
The local sheriff doesn’t have enough guards to investigate the strange reports coming from an impending factory on the outskirts of town. They don’t know what’s going on, but they need the group to watch for suspicious activity. This side quest will require stealth and subtlety, observing the building from afar and reporting regularly to the Sheriff. Alternatively, they could simply infiltrate the establishment and find out the truth themselves.
This can be a fun opportunity for your players to get lost in fun social roleplaying as they get to know each other while they wait for the action to begin. In the meantime, they can bond closely and hear about their stories. Maybe this unrelated side quest will also reveal something shocking related to your main campaign.
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