While Pathfinder may have usurped the crown of tabletop roleplaying in the 3.5 era, Dungeons & Dragons made a strong comeback with the well-received 5th Edition as Paizo and Wizards Of The Coast continue to vie for the RPG throne.
No matter what system or edition you play, there's always a need for more adventure modules, whether to run as one-offs or just to mine for ideas in your own larger campaigns.
If you don't feel like throwing down a bunch of money on printed adventures that your group may not care about, there's a treasure trove of free D&D adventures out there ... if you know where to look!
We've sifted through hundreds of them to come up with the 11 best completely free Pathfinder and Dungeons & Dungeons modules available as PDF downloads.
Looking for adventure modules for other systems besides these two behemoths of the industry? Check out our list of the 12 best free non-D&D adventures here.
What the heck ... there are still old AD&D adventures getting made? Yep, there sure are, thanks to devoted fans and game designers at Dragonsfoot. Dozens of old-school modules are available to download there, so if you still like to kick it with classic AD&D, then do yourself a favor and browse their site to your heart's content!
This particular free module is for low-level characters and exemplifies everything that's great about low-powered campaigns -- evil bandits, charming rogues, and a poor village in need of help from wandering adventurers.
We're now up to the fifth entry in this ongoing series of beloved Free RPG Day modules from Paizo, but the original still stands head and shoulders above the competition (which isn't hard, since they're goblins).
This is the famous free Pathfinder adventure that kicked off the craze of playing maniacal, homicidal, lyrical, pyromaniac goblins. Seven years later, fans of the system love the concept so much that goblin is now going to be a base racial option in the impending Pathfinder 2nd Edition.
Very much a tongue-in-cheek affair, We Be Goblins is a lot more fun if you play it for full silliness effect like a game of Paranoia, where a new goblin appears to replace an old one as soon as a player's character dies -- and they will die, a lot. Fireworks mishaps, stomping horses, angry tribal chiefs, wilderness dangers ... when you are three feet tall, carrying highly flammable material, and have a total lack of impulse control, then doom is always just around the corner.
There are pregenerated characters to use, but don't neglect having your players come up with their own goblin rhymes that use their character names! That should be the biggest part of character creation to really get your group into the murderous goblin nonsense.
There's a very good reason this series is so well-regarded and why Paizo is so obsessed with these evil little buggers.
Sadly, they would take a bit of a dive on the quality and fun in future installments (fingers crossed the impending fifth entry rectifies that problem), but We Be Goblins Too! is still a strong entry in this franchise of free mini-adventures.
While the first entry had bungling goblins searching for dangerous fireworks, this one has a new group of cannon fodder going through extremely deadly trials in an attempt to join a new tribe when their home is wiped out.
This particular module actually arrived before Pathfinder had its own rule set, so it still uses the base 3.5 OGL rules.
Although quite short at only 16 pages, this is a killer adventure for a new group of gamers just getting used to the Golarion setting, and it works incredibly well as a prelude to Crown of the Kobold King if you want to keep going with other Paizo adventures set in the Darkmoon Vale area.
Man, we roleplayers just love our goblins, apparently. This one doesn't have you playing as the little monsters, though, and instead puts you against them (as nature intended!).
At 57 pages, The Burning Goblins is longer than many paid adventures, and it has a bunch of fabulous advice for new DMs. Best of all, you don't have to pick between systems, as this adventure is compatible with both Pathfinder and D&D 5th Edition.
For a free release from a smaller publisher, the production values on Heroes of Thornwall are exceptionally high. While there is a full adventure here, the PDF itself is really more of a campaign starter kit, featuring full info on an entire city and its major characters, along with some stunning maps and artwork. The free PDF is a must-download, but this is one of those products that's also worth picking up as a paid physical copy as well.
Once upon a time, Wizards of the Coast had a big list of free adventures by professional game designers that, sadly, was nixed as the company went through some big changes switching to 4th and then eventually 5th edition.
Thankfully, the Internet never forgets, though, and the Wayback Machine still has snapshots of that page where many of the download links still actually work! The full list can be found here.
One of my personal favorites from that list was A Question of Ethics by Monte Cook, in which the party discovers a group of adventurers planning on unleashing a plague on a nearby tribe of stone giants.
The group has to grapple with some moral choices and then decide whether to side with the giants, who might be a threat in the future, or the adventurers, who are committing a war crime against giants who have done nothing wrong ... yet.
Does anybody still play 4th Edition anymore? Well, if you do, there are free adventures out there, and some of them are straight form Wizards of the Coast, so you can expect fairly high quality. This one takes place in the Eberron setting, and while it does railroad the party pretty hard, it has a great mix of combat and trap encounters that work well within the 4th Edition framework.
An introduction to the 5th Edition mega-adventure Storm King's Thunder, free module A Great Upheaval introduces players to 5th Edition and gets you in the proper giant-fighting mood if you want to move onto the main campaign.
For a free module meant to get you to buy a book, there's a surprising level of quality here, and lots of opportunities for the party to level up a bit before moving onto more dangerous giant encounters.
This killer fan-made module was crafted for ENWorld’s D&D Next adventure contest a few years back. The idea was to incorporate as many different concepts from the 5th Edition rules as possible into a fun and playable module, and it succeeds to an astounding degree.
There's a lot of fun for both the players and the DM when entering areas affected by the mind fog, where characters can be possessed by entirely new personalities!
Props have to be given to this adventure for putting a Forgotten Realms twist on a classic story. While part of a caravan in the deserts of Zakhara, the party comes across three camel-riding sages looking for a new king to be born during a planar convergence marked by celestial signs. If you've ever wanted to run a Christmas adventure where you battle planar monstrosities and wrestle with mummies, then get on downloading already!
Are you planning on running any of these killer free D&D/Pathfinder adventure modules with your gaming group? Let us know how it goes in the comments below, and be sure to drop us a line with your recommendations for other adventures we should add to the list!
Of course, tabletop gaming has a lot more to offer than just what Paizo and Wizards of the Coast are selling. If your group prefers a different kind of game, you can find 12 more phenomenal free modules from a wider range of roleplaying systems by heading over here.