The Best One-Shots for High-Level Characters in 5e DnD

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition is known for its creativity and openness for player expression in the tabletop genre. Campaigns and the stories within can be incredibly specific or quite open with how much is covered for the players. 

However, campaigns are also long and require large amounts of time commitment from both players and the Dungeon Master. In this case, many players opt to take breaks from their main stories and experience shorter, more enclosed adventures known as one-shots

One-shots give everyone a chance to try a new role, from DMing for the first time to trying out a new class or multiclass combination. For beginner players, entry-level one-shots are great for learning the rules and flow of play as well as for springboarding into a campaign later on. For experienced players, one-shots offer a chance to play a high-level character and limit-test their capabilities in a shorter session with less risk attached. 

In this article, we will cover the best one-shots for high-level characters in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, allowing you to decide what type of unforgettable adventure you would like to experience. 

1. To the End of Time

From the start of the adventure, as soon as players step into this temporal tapestry, a complex, mind-bending experience begins to unfold. “To the End of Time” weaves together a tale of time itself unraveling, creating a setting where the past, present, and future intertwine into a mesmerizing puzzle. 

This one-shot is great for players that want their strategic acumen and inventive thinking challenged. Combat and puzzles alike will be challenging, making this adventure great for anywhere between levels 15 through 20, as heroes will navigate a reality suspended beyond time’s grasp. They will grapple with temporal puzzles, explore echoes of the past and future, and ultimately confront a formidable anomaly threatening to shatter existence. 

Dungeon Masters will also be able to interact with the narrative layers of “To the End of Time” to create an unforgettable journey, elevating this adventure to the upper echelon of high-level one-shots. 

2. The Lich-Queen’s Begotten 

“The Lich-Queen’s Begotten” unveils a realm shrouded in darkness, where the rule of an undying sovereign casts an ominous pallor. This one-shot thrusts heroes into a kingdom ensnared by the tendrils of an all-powerful lich queen.

The appeal of this adventure rests in its potent blend of grim atmosphere, strategic intrigue, and a battle against the ultimate harbinger of undeath. As adventurers rally resistance forces, infiltrate the lich-queen’s citadel, and wage a battle for the realm’s very soul, they weave a tale of defiance and liberation. It is this dance between darkness and hope that cements “The Lich-Queen’s Begotten” as a quintessential high-level experience.

One-Shots for High-Level Characters in 5e

3. To Wake the Leviathan

Among the finest maritime odysseys, “To Wake the Leviathan” stands tall as a testament to the grandeur of high-level one-shots. Within the coastal realm it presents, an ancient leviathan stirs from slumber, signaling an impending cataclysm. This adventure captures the essence of nautical adventure, as heroes navigate treacherous waters, uncover forgotten rituals, and confront guardians of the deep. 

The allure of “To Wake the Leviathan” lies not only in its maritime majesty but in its exploration of the balance between humankind and nature’s primal forces. The epic scale of the quest, coupled with the awe-inspiring challenge, positions this one-shot among the pinnacles of high-level D&D play.

4. Vault of the Time Keepers: Temporal Paradox

With a recommended level of 18-20, “Vault of the Time Keepers” is truly a challenging one-shot to experience. Similar to “To the End of Time” but with a touch of authoritarian characters, this adventure takes place within a sanctum where the fate of time itself will be decided.

If themes of time manipulation, paradoxes, the flow of history, and overthrowing or joining a dictatorship interest your players, then consider this mind-bending, time-turning adventure full of puzzles and deadly encounters. 

5. The Fall of Cyrog

“The Fall of Cyrog” paints a vivid canvas of a city on the brink of ruin, a realm under the yoke of a tyrant’s grasp. A saga of liberation and vengeance lies within its boundaries, inviting heroes to topple a despotic regime. 

The allure of this one-shot emanates from its resonance with themes of heroism, sacrifice, and the unyielding spirit of resistance. As adventurers navigate the perilous path to dethrone the oppressor and ignite the flames of rebellion, they forge a legacy that echoes through the annals of high-level legends.

6. Ruins of Hisari

“Ruins of Hisari” beckons heroes to an ancient city cloaked in mystery and cloistered secrets. Within its crumbling walls, a tapestry of history and enigma awaits discovery. The appeal of this one-shot springs from its profound engagement with exploration and uncovering the past’s veiled truths. 

As adventurers decipher arcane puzzles, confront ancestral guardians, and breathe life into forgotten narratives, they weave a tale of resurrection and reclamation. It is this intertwining of past and present, knowledge and oblivion, that marks “Ruins of Hisari” as an exemplar of high-level intrigue.

7. Chronicles of the Celestial Convergence: Ascendant Trials

In the “Chronicles of the Celestial Convergence,” heroes are chosen by a variety of celestial patrons to participate in the Ascendant Trials- a series of challenges that determine the fate of the cosmos. Players will navigate through divine realms, outwit celestial adversaries, and prove their worthiness to reshape reality itself. 

Featuring a tournament-style run, Dungeon Masters can choose whether or not players face moral dilemmas with each victory or wait until the final encounter to reveal any twists in the plot that might be created based on previous decisions. Split between levels 15 through 20, these Ascendant Trials will allow players multiple opportunities to flex and play with powers normally unavailable to them in main campaigns. 

One-Shots for High-Level Characters

8. Scarab of Death

Within the sands of “Scarab of Death” lies a realm steeped in the allure of ancient Egypt and the chilling embrace of undeath. Heroes embark on a quest to quell the rising tide of the mummy lord’s power and uncover the secrets of a malevolent scarab amulet. The appeal of this adventure is rooted in its fusion of atmospheric setting, thematic exploration, and confrontation with an embodiment of eternal dread. 

As adventurers navigate the shifting sands, decipher hieroglyphic puzzles, and confront the avatar of death itself, they weave a tale of valor and mortality that epitomizes high-level D&D experiences.

9. Murder in Thay

“Murder in Thay” presents an intricate web of intrigue, treachery, and arcane machinations within the oppressive realm of Thay. Within its confines, heroes are drawn into a labyrinthine plot of assassination and betrayal. The allure of this adventure emanates from its multifaceted narrative, which engages players with intricate political maneuvering, exploration of sinister strongholds, and the unraveling of forbidden secrets. 

As adventurers delve into the heart of Thay’s darkness, navigate the shifting allegiances, and confront sinister cabals, they weave a tale of espionage and subterfuge that embodies the essence of high-level intrigue.

10. Annihilation Hold

“Annihilation Hold” casts a shadow of impending doom, as heroes confront the relentless advance of a world-shattering force. This one-shot thrusts adventurers into the crucible of battle, where they must defend a bastion against an overwhelming onslaught. The allure of this adventure lies in its embodiment of heroic sacrifice, unwavering valor, and the clash of titanic forces. 

As players rally defenders, strategize against insurmountable odds, and face a cataclysmic foe, they etch a tale of defiance and destiny that captures the quintessence of high-level heroism.

11. The Mage Tower

“The Mage Tower” stands as a testament to the allure of arcane mystique and the boundless power of magic. This one-shot thrusts heroes into a tower of enchantment, wherein each chamber presents a tantalizing conundrum of magic and mechanics. 

The allure of this adventure lies in its celebration of intellectual prowess, magical mastery, and the thrill of discovery. As adventurers unravel the tower’s arcane enigmas, outwit its formidable constructs, and unearth the treasures of mystic knowledge, they forge a tale of wits and wonder that resonates with the essence of high-level intrigue.

Conclusion on best 5e one shots for high levels

This wraps up our picks for the best high-level one-shots in Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition. Each of these legendary adventures can compete for the title of “best” one-shot; however, they all offer unique elements of play that work better for some tables than others. For example, if your group is more interested in combat, then the Ascendant Trials or Annihilation Hold are great picks, but if your group wants to solve puzzles, then either of the time-themed one-shots will support this endeavor. 

Dungeon Masters can freely alter any of these adventures as they see fit as well, allowing them to work with existing campaigns or as springboards into new campaigns.  An example of this falls under the Ascendant Trials, in which players can be allowed to craft a universe how they see fit, then play a full-length campaign within that universe, allowing Ascendant Trials to act as a prequel while still giving the decisions impact. 

Overall, these one-shots provide both players and Dungeon Masters a chance to express themselves in ways normally unavailable in lower-level stories. Choose your favorites and may your dice rolls be favorable.