My introduction to 4E came through the Red Box, which naturally led to the Essentials line. Many other new DMs might do the same, so reading my reflections on running the adventures presented in the Essentials products might be useful. I’ve listed the adventures the order that I ran them.
Red Box – “The Twisted Halls”
This adventure is quite open in nature with plenty of opportunities for role playing and exploration. I found it somewhat difficult to prepare for due to its scope, but it’s still quite amazing. Between the two books, this adventure took my group from level 2 all the way to level 4.
By far, this was my favorite of all the Essentials products adventures. It has a truly epic first encounter, followed by a well-constructed old-fashioned dungeon delve. After defeating the Winter King, the party moved from level 4 to level 5.
Technically, this adventure isn’t branded as an Essentials product, but it may as well be. You could easily take a 5th level party fresh from the Winter King adventure to this one and run it with few if any problems. Gardmore Abbey is a fantastic adventure, more like a campaign setting of its own, and all 4E DMs should find something useful here.