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5E DM Advice needed Re Waterdeep


Hi all, I generally run premade adventures and APs and am no good with homebrew, though I can allow the party off book. Often by switching into something else or borrowing levels in another adventure module.
I have run Princes of the Apocalypse to the conclusion and because the players wanted to continue to higher levels I had Halaster kidnap them and dump then in the lower levels of Undermountain.
After a few session tromping around in Undermountain, they have rescued some halfling travelling band and are taking them back to the surface. They are now at level 1 of Undermountain.

So what I need:

A reason for them to come back to Undermountain. I have been thinking of involving them in the machinations of the Shadowdusk family (Level 22 - DotMM) but I need more info in Waterdeep. So is Waterdeep: Dragon Heist worth it as a gazetteer. If not, what other source material on Waterdeep would you recommend and are there any other high level adventures you guys would recommend.?
Fantasygrounds compatible would be ideal and I am willing to consider converting from older editions.

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Small God of the Dozens
DHW does provide a pretty good set of info, and a ton of good adventure hooks that can easily be used outside the DH adventure narrative. It also includes Volo's Waterdeep Enchiridion, which is neat guide to WD written 'in-character' so to speak for the PCs. That said, I also have a ton of additional 3PP material that I use to paper over some of the cracks in the AP. Stuff I've used a bunch:

Here's to Crime - A Guide to Capers and Heists
Waterdeep City Encounters
Dragon Heist: Waterdeep Complete DMs Bundle
Durnan's Guide to Taverkeeping

That last one is super cool if you want to use owning a Tavern as a homebase. All the above are pretty specific to running heists and intrigue stuff and fleshing out DHW. From older editions, the obvious answer is City System.


If the players aren't interested in the Undermountain - have the mountain take an interest in them. :devilish: Their rescue has caught the eye of a malevolent power that sends some minions to tag the players magically somehow (which they have the opportunity to thwart or detect)...


The 3e hardcover Waterdeep: City of Splendors provided me a sidequest during Rise of Tiamat: one noble house stole another house's griffon-riding gear (250 years ago!?) and as part of buffing up Waterdeep's defenses against flying foes they need every rider they can get.
This was another of the 'book of 1001 plot hooks' that 3e did so nicely.


You could run dragon heist for a change of pace (it's quite a fun change of style from a typocal AP) but have the dragon hoard held in the lower levels of the dungeon.

Personally I'd look into the backstories of the players if you know them, and create some clues that something they are looking for or something tied to their past is also connected to the dungeon somehow. They can be different levels and reasons, and the clues can be scattered through a number of sessions so it seems to come about organically.

The main thing is to give the characters (and players) an interest in devling into the deep levels and finding whats there.


Dragon Heist is a great way to give your PCs a Tavern or Inn to call home as a base of operations. Combine that with Acquisition Incorporated and you got the base keeping and position filling covered.


High level is difficult to adjust on the fly and find things in print you can use. You could always take elemental revenge and throw the remaining elemental aspects at them, after they burn/flood/destroy half the city looking for them.


Thanks to everyone for their responses. Dragon Heist seems like worth getting from the responses and there have been some good DMGuild recommendations.

My current thoughts is to get some of the suggested material and do some reading. I am thinking of going with the Shadowdusk angle but I need a way to bait the hooks. Hence the homework :cautious:

Dragon Heist is a great way to give your PCs a Tavern or Inn to call home as a base of operations. Combine that with Acquisition Incorporated and you got the base keeping and position filling covered.
Well they already have a base in the Sumber Hill at Riverguard Keep. I have also been thinking of spawning off a lower level party, with the current PC becoming the quest givers.

So finally, are there any other adventure modules, even from Pathfinder or other editions of D&D that people would recommend for hight level play? Thanks again everyone

The 1e product, Waterdeep and the North (available at RPG Drive Thru) is still an excellent source of inspiration regarding Waterdeep. At the bare minimum, the list of Noble Families and seeing how much the city has changed over the years, is useful.

Volo’s Guide to Waterdeep, (also available on RPG Drive Thru), is great for getting the feel of Waterdeep’s infamous Alleys, and as a repository of names and inspiration.

Politics wise, don’t be afraid to break some eggs, and change things.

Having Halaster be more active in the City Above is a great start.

Perhaps, the Lord’s of Waterdeep, have been actively suppressing information about Halaster for centuries.

Perhaps, a centuries old alliance between Laeral Silverhair, and Artor Morlin, the Baron of Blood, has been arrayed against Halaster for all this time.

Perhaps, Mirt the Moneyleander is immortal because Mirt is a Vampire, and the mouthpiece of Artor Morlin on the council.

Perhaps, the Death Tyrant beholder, that is on it’s own level in the Underhalls, is the original Xanathar. The subsequent Xanathar beholders have been created by Halaster, through his Robe of Eyes.

The Xanathar Guild works for Halaster. Only the dwarf majordomo of the X-guild knows this.

Perhaps, Durnan of the Yawning Portal is a Curst (a person cursed with immortality, tied to Undermountain. If they die, the Curst painfully reform bodily in the Underhalls).
The Yawning Portal is as far as Durnan can go into the city above.

Perhaps, Halaster reads Durnan’s mind regularly, making the Yawning Portal one source of information regarding Adventurers, for Halaster.

Perhaps, Halaster has placed enough sleeper agents into the Blackstaff academy, (agents trained in the magic arts at the Academy in Undermountain), to have turned the Blackstaff orginzation against Laeral. Does Safar know of this?

Manshoon is a wild card.

Perhaps, a portion of Waterdeep is drawn into Avernus, and you can power up the opposition and run some of that module.....

......Make the city your own, and do not be afraid to break things or PC characters in the process.😉
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