D&D 5E In an adventure called Dragon Heist I want only two things...

Coroc

Hero
well don't judge a book by its cover they say...

i would have difficulties to run it, since silver is my standard currency in high medieval campaigns (did not read it, but upthread some 1 wrote about gold coins)
 

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ccs

41st lv DM
Wait, it doesn't have anything to do with either? Glad I don't buy WoTC adventures.

It does.
A "Dragon" is a GP minted in Waterdeep.
A lot of them have been stolen in the adventures backstop.
Now clues to the hoards location have been found & 4 BBEG groups are trying to re-steal them. The pcs are also in on the search/trying to stop that.
And there IS a dragon (monster) involved at the end....
 

jgsugden

Legend
It does.
A "Dragon" is a GP minted in Waterdeep.
A lot of them have been stolen in the adventures backstop.
Now clues to the hoards location have been found & 4 BBEG groups are trying to re-steal them. The pcs are also in on the search/trying to stop that.
And there IS a dragon (monster) involved at the end....
Spoilers - but there are two dragons in the adventure - if you follow some paths.

I agree that the name of the adventure and the experience of the adventure are not well aligned. I would have called it, "Waterdeep: Hunt for the Golden Dragons", but what can you do?

The adventure makes a lot of assumptions and puts the PCs on a series of tracks. They are steamrolled to follow those tracks to completion, with some background information available to allow the DM to take them off the track for a bit. However, the big problem is that Waterdeep is such a massive city, there is either a lot of potential ways to wander away from the main plotline and never return, or it feels like the PCs are tied down by the DM and not allowed to freely role play living in the city, depending upon what the DM does.

In an environment, I think you're better off with:

1.) One session adventures that can be resolved fully within a single day.
2.) Things that grow out of the background of the PCs so that they're all invested.

A money hunt just doesn't do it.
 

Retreater

Legend
Also, as someone currently DMing this, I cannot imagine how tedious and terrible roleplaying the planning of a campaign-long Heist would be. Unless you used mechanics like what is used in Blades in the Dark (in which case, why are you even playing D&D).
 

moriantumr

Explorer
I ran Dragon Heist for an AL table all the way through. We all had fun despite the fact that AL had some severe limitations, especially for this adventure, had 7 players, and only one of those players really is not a murderhobo. I had to do a lot more prep to make sure I was well ahead of the story, but it was both fun and engaging for my self and the players. They enjoyed both interactions with dragons, learned a bit about waterdeep, and tried hard to not get thrown in jail while acquiring things to make their new inn successful.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Spoilers - but there are two dragons in the adventure - if you follow some paths.

We just met a "friendly" dragon underwater.

He had gold in a sunken ship. Possibly quite a bit of it. And he just made a deal (through us) to gain even more gold by controlling the weather over the city.

Don't think it has not crossed our mind to heist his treasure!
 

pukunui

Legend
Yeah, they really blew the marketing on this one. Not just the name but the tag line, which claims the gold is yours for the taking ... except it’s not really because the adventure is quite heavy-handed about making sure the PCs obey the law and giving the money back to the city is the expected action should the PCs manage to get their hands on it.

A more accurate description of the adventure would be that it’s about stopping the chosen BBEG from pulling off a heist of the gold.

... but that would remove their agency and feel really streamrollered. I would not have been a fan.
Considering that the adventure already removes agency and heavily railroads the players (see what happens if the PCs get the macguffin “too early”), I’m not sure that one more railroady bit would make that much difference.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I mean, yeah, it's not a hard concept. It's not a hard campaign to design, conceptually, but I guess sometimes you design the campaign first and come up with kinda-bizarrely-misleading title for it later.

The titles are actually one of the last parts they finish with these books, oddly enough.
 


G

Guest 6801328

Guest
WotC editor: "So, I read your draft. It's presented as a sandbox, but it's really one of four different railroads. Where are the plot twists, surprises, or really anything interesting?"

WotC writer: "Because we're going to call it 'Dragon Heist'. Players will be blown away when they realize 'dragon' refers to a coin, and that the heist happened a long time ago."

WotC editor: (long pause)

WotC writer (nervously): "Get it?"

WotC editor: "This is genius."
 




The mistake here is that they used a name that implies something more appealing than the actual adventure.

That's just a no-no. The same goes with cover art. Never make the cover better than the book!

There's a 1977 movie called Sorcerer. As a fantasy fan in the 80s, when I saw that in the TV Guide my eyes lit up. Then I read the description and discovered it was about a vehicle filled with nitroglycerin, and not a fantasy movie at all. I might have randomly watched it if it were called Nitro Heist, but call it Sorcerer, a title that promises the rare (at the time) treat of a fantasy movie, without delivering on that, and you've lost me.

Expectations can be huge, and this is a serious marketing botch.
 

I've run it three times. You never quite get the "heist", because D&D doesn't do that sort of structure well. (Planning an operation first? Have you seen what players are like?)

It's an adventure with a lot of cool ideas that don't mesh together that well. You're best to expand the ideas that entertain you and your players and let the others fade into the background. In my recent play-though (more on which on my blog), I spent a LOT of time building up faction missions and less on the heist - and the tavern was ignored entirely.

Cheers!

Why not?
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Why is called 'Heist' if there's no heist?!
There’s kind of a heist, if you really stretch the definition of the term. There’s a large sum of embezzlers dragons hidden in the city and several factions want to find it before the others. It’s really more of a race to the money than a heist. Less Oceans Eleven, more It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World.
 

Because to many players "plan" is a swear word, never to be uttered and even moreso never to be done. :)

Our players must be from different planets. I had to "impose a suggestion" that players do some of their planning between sessions so we could accomplish more during sessions. Otherwise, they used to spend 20-30 minutes arguing about whether to check out the the Forge of Solid Flame or the Ruins of the Water Goddess - or whether to ally with the Duke of Aubry or his son Percy of Stanwark in the upcoming battle of Calippy Hill.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
The mistake here is that they used a name that implies something more appealing than the actual adventure.

That's just a no-no. The same goes with cover art. Never make the cover better than the book!

There's a 1977 movie called Sorcerer. As a fantasy fan in the 80s, when I saw that in the TV Guide my eyes lit up. Then I read the description and discovered it was about a vehicle filled with nitroglycerin, and not a fantasy movie at all. I might have randomly watched it if it were called Nitro Heist, but call it Sorcerer, a title that promises the rare (at the time) treat of a fantasy movie, without delivering on that, and you've lost me.

Expectations can be huge, and this is a serious marketing botch.
Murder in Baldur’s Gate has a similar problem. It’s a good adventure, but it’s not a murder mystery, and the title makes it sound like one, which sets the audience up for disappointment.
 

Perun

Mushroom
I've run it three times. You never quite get the "heist", because D&D doesn't do that sort of structure well. (Planning an operation first? Have you seen what players are like?)

Planning, IME, is something the players always do. It's sticking to the plans that's difficult. Not having much to do with the WotC adventure, but my party is stationed in Waterdeep, and we have previously killed a red dragon whose mum (an Ancient Red) found out we're the guilty party, along with our dwarven cleric's name, so she figured the best way to get at us was to attack the city and demand we be handed over. Luckily, we weren't in Waterdeep at that time, but once we came back, we had a lot of explaining to do, and were basically railroaded by the lords of the city to deal with the mommy dragon (or die trying). Through various resources we found out that she, although as evil as any red dragon, has really strong bonds with her children (and, presumably further descendants), and that she's been known to sometimes be open to the idea of negotiations (we're desperate enough to try that, even though our previous encounter didn't really end well). So we come up with this great plan to reach her volcano master lair (we know she's currently residing somewhere on the Sword Coast, whilst looking for us), not (and this is the important bit) kill any dragons found there but just gather what information we can, so we'd increase our chances of parleying with her. So we teleport to Elversult, locate the volcano, track there, see some dragons, and estimate the location of the lair. Whilst tracking to the lair, we are surprised by two young reds, several wyverns, and two chimeras. It's at that moment that we collectively forgot our entire plan, and began fighting. One red managed to withdraw, but we expended some resources to blast it happily away. Then we noticed another group of dragons and/or dragon-like creatures approaching, and we managed to hide the body of that last dragon (the entire battle was happening in a ravine/canyon with an overhang, so it's difficult to spot anything from above, and our druid polymorphed into a giant ape to grab the body and toss it in the canyon). Now we plan to continue onwards, pretending not to know anything about any dead dragons. It simply has to go well (like all our other plans). My character is the group's leader, who occasionally suffers from bouts of sanity, so I've no doubt of the success :p
 

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