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5E [SPOILERS] Extending Waterdeep: Dragon Heist

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
So I started and completed a game of Waterdeep Dragon Heist, but my players wanted to return to the city as they enjoyed playing in that urban sprawl.

As someone who doesn't have the time to develop my own homebrew campaign, but still wants to continue the threads of adventure from the original book, I've begun developing a "stretched-out Dragon Heist" that extends the adventure into something much longer, up into higher levels, by using other adventures already released and integrating it with Dragon Heist's content.

Why don't you just have them play Dungeon of the Mage Mage?

Although DotMM is intended to be played after Dragon Heist, and the leveling aligns, the style of game is very different, with much less emphasis on story and much more on hack-and-slash dungeon delving. There's nothing wrong with that, but it can be a big shift in style from the Heist and is not fun for some players. This "extension" is meant to keep a balance between combat and roleplaying, and has much closer ties to the characters and events from Dragon Heist.

How is this different from the Alexandrian Remix?
The Alexandrian Remix is a way of running Dragon Heist so that instead of running one of the four villains, your players face them all in different ways, alternating. Although the remix is great, I find it can make the adventure overly complicated and does not extend the adventure much past level 5. This "extension" is meant to run Dragon Heist first as normal with one villain, and then runs a second villain, then a third, then the last, one after the other with their own story, gradually picking up in difficulty as well.

Have you run this? Is it tested?
I'm currently running the game now, and will be updating this thread with my results and any complications that may arrive. If you have questions about my plans, feel free to ask!

Overall Outline
Part One: The Cassalanters and the Dragon Heist

The Cassalanters are the best villains to start with for three reasons. First is that they are the weakest villains in combined aggressiveness and combat, meaning that they are less likely to flat out kill a party in a direct meeting, either because other villains are just stronger, and because they are more likely to negotiate. Second is that the Cassalanters are the newest developed villains in the lore, having less material built around them in AL material, fiction and others. Third is there is one very good one-shot that can be run with the Cassalanters in mind in chapter 2 of Dragon Heist.

For the most part, Part One should follow Dragon Heist as written with the Cassalanters in mind, though I made these changes that can make the adventure more fun;
  • Run the mini-adventure Winter's Splendor in chapter 2 of Dragon Heist. It is free and can be found as a PDF in a google search. It is great as it introduces the Cassalanters to the party, but doesn't truly reveal they're the villains. It's also the first introduction of the devils in the game.
  • After the party finds the Vault of Nerverwinter's gold, when the villains are about to ambush the party, add the Victoro and Ammalia to the group attacking. This will likely mean the PCs lose the fight, but if they do have the Cassalanters let them live, as repayment for saving their daughter in Winter's Splendor. This will allow the Cassalanters to take the gold from the Vault and begin their ritual and party, which the PCs can then attempt to foil.

Part Two: Jarlaxle Baenre and the Umbral Aristocracy (in process)
Jarlaxle Baenre is the second villain, as he is stronger in combat than the Cassalanters, but maintains an unwillingness to kill the PC's at first meeting. This section of adventures is tied around the AL adventures the Umbral Aristocracy, a collection of three adventures that heavily feature the Drow under Jarlaxle. Because the party will be fighting at level 5 however instead of 1-4, here are some changes you need to make;

The Map with No Names
  • Replace the bandits in the basement with 6 thugs, 6 spies.
  • Replace the mimic in Blegor's secret room with 3 trappers.
  • Make Ravik a duergar spy, and replace his gang with 3 duergar. Replace the men that interrupt that fight with 1 bandit captain and 5 spies.
  • Make Dalia a werewolf, and replace her gang with 6 wererats.
  • Make Gath a werebear, and replace his items with 2 rugs of smothering and 2 guardian portraits.

Part Three: Manshoon and the Folded Time

Part Four: Xanathar and the Skullport Shakedown

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