D&D 5E Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Post-Mortem (Spoilers)


log in or register to remove this ad

ZehirDisciple

Explorer
Monte Cook's Ptolus has recently been updated to 5e. I used it in 3rd edition, and it was a great setting with a lot of opportunities for adventure. IIRC, there are only a couple pre-written adventures, so the DM will need to augment it with original content.
If your DM doesn't mind conversion, I really enjoyed The Shackled City (from 3.5, the first Adventure Path by Paizo, in Dungeon Magazine and later published as a standalone hardcover).
Thanks! He has a lot of Dungeon mags so I will suggest the Shackled City.
 

ZehirDisciple

Explorer
I really liked the City part at the start of Tomb of Annihilation. It can easily be buffed to do the equivalent of WD-DH (level up to 5), especially if the characters do some forays in the jungle and come back to the city (this requires not putting too much time pressure on the Death Curse).

Same for the Baldur's Gate part of Descent into Avernus, easy to complete and transform into a real city adventure, and get the characters a bit more prepared for Avernus (which I've extended to level 20 anyway).

And the same for the parts in the cities of Odyssey of the Dragonlords, in particular Mytros, had a really good sandbox here that lasted many sessions, freeing minotaurs from slavery, the "olympic" games, etc.

As you can see, we love city adventures and try to get the best of what we have. This is for official adventures, after that, there are probably a few good third party ones, and I'd like to hear about them too. I think Bard's Gate might be good.
I am pretty sure he has all three of those. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

ZehirDisciple

Explorer
As others have noted, Dragon Heist can be made into a great campaign -- but it has to be modified. You can't play it straight out of the book. The Alexandrian Remix (google it) is probably the best online resource for how to modify the adventure. I'm running a remixed Dragon Heist right now and loving it.
I will not! No spoilers for me!
Building on what Retreater said, Ptolus is the king of urban campaign settings. Regarding adventures, there are about 5 or 6 published adventures -- certainly enough to cobble together a campaign. The best of them is The Banewarrens. In the adventure, multiple evil factions discover and explore a lost dungeon that's a vault for evil artifacts -- and the players have to stop them. It's a perfect blend of dungeon crawl and urban adventure. I've been wanting to run the Banewarrens for years -- and now I finally am. We're 13 sessions in. It's going great so far. (Note that Banewarrens was originally designed for 4th - 10th level characters in 3E, but it's easy to convert to 5E and even scale it down to 1st level characters.)

I'll also put in a vote for Shackled City. I've not played it, but it I own the hardcover and it has some great stuff.

Expedition to the Ruins of Greyhawk from 3E has some good stuff for urban campaigns, and could be paired well with the Age of Worms adventure path.
Another vote for Shackled City! I will definitely have to recommend it! Thanks!
 

TheSword

Legend
I will not! No spoilers for me!

Another vote for Shackled City! I will definitely have to recommend it! Thanks!
Just be aware, that even though it is a city adventure, it is primarily dungeon crawling. The first adventure in particular is two massive dungeons. It’s not bad and some of the higher level adventures move away from that to smaller locations. That’s what put me off running it though. I want something tighter in a city adventure. Though it could be a nice contrast with more city based hijinks. A bit like Undermountain is a foil to waterdeep.
 


Retreater

Legend
If I was going to run Shackled City I would definitely take a scalpel to many of the dungeons (and ramp up the city intrigue).
True. Most D&D adventures from the 3.x and onward era have way too many encounters. Especially when you have Adventure Paths that have to get X number of battles to level up to continue the story.
For me, I think the concept of milestone XP has been the biggest game-changer since getting rid of THAC0 and descending AC. Pick out the most important/interesting fights, fill out the rest of the sessions with story, intrigue, and world-building. Keep the pace fast enough so groups don't lose interest, forget about their motivations, or stretch believability.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
True. Most D&D adventures from the 3.x and onward era have way too many encounters.

Honestly, that was true before, in almost every module ever published by any company. Just as an example, but the dungeon which is the core of DL1 - Dragons of Despair has about 40 locations, a large part of which are encounters, and most uninteresting with groups of Draconians, most of the same kind.

Especially when you have Adventure Paths that have to get X number of battles to level up to continue the story.

True, even the best AP have huge dungeons on top of their intrigue, to satisfy people who like these on top of the XP need.

For me, I think the concept of milestone XP has been the biggest game-changer since getting rid of THAC0 and descending AC. Pick out the most important/interesting fights, fill out the rest of the sessions with story, intrigue, and world-building. Keep the pace fast enough so groups don't lose interest, forget about their motivations, or stretch believability.

It's a good point, and the way we've been playing AP has always been that way, with the players looking in any case for ways to bypass guard areas and protective complexes, and the DM helping them along the way.
 

ZehirDisciple

Explorer
Just be aware, that even though it is a city adventure, it is primarily dungeon crawling. The first adventure in particular is two massive dungeons. It’s not bad and some of the higher level adventures move away from that to smaller locations. That’s what put me off running it though. I want something tighter in a city adventure. Though it could be a nice contrast with more city based hijinks. A bit like Undermountain is a foil to waterdeep.
Thank you that is good to know! I was definitely looking for a city adventure, not dungeon + city adventure.
 

Retreater

Legend
Thank you that is good to know! I was definitely looking for a city adventure, not dungeon + city adventure.
Not to try to sound gate-keepey, but most Dungeons and Dragons adventures are going to have dungeon-like structures as a big focus. Have you thought about looking at a different system (Blades in the Dark) to get inspiration? Perhaps you can convert some of that content to D&D? If nothing else, seeing how adventures are constructed in a game focused on urban intrigue might help design future adventures in D&D.
 

TheSword

Legend
If you want to scatter some vignettes into a city adventure I do think WFRP does things very well.

It feels like a great deal, if not most, of their adventure writing happens in Urban areas.

In particular Ubersreik Adventures 1 and 2, Shadows over Bogenhafen, Power Behind the Throne and the adventures in their starter set.

UA 1 and 2 for instance, includes…

- Bait and Witch - A set of bounty hunters harassing an apothecary to find a corrupt witch hunter
  • Slaughter at Spittlefield - a newly created vampire spreading the plague in a quarantined tenement
  • Deadly Dispatch - a local courier gives the package to a player character by mistake because they share a similar name. It’s full of necromantic components for illegal magic.
  • Double Trouble - A doppleganger is killing and eating it’s way through a noble’s manor house. PCs invited to stay.
  • Grey Mountain Gold - Dwarves try to raise finance for a hoax expedition to claim an old dwarf hold.
  • The Blessings that Drew blood. Three demons that are trapped in mortal forms are trying to influence the murder of priests in the city to regain their status.

The stories and adventures could easily be statted up for 5e.

Thank you that is good to know! I was definitely looking for a city adventure, not dungeon + city adventure.
It might be worth a google image search of Shackled City Maps. It will give you a good idea of the scale of the dungeons and if it fits your expectation. I’m sure most will be thumbnails but should give you an idea.
 

ZehirDisciple

Explorer
Not to try to sound gate-keepey, but most Dungeons and Dragons adventures are going to have dungeon-like structures as a big focus. Have you thought about looking at a different system (Blades in the Dark) to get inspiration? Perhaps you can convert some of that content to D&D? If nothing else, seeing how adventures are constructed in a game focused on urban intrigue might help design future adventures in D&D.
Perhaps you missed it, but I am a player not a DM. We are playing 5e and I was looking for ideas to suggest to my DM. I could suggest that to my DM, but it seems like a bit much to put on him.
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
Perhaps you missed it, but I am a player not a DM. We are playing 5e and I was looking for ideas to suggest to my DM. I could suggest that to my DM, but it seems like a bit much to put on him.

You might still suggest it, if it's the style that you like, it might be the style that he likes as well, and be ready to think about his adventures in a different light, even if based on standard publications. Again, this is what we did for most of the AP that we played through, bypass the heavy dungeons sections through various means (usually trickery).
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top