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D&D 5E Waterdeep: Dragon Heist - Which Season is the Best Story Arc? [Spoilers]

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I heavily edited the campaign, taking a lot of inspiration from the Alexandrian Remix and thus using all the four villains. The group is currently 9th level and we're approaching the conclusion. So far, we had a blast, but I didn't like too much the module as written.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Add all four groups to chapter one and two then see which the players find most engaging. Write chapter 3 around that using the best of the encounters.

Whoever you don’t use, fold them into later Waterdeep adventures.

I want to do a Dragon Heist/Dungeon of the Mad Mage mash up, with Curse of the crimson throne and the Ubersreik Adventures series. It’s going to follow my Rise of the Runelords/Eberron mash up that should draw to a close in six months or so.
 

I heavily edited the campaign, taking a lot of inspiration from the Alexandrian Remix and thus using all the four villains. The group is currently 9th level and we're approaching the conclusion. So far, we had a blast, but I didn't like too much the module as written.
I basically did the same thing.

I took inspiration from the Alexandrian Remix, ran multiple villains simultaneously, and modified all the villains to match the characters' backstories.

We're 32 sessions in, the characters are 7th level, and we're having a blast. I anticipate having this wrapped up in about 50 sessions.

(Our sessions are about 2 hours long.)
 

collin

Explorer
I also used the Alexandrian remix, coupled with placing the entire adventure in Eberron - Sharn instead of FR - Waterdeep. A LOT OF PREP WORK - but honestly, it worked better than the adventure as written and in hindsight I would not have done it any different. If you are going to run the adventure as written, then I would choose either the Spring - Xanathar route or the Winter - Manshoon path. Regardless, I highly recommend getting some of the good resources on DM's Guild that help you to run the adventure.
 
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Hussar

Legend
There is another point to remember here. This was supposed to be a two-parter campaign - Dragon Heist followed up by Undermountain. How much time do you want to spend on levels 1-5? Do you want this to be a major element of the campaign, or, more or less, the prelude leading up to the main course of Dungeons of the Mad Mage? Dragon Heist is only supposed to go from levels 1-5 - basically grounding the group in Waterdeep, probably introducing some of the movers and shakers of the setting, and serving as a starting point for delving into DotMM.

From that perspective, expanding out Dragon Heist probably isn't that necessary. Levels 1-5 are pretty quick, and, other than tying the players into the setting, there really isn't a whole lot else needed here. Having the different factions play a bigger role in DotMM, with the different factions all pursuing different and often conflicting goals means that the PC's can continue to be engaged in the Waterdeep end of things while still doing DotMM.

Or, conversely, you can certainly turn Dragon Heist into an entire campaign on its own, but, that's going to take a LOT more work.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
The problem is that it's not even a good segway, because the two parts are actually completely disjointed, but mostly because the ambiance is supposed to be completely different. For example, I have zero interest in a mega dungeon, but I love city adventures, and there are certainly people who feel the other way around. For me, DotMM was never an option, while for some other people, DH would hold no interest. But DH is really badly done, on top of it all...

Finally, consider the fact that most people never play beyond level 10, if any, which means that, actually, DH would be a major, if not the only part of most campaigns...
 

Hussar

Legend
Oh not really disagreeing. If you have zero interest in DotMM then sure it will be an issue.

Although Heist as it is would be a really short campaign. Five levels isn’t a whole lot of a campaign. Particularly the first five levels.

I didn’t find Heist to be a bad module in itself though. It was fun and did what it was supposed to do - ground players in Waterdeep.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
There is another point to remember here. This was supposed to be a two-parter campaign - Dragon Heist followed up by Undermountain. How much time do you want to spend on levels 1-5? Do you want this to be a major element of the campaign, or, more or less, the prelude leading up to the main course of Dungeons of the Mad Mage? Dragon Heist is only supposed to go from levels 1-5 - basically grounding the group in Waterdeep, probably introducing some of the movers and shakers of the setting, and serving as a starting point for delving into DotMM.

From that perspective, expanding out Dragon Heist probably isn't that necessary. Levels 1-5 are pretty quick, and, other than tying the players into the setting, there really isn't a whole lot else needed here. Having the different factions play a bigger role in DotMM, with the different factions all pursuing different and often conflicting goals means that the PC's can continue to be engaged in the Waterdeep end of things while still doing DotMM.

Or, conversely, you can certainly turn Dragon Heist into an entire campaign on its own, but, that's going to take a LOT more work.
Yes, agreed. Personally, I had no interest (for this campaign) in going to DotMM and thus DH has become a 10 level campaign.
 

tolcreator

Explorer
I also ran the Alexandrian Remix with a few edits, and a few side trips to the countryside to run some stuff from the Essentials Kit / Lost mine of phandelver.
This was the best campaign I ever ran, and I've been running for 30 years, I can't thank TheAlexandrian enough. An absolutely wonderful sandbox. The additional material I pulled in from essentials kit/ lost mine was to help foreshadow the dragon in the vault... they find dragon cultists (instead of redbrand ruffians) in Phandalin, and find that Neverember had been here before, and "slew" a purple dragon here, which had been kept captive by the cult. But no body is found...
The party ended up finding the vault before they found the stone of Galorr, and instead of slaying the dragon and taking the treasure, they befriended the dragon, and then took steps to ensure that none of the villains found it.
Edit: To answer the OP's question, while we did all 4 villains, I think Jarlaxle was the most fun, with the PCs running around after drow elf spies, having fun at the fair, infiltrating the ships, befriending the dragon, etc. They ended up hooking the bronze dragon up with the purple dragon from the vault.
 

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Cassalanters. They add a time element and actual event (they're sacrifice party) you can use at the end that better concludes the adventure compared to the other villains.

Plus, they can be split up and make actual enemies to fight, compared to the others who will wreck a level 5 party.
 

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