On September 7, 2018 the next campaign for Wizards of the Coast table top role playing game Dungeons and Dragons was released in friendly neighborhood game stores. Waterdeep: Dragon Heist has players traveling to the popular port town of Waterdeep to uncover a plot involving some of the city’s most influential people. Famed explorer (and struggling author) Volothamp Geddarm meets explorers at the famed Yawning Portal tavern and sets them off on a simple task that will have players tromping through Waterdeep in search of treasure and adventure. With the book just being released this past week, please be aware of spoilers that may pop up in my review! If you don’t care or want to take the risk just keep reading down below!
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Pros and Cons
This adventure first caught my eye during the Stream of Many Eyes event back in June. They used this event to help spread the word for the upcoming adventure and return to Waterdeep by bringing the town itself to life. So many people think of Dungeons and Dragons as just that, a bunch of people in a dungeon fighting a dragon. This adventure returns us back to civilization where players must not only think about who is around them but the city as well. There is an entire legal code that lists the punishments for such things as killing a noble, arson, theft, among so many others. Better watch out for the rogue with sticky fingers in your group, the City Watch is always on their toes.
Many adventures can play out in so many different ways, but Waterdeep: Dragon Heist takes it to a whole new level. Dungeon masters can decide between four different villains to send their players after. Which path you choose depends on what time of year you want your adventure to take place in. For example those who wish to feature Xanathar, the Beholder crime lord, will get to enjoy springtime and those who want to face off against the swashbuckler Jarlaxle Baenre will enjoy the autumn atmosphere. This may not be a big to do with players as they will still be playing through the same content just at different times throughout the campaign. However for dungeon masters who wish to run the story more than once, they can switch things up each time by swapping out the villain and time of year.
For those who are looking for a combat heavy adventure, unfortunately you won’t find it here. While there is combat sprinkled throughout the adventure, it is not the main focus. This adventure is very role playing heavy and depending on how your players feel about role playing can change the atmosphere of a table. To help mix things up a bit, dungeon masters can always adjust fights to add more enemies to heighten the battle. Those playing outside of Adventurers League can also choose to add in spontaneous fights that fit the story line to help liven things up.
Reading through the adventure in order to prepare for my upcoming Adventurers League group to play was a real treat. The story itself is intriguing and only left me wanting to find more information to read. Aside from the adventure itself, the book also contains sections regarding life in Waterdeep as well as story overviews that really help to set the stage. The book also includes several illustrations as well as maps and other information needed to run the adventure. The maps however do not live up to those we have seen in past hard cover adventures. Those who wish to drop some serious cash on the Platinum Edition from Beadle and Grimm’s will get to see high depth maps as well miniatures, original artwork and a premium dungeon master screen. This edition sells for $499 and can be purchased here through the Beadle and Grimm website.
Overall I am excited to be able to run this new adventure for my group. It is always great to visit a new city and allow players to start anew. The beginning of the adventure serves almost as a tour of Waterdeep without the weird feeling of being ushered from place to place just to see where everything is. The adventure doesn’t stop here however, in November we will get the next installment in the form of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. This will continue the story for players as they head into the mega-dungeon located in Undermountain.
You can pick up your copy of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist now at your local game store or wait for it to be available everywhere else starting September 18th.
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