- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Wizards of the Coast (18 September 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780786966257
- ISBN-13: 978-0786966257
- ASIN: 0786966254
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.8 x 28.4 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 885 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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D&D Waterdeep Dragon Heist HC (D&D Adventure) Hardcover – 18 Sep 2018
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From the Publisher
Half a million gold coins are hidden somewhere in Waterdeep!
Welcome to Waterdeep, the Crown of the North, where a wondrous tale of urban adventure is about to unfold.
Adventurers gather at the Yawning Portal Inn and Tavern. Volothamp Geddarm, the famous explorer, has a quest for them—one that entangles them in a bitter conflict between two nefarious organizations. If the adventurers complete his quest, Volo will reward them handsomely. But the real prize lies hidden somewhere in the City of Splendors, waiting to be claimed.
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is an urban heist adventure designed to take characters from first level to fifth. Be sure to check out the follow-up adventure, Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, which picks up where Dragon Heist leaves off.
Inside Dragon Heist
Brains Over Brawn
Waterdeep is a city of firm laws and swift justice. Adventurers hell-bent on carnage and chaos won’t fare well in the City of Splendors.
Instead, adventurers will rely on their ingenuity and political savvy, taking on missions from investigation to reconnaissance, subterfuge to sabotage.
4 Villains, 4 Paths
Dungeon Masters can choose between 4 villains to feature as the main antagonist. Their choice of villain determines the season of the year in which the story take place as well as the antagonists in several of the encounters.
With so many options, there’s enough content for Dungeon Masters to keep it fresh while running the adventure multiple times for multiple groups.
Explore the City of Splendors
Included in the book is 'Volo’s Waterdeep Enchiridion'—a guided tour of Waterdeep, one of D&D’s most beloved settings.
In this chapter, Dungeon Masters can explore Waterdeep, its culture, its history, its guilds—even local slang to add that extra layer of authenticity and immersion for their players.
An innovator in providing contemporary fantasy entertainment, Dungeons & Dragons is the wellspring for the entire modern game industry, digital as well as tabletop. Fifth edition D&D draws from every prior edition to create a universally compelling play experience, and exemplifies the true spirit of a game that holds captive the hearts and minds of millions of players worldwide. The core rulebook series consists of three books: the Player’s Handbook, the Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
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Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this book. First, despite the promising title of "Dragon Heist," there is no real heist contained in this adventure. Finding the hidden treasure smacks more of Indiana Jones than it does Ocean's 11. It is still very entertaining, but for those seeking something a little different, this will require quite a lot of customization to bring it in-line with expectations.
The next issue is the maps. In this edition, Wizards has switched cartographers from Mike Schley to Dyson Logos. This is polarizing to say the least. Schley's maps were rich in detail and color, but some people complain that they were overly complicated and difficult to understand or reproduce at the table. Logos' new maps are the opposite of that style. They are spartan and bare bones sketches with very little detail or nuance. I personally much prefer the style of Schley over Logos (especially for online or digital tabletop play), and feel the new maps fall short in what is otherwise a premium product. Your mileage will vary depending on how you feel about the styles. (Please note, I appreciate the work of Dyson for the gaming community over the years. His trove of free maps available on his website are a bounty of riches for tabletop DM's. However, to me his maps feel out of place in the context of the book they find themselves in - they are rather more suited to Adventurer League or DM's Guild type titles and feel out of place in a premium product that has already established such rich visuals through the previous volumes.)
Villains and their lairs each get a separate chapter in the book, which is great. These lairs are very well designed with lots of fun options, and are maybe the closest thing to a heist the whole book has. The only downside is that if your party sticks to the adventure as written, they will likely never venture one foot even remotely close to these lairs. These are kind of last-resort settings (or options for a resourceful DM who wants to customize the adventure), a way to wrap things up if your party fails at the main "heist."
Last but not least is the page count. Clocking in at 224 pages, it is well short of the 256 pages used for Tomb of Annihilation. It feels like those last 32 pages could have really been used to flesh out the city of Waterdeep beyond the basic primer that is included, or to really flesh out Chapter 2. The second chapter of the book details the running of a business that the players will receive, and also focuses on side quests for the various factions that are represented in Waterdeep. Each quest is about two paragraphs of description that includes the DC of the success roll to solve whatever problem is presented. While I love the idea of this section and can't wait to run players through this open-world portion of the adventure, it is also a bit sad that more pages weren't devoted to developing the city or those faction quests more so this part of the adventure could really open up.
All in all, I really do like this book. It has a few major flaws that are worth pointing out, but it is still a case of the good out-weighing the bad. The city feels lively in the pages, and is a great setting for an adventuring party to start in. It is a good adventure to take a party from level 1-5, providing a good alternative to experienced DM's who want something different than Lost Mines of Phandelver from the starter set. This book is a great start especially for moving on to Storm King's Thunder or Princes of the Apocalypse. Just be prepared as DM to do a little more heavy lifting than you might have expected to fill in for some of the shortcomings.
The books is well organized, the introduction has a very clear summary of the adventure and flow charts help a DM stay on track. The adventure concept, more of a treasure hunt, is solid. The DM chooses a main villain from 4 power groups and a different season goes with each, a fun idea. This is also the adventure's weak point. Chapters 5-8 are unique hideouts for each villain. ALL of them are OPTIONAL, the adventure never explicitly takes the players to any of them. That leaves Chapter 1-4 for the core adventure. Chapter 1 has plenty of "Read Aloud" text and players should love it. Chapters 2-4 will require a good DM to make them come to life, the content is there and will likely be fun. Be warned this adventure is NOT playable 4 times and does NOT take you through all 4 seasons. It does leave you with multiple chapters of "extra" content and plot threads though.
Other items of note, there is a pronunciation guide in the front. The book's events and locales are punctuated with amazing pieces of art, often full double page spreads. There are also small black and white stylized maps throughout, I personally find them to be a nice throwback. Chapter 9, Volo's Waterdeep Enchiridion, is dedicated to learning about the city as a whole, a mini Volo's Guide. This is more than enough for a DM unfamiliar with the city to run the adventure and can double as an in character resource for players. The large fold out color map in the back is excellent and has two sides, one for the players to reference one with DM landmarks.
There is a lot of material here, and much of it seems funny and clever. I do miss some of the whimsy, fun and deep lore of the older designers though, especially from Ed.
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