**Caution this post contains spoilers for WDH!**

My players (9-year-old children, my wife and her 70+-year-old mother) just completed Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, and there follows my write up of the adventure.

The piplins!

I changed quite a lot in this campaign, after finding the book didn’t actually contain a heist in it! Thanks to the folks at the DMs Guild I was able to flesh out the important points.

What I changed/DM notes for this campaign:

  1. We did the Xanathar route.
  2. I combined Floon and Threestrings into one person. This meant I could have Threestrings as a tag-along NPC in the following missions and play him myself or have a guest play him.
  3. I used the “Waterdeep: Dragon Heist Complete DM’s Bundle” from the DM Guild to help. 
  4. I also read Sly Flourish, and “Waterdeep: City Encounters“.
  5. I had the ghostly spirit in the Manor have a sub-quest for his bones to be put to rest, mixed in with the “saving Meloon Wardragon” quest.
  6. As my two of my players had secret backgrounds, I worked them into the finale as last-minute reveals. One was an undercover policeman, which meant that the team were very lucky not to break the law and end up in prison. As much as I gave clues away to this identity (policemen winking to him, always letting them go, etc) no-one guessed it and my player was able to dump a plastic police badge on the gaming table during the reveal. Worked a treat.
  7. I put in a better chase scene using the rules “How to Build F$&%ing Awesome Encounters!“. I had used these before and they work really well. I also used: “Urban Chase Events.”
  8. I put the vault under the theatre and the Xanathar’s final key to the stone in the room before the vault. Much simpler. A small puzzle was which item on the table was the key? Answer: the fish!
  9. I put a proper heist in using the rules “Here’s To Crime: A Guide to Capers and Heists“. This meant a planning stage and rules for fumbles during the job. Also, the players dressed up for the theatre in their finest (in real life) – really added to the fun.
  10. I changed the dragon’s other form to a dog. I was thinking of the talking dog from Skyrim.
  11. The Blackstaff was my Deus Ex-Machina when things look dicey. I was DM’ing children remember!

All in all, this was a fantastic campaign, and it was brilliant having Grandma play the bard. We set up the game so that our third player was joining via laptop and I had a camera pointed at the map so she could see what was happening.

So, here is the tale:

The man entered the bar so quietly it was as though a light wind had gently rocked the doors. He wasn’t inside, then he was. He stood there silently. Observing the room from the shadows. The room housed a collection of dark tables and booths deep in shadow. To his right, a bar ran the gamut of the room until ending in a kitchen door, and to his left dark and distorted windows lined the wall, displaying the street outside. At the far end of the room, a roaring fire flickered and sent out the warmth bathing the room. Various patrons sat at tables, ignored him and drank their drinks in silence.

Suddenly a sound jerked his head around to the bar, and he saw as the bottles appeared to move on their own, tilted, poured a drink into a glass and sent it down the bar to a waiting serving girl: a ghostly barman, no concern.

Apparently satisfied, he walked directly to a table and sat down. From the shadows, a women came to join him. He kept his right hand below the tabletop, gripping his nearest knife as she sat.

“I see you’re pleased to see me,” she said, noting the hand.

“Heard about a job, big shot gangster, putting together a crew.”

She arched an eyebrow, “Yes?”

He squinted at her, “What do you think?”

She sat back and folded her arms, saying nothing.

“Yeah, what do you know?” He asked.

“You look good,” she replied, “a little rough around the edges…”

“I’ve been up north”.

“With your dwarves?”

He nodded.