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I want ideas, villains with their reasons, motivations and interactions between power groupsI want Skullport, I want lore and maybe a little plane-walking. I want it epic! More than anything else I want your help flashing out this huge dungeon, and I will be very grateful to anyone willing to help. Let's start!Two of these focus entirely on conversation, and for the other one, the banter is the highlight.
How did you first find out about Lords of Waterdeepwhat was your initial impression of the game when you heard about it, and what is your opinion on it now? Chris Holly: Sounds good. How about you? What about you? What were your first impressions after you had played the game?
Now, coming from a dyed-in-the-wool adventure game loving background, this sounded like My Kind Of Thing. So no, definitely not love at first sight for me either, but it did intrigue me. What were your thoughts on first contact? Byron: Yes, yes, yes, you hit the nail squarely on the head, I think.
I was told that completing quests feels like rallying adventurers, rogues and clerics, not pushing around orange, black and white cubes. As a matter of fact, Stone Age feels a good deal more thematically authentic. The cubes have never felt like more than colored cubes to me, and the quests which require a specific, pretty much arbitrary mix of colors are just a means of converting cubes into points.
That was my first great disappointment with the game. The other was, as you said, how basic and repetitive the quests felt. There are a few special quests in each category that give you a lasting benefit or another interesting reward, while the majority simply give you varying numbers of points and maybe a few of your cubes back. There are a few things I did and do like about the game. The main one is the Waterdeep Harbor action space. But the Waterdeep Harbor space is different. When you place your agent there, you get to play an Intrigue card from your hand.
These cards which you gain in various ways, mainly by taking and completing quests have all manner of small, mostly interactive effects, such as taking adventurers cubes from other players or forcing them to complete an annoying Mandatory Quest.
But the cool thing about this space is that, at the end of the round, you get to pick that agent up and place them on another available space, taking that action as well. This creates a lot of tension in terms of timing—do I put my agent on The Plinth now, or do I play an Intrigue card and hope that the space is still available at the end of the round? This plays well with the Castle Waterdeep space, which lets you take the first player marker meaning you place your agents first starting next round and an Intrigue card.
Many worker placement games are pretty much just about taking the obviously important spaces as soon as possible, but these special spaces in LoW make it much more interesting than that and a bit of a mind game. Did you ever grow to like LoW? I actually had this conversation with one of our group before introducing it to him:. Which it kind of is in this game. My initial feelings of intrigue and wonderment at this strange new genre of game quickly gave way to feelings of…boredom and a weird kind of isolation from the other players.
The expansion, Scoundrels of Skullportthough. Now that? That is interesting.Known as the "City of Splendors", Waterdeep is one of the largest and busiest cities and one of the most important political powers on the continent. The population is primarily human although other races dwell therein. The city government consists of a cryptocracy of mostly anonymous individuals known as the Masked Lords of Waterdeep. The City of Waterdeep was an integral part of Ed Greenwood 's house campaign, and is the most important city in the north of the Forgotten Realms setting.
Waterdeep was created by Ed Greenwood as part of his fledgling Forgotten Realms campaign setting. MerrittWilliam Shakespeareand others. Some time between and sources varyGreenwood tried his hand at writing too, penning the first story of the Realms. Within a year he drawn a map showing these places, truly turning the stories into a world. And thus the Realms was born".
The city-state of Waterdeep is documented in several publications that support the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Geographically, the city is included in a region called the Heartlands of the Realms, even though it lies miles north of the western Heartland town of Daggerfordalong the Sword Coast. The roads to Waterdeep are described as well paved and well patrolled. The city serves as a trading hub, tying together the mineral-rich lands to the north, the merchant kingdoms of Amn and Calimshan to the south, the kingdoms of the Inner Sea to the east, and the sea kingdoms and traders to the west.
Waterdeep is named for its outstanding natural deepwater harbor, which has made the city a commercial crossroads. The population of the city is listed as approximatelywith more than one million Waterdhavians making their home within the city's territorial area. The city sprawls northward from the sea, spreading along the flanks of Mount Waterdeepa solitary mountain. Waterdeep is indicated to have been a citadel of a fantasy race called the dwarves, and the entire length and great depth of the mountain is riddled with passages and tunnels, most of which are still occupied by deadly creatures whose presence in the mountain pre-dates the founding of the city itself.
DMs Guild Review – Skullport: Dragon Swindle
For gaming purposes, Waterdeep is an attractive location for adventurers because it has a large adventuring site, the Undermountainlocated near temples and other health recovery areas. Despite its size, the inhabitants of Waterdeep are described as largely benevolent and ethically good-natured people. This is due to the efforts of a group called the Masked Lords, the patrols of the Waterdeep City Watch, and the close proximity of Skullportwhich draws those prone to unlawful or unethical behavior towards it and away from Waterdeep.
The first mention of a Waterdeep not as a city, but as a collection of warlords occurs around DR. The city was truly established as a growing concern by DR, the year Ahghairon became the first Lord of Waterdeep, and the date from which Northreckoning is counted.
Waterdeep was founded by local tribes who benefited from trading timber and furs with southern merchants, and the settlement's deep harbor gave the city its name. As tribes of humanoids advanced on Waterdeep, more human tribes converged on the settlement, swelling its size and number of defenders, and after savage battles, Waterdeep emerged as a free city ruled by War Lords.Their chosen way of doing so was to violently tearing down the system that allowed the Church of Lolth's theocracy to exist.
They fully understood that doing this would cause a power vacuum that would make their people suffer weakness and enslavement for a time measured in centuries, but were willing to risk it for their "salvation". Their goal was not of altruistic nature. It involved the Jaezred Chaulssin becoming the guiding force in reconstructing a society and then the rulers. They took jobs in the field of spying and assassination. While they caused overt attacks as the destruction of Ched Nasad during the Silence of Lolth and a carnage on the graduation ceremony of Arach-Trinilith by unleashing demon hordes on the students in DR such large scale attacks were rare.
Their modus operandi was to first infiltrate minor noble houses, for example the cell in Menzoberranzan is headed by Nimor Imphraezl who posed as Nagyon Nurindyn of House Nurindyn which held the 48th rank,  the third from the bottom of nobility,  and then actually taking control over them. They also infiltrated male dominated groups to teach rebellious ideas, in the case of Menzoberranzan, examples of such male dominated groups included Melee-Magthere, Sorcere and even the Council of Spiders, a Lolth-loyalist faction in Sorcere.
An interesting infiltration was the one employed by the shadar-kai and half-drow members. It involved selling oneself into slavery to a noble house to become a favored servant while simultaneously sowing dissent inside the house and urging the house to ally with the Jaezred Chaulssin-controlled house to give the guild a direct link to their enemy.
Generally, they were particularly trained in abilities that required some stealth, like hiding, sneaking, disguising, or lying and seeing through lies or arcane abilities. Most learned the skills of assassination and their unique training made their assassination abilities more dangerous than those outside of their guild.
When it came down to magical abilities, they seemed to have favored illusion magic, particularly those with ties to shadow and which wither gave them a direct advantage in physical combat, [note 1] means to escape [note 2] or versatility.
The Jaezred Chaulssin's choice of tools were that of drow, dragonblood or not, [note 4]  and was generally directed at helping their profession as assassins.Lords of Waterdeep: Felicia Day, Pat Rothfuss, and Brandon Laatsch Join Wil on TableTop SE2E10
Concretely it meant it either augmented their stealth skills, [note 5] their skills at killing [note 6] or other works like capturing their enemies. One speciality about the Jaezred Chaulssin was their members' tie to the Plane of Shadows.
It allowed them to use or use an item at full power [note 8] A shadow related speciality about them was that they could tap into the Shadow Weave and use Shadow Weave items despite not being sharrans, in fact being enemies of sharrans like the Shadovar.
The Jaezred Chaulssin were "based" in the ruined drow city of Chaulssinfrom which they got their name. However, they also infiltrated minor houses in many drow cities, which they used as bases of power, called fosterages,  and places to raise their young. The Jaezred Chaulssin was primarily made up of drow with shadow dragon blood, namely the following types: . They were shadow dragons that were also drows and could take either form.
The initiation was usually a sacrificial ritual, during which of heart of a priestess of Lolth, killed by the initiate, was sacrificed to Vhaeraun . They always employed shadar-kaia race in perpetual danger of losing their soul, in a state of borderline to actual slavery in exchange for aid in keeping them alive. The Jaezred Chaussin were followers of Vhaeraunbut over a few centuries they began emphasizing their faith less and less in order to evade the possibility of open war with Lolth.
All members of the leadership are drow-dragons who held at least some aptitude for assassination. The Jaezred Chaulssin were led by a council. The council was headed by the Patron Grandfather Mauzzkyl Jaezred. Members of the guild were called Velves "Blades" and served the Patron Fathers. They were ranked from First to Eighth Blades and needed permission from their superiors to take on risky jobs such as assassination. Rising in rank was done by beating a higher ranking member.
An exception to this rank system was the Ortho'Velve "Anointed Blade". This position was filled with one individual at all time and was only accountable to the Patron Grandfather, in other words he outranked not only the other Blades but also the Patron Fathers save the guildmaster whose will he carried out. The first source was their own members. As a guild, the Jaezred Chaulssin required an entry fee when entering the guild and a monthly membership fee from its members. The second money source was profit through selling their services, their members were obliged to pay a fifth of their gains to the guild after a job done.
The third source was private sponsoring. The Jaezred Chaulssin, were, a very violent form of, opportunity givers to more secular powers like merchants and males in general by eliminating theological power holders, the members of Lolth's matriarchy, whose place the aforementioned groups filled.Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon. In fact I would comfortably rank it as the weakest official Fifth Edition campaign. Skullport: Dragon Swindle is an interesting total conversion that re-themes that existing adventure, swapping Waterdeep for the underground, black market world of Skullport.
Whatever you want to call it, a total conversion, a mod, or hack, Skullport: Dragon Swindle effectively builds upon and modifies the locations, events, and characters of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. The nearly page adventure takes place in Skullport, the hive of scum and villainy that resides underneath Waterdeep, and acts as part of the Undermountain mega-dungeon in Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
Dragon Swindle literally requires Dragon Heistas many of the story beats and encounters are largely similar, while swapping out cosmetic changes like Waterdeep guards for Xanathar Guild members.
Dragon Swindle keeps the weird seasonal Choose Your Own villains approach, replacing them with three new antagonists, a harper, an aboleth, and an uplifted flameskull. Each of these organizations have their own dedicated chapters for their respective headquarters and lairs, providing three solid new dungeon crawls. All of those issues persist within Dragon Swindlealbeit with a different coat of paint.
The designer also uses the same Dyson Logos art style for all the new maps, which was probably a sound decision so as to fit within the same art style. But I hated the maps with Dragon Heistand am suitably unimpressed here, despite enjoying the actual map layouts and ideas. The biggest strength of this unique conversion, besides the excellent villain dungeons, is the Skullport chapter. The converted campaign would also make an interesting backdrop for an evil-PC or anti-hero campaign.
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While this makes it perfect for a Waterdeep: Dragon Heist campaign, most of them could be easily suited to any large urban setting.
Each quest is presented with flavorful descriptive text designed to be seen and read by the players themselves. In fact, the DMs Guild product comes with an impressive set of player handouts that uses every single quest in an aesthetically pleasing notice board layout, complete with multiple font styles and formats. Beyond the flavor text, each entry consists of a single paragraph. Those are neat ideas, but maybe a bit too ambitious with only a single paragraph of information to go with.
Thankfully most of them fit the mold of notice board quests much smoother, such as a fetch quest in the nearby swamps, searching for a missing flag from an embassy, protecting a group of rallying protesters from violence, and exploring a ghostly ship that shows up in the harbor.
There are certainly opportunities for combat, such as busting up a drug den or rooting out spectators from the sewers. While the author does warn that the DM should take care of level scaling and rewards, I wish there was at least an attempt to organize each entry by level.
Obviously I can see that busting up that drug den of bandits is easier than the journey into the Elemental Plane of Fire. But it would have been very helpful to see the quests organized at least by Adventure Tier, with maybe some idea of monetary rewards. Freelance Writer View all posts by roguewatson. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.
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Skip to content A large variety of mini side quest ideas for Waterdeep, or any urban adventure environment. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Author: roguewatson Freelance Writer View all posts by roguewatson. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
The Dungeon of the Mad Mage Companion is a massive supplement aimed at improving upon and fleshing out Dungeon of the Mad Mage while simultaneously making it easier for you to run. This bundle contains LevelsSkullport, and Halaster's Game.
A printer friendly version is included; the colored version is fully bookmarked and hyperlinked for your convenience. Login My Library Wishlists.
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Error: No match for email address or password. Password forgotten? Click here. Advanced Search. DotMM Companion: Bundle 1. Average Rating 31 ratings. Within this supplement, you'll find in brief : Roleplaying Halaster Blackcloak. The Mad Mage has been rewritten as a deranged gameshow host whose program, Dungeon of the Mad Mageis broadcasted across the multiverse.
It's within this insidious game that the players have found themselves trapped. DM Notes. Quick notes for every chapter, summarizing. Variants Galore. Where something could be polished, or where it ought to have been abolished, the Companion provides you variants you can use—be it a rewritten narrative, new foes, or alternate encounters.
Magic Items. All magic items used throughout these levels have been detailed, as have their locations, so you don't need to leaf through the DMG.
Monster Statblocks. You guessed it: the monsters used throughout these levels have been compiled and their statblocks reproduced for your convenience. If you have already purchased the following five supplements, do not purchase this product!