Waterdeep: Dragon Heist
Our would-be party is in need of work. The characters have learned of an urgent job, so to the Yawning Portal they've gone. There, Volothamp Geddarm shares the news of his missing friend. He wants help finding him.
Little do the characters know that the city's factions are astir with a new fascination. The next Grand Game has begun, and our party will get to compete with, steal from, and--hopefully--triumph over some of Waterdeep's most prominent villains. Half a million gold is on the line.
Dragon Heist is a 5e campaign that takes characters from first to fifth level. As written, the campaign allows a party to choose a season that has its own, individual villain. It's pretty linear. Instead, our game's flow will be more open-ended and will include all villains.
Veterans and newbies alike may join. I won't turn away players who have already experienced Dragon Heist, as long as they keep metagaming to a minimum and especially don't spoil surprises for others, though they might not get as much out of the game, especially if they've played more than one season.
Knowledge of the Forgotten Realms isn't needed beyond an understanding of Waterdeep, which will be included below. I'm not super familiar with the Forgotten Realms and won't enforce adherence to the lore. Veterans familiar with the setting can definitely share their knowledge if they would like or if others seek it, but they should be willing to accept that some details might not be accurate.
That Social Contract
Obey the laws of this fair realm, known as RP Nation, lest ye incur the wrath of the gods.
Be nice. Stirring OOC drama or showing toxic behaviors is gonna earn ya the boot.
This group is LGBTQ friendly.
Understand the difference between IC and OOC, and also player and character.
Be able to spell and wield grammar well enough that people can understand you. Be comfortable writing at least a couple of paragraphs per response.
The expected posting rate is discussed in the next section.
Characters may disagree and conflict, but they must be able to cooperate with each other for them to remain in the game.
Party splitting will be allowed. Just keep in mind that it can have consequences!
Any post formats are welcome as long as they are mobile-friendly and the text is legible. If there is an issue, I'll poke you.
Write in third-person, please!
Some of this may change as we play! We'll discover what works for us and what doesn't and adapt accordingly.
Rolls & Maps
We will use Roll20 for encounter maps. If accepted, you will need to create an account if you don't have one already.
I'd prefer rolls be made on Roll20 or in RPN so that there are fewer apps to check. Players who use D&D Beyond to host their character sheets can install the browser extension Beyond20, which sends dice rolls to Roll20 from the sheet.
How Posting Will Work
The roleplay will be conducted in ten-day rounds. This means that I, as the DM, will make a post, and all players will have at most ten days to respond. Within reason, which player posts when doesn't matter so much. Player A may post first one round, and Player B may post first the next.
The sooner all players respond, the sooner the next DM post may happen.
If a player fails to reply within that time, that's okay! They will just be skipped and the next DM post will happen. The intent is to keep things moving, and the player can simply pick up from the most recent DM post. However, being skipped three times in a row may be grounds for being removed from the game.
If a player knows they lack the time or creative energy to post before the two weeks are up, they can summarize to the group what their character does and we can account for it accordingly. It's also okay to ask to be skipped or make a short post if you feel there isn't much your character can do/provide within a given round.
Players will start at level 1.
We'll be using milestones.
Players may roll for their increased HP, and if the result is lower than the static increase, they may take the static one instead.
Initiative is just going to be the order in which people post within a ten-day round.
If a player is silent through the allotted time, their character will take the Dodge action.
Drinking or administering any potion is a bonus action.
Instead of two dice rolls, critical damage will instead be one dice roll plus the max damage of the weapon/spell. Initially, this will not apply to enemies.
I will make the enemy's AC and HP public. Feel free to write in your character's hit/kill/miss once you've rolled for your attack. I can roll an enemy's saving throw for a spell before you post if you'd like.
I am seeking 4-6 players.
Please PM the character pitch to me. I feel more comfortable reviewing character concepts that way. The code is below, but read the rest of this first, yeah?
I won't allow doubling on classes. A class cannot be reserved. I'm prioritizing party chemistry and, honestly, what character hooks/objectives I feel comfortable guiding as a DM over first come, first serve.
That said, if a player feels like their character could fit more than one class, it's totally cool if they wanna specify those classes in the pitch. A player can also submit multiple pitches if they have more than one that they would enjoy. Flexibility is beneficial to both of us.
The campaign pitch that started this post hopefully gives a solid hook for players to work with, though I'm happy to answer questions. Keep the pitch in mind when coming up with a concept. Characters can be Waterdavians or they could have come to Waterdeep as recently as a couple of days ago. Somehow, they will have found out about a potential job through a contact within the city ~10-60 minutes before the IC start, though they might not have the details on the job. We can work out those details later.
Starting an actual character sheet is not encouraged at this stage, but feel free to look at the respective session below if you'd like to factor that into your concept decision making.
No lone wolves. No chaotic evil characters. Other alignments are okay as long as they can cooperate with the party as a whole.
Feel free to include an image or a written description of your character if you'd like, but it's optional at this stage.
[b]Name:[/b] [b]Race:[/b] [b]Class:[/b] [b]Summary:[/b] What's their background like? Personality? Do they have a motivation for why they might want to see the adventure through? The summary doesn't have to be long. Try to highlight noteworthy details. [b]Desired Pursuits:[/b] Is there a particular goal you would like your character to pursue? It could be directly relevant to obtaining the gold, or it could be something else that can be accomplished within Waterdeep. Similarly, are there any other hooks that you would like me to know about as the DM? You don't have to have any of this figured out initially, or you can change your mind as we go.
About Waterdeep, Abridged!
Waterdeep is a diverse, major city within the Sword Coast region.
The below is meant to be brief for those who want a very high-level idea of the setting. The Waterdeep Enchiridion is flavorful and more detailed.
City Guards watch the lands controlled by the Lords of Waterdeep - from Zundbridge to the north to Rassalantar to the south. Griffon Cavalry does air patrol.
Large caravans and ships must register with a magister upon arrival at the gates/harbor.
Small parties and travelers must register with a magister if their stay extends beyond a tenday. Discovery of the failure to do so means a fine or forced labor. The alternative is to find an inn in Undercliff, due east of the city, or the less reputable Field Ward, to the north. Neither have been formally accepted as wards of the city, so they don't benefit from the city's security.
Approaching by air means a confrontation with the Griffon Cavalry. Only licensed individuals and mounts can fly over Waterdeep. Anyone else should land well outside the city and approach on foot.
Spellcasters of arcane magic are required to register with the city.
Home to the rich and the powerful. Fortresses were erected here in the early days, and are now incorporated in the homes standing today.
Home to nobles and the wealthy. The atmosphere is more reserved and polite than the Sea Ward.
Houses the city's military forces, courts, government, Market, City Navy's docks. It's also home to New Olamn's academy of music and other arts.
The business hub. Naturally, the City Watch has a heavy presence here.
Hosts most of the traveling merchants and citizens who trace their ancestry to other realms.
Considered to be the most dangerous district of the city. It's where the poor reside. Streetlamps are usually nonfunctional due to thievery and vandalism.
City of the Dead
A park home to mausoleums and statues commemorating the dead of the wealthy.
Field Ward (not officially part of city)
Populated by the "poorest people". Dirty and dangerous. The City Guard oversees the Field Ward from the walls around it. They help protect people leaving and entering the city, but that's the extent of the security they offer. The Guild of Butchers operates out here. Endshift Tavern is a popular stop for off-duty City Guard members.
Undercliff (not officially part of the city)
A rural community focused on farming and animal husbandry. Many gnomes and halflings call the "district" home. The City Guard has a training camp here, and it's also where the City Watch runs a prison farm.
Some noble families have homes here. Amcathra estate is used for housing and final training of horses bred in the town of Amphail, many of which are sold to the City Guard. Hothemer noble house is where its members conduct business in overland trade - beyond the reach of Waterdeep's auditors. Snobeedle Orchard and Meadery is run by the Snobeedle halflings. It's a drinking hall, shop, and an orchard where patrons can pick their own fruit.
Laws & Enforcement
City Guard guards the roads, walls, civic structures, and magisters. The City Watch keeps the peace on the streets, and they have watch posts throughout the city for reporting crimes and temporarily holding the arrested.
Magisters are "black robes" who have broad discretion when meting out justice. The Lords of Waterdeep can overturn their rulings, but don't hope for much.
Floggings and executions are handled privately. The Code Legal has the common punishments for crimes.
The Watchful Order of Magists and Protectors
Guild of arcane spellcasters who are expected to render service to Waterdeep when called upon, acting as temporary members of the City Watch or Guard.
Arcane spellcasters are heavily encouraged to join. Otherwise, they act like any other Waterdavian guild and will make that spellcaster's life difficult.
At the end of every month, there is a tax of 1 shard per person above the age of ten years. Someone can pay 1 dragon to receive a writ exempting them for 12 months. Anyone residing in a building is taxed, even if they aren't permanent residents. There is a phenomenon called "taxing traffic" because of it.
Also, anyone convicted of a crime by a magister is taxed 1 shard per conviction. It's in addition to any monetary fine imposed by the magister.
Any blade longer than one foot is subject to an extra tax when sold.
Arms, Armor, and Combat
Waterdeep is a civil place, you barbarians! Waterdavians usually go about unarmed and unarmored. If they are armed, they carry knives and knuckledusters, since they avoid the sales tax.
Dueling is illegal. Brawling is an arrest-able offense, though tavern brawls are overlooked in some cases. Sport fighting is legal only in certain locations.
Businesses may employ armed guards. Nobles and foreign envoys usually travel with armed protection. A noble's guards will wear the house's colors and "arms of grace". Due to laws against impersonating those in the employ of the nobility, all other hired guards usually dress plainly.
Waterdavians may regard people warily if they're walking around armed and armored.
The people are usually slow to take offense and usually only fear magic or monsters.
Guilds & Guild Law
Every profession has an associated guild in Waterdeep, and virtually every citizen belongs to a guild. If you conduct business in the city, you usually have to be a member of the respective guild, or else you won't get very far.
Every guild has their own methods of accusation, trial, and punishment. For example:
* A member of the Bakers' Guild who sells bread baked in the wrong shape will be drenched with water and coated in his own flour.
* Heckling a member of the Jesters' Guild will result in the offending party being jeered at in public by no less than four guild members for a period of four days.
* Any ship that unloads its cargo without due observance or aid by the Guild of Watermen shall have its cargo seized or thrown into the harbor.
Guild codes are usually intertwined. For example, constructing a building involves several different guilds, from The Surveyors' Guild to the Carpenters' Guild to the Cellarer's and Plumbers' Guild.
Solicitors can guide individuals through the process for a fee.
Being a guild member involves a fee. Those with the guild artisan background get the membership for free. Others have to pay either 1 gp per month or 10 gp for a year.
"Dabbler but no master" and "no mastery blazing forth" - Expression of false modesty
"Sharpjaws" - Those who boast of martial skill but shrink from violence or lack real ability.
"Fastfists" - Someone who is easily provoked to violence.
"Bullyblades" - Mercenaries hired as muscle.
"Alleyblades" - Muggers and thieves.
"Longride" - Late afternoon
"Last ride" - Dusk
"Which the greater thief?" - Used when comparing wrongs done.
Players who have been approved can start this process. I'm happy to answer questions or help those who might be new to D&D.
All official races and classes are allowed. No homebrew or Unearthed Arcana.
I have the Player's Handbook, Xanathar's Guide, and Tasha's Cauldron on both Roll20 and D&D Beyond. On D&D Beyond, I also have the Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. Content from any other module will need to be added to sheets manually unless the player owns the content on their preferred character sheet platform.
We'll be using the standard array. Assign each score to an attribute:
15 (+2), 14 (+2), 13 (+1), 12 (+1), 10 (+0), 8 (-1)
Racial bonuses can be modified using Tasha's rules, detailed below. Just be sure to mention to me what you're changing!
Any ability score increase granted by the race can be applied to a different ability. If the race has more than one score increase, they must still be applied to separate abilities. For example, a half-orc's default score increases are +2 Strength and +1 Constitution. You can switch the +2 to Dexterity and the +1 to Wisdom, but you cannot make a +3 Dexterity.
Most races have at least one language they speak in addition to Common. You may swap out those languages for others.
You may also swap out proficiencies like so based on type:
Skill for a different skill
Armor for a simple/martial weapon or a tool
Simple weapon for a different simple weapon or a tool
Martial weapon for a simple/martial weapon or a tool
Tool for a tool or a simple weapon
Establish at least 2 personality traits, 1 flaw, 1 bond, and 1 ideal.
If you decide to make a sheet inside RPN, you may omit information from the backstory 'cause secrets, but please PM me the unredacted version.
It's exciting to read a character's backstory, but please try to keep it to a reasonable length.
If you decide to create the character sheet within RPN, below is possible code. Other formats are cool as long as they are mobile-friendly and their font is legible.
[center][img width="300px"][/img] [size=6]Character Name[/size] [size=4]Race | Class LV1 | Alignment[/size][/center] [tabs] [tab=Stats] [B]HP:[/B] current/max | [B]Hit Dice:[/B] xdx | [B]AC:[/B] x [B]Size:[/B] x | [B]Speed[/B]: x | [B]Vision:[/B] x [B]Proficiency bonus:[/B] +2 | [B]Passive Perception:[/B] x [B]Ability Scores[/B] [table=none] [tr] [th]Strength[/th] [th]Dexterity[/th] [th]Constitution[/th] [th]Intelligence[/th] [th]Wisdom[/th] [th]Charisma[/th] [/tr] [tr] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [td]x (+/-x)[/td] [/tr] [/table] [B]Saving Throws[/B] [table=none] [tr] [td][B]Strength:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Dexterity:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Constitution:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Intelligence:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Wisdom:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Charisma:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [/table] [B]Skills[/B] [table=none] [tr] [td][B]Acrobatics:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Animal Handling:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Arcana:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td][B]Athletics:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Deception:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]History:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td][B]Insight:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Intimidation:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Investigation:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td][B]Medicine:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Nature:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Perception:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td][B]Performance:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Persuasion:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Religion:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [tr] [td][B]Sleight of Hand:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Stealth:[/B] +/-x[/td] [td][B]Survival:[/B] +/-x[/td] [/tr] [/table] [B]Weapon Proficiencies:[/B] x [B]Armor Proficiencies:[/B] x [B]Tool Proficiencies:[/B] x [B]Languages:[/B] x [/tab] [tab=Special Abilities] [B]Racial Features[/B] x [B]Class Features[/B] x [B]Background Features[/B] x [B]Feats[/B] x [/tab] [tab=Weapons & Armor] [row] [column=span2][B]Weapon[/B] Name here[/column] [column=span2][B]Attack Bonus[/B] +x[/column] [column=span2][B]Damage/Type[/B] xdx type[/column] [column=span2][B]Properties[/B] x[/column] [/row] [row] [column=span2][B]Weapon[/B] Name here[/column] [column=span2][B]Attack Bonus[/B] +x[/column] [column=span2][B]Damage/Type[/B] xdx type[/column] [column=span2][B]Properties[/B] x[/column] [/row] [row] [column=span2][B]Armor[/B] Name here[/column] [column=span1][B]AC[/B] x[/column] [column=span2][B]Penalties[/B] x[/column] [/row] [/tab] [tab=Inventory] [B]Money[/B] CP: 0 | SP: 0 | EP: 0 | GP: 0| PP: 0 [B]Equipment[/B] [row] [column=span2][B]Name[/B][/column] [column=span2][B]Quantity[/B][/column] [column=span4][B]Description[/B][/column] [/row] [row] [column=span2]x[/column] [column=span2]x[/column] [column=span4]description or link to description[/column] [/row] [/tab] [tab=Spells] [B]Spellcasting Ability:[/B] x [B]Spell Save DC:[/B] x [B]Spell Attack Modifier:[/B] +x [B]Cantrips[/B] [i]Name[/i] School of magic | Casting Time: x | Range: x | Duration: x | Components: x Description [B]Level 1[/B] Spell Slots: x/x [i]Name[/i] School of magic | Casting Time: x | Range: x | Duration: x | Components: x Description [/tab] [tab=Background] [B]Age:[/B] x [B]Height:[/B] x [B]Weight:[/B] x [B]Appearance[/B] x [B]Personality Traits[/B] x [B]Ideals[/B] x [B]Bonds[/B] x [B]Flaws[/B] x [B]Background[/B] x [B]Backstory[/B] x [B]Additional Info[/B] x [/tab] [/tabs]