A few weeks ago, we started playing through Waterdeep: Dragon Heist,* and it has been amazing! We’re playing with two of our friends, so not exactly a duet, but still a small party.
In this post, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about the first few sessions of Waterdeep from a player’s perspective. My hope is that this will give you some things to think about if you’re considering playing through the campaign and, if your DM has already picked it out, to give you some ideas for character creation!
As this is an introductory post, I promise to keep it spoiler free!
A Unique Campaign
One of the things I’m enjoying most about Waterdeep so far is how fresh and unique it feels from other campaigns and fantasy narratives.
Very often, we have a character who begins their adventuring life by leaving where they’ve started from and going out into the world for their adventure. I love these stories, and I’m sure many of you do as well, but Waterdeep is different in this aspect.
Some of this will shift depending on your character’s backstory, but for us, all three of our characters are from Waterdeep, and we will spend the level 1-5 campaign in Waterdeep. Working to help make your home a better place inside the city rather than outside it is refreshing and interesting.
I think this would still be a gripping narrative even if a character weren’t from Waterdeep, but I love the way that the characters’ existing knowledge of the city so thoroughly ties into the adventure to suggest that things aren’t quite right while still providing lots of intrigue and mystery.
A Vivid Setting
Another favorite aspect of Waterdeep for me is how fleshed out and vibrant the city is! There’s a great guide in the book written from Volo’s perspective, so you can learn about Waterdeep and be aware of what your character would know. I always find these opportunities so helpful!
There are lots of celebrations, holidays, and traditions in Waterdeep, and the way the campaign immerses players in the setting is really spectacular! This is the first really urban campaign that I’ve been a part of, and I love the city’s variety and energy.
Much of the campaign’s narrative arc asks the characters to navigate the city and the relationships and power structures therein, which is another aspect of what makes this campaign so unique.
Vibrant and Believable NPCs
Another major plus for the campaign are the well-rounded, developed, believable NPCs! Our characters have met NPCs from all across Waterdeep which creates unique opportunities for them but, for us as players, I think this helps make the world feel more real.
Guilds are a major part of what makes the city tick, and the people who serve as the face of each of these guilds bring them to life in a way that’s also very functional for a ttRPG. Meeting 10 people from a particular guild would be difficult to keep track of (and mean to your DM).
Fodder for Character Creation
This is an instance where I would strongly encourage players to work alongside their DM for creating their characters. As you start to develop your character concept, think about where in the Forgotten Realms your character is from and how that will shift their relationship with the different classes and structures of this great city.
If your character is from Waterdeep, the particular ward they’re from is also going to have a lot to do with their thoughts toward the rest of the city, their relationship with money, and which side of the law they tend to fall on.
This campaign provides ample opportunity for downtime activities, so make sure as you think about your character that you’re considering what they do in their daily life in the city. Would they be interested in studying herbalism, learning a craft, or plying a particular trade? How social are they? Will they spend a lot of time out socializing, or do they prefer a quieter life?
What about your character’s family? And friends? They should have connections across the city and people who are important to them, and this will help their backstory come alive for you as well.
In the coming weeks, we’re hoping to have a collection of small duet adventures ready to be inserted into your Waterdeep campaign, so we’ll keep you posted on how that progresses!
We’d love to hear if you’re running through the campaign with a group or one-on-one! Please leave us a note in the comments below, but do keep it spoiler-free for myself and fellow players!
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