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'Down & Out in Waterdeep' A Level 0 Adventure
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'Down & Out in Waterdeep' A Level 0 Adventure



Presenting in over forty pages of hard fantasy, a level 0 adventure in the Field Ward of Waterdeep. This module sets the stage for characters to discover their origins before a life of adventure amidst a crisis in the city that serves as an ideal prequel to the story of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist™, with emphasis on the central themes of urban survival, intrigue, and morality in the face of adversity. A wealth of NPCs and random encounters await your players around every corner and down every stretch of the Ward, meaning you'll never get caught short for a dramatic scene as your players explore the city.

Praise for Down & Out in Waterdeep
"Heh. Stand not in awe, this adventure is well-done and deployable and FUN. I'd say it'll be very useful to a lot of DMs, especially as a "starter" to ease non-players into a Waterdeep-set campaign. The Deep can be a tad overwhelming, but you've built a road into it!"
 - Ed Greenwood

Mage Productions - Review, available here

Waterdeep, the City of Splendors, is known to many across all of the Realms. However for some in the lower rungs of society, this urban sprawl is a maze of poverty, crime, menace, and despair. The promise of opportunity in Waterdeep leads many from all walks of life to the center. Conversely, some strive to escape the living puzzle for adventure beyond its walls. The wilderness is not the only place where survival is a way of life, and not even the ones who survive will make it out whole. This is one such a tale.

In the days before the Dragon Heist, a wave of violent crime & rampant addiction rushing out from the Field Ward of Waterdeep was quarantined in a coalition effort by the City Watch and City Guard. Embroiled in the intrigue and facing the horrors of this concentrated no man's land, a group of locals set out to save their hometown from a fate worse than death during the lockdown.

Down & Out in Waterdeep is a Dungeons & Dragons adventure designed for characters starting at level 0. By the end of this module, the characters will have grown into themselves, determine their origins as heroes or villains of varying classes, and discover what will motivate them to take on life as an adventurer. “If you plan to participate in this module as a player, please stop reading here. Knowing the details of this module will make it less fun to play for all concerned.”

What will motivate these characters into a life of adventure? Will it be righting the mistakes of the past? Perhaps you seek to fulfill a divine quest? Defending their community? Maybe you have aspirations of achieving peak arcane or martial power? Uncovering the secrets of the planes?

No matter what may lead you to these conclusions and your first full strides into the city and lands beyond, this module will aid you to hone your narrative roleplay skills as players and to explore the origins of your party.

If you are seeking to continue your adventures in Waterdeep, this module may serve as an effective prequel adventure to Waterdeep: Dragon Heist™ and was developed to be just so. 

Genre: Urban Survival / Intrigue / Hard Fantasy
Playtested Estimate Runtime: 20-30 Hours

This 41 page adventure module includes:

  • A fully playable adventure (20+hours of campaign content)
  • Variant rules for:
    • level 0 characters / character creation
    • alternate plotlines
    • -1 Weapons
    • new urban survival rules + new urban encounter tables
  • Expansive In-depth setting information for the Field Ward of Waterdeep
  • Character Background: Quarantined Peasant
  • Adventure Map and Field Ward Detail Map with travel hexes (Dungeon Cartography by Neil Gow)

"Not many characters will reach level twenty, but EVERY character can start at level zero."  -Zack Sporen

This product is an independently designed and developed adventure supplement!

September 17, 2018, Launch: Adventure is published.

October 1st 2018, Revision 1.14: Art placements, full cartography, final cover image, minor editing and layout fixes to accomodate.

November 25th 2018, Revision 1.15: Minor editing and layout fixes to accomodate.

Early 2019, Final Revision: Will include interior art and completed editing.

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Reviews (2)
Discussions (6)
Customer avatar
Andy H November 19, 2018 9:08 am UTC
Run this with Hell of a Summer as your goal. Going from destitute to attending a noble party really makes the PCs feel like they moved up in the world. A true rags to riches story. Introduce the Black Viper, a rich girl glamorizing poor, and Cassalanters with their name on every philanthropist building.... fun.... I moved the Cassalenters chain to winter, and made the party a Midwinter festival (nothing says sacrifice like eggnog!)
Customer avatar
Tigon - October 27, 2018 7:00 am UTC
Contemplating purchasing this. Can you tell me though, at Level 0 do players choose their class, or do they play through as, essentially, commoners and chose their class at level 1?
Customer avatar
Zack S October 27, 2018 2:58 pm UTC
Players may certainly have a class aspiration they are playing towards, which can also be helpful when placing their stat-rolls during creation. Before the last session of my playtests, I pulled players aside individually to discuss where they saw the character going at level one, and weaved it into the narrative of the last session, which worked out rather well and made for cool moments all around.
Customer avatar
Zack S September 20, 2018 3:05 pm UTC
Based on the feedback, as a show of good faith I have lowered the price to $15.00 until v1.14 comes out at the end of the month.
Customer avatar
Kyle C September 19, 2018 10:33 pm UTC
I had a longer review about lack of viewable content in preview and purchasing hesitations in regards to releasing an unfinished document at such a high price point, but it seems another member already left a lengthy review addressing some of those exact hesitation. I will say that as someone who purchases a lot from Drive Thru and DMs Guild having a readable table of content and even some examples of layout and text can go a really long way for a consumer. The visuals and reading allows them to make an informed decision on the product content besides what is said in the description.
Customer avatar
Zack S September 19, 2018 10:54 pm UTC
As a first time paid author on this site, you'll have to forgive my "sins" in regard to the way you all do business here. The art and full cover not being in the day one version (and coming in a later revision) was an executive decision on my part to make sure this campaign/adventure/module was available alongside Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. I can assure you in good faith that the interiors and cover are worth the wait, and it breaks my heart that they cannot be there on the current live version.

As for the price point, I can only say that I know what I've decided the offering is worth and that sale prices will absolutely be happening in the future.

Thank you for the feedback.

Customer avatar
Kyle C September 25, 2018 9:44 pm UTC
The full size preview is super helpful and thanks for the thorough reply!
Customer avatar
Zack S September 25, 2018 10:55 pm UTC
My pleasure.
Customer avatar
Anne T September 19, 2018 12:53 am UTC
Um, I hate to be the one to say this, but some one will, and probably with less gentleness or kind intent. Asking $20 for a 41-page adventure is A LOT to ask for, as that's the same cost as the Wayfinder's Guide to Eberron (at 176 pages), and 80% of the cost of the full Waterdeep: Dragon Heist or W: Dungeon of the Mad Mage on D&D Beyond, which run 256 pages apiece in hardcover form. I realize you as an independent author could never hope to match their price per page without practically giving it away, but compare your product to other authors on the guild like yourself. Monsters of the Guild, for instance, has over a dozen contributors, art for (almost?) every monster, and has 158 pages, for $5 less than what you are charging. And you still don't have a finished product, expecting your buyers to trust that you'll follow through with the art & cartography later on...
It's a very intriguing premise, and I've been wanting to run a 0-level adventure for a while, but neither of those outweighs the cost...See more
Customer avatar
Zack S September 19, 2018 10:34 am UTC
You do realize that this module is a margin to margin original offering, with very few collaborators, that not only codifies level 0 gameplay (which we've extensively playtested) but also includes an adventure that clocks over 30 table hours on average? I hate to be the author who responds like this but please consider that I am also not a guild adept either, and had to do all of this from scratch with little to no assistance? I believe you are being severely judgemental about the price while also promoting other people's work on my product page. Do consider picking this up when it goes on sale I suppose.
Customer avatar
Damian F September 19, 2018 11:33 am UTC
I do not believe she is being judgemental at all; it's a perfectly acceptable assessment of your chosen pricing and why that makes her, and could make others, apprehensive at best to purchase it.
Customer avatar
Anne T September 19, 2018 8:42 pm UTC
I’m not an idle customer making a complaint, and do not think that my advice — kindly offered — deserved such a response. I'm a huge fan of RPGs including D&D, a long-time player and occasional DM, and I've been a customer of DriveThruRPG etc for almost six years, and then the DMsGuild as soon as it began. I've bought hundreds of items on here, not just free or PWYW, and have made many contacts with the authors and publishers. I offered well-known examples to give you an idea of how to frame your pricing; it was neither my aim to promote them, nor would I gain anything by doing so. I do know how much effort goes into these, and a good idea of the costs, including those who pay authors, editors, layout artists, stock art, etc. But I also have training in small business, and how to gauge pricing; you’ve got to balance your costs & expected return against the pricing the customer base will bear. But, if you don't trust my judgement in this matter, perhaps you'll listen to the experts, and read the...See more
Customer avatar
Zack S September 19, 2018 10:39 pm UTC
While I can appreciate your feedback, I would ask you to consider your post from the perspective of a first time paid author on this site, and that it was very unclear beyond an outright criticism of what I decided to price this project at. Expect some sale prices in the future. Thanks.
Customer avatar
Travis G September 18, 2018 6:09 am UTC
Any chance of getting level 0 rules as a separate release? I don't run modules but I'd certainly be willing to pay for some playtested level 0 rules.
Customer avatar
Zack S September 19, 2018 10:43 pm UTC
In about a month, yes.
Customer avatar
Channing D August 26, 2019 3:32 am UTC
I checked your profile and do not see an independent release. Is this still on the books?

Pay no mind to the people complaining about price point. If they dont want to buy it they can opt not to buy it.
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File Last Updated:
November 25, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on September 17, 2018.