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Rats of Waterdeep
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Rats of Waterdeep

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Solve a brutal crime on the mean streets of Waterdeep in this madcap companion adventure for Xanathar's Guide to Everything!

This adventure was brought to you by D&D Adventurers League admin Lysa Chen and Tomb of Annihilation author Will Doyle, as part of the Guild Adepts program. The product also includes new player options and NPC villains for your campaigns.

Inside, you'll find:

  •  A thrilling murder mystery balanced for five 1st-level characters, with guidelines for scaling the adventure up to APL 4. The adventure is playable in 3-4 hours.

  • Two new NPC villains: the Rat King and the Lady of Plagues.

  • Three new player options: the Detective background, the Rat King archetype for rangers, and the Circle of Plagues archetype for druids. 

This product is now legal for play in the D&D Adventurers League, and has the following adventure code: DDHC-XGE-01.

PLEASE NOTE that the two class archetypes in "Appendix A" are NOT legal for use in Organized Play. You can use the Detective background. 

Version 1.3 notes: Fixed cipher wheel errors and provided solutions in adventure text. Provided higher res handouts as separate downloads. Provided version with watermark removed. Tweaked Circle of Plagues archetype.

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Reviews (32)
Discussions (23)
Customer avatar
Luke M November 16, 2018 5:38 am UTC
PURCHASER
I had a great time playing this in a AL group, and I plan to run it for some friends on Roll20, but the Cipher Wheel is giving me pause, in part because I'm not quite sure I grasp how it works myself. I don't want to have Lock (a great character by the way) solve it for them, but I'm not sure how to make the Cipher Wheel functional for Roll20, or how to replace it in a way that is functional on Roll20.
Customer avatar
Sean R November 20, 2018 9:31 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Sorry that I'm a bit late to the party, but you can replicate the cipher wheel in Roll20. Cut out the middle wheel in photoshop or whatever, and then make a new page in Roll20, with no grid. Insert both the image of the whole wheel and the image of the inner wheel on top of it, and then give all players access to the inner wheel. They'll be able to rotate it perfectly.
Customer avatar
Ezekiel V October 30, 2018 11:59 pm UTC
PURCHASER
A great mod for introducing new players to Waterdeep! Very story rich and interesting characters, but it could use a few maps or guidance on enemy placement.
Customer avatar
Joshua G October 12, 2018 3:28 am UTC
Love this mod, great story and nice change of pace from straight hack and slash. My only complaint I can even form would be a lack of maps for the encounters.
Customer avatar
Paul B October 08, 2018 5:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Halfway through running this (took my players a while to decipher the codes), and we're all enjoying it thus far; though, I am a bit disappointed with the lack of encounter/combat maps. Easy enough to draw a street or a room, granted, so it's a minor gripe, all in all.
Customer avatar
Álvaro J September 04, 2018 11:55 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Is there any Fantasy Grounds version of this one?
Customer avatar
Will D September 05, 2018 1:02 am UTC
CREATOR
Hey there! No plans at present to support FG.
Customer avatar
Glenn M August 21, 2018 7:36 pm UTC
This is a challenging game for experienced players. Definitely, need a good DM who is prepared to run this. If you want to DM this, put extra effort in prep time! But it's worth it!
Customer avatar
Harvey K August 12, 2018 9:08 am UTC
PURCHASER
Hi, Looking forward to running this. I've got the Forgotten Realms Atlas which has a superb map of Waterdeep, based on the maps in the City of Splendors (3e) box set. I'm having a hard time trying to locate the area of the quarantine zone, and the alleys Dark Lane and Cloak Lane from the adventure. I can't find them in on the canon map. I could substitute some areas with rework (more hours work for a busy DM !), but I wondered if I'm just missing the area on the official maps. Thank you.
Customer avatar
Will D August 13, 2018 1:24 pm UTC
CREATOR
Hi Harvey. The map provided in Rats of Waterdeep isn't based on a canonical map source. It's intended to comprise a few blocks of the Dock Ward, so you can slot it in anywhere that looks roughly similar.
Customer avatar
Daniel P August 03, 2018 12:26 am UTC
PURCHASER
As I've already said this IS a GREAT adventure! But I do have a recommendation to DMs running it.. Print out multiple copies of all the handouts/puzzles etc. I'd say enough for 2 people to share a copy, this will speed it up and help prevent folks being left out. For the cipher wheel you can give each couple of players one advert and a clue each, so one person reads out the letters while the other notes them down, giving everyone something to do
Customer avatar
Daniel P August 03, 2018 12:10 am UTC
PURCHASER
I really like this adventure, great stuff. But... the cipher wheel is still all over the place. The problem is it seems to require the letters on the adverts to be the outer wheel letters, and the coded message corresponds to the inner letters. However on the EIGHT OFF advert one letter follows the reverse (ZSL should be JSL), then on the GAIN FOUR advert it happens twice more (PSZA should be PSZI and MO should be MW). Finally the last advert is completely the opposite requiring players to use the inner wheel for the advert and the outer wheel for the code.... I couldn't spend ages sorting out the right letters for this one so I just told my players to use the opposite method.

Other than this it's a great adventure but I would definitely recommend the DM completes all the puzzles ahead of time to be sure they know the solutions match up.
Customer avatar
Daniel P August 03, 2018 12:15 am UTC
PURCHASER
Also one more thing if you see this Will, I don't understand why the letter asking Lady to 'abandon hope for your lover' is signed 'RK'. Even if someone had sent this to M'lady pretending to be the Rat King... it wouldn't make sense as RK (Rat King) is the lover being spoken of. I trimmed the initials off the handout to avoid confusion but if there is a reason for it let me know. Thanks!
Customer avatar
Will D August 03, 2018 12:26 am UTC
CREATOR
Many thanks for the valuable feedback, Daniel. I'm surprised to see the wheel is still screwed - I must have submitted the wrong version! Good point about the initials too. I'll fix both in the next update.
Customer avatar
Daniel P August 03, 2018 12:35 am UTC
PURCHASER
No problem Will. Sorry but one more thing I just remembered. The handout in the complete document for the 'straight talk' newspaper article has the Apothecary advert circled (presumably by Brisby) - which is a great push toward that location... however the individual handout version doesn't have this circled and so it made my first read through a bit confusing (I didn't really see why the party would go there). The circle definitely helps so you could include that on both versions. Hope this helps and thanks again for a great adventure. Maybe it's just me but I certainly saw some similarities between the Xanathar's dialogue and a certain public figure, which definitely inspired his voice and mannerisms at my table lol.
Customer avatar
Will D August 03, 2018 12:40 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks, I'll update that too. As for those similarities: no comment ;)
Customer avatar
Guy D August 14, 2018 12:50 am UTC
PURCHASER
There is nothing wrong with an error in the coded message. Who is to say the character who coded it didn't make a mistake? Everyone accepted that explanation when I ran it.
Customer avatar
jimmy H August 27, 2018 7:14 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I jumped right on the Xanathar part. In the meeting, he summons tiny mage hands while he talks. The Xanathar also wants to lock up that crooked Laeral Silverhand.
Customer avatar
Jeffrey M August 02, 2018 8:37 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Fyi, handout 6: security box papers is typo'd handout 5 on its' page.
Customer avatar
Will D August 03, 2018 12:24 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks - I'll fix this in the next update!
Customer avatar
Will D July 30, 2018 10:58 pm UTC
CREATOR
Just added image files to the package for the Rat King, Lady of Plagues and Bogarte, just in case you want to present these separately as handouts.
Customer avatar
DOUGLAS D July 24, 2018 10:34 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Really enjoyed running this. A great time was had by all. Plan on running it again next weekend.

My players had a question about the Rat Pox. Is there a cure for the Pox or do the characters retain the rat features they picked up? This was an AL group, so I figure it just goes away at the end since there is no documentation stating otherwise.

Maybe a story reward or two could be added. Particularly "Should the characters cross paths with the X’s network in the future, their reputation as troublemakers precedes them…" what with Dragon Heist being on the horizon, this would be a great lead in, or side mission, for that.
Customer avatar
Will D July 25, 2018 1:10 am UTC
CREATOR
Hi Douglas! Great to hear you had fun with the adventure!

In answer to your query: the Lady of Plagues carries enough vials of antidote on her person to cure the characters and manufacture a general cure for the Dock Ward populace.

I'd love to see a story award like the one you've suggested, but it's beyond my power to create. Lysa is an AL admin though, so you never know!
Customer avatar
Faith T July 20, 2018 7:35 pm UTC
PURCHASER
I also had the honor of playing this adventure with Will Doyle at the Mtl ComicCon.
The mood of the adventure is amazing, it made me feel immersed in one of my favorite movies (Dick Tracy), the intrigue is there from the go, and one of the things that made me love the adventure is that whenever combat ensues, it feels like its moving forward the story.

We missed the first cipher puzzle at the beginning, but its one of those things that the story doesn't stonewall you and lets you know that you missed something, we double cheked the handouts and one of our players solved it without the cipher.

Overall great adventure, I highly recommend it.
Big Kudos to Will and Lysa for creating a great module.
Customer avatar
Will D July 24, 2018 8:45 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks, Faith! I'm so glad you had fun!
Customer avatar
Cosmin J July 17, 2018 11:19 pm UTC
PURCHASER
Had the privilege of playing this at Montreal Comiccon with Will Doyle himself as DM.

Unlike other reviews I've read, our party was able to solve the puzzles fairly quickly; one of our players even solved the first cipher puzzle without the cipher!
It might be that these puzzles are harder than your average ones though, so please keep that in mind and be ready to help your players out if needed with hints or pushing them in the right direction!

Overall I really enjoyed it, there were many tense moments with the NPCs and the intrigue kept up until the end!

I'll definitely be running this at others events!
Customer avatar
Will D July 18, 2018 1:05 am UTC
CREATOR
Thanks for the kind words, Cosmin! I had a blast playing with you!
Customer avatar
Philippe I July 17, 2018 5:11 am UTC
PURCHASER
Had the (huge!) chance to be part of this adventure, DMed by Will Doyle himself at the Montreal Comicon! Had great fun!

More intrigue and choices than the other AL adventures I read or played, interesting puzzle, good balance. Make sure you print the puzzle with good quality though, as it might comes out unclear and a bit smallish.

Strongly recommend!
Customer avatar
Will D July 18, 2018 1:07 am UTC
CREATOR
Cheers, Philippe! It was a pleasure to run the game for you! I've added separate handout files to the bundle now so they should be easier to print!
Customer avatar
Xinyi C July 14, 2018 10:54 am UTC
Just played this module, and while certain parts were fun, our game ground to a complete halt because of the cipher puzzle. The instructions are wrong in certain places, and it got to the point that half the party was sitting around twiddling its thumbs while even the DM tried to solve the puzzle. It took us at least a full hour and really had a negative impact on the overall flow of the game. Our overall game time for a party of 6 4th level players was almost six hours and mostly due to that puzzle. Strongly suggest you check your cipher and the instructions!

Other than that, quite a fun module!
Customer avatar
Will D July 14, 2018 3:29 pm UTC
CREATOR
Sorry to hear the puzzle slowed you down! Sometimes you need to read the wheel from outside in, and in other times from inside out - plus there is an error in one of the codes! I'm going to simplify it for the next update and provide solutions in the DM text.
Customer avatar
Will D July 18, 2018 1:07 am UTC
CREATOR
Should be fixed now in the new update!
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29
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File Last Updated:
July 30, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on April 22, 2018.