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Trollskull Alley - a Waterdeep: Dragon Heist DM's Resource $2.99 $1.79
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Shawn S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/14/2019 03:19:54

I've been DMing for a few years now, so I'm not an expert, but I'm not inexperienced. More importantly, I'm running this module with a second group that isn't my primary, so I don't have a lot of spare time to focus on creating too much outside of the module. Unfortunately, the biggest weakpoint for Dragon Heist is just how lacking it is in plot threads beyond the basic backstory and rich character descriptions. It's got a lot of content, but if you want to fill in the blanks, you have to spend some time yourself.

But WOW is this resource a life saver. Some things the team figured out saved my ass hard when it came to delivering a fun module. The quest with the bookeep and the alchemist alone was worth the price of admission to me. The druid I had in the group latched on immediately to assisting the cause: not just because it engaged two very disparate parties, but because she really wanted to find a solution. By the end of it, they met several of their neighbors, shook hands with many powerful people, and started understanding the dynamics of the Waterdeep politics way more than I could have otherwise. I was so giddy when their solution had them second guessing their choices, realizing through the process their actions hurt the Xanathar guild, possibly throwing the balance of power in Zhentarim favor and giving themselves a harder time when dealing with the guilds. It's exactly what I expected players to realize without having to spoonfeed them the guild dynamics. It even gave a reliable in to the Harpers, which one of my members is particualrly intrigued by.

The guide on how to sell Lif as a potentially friendly ghost was spot on, and my party decided to keep him around (which I think is a fantastic choice). Using Mirt and Istrid as possible lenders was genius, and the different pros and cons had my party end the session with serious decisions to make. In the end, the Running the Tavern and Putting in Work rules are saving me boatloads of prep time by taking exactly what I wanted them to do with the tavern and making it accessible.

The "weakest" part of the module is still helpful. Seeing their analysis of the guilds is a nice addition to help save on prep time, as is a recap of the downtime activities. Overall, it's made by a team who seem to have a fairly good grasp of the module and of how to cover the spots in the module that will leave some DMs scratching their head.

I slate it as a "must have" for the busy DM who is running this module and wants a few jumping off points for running this section. The giant gaps left by the module for a whole level and chapter are best filled with missions that provide lots of opportunities to explore the world, which this book provides. The price is extremely reasonable for the pages and work offered. Well proofread and very easy to digest, even if you have to assess it on the fly. Even if you like to do a lot of prep, I would say it's valuable for the two missions it provides and the alternative rules for renovating and operating the tavern, especially since it can provide numbers for skillchecks so you can fairly determine income and lending offers.

Fantastic work from the team, looking forward to picking up Chapter 3!

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Trollskull Alley - a Waterdeep: Dragon Heist DM's Resource
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