Adventure Hooks: Lords of Waterdeep Board Game

by Ameron (Derek Myers) on April 14, 2014

a-to-z-2014-lLords of Waterdeep is of my favourite board games; it’s definitely in my all-time top 5. I’m sure a big part of why I enjoy it so much is the D&D theme. Yet the D&D elements are more flavour than anything else. You could strip them away and the game would still work. But I choose to embrace the D&D parts. The reference to familiar characters, places, and monsters all add to why I enjoy the game. As I’ve played the game over and over and over again I’ve often thought to myself “how can I incorporate the elements of the board game in my actual D&D game?” The answer was actually quite simple – use the quests as adventuring hooks.

Throughout April Dungeon’s Master is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. The challenge is to write a new article ever day in April, excluding Sundays. That’s 26 articles over the course of the month. To make things even more interesting the title of each article will begin with a different letter of the alphabet. This year we’ve decided that every article will provide our readers with new adventure hooks. Today “L” is for Lords of Waterdeep as we use the game’s quest cards to inspire adventuring hooks for your D&D game.

lords-of-waterdeep-coverFor those who haven’t played Lords of Waterdeep (the board game or iOS version) the game is a worker placement and resource management game. You place your agents around the map of Waterdeep collecting resources in the form of Fighters, Rogues, Wizards, Clerics and gold pieces. You score points by using these resources to complete quests.

Each quest is unique and has a specific name, requires specific resources to complete, offers some kind of reward. If a DM wanted to use the quest cards as adventuring hooks they can also use the picture and the flavour test to flesh out each one. The type of resources needed to complete the quest gives the DM queues regarding what’s needed to set up the encounter. Similarly the reward listed on the quest indicates where the adventure hook might lead to next. Let’s look at some quests in a bit more detail.


Adventure Hooks: Lords of Waterdeep Board Game


Confront the Xanathar

“Disrupt the plans of the Xanathar, the beholder crime lord of Skullport.”

Some quests are pretty straight forward and can easily be mapped to a straight up combat encounter, in this case fighting a Beholder. Since it requires all four classes to complete (1 Cleric, 4 Fighters, 2 Rogues, 1 Wizard) this gives an indication of the Beholder’s CR. The quest reward includes 2 gp, so the PCs should find some good loot. Alternatively the PCs could face Xanathar himself in which case they would have to head into the subterranean city of Skullport.


Deliver weapons to Selune’s temple

“Make sure these armaments reach the temple safely.”

This quest seems like a simple delivery, but Selune is the goddess of the moon and her Clerics often battle lycanthropes. So using this as an adventure hook could have the PCs facing Werewolves directly, or mercenaries that the Werewolves hired to intercept a shipment of silvered weapons. The reward is 2 Clerics so completing the delivery successfully could gain the PCs favours from the Clerics of Selune.


Discover hidden temple of Lolth

“The Spider Queen’s nests are often hidden by powerful spells.”

The question is do the PCs discover the temple because they’re looking for it or do they discover it by accident? Since 2 Clerics are required to complete the quest, perhaps the party is approached good Clerics who have been displaced from a holy site? The reward provides another quest so once the PCs find the temple and deal with the immediate threat they may realize that this is just a small piece of a much bigger puzzle.


Fence goods for the Duke of Darkness

“In some wards, stolen goods turn a nice profit.”

Who is the Duke of Darkness and why would the PCs fence goods for him? By answering these questions you’ve got a pretty good adventure hook. It requires 3 Rogues and 4 gp to complete so there will certainly be some shady dealings along the way. More importantly the rewards provide the PCs with continued payment which begs that questions why? What did they do to earn this kind of remuneration?


Loot the Crypt of Chauntea

“The haunted Crypt of Chauntea holds ancient treasures.”

Looting a crypt doesn’t sound very original as an adventuring hook, but Chauntea is the goddess of nature. What could possibly be in this crypt that is worth looting? In the picture on the quest card the adventurer is seen grabbing a flower from a pot. Is the flower valuable? The reward of another quest suggests that there are consequences the stem from looting this crypt.


Lure artisans of Mirabar

“The shield dwarves of Mirabar are skilled builders.”

According to the flavour text the artisans are builders. Part of the reward for bringing them to Waterdeep is that a building gets added to the game under your control. Maybe they agree to build your PCs a secret hideout in the basement of the structure they build. Now you just have to convince them to come to Waterdeep to do it.


Protect the House of Wonder

“Defending Mystra’s temple demonstrates devotion.”

Protecting the temple will require 2 Clerics, 1 Fighter and 2 gp. Is the gp used to hire more guards, build traps and fortify defenses, or buy consumables to help the defenders? What’s attacking the temple that requires this extra help? The reward suggests that this is the beginning of an ongoing relationship where the Clerics of Mystra continue to act as patrons to the party and reward them accordingly.


Research chronomancy

“Time magic has unlimited potential.”

The picture shows a large hourglass crackling with magical energy. Are the PCs sent to retrieve it or do they happen to stumble across it after a random encounter? If they use it (intentionally or not) they are transported back in time 1 day. What do they do differently? What happens to the hourglass when the sands run out?


Safeguard Eltorchul mage

“The Eltorchul Academy of wizardry requires an escort for one of its prominent student.”

This quest might look straight forward but the flavour text suggests that these are prominent students (not capable of defending themselves yet) who need your help. What kind of trouble are they in? Who wants to harm them? Given that 4 gp are required the PCs may need to upgrade their equipment of invest in some consumables before taking on this mission. If successful the reward is 2 Wizards so the grateful students or their instructors could owe the PCs a favour.


Steal spellbook from Silverhand

“Laeral Silverhand has a fascinating collection of spellbooks. Acquire one, please.”

Who is Silverhand and who wants this spellbook? His book is likely well protected given that 1 Fighter, 2 Rogues, and 2 Wizards are needed to complete this quest. The gp reward indicates substantial payment but the intrigue cards suggest that the PCs learn that there was more to this job than simple robbery. What spells were in that spellbook, who will use them, and to what end?

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1 Jemima Pett April 14, 2014 at 2:02 pm

I know next to nothing about gaming but I like the way you’ve presented this – It looks really interesting. Maybe I’ll try it! Thanks for doing the A to Z Challenge 🙂
Blogging from Alpha to Zulu in April

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