The 5th Edition adventure Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is an urban style adventure based in a very large city. While the adventure itself is good and provides a lot of resources in the city, it is lacking in detail that helps the DM bring the city to life. Similarly Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage, while a dungeon crawl, does expect that players will spend some time in the city between delves into Undermountain.

For example it gives no detail on the placement of many of the buildings it references in the adventure, leaving them up to the DM to place. This places a large burden on the DM to come up with placement for things like taverns, shops and the like on the majority of the streets in Waterdeep (of which there are a lot!).

It also gives no detail on how, or where the sewers in the city run, while having them play an important role in a variety of portions of the adventure.

Are there any resources from other editions which can help fill these gaps?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I remember someone making a humongous map in photoshop of waterdeep with all building interiors as well. Was probably on Fantasy Ground website but not sure. If i recall it was around 10% complete about 5 years ago. \$\endgroup\$
    – Franck
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Yes, the 3.5e book City of Splendors: Waterdeep has a variety of resources that are useful for a DM running either of the Waterdeep adventures.

  • It has a more in depth history of the city and the city's features.
  • It contains a map of the Waterdeep sewer system which is consistent with the placement of known sewer entrances in Dragon Heist.
  • It provides Ward by Ward maps, with key locations, residences, businesses and taverns noted on them.
  • It fleshes out a number of mini-adventures which could be converted to 5e with some effort
  • It contains more lore on Undermountain to supplement that provided in Dungeon of the Mad Mage
  • It details some specific magic items and monsters that are Waterdeep specific which have not yet been converted to 5e

The downside is that this book was written for a previous edition, and as such its lore is "out of date" for the current game in some situations (e.g. the open Lord is now a different person, the world has moved on a bit in 100 years, etc.). Additionally, it is not entirely straightforward to convert from previous editions to 5e due to the significant mechanical changes and design decision differences between the various editions.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ One way to address the out-of-date problem in-game is to present any information you provide to the players from this source as coming from historical documents of some kind within the game. That way at least you have an excuse if you later realize that you need to change something in order to adapt it from 3.5e to 5e. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RyanThompson that's certainly a good idea. I'll add that into the answer (unless you want to post your own). \$\endgroup\$
    – illustro
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 21:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, go ahead and add it to yours. You can credit me if you like. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 23:02

The best treatment of Waterdeep by far was the 2E boxed set City of Splendours. I believe you can get the books as PDFs from DTRPG and you might find a used set around.

The 2E Ruins of Undermountain are also great and much more extensive then that WOTC MadMage travesty.

If you are going to set your campaign in Waterdeep I strongly recommend you get your players a copy of Volos Guide to Waterdeep. Its like a Fodor's guide to the city and provides lots of information about the various places to go in the city without spilling any secrets.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .