Join 500+ top game execs at GamesBeat Summit, 4/28 - 4/29. Register today!
You’ve stopped the Cult of the Dragon and Tiamat, battled the cults of Elemental Evil, survived the horrors of Ravenloft, fended off the demons of the Abyss, tangled with the giants, and trekked through the jungles of Chult as you prepared to take on one of the most infamous liches around. Now, it’s time to head to the Forgotten Realms’ City of Splendors — and maybe steal from a dragon.
Today, Wizards of the Coast announced that Waterdeep: Dragon Heist would be the new Dungeons & Dragons storyline coming this fall. It takes place in the Forgotten Realms setting’s Waterdeep, the City of Splendors. This weekend’s Stream of Many Eyes will feature re-creations of locations from the jewel of the Sword Coast, such as the Yawning Portal Inn (which will also serve as a hub for the upcoming mobile game Warriors of Waterdeep) and the Field of Triumph, an arena inside the city. The storyline centers on an urban treasure hunt, and the book will come with rules and ideas for running adventures and campaigns in cities. D&D has long released products about cities from its popular settings, including earlier boxed sets on Waterdeep itself and Greyhawk.
During today’s livestream, D&D “story architect” Chris Perkins said that this new storyline takes inspiration from classic heist films. It will be an “urban romp,” as you try to stop a group of evil villains from grabbing a treasure trove. But it will also be a toolbox of sorts for creating urban adventures.
“I love this story because it’s not a world-shattering event,” Perkins said. “You get the sense that you can lose yourself in the city. … After the player characters, Waterdeep is the most important character in the story.”
You can choose one of four villains star to take on your players, and this choice affects even what season the adventure takes place in, D&D editor-in-chief Jeremy Crawford said.
Each fall, D&D unleashes a new storyline. I’m also interested in how this will find its way into the D&D MMO Neverwinter (which is closing in on its fifth anniversary) and Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms, which will be adding the Binwin from Acquisitions, Inc. (a streamed live-play D&D series). He’s the dwarf fighter of comic creator Scott Kurtz (one of his works is Table Titans, which is about a group of friends who role-play and their adventures on the tabletop). Idle Champions will also be bringing Waterdeep: Dragon Heist to its clicker game next week, and it will show up during the weekend-long Stream of Many Eyes (look for The Idle Champions Talent Agency booth).
But D&D lives online as much as it does on our tabletops these days. Livestreaming shows such as Critical Role and Dice, Camera, Action — which are about groups of people playing D&D together, complete with storylines that carry through complete seasons — are helping bring legions of new players to the 43-year-old game, and some might argue it’s even more popular and successful now than in its 1980s heyday. And online resources such as Roll20 help people play together over the Internet, and D&D Beyond brings all the rules to one site, where players can make characters and check out other people’s creations. The DM’s Guild is another source for buying older sourcebooks and rules — but its greatest treasures are the adventures, tools, monsters, and other books that people brew up and sell there (check out my favorite module, Adamantine Chef, or supplement, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything Else, a collaboration between a raft of authors and D&D personalities).
For more details on Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, watch the Stream of Many Eyes on D&D‘s Twitch channel today and over the weekend. You can see the schedule of presentations and streamers here.
Update, 5:20 p.m. with details from the livestream.