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Rats of Waterdeep $4.95
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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Rats of Waterdeep
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Ty S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/05/2024 16:05:58

Rats of Waterdeep is an excellent and timely adventure for low-levelled parties in the Forgotten Realms. Its timeliness in the wake of the COVID pandemic makes it much easier to embrace the quarantine theme, as well as the prevalent issues with disease as a central theme.

This adventure goes beyond that by also being a noir-themed investigation adventure. Having the party followed by a monologuing detective creates a comical atmosphere which pretends to be serious enough to laugh at, which compliments the dark themes of disease and intrigue. Some of the impactful events intended to help drive the plot can be conveniently moved around with ease based on where in the small sandbox location the players want to explore.

The only downside I have with this adventure is that it offers two interesting subclasses, but they are only available at the end, and only if the party has a willing Druid or Ranger in its composition. It's a real shame that that kind of content can't be explored in this adventure as written, especially if it isn't intended to be a side adventure to a city-themed adventure such as Dragon Heist and is treated more like the one-shot it is advertised to be. A couple of workarounds include: Encouraging the party to have one or both of those classes present during Session 0; or giving the players a chance to level up to level 3 if they ally with one of the two individuals in the scenario who can teach the subclass (which gives the player[s] the chance to experience the subclasses during the adventure itself).

All in all, I would definitely recommend this to DMs and parties who want to play around with a disease and noir setting.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Sean H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/06/2023 15:23:38

This adventure is an excellent romp through the back alleys of the dock district of Waterdeep. It is a module that emphasises the exploration and role play pillars of D&D. My group loved the handouts, scouring them for clues and working tenaciously on the puzzles and ciphers. They also enjoyed their gradual acquisition of rat features as part of the rat pox! It was a pleasure to see them grow in excitement as the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

If there is one area in this module to consider altering, it would be the combat sections. These are mainly situations designed so that they can be avoided through role play; however, some players really do want combat in their games. The actual enemies in the combats were often pretty uninspiring (cultists, thugs, guards) and the adjustments for higher APL were really "just add more of the same", which unfortunately made a couple of the fights a real slog-fest. I would suggest adding some flavour, particularly for higher APL parties. Examples might include switching up the final fight by including a gazer (one of Xanathar's spies); perhaps an ooze in the secret laboratory instead of just more cultists, etc.

I would also suggest that there be whispers of people going missing, with assumptions made (by the detectives, townsfolk etc) that they have turned into rats. This will make the Xanathar capturing slaves fit into the story better.

Overall, this is a fantastic module. It runs smoothly if the DM is prepared - make sure you have multiple copies of the handouts; construct the cipher wheel; and pre-draw maps for the sites of possible combat (ie, Cloak lane; the Secret Laboratory; Harbor Holdings bank just in case; Temple of Rot plaza; Rat King's lair in the sewers).



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by J. E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/21/2023 21:42:16

This adventure kickstarted my DMing practice in earnest!

I had a lot of fun running it, and my players enjoyed it as well. Running for a large table was... perhaps a bit overly-ambitious, as a noir investigative mystery can be difficult with so many people trying to do things at once, but that's not a reflection on this adventure. (I'd probably recommend a smaller/average table size -- 3-5 players -- for this one, to keep table management running a bit more smoothly). We also definitely did not manage it in 4 hours - I think we ran closer to 7 - but that was with a large table, a few new players, and a novice DM.

The puzzles were quite wonderful (though, see the comments for other folks' feedback on whether a couple need edits), and the NPCs and their stories were also great. The adventure is well-written, the story is solid both in plot and in mechanics, and there's a pretty heartwarming undertone to it that I really enjoyed. It definitely benefits from solid DM prep, though, since there's a lot of different things going on (locations, puzzles, interconnections, etc.).

Watchman Locks is a well-written sidekick, and I played them as full-noir as I could manage. For inspiration, I drew from FO4's Nick Valentine; I also leaned in to the Fourth Wall-breaking a touch. Seemed to go over well!

Hmm... Maybe it's time to run it again....



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Andrew K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/28/2022 21:00:26

This d&D is one of the greatest d&d adventures of all time. Perfect noir theme, awsome locations and npcs and a fantastic connection to waterdeep dragon heist



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Eric P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/26/2020 09:50:05

I like this module, although my player was a little less than enthused (he is playing his character as evil is black-and-white, so he was not happy with either main antagonist at the end). It is pretty well written, and easy to follow. I also incorporated it into my own campaign by moving it and replacing Xanathar with my own crime bosses. I recommend this module!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Michael L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/11/2020 15:18:12

As a DM, loved running this adventure, loved it so much I ran it four times for four different groups. Things I loved. -The campy noir setting. -The Rat Pox effects -Cipher wheel was easily one of the best puzzles ever found in D&D. -Loved the handouts, all of them were just wonderful and added so much context to the adventure. -Loved how this is a proper 4 hour One Shot, great adventure to get new players into the door.

Things I thought could be improved. -Literally the only issue I had was I got an earlier version of this adventure before the Cipher handout was corrected. Seems it has since been corrected so Mark that off for me.

I will say this adventure will require a bit of prep work from the DM but honestly its worth every minute.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Celeste C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/20/2019 02:58:03

This is probably the most unique and thoughtful module I have ever run (I've got 15 years of DMing under my belt). Every inch of this module screams attention to detail: from the campy 'noir' flavor text to the wonderful 'how to play' NPC directions, this module is assured to be a good experience for any table. I ran this for a live stream, but I cannot imagine the sheer delight I would have felt by encountering something so well balanced between role playing, puzzles, and combat in a FLGS. Kudos to Lysa & Will, this remains absolutely on top of the pile for memorable & incredibe modules I have run.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by James U. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/29/2019 13:33:42

First- This may contain spoilers. If you care about that, stop reading.

This module was ok. My group had fun and generally enjoyed the story but had some issues. I had some other issues. My issues first (because I am the DM and therefore more important): 1) I don't have a color printer. Red on black cover turns into black on black cover. Since printer toner is apparently made from unicorn blood (given the price), it is a little frustrating to have a pure black page printed.

2) There are typos in the puzzles so the players started down a wrong trail because words were spelled incorrectly.

3) The story is difficult to unfold and uses a deus ex machina rat/vision to explain the story. If I run this again, I will have the players find an additional clue instead of having a sudden vision.

Now some player gripes: 1) Again, the story was a little clunky and we had to stop the game to review some things. 2) The players had a tough time figuring out where to go or what they were looking for when they got there. As a DM, I felt responsible for some of that. I re-read and there was no mention of a some of the locations (temple) so I had to make an NPC talk about it. 3) There is an attempt to make the adventure feel like a noir detective novel. I was asked to stop reading the text boxes by the party.

Overall, the adventure was ok. I will be able to overcome some of the issues if I run this again. It ran about 6 hours with my group but they had a lot of roleplay and did not skip any puzzles.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Cormac O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/28/2019 12:26:04

Finished this last night with my group - very entertaining. Players loved to see all of the handouts and even solved first cypher before having the wheel (which I did construct - nice prop!). Great intro to the intrigue in Waterdeep, though the "private eye" tone might not be for every party (easy enough to adjust though). Small gripe is that the denouement is a little underwhelming if the clues have all been brought together and the protagonists convinced - need to move on to the bonus encounter quickly. That encounter also needed the assistance of all the supporting npcs in order for the party to be victorious in my game. Will add more background and interactions to play with if you plan to move on to Dragon Heist. Recommended!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Stephen M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/24/2019 10:24:53

I had the privilege of playing this adventure with the (co-)author at ComicCon in Montreal, and I must say it was one of the best experiences I have ever had in Adventurer’s League. Great story, great mix of RP, exploration, and combat, this is true gem. I have run it several times since, and my players all really enjoyed it. Highly recommended!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Eric G. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/22/2019 15:19:35

I finally ran this module after having purchased it quite some time ago. It was an AL game at Orccon in Los Angeles, and most of my players (4 out of 6) were under 13. It was a lot of fun. We slogged down a little bit with some of the puzzlely bits, but they through it, and came out victorious. We went over our time allotment a little, so convention staff ran me off at the end, but I think every enjoyed it, and 3 brand new players survived to party down in the pubs of Waterdeep!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Colin P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2018 15:16:45

This is a different, fun, and quirky adventure mod that is a great way to introduce a party to Waterdeep. I enjoyed leaning into the ever-present "narrator" NPC, and the mystery is a perfect set-up for a new party. It leaves plenty of room for the PCs to make decisions and play it out their way.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/30/2018 05:29:44

This was great fun, and has the honour of being a rare mod that is actually designed for level 1 (and has the challenge to match). The format of being detectives following a trail of clues was quite novel (and even my puzzle challenged group seemed to get there), the storyline was engaging, it ran at a good pace (about 3 and a bit hours) and there were alternatives to combat at least some of the time as a way to deal with encounters. A great lead in to season 8.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by Sean R. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/24/2018 21:41:49

Needs good prep to run, but still one of the most fun modules I've found

Are you looking for hardened, dark and gritty noir on the streets of Waterdeep? That’s not what this is. Are you looking for goofy fun noir pastiche set against the backdrop of Waterdeep? Good, because that is exactly what you’ll get.

Rats of Waterdeep is D&D high on its goofier edge, complete with an airheaded tiefling detective narrating the entire story (unless the players choose to let him die to get rid of his narration), a body-horror plague that managed to lean more to hilarious results than genuine horror (a tail ‘with a mind of its own’, rat ears, and hands that drop your weapon on a one), and a terrific, hammy appearance of everyone’s favourite beholder crime-lord. You could choose easily to play this down to a grittier level, but it seems written toward comedy rather than tragedy.

That’s not to say there’s not some emotive content here. While I don’t think anyone’s going to get choked up about it, the entire story wraps around a quite tender love story and the principle characters are written with an eye to their humanity. Overall, the story of this module is a real high point and is what earns it most of its marks.

The puzzles are entertaining and well designed if somewhat shoehorned into the plot (A bank requires word scrambles for security verification? Really?) but the comedic tone means it doesn’t feel too absurd. If any players object, a batty owner of the bank makes for an excellent explanation to the bizarre scenario.

The technical work is also excellent. The fights are better balanced than I’d have expected (an opening conflict that at first blush seemed overly difficult is actually intense but overall pretty winnable, and has contingencies if it isn’t) but if I had to criticise a little I’d note that the most interesting fights are also the two avoidable ones. Also, the final battle in the bonus objective can be quite messy courtesy of three different enemy NPC types, as well as two allied NPCs and almost certainly a third allied monster type. Managing six different NPC stat blocks in one fight was a challenge for me.

More of a problem is that there are no maps for the module, meaning that a DM who wishes to use miniatures is on their own for the entire module. Coupled with that above final fight (which due to its complexity is a poor choice for a theatre of the mind delivery), I’m forced to ding it a star.

That said, I do not want to end this on a down note. This is a tremendously entertaining module that would make a terrific introduction to Dragon Heist or any campaign set in Waterdeep. I’d definitely recommend it for Adventurer’s League as well, but stress that someone needs to make maps for it ahead of time. However, once they’re made it’s pretty easy to run and would adapt well to an AL environment. Highly recommended.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Rats of Waterdeep
Publisher: Dungeon Masters Guild
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/23/2018 18:12:50

I recently ran this adventure and had an excellent time. Had just the right mix of intrigue and a fun film noir feel. Every encounter resolution is entirely influenced by the choice of the players. The NPC's were unique and engaging. Great for a one shot adventure or to lead into a bigger city campaign.

Ran this adventure at a local tabletop event and was just as much fun with a new group of players. Looking forward to running it again in the future.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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