Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Review
Published on September 19, 2019, Last modified on December 17th, 2020
Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus is the 10th DnD 5e Adventure published by Wizards of the Coast. As with Storm King’s Thunder and the Tyranny of Dragons Adventures, Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus takes place in the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms.
The adventure starts our players out at the iconic city of Baldur’s Gate and will take them all the way down into the first layer of the Nine Hells.
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Product Overview
Pages: 256 pages
Published: 17 September 2019
Levels: 1 – 13
From the Wizards of the Coast site:
FORGE YOUR FATE IN HELLFIRE!
Diabolical dangers await in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
Welcome to Baldur’s Gate, a city of ambition and corruption. You’ve just started your adventuring career, but already find yourself embroiled in a plot that sprawls from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War! Do you have what it takes to turn infernal war machines and nefarious contracts against the archdevil Zariel and her diabolical hordes? And can you ever hope to find your way home safely when pitted against the infinite evils of the Nine Hells?
- This heroic Dungeons & Dragons adventure book takes players from levels 1 to 13 as they journey through Baldur’s Gate and into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.
- Baldur’s Gate is among the most iconic locations in fantasy culture. A mist-cloaked metropolis on the Sword Coast, it’s a place of history and a home to heroes.
- The book introduces the infernal war machines to fifth edition D&D—battle-ready vehicles, which you can customize as you blast off into the Blood War.
- Dungeon Masters will entice their heroes with devils’ deals, designed to lure adventurers with the ultimate temptations of power and treasure.
Baldur’s Gate Gazetteer
Clocking in at over 30 pages, the section outlining Baldur’s Gate occupies more space in the book than any other location. The pages outline the history, government, economy, and places of interest that can be found around the iconic city. The book also includes a map and some imagery to help the city come to life.
Avernus Source Book
Most of the rest of the book is dedicated to building out the first layer of the Nine Hells. There is a great section called “Life in the Nine Hells” which outlines the persistent state of misery for all beings in Avernus.
The book also comes with an awesome fold-out map that outlines locations and places of interest around the hellish landscape.
We all know the beings of the Nine Hells are more than willing to strike a deal with a desperate adventurer. Typically this deal ends up favoring one side more than the other, most of the time the one that comes out on top is the red guys with horns.
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus features a fairly extensive quest the gain the favor of a devil or demon in exchange for important information. This quest structure and the notes on how to run the devils and demons will help any DM looking for a way to sell the soul of a player or two.
Get around Hell in style. This adventure provides rules on creating, driving, and destroying magical vehicles called Infernal Machines. It also provides four sample vehicles to get your players rolling.
New Character Building Mechanics
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus introduces a new character backstory component called Dark Secret which will help bind your party together and create tough decisions for your players. If you think this is revolutionary, we suggest you check out our Character Backstory Template.
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus Story Overview (Spoilers)
It’s like Mad Max in Hell
This Adventure starts players off in the iconic city of Baldur’s Gate. For those of you that do not know, Baldur’s Gate has been around since the 2nd Edition of DnD and has been featured many times in Adventures that take players around the Forgotten Realms. The location also appears in the successful video game series, Baldur’s Gate.
At the beginning of this module, our players find themselves in the city of Baldur’s Gate where everything is going to hell (pun intended). Our players are more or less forced into joining up with a gang of corrupt local mercenaries to investigate a murderous cult that has taken up killing people at random.
The module whisks our players through a series of “Go here and kill these people” missions until they are presented with a Paladin NPC buddy and a couple of magic artifacts and are told to go the Candle Keep.
At Candle Keep, our players are told the significance of the items they were presented with and then are sent off to where the campaign really starts to pick up, Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. Our players are tasked to investigate the trouble that has spilled out of Avernus into the Forgotten Realms.
Our Players find themselves in the city of Elturel. A city that, until recently, existed on the material plane. For some reason, that our players discover along the way, the city has been transported to Avernus, along with all of its occupants.
The players are then tasked with the chore of rescuing a number of souls that have managed to survive their time in hell. With that accomplished, they set out to visit a number of holy sites around the city that, when completed, will provide a vision of what has caused the city of Elturel and Baldur’s Gate to become involved in the dealings of Hell. The vision reveals that a certain magical item will be able to put a stop to the calamity and, with their task in mind, our players set out to explore Avernus.
One of the more interesting parts of their quest is to ally themselves with one of the two sides that are stuck in the Blood War. This aptly named war has raged throughout eternity between the two main inhabitants of Avernus, lawful evil devils, and the chaotic evil demons.
Once the party has completed the deals they made with their particular ally, they will be directed towards the Bleeding Citadel, the endpoint of the campaign. From here, it is a fairly straightforward path of needing to invade the Citadel, grab the magical item from their previous vision, and use it to ‘defeat’ the Big Bad Evil Guy of the campaign.
Thoughts on Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus
Ultimately, this is a well-written Adventure that focuses on what it does best and doesn’t stray from its forte.
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus isn’t a sprawling open-world like Storm King’s Thunder, it revolves around the players being open and willing to meet an NPC, that NPC gives them something to do, and they go to it.
Being a long string of fetch quests doesn’t take away from the fun of the adventure. Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus may jump from one encounter to another, but the encounters are a good time and are gathered into a unique setting with a good story.
If you and your table are looking for a fast and loose campaign that doesn’t need a whole lot of prep to flesh out every nook and cranny of the world you are provided, I think you will have an awesome time with Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus.
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