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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Dungeons & Dragons - A Guide to Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus


** The finished version of this guide will be posted on September 17th. I feel like I shouldn't spoil the entire adventure before it comes out in stores. I'll leave the first 70 pages here so you can get an idea of what's in the book. **

This thing is a work in progress, and it will be ugly until it is done. Right now, this guide is a pile of loose notes that will slowly be organized as I read through the whole book and sort out what you need to know to run this effectively.

In certain cases, I’ve moved information around to keep it all in one spot. For example, I put all the Elfsong info in the same spot when running down the Elfsong Tavern scenario.

For now, this document should serve as a nice way to get a head start on preparing the book or a glimpse to see if it is something you want to run.

Links

Infernal War Machine Rules .pdf
Vehicle Chase Rules .pdf
Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes Zariel .pdf
Dragon+ Issue 26
WebDM discusses Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus

Products

You can buy Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus here.
You can buy the Descent Into Avernus Dice Set here. I love this thing - it's got a felt interior, comes with a pile of cards that have trinkets, the infernal language, and more. There is also a fold-out map of Avernus.
Descent Into Avernus miniatures
Descent Into Avernus Deluxe Box

Summary
  1. Elturel has been pulled out of the Realms and into Avernus
  2. Zariel is targeting Baldur’s Gate next
  3. The heroes are trapped in Baldur’s Gate, as the city is trying to keep out refugees
  4. Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard has gone missing - was on a diplomatic mission to Elturel
  5. The Flaming Fist drafts the heroes. They must root out followers of Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul.
  6. The group learns that the cultists are financed by Thalamra Vanthampur, one of the three dukes of Baldur’s Gate (and secret disciple of Zariel). She’s using money that she stole from Tiamat!
  7. Thalamra’s plan is to sabotage the Flaming Fist and take over the city, so that it can be pulled into Avernus.
  8. Thalamra has the Shield of the Hidden Lord, which is corrupting the city.
  9. Thavius Kreeg, evil former ruler of Elturel, is hiding in the city. If slain, the group will run into him again in devil form (pg 132).
  10. The heroes might liberate a spy linked to Sylvira Savikas, an expert on the Nine Hells.
  11. Sylvira lives in Candlekeep. Her spies are trying to find the infernal contract Thavius signed, that doomed Elturel.
  12. Sylvira can get the group to Avernus. Her friend, Traxigor, can cast plane shift.
  13. In Avernus, the group gains a guide - a hollyphant named Lulu (who seems to have some kind of connection to Zariel)..
  14. In elturel, the group can ally with Ulder Ravengard.
  15. To free Elturel, the group must either destroy “the Companion” or break the chains. Doing either will involve searching Avernus for the means to do so.
  16. Lulu begins to remember things about the sword of Zariel. The sword can destroy the Companion.
  17. The adventurers might cut a deal with Bel, former ruler of Avernus. They might also run afoul of Yeenoghu’s pet or meet Arkhan the Cruel.
Summary by Character Level

Level 1: The heroes join the Flaming Fist, find Tarina at the Elfsong Tavern, and defeat the pirates hunting her.

Level 2: The group explores the dungeon under the bath house, meet Mortlock Vanthampur, and runs into some agents of Tiamat.

Level 3: The adventurers go to Low Lantern to kill Amrik Vanthampur.

Level 4: Then it's on to Vanthampur Villa where, hopefully, the adventurers accomplish three things:
  1. They obtain the infernal puzzle box
  2. They meet (and keep?) the Shield of the Hidden Lord
  3. They meet a prisoner, Falaster Fisk, who can explain what is in the puzzle box and why it should be taken to Candlekeep.
Then, the group goes to Candlekeep, and meets Sylvira and Lulu. They are planeshifted to Elturel.

Level 5: The heroes arrive in Elturel, which is chained to the Nine Hells. They go to High Hall and learn that Grand Duke Ravengard is in the cemetery.

Level 6: The adventurers make their way through the cemetery, where Baphomet has demonic agents trying to gain a foothold. The group find Ravengard and must enact a ritual to separate him from th ehelm. Once done, he reveals that the sword of Zariel is the key to saving the city. Lulu knows that the trail to finding the sword begins at Fort Knucklebone.

Level 7: At the fort, the group can solve a bunch of problems for Mad MAggie. Then, they go through a psychic ritual to unlock Lulu's memories.

Level 8: After traveling to Haruman's Hill and battling Hellwasps, the heroes must choose one of two paths:
  • The Path of Demons:
  • The Path of Devils:
Level 9:

The Hellriders

The origin of the Hellriders go like this (see pg 44):
  1. Devils were plaguing Elturel.
  2. Zariel, an angel, showed up to help.
  3. She found the infernal gate and led a group of mortals through it to fight the devils on their home turf.
  4. Zariel rode a golden Mastodon (!!).
  5. Zariel was defeated and the remnants of her army returned to Elturel.
  6. The survivors were celebrated and are known as the Hellriders.
Background  (page 7)

Long ago, the angel Zariel led a band of angelic soldiers into Avernus, wading into the Blood War (the eternal war between demons and devils). Some angels fled and went back to Mount Celestia. They are known as the Hellriders.

Zariel lost a hand. She ordered Yael, an ally, to take her sword and hide it. Yael fled with the hollyphant, Lulu.

Zariel and two generals, Olanthius and Haruman, were captured and sent to Nessus, the 9th level of the Nine Hells. Asmodeus welcomed her and gave her control of Avernus, supplanting Bel. Haruman became a narzugon. Olanthius killed himself, and rose up a a death knight.

Zariel felt betrayed by Elturel, and when the city was being threatened by a vampire, she made a contract with Thavius Kreeg. This contract caused a radiant sphere to appear over the city. Inside of it was a trapped planetar. This sphere is known as the Companion.  The light of the Companion drove out the vampire.

Thavius knew that the Companion would eventually shift. He fled the city and hid in Baldur’s Gate. The Companion transformed into an orb of negative energy and pulled Elturel into the Nine Hells.

The Nine Hells is Awful: I really get a kick out of the idea that when a character does something selfish in the Nine Hells, they get inspiration (see pg 9). Make sure you’ve got the right players for something like that, though, as that one player will ruin it for everyone else.

Fireballs: In older editions, fireballs would fall from the sky and sometimes track and target mortal intruders. In this book, it is said that pieces of the lost paradise that once was Avernus fall from the sky as burning meteors (pg 9). Finding a relic of the former paradise gives a fleeting feeling of joy.

Travel in Avernus: The DM just decides how long it takes to get from one place to another. The Wandering Emporium (pg 126) can show up almost anywhere, at any time.

Before You Start

Passive Perception: Mark down everyone's passive perception scores (10+ their perception bonus. You'll need it once they get to Wyrm's Crossing (pg 44) and if you ask right before they cross that bridge, the players will know something is up.

Warn the Players: You might want to tell the group that not everything is "scaled" to their level. They might run into some creatures too tough for them to beat. For example, if the group causes problems in Candlekeep, an archmage who casts 9th level spells will come over and mangle them (see "Candlekeep Defenses" on pg 46).

Come Up With Some Hell Quests: On page 78, the book notes that characters who fail a death save in Avernus can cut a deal with an archdevil in exchange for rolling a natural 20 on their next death save. The character will need to do the archdevil a "favor" in return. You might want to cook up some favors in advance.

Lulu the Hollyphant

Lulu is a very important NPC who meets the group just before they travel to the Nine Hells. She sticks with them and slowly recovers her memories and spells.

Regaining Memories: When you feel like it's the right time, roll on the chart on page 51.

Regaining Spells:
Regains light when the heroes arrive in Elturel (page 53)

Lulu's Origin:
  • Lulu can turn into a golden-furred war mammoth with wings
  • She was friends with Zariel for centuries.
  • When Zariel was defeated, she gave her sword to Yael to keep it safe.
  • Yael and Lulu were chased by Yeenoghu’s pet
  • Yael plunged the blade into a stone, Lulu created a fortress atound it that hedged out all evil.
  • Lulu wandered Avernus alone and eventually ran into Mahadi of the Wandering Emporium. He splashed her with water from the River Styx.
  • He gave Lulu to a group of devils, but Zariel had Lulu sent back to the Realms with her faculties somewhat restored.
Chapter 1: A Tale of Two Cities (pg 10)

The Flaming Fist: An army of mercenaries who work for Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard. Ravengard is an honorable man, but the Flaming Fist have been known to be cruel.

Ten days ago, Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard went to Elturel on a diplomatic mission. While he was there, Elturel was pulled into Avernus.

Thavius Kreeg, refugee from Elturel, is being sheltered by Duke Vanthampur. (pg 11)

The Vanthampurs

Family Motto: "Stone Hearts Never Bleed" (pg 36)

The Vanthampur family is in debt to Zariel. She and her sons are trying to use the Shield of the Hidden Lord to doom Baldur’s Gate, and get it pulled into Avernus as well.

Information on the family can be found on pages 25-26, and pg 32.All of that content is summarized right here.

The family is paying Dead Three cultists to murder people in the city, to prove that the Flaming Fist can't do the job.

Thalamra Vanthampur (stat block on pg 38): Devil-worshiper, late 60's, strong,
  • Wants to be the Grand Duke of Baldur's Gate.
  • Orchestrated the disappearance of Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard. 
  • Slobberchops: Her pet tressym (pg 241).
  • She is a widow three times over. She had a son with each husband. 
Her three sons:
  • Amrik (stat block on pg 30): Runs a moneylending business out of a tavern called the Low Lantern. Has 2 bodyguards - Kasharra (spined devil MM pg 78) and Vhaltus (thug MM pg 350). Is being groomed to be Thalamra's successor.
  • Thurstwell (stat block on pg 34): Uses imps as spies.Sickly, rarely leaves mother's estate.Has spies watching the bathhouse and at Low Tavern. He is jealous of Amrik.
  • Mortlock (stat block on pg 26): Amrik is quietly trying to off him. Thalamra doesn't like him and would disown him, but it was her third husband's dying wish that she look after him.
Gargauth, The 10th Lord of the Nine

The Shield of the Hidden Lord (pg 225) is apparently linked to an archdevil first described in older editions. Here is what Sylvira has to say about Gargauth (on pg 47):
  • Gargauth was a pit fiend sent by Asmodeus to corrupt mortals on the Material Plane.
  • Gargauth amassed a following to rival gods and became a sort of demi-god.
When I made Emirikol’s Guide to Devils, I dug up all the lore on Gargauth that I could find. Here it is:

In the early days of the Nine Hells, Gargauth lived in Nessus and was one of Asmodeus’s closest advisors. Gargauth realized that a member of the court named Astaroth was actually a demon and a minor deity in disguise. Astaroth had achieved the title Treasurer of Hell, and fled after stealing a number of valuable secrets. The information he stole aids the demons in the Blood War to this day.

Asmodeus ordered Gargauth to hunt down Astaroth. Gargauth did so, defeating Astaroth and consuming his divine spark. Gargauth had acquired godly powers.

Gargauth spent time roaming the planes, utilizing his power to cast plane shift once every 9 days.

Appearance: Gargauth often appears as an 8-foot-tall human with a mustache. He always has a poisonous snake wrapped around his arm.

Weakness: He is vulnerable to silver. It is said that he was once almost killed by a mortal who threw a sack of silver pieces at him.

Current Whereabouts: Prior to Descent Into Avernus, Gargauth was said to be trapped in the Wells of Darkness, an Abyssal prison plane that holds a number of powerful entities.

Knights of the Shield

The Knights of the Shield serve and protect the Shield of the Hidden Lord. Members include:
  • Lady Satiir Thione-Hhune (pg 40): Member of the Hhune patriar family, in her 70's.
  • Kaddrus (pg 44): A cambion (MM pg 36)
  • Falar (pg 44): A veteran (MM pg 350)
  • Zaroud al'Ryshal (pg 44): A veteran (MM pg 350)
  • Nulra Blacksaddle (pg 44): A veteran (MM pg 350)
The heroes should be level 5 when they get to Avernus.

The Basilisk Gate pg 12

Flaming Fist: Very bribeable. 10 gp is enough to be allowed through the gate.

Captain Darmin Zodge (veteran MM pg 350): Evil human trying to prove that he is worthy of running the Flaming Fist.
  • Accompanied by 6 veterans (MM pg 350): Issio, Minaqua, Nelestree, Oliver, Soltus, and Thalkara.
Liara Portyr: She runs Fort Beluarian in Chult, and she is on her way to Baldur’s Gate. Her uncle is Duke Dillard Portyr.

Meeting Captain Zodge (pg 12): Zodge gives the heroes a badge and asks them to kill any members of the Dead Three that they can find. Pay: 200 gp. He asks the group to seek out Tarina at the Elfsong Tavern.

Badges: You might want to mention to the heroes that the badges give them access to Upper City, a gated-off area where the nobles live. This will come up when the group has to go to Vanthampur Villa later on (pg 31).

Elfsong Tavern (pg 16)

Zodge has spies watching the group. If the heroes don’t go to the Elfsong Tavern within 2 days, he sends 6 veterans (MM pg 350) and a flameskull (MM pg 134) after them.

Don’t Forget the Elfsong: The tavern is haunted by a spirit that sings a song in Elvish every once in a while. On pg 18, there is a section called “Elfsong”. Usually the spirit sings about a lost love, but this time it sings about Elturel.

The group can learn that the Companion is the name of the artificial sun that hovered over Elturel. They can also learn about the Hellriders, the knights of Elturel, and how some of them actually rode into the Nine Hells on horseback to fight devils.

Owner: Alan Alyth (commoner MM pg 345). 75-years old, half-elf. Runs a moneylending business on the side.

Patrons:
  • Skrawldar Fane (commoner MM pg 345): No eyebrows.
  • Lala Stout (spy MM pg 349): Evil halfling burglar.
  • Oloric Witmirth (commoner MM pg 345):Impoverished playwright.
  • Whaul Nightley (thug MM pg 350): Jovial half-orc.
  • Rahima Sajiressa (acolyte MM pg 342): Astrologer, worships Savras.
  • Willow Brownbug (druid MM pg 346): Snooty halfling apothecary.
Tavern Locations (pg 16)

E1. Taproom: Tables, private booths, 3 padded chairs near a fireplace, chest full of games.
  • Foods: Fish cakes, crab cakes, cheese-and-potato soup, loaf pudding soaked in syrup and lightly salted almonds.
  • Bartender: Alan Alyth
  • Servers: Falten and Yimiur (commoners MM pg 345)
  • Bouncers: Klank (animated armor MM pg 19) and Skoona (half-ogre MM pg 238)
  • Patrons: Commoners MM pg 345 and thugs MM pg 350.
E2. Lounge: People smoke here.

E3. Private Dining Room: Has a mounted green dragon head.

E6. Kitchen: 3 cooks (commoners MM pg 345)
  • Chenna Fatrabbit: Cheery halfling chef.
  • Azar Valsheem: testy human sous chef.
  • Klav Martilmur: Blind human pastry chef.
E7. Upstairs Dining Room: Tables where people are playing Baldur’s Bones, a dice game (see sidebar pg 16). This is where Tarina is.

Dealing With Tarina (pg 18)
  • (Real name: Rhonda Thunderbell) Chaotic Evil human bandit (MM pg 343)
  • She is cheating at Baldur’s Bones. The people she is playing with are too dumb to notice.,
  • She ripped off her fellow pirates on the Uncivil Serpent and has been spending the loot.
  • She sometimes works for Nine-Fingers, the local thieves’ guild.
  • She will help the heroes if they agree to protect her if the pirates come looking for her (see “With Friends Like These” on pg 19).
  • She doesn’t want to share what she knows until the pirates are taken care of (“What Tarina Knows” pg 19.
E8. Private Dining Room: Umber Hulk head mounted on the wall.

E9. Fancy Guest Suite: Canopied bed!

E10. Private Dining Room: Displacer Beast head mounted on the wall.

E11. Large Guest Room: Oshalla (sahuagin priestess MM pg 264) She was exiled from her kingdom and doesn’t really leave the room. Alan Alyth brings her meals.

E13. Alan’s Bedroom: Rug of smothering (MM pg 20) Alan’s got 91 gp, 176 sp and 288 cp in a chest.

With Friends Like These (pg 19): The pirates come to the Elfsong Tavern looking for (“Tarina”) Rhonda Thunderbell.
  • Lekard “Dead-Eye” Cadavrus (bandit captain MM pg 344): Tries to kill Tarina on sight. He has a bit of money on him.
  • 7 bandits (MM pg 343)
  • The Uncivil Serpent: Some wacky groups will probably go check out the pirate ship. 11 bandits (MM pg 343) are on board.
  • Sailing Ship (DMG pg 119) AC 15 HP 300 Damage Threshold 15 Crew 20 Cost: 10,000 gp Remember that damage threshold means that you need to do 15 points of damage in one shot to do any damage to the ship at all.
What Tarina Knows (pg 19)

There is a bathhouse nearby that links to a dungeon where the followers of Dead Three are.

Ding, the group hits level 2.

Dungeon of the Dead Three (pg 20)

Cultists of the Dead Three are detailed on pg 231.

The Dead Three are Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul, quasi-divine adventurer entities.

Bane: God of Tyranny
  • Seeks to rule the world. Has a jet black right hand.
  • His followers are warriors who seek to rule through martial strength.
  • Types of agents )pg 232) Fist of Bane, Iron Consul, and Black Gauntlet of Bane.
Bhaal: God of Murder
  • Likes to kill those who seem to be beyond the reach of death. Always wears a red handkerchief.
  • Agents (pg 233): Night Blade, Reaper of Bhaal, and Death’s Head of Bhaal.
Myrkul: Lord of Bones
  • Can bind souls into wax skulls, which can be used to glean knowledge from the deceased.
  • His followers are wizards and necromancers.
  • Agents (pg 234): Necromite of Myrkul, Skull Lasher of Myrkul, and Master of Souls.
Arrival at the Bathhouse (pg 21): City residents come here during the day and evening.

D1. Courtyard: An imp (MM pg 76) is invisible, watching. It will fly away and alert Thurstwell, Duke Vanthampur’s oldest son, what is happening. Thurstwell is hoping the heroes will kill his brother, Mortlock.

D2. Baths: 1d6 commoners MM pg 345
  • Night: 3 night blades (pg 233) guard the place. The necromite (pg 234) from D4 might come to help.
D3. South Massage Room: Jabaz (commoner MM pg 345) androgynous human masseuse. Knows that Duke Thalmra Vanthampur owns the place, fears Mortlock, and knows about secret door in D4 but won’t volunteer it out of fear.

D4. North Massage Room:
  • Qurmilah (commoner MM pg 345): Female human masseuse, knows what Jabaz knows.
  • Night: Necromite of Myrkul (pg 234)
  • Secret Door: Spotted with DC 10 Perception. Beyond it is a staircase that leads down to D5.
D5. Welcome to the Dungeon: Limestone
  • Ceilings: Rooms have wooden beams AC 15 10 HP. Destroy all beams: 25% roof collapse. DEX save DC 15, 22 dmg, half dmg on save. Are becomes difficult terrain.
  • Doors: AC 15 HP 5
  • Water: Certain areas of the map are flooded - difficult terrain.
D6. Bloated Corpse: Dead for 2 days. Was a Bhaal worshiper who failed in his duties.

D7. Bhaal’s Altar: Just a mask.

D8. Moldy Tapestry: Yellow Mold (DMG pg 105)

D9. The Dead Three Doors: Doors depicting Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul.

D10. Necromites’ Room: 3 Necromites of Myrkul (pg 234). They’re pretending to be dead.

D11. Partially Collapsed Crypt:
  • Spellbook 1: Burning Hands (PH pg 220), Detect Magic (PH pg 231), Disguise Self (PH pg 233), fog cloud (PH pg 243), ray of sickness (PH pg 271), silent image (PH pg 276).
  • Spellbook 2: Charm person (PH pg 221), find familiar (PH pg 240), identify (PH pg 252), magic missile (PH pg 257), sleep (PH pg 276).
  • Spellbook 3: Cloud of daggers (PH pg 222), darkvision (PH pg 230), detect magic (PH pg 231), feather fall (PH pg 239), mage armor (PH pg 256), magic missile (PH pg 257), Tasha’s hideous laughter (PH pg 280).
All of these books were owned by necromites. You might want to stick some Myrkul lore in them.

D12. Bane’s Altar:
  • Prisoner: Klim Jhasso (noble MM pg 348) He is claiming his family will pay a reward for his return (they won’t).
  • Kazzira: Fist of Bane (pg 232)
  • Yignath: Iron Consul (pg 232) Is torturing the prisoner. Has a key on his belt that can be used in D22 and on the 4 chests of Tiamat's treasure in D30.
  • Free Klim or touch freestanding suit of platemail: Gauntlets animate and attack as flying swords (MM pg 20)
D13. Morgue:
  • Flennis: Master of Souls (pg 234)
  • Skeletal Rats: swarm of rats (MM pg 339)
  • She has a dusty spellbook. It’s locked (the key to it is in her hair. The first time it is opened, the opener must make a CON sv DC 14. Fail: You are vulnerable to necrotic damage for 24 hours.
D14. Hungry Rat: Rat (MM pg 335)

D15. Flooded Room: Difficult terrain.

D16. Flooded Crypt: Disturb sarcophagus: Ghostly Battleaxe: +5 to hit, 6 (1d8+2) dmg
  • Can’t be hit.
  • Can be dispelled.
  • Acts in initiative count 20.
  • Shuts off when all creatures leave the room.
D17. Myrkul’s Altar: It goes like this:
  • Light black candles.
  • Words appear on the wall: ”RISE AND BE COUNTED”
  • Say the words out loud: 3 skeletons (MM pg 272) rise up and serve the speaker until they are destroyed or their new master dies.
D18. Gas Buildup: There is flammable gas in here. If you carry a torch into this area: DEX sv DC 15 14 fire dmg, half on save. This will destroy all the beams, so there’s a 25% chance that the ceiling collapses. DEX save DC 15, 22 dmg, half dmg on save. Area becomes difficult terrain.

D20. Half-Plundered Crypt: In the secret area in the sarcophagus, there’s a mummy (not a monster, just an inert corpse) with a bag of beans (DMG pg 152) where its heart should be.

D21. Zombie Crypt: 6 zombies (MM pg 316)

D22. Torture Chamber: 2 prisoners chained up.
  • (dead) Effinax Zalbor: Worked for a caravan.
  • (unconscious) Vendetta Kress (commoner MM pg 345): She told her captors info about the Oathoons. She can give the group a clue about the secret door in D23.
D23. Secret Door and Sentry: Fist of Bane (pg 232). He might alert the reaper of Bhaal (pg 233) in D26. There is a secret door to D27.

D24. Myrkul’s Rest: Plundered crypt.

D25. Bane’s Rest: 4 sleeping Fists of Bane (pg 232).

D26. Bhaal’s Rest: Sarcophagus full of blood. “Nebra”, a florist captured by the bad guys (is actually a Reaper of Bhaal pg 233). She’ll try to trick the heroes into going to D29.

D27. Echoes of Battle: You can hear the sounds of battle coming from D29.

D28. Old Cellar: Hidden in the water are 4 skeletons (MM pg 272)

D29. Mortlock Vanthampur: Two people are fighting. There are 4 dead cultists in here, killed by Mortlock. Mortlock will actually try to team up with the adventurers and convince them to help him kill his brother, Amrick, at the Low Lantern.
  • Mortlock Vanthampur (pg 26): Half his face is scarred.
  • Vaaz: Death’s Head of Bhaal (pg 233)
D30. Tiamat’s Stolen Treasure: Devil agents of Zariel brought this treasure here. The keys to the 4 chests are on the Iron Consul in D12. Potion of fire breath  (DMG pg 187)

D32. Covenant of the Dead Three:
  • Bane Statue: If you stand within 5 feet of this, make a CHA sv DC 12 or kneel - can’t move, take actions or reactions. Repeat the save at the end of each turn, ending the effect on a success.
  • Myrkul Statue: If you desecrate this statue, you are cursed - you gain no benefit from magic healing (remove curse ends this).
Surprise! Dragon Cultists! (pg 27): As the group leaves the bathhouse, cultists attack. They were sent here by Arkhan the Cruel to take back Tiamat’s stolen treasure. They can only sense the treasure within 1,000 feet, so they won’t necessarily know that the heroes have the loot. The imp (MM pg 76) from D1 is watching.
  • Ultiss (cult fanatic MM pg 345)
  • 4 cultists (MM pg 345)
Where Next? The adventure expects the group to go with Mortlock to the Low Lantern to kill Amrik. The group might opt instead to go to the Vanthampur Villa.

Bong, the heroes hit level 3.

Low Lantern (pg 28)

This is a sailing ship that has been turned into a tavern/gambling hall. Serves drinks and snacks, but no meals.

Owner: Laraelra Thundreth, a mage (MM pg 347) with a crab (MM pg 320) familiar.
Bartenders: 2 kenku (MM pg 194)
Bouncers: 6 thugs (MM pg 350)
Patrons:
  • Grimboot (duergar MM pg 122) crosseyed legbreaker for the thieves’ guild.
  • Hitoshi Jade (commoner MM pg 345): Drunken sailor from a ship called  the Golden Gull.
  • Jorunn Nighbury (commoner MM pg 345): Horse breeder, has gambling debt.
  • Skadric Salakar (veteran MM pg 350): Lazy member of Flaming Fist, was suspended.
  • Prynn Derringwhistle (commoner MM pg 345): Halfling, sings sea shanties.
  • Aerith and Beldan (drow MM pg 128): Awkward, inseparable twins.
L1. Main Deck:
Imps (MM pg 76) disguised as ravens. They are spies of Thurstwell, watching Amrik. If they see Amrik being attacked, they will try to defend him.

L2. Forecastle: Seagull corpses (stung by the imps).

L4. Laraelra’s Cabin:
When anyone other than Laraelra opens the chest: 4 flying swords (MM pg 20)

L5. Taproom and Gambling Hall: 3 bouncers (thugs MM pg 350). Laraelra greets patrons here.

L6. Tavern Lounge: Amrik and his allies sit at a table here. The bartender will dump poison into a drink if Aurik gives a secret hand gesture.
  • 3 bouncers (thugs MM pg 350)
  • Aurik (pg 30)
  • Kasharra (spined devil MM pg 78): bodyguard of Amrik’s.
  • Vhaltus (thug MM pg 350): sleepy-eye bodyguard of Amrik’s.
  • Torpor (DMG pg 258) CON sv DC 15. Fail = poisoned and incapacitated for 4d6 hours.
L8. Sleeping Quarters: d4 unconscious commoners (MM pg 345) sleeping off a hangover.

Dealing With Amrik (pg 31): He thinks the group wants a loan, and is prepared to loan up to 150 gp. He won’t fight to the death, he will surrender.

Reya Mantlemorn (pg 31): Veteran (MM pg 350). Reya is a hellrider who happened to be outside of Elturel when it was pulled into Avernus. She was able to sneak into Baldur’s Gate, but she had an incident with the Flaming Fist. She wants to join the group.

Important Note About Reya: Reya is a very important NPC in this book. She is meant to accompany the group  through the Villa and Candlekeep, all the way to Elturel. In Elturel, she is a guide and can help the group navigate the adventure.

Blam, the group hits level 4.

Getting to the Villa (pg 32)

The villa is in Upper City, which is protected by gates. The group will need to show their Flaming Fist badges and pay a 2 cp toll to get in.

About the Villa (pg 33)
  • There are 4 servants (commoners MM pg 345) working in the villa.
  • Captured Characters (sidebar pg 40): If any heroes are defeated, their gear is put in V28, and the characters are imprisoned in V29. 
Key Events: The group doesn’t know it, but there are three things that should happen during their exploration of this place:
  1. Obtain the infernal puzzle box from V13.
  2. Interact with and possibly obtain the Shield of the Hidden Lord in V36. 
  3. Meet the prisoner Falaster Fisk in V29. He can tell the heroes that the infernal puzzle box likely contains an infernal contract between Thavius Kreeg and an archdevil, and that Sylvira of Candlekeep wants it.
V1. Yard: 9 guards (MM pg 347). The guards can’t be bribed. Stealth to sneak by: Each character must make a Stealth check DC 13.

V2. Stable House: 4 draft horses (MM pg 321). A servant, Sarvinder Pck (commoner MM pg 345) is here. Trapdoor: Drops down to V27.

V3. Foyer: 4 invisible imps will attack intruders.
  • Fendrick Gray: The butler (commoner MM pg 345)
  • 4 invisible imps (MM pg 76)
V5. Kitchen:
  • Gabourey D’Vaelan: (commoner MM pg 345) A fussy cook
  • Dumbwaiter: Goes down to V17.
  • Slobberchops (tressym pg 241):Will befriend any character who feeds it. It hates the imps.
V8. Parlor: Paintings of Thalamra, her 3 dead husbands, her 3 sons, and Slobberchops.
  • Hidden Compartment: Perception check DC 12 notices a secret panel in the arm of chair. In it is a silvered dagger.
V9. Dining Room: The chandelier is on a pulley system, which seems like fun.
  • 3 invisible imps (MM pg 76)
  • One bottle of wine is laced with midnight tears (DMG pg 259) No effect until the stroke of midnight. CON sv DC 17, 31 (9d6) dmg, half dmg on save.
V10. Gallery: Fendrick the butler might be here.
  • Ambra Fallwater (commoner MM pg 345): The maid is dusting.
  • Paintings: Fakes
  • Wax Statue: Of Thalamra holding Slobberchops.
V11. Upstairs Hall: 5 guards (MM pg 347), one stationed at each door.

V13. Thurstwell’s Bedroom:
  • Thurstwell (pg 34): He will cast sacred flame (PH pg 272) 1 creature must make a DEX sv DC 13. Fail = 1d8 radiant damage. As a bonus action, he casts sanctuary (PH pg 272) Anyone trying to attack him must make a DC 13 WIS sv. Fail = can’t attack him.
  • 1 invisible imp (MM pg 76)
  • Infernal Puzzle Box (pg 224): It belonged to Thavius Kreeg. Thurstwell has been trying to open it, but has been unsuccessful. To open it, the group will need to travel to Candlekeep.
  • Potion of Healing (DMG pg 88): 2d4+2 HP
V16. Duke’s Powder Room: 2 potions of healing (DMG pg 188) 2d4+2 HP

V17. Master Bedroom: Dumbwaiter goes up to V5. Bed, bath, chest.
  • Chest: Locked (DC 17). Trap: Once three items are removed from the chest, poison gas (CON sv DC 13, 11 poison dmg. The cloud remains for one minute!
V18. Duke’s Study: Staircase to V19.
  • Helmed Horror (pg 183): Immune to fire bolt, sacred flame, and shocking grasp. It attacks any non-Vanthampur that enters the room.
V19. Tower Peak: 2 cages with prisoners, 2 invisible imps.
  • Imps (MM pg 76): If someone tries to free a prisoner, an imp will try to sting the prisoner to death. Both prisoners have 4 hit points each, so if they get hit, they’re dead. Sting: +5 to hit, 5 (1d4+3) dmg and CON sv DC 11. Fail = 10 (3d6) poison dmg, half on save.
  • Cages: Pick lock DC 15
Prisoners:
  • Shaleen Zoraz (commoner MM pg 345): A sewer worker whose expansion plans would have gotten close to the Dead Three dungeon.
  • Kaejil Orunmar (commoner (MM pg 345): Tax collector who bothered Thalamra.
Under the Villa (pg 37)
  • Tunnels: 9 feet high
  • Rooms: 10 feet high
  • Iron Doors: Pick DC 15, Force Open Athletics Check DC 24
  • Cultists (MM pg 345): Pairs of cultists roam the halls with censers. 
  • Disguised Characters (sidebar pg 39): If the group disguises themselves as cultists (black robes and gold devil masks), they'll have advantage on Deception checks down here.
V20. Cellar: One crate holds.. Three spined devils, who burst out and attack.
  • 3 Spined Devils (MM pg 78)
V22. Sewer Tunnels: Any time the heroes are in a tunnel, they might have an encounter:

2 Cultists (MM pg 345): Burning incense wearing devil masks.
  • You could have them be cult fanatics (MM pg 345)
  • Or they might be accompanied by an imp (MM pg 76)
  • If a corpse is discovered by the bad guys, the barbed devil (MM pg 70) from V26 searches for the interlopers.
V26. Temple of Zariel: Doors have text in infernal (“That which falls can rise again”).
  • Odious: Barbed devil (MM pg 70)
  • 4 Cultists (MM pg 345): Wearing golden devil masks.
  • Statue: The head is hollow. If you can, maybe have the statue tip over and break open during the battle. Or maybe a shatter spell blows the head open. It might be tricky for the group to find the hollow head otherwise, depending on how detailed you run your searches.
V28. Secret Shrine:Duke Valthampur (pg 36) is here, praying at an altar devoted to Zariel. She will fight, but tries to flee once reduced to half of her hit points.

V29. Prison:
  • Thoss: Bearded devil (MM pg 70)
Prisoners: Falaster is especially important, linking the group to Sylvira and Candlekeep.

Falaster Fisk (spy MM pg 349): A sage who is friends with Sylvira Savikas of Candlekeep.
  • Falaster found out that the Valthampurs were keeping Thavius Kreeg safe.
  • He knows that Sylvira wants to open the infernal puzzle box.
  • He memorized the layout of this place. 
Satiir Thione-Hhune (noble MM pg 348): She is in her 70’s, and claims (lies) that she was imprisoned because she opposes the idea of Thalampra becoming the Grand Duke.
  • The truth is that Lady Satiir was captured as insurance. Her family owned the Shield of the Hidden Lord, which the Valthampurs stole.
  • She is one of the Knights of the Shield, an evil order who guard the Shield of the Hidden Lord.
V30. Barrier of Iron Bars: Getting out requires getting past the steel bars. Athletics check DC 25.

V31. Vestry: Robes and masks, ideal for disguising.

V32. Connecting Tunnel: 2 cult fanatics (MM pg 345)

V33. Cultists’ Quarters: 10 cultists (MM pg 345). Some are asleep.

V34. Ritual Chamber: The cultists cast divination (PH pg 234) in here. When they do, a pillar of smoke appears, which represents a devil, who answers the question asked.

V35. Thavius Kreeg’s Quarters: Holy symbol of Torm
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Torm

V36. Vanthampur Vault: Door is locked (DEX check DC 15 to pick, Athletics DC 24 to force open). Duke Vanthampur has the key.
  • Important Things: Don’t forget two things - Thavius’s shadow does not match his appearance, and the shield telepathically contacts a random character and claims it can help the group rescue Elturel.
  • Shield Hanging on the Wall: Shield of the Hidden Lord (pg 225)
  • The shield has a deal with Thavius and Vanthampur to spread corruption in the city, but it is happy to go back to the Nine Hells with the heroes instead.
Thavius Kreeg (pg 42): The group might notice his shadow - it doesn’t match him. It looks like a pudgy, horned devil with wings.
  • Lost his faith, still pretends to worship Torm.
  • He has been talking to the shield, he thinks he can use it to pull Baldur’s Gate into Avernus.
  • He pretends to be sad about what happened to Elturel.
Final Encounters in Baldur’s Gate (pg 42): Reya and Falaster will urge the group to bring the infernal puzzle box to Candlekeep. They’ll both want to come along.

Reporting to Captain Zodge (pg 42): The heroes hand in their badges, and each of them receives a cool 200 gp. As they are talking, Captain Portyr arrives...

Commander Portyr (pgs 42-43): She basically peer pressures the group into going to see Sylvira in Candlekeep to unlock the infernal puzzle box.

Journey to Candlekeep (pg 43-44): Falaster Fisk will bring a book along that will grant the group access to the library of Candlekeep.

Make sure you know the group’s passive perception scores!

Wyrm’s Crossing (pg 44): This is a crowded bridge, full of pickpockets. Ask the group to roll d20’s. Whoever gets the lowest result gets their pocket picked. Bandit (MM pg 343) doesn’t roll, if the character has an 11 passive perception or higher, the bandit fails. If not, the bandit succeeds and escapes.

Knights of the Shield (pg 44): This only happens if the group has the Shield of the Hidden Lord. Hey look, it’s a farmer driving a hay cart. Wait! It’s a cambion with allies hidden in the hay! These people want to snatch the shield and return it to the Hhune family.
  • Kaddrus (cambion MM pg 36)
  • 3 veterans (MM pg 350)
  • 2 draft horses (MM pg 321)
Tale of the Hellriders (pg 44): Along the way, Reya can share a story in boxed text form.

Candlekeep (pg 45)
  • A fortress on a spur of rock
  • Home to a legendary library where many secrets can be learned.
  • The monks here preserve the prophecies of Alaundo the Seer.
Entering Candlekeep (pg 46)
3 monks (priest MM pg 348) who worship Deneir request a gift - a book! - as payment for entry.
If the group starts problems an archmage (MM pg 342) and 1d4 mages (MM pg 347) will come on over and mess the group up real bad. Casting time stop, mind blank or wall of force (DC 17) are nice ways to non-lethally stop the group’s shenanigans.

The Hearth (pg 46): A pub.
  • Little One: An ogre (MM pg 237) who wears a headband of intellect (DMG pg 173). He is quiet and reads a lot.
Sylvira Savikas (pg 46): She is a tiefling archmage (MM pg 342)
  • Jezebel: Her quasit (MM pg 63) familiar.
  • She easily opens the puzzle box and finds the infernal contract inside. It reveals that Thavius did indeed make a deal with Zariel. Reya is devastated by this news.
  • If the group has the Shield of the Hidden Lord, she says it should be locked away in an extradimensional space. Gargauth quietly asks a character to take it to the Nine Hells.
  • Map: If the group indicates they want to save Elturel, she gives them a map (unfold that poster map in the back of the book).
  • Getting to Avernus (pg 50): Sylvira tells the group that a wizard named Traxigor can cast plane shift to get the group to Elturel.
  • Research: Spending a day or two in Candlekeep, the heroes can learn everything about the Nine Hells on pg 64-66 of the DMG and all of the lore in the MM from pages 66-77.
  • Travel to the Tower: Sylvira lets them ride griffons (MM pg 174).
Traxigor’s Tower: Traxigor is quite a character (archmage MM pg 342).
  • Lulu (hollyphant pg 237)
  • Traxigor can’t find his tuning fork. Highest perception check finds the fork, lowest finds a trinket (roll on the chart on PH pg 160).
Lulu the Hollyphant:
  • She will slowly regain her memories and powers as the adventure progresses. Right now, she cannot cast spells at all.
  • She communicates telepathically
  • Friendship with the heroes will cause her to slowly regain her memories.
Dingle, the group hits level 5.

Chapter 2: Elturel Has Fallen

Elturel:
  • Tethered 500 feet above the River Styx.
  • 8 chains bind the city to jagged posts of iron.
  • The Companion still hovers above the city. It is dark and strikes the city with lightning every minute.
  • Devils haven’t been able to overrun Elturel yet because demons are attacking on the ground below.
  • Lulu regains the light spell.
Reya's Plan: Reya offers to lead the group to High Hall, to find someone in charge. Gargauth wants the group to explore Avernus.

Unwelcome Party (pg 53): A woman and her kids are looking for food and water, and 3 bearded devils spot them.
  • 3 bearded devils (MM pg 70): Blass, Nodd, and Thunn.
  • Harkina Hunt, Ezo, and Brask (commoners MM pg 345): If dropped to 0 HP, they are unconscious, not dead.
  • If the Group Does Nothing: The woman and her kids are captured and taken away to be sold into slavery.
  • Reya and Lulu: Act regardless of what the group does.
Harkina can give the group some information:
  • The city has been split in two.
  • She was hoping to find safety in the High Hall.
  • She thinks Thavius Kreeg is in the High Hall figuring out what to do.
If captured, a devil can reveal:
  • The posts connected to the chains are slowly sinking, pulling the hovering city down toward the River Styx.
  • The demon attack has stopped the devils from completing the task of dragging Elturel all the way down.
  • The devil assumes Zariel was the one who did this.
Encounters in Elturel (pg 54)

When the group goes to a named location, roll a d20. 11+ means that they have an encounter.

Collapsed Building: 6 ability checks, DC 10. If they fail 3 checks before 6 successes, they fail and the trapped people croak.
  • Strovin Ironfist (commoner MM pg 345) LG shield dwarf Laborer
  • Kartra Boulderstern (commoner MM pg 345) LG shield dwarf Laborer
  • Velkora Ashenwell (acolyte MM pg 342) LG shield dwarf Mason, worships Moradin.
Cry For Help: Male human being attacked by two bulezaus (pg 230)
  • Orin Ragron: Blacksmith (actually an incubus MM pg 285 in disguise, named Faltrax).
Ghastly Meal: 4 ghasts (MM pg 148) eating the remains of a family
  • Shorah Hevrun: Young girl hidden in cupboard.
Ghoul Pack: 7 ghouls (MM pg 148)
  • Potion of invisiblity (DMG pg 188)
Hateful Patrol: Merregon (pg 238) and 3 spined devils (pg 78)

Imp Sales Pitch: Imp offering food in exchange for soul. Find evil clause in contract: Investigation check DC 15.
  • Percillux: Imp (MM pg 76)
  • Pilster Pebblehuck (commoner MM pg 345): Halfling baker
  • Soul Coin (pg 225)
Narzugon Cavalier: Narzugon (pg 239) riding a nightmare (MM pg 235)

Spouts of Hellfire: Potion of giant strength (frost) (DMG pg 187) Gives the drinker a 23 STR for 1 hour.

Vrock Philosophy: Vrock (MM pg 64)

Zombie Horde: 12 zombies (MM pg 316)

Torm’s Bridges (pg 58): Each bridge is guarded by:
  • 2 bearded devils (MM pg 70)
  • 4 spined devils (MM pg 78)
  • Holy Runes: Religion DC 15 activates them and does 22 radiant dmg to any fiend/undead on the bridge.
High Hall (pg 58)

The hall is under attack by devils.

Approaching the High Hall (pg 59): The group might be able to sneak past the hounds with a group stealth check DC 15.
  • 2 hell hounds (MM pg 182)
Cathedral Assault (pg 59): If you want to use a quake, check pg 55. DEX sv DC 10. Fail = fall prone.Collapsing Debra is a DEX sv DC 15. Fail = 7 (2d6) bludgeoning dmg.

Group 1: Abishai & Cultists
  • Victuusa (white abishai pg 241).
  • 6 cultists (MM pg 345) of Zariel.
Group 2: Crab Attack
  • Dreb (barbed devil MM pg 70)
  • 8 giant crabs (MM pg 324). They’re HELL CRABS! And they’re loud.
Group 3: Devilish Brigands
  • Spined devil (MM pg 78)
  • 3 bandit captains (MM pg 344). They bellow and gibber because they’re crazy.
Group 4: Hellish Hunters
  • Merregon (pg 238)
  • 2 hell hounds (MM pg 182) They’re mangy.
High Hall Cathedral (pg 60)
  • Art: Paintings become hellish, with scenes of dominant devils.
  • Doors: Iron. AC 19 HP 27. Lock DC 17 Break open Athletics DC 20.
  • Walls: Climbing the outside walls is Athletics DC 15
  • Windows: Have defensive shutters latched from within. AC 19 HP 27. DEX DC 15 to open, break with Athletics DC 17.
H3. Central Altar
  • Altar: Religion DC 15: Regain all your hit points!
  • Secret panel opens a staircase to H15.
H4. Private Chapels: Seltern Obranch (druid MM pg 346) is pretending to be dead. He’s been using goodberry spells (PH pg 246) to help people.

H6. Desecrated Altar of Torm
  • Altar: Non-worshipers of Zariel within 20 feet of the altar are vulnerable to all damage.
  • Restore the Altar: Religion DC 15 and 1 minute of prayer, or splash three flasks of holy water on it.
H7. Pipe Organ
  • Play the Organ: Performance DC 15. Success: allies gain a d8 to be added to a to hit roll, ability check, or save within 24 hours.
  • Fail by 5+: Devils have advantage on their first turn vs the heroes.
H8. Defenses: Trevick Thantorme (guard MM pg 347). He’s lost it. Get ahold of yourself, man!

H10. Recessed Mausoleum: There might be some commoners (MM pg 345) hiding here. 1 in 6 chance for each of the 4 crypts. D4 commoners.

H12. Temple of the Highest
  • Mummy (MM pg 228)
  • Bracers of defense (DMG pg 156) and elemental gem (DMG pg 167)
H13. Hall of Scholars: Potion of greater healing (DMG pg 188) 4d4+4 healing.

H15. Unknown Hero: Non-decayed remains of a woman who may have been an incarnation of Torm.
  • Note: She has a greatsword that will likely be used in the ritual on page 71.
H16. Main Crypts:
  • Pherria Jynks (acolyte MM pg 342): Important: If possible, mention that Pherria specilizes in exorcisms and possessions. She will likely be needed to help Ulder Ravengard get the helm off (see page 70).
  • The Tome of the Creed Resolute: Lists everyone who took the oath. Remember back on page 47: “All persons bound by oath to defend Elturel are also considered forfeit.” So, this book lists every person whose soul belongs to Zariel under the terms of the infernal contract.
  • Holy Water Font: You can fill up 50 vials!
  • The group learns that Grand Duke Ravengard went to the cemetery looking for a magic item.
Blam, the group hits 6th level.

Grand Cemetery (pg 64)

Gideon Lightward (pg 65): A former priest of Lathander corrupted by Zariel.

Demon Portal (pg 65): Baphomet (demon lord of minotaurs) is sending demons through a portal in the crypts under the chapel.

Exploring the Cemetery (pg 66): Dozens of non-hostile skeletons (MM pg 272) and zombies (MM pg 316).

Approaching the Chapel (pg 66)
3 minotaur skeletons (MM pg 273)

G1. Walk of Bravery: Undead entities emerge from the pillars and attack. One specter stays in its pillar.
  • 4 shadows (MM pg 269)
  • 4 spectres (MM pg 279)
  • The heroes can make history checks to remember the names, and then imbue the pillars with the power to damage the undead.
G2. Chapel of Light: Minotaur skeletons try to charge and send heroes through partially-shattered stained glass windows.
  • 4 minotaur skeletons (MM pg 273)
G3. Chapel of Mourning: Wow.. you can pray to Lathander Religion DC 10 and receive a +2 weapon!

G4. Vestment Chamber: The group walks in on Gideon right when demons attack him! All gideon cares about is fending off the demon attacks.
  • 2 mezzoloths (MM pg 313)
  • Gideon Lightward (pg 65)
  • Giant Scorpion (MM pg 327)
  • 5 dretches (MM pg 57)
G5. Gideon’s Quarters: Reading the book:
Gideon hates demons, likes Zariel. Investigation check DC 10 = The reader realizes Gideon is crazy.
Reading for more than 10 minutes: WIS save DC 15. Fail = Cursed with a hatred of demons. Take 5 psychic any turn you’re within 60 feet of a demon and don’t attack.

G6. Undead Pit: Gideon makes undead here. Enter the pit: take 5 necro dmg per round.
1 Undead emerges from the pit as the heroes approach. Roll a d20 and consult the chart.
  • Skeleton (MM pg 272)
  • Zombie (MM pg 316)
  • Shadows (MM pg 269)
  • Spectres (MM pg 279)
  • Ghoul (MM pg 148)
  • Ghast (MM pg 148)
  • Wight (MM pg 300)
  • Wraith (MM pg 302)
G7. Workshop: Survival DC 15 - a group of humans headed to G12

G8. Ossuary of the Faithful: Yikes, the holy symbols are corrupted. Touch: CON sv DC 15, take 18 necrotic dmg, half on save.

G9. Main Ossuary: The quasit here is invisible and loyal to Baphomet.
  • Ophurkh: Quasit (MM pg 63)
G11. Vault of Honor: This vault once held the Helm of Torm’s Sight. The human tracks pass through here.

G12. Vault of Ascendance: Ulder Ravengard is here wearing the Helm of Torm’s Sight. He is locked in a psychic battle with Baphomet and can’t remove the helmet.
  • Helm of Torm’s Sight: A non-magical item through which Torm can send visions. The helm won’t come off without the aid of a ritual. The power of the demonic portal here is tied to the helm.
  • Ulder Ravengard (pg 70): He is stunned until the helmet is removed.
  • 3 minotaurs (MM pg 223)
  • Note: You might want to flavor the psychic battle as Ulder being trapped in a psychic labyrinth, hunted by Baphomet. Baphomet, demon lord of minotaurs, specializes in mazes and this would be appropriate.
Escaping the Siege (pg 71): Now the group needs to remove the helm so that Ulder can tell communicate the visions Torm had sent him. The group should bring Ulder to Pherria (pg 64).

Ritual of Returning (pg 71): This needs to be done in H6 (pg 61).
  1. Cleanse the altar as described on pg 61.
  2. 1 creature must pray to Torm.
  3. A powerful symbol is needed (the sword of the Unknown Hero pg 63).
Performing the Prayer: Takes 30 seconds to recite. At the same time, 1 character must rest the sword on the helm and make a CON sv DC 11 at the end of each turn or take 10 (3d6 force damage). So that means that, since a round is 6 seconds, that character holding the sword will need to make 5 saving throws!
  • Round 1: CON sv DC 11. Fail = 10 dmg. Also, 2 will o’ wisps (MM pg 301) appear and try to disrupt the ritual.
  • Rounds 2-5: CON sv DC 11. Fail = 10 dmg.
The Path Forward (pg 72): Ravengard says he saw Lulu create a fortress around a sword in the Nine Hells. Then she flew off and met bird creatures with a war machine.

Lulu remembers that it is the sword of zariel protected by the fortress, and that it is the key to saving Elturel. She remembers the birdfolk (kenku) - “Chukka” and “Clonk”, and that they took her to a place called Fort Knucklebone. She flies up and spots the fort in the distance.

Uldar and Reya want to stay in elturel while the group looks for the Sword of Zariel.

Leaving Elturel (pg 72)

Climbing Down: The city is 500 feet up. So, if a hero double moves, that’s 60 feet per round. Climbing costs 2 feet per 1 foot of movement, so that’s 30 feet per round. So, it will take around 16 rounds to climb down, or a bit under two minutes.

Every minute the group is on the chains, they must make a CON save DC 10. Fail: 10 necrotic dmg and make a DEX sv DC 10 or fall!
  • Fall: Land in the River Styx (pg 76). Each round you are in the river, make an INT sv DC 20 or feeblemind (PH pg 239). Fail = take 4d6 psychic dmg, and you CHA and INT scores become 1. Can’t cast spells, activate magic items, understand language, or communicate. This lasts for 30 days!
Improvised Equipment: DC 10 checks.. Equipment works, might start to malfunction 50 feet from the bottom.

Battle of Elturel: The devils are commanded by Lucille, Zariel’s most loyal pit fiend.
  • Pit fiend (MM pg 77)
  • 12 spined devils (MM pg 78)
  • Helm of devil command (pg 223) and battle standard of infernal power (pg 223)
To Fort Knucklebone! It is 10 miles to the fort.

Bagoom, the heroes hit 7th level.

Chapter 3: Avernus

The poster map of Avernus in the book is for the players to refer to. Elturel and Fort Knucklebone are not on it.

What is Avernus?
  • Demons use the River Styx to enter Avernus.
  • Avernus was once a plane of lush gardens.
  • The devils of Avernus seek to exploit pride and wrath.
  • Most devils in Avernus serve Zariel.
  • Visitors To Avernus: War profiteers, mad wizards, slavers, etc.
Zariel’s War (pg 76)
  • Zariel wants as many mortal souls as possible so they can serve in her army.
  • Bel, the former ruler of Avernus, is her advisor. He plots to overthrow her.
  • Zariel is focused on fighting demons, just as she was when she was an angel.
Features of Avernus (pg 76)

River Styx: Each round you are in the river, make an INT sv DC 20 or feeblemind (PH pg 239). Fail = take 4d6 psychic dmg, and you CHA and INT scores become 1. Can’t cast spells, activate magic items, understand language, or communicate. This lasts for 30 days!

Water taken from the River Styx retains its potency for 24 hours. Be real careful with this, I’ve had groups go nuts with this and it can get ugly. Remember that just getting the water out of the river isn’t easy - one drop can erase your memory.

Alterations to Magic

Cosmetic Spell Modification:
  • Find Familiar (PH pg 240): It’s always an imp (MM pg 76). Or, if a character spots a spawning tree (see pg 96), they could summon an abyssal chicken (stats pg 97).
  • Find Steed (PH pg 240): It’s always a nightmare (MM pg 235), you lucky person.
  • Find the Path (PH pg 240): A complaining imp (MM pg 76) guides the caster.
Telepathic Communications: Archdevils have the ability to eavesdrop on spells such as message and sending. Same with sending stones and helms of telepathy! A ring of mind shielding (DMG pg 191) protects you from this.

Demon Ichor (pg 78)
  • This goo is the remains of slain demons. Sometimes it collects in lakes or pools.
  • Come in Contact: CON sv DC 10. Fail = Roll on the FLESH WARPING table on pg 78.
  • You can coat your weapon in this stuff. It wears off after you hit with it once.
  • A spell that removes a curse ends the warping effect.
Bargain-Basement Death Saves (pg 78): If you fail a death save, an archdevil might telepathically reach out to cut you a deal! Perform a simple task for them, and the next death save is a natural 20!

Exhaustion (pg 79): This is tough. Every hour that you walk through Avernus, you must make a CON save DC 10 (+1 per hour). Fail means you gain a level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).

Pervasive Evil (pg 79): At the end of a long rest, make a WIS sv DC 10. Fail: You become lawful evil. It becomes permanent if you don’t leave the plane within d4 days. Dispel evil and good gets rid of this effect, as does spending a day on another plane.

Using The Poster Map (pg 79): Distances are random and locations shift.

Charting a Course: So, you roll two dice. If the dice turn up the same number, then the group ends up at a different location than the one they were trying to get to.
  • 2d4: Traveling to new locale
  • 2d8: Locale they’ve been to before
  • 2d10: A native guide is leading them there.
Fort Knucklebone (pg 80)


** The finished version of this guide will be posted on September 17th. I feel like I shouldn't spoil the entire adventure before it comes out in stores. I'll leave the first 70 pages here so you can get an idea of what's in the book. **

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Descent: Day Three



There is a big announcement at the very, very end of the stream. There will indeed be a fourth book, but I don't think it is what anyone was expecting.

Death Race

DM: Adam Lee

(Clint McElroy) Merle - Beach Dwarf Cleric
(Travis McElroy) Magnus Burnsides - Human Fighter
(James Haeck) Orellius Wreck - Tiefling of Mammon
(Dael Kingsmill) Carapace Tomahawk - Halfling Fighter
(Ari Levich) The Madcaps of the Scavenger

This game is a PVP situation. The players are divided into groups situated in competing war machines. 
  • The Tormenter: In this war machine are Merle & Magnus, who serve a warlord named Bitterbreath, who was once a very powerful devil and hopes to regain lost status.
    Demon Grinder: Orellius and Carapace serve Faeonor. She wants them to recover as many soul coins as they can.
  • The Scavenger: The Madcaps serve Mad Maggie. They have stolen a pile of soul coins from Mammon. The other two vehicles are trying to get the soul coins.
Mad Maggie has stolen a cache of soul coins from Mammon, and she has them in her machine, the Scavenger.  Maggie’s war machine heads into a chasm.

A madcap is a new monster - Mad Maggie’s brand of redcap. These creatures were once redcaps who have rolled around in demon ichor. Their hats melted into their face and they are crazy. 

The heroes pursue and their vehicles begin to collide. The players roll initiative.

Merle is driving Demon Grinder. He has demon ichor that can make the vehicle go faster. This stresses out the machine. If he uses the ichor, he will need to roll a d20 every round. Rolling a 1 means that a mishap will occur.

Orellius mans the wrecking ball, and hits the Tormenter with it. He does 39 points. The war machine has a mishap threshold of 20 - since the wrecking ball exceeded this, they roll a mishap. The tormenter’s axle is hit. The vehicle has disadvantage on Dexterity checks.

It can be repaired with a Dex save. The Tormenter has “juke”, which gives Magnus advantage on Dex saves. He is successful and fixes the issue.

The Tormenter has raking scythes. The madcap driver of the Scavenger makes a check and avoids the scythes. Carapace climbs up onto the harpoon station. She only does 6 points, which is below the Tormenter’s damage threshold of 10, and so it does no damage.

The madcaps on the Scavenger look back at the two other vehicles fighting and do nothing.

The Tormenter uses the scythes again and do enough damage to hit the mishap threshold. The tires shred and the vehicle flips over, falls prone, and comes to a dead stop. Any creature on the outside must make a DC 20 DEX save or be thrown from the vehicle. Creatures inside the vehicle must make a DC 15 STR save or take 13 points of bludgeoning. Scurve, the driver, falls unconscious.

Carapace jumps on to the Demon Grinder, Magnus spots her. Magnus punches her with his magic gauntlet, phantom fist. Phantom fist has a special power that knocks you back. She makes her safe.

The Scavenger turns around and drives toward the Demon Grinder. The redcaps on board fire a harpoon, but miss.

Orellius tries to jump onto the Demon Grinder, but James rolls a 2. He misses the vehicle.

Merle casts fireball at Carapace. She fails her save and takes a total of 22 fire damage. Hell warps the fireball, and places devil faces in the flames.

Carapace is on the side of the Tormenter. She moves down the side and is struck by Magnus again.

Orellius casts command on Merle, and tells him to “reverse”. Merle makes his save. Then he dumps some demon ichor into the fuel tube. Then he yells out, “Ramming speed!” and guns it toward the Scavenger. Merle casts shield of faith.

Are there airbags? No. But Adam says if there were, it would be a Hell airbag, possibly full of the screams of the damned.

Carapace shoots a banishing arrow at a madcap. She hits the driver, who is shunted to the feywild for a round.

The Tormenter and the Scavenger are about to collide. Magnus jumps off the Tormenter for safety. He goes flying over the Scavenger, and hits the ground, taking 17 damage. He succeeds on a DEX check to roll to his feet.

The madcaps in the Scavenger shoot harpoons (they do 2d8+1 dmg each) at the Tormenter.

The Tormenter and the Scavenger collide. The Scavenger takes 55 points of damage. The Tormenter is totaled. Merle’s shield of faith protects him somewhat. He take 50 points of damage. Merle is dying!

Carapace is on the roof as the vehicles collide. She makes an Athletics check to hold on, and rolls an 8. She goes flying through the air and takes 35 points of damage. She crashes to the ground and is dying.

Each madcap takes 50 points of damage and they all die.

The Tormenter flips through the air, burning. The soul coins are everywhere.

Orellius trudges over toward the cockpit of the Scavenger and tries to start it with a soul coin. The vehicle is upside down. He needs to get out and try to push it back to the upright position. The DC is a 20, and he rolls a natural 20!

Merle fails his first death save.

Magnus grabs a sack of soul coins. Because he has made a bargain with Bitterbreath, a massive cloud splits above his head. A pit fiend flies down and tells Magnus that he has won. His name is Bel (!). Bel wants to make a deal with Bel to procure his services in the future.

Magnus makes a deal. Bel heals Merle. In exchange, Magnus and Merle will serve Bel for 6 months.

Bel offers to heal Carapace, too. She will have to serve him for one year. Carapace takes the deal.

That was awesome.

End of Stream Announcement

At the end of the convert, Nathan Stewart gets on stage with Anna Prosser and Kate Welch. He's a little buzzed.

Time to make the announcement, as teased on Spoilers and Swag. Kate points out that this product is not linked to Spelljammer. It is a hardcover Eberron book. There's a warforged on the cover. Nathan says Greg Tito doesn't want him to say anything further.

The Descent: Day Two



On this day, fans at the live event were able to play in an epic event centered around a massive war machine battle.


The power went out in the building for a short time during the Chris Perkins game.

The Descent: Game Session 3

DM: Marisha Ray    
           
(Krystina Arielle) Ariza - Aasimar Cleric/Bard                
(Matthew Lillard) Gark - Tiefling Wizard                
(Satine Phoenix) Vadia - Bard/Wizard Band manager of the sirens                
(Patrick Rothfuss) Viari - Rogue                 
(Kate Welch) Rosie Beestinger - Halfling Monk                
(Deborah Ann Woll) Twiggy - Gnome Arcane Trickster

Gark awakens, barely remembering what happened last session. All he knows is that he wants to get out of this place. He sees a hole in the sky and spots the remains of a city in the distance. It seems to have chains connected to it.

Nearby there is a small canoe half-buried in the sand. A river is nearby.

Gark finds the other heroes lying unconscious in the sand nearby. There’s also a corpse of a barbed devil. Introductions are made. Rosie spots a war machine in the distance and says that it could be a useful shelter.

The group approaches, carefully avoiding the many puddles of black ichor that dot the area.. Vadia spots a creature skittering about. It looks a bit like a rat.

Viari gets some gunk on him and his ear begins to mutate. He panics and runs toward Rosie. He trips and falls into a puddle of black ichor. His ear becomes deformed and he grows twisted wings.

Gark realizes that this stuff is demon ichor, the remains of rotting demon corpses that have liquified and congealed over time.

The group meets a creature called Rusty, who explains that the war machine needs to be powered. The vehicle is like a heavy metal dune buggy with blades welded on at random.There are 4 seats and a cabin.

Viari sneezes and realizes he suddenly has the ability to fly.

The group checks out one warmachine half-submerged in a pool. Twiggy picks open a lockbox and finds inside it is a shimmering coin. When she touches the coin, a voice whispers to her, asking for help. Twiggy immediately says she will, and offers to tell it a joke.

Also in the lockbox is a fingerbone.

Twiggy bites the coin and it screams.

Ariza examines Viari’s weird infection and sees that it could be healed with restorative magic. She casts lesser restoration on his ear. Viari is healed, the swelling on his face goes down, and his wings diminish.

Viari studies the coin, and has heard rumors of souls being bound to coins. He’s not sure if there is any way to free the soul.

The group gets in the vehicle with Rusty, and Twiggy puts the coin in the coin slot in the war machine. The vehicle begins to rumble. Black and green smoke shoots out of smokestacks. A high-pitched whistle screams in seemingly endless cycles.

Take an action to steer, full speed, stop/halt. If you don’t steer, it will go straight until you take another action.

Ariza tries to drive it, but rolls a one. The vehicle clips a pole. Viari is on the back of the vehicle and is able to avoid colliding with it.

The vehicle drives out of the ruins into salt flats - fields of glass and white salt. Heat rises up from the service.

They spot a floating island tethered to the ground by huge chains. They spot a flying war machine. Pointing to the big hole in the sky, Rusty points out that chunks of land spew out it every once in a while.

Up ahead, they spot a massive dust cloud. The vehicle rides into it, and the group feels cold and alone. They can’t see each other. They feel trapped and stuck in the white haze. Viari sings.

Other vehicles give chase. There is a dune buggy and a motorcycle, apparently driven by barbed devils. Gark mans the acid sprayer and his the motorcycle with it.

A lithe elven figure on a motorcycle jumps the bike over a dune. The elf teleports onto the dune buggy, kills the driver with a blade. The group takes out the devils and come to a stop. The elf removes a bag from the dune buggy. The bag is full of soul coins.

Gark attacks the elf and rolls a critical, doing 48 points of damage with a witchbolt. The elf’s cheek tears open.  The elf says that teamwork is over-rated, more or less. He snaps his fingers, and all of Gark’s allies save for Twiggy vanish.

The elf reveals that this was all a ruse so that he could get his hands on the soul coins.

He grabs Gark and Twiggy tries to stop him...

The Descent: Game Session 4

 DM: Chris Perkins    
           
(Mica Burton) Remyria - Tiefling Sorcerer                
(Matthew Mercer) Boo - Miniature Giant Space Hamster                
(Anna Prosser) Evelyn - Human Paladin of Lathander               
(B. Dave Walters) Nosia - Human Bard                
(Deborah Ann Woll) Twiggy - Gnome                
(Jim Zub) Minsc - Human Ranger

Chris makes the group start by rolling a d20. The result is how many hit points they currently have. Here is what they rolled:
  • Evelyn 14
  • Nosia 1
  • Twiggy 11
  • Minsc 20
  • Boo 1
  • Ramyria 16
Chris hands each player a soul coin. The player can cash it in to get the DM to show them mercy.

Adventurers from all over the multiverse have been drawn to Avernus. They found a way to get home - a war machine with the power of flight. This group of heroes is trying to do just that. They’ve been jumping from war machine to war machine.

Twiggy lost track of her previous crew. She made friends with a guy named Manfrensengen. His head was chopped off. She felt the sting of regret for having even known him. As her vehicle crossed the expanse, she found herself in a dust storm. Her vehicle fell into a crack in the earth and burst into flames.

They find themselves hanging from the vehicle above a crevasse full of jagged obsidian teeth. The rest of the group is in the wreckage. They can see each other through the flames and smoke.

Evelyn has a beam impaled through her thigh. Minsc tries to pull himself out of the wreckage. He pulls himself out and sees a raging dust storm.

As the group struggles to get free, Evelyn and Twiggy become friends. Twiggy tries to introduce her squirrel to Evelyn, but Chris points out that the squirrel is not there. The live crowd is outraged!

Evelyn falls into the crevasse, taking 70 points of damage. She is about to start making death saves. Most of the group makes their way down to help her.

Up at the top, Nosia sees through the dust storm. He spots creatures tearing into each other. In the distance, he sees Twiggy’s squirrel. It is not moving, terrified that it might attract the attention of a fiend.

Twiggy is able to stabilize Evelyn.

Nosia uses minor illusion to imitate Twiggy’s voice to call the squirrel over. The squirrel happily begins to dart toward Nosia. The squirrel avoids the attention of a vrock and makes it to Nosia.

Minsc tries an incredible feat of strength, climbing up out while pulling the other heroes along with him. Chris gives him “double disadvantage”, and makes him roll twice, and he still succeeds!

The entire group exits the crevasse. Remyria is wearing Evelyn’s winged boots. She attunes to them (because time is strange here).

A vrock swoops down and snatches Twiggy.

Minsc throws Boo, who lands on the vrock’s beak. Boo bites one of the vrock’s eye, but it is supernaturally hard. Boo jumps off and activates a parachute. Remyria flies up and catches him.

Twiggy gives Evelyn mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and she wakes up. Evelyn “melts” into the kiss. Remyria comes over and puts Evelyn’s boots back on.

The group spots something in the distance. They approach it and see that is a batlike war machine that is damaged but mostly intact. They don’t see any creatures around.

The heroes realize that there is some kind of humanoid creature inside. A mace falls from the sky and hits Remyria, which allows her to remember her spells. The group calls it the “Mace of Spell Granting.”

The Power went out in the building so there is a long break.

Remyria made a bargain with the DM. Mercy and sunshine for the rest of the session.

The interior of the bat is full of crawling severed hands. Evelyn uses divine sense and determines that the hands are evil. The group starts destroying the hands.
There is a woman inside. She tears open her chest to reveal a skeletal snake. Evelyn cuts the snake in half. She tries to cast a spell, but Nosia counterspells it.

She begs for her life, but the group cuts her head off. She’s still alive.They question her and she reveals how to drive the war machine. It turns out that Boo can fly it.

Boo takes the seat, activates the ship, and they take off through space tunnels that only a miniature space hamster can navigate. Suddenly, they emerge from the tunnel and a planet is below them.

They rocket toward a city. Matt uses his soul coin to save the group, crashing the ship into Baldur’s Gate, destroying the statue of Minsc in the process. All of the heroes survive.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Descent: Day One

Details are out on the new adventure, which is called Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus

The Descent

This is the yearly event where they announce the new D&D products. This year's show is bigger than last year's event, resembling a small con, complete with a D&D epic event and everything.

Relics and Rarities


DM: Deborah Ann Woll    
           
(Jasmine Bhullar) Barrel - Half-orc Barbarian                
(Julia Dennis) Annabella - Bard                
(Janina Gavankar) Mumee - Half-elf Rogue                
(Xander Jeanneret) Ricky Huckster - Gnome Druid               
(Matthew Lillard) Alaster Goldfang - Dragonborn Sorcerer                
(Tommy Walker) Veros - Human Warrior

This pics up from episode 6 of the Relics show on geek and sundry. The group has returned from Livingstone, having defeated two sisters. The group is asked to retrieve a draught from King Sena’s tomb. They’ve been there once before.

Before leaving, the heroes get to pick a trinket from the magic shop that they work for.
  • Picture Frame - Disguise self.
  • Knit Blanket - You can place images on it.
  • Pocket Watch - Slows down time just for the wielder.
  • Sheet Music - When you sing to the tune on the shet, get +5 to CHA checks.
  • Dark Glasses - Grants darkvision
  • Compass with a Missing Crystal - The compass always points to the crystal, which is buried at the entrance of the tomb.
The adventurers arrive at the tomb and see that the doors have been torn open. The last time the group was here, the doors were intact. The heroes look around a bit and the place is trashed, including a false tomb.

As the group begins to check out the interior, Alaster is hit with a scythe trap for 14 damage.
They find a long passage that they follow for 20 minutes. They come to a door with a message in the kektesh language. “Brave the tests of our throne to prove your worth.”

There is a lotus flower attached to the note. The lotus represents healing and rejuvenation, royalty, and the care of royalty.  In the room beyond, there are gold, jewels and all kinds of treasures. Also, on 8 pedestals, are oil lamps. Two have fallen over on their sides.

The creature says it offers no boon, and the group must bow before it. Many members of the group immediately bow. It wants to destroy the one who spoke its name.

Examining the lamps, the group sees different words. They speak a few aloud, and one summons a creature with magma skin. The group fights it, and it turns to smoke and re-enters the lamp, defeated.

They enter another room and come upon the tomb of a queen. There is a vase with a living lotus flower in it, preserved by magic. There is a mural with a branching diagram.

The group finds a cylindrical puzzle with hieroglyphic symbols on it. Deborah actually made it in real life. She says it took 9 hours to make.

After a bit of thinking, the group solves the puzzle. The prop actually unlocks and has a vial inside!

The heroes head outside and their lotus begins to melt. They dig up the buried crystal. They realize that they've failed to secure the draught.

They return to the curio shop and find the place is trashed. That's where we stop!

The Descent: Opening Ceremonies

MC: Anna Prosser                
Jeremy Crawford                
Shelly Mazzanoble                
Chris Perkins                
Nathan Stewart                
Kate Welch                
Jim Zub

The team gives details on the new products coming out. I tried to organize them categorically.

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus


This adventure is about “D&D goes to Hell.” A combination of Mad Max and Dante’s Inferno.
It involves the Blood War, the battle between the lawful devils and the chaotic demons.

Baldur’s Gate
  • The adventure begins in Baldur’s Gate, the “Gotham City” of D&D. The city is detailed in the book.
  • One chapter a gazetteer of Baldur’s Gate. There are options for creating a native of Baldur’s Gate. The entire group can have dark secrets.
  • You can become an ally of the Flaming Fist, and go on murder sprees to help them out.
  • There is an infernal infiltration in the city. A tease of the hell storyline. The group will have to choose whether or not to go to Avernus.
  • There are mysteries and crimes to solve in Baldur’s Gate.
Avernus
  • Avernus is the top layer of hell, the place where demons and devils battle. It is a plane of wreckage, a vast desert where destroyed cities partially pulled in from other d&d settings.
  • Swarms of insects from other infernal regions.
  • There are rules for resting in Avernus (it’s hard).
  • Death saves work differently. We might see these rules in some of the games this weekend.
  • The lakes have ichor which are damaging, but can also be useful.
  • It is home to more creatures than demons and devils.
  • Avernus is a humongous playground. A large section of the book details Avernus itself. There is a huge map full of cool locations.
The Warlords of Avernus
  • Creatures who eke out a living outside of the eye of the demons and devils. They have gangs of marauders looking for scrap metal. They command fleets of infernal war machines. You can boost them by pouring ichor in them.
  • Ghosts of Saltmarsh has ship rules. In Avernus, there are mechanics similar to use for the war machines.
  • You can become a Warlord of Avernus.
  • Because there is so much wreckage. You can go scrape the parts you need to assemble and customize your vehicles (there are rules for this). There is a bit of a catch to this. You might wrestle with moral quandaries - the machines are powered by souls. They are powered by furnaces.
Hell
  • There is a section in the book involving the devils trying to use your dark secrets to make bargains with you. What the devils want the most: Your soul.
  • Avernus is the “front porch” of hell. There’s refugees from other planes trying to escape. There are other adventuring groups. Because hell corrupts, many of them have been morally compromised. The longer your character is there, the better the chance you can become corrupted.
  • It is harder to get out of hell than to get in.
  • Your character could be warped beyond recognition. Some characters will be more resplendent than ever. Paladins and cleric will have their cosmic enemies are right in front of them.
Zariel
  • The ruler of Avernus is Zariel. She is a fallen angel, once a being of pure good. She was able to see that the demons and the devils were a problem. She decided to try to deal with them, even though her fellow angels refused to go with her.
  • Zariel is on the front lines. The closer you get to the River Styx, the more intense the conflict.
  • There is a chance you might be able to redeem Zariel and save her. Though then there will be a power vacuum.
  • You can become one of her vassals.
  • When you encounter Zariel, your previous choices will affect what happens next.
  • This is the devils’ home turf. If you kill a devil in the Nine Hells, the devil is dead forever. This is the place they are most vulnerable, so they are more likely to cut deals.
Other Notes
  • This adventure is written for new DMs. It is user friendly so that new DMs can get their feet wet in the Baldur’s Gate section. Then it gracefully slides into Avernus, and gives tips on how to bring it to life.
  • You can make the Hell section can be as long or as short as the DM likes.
  • There are a bunch of new monster stat blocks and new magic items.
  • They developed a new infernal font for this adventure.
  • Abyssal chickens can be familiars.
  • The art is different from the other books. If you are in Avernus, and you see a giant wound creeping out of the earth, go check it out.
  • The Infernal Tide: A massive entity made of bone and blood that washes over you.
  • Jim Zub has a physical item - a soul coin. If a good character has more than one, it weighs them down.
  • Abyssal chickens are disgusting, horrifying and powerful.
  • D&D Infernal Tide: A comic where heroes including Minsc & Boo go to the Nine Hells. There is a combat in Candlekeep, in the grand library.
D&D Essentials Kit


Chris Perkins designed it.
  • The Starter Set has the Lost Mine of Phandelver. This Essentials Set has another adventure set in the same place.
  • There’s a 64 page booklet that helps people make new characters. There are sidekick rules in the back.
  • Dragon of Icespire Peak: You can run it with one player and one DM, or a full group. In the solo mode, you can use the sidekicks to round out the group.
  • It is very new-DM friendly. There are 14 quests.
  • There is a poster map that has Phandelin on one side, and the adventure locale on the other.
  • There is a box that contains 81 cards that have all of the magic items, quests, combat cheat sheet cards, and sidekick cards.
  • Sidekicks come in three types: Expert (who has “all the skills”), Spellcaster (arcane or divine), and Warrior.
  • A DM screen with all new art.
  • A set of red dice. They are cherry lozenge red. There are two d20’s and four d6’s.
  • It will be in target on June 24th.
  • The product is a step between the starter set and the Player’s Handbook.
  • There are some “delightfully evil” druids running around in the adventure.
  • You can mix this with Phandelver in a number of different ways.
Baldur’s Gate Dice Set with Miscellany
  • It comes with a map of Avernus.
  • A cipher for the infernal language.
  • Two d20’s, four d6’s. The dice are “brimstone” colored
  • The box is lined with velvet, making it two dice trays.
  • It will be available in August 2019.
The Descent: Game Session 1


DM: Jeremy Crawford
              
(Kelly D'Angelo) Tuesday - Forest Gnome Druid               
(Talisein Jaffe) Quintifel - Aasimar Warlock               
(Taran Killam) Halwyn Badanathis - High Elf Bard               
(Alex Lee) Filge - Half-Orc Barbarian               
(Joe Manganiello) Halfmat Arson - Dragonborn Sorcerer              
(Surena Marie) Yuri - 15-year old sad kid

Each hero wakes up. They feel damp and warm. The smell of brimstone is all around them. There are explosions going off. Each of them is lying on a riverbank next to greenish water, with whispers rising up from it.

Two massive armies are fighting under an amber sky, demons vs. devils.To their left is a crashed gondola, There’s a dead dwarf. Another dwarf is running toward a strange contraption - a motorcycle. Looming over the dead, red-capped dwarf, is a vrock. It pulls its beak out of the dwarf, looks at the group, and squawks in hunger.

The adventurers attack it. The vrock lets out a call, and more vrocks start flying toward them. The one dwarf who is still alive tells them they are going to die.

Tuesday hirs the dwarf with call lightning. It falls but is still alive. The dwarf says he was trying to help.

The dwarf says the group should pray that Mad Maggie comes to help them. Halwyn is dropped to 1 hit point.

A machine approaches, a horn plays (a car horn). It feels like an earthquake is coming. The vehicle has a crane on it dragging demons. Red-capped dwarves are on it firing ranged weapons on the demons. Mad Maggie has a raven on each shoulder. Her skin is very wrinkly and leather-y. She is a night hag.

She says, “Hey suckas!” and tells the group to get on board. The group gets on. A hoard of demons rush them. Mad Maggie drops a coin in a slot in the steering wheel. Fire erupts out of the back, and the caravan takes off.

She wants more speed. She opens a bottle of demon ichor. She opens a circular hole right next to the key slot and pours it in. The entire war machine shakes and green fire shoots out of the back of the bus. The redcaps pour them into their motorcycles and they all start speeding up.

On a bike, Halfmat wants to put some ichor into his bike. He feels a weird tempting urge of some kind, but he fights it off with a successful CON save.

Mad Maggie asks the heroes to go obtain for her the Tear of Zariel. Uri and Tuesday start talking about where they were before they woke up in Hell. Maggie slaps them, to “make sure they’re not ghosts.”

Maggie leads the caravan into a sandstorm in the hopes of losing the demon horde chasing them.

They ride into the sandstorm. The group needs to make CON saves. Uri and Halwyn fail. There’s something burning inside the sand. It dissolves into their skin and they take 8 acid damage. The face of one of the red caps melts and Mad Maggie cackles.

Maggie’s vehicles starts going over numerous bumps. It turns out that the bumps are actually lemures, low-level devils. Uri says that this is still better than the orphanage.

They come out the other side. Only one red cap survives the trip through. It looks like they shook off the demon horde.

Mad Maggie loves Zariel merchandise and exquisite despair. Zariel is a fallen angel. She cried a long time ago. A single tear fell off her cheek and when it hit the dark sand and blessed a whole area.

If the group gets her the tear, she’ll give them a war machine, some food, and maybe a way out of Hell.

They come to a lake of salt and a crater. Creatures clad like noble knights, each a ghostly figure, weeping. Each ghost’s tears turns to salt and tumbles into the rater. A light glimmers inside a canopy of salt crystals.

Mad Maggie explains those creatures came to Hell with Zariel. In that salt, there’s something moving. All that sorrow, all the grief over holiness lost gave something life.

The group gets out. Halwyn touches the salt and begins crying like a baby. Two sentries who were looking out to the horizon look at Halwyn. They ask whose tears join theirs.  They tell him to join them, and he can’t resist.

Halwyn kneels into the form of one of the spectral knights. He rolls a saving throw and gets a natural 20. Halwyn leans over and weeps. Halfmat uses a mage hand and catches the tears. It looks like the thing in the salt was going to come over, but it doesn’t.

Halfmat uses his cloak to absorb the tears. He throws it into the crater. As the tears on it touches the salt, there is movement. The salt ripples, and a large, crystalline mouth raises up from the salt, eats the cloak, and begins to descend.

Quintifel puts some tears on a paper airplane and throws it. He sees the mouth moving. Then he calls forth his wings and flies toward the creature. Quintifel flies into the chamber of salt crystals and sees a diamond in the shape of a tear. 7 ghostly figures are near.

Hallwyn sheds tears onto the diamond. One of the ghosts says, “Unworthy.” All 7 take a step toward him. One says in Celestial, “All your tears. Every tear you have cried, whether of sorrow or of joy, you must leave here.”

Halfmat pulls a coin that he stole from a red cap. The ghosts are offended and say, “We have no use for the souls of the damned.”

Quintifel, an aasimar, cries tears over the diamond. He feels his deepest sorrows and his deepest joys leave him. They say “It is done.” They all vanish. The light of the diamond continues to pulse. Outside, the others see the spectral knights vanish.

Mad Maggie yells out, “What happened?!”

Quintifel gets out with the tear. The group distracts the mouth with some conjured dogs. They meet with Maggie and offers the group 2 war machines.

Maggie demands the tear. Halfmat wants to find Arkhan’s tower (Arkhan is Joe’s character from Critical Role and other shows - he has a tower in hell near Tiamat’s lair).

The Descent: Game Session 2

DM: Kate Welch                

(Malik Forte) General Hovito - Genasi Fighter                
(Jerry Holkins) Omin Dran - Half-Elf Warpriest                
(Matthew Lillard) Gark - Tiefling Wizard, descendant of Asmodeus               
(Joe Manganiello) Halfmat Arson - Human Sorceror                
(Clint McElroy) Merle - Beach Dwarf           
(Travis McElroy) Magnus Burnsides - Human Fighter

Halfmat barely remembers what happened last session, but finds himself waking up again on the shores of the Styx with a new group of people. Kate explains that time and space are wobbly here.

They are being squirted in the face by a creature that is humanoid tiger. He has an infernal spray bottle. He sees that the group is waking up, and he begins to run.

Nearby, they see a war machine in the form of a giant metal boar. A creature steps out - a boar-headed humanoid (a wereboar). It is wearing a crown made of jagged pieces of metal.

The group explains that they don’t know how they got here. It turns out that the weretiger, named MacGuyver, sprayed them with Styx mist.

The wereboar wants them to bow. Omin and Halfmat refuse. The wereboar condemns them to death. Halfmat casts invisibility, and twins it so that Omin is invisible too. The rest of the group is now a part of the wereboar’s crew.

The wereboar, Ragadraga, wants a queen. He has an evening planned with a special lady - a night hag. Mad Maggie!

Ragadraga explains that he doesn’t know anything about night hags. He promises he won’t kill them if they help him.

He explains that Mad Maggie has a heartstone. Hers has gone missing. Halfmat suddenly remembers Mad Maggie driving an enormous war machine. He thinks he could craft something she might like.

Omin and Halfmat become visible. Halfmat explains that he knows Mad Maggie, and he can help. He thinks she would really like good food. Ragamaga knows of a unicorn near hear. Merle suggests using angels for stuffing.

Omin wants to teach Ragamaga to dance. He does so successfully.

The group then goes to find the heartstone. It is in the possession of a rakshasa. Omin tries to talk it into handing over the heartstone and rolls a natural 20. They further ask about obtaining “unicorn bait”. The rakshasa hands over the heartstone.

It says it will be telling Asmodeus about this transaction.

The heroes head to a store run by a tentacled creature. Grak tries to pay for stuff with Hovito’s soul. It comes for his soul. Magnus attacks. After a few attacks, Omin is able to intimidate the entity and the group gets what they need.

Once the group leaves, Hovito punches Gark. Omin gives the creature a card good for one free quest from Acquisitions, Inc.

They head to the infernal gate powered by the unicorn. They’re not sure where the gate opens to. The gate has infernal script: It says, “The one who enters here, shall be the only one who leaves Avernus.”

Magnus is able to pull the unicorn free. It thanks them, and says that all that it wants is to return home. It will take a very long time to get home. They ask the unicorn if it is good. It says it likes to help children and animals. Merle asks if that includes boars.

Merle and Omin try to sell the unicorn on the idea to let the group cut out some flanks. Omin says, “You’ll have two handsome men healing you from both sides.”

Halfmat says, “They call it the Avernus tower.”

The heroes cut a chunk of meat off of the unicorn and quickly heal it. Hovito says he can’t wait to lose his memory again.

The adventurers return to Ragamaga and his gang. Jeremy Crawford comes out. Apparently he’s going to play Mad Maggie. The group dresses up Ragamaga. Merle calls it “Dwarf Eye for the Boar Guy.”

The group drops a zone of truth and Ragamaga confesses his feelings. Mad Maggie is into it and asks about Zariel collectibles. Gark decides he likes Mad Maggie and wants to run away with her. Gark creates a minor illusion to make it look like Ragamaga is in an iron maiden.

Maggie entertains his ideas and sends him out of the room to wait for him. Then Maggie tells Ragamaga she's going to eat him later.

The heroes leave the building as Maggie and Ragamaga are seemingly getting along.

As they leave, Halfmat watches as his companions slowly vanish.

After the game, Joe mentions that he contributed to Descent Into Avernus. Joe's character, Arkhan the Cruel, appears in the book. He says that characters may or may not need Tiamat's help at some point and the group might need to go through him and his minions: Krull the death domain tortle ("we're making tortles badass"), and Toragar the minotaur.

That's it for day one!