Table of Contents - A handy way to check out my articles by topic
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
#CommissionsEarned
You can reach me at: powerscorerpg@gmail.com

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

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



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 
Avernus Digital Map - It's 3 bucks! Totally worth it, IMO.
Encounters in Avernus - 60 encounters in Avernus, by many of the authors of Descent into Avernus. 
Hellturel - An expansion of the Elturel portion of the adventure, by James Introcaso.
To Hell and Back Again - An alternate way to start the campaign, can be run as a solo adventure! 

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 the helm. 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:

Level 10:

Level 11: To get to the Bleeding Citadel, the adventurers must fight their way through The Scab, a crusted-over hell hill full of demons.

Level 12: In the Bleeding Citadel is the Sword of Zariel.

Level 13: All that is left to do is to figure out how to free Elturel - through redeeming or destroying Zariel as she fights a horde of demons while chains pull the city into the River Styx, most likely.

The Hellriders

The origin of the Hellriders go like this (see pg 44):
  1. Demons linked to Yeenoghu were plaguing Elturel and Idyllglen.
  2. The demons were actually using a portal situated in Avernus, first layer of the Nine Hells.
  3. Zariel, an angel, showed up to help on two occasions.
  4. On the second occasion, Idyllglen was all but destroyed.
  5. Zariel found the infernal gate and led a group of mortals through it to fight the devils on their home turf.
  6. Zariel rode a golden Mastodon (!!).
  7. Zariel was defeated and the remnants of her army returned to Elturel.
  8. 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.

Guard Reactions: Keep the charts on page 163 in mind in case the group bumps into some guards during their time in Baldur's Gate. They seem fun.

Make a Plan: Once the group gets to Avernus, you are going to have to figure out what encounters to use. The players will be choosing where to go, but you're still expected to place things like the Wandering Emporium, Smiler the Defiler, and other things where you like. You should most definitely sort through the encounters and try to plan out which should happen when. 

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)

If She Dies: Check out page 139. If Lulu dies at some point in this adventure, she is brought back to life in the citadel.

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): A junkyard stronghold in a desolate area ravaged by rival gangs of scavengers called the Knucklebones. Lulu thinks the kenku live here.

Leader: Mad Maggie Night Hag warlord Zariel leaves her alone as long as Maggie keeps the other warlords in check.

Arrival at the Fort: This negotiation is going to be handled loosely. You should quietly rank how things are going on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best (and 10 meaning the group gets everything they want).

Entering the Fort: 6 redcaps (pg 240) demand the password, then remember there is no password.

Seeing the Kenku: Chukka & Clonk (kenku MM pg 194). Known as “The Magpies”. They are trying to repair a war machine (demon grinder stats pg 219). Helping the Kenku: Spend 10 minutes, make an Arcana or Investigation check DC 15: Realize there’s a gear causing the problem. Fix it: dispel magic, protection from evil, etc.
  • Clonk: Big. Strong and silent. Klonk has a hellfire warhammer +2 to hit, 4 bludge. (heelfire is on pg 223 - if you are killed by hellfire, your soul goes to the Nine Hells and you become a lemure!)
  • Chukka: Animated, irritable, does repairs. Wields a silvered pike +2 to hit, 5 piercing dmg.

Mad Maggie (MM pg 178): She can unlock Lulu’s memories, but she needs to gather supplies for the ritual.
  • She is obsessed with Zariel and collects relics relating to her - this is why she is so interested in unlocking Lulu’s memories.
  • Offers: She can give the group 1 or more war machines, food, water
Mickey the Flesh Golem (fiendish flesh golem pg 236): He can’t speak and walks weirdly. Insight check DC 15: Mickey has a piece of a bone devil lodged in his foot.

Pins and Needles: Imps (MM pg 76). Often assume the form of ravens. Spy on Maggie's rivals.
  • They played a prank on a madcap named Wazzie, who wants revenge.
  • Help: The imps try to trick the heroes into killing Wazzik.Insight DC 14: they’re lying.
Barnabus the Flameskull: Flameskull (MM pg 134). Forgetful and pompous.
  • Problem: A redcap stole one of his teeth.
  • Help: Perception Check DC 11: The redcaps have it and pass it to each other - to them it is a good luck charm. Sleight of Hand DC 14 - the heroes can steal it back.
Redcaps and Madcaps: There are 60 redcaps and 30 madcaps here. They love and fear Mad Maggie.
Stats on pg 240
  • Redcap: Fey that soak their hats in fresh blood.
  • Madcaps: Soak their hats in demon ichor.
Mad Maggie’s Infernal War Machines (pg 84): 2 war machines are relatively intact - Devil’s Ride and Tormentor (stats pg 94).
  • Tormentor: Missing its harpoon flinger, AC 15 due to corroded armor (need scrap metal to repair).
  • Devil’s Ride: Wheels are missing.
Lulu’s Dream Quest (pg 85): The ritual goes like this:
  • Maggie makes a fiendish circle, puts black cushions in the center. Lulu must rest on the cushions. Maggie places the two skulls of her sisters on the circle.
  • The characters must also take places in the circle.
  • Takes ten minutes.
  • Characters should keep their eyes closed. Everyone will have a telepathic bond.
Dreamscape: Take psychic dmg from other dream-creatures. 0 hit points = unable to proceed to the next dream. If all characters fall unconscious, it ends and they have to start over.

Dream 1: Rainbow Angels
  • INT save DC 10. Success = proceed to next dream. If EVERYONE fails = 11 psychic dmg, attempt save again. Only 1 character needs to succeed for everyone to move on.
Dream 2: Betrayal
  • 6 spined devils (MM pg 78)
  • Once 3 devils are dropped to 0 HP, the heroes can move on.
Dream 3: Devil Deal
  • Either choice works. Those who accept are given aid in the next dream. The heroes move on.
Dream 4: Desolation
  • Each character rolls initiative. They are all restrained.
  • On their turn, Athletics/Acrobatics check DC 15. Characters who accepted in the last dream have advantage.
  • Fail: Repeat the check each round. Each subsequent fail does 22 psychic dmg.
  • At least one character must succeed to move on.
Dream 5: Revelation
  • Lulu remembers that the sword is at the Bleeding Citadel.
  • Possible rewards: 3 soul coins (pg 94), silvered weapons, 2 weeks of rations, warnings about the other warlords.
Vengeful Pursuits

In the Scavenger:
  • Driver: Mad Maggie (Night Hag MM pg 178)
  • Passenger: Mickey the Flesh Golem (fiendish flesh golem pg 236)
The Grappling Claw:
  • Barnabus (Flameskull MM pg 134)
  • Harpoon Flingers: Chukka & Clonk (kenku MM pg 194)
  • Clinging to outside: 6 madcaps (pg 240)
RaggaDragga Attacks! (pg 87)
  • Demon Grinder (pg 219)
  • Driver: Raggadragga, wereboar (MM pg 209) with 120 HP
  • Chomper and Wrecking Ball: Jibs and Oozywog (also wereboars MM pg 209)
  • Harpoon Flingers: Finnick and Yeegha (wererats MM pg 209)
  • Treasure: 3 soul coins (pg 94), circlet of blasting (DMG pg 158)
Warlords of the Avernian Wastelands (pg 90)

You are meant to use these bad guys as you see fit.
Each has 2d6 soul coins (pg 94) and 2d6 flasks of demon ichor (pg 78)

Bitter Breath (pg 90)
  • Was a pit fiend named L’zeth. Was demoted to horned devil (MM pg 74) by Zariel.
  • Tried to overthrow Zariel, was caught, wings removed.
  • Can’t speak: Words turn to smoke.
  • Can’t write: Documents melt away.
  • Drives a Tormentor with an Infernal Screamer (pg 221). Also has a Devil’s Ride and 2 scavengers.
  • High Graj Karkajuk (hobgoblin warlord MM pg 187)
  • Hobgoblin crew (MM pg 186), 2 hobgoblin captains (MM pg 186)
Feonor (MM pg 91)
  • Archmage (MM pg 342) with white eyes and a parasol made from bones and flesh.
  • Mahadi (pg 126) is in love with her.
  • Rarely speaks, is annoyed with the multiverse.
  • Golden Doom: Demon Grinder with gilded death armor (pg 222).
  • Driver: Ghast (MM pg 148)
  • Ghouls (MM pg 148)
  • She has ten crawling claws (MM pg 144)
  • 2 Tormentors piloted by mezzoloths (MM pg 313)
Princeps Kovik
  • She led a legion that was crushed by demons. She blames her superiors.
  • Served by similarly disenfranchised devils. They never use demon ichor on their vehicles.
  • Chain devil (MM pg 72)
  • Symbol: An “8” made from iron chains
Quest For the Sword (pg 92)

Lulu leads the group to Haruman’s Hill (pg 92) and then realizes the group needs to choose one of two paths: The path of demons (flowchart pg 96) or the path of devils (flow chart pg 106).

Haruman’s Hill (pg 92)

Knights impaled on iron trees: Deserters. They abandoned Zariel during her assault on Avernus.
Haruman: Human paladin of Helm. If the group tries to free them, 2d4 stirges attack.

Stirges (MM pg 284) suck blood from them, and feed the blood to the impaled vampire at the top of the hill (Jander Sunstar).

Jander Sunstar (pg 93)
  • Elf warrior - vampire (MM pg 297). Stirges feed him blood.
  • He fled and sealed the portal behind him. Nobody in the city was the wiser.
  • He ultimately faced the sun and begged Lathander for mercy, but he perished and his soul went to the Nine Hells.
  • When Lulu looks at Jander, she remembers more, and realizes she made a mistake.
Haruman’s Arrival (pg 93)
  • Free Knights: If freed, they crumble to dust and 20 stirges attack (MM pg 284). On round 2, crucified souls wail as Haruman (narzugon pg 239) swoops down on his nightmare (MM pg 235)
  • As he attacks, a hellwasp (pg 236) snatches Lulu away.
  • Damaging Haruman: Harming him causes a tree to sprout up from the ground, listing the character’s crime: “Assaulting an officer”. See this: WIS save DC 15 or become frightened (PH pg 291) of Haruman for 1 minute, repeat the save each round.
  • Treasure: Infernal tack (pg 224)
Lulu is taken to the Hellwasp Nest (pg 94).

If Lulu is not taken, she thinks 2 sites might be important to help find the citadel:
  • A place where demons manifest (pg 96)
  • A place where demons are destroyed (pg 106)
Hellwasp Nest (pg 95)
Made from cocooned Angel and celestial carcasses. The bodies provide the magic that keeps the nest aloft. Hovers, chained to Avernus. 8 hellwasps (pg 236)

N1. Entry Level: Loud noise alerts the 3 hellwasps (pg 236) in N2.  
  • Rooting through junk: Stealth check DC 12 or alert the 3 hellwasps.
  • Treasure: Wand of magic missiles (DMG pg 235), 5 healer’s kits (The kit has ten uses. Use an action to stabilize a creature with 0 HP.)
N2. Drone Cells: Octogonal cells. 3 hellwasps (pg 236)

N3. Hellwasp Larvae: 3 hellwasps (pg 236)
  • If you move within 5 feet of a carcass or take piercing/slashing dmg: 2d6 “hellwasp grubs” (giant centipede MM pg 323).
N4. Larder: 2 hellwasps (pg 236)
  • Lulu will be here, stuck to a wall. Athletics check DC 20 to un-stick.
  • Treasure: Helm of telepathy (DMG pg 174), 3 soul coins (pg 94).
Path of Demons (flow chart pg 96)

Spawning Trees: Have sacs that plop to the ground, from which abyssal chickens (pg 97) emerge.

Devilish Work Crew (pg 96): 5 bearded devils (MM pg 70) are here burning the trees down. They’re forcing their injured ally, Krikendolt, to burn the tree. Krikendolt feels sorry for the chickens.
  • Treasure: 5 soul coins (pg 95) 3 vials of demon ichor (pg 78).
  • Krikendolt: A bearded devil with a brain injury obtained while fighting a vrock.
  • Earwax: An abyssal chicken he keeps secretly in his sack.
  • Interrogate: The devils know that a powerful wizard near here can probably tell them what they want to know. Mordenkainen! He’s in the Tower of Urm.
Tower of Urm (pg 97): Mordenkainen (archmage MM pg 342).
  • This tower can travel between planes.
  • Mercenaries: 9 mezzoloths (MM pg 313), 3 nycaloths (MM pg 314)
  • Torgrazk and Shraal: 2 of the nycaloths are here to assassinate Mordenkainen. They might try to kidnap the heroes instead.
  • Mordenkainen says he doesn’t know, but he directs the heroes to another wizard lurking near an obelisk.
Obelisk (pg 98):
  • “Wizard” Ubbalux: A disguised barlgura trapped here by Bel. To try to escape, he needs the group to touch the stone/ Those who do take 22 lightning and suffer various effects:
  • Monodrone (MM pg 224).
  • True Seeing: 24 hours (PH pg 284).
  • Confusion: 1 minute (PH pg 224).
  • The Attempt Fails: This is not the way for Ubbalux to escape this prison. Ubbalux can tell the heroes to seek out the Mirror of Mephistar.
  • What Else He Knows: On page 100 it reveals that Ubbalux knows where the crypt of the Hellriders (pg 101) is, that a death knight guards it, and what the password to enter is (“For Glory”).
Mirror of Mephistar:
  • Giant Slab of Ice: See your reflection warped: INT save DC 20 or stunned 1 minute. Mephistopheles gains access to thoughts, fears, knowledge.
  • Rigorath (cambion MM pg 36): Blue skin, face frozen in a scream. Pours boiling water on his face to thaw it out.
  • Rigorath wants to make a deal: The group must dam the flow of the River Styx
  • The characters will each gain +1 to INT or WIS.
  • Can bargain to release Ubbalux.
  • The terms are etched onto the ice. The group must chisel them off and drink them.
  • An imp (MM pg 76) with shattersticks (pg 99) appears. Shattersticks do 35 dmg to all structures in a 20-foot-radius. It can lead the group to the Pit of Shummrath.
  • Development: If Mephistopheles learns about the group’s quest, he will eventually send an ice devil (MM pg 75) to kill them and steal the Sword of Zariel.
Pit of Shummrath (pg 100):
  • The pool is the liquid remains of a pit fiend (MM pg 77) merged with the river styx.
  • Cage: Hanging over it is an ultroloth (MM pg 314) in a cage.
  • Baazit: Ultroloth bound by dimensional shackles (pg 165). Was imprisoned for stealing soul coins. The cage is lowered periodically and almost drowns the ultroloth before rising back up.
  • Baazit says he can teach the group how to make servants from the pool, and can direct them to Bel’s Forge.
  • Free Him: knock spell (PH pg 254) or DEX check DC 20.
  • Make a Homunculus: Spend 1 hour forming it. Homunculus (MM pg 188).
Damming the Styx:
  • The imp starts setting up the shattersticks.
  • 8 spined devils (MM pg 78) attack.
  • 1 minute later, explosion.
  • 48 hours later: Shummrath reforms and becomes a pit fiend (MM pg 77) once more. He will fly off to wage war on Bel once more.
Ubbalux will reluctantly swear fealty to Mephistopheles (a demon swearing loyalty to an archdevil!? All sorts of weird stuff could come from this, especially because demons don’t keep their word).

Crypt of the Hellriders (pg 102): The idea here is that the group explores the crypt, takes a short rest, reads the journals and realizes Olanthius is actually sort of a good guy. Then Olanthius shows up and asks the group to distract Zariel.

C1. Sealed Gates: Open: password is “For Glory”. Can use magic to get through.

C2. Funerary Chambers: The ghosts can tell the group the story of Olanthius, a death knight who serves Zariel. There is still good in him.
  • 3 ghosts (MM pg 147)
C3. Knights’ Caskets: 6 caskets, each with a wraith (MM pg 302) inside. Pull a rose off a casket, wraith attacks.
  • Wand of Secrets (DMG pg 211), Necklace of Fireballs (DMG pg 210)
C5. Memorial Steles:
  • What is a Stele? “...a stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide, erected in the ancient world as a monument.” Similar to a tombstone.
  • Touch: DEX sv DC 15 or 36 (8d8) necrotic dmg, half on save.
  • Deactivate: Destroy parchments in C6, then remove names from these steles. Boon: Heroes gain bless (PH pg 219) for 24 hours (+1d4 to attack rolls and saving throws).
C6. Ritual Rooms: Undead can’t enter or even perceive this place.
  • Ritual circle with slivers of parchment on it, containing names. These bind their souls to Zariel.
C7. Olanthius’s Retreat: 8 journals written by Olanthius. Spend a short rest reading them, learn:
  • Olanthius blames himself. Despises Haruman. 
  • Speaks well of General Yael, who he secretly adores. 
  • Yael knows where the Sword of Zariel is.
Olanthius Returns (pg 103): Death knight (MM pg 47), 2 gorgons (MM pg 171). He will turn the 3 ghosts into specters (MM pg 279)

So, get this. The demon lord Kostchtchie is trapped here on Avernus. Zariel took his weapon. Olanthius wants the group to free Kostchtchie (!).

Arches of Ulloch (pg 103): It can teleport you to places in the Nine Hells that you’ve been to before. You need to point to Kostchtchie’s Maw on the map before going through the arches. The portal stays open for 10 minutes.

Kostchtchie’s Maw (pg 104): Kosthctchie (stats pg 104) is chained up, standing in pit of tar, yelling in Abyssal. He wants to be freed and he wants his hammer, Matalotok (stats pg 224).
  • Climbing Down the Chasm: Climbing is at half speed normally, so that’s 15 feet. That is 33 climb checks! DC 15. Fail by 5 or more, you fall.
  • Guards: Mazer (chain devil MM pg 72): There are dozens of 100-foot-long chains in the tar that Mazer can control with its animate chains power. If Mazer dies, the chains weaken and Kostchtchie can break free.
  • 4 hell hounds (MM pg 182).
  • Free the Demon Lord: He yells in Abyssal and casts wind walk (PH pg 288) turning him into a wispy cloud with a fly speed of 300 feet!
  • Return to Olanthius: He reveals that the group must meet with Yael in the Bleeding Citadel (pg 134).
Path of Devils (pg 106)

Demon Zapper (pg 106): The unicorn is trapped in a sphere that blocks magic and physical entry. Any fiend that gets within 100 feet of this thing is pretty much dead: DEX sv DC 18 260 radiant dmg, half on save.
  • Guardian: Ralzala, a dao who regrets making a pact with Zariel. Ralzala will try to get the group to help her break her pact. To do so, the heroes must visit Red Ruth in the Bone Brambles (pg 107)
  • Free the Unicorn: Destroy the rusted metal structure AC 14 HP 250
  • Unicorn (MM pg 294)
  • Dao (MM pg 143)
  • Bone Brambles (pg 107): This place was pulled into Avernus from the Feywild.
B1. Entrances: 5 paths lead inside. Group survival check DC 15. Success: Find Red Ruth’s lair at B3. Fail: dead end (B2 - roll on the Dead Ends chart).

B2. Dead Ends:
  • Dead Traveler: Dead drow, bag of devouring (DMG pg 153)
  • Dryad Spirits: 3 spirits demand to be reminded of the wonders of life. Dazzle them! Banshee (MM pg 23)
  • Shambling Mounds: 3 shambling mounds (MM pg 270)
  • Thorn Trap: There’s a staff! The thorns auto-restrain you and do 22 piercing. All the bushes must be destroyed and the dang staff crumbles into nothing.
B3. Red Ruth’s Lair: A cave-like hovel.
  • Red Ruth (night hag MM pg 178).
  • Brews potions from blood, cost 1-2 soul coins (pg 225).
  • Commune Spell (PH pg 223): 3 questions are answered with “Yes” or “no”. I believe that Zariel is the one answering the questions.
  • Freeing the Dao: Red Ruth says the group will need to do something for her, first - schedule a pampering session at the Wandering Emporium (pg 126). The group will have to watch over her place while she is gone.
  • Defending the Home: 2 banshees (MM pg 23) and a treant (MM pg 289) attack.
  • Treasure: There’s a dead gnome in the treant that has a hat of disguise (MM pg 173) and a +1 wand of the war mage (MM pg 212).
Helping Ralazala: Once she’s back from the spa, Red Ruth says that the dao must drink the blood of a titan

Uldrak’s Grave (pg 109)

Huge sword (orb of dragonkind DMG pg 225).
  • After it tried and failed to assassinate her, Tiamat turned the empyrean (MM pg 130) named Uldrak (MM pg 78) into a spined devil.
  • Drinking his Blood: Need to get it from Uldrak’s titan form.
  • Regain Titan Form: Spill some of Tiamat’s blood on the ground of Avernus. Arkhan the cruel has some of Taiamat’s blood in a vial around his neck.
Arkhan’s Tower (pg 110)
  • Guarded by 50 skeletons (MM pg 272) and 30 zombies (MM pg 316)
  • Obatala (adult white dragon MM pg 101)
  • Krull (stats pg 110) tortle priest (treasure: +1 maul, 5 potions of healing (DMG pg 188), 2 soul coins (pg 225)
  • 4 ghoul assistants (MM pg 148)
  • Slarkas (young black dragon MM pg 88)
  • Vistalancer (young blue dragon MM pg 91)
  • Vermilius (young green dragon MM pg 94)
  • Flash (red dragon wyrmling MM pg 98)
  • Krull will tell the group to leave, unless the heroes want to trade him the unicorn or the orb of dragonkind. Krull can lead the group to Arkhan, who is at the Monument to Tiamat.
Monument to Tiamat (pg 112): In the skull is a tunnel that leads to Tiamat’s lair. There are “scores” of white abishai inside (stats pg 241).
  • Devil’s Ride (pg 94) parked outside, belongs to Torogar (pg 112).
  • Arkhan the Cruel (stats pg 111)
  • Hand of Vecna (DMG pg 224)
  • Chango (manticore MM pg 213)
  • Torogar (pg 112)
  • Vial of Blood: Arkhan will trade the vial of blood for the sacrifice of a good-aligned creature - possibly Lulu or the unicorn. These sacrifices feed the Hand of Vecna, which is slowly corrupting him.
  • Using the Blood: Uldrak splashes the vial at his feet He transforms into a lawful evil empyrean (MM pg 130). He takes his sword, gives the group a gallon of his blood, and plane shifts to Surtur’s home.
  • Ralzala drinks the blood and writes the group a letter of introduction so that they can meet Bel at Bel’s Forge.
Bel’s Forge (pg 113)

An iron fortress. Those that come close are attacked by 2 horned devils (MM pg 74) and 10 bearded devils (MM pg 74).
  • Extreme Heat (DMG pg 110): End of each hour: CON sv DC 5 or gain 1 lvl of exhaustion (PH pg 291). The DC goes up by 1 for each hour. Medium/heavy armor = disadvantage on the saves.
  • Lava: 33 (6d10) fire dmg. Fully immersed: 99 (18d10) fire dmg.
F1. Descent to the Forge: Bel (stats pg 115) on his flying throne watching fire giants toil.
Bel telepathically tries to cut a deal with the adventurers:
  • The group must retrieve 9 stolen adamantium rods. In exchange, he’ll tell them how to get to the Bleeding Citadel. Finding the rods involves questioning a captured Sibriex, and he even offers them use of a barge to traverse the River Styx.
  • The group won’t know: The nine rods unlock the Companion, which has a planetar (MM pg 17) trapped inside of it.
  • If the group accepts, he sends an imp (MM pg 76) named Balakros with them.
F2. Fire Giant Blacksmiths: Drumra, Jalt, Rosska, and Zrakorn (4 fire giants MM pg 154). Chains can’t be broken or unlocked except by Bel.

F3. Weapons Rack: Blood war weapons. Treasure: 2 hellfire javelins and a hellfire greatsword (pg 224).

F4. Pool of Magma: A half-completed infernal machine is dangling over the pool.
  • River Travel (pg 116): The road to the barge is patrolled by bearded devils (MM pg 70).
  • Barge: 30 feet long, 15 feet wide, can hold 2 infernal war machines.
  • Krinjak: bone devil (MM pg 71) captain (secretly a spy for Zariel).
  • 12 merregons (pg 238) operate the oars.
  • The boat will sail past the Stygian Dock (pg 123).
Sibriex (pg 116)

It is chained to a scaffold. Demon ichor (pg 78) is pooled around the scaffold.
  • Sibriex (stats pg 116).
  • Shalok and Jank (chain devils pg 72).
  • Fetchtatter (arcanaloth  MM pg 313) - has a contract with Bel.
  • Treasure: Ring of x-ray vision (DMG pg 193), 2 potions of greater healing (DMG pg 188), 6 soul coins (pg 225).
  • The arcanaloth is trying to get information from the sibriex, but it doesn’t want to talk. Fetchtatter offers the group 3 soul coins (pg 225) if they can get it to talk.
Interrogating the Sibriex: It communicates telepathically, offering to help the group if they free it. Insight check DC 17, it is lying. It knows that the adamantine rods are in a wrecked flying fortress. Balakros the imp knows where the fortress is.

Freeing the Sibriex: Breaking three chains will do it. AC 19 HP 33 dmg threshold 10
Remember, damage threshold means that you have to do at least 10 dmg to do any damage at all to the chains.

Wrecked Flying Fortress (pg 118)

The rods that the group are looking for are in a safe in area W5.

Fire Storm: If for some reason the group is on foot, group Survival check DC 20. Fail means a firestorm blows in and attaches itself to a character for one minute. DEX save DC 20, 44 fire damage, half on save. Dispel magic (PH pg 234) shuts it down.

Arrival at the Wreck (pg 118): The group can either climb the exterior or go up through the inside.

Climb Up: Athletics check DC 15. As they climb, the 6 vrocks (MM pg 64) from W1. attack.
Interior: 5 bone whelks (pg 119). There’s a good chance the dying screams of the whelks will attract the vrocks. Also inside is a soul intake tube which has a remorhaz (MM pg 258) in it.

Command Deck Slanted Floor: The floor is tilted. Difficult terrain.

W1. Bridge: When the group gets here, Mad Maggie’s crew shows up below. They’re here to search the wreck. If the group is on bad terms with them, they might steal the group’s war machine and/or release the remorhaz. 6 vrocks (MM pg 64)

W2. Alarm Console: Flip a switch, pick a sound from the list.

W3. Damaged Machinery: Machines that used to block telepathy.

W4. Records Room: It looks like a gnoll, but it is a death slaad (MM pg 278) that’s been feebleminded (PH pg 239) by the River Styx. It can’t do much of anything. The machines used to be used for communication.

W5. Adamantine Rods: Sovereign glue (DMG pg 200).Open safe, figure out the combination and cast knock (PH pg 254) 3 times.

W6. Black Bell: 40 flasks of demon ichor (pg 78). This bell used to keep the fortress aloft.

W7. Stirge Nest: 10 stirges (MM pg 284)

W8. Signal Desks: Desks and typewriters.

Leaving: One of the infernal warlords might show up.

Back to Bel: Bel doesn’t want the rods. He tells the group to bring them to Elturel (they can open the Companion and free the planetar inside). Bel tells the group where the Bleeding Citadel is.

Other Locations (pg 122)

Stygian Dock (pg 123)

Note: Having Zariel's flying fortress (pg 130) at a dock is something the book seems to want to happen. Almost none of the crew is on board when her fortress is docked (see pg 130).

An infernal fortress is pulling souls out of the River Styx. The heroes have the option of using a bathysphere to drege up souls from the River Styx.
  • Bazelsteen: Horned devil (MM pg 74)
  • 12 barbed devils (MM pg 70)
  • 3 bone devils (MM pg 70)
Test Run: The group can help Bazelsteen test a device. They get in a bathysphere and vaccuum up silted souls at the bottom of the River Styx. Highest DEX check wins and that character gets a soul coin (pg 225). Up to 4 heroes can fit inside. It is definitely OK if some characters don’t want to go down there.

While the heroes are submerged, 10 vrocks (MM pg 64) attack the dock.

A glabrezu (MM pg 58) tries to snip the cable attached to the bathysphere (It needs to make a DC 20 STR check. It has a +5 STR bonus).

Styx Watchtowers (pg 124)

There are many of these towers in Avernus. They are used to spot demonic armies.
  • 1 Amnizu (pg 228)
  • Chain devil (MM pg 72) There are chains on the walls of the tower that can be animated.
  • 10 bearded devils (MM pg 70) with 10 hell hounds (MM pg 182)
  • 2 spined devils (MM pg 78).
T1. Ground Floor: Break through the door: Athletics DC 23

T2. Second Floor: Sometimes a creature will get tortured here.

T3. Roof: Spined devils keep lookout.

Sundered Chains (pg 126)

These chains once held a city. Chain devils make pilgrimages to this place.
  • Zartar (chain devil MM pg 72) Is trying to pray to Asmodeus to draw power from the chains.
  • 2 bearded devils (MM pg 70)
The Wandering Emporium (pg 126)

Important Note: Don’t forget, Mahadi has one of best traits ever (MM pg 257): He can’t be affected by spells of 6th level or lower!

Mahadi the rakshasa (stats pg 127): Merchant lord, is risk-averse.
  • The eyes and ears of Asmodeus.
  • Can travel freely to the Material Plane.
  • Has a collection of named soul coins.
  • Contract with Zariel: Cannot stage a coup or assist others in doing so).
  • Lulu: Mahadi has previously splashed Lulu with water from the River Styx, but Lulu doesn’t remember this.
Hand of Vecna: Mahadi wants the Hand of Vecna (which is currently in the possession of Arkhan, pg 111). To obtain it he will trade one of three things:
  • Rod of lordly might (DMG pg 196).
  • True resurrection (PH pg 284).
  • Asmodeus will turn a character into a tiefling (!).(Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes pg 21: “The tieflings connected to Nessus command the power of fire and darkness, guided by a keener than normal intellect, as befits those linked to Asmodeus himself. Such tieflings use the tiefling’s Ability Score Increase and Infernal Legacy traits in the Player’s Handbook.”
Approaching the Wandering Emporium (pg 128): Tents protected by many war machines. Sign warns that there is no fighting or spellcasting allowed.
Businesses

Infernal Rapture (pg 128)
Restaurant and spa that exists in a demiplane. Basically, you come here, spend money, and if you can’t pay, you need to either work off the debt (connected to a geas spell - PH pg 244) or Mahadi and Asmodeus own your soul.
  • Owner: Mahadi (rakshasa, stats pg 127)
  • Servants: All under a geas to provide good service and appear happy.
  • Dining: A meal costs one soul coin. Menu on page 245. A meal has effects of a heroes feast spell (PH pg 250) cured of disease/poison, becomes immune to poison/frightened, advantage on wis saves, +2d10 HP MAX and regains that many HP. Benefits last 24 hours. Also, disadvantage on Insight checks vs. Mahadi.
  • Spa: Mahadi tries to get people to buy dream therapy, whole body restoration, and longevity therapy. It says he seeks to “take possession of these individuals and make them permanent residents of Avernus.”
Firesnake Forge
Rassh, Skids, and Slagg: 3 salamanders (MM pg 266) that escaped Bel’s Forge. They maintain Mahadi’s war machines.
  • 9 magmins (MM pg 212)
  • 8 suits of animated armor (MM pg 19)
  • They sell weapons and armor (PH pg ) at 150% of the normal price.
  • Repair: They can repair a damaged war machine for 50 gp per hit point.
Burney the Barber
  • Burney: (secretly an ancient copper dragon MM pg 110) Cheerful woman. Cuts hair, heals.
  • Healer Feat (PH pg 167): Use a healer’s kit to stabilize, the creature has 1 HP instead of 0. Action: Use healer’s kit to restore 1d6+4 HP plus HP equal to the creature’s max hit dice.
  • Spy: She is here as a spy for Bahamut, good god of dragons,
  • Forget: Once you take three steps away from her, you forget her and your interactions with her entirely.
  • Psychic Protection: She is permanently mind blanked (PH pg 259)
  • Can’t take direct action against denizens of the Nine Hells.
  • Once per day she can plane shift (PH pg 266) to Bahamut’s Court.
From Here to Avernus (pg 130)
  • Amnizu (stats pg 228)
  • Imp (MM pg 76)
  • Can exchange 100 gp for a soul coin.
  • Parcel Delivery: 1 soul coin for less than 5 pounds, 2 soul coins for up to 50 pounds.
  • Notary Pricing: 1 soul coin for notary services (10 if it involves the soul of a celestial).
Ichor’s Aweigh
  • Mage (MM pg 347)
  • Elliach has tentacles arms that end in fingers, and is deaf.
  • Buy demon ichor for 25 gp per flask.
  • Sells demon ichor for 100 gp per flask.
Z’Neth’s Larva Farm
  • Hobgoblin warlord (MM pg 187)
  • Larva (DMG pg 63)
  • Sels larva for 1 soul coin each. He has 2d6 of them presently.
  • He will pay the group 9 soul coins to kill Mahadi.
Zariel’s Flying Fortress (pg 130)
  • Nariangela (Erinyes MM pg 73)
  • 18 bearded devils (MM pg 70) in plate armor (AC 18)
  • 3 bone devils (MM pg 71) flying above the fortress.
Infiltrating:
  • Prisoner: Don’t forget, Thavius Kreeg is being interred here (pg 132)
  • Rooftop Hatch: Guarded by the 3 bone devils.
  • Signal Vents: You can get in if you’re tiny or in gaseous form (PH pg 244)
  • Soul Intake Pipe: The grilled vent in the bottom leads to the soul intake pipe.. It sometimes siphons souls from the River Styx. If you’re in there, take 16 necrotic per round start of each turn.
  • Commandeer: No, your group can’t steal this thing. It is controlled telepathically by Zariel and has no other way to be controlled.
  • Sabotage: Destroy the bell: AC 19 HP 45 dmg threshold 10.
  • Crash: Anyone on board take 70 bludgeoning and 70 fire dmg, and falls prone among the wreckage.
  • Stowing Away: Pit fiend (MM pg 77), 6 erinyes (MM pg 73), 12 bearded devils (MM pg 70) AC 18
Poor Devil: Thavius Kreeg (pg 132)
  • Thavius (amnizu stats pg 228) is being kept in here until Elturel is fully pulled into the River Styx.
  • Magic Wards: You can’t teleport in or out of the cell.
  • Shackles: Only Zariel can unlock them. AC 19 HP 20 damage threshold 15, immune to non-magic attacks except adamantine.
Roaming Encounter: Smiler the Defiler (pg 133)

Smiler had a gang that was wiped out by the other warlords. He will try to recruit the heroes to help him get revenge.

Chapter 4: Sword of Zariel (pg 134)
Here’s the deal:
  1. A fortress of positive energy is slowly being covered in a scab.
  2. Right now, only the top is visible.
  3. Inside this fortress is both the Sword of Zariel and Crokek’toeck, a “pet” of Yeenoghu’s.
  4. Agents of Yeenoghu are tunneling in to try to free the pet.
The Scab
  • Lower 100 feet: AC 17 HP 18
  • Upper 200 feet: Ac9 HP 10
  • Entrance: Climb chain = Athletics DC 15, then enter S1.
  • Pools of Blood: Difficult terrain, enter pool = WIS save DC 13. Fail, gain selfish flaw for 8 hours. Dispel evil and good (PH pg 233).
  • Ceiling: Is at points so low that medium characters have to crawl.
S1. Oozing Entrance: Tube-shaped tunnel.

S2. Angelic Window: Window depicts an angelic face. Touch it: gain 20 temp HP.

S3. Drowned Hag:
  • Corpse: Night hag (MM pg 178) named Yiggleblight, was working with the demons.
  • 5 bulezaus (stats pg 230)
  • Flask of River Styx water (see pg 76, normally it is only effective for 24 hours but this special flask preserves its properties).
S4. Bloody Downpour:
  • 3 barlguras (MM pg 56) They are invisible.
  • Heal the Scab: Either cast cure wounds (PH pg 230) or 5 uses of a healer’s kit and a Medicine check DC 15.
S5. Food Fight: Two hezrous fighting over who gets to eat a bearded devil corpse.
  • 2 hezrous (MM pg 60)
  • Sneak Past: Group Stealth check, must beat passive perception 11.
S6. Torture Chamber: A devil is being tortured.
  • Alazub: Barbed Devil (MM pg 70)
  • 2 chasmes (MM pg 57)
  • Chains with Hyena Skulls: AC 19 HP 15 imm to cold/fire/poison/psychic.
  • Pull Skull off of Alazub: Alazub takes 7 dmg. MEdicine Check DC 15 to harmlessly remove the skull.
  • What Alazub Knows: Tantolox and his demons have found the entrance to the Bleeding Citadel but can’t get in. They are also digging out Yeenoghu’s pet.
S7. Trantolox’s Larder: Cross the room = insects attack.
  • 4 swarms of insects (MM pg 338)
S8. Hag’s Lair:
  • Iron flask (DMG pg 178): Contains a fiendish flesh golem (stats pg 236)
  • Soul bag (MM pg 179): Catches the soul of an evil humanoid killed by a hag’s night haunting ability.
  • Heartstone (MM pg 179): Cures any disease!
  • Burnt Othur Fumes (DMG pg 258): CON sv DC 13. Fail take 10 poi, repeats save each round until 3 successes.
  • Carrion Crawler Mucus (DMG pg 258): CON sv DC 13 or poisoned and paralyzed for up to 1 minute.
  • Essence of Ether (DMG pg 258): CON sv DC 15 poisoned and unconscious for 8 hours.
  • Oil of Taggit (DMG pg 258): CON sv DC 13 or poisoned and unconscious for 24 hours.
  • Torpor (DMG pg 258): CON sv DC 15 or poisoned and incapaciteated for 4d6 hours.
S9. Digging Demons: They are digging down, trying to free Crokek’toeck. If possible, the shadow demon will flee to S14 to warn Trantolox about the heroes.
  • Vatilan (shadow demon MM pg 64)
  • 7 dretches (MM pg 57)
S10. Crokek’toeck’s Prison: It is incapacitated and restrained. If someone frees it, it begins trying to devour anyone and everyone.
  • Crokek’toeck (stats pg 230)
S11. Statue of Yeenoghu:
  • 3 vrocks (MM pg 64)
  • 6 gnolls (MM pg 163)
  • Statue: AC 17 HP 60 Made of hardened scab. Any demon/gnoll who starts their turn within 30 feet of it regains 10 hit points. Destroy: It explodes, all within 30 feet make DEX sv DC 15 or take 22 piercing, half on save.
S12. Trantolox’s Chamber:
  • Eversmoking Bottle (DMG pg 168)
S13. Cackling Gnolls: Targ Nar (gnoll fang of Yeenoghu MM pg)
  • 15 gnolls (MM pg 163)
S14. Entrance to the Bleeding Citadel: The bad guys can’t get the door open. They’ll try to cut a deal with the group.
  • Trantolox (nalfeshnee MM pg 62)
  • 3 bulezaus (stats on pg 230)
  • Door: “Only the pure of heart can open these gates.” Lulu must be here for the doors to open.
  • Opening: All fiends and undead CON sv DC 22, taking 44 radiant dmg, half on save. Fiends and undead can’t pass through the doorway when it is open.
Pow, the group hits 12th level.

Entering the Citadel (pg 139)
  • If Lulu has died, she returns to life.
  • When the heroes enter, they gain the benefits of a long rest.
  • Sword of Zariel: Stats page 266.The group cannot take the sword until they play through the “Idyllglen” memory.
  • Yael’s Ghost: Yael appears and pulls the heroes into a memory. 
Idyllglen

Gnolls attacked this town twice. Zariel defended it both times.
  • Borders: Enter/start turn in border mist = WIS save DC 15, 22 psychic dmg, half on save.
  • Burning Buildings: Start turn in or on = CON sv DC 15, 10 fire dmg, half on save.
  • Burning Trees: Start turn in a tree: CON sv DC 15, 10 fire dmg, half on save.
  • Townsfolk: Flee for their lives or hide.
  • Character Death: While this is a memory, if you die, you die.
I1. Idyll Road: Paved.

I2. Statue of Zariel: AC 17 HP 300 damage threshold 15. Fiends start turn within 15 feet = flare goes off in 30 foot radius, CON sv DC 15, 18 radiant dmg, half on save.
  • 30 feet tall, depicts an angel wearing a blindfold.
  • Character Touches Statue: Gain protection from good and evil (PH pg 270) for 1 hour. Fiends have disadvantage to hit you, and you can’t be charmed, frightened or possessed by them.
I3. Temple of Lathander:
  • Jhessa Brightstar (priest MM pg 348): Descendant of Solndar Brightstar. Soft-spoken.
  • 50 townsfolk (commoners MM pg 350)
  • Barred Entrance: Athletics DC 22 to force open.
  • Shuttered Windows: DEX check DC 15 with thieves tools to open. AC 19 HP 25 damage threshold 10.
Event 1. Characters’ Arrival: All of these things happen at once. The group may need to split up and deal with these things individually. The next event kicks in when there are only 2 enemies remaining.
  • 6 gnolls (MM pg 163) attack the heroes.
  • 6 dretches (MM pg 57) attack Ella Deepwell (commoner MM pg 350). Cart: AC 15 HP 27, lift Atheltics check DC 15.
  • Giant hyena (MM pg 326) attacks a mastiff (MM pg 332). If the mastiff survives, it will stick with the group.
  • Hezrou (MM pg 60) tries to get in to the temple. It gets the doors open on its first turn.
Event 2. Yeenoghu’s Champion: Garoknul (marilith MM pg 61). Teleports away once reduced to 50 hit points.

Event 3. Madness Reigns: 5 guards (MM pg 347) driven mad by demon ichor.  If a character kills a guard, Lulu punishes them WIS sv DC 15 or gain 1 level of exhaustion (PH pg 291).

Event 4. Unsettling Calm: Spend an hour resting.

Event 5. Renewed Assault: Each round, more monsters appear.

Round 1: Creatures appear on the western edge of the map.
  • Barlgura (MM pg 56)
  • 5 dretches (MM pg 57)
Round 2: Creatures appear on the southern end of the map.
  • Gnoll Pack Lord (MM pg 163)
  • 6 gnolls (MM pg 163)
Round 3: A vrock (MM pg 64) swoops down from the sky.

When only 3 enemies remain or 6 rounds have passed, Event 6 kicks in.

Event 6. Yeenoghu: Yeenoghu (stats pg 242). When Yeenoghu has 100 hit points or 3 rounds have passed, event 7 happens.

Event 7. Zariel’s Arrival:
  • Zariel is a solar (MM pg 18). She can cast resurrection (PH pg 272) 3 times.
  • Lulu (stats pg 237)
  • Knights (MM pg 347) on warhorses (MM pg 340) kill any remaining demons and gnolls. Yael is among them. Olanthius and Haruman are there as well.
Reward: Once Yeenoghu is gone, Zariel asks the group if they would follow the bad guys through the portal.

Those who say they would get a charm of vitality (DMG pg 228). Use an action: Remove any exhaustion/poison/disease/ Regain Max HP from hit dice for the next 24 hours.

Those who don’t gain a charm of restoration (DMG pg 228). Has 6 charges. Can cast greater restoration (PH pg 246) or lesser restoration (PH pg 255).

Claiming the Sword (pg 145)

Any hero who didn’t die in the memory can draw the sword. Once they do so, the scab blows up and the heroes find themselves outside the citadel.

Wielding the Sword of Zariel: Here are the physical/character-changing effects on the wielder:
  • Attunement is is immediate.
  • You are transformed into a heavenly, idealized version of yourself. Your alignment becomes Lawful Good!
  • Learn the Celestial Language
  • Your CHA becomes 20.
  • You gain resistance to necrotic/radiant.
  • You grow wings and gain a fly speed of 90.
  • Your eyes become “pools of luminous silver” and you gain truesight.
  • Roll new personality traits on the table on page 227.
  • Don’t forget to roll 2 minor beneficial properties on DMG pg 219. I went with a cantrip (guidance) and a 2nd level spell (prayer of healing).
Chapter 5: Escape From Avernus (pg 146)

Redeeming Zariel
  • When the sword gets within 10 feet of her, it glows and floats over to her.
  • The sword contains Zariel’s “angelic spark”.
  • A character will need to convince her to rejoin the celestials. Persuasion check DC 25. (The DC is lowered by 5 if Lulu is present and by another 5 if Olanthius is there).
Zariel’s Redemption
  • Zariel reverts to her angel form, Lulu becomes a golden mammoth.
  • The heroes gain a blessing of health (DMG pg 228): Your Constitution score goes up by 2!!
  • Zariel then flies to Elturel and shatters the Companion, which frees Elturel.
  • Once Elturel returns, Zariel gives the group a golden feather. It can be used to cast planar ally (PH pg 265) to summon Zariel and Lulu for 1 hour. It is a one use item.
  • The planetar (MM pg 17) sticks around to heal people and raise the dead.
Zariel’s Wrath
  • Zariel tries to attack the adventurers. The group might need to make an alliance to defeat her:
  • Baphomet/Kostchchie/Yeenoghu: None are trustworthy. They are easily reached through a contact other plane spell (PH pg 226).
  • Bel: He’s afraid to take her on directly.
  • Gargauth: If freed, he’ll make a contract with the group. Once Zariel is destroyed, he will turn against the group. He’s a pit fiend (MM pg 77).
  • Tiamat: Arkhan can be convinced to aid the group if told he can take Zariel’s place as ruler of Avernus.
Serving Zariel
  • The group might join her army and smite demons in the Blood War.
  • Each character must sign a contract with her, forfeiting their soul.
  • Each character gains a charm (see pg 215)
  • Characters who die become lemures (MM pg 76)
Sword of Avernus: Zariel gives the group the Sword of Avernus (pg 150)
  • Vorpal sword (DMG pg 209)
  • 2 minor beneficial properties (DMG pg 219)
  • 1 major property (DMG pg 219)
  • 1 major detrimental property (DMG pg 220)
  • Word of recall (PH pg 289)
Zariel’s Sword is Destroyed: She can shatter it if she so desires.

Lulu Falls: If Zariel is ot redeemed, Lulu rolls on the Long-Term Madness Table (DMG pg 260).

Ruling Avernus: A mortal ruling Avernus won’t work because devils won’t serve anyone but a superior devil. Asmodeus might offer to transform a character into an archdevil

Will Elturel Be Saved? (pg 151)
  • Breaking the Chains: AC 19 HP 250 damage threshold 30
  • Ire of Tiamat: Tiamat will destroy the chains for the group.
  • Jaws of Crokek’toeck: If divine blood is placed on the chains, Crokek’toeck will come and bite through the chains.
Breaking the Contract (pg 152)
  • Voiding the contract between Zariel and Thavius Kreeg destroys the chains.
  • Zariel keep the original contract hidden and can summon it to her hand. The group would have to trick her to do so.
  • Killing Zariel voids all of her contracts.
The Fate of Thavius Kreeg: If the group wants to kill him, he won’t fight back, he’ll just grovel and tell them he knows where the original contract is (he doesn’t).

The Ultimate Sacrifice (pg 152)
  • Zariel will want the souls of good-aligned clerics and paladins 10th level or higher.
  • She will try to bargain to get it. If a hero says they’ll trade their soul in exchange for Elturel’s return, the character can make a persuasion check DC 25 to sway Zariel from the path of evil. Even if the check fails, she will make the deal.
Relinquishing the Sword: Zariel will accept the sword in exchange for freeing Elturel.

Making a Deal With Zariel

Zariel will return Elturel if the group kills either Baphomet or Yeenoghu.

Shield of the Hidden Lord: Zariel will return Elturel in exchange for the Shield of the Hidden Lord.
  • Zariel casts dispel evil and good (PH pg 233), causing Gargauth to emerge (pit fiend MM pg 77).
  • He has 150 hit points and 4 levels of exhaustion (speed 15, disadvantage on attack rolls and saves).
  • She’ll try to either “free” Elturel from its chains, or return it to the Material Plane, not both.
Dealing With the Companion (pg 153)
It is surrounded by a 10-foot thick of magical darkness. It has 9 locks, opened with the 9 rods from Zariel’s wrecked fortress (pg 118).

Shattering the Companion: Striking the orb with the Sword of Zariel will shatter it and dispel the darkness. This frees the planetar trapped inside.
  • The sword might shatter, unless wielded by a high-ranking angel or a good-aligned cleric or paladin level 10+.
  • Tiamat can also shatter the Companion.
The Planetar’s Power: Nascius (planetar MM pg 17). Once the chains are shattered, Nascius can bring Elturel back to the Material Plane.

Endgame in Elturel (pg 154)

As Elturel is being pulled into the Styx, Zariel’s devils fight a horde of demons (you pick - Yeenoghu or Baphomet).

Event 1: River’s Edge: 2 horned devils (MM pg 74)

Event 2: Field of Flames: The group can stealth across the battle field with three group checks DC 15, 17, then 19. Each fail: CON sv DC 15 or 22 poison and 22 fire dmg.
  • 6 hezrous (MM pg 60)
  • Lucille (pit fiend MM pg 77) helm of devil command (pg 223) and battle standard of infernal power (pg 223)
  • If the group helps Lucille and kills 2 hezrous, she orders the devils not to harm the adventurers.
Event 3: Showdown With Zariel: Zariel is fighting a balor. Zariel kills it in 4 rounds.
  • If the group freed Kostchtchie (stats pg 105), he comes after Zariel to get Matalok (pg 224) back.
  • Zariel (stats pg 243)
  • Balor (MM pg 55)
Appendix A Notes: Diabolical Deals
  • Lemures & nupperibos can’t make deals.
  • Other devils can make deals for themselves or for archdevils. Can’t normally make deals outside their home plane unless a devil talisman or ritual circle is involved.
  • Archdevils can deal freely with mortals.
Contact an Archdevil: Kill a chaotic or good-aligned creature and pray to the archdevil for one hour.

Proposal: Devil offers gift, character offers price (usually their soul). Seal the deal with a contract.
  • Charisma checks don’t work on devils in these situations.
  • Devils can try a Deception vs Insight to deceive characters.
  • Devils try to slip in extra clauses. Investigation vs. the devil’s Deception check to detect. The character must beat the devil’s roll, not tie it.
I'll have more up later today! I ran a special Avernus game on youtube - the group tried to get the orb of dragonkind from Uldrak's Grave before Arkhan the Cruel did:





11 comments:

Gyor said...

I wonder if the Cultists of the Dead Three will make it into BG3?

Gyor said...

I wonder if the Cultists of the Dead Three will make it into BG3?

Sean said...

Gyor: Maybe! I think that the tabletop game worked pretty closely with the Neverwinter MMO people, so it is definitely possible.

Anonymous said...

Really appreciate the write-up. Any preliminary review-ish comments?

ChaosCorp86 said...

noooo I was using our guide for a kinda bookless prep until my copy gets here!

Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to finish your stuff for Dragon Heist? You just stopped posting after starting it.

aguirre said...

setember 17h
yay

aguirre said...

the thing that i feel weird about D&D in general is the lack of medieval setting, always feels to me a modern 21st urbane NY setting with swords and monsters.
there is no class, plebeans, nobles, merchants and slaves.
there is no realms / nations, only city states.

GM said...

This is always my first stop after a new adventure path is released.

Can’t wait to see your spin on this

Thanks

tf_shodiq007 said...

Come to my website to view the contents of my website
BOLA PELANGI - BANDAR MIX PARLAY TERBESAR DI INDONESIA HANYA DENGAN 1 USER ID SUDAH BISA BERMAIN SEMUA GAME. Join US ! klik link di bawah ini ☟
Prediksi Parlay Jitu
Mix Parlay
Bola Jalan
U build Great Artikel ^_^ i already Share this artikel Bandar Bola
Bola Online
Berita Bola
Prediksi Parlay

Untuk Info Dan Bonus Menariknya Bisa Hubungi Kami Di Bawah Ini :
WHATSAPP 1 : +6282143134681
WHATSAPP 2 : +6281333472723
Ayo buruann , mana tau kamu menjadi jutawan setelah bergabung dengan kami ..
♛ Group FB Prediksi Parlay = https://www.facebook.com/groups/346501502486292/
♛ Instagram = https://www.instagram.com/bolapelangi_01/Bola Pelangi
♛ Pinterest = https://id.pinterest.com/bolapelangilounge/ Bolapelan1502486292/
♛ Instagram = https://www.instagram.com/bolapelangi_01/Bola Pelangi
♛ Pinterest = https://id.pinterest.com/bolapelangilounge/ Bolapelangi Lounge
✆ WA = +6282143134681 || +6281333472723a

Folkard said...

What is the role of the Dead Three in a general picture? Also... Are these demi-gods actually alive at the time? Can they be encountered?
I'm planning to run a prequel to this book, and I wonder if I can tie the Dead Three in as an early hook of some kind.
Thank you!