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Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus
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Dungeons & Dragons: Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus
Hardcover
D&D Accessory
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: September 17, 2019

Well, what in the Nine Hells has Wizards Of The Coast released now, you might ask. Okay, so if you literally phrased it like that, then you pretty much answered your own question. Because the newest Dungeons & Dragons release is called Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus and it is all about making your way from one of the most notable cities on the prime Material plane to the first layer of the Nine Hells. This journey is obviously dangerous, but few understand exactly how perilous it can be!

This hardcover is not just a wondrous module, but also an amazing reference book with tons of source material for the current adventure and for use later on as you expand your adventures into new realms. The adventure is broken into several parts to facilitate any decisions your players might make. A large portion is dedicated to the initial start up in Baldur’s gate and a separate section that deals with its history and locale. There is a fairly short segue chapter dealing with Elturel to allow characters to access the first layer of hell. A much larger part is dedicated to the evil wasteland plane of Avernus, as much can go wrong here, even more so than almost anywhere else. The final chapters all revolve around the choices the characters must make and where their decisions will lead them, for good or for ill.

Additionally, there are several appendices that give some splendid details about things, such as diabolical contracts and the repercussions thereof, the terrifying infernal war machines found throughout the adventure, and even a menu from the restaurant/lounge Infernal Rapture. But be careful: Everyone is subject to severe penalties if they fail to pay their way at any point. Other appendices include a Creatures section, some unique and amazing magical weapons, and even some concept art.

And I would be remiss if I did not speak to some of the trials that a party will face in these less than optimal areas. The goal is, as you might guess, to win against Zariel as she tries to conquer, well, everything. But beware! Spells will warp, for mortal magic has little place in the land of devilkin. We are talking about a place that traps unicorns for a light source and seems to have mutated everything we might recognize. Hells, even the Abyssal chicken seems normal by comparison to many of the sights seen here.

As adventurers make their way throughout the obviously unsettling and ever-changing terrain, they will be exposed to side quests and it is through many of those that the story can alter, progress, or stall. More than their weapons will be needed; their cunning and wits will serve them better than anything else. For while Zariel is the objective, Tiamat and many others might be a factor if the party does not keep its collective head down, so to speak. The best advice here is listen to your guide and find the Sword of Zariel before it is too late!

Made for first-level characters with the intent of taking them up to around the thirteenth level, this foray into another realm is a fun, albeit delicate, adventure. I’m reminded of the old first edition AD&D Manual of the Planes, but this is so much more detailed than those long ago broad overviews. There are two different covers to this release and I was lucky enough to receive them both. So much is packed in here that you could easily get sidetracked for days just exploring and engaging the demonic population. But for Pete’s sake, tell them to be careful. This quest is a living hell! Have fun!

Diabolical dangers await in this adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.

Welcome to Baldur’s Gate, a city of ambition and corruption. You’ve just started your adventuring career, but already find yourself embroiled in a plot that sprawls from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War! Do you have what it takes to turn infernal war machines and nefarious contracts against the archdevil Zariel and her diabolical hordes? And can you ever hope to find your way home safely when pitted against the infinite evils of the Nine Hells?

• This heroic Dungeons & Dragons adventure book takes players from levels 1 to 13 as they journey through Baldur’s Gate and into Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells.

• Baldur’s Gate is among the most iconic locations in fantasy culture. A mist-cloaked metropolis on the Sword Coast, it’s a place of history and a home to heroes.

• The book introduces the infernal war machines to fifth edition D&D—battle-ready vehicles, which you can customize as you blast off into the Blood War.

• Dungeon Masters will entice their heroes with devils’ deals, designed to lure adventurers with the ultimate temptations of power and treasure.

• Created in 1974, D&D transformed gaming culture by blending traditional fantasy with miniatures and wargaming. Fifth edition D&D draws from every prior edition to create a universally compelling play experience

Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus

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