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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Hello Playground!

    Has anyone picked up Descent into Avernus yet? How is it? I'm specifically interested in the Baldur's Gate side of the story.

    Thanks for any and all input!

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    I didn't think it was released yet, but I'm curious about the infernal war machines. Ad in, are they actual machines.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    I'm specifically interested in the Baldur's Gate side of the story.
    Me too.

    The symbol of Bhaal features prominently on the cover art, but does he actually have anything to do with the story?

    With Baldur's Gate 3 on the horizon, does Descent Into Avernus tell us anything about what 5e considers canon about Gorion's ward?

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    Me too.

    The symbol of Bhaal features prominently on the cover art, but does he actually have anything to do with the story?

    With Baldur's Gate 3 on the horizon, does Descent Into Avernus tell us anything about what 5e considers canon about Gorion's ward?
    I'm fairly sure they cover that with Murder in Baldur's Gate, but as I have not read that one either I cannot say. Fairly confident that Descent into Avernus is unrelated, although I could be wrong!

    I think Bhaal's symbol is now the emblem of Baldur's Gate, even if their namesake was a famous explorer named Balduran. Makes about as much sense as Gotham adopting the Bat Signal as their logo, but eh, sure. It's an awesome emblem.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I didn't think it was released yet, but I'm curious about the infernal war machines. Ad in, are they actual machines.
    From the video in which the WotC employees went into detail they are very much machines, very vehicle oriented, fueled by souls, and often customizable.

    It's basically Mad Max fantasy fulfillment with an infernal slant.
    Last edited by TyGuy; 2019-09-16 at 10:04 AM.

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    So I'm an idiot. I thought the book was released on 9/14/19, but it is in fact released on 9/17/19. Oops. See you tomorrow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    I'm fairly sure they cover that with Murder in Baldur's Gate
    That's precisely what I am hoping to see somewhat retconned.

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by TyGuy View Post
    From the video in which the WotC employees went into detail they are very much machines, very vehicle oriented, fueled by souls, and often customizable.

    It's basically Mad Max fantasy fulfillment with an infernal slant.
    Thank you.
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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    So I'm an idiot. I thought the book was released on 9/14/19, but it is in fact released on 9/17/19. Oops. See you tomorrow!
    Palindromes do that to me, too.

  10. - Top - End - #10
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    So I picked it up. Haven't got much of a chance to read it yet, but I like it so far! Will post more thoughts eventually

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    If you don't mind me asking, does the adventure have any relevant ties to the Baldur's Gate I and II PC games?

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    @Millstone 85- that bad? Oof. I was kinda interested in getting that one just to see how it handles an urban campaign, but based on that I might have to pass...
    I've read about half way through the 1st chapter (set in Baldur's Gate), and I think it hasn't made a comment on the Bhaalspawn so far.

    @Tanngisnr- besides being set in the same city and visiting a couple of the iconic locations, so far no. I think timeline wise it's a century after the events of the game, so that's not too surprising that there are precious few references to the game besides a Minsc and Boo statue (for some reason?).

    Spoiler: Thoughts and Spoilers on about 50% of Chapter 1 so far...
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    So far, so decent.
    It's quite linear, with the party being drafted by the Flaming Fist to deal with a cultist problem. Interestingly, there's a political refugee crisis going on, which it makes fairly clear that the Flaming Fist are the bad guys in this particular struggle. Mostly the campaign seems to revolve around the PCs tracking down leads on a cult of the Dead Three (Bhaal, Myrkul, and Bane) and why they're being especially uppity right now. Has a pretty decent dungeon and a couple tavern brawls to get the party to third level.

    More thoughts later!


    Has anyone else purchased this yet?

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    I bought it last midnight at my AL release game. I like it and am very excited to play the HC through, though apparently I need to master time travel to fit my week into a week.

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    @Millstone 85- that bad? Oof. I was kinda interested in getting that one just to see how it handles an urban campaign, but based on that I might have to pass...
    I've read about half way through the 1st chapter (set in Baldur's Gate), and I think it hasn't made a comment on the Bhaalspawn so far.

    @Tanngisnr- besides being set in the same city and visiting a couple of the iconic locations, so far no. I think timeline wise it's a century after the events of the game, so that's not too surprising that there are precious few references to the game besides a Minsc and Boo statue (for some reason?).

    Spoiler: Thoughts and Spoilers on about 50% of Chapter 1 so far...
    Show
    So far, so decent.
    It's quite linear, with the party being drafted by the Flaming Fist to deal with a cultist problem. Interestingly, there's a political refugee crisis going on, which it makes fairly clear that the Flaming Fist are the bad guys in this particular struggle. Mostly the campaign seems to revolve around the PCs tracking down leads on a cult of the Dead Three (Bhaal, Myrkul, and Bane) and why they're being especially uppity right now. Has a pretty decent dungeon and a couple tavern brawls to get the party to third level.

    More thoughts later!


    Has anyone else purchased this yet?
    I just downloaded it, but wont have a chance to really look at it until tomorrow. (Fantasy Grounds purchase)
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    @Millstone 85- that bad? Oof. I was kinda interested in getting that one just to see how it handles an urban campaign, but based on that I might have to pass...
    I only browsed through MiBG in search for references to the video games, so I can't judge its quality as a module.

    And well, Bhaal just had to return somehow, so of course they went with a version where, like in the novelization, Gorion's ward neither got to become a god nor a regular human.

    Though MiBG really didn't need to have freaking Viekang, a joke character from the games, deliver the fateful blow. Now that's just insulting.

    But I don't know what sort of fix I was expecting from the new module.

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    Has anyone else purchased this yet?
    Yup, picked it up yesterday and am reading through it. From what little I've seen so far, I think it has potential. Not entirely keen on spending so much time in the realms but makes sense to have characters in a less lethal environment first rather than have to tone down the hells. The baked in various outcomes is nice, glad they were thinking of different ways people might want to solve it.

    One thing I did notice in the back art was they have a size comparison for a person to Zariel's flying fortress thing. The person is labeled "Average Sized Perkins" rather than "Average Sized Person", that made me chuckle a bit.
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    DwarfClericGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Descent in Avernus have little to do with the adventure Murder in Baldur's Gate (except some NPC Ravenguard come to mind). The Campaign start with Baldur's Gate having a refugees problems coming from Elturel, and the PCs are drafted to help.

    Spoiler: Chapter 1
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    This part is in Baldur's Gate itself, dealing with the refugees problem, hunting cultists and traitors, learning some information about what happened in city of Elturel (which is missing), including a trip to Candlekeep.


    Spoiler: Chapter 2
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    By now the PCs should be level 5 or so, they move to Elturel which is now in Avernus, first level of the nine hells ruled by Zariel a fallen angel.

  18. - Top - End - #18
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Had a look over mine yesterday but not too deep. Looks good to me. Start in Baldur's Gate and wind up in Hell. About damn time!

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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by Millstone85 View Post
    I only browsed through MiBG in search for references to the video games, so I can't judge its quality as a module.

    And well, Bhaal just had to return somehow, so of course they went with a version where, like in the novelization, Gorion's ward neither got to become a god nor a regular human.

    Though MiBG really didn't need to have freaking Viekang, a joke character from the games, deliver the fateful blow. Now that's just insulting.

    But I don't know what sort of fix I was expecting from the new module.
    I've also browsed through MiBG, and from the answers OP offered in addition to a couple of streams I watched about BGDiA, some of the information contained in MiBG is just reprinted in the new book. The time lapse between those two books is about 10 years or so.

    The way Wizards dealt with the death of Abdel is not to my liking either.

    Spoiler: Murder in Baldur's Gate
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    The way they brought Bhaal back to life leaves a lot to be desired. Both Abdel and Viekang died. Apparently, one of the Grand Dukes inadvertedly followed the steps of Sarevok and killed a lot of poeple, thus becoming the new Slayer and bringing Bhaal back to life.


    I was actually expecting to find Sarevok wandering in Hell in BGDiA. Or maybe bumping into some of the elves, Xan and Viconia specially.

  20. - Top - End - #20
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    I've read more of the book after a bout of insomnia; just getting my teeth into chapter 3 at this point. I like it quite a bit! The Nine Hells are suitably grotesque and disturbing.

    Spoiler: Remaining 50% of Chapter 1
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    Another dungeon crawl wraps up the story's segment in Baldur's Gate. Once all the villains are detained or dismembered, the party takes all of the evidence they've collected and travels south to Candlekeep. They talk to the resident sage, piece together what on earth happened to Elturel, and make the jump to the city. Welcome, to Avernus.

    Thoughts:
    • I do appreciate that this section gives the party a list of villains to take down lethally, but then also includes notes on what to do if the party takes everyone hostage instead.
    • I'm less fond of the concept that a macguffin has been making Baldur's Gate "evil" for decades, but that's just my tastes.
    • I wish there was more of a plot involving the Elturlgardian refugees, but I appreciate that they leave it open to DMs to expand upon. I know that if I were to run this campaign, I would certainly add more content.


    Overall, a very solid intro! Certainly a lot better than some of their previous works.


    Spoiler: Chapter 2
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    Elturel is thoroughly screwed. Dangling over the River Styx, slowly dropping in, while roving bands of survivors, demons, and devils brawl in the earthquake-riven, lightning-blasted rubble is a thoroughly awesome set piece. The party rescues what survivors they can, meets up with the largest pocket of resistance left, and locates the artifact needed to escape. Unfortunately, they discover that escaping Avernus is going to take a lot more effort than simply finding a magic hat.

    Thoughts:
    • I like all the extra details they throw in to make Elturel seem like a truly unique location. The ground angling unevenly, lightning strikes, buildings collapsing are all recommended in the rules, which is awesome. I also appreciate that falling off Elturel into the fiendish hosts below seems like an actual death sentence; no dice, just dead.
    • Wish there was more to do in the city, but I say this as someone who played a decade long campaign in one zombie infested city. A brief excursion to the cathedral and leaving is barely reawakening that itch, much less actually scratching it.



    Overall, weaker than chapter 1 but still good. The setting is top notch even if the activities are a little lacking. Still very linear.


    Spoiler: ~20% of Chapter 3
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    Chapter 3 is where the training wheels come off. You're turned loose on Avernus with the amnesiac lovechild of a MLP pony and Dumbo, trying to figure out how to save Elturel and/or get home. Since all the fighting is clumped under Elturel, Avernus is unusually "safe". You befriend kenku, acquire your very own death machine (which I strongly recommend you do, because just walking in Avernus is hideously deadly to mortals) and try to make the best of the situation.

    I'm only just scratching the surface of the Chapter, as it's quite large. There are two major paths that proceed to the next chapter, but each one has a different ending and you can freely bounce between the two. I'm about 30% down one path at the moment, but I'm thoroughly enjoying what I see!

    Thoughts:
    • Very grotesque in certain places. Eternally impaled people wailing while being fed on by stirges, Celestials parasitized by wasp larva (they explode in clouds of angelic gore if punctured!), very definitely Hell. I was a little worried they were going to play it overly safe, but luckily they aren't.
    • I haven't looked at the Warmachine rules yet, but their pilots and crews seem really solid B-list villains. Each of them is very visually distinctive and has a strong motive, making them easy for DMs to play.
    • I love the fact that distance in Avernus is explicitly weird and unnatural. It changes based on the DM's whim and is explicitly encouraged to make Avernus an awful place to be. Also your map is possibly (probably) the skin of a former explorer and screams/gibbers weird factoids about the places you visit.
    • Not sure how I feel about the Jander Sunstar cameo. I've always liked him as a character and he gets a pretty raw (hah) deal here.



    Excellent stuff! This is what we were promised and so far it delivers. Haven't read far enough to say for sure just how much of the good stuff there is, but it's off to a very good start.

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Just started reading chapter 3. So far I'm really liking it. My 2 current points of contention, 1) two demon lords involved is kinda silly and forced, I suspect I know why they did it but normally demon lords don't care so much about the blood war is weird, 2) there's a separate section of the book dedicated to baldur's gate as a setting and is apart from the portion of the adventure that takes place there. I don't care for that. For me, its wasted page space. I don't care about the forgotten realms or baldur's gate as a setting and could have done without.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brookshw View Post
    Just started reading chapter 3. So far I'm really liking it. My 2 current points of contention, 1) two demon lords involved is kinda silly and forced, I suspect I know why they did it but normally demon lords don't care so much about the blood war is weird, 2) there's a separate section of the book dedicated to baldur's gate as a setting and is apart from the portion of the adventure that takes place there. I don't care for that. For me, its wasted page space. I don't care about the forgotten realms or baldur's gate as a setting and could have done without.
    I'm liking it too. My campaign isn't in the Realms so I've decided that Baldur's Gate will will be renamed and be a pirate city along the Barbary coast.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Were my reviews useful? Should I continue them?

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    RogueGuy

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    Quote Originally Posted by NRSASD View Post
    Were my reviews useful? Should I continue them?
    I really liked reading them. I think you should continue.
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    ClericGirl

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    I noticed that they cut and pasted quite a bit of the material from Murder in Baldur's Gate in the (how to do things in Baldur's Gate) section.

    War Machines; still not sure if I like them or not.
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  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Planetar

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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    So far it's not much dungeon crawling and the dm does have to put in some work to do the war machines and random encounters on the way to different locations. Other than that it's decent.

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Review for Descent into Avernus?

    Quote Originally Posted by KorvinStarmast View Post
    I noticed that they cut and pasted quite a bit of the material from Murder in Baldur's Gate in the (how to do things in Baldur's Gate) section.

    War Machines; still not sure if I like them or not.
    I'm not that fond of how they work.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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    Flumph

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sigreid View Post
    I'm not that fond of how they work.
    Do you mind explaining why? I've heard the machines are very similar to boats from Saltmarsh, and although I've never played with them in-depth, they seemed okay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Protolisk View Post
    Do you mind explaining why? I've heard the machines are very similar to boats from Saltmarsh, and although I've never played with them in-depth, they seemed okay.
    It's a small thing I suppose, but I find the vehicles being coin operated makes me think of the rides in front of a supermarket.
    I am the flush of excitement. The blush on the cheek. I am the Rouge!

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