Wizards of the Coast's Latest Adventure is Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus
I've always toyed with the idea of beginning a campaign not on the Material Plane: slaves of a mad efreeti in the City of Brass, randomly lost in the depths of a grove in the Feywild, or sailing on a ship on the endless seas of the Elemental Plane of Water. The designers of Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition basically beat me to it. Wizards of the Coast just announced their next adventure and it's an interesting one. Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus is coming to stores and online shops soon. Here's what you need to know about it:
- The adventure releases on September 17, 2019.
- It begins at 1st level and ends at 13th.
- It begins in the port city Baldur's Gate in the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.
- Player characters will quickly delve into the first layer of the Nine Hells, Avernus.
- The adventure deals with the Blood War.
- It looks and sounds amazing. "Mad Max mixed with Dante's Inferno" is how Jeremy Crawford describes it.
- Chris Perkins says, "This adventure was written with new DMs in mind."
- There are lots of different villains, allies, and characters who could become both.
- It's a sandbox campaign.
- Zariel may or may not be the "big bad" of the adventure.
- It has an amazing alternate cover!
Let's delve into some speculation now that we know the facts.
Is 13th the End?
Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus releases on September 17, 2019. It follows the naming convention of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. Perhaps this is no coincidence. I think a second adventure will be announced, taking insane adventurers deeper into the Nine Hells of Baator along the River Styx, past Avernus and into Dis, Minauros, and more! I really believe if we're going to the Nine Hells, we won't be ending the story at level 13; it must be level 20! Come on, WOTC, make it so. Baldur's Gate: Asmodeus' Bargain...I can envision it.
I know a lot of people were expecting something else: Dark Sun, Eberron, Planescape...but we're getting another Forgotten Realms book. I understand this, but I'm sure they'll do as they've done in the past adventures and include brief blurbs on how to incorporate this adventure in other settings. And really, when you're in the Nine Hells, it's kinda setting agnostic...but if Baldur's Gate does end up playing a prominent role (as the title implies), maybe it'll be more difficult. Don't fret, though; I believe a different setting should be upcoming...most likely Eberron or Planescape. We'll see, though.
This adventure will definitely use a lot of material from other 5E books. If you want to learn more about demons and devils, check out the Monster Manual. It has tons of info about the core, more popular fiends across the Outer Planes. The Blood War, which will play a part in this adventure, has a whole chapter dedicated to it in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes; it's great. That book also outlines the archdevil Zariel and gives her a stat block. I'm sure we'll learn more about this fallen angel in Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus.
If you want to learn more about the adventure itself, check out the D&D Beyond YouTube playlist; it has tons of videos about the adventure live right now.
Thanks for reading. Come back Monday for an article all about using the 5E D&D books as worldbuilding tools. It's a good one.
Until then, farewell!