The next core book for fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons is taking adventuring parties to Hell. Well, the first layer of it anyway.
Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus will explore the history of The Blood Wars and the hierarchy of demons and devils in Dungeons and Dragons. The campaign will take characters from level 1 to 13 and feature 256 pages of content.
During the opening ceremony for Wizard of the Coasts live stream event, DND Live: The Descent, senior game designer Chris Perkins, lead rules designer Jeremy Crawford, and game designer Kate Welch revealed details about Descent into Avernus and two covers for the upcoming book.
The book will start out in the fortified city of Baldur’s Gate within the campaign setting of the Forgotten Realms. From there, parties will work their way to Hell, but exactly how they get there is a mystery.
I can finally announce that I worked on the next @Wizards_DnD adventure, Descent into Avernus! As always, I loved editing @JamesIntrocaso’s masterful writing. This book is going to be incredible, and I’m honored to have been a part of it!#dnd #DnDLive2019 pic.twitter.com/wAcj0a7shZ
— Hannah Rose @ #DnDLive2019 (@wildrosemage) May 17, 2019
Perkins says the developers added new mechanics to the book that will see players building their own machines to get around Avernus. They all described it like riding through the desert of a Mad Max film. You’ll be able to craft vehicles that resemble motorcycles and cars powered by the souls of the dead.
Avernus is ruled by the fallen angel Zariel. She and her gang of minions are in a constant battle with the demons from the abyss. This is known as the Blood Wars. An event discussed in previous Dungeons and Dragons books, but never fully detailed until now.
“Avernus itself is a humungous playground that we have dedicated a huge portion of this book to detail. It’s an incredible sandbox for every party, and any DM who feels like their players deserve to go to Hell.”
The book also includes new character backgrounds for any player who grew up in Baldur’s Gate, plenty of new magical items, and new monster stats, including a monster called an abyssal chicken. Which Perkins says can also be used as a familiar.
Death also works differently in Hell both for demons, devils, and the players. Crawford said,
“Death saving throws may or may not work differently in Avernus.”
Being the Hells, devils will try everything in their power to get what they want and that oftentimes starts by them offering you a deal. Descent into Avernus also introduces a new feature called a dark secret. It is shared by the entire party as something they did in their past and a way for the DM to engage with each player. If a devil learns of the dark secret, they may attempt to use it to their advantage.
“With every deal you make, there’s a chance that the devils will get what they most want, which is of course your soul.” Says Perkins. “Part of the thing that makes Hell cool is that this is the devils’ home turf…If you kill a devil in the Nine Hells, they’re dead forever. So they actually want to make a deal with morally corruptible characters.”
The physical release for Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus will be September 17th.