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Beth Rimmels

Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus First Impressions
In Dungeons & Dragons lore and games, jokes are frequently made about Baldur's Gate going to hell or being hell. With the newest adventure book, Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus that's a real (so to speak) and distinct possibility. The adventure begins with Baldur's Gate more chaotic than usual. Refugees from Elturel, which has vanished, are trying to get in, and the city gates have been sealed in an attempt to maintain order, but it's obviously not going to last. Players are pulled into the situation by the Flaming Fist, the mercenary company trying to keep control of the situation, especially since Grand Duke Ulder Ravengard of Baldur's Gate vanished with Elturel because he was on a diplomatic mission there. Elturel has actually been drawn into hell, or Avernus more precisely, through the machinations of archdevil Zariel, who used to be an angel before her corruption. She now rules Avernus and plans to do to Baldur's Gate what happened to Elturel. The adventure, which starts at first level and goes through 13, eventually takes characters to into Avernus and the heart of the Blood War between demons and devils in order to prevent the fall of Baldur's Gate and, maybe, save Elturel. Appearing for the first time in official D&D canon with this book is Arkhan the Cruel. Actor Joe Manganiello played the character on Critical Role as well as WotC's “Stream of Annihilation” event and in season two of Force Grey: Lost City of Omu. The dragonborn oathbreaker paladin, now wielding the Hand of Vecna, wants to free his goddess, Tiamat, from her imprisonment in Avernus so developer Adam Lee and Manganiello worked together to add Arkhan to the story. With a challenge rating of 16, he'll be a formidable opponent for the players. The artwork is gorgeous. That's not surprising, and I've been a fan of the art style and direction used in 5th Edition all along. As usual, art director Kate Irwin and her team (graphic designers Emi Tanji and Trish Yochum, concept art...
Beth Rimmels
Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus First Impressions
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In Dungeons & Dragons lore and games, jokes are frequently made about Baldur's Gate going to hell or being hell. With the newest adventure book, Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus that's a real (so to speak) and distinct possibility.
Dungeons, Mayhem, and Dice Accessories: A Review
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To go with the official release of Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus (my review will be released shortly), Wizards of the Coast is releasing a few accessories. As with some other recent books, like Tomb of Annihilation and Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica, a dice set is one of them, but Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus Dice and Miscellany is more than a few polyhedrals.
D&D Essentials Kit Offers a New Place to Start
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One of the biggest surprises at D&D Live 2019: The Descent was the announcement of the D&D Essentials Kit. The D&D Starter Set has already been around several years so it was surprising that that Wizards of the Coast would make another set for new players. It seemed even more odd once they explained that the Essentials Kit was not replacing the Starter Set.
Acquisitions Incorporated Takes Over D&D: A Review
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Wizards of the Coast's collaboration with Penny Arcade to create a Dungeons & Dragons supplement featuring Acquisitions Incorporated has been 10 years in the making (sort of) – the original Acquisitions Incorporated podcast debuted in 2009. It should definitely please fans of AI and draw in those new to AI. In case you don't know, Acquisitions Incorporated, which has expanded to streaming...

Acquisitions, Inc.: First Impressions

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Acquisitions Inc. has earned a special, beloved place in the actual play segment of the game industry. In 2009, long before Critical Role, Sirens of the Realms, or Dice, Camera, Action, Penny Arcade debuted D&D games presented as podcasts. They later transitioned to video and live-play in front of an audience at conventions, and have even had a comic book. Crowds for those live events have grown to larger and larger venues.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh: A Review

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Wizards of the Coast is promoting Ghosts of Saltmarsh as an adventure book with a setting and rule supplements so since I already did a spoiler-free review of the book overall, let's take a closer look at the adventures it contains. While I avoid significant spoilers, be aware that broad information about each adventure is mentioned.

Ghosts of Saltmarsh: First Impressions

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Ghosts of Saltmarsh will make Greyhawk fans happy without losing newer D&D 5th Edition players. Billed as a supplement for nautical adventures, it's a mix of new rules for ships and sea travel, adventures and supplemental material for any coastal campaign.

Stranger Things and D&D at Last: A Review

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The Stranger Things Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set was pretty much inevitable. From the moment we saw Mike DM D&D for his friends early in the first session of the Netflix series, the clock started ticking when some crossover product would be released. Announced at Toy Fair earlier this year, Hasbro is heavily gearing this product to the mass market, not just hobby game stores.

Murders, Capers, and Laughter: An Interview with Craig Campbell

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Most companies design an RPG and use the same rule set, with or without new editions, for everything. With NerdBurger Games, Craig Campbell created three RPGs using three very different sets of original mechanics.

War Birds Dives Into WWII History: A Review

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RPGs are commonly played to blow off steam and as a bit of wish fulfillment, but they can also be used to immerse yourself in a new experience as well as be a teaching tool. The game anthology War Birds by Unruly Designs definitely falls into the latter category. Set during WWII, it focuses on forgotten stories about the “Greatest Generation.”

Love and Sex in the Ninth World: A Review

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Despite the title, Love and Sex in the Ninth World, this supplement, or as Monte Cook Games calls it, “Glimmer,” could be very useful for any GM, not just those that run Numenera.

Strongholds & Followers: A Review

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After raising $2,121,465, Strongholds & Followers might be the most anticipated Kickstarter RPG (at least until the next record is broken). Of course, the bulk of the money raised went to the “Streaming” part of the Kickstarter so creator Matt Colville could get a proper studio for his very popular YouTube channel. The book definitely fills a need within the 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons landscape.

RPG 2019 Resolutions: New Year, New Game, New You?

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A new year brings new resolutions and why should gaming life be any different? Whether you're a player or GM, these ideas can improve your games.

Burning Questions: What Do New DMs Need to Know?

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This week’s burning question: What are some basics to remember as a first time DM when starting up a new D&D campaign? DMing for the first time can be scary so here are a few tips to make DMing your first D&D (or any kind) of campaign easier.

Celebrate the Holidays with D&D in Winter's Splendor

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If getting your whole group together to play during December is a challenge, a holiday one-shot might be a perfect solution, and the official D&D Adventurer's League module Winter's Splendor by Ashley Warren is a great option. Even better, if you're running Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, it's a good side adventure any time of the year.

Gift Ideas for the D&D Gamer

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December means gift guides. Whether you're shopping for the gamer in your life or want to show some appreciation for your GM, I've got suggestions for you, focusing on the world's greatest role-playing game.

Joining the Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica -- a Review

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How much you like Guildmasters' Guide to Ravnica will depend upon what you want. If you're a Magic the Gathering player who wants an RPG version of Ravnica, GGtR may or may not satisfy you, depending upon how much setting depth you want from MtG. If you're looking for a full setting like the old Dungeons & Dragons' box sets, then you'll probably be disappointed because this is more of a slice of Ravnica than a comprehensive resource. If you're looking for more of a toolkit for creating adventures in the famous Magic the Gathering setting, GGtR is it If you're looking for a D&D fantasy setting because you're tired of Forgotten Realms but still want something in a similar ballpark thematically, then GGtR will also work for you.

Staring Directly Into the Invisible Sun -- A Review

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Invisible Sun, the surrealist RPG by Monte Cook Games is definitely unique in many ways. While premium or high production value board games and LARPs have become increasingly common, the RPG industry version has been tame by comparison. Invisible Sun blows the concept out of the water. I've never seen an RPG that had shelving before.

Plumbing the Depths of Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage -- A Review

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Wizards of the Coast has worked hard to provide a variety of adventure types for 5th Edition and with Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage they're tackling megadungeons. Mad Mage can be played on its own, if the players begin with 5th characters or better, or it can follow up the Waterdeep: Dragon Heist adventure, which is for 1st through 6th level characters. Please note: This review contains spoilers.

First Impressions – Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica

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A segment of the Dungeons & Dragons' fan base have been clamoring for setting releases and while Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica won't appease those who want a 5th Edition update of an older setting like Greyhawk, Planescape or Spelljammer, it is a fresh setting that Wizards of the Coast clearly hopes will bring the Magic the Gathering crowd to D&D.


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