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Reviews

Deep Dive into Descent Into Avernus
The seeds for Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus were planted in last year's release, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (MToF). At the time, D&D Lead Designer Jeremy Crawford described the theme of that book as “conflict” and the chapter on the Blood Wars between devils and demons in the D&D multiverse is the foundation for Descent Into Avernus. Readers of my first impressions review were concerned that first-level characters would be hopelessly outclassed in the first plane of hell. However, since BG: DIA recommends milestone experience, PCs should be 5th level when they help survivors of Elturel, which has been pulled into the first layer of the lower planes, suspended by chains above the River Styx, then 7th level when they enter Avernus proper, and 13th level or higher when they try to return to Baldur's Gate – assuming they live that long. Even at 7th level, the adventure is a challenge, but they at least have a chance. While BG: DIA is designed to be self-contained, it would be very wise for DMs to read the Blood Wars section of MToF's. Players can, too, but personally, I'd rather have the DM give the players relevant background material based on what their characters would know. Of special note is the information on Zariel, who was once an angel of Mount Celestia but now rules Avernus, having been corrupted while watching the Blood Wars rage. Impetuous, she eventually dove into battle there with her followers, convinced they could wipe its evil and claim the plane for good. She was wrong. Asmodeus found her unconscious under a pile of her conquests. When she recovered, he gave her dominion over Avernus and named its prior ruler, Bel, her lieutenant. The stats for Zariel in BG: DIA and MToF match, but the later provides a lot of personality information that are useful for DMs. BG: DIA has essential background but it's better to use both. Before the start of BG: DIA, the city of Elturel has disappeared, pulled into the lower planes. The chaos this causes...
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...
Shadowrun Sixth World Core Rulebook Review
Shadowrun was my first real roleplaying game. While I’d played BattleTech before and I knew about Dungeons & Dragons growing up, Shadowrun was my real first introduction to tabletop roleplaying. So you can imagine that I have high expectations for a new edition of the game of cyberpunk and urban fantasy. The good news is the rules for this edition are probably the most streamlined with all the depth I’d expect without the unnecessary complications that made previous editions feel intimidating. A quick primer for those who may not know about the thirty-year-old game. Shadowrun takes place in a world about sixty years in the future from whenever the book in question was written (give or take six months). Magic returned to the world in 2011 bringing with it dragons, elves, dwarves, orks, trolls, mages, shaman, spirits, and more. Meanwhile, megacorporations began to dominate a world of sociopolitical change, gaining extraterritoriality and becoming almost nation-states unto themselves. The internet evolved into the Matrix, a world of wireless augmented and virtual reality and permeates every aspect of daily life, for good or for ill. You play as shadowrunners, people with very useful skills and abilities who exist outside the oppressive system and off the grid who function as deniable assets in the constant competition between the megacorporations. Your team is usually hired by a Mr. Johnson (a generic pseudonym for corporate executives) to perform or prevent acts of corporate espionage like stealing data or prototypes, extracting or protecting key employees, sabotaging projects or research, or basically any other task the corporations need doing that they don’t want to dirty their hands with themselves. Right out of the gate, this rulebook makes its writing tone clear – this is a very conversationally-written book as opposed to the almost technical manual level of coldness you see in many other roleplaying rulebooks. The book even tells you what chapters you...
 
Band of Blades: A Tightly-Woven Military Fantasy
  • 9
For all the swords, magic and monsters that run through the pages of Band of Blades it stands utterly distinct from traditional fantasy RPGs. Where others dream of shelf-spanning sagas, it instead captures the compact, carefully-plotted feel of a modern TV series – one soaked in all the darkness, blood and death that viewers could wish for.
Deep Dive into Descent Into Avernus
  • 134
The seeds for Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus were planted in last year's release, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes (MToF). At the time, D&D Lead Designer Jeremy Crawford described the theme of that book as “conflict” and the chapter on the Blood Wars between devils and demons in the D&D multiverse is the foundation for Descent Into Avernus.
Baldur's Gate: Descent Into Avernus First Impressions
  • 83
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
  • 11
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.
Shadowrun Sixth World Core Rulebook Review
  • 33
Shadowrun was my first real roleplaying game. While I’d played BattleTech before and I knew about Dungeons & Dragons growing up, Shadowrun was my real first introduction to tabletop roleplaying. So you can imagine that I have high expectations for a new edition of the game of cyberpunk and urban fantasy. The good news is the rules for this edition are probably the most streamlined with all the...
Explore Magic and Socio-Political Tension in the Entromancy RPG
  • 2
The Entromancy RPG is a Cyberpunk-Fantasy hybrid from designer M.S. Farzan. It is built on a 5E structure, but with additions to the system and the occasional nod to the D20 days. The design team kickstarted the game in 2018 and Entromancy became available in late spring of 2019. Like many games and settings it was inspired by a desire to write a book and so this world of late 21st century San...
Change the World as a Fate-Chosen in the Fateforge Core Rulebook
  • 9
Fate-chosen undertake great adventures, fight dangerous monsters, resist protean corruption, and overcome insidious threats in Fateforge, a quintessential D&D experience. Fateforge consists of five books with this core book as book one.

Kobold Guide To Combat: Get All Meta-Combat with Leading RPG Game Designers!

  • 0
This fall, Kobold Press has gathered essays from some of the brightest Game designers and theory-crafters into a new anthology. The Kobold Guide To Combat takes a look at the why’s and the how’s of Combat in Role-Playing Games from the authors of some favorite RPG systems!

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