5E Enhancing "Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus"

jayoungr

Adventurer
This book is due to be released tomorrow, so in anticipation of the coming discussion, I'm starting the "enhancing" thread for it. I don't think we have Wiki threads in the new board format, so I guess this will need to be just a traditional discussion thread.

Post your modifications, remixes, resources, and tips for running Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus here!
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
I don't think we have Wiki threads in the new board format
Oh that's sad :(

Well if this thread takes off I'll make this an index post as before. I know I've found them useful resources (hopefully not the only one :) )




Index of Posts*
Pronunciation Guide
About the Adventure

Ch. 1: A Tale of Two Cities
Ch. 2: Elturel Has Fallen
Ch. 3: Avernus

Ch. 4: Sword of Zariel
Ch. 5: Escape from Avernus
Baldur's Gate Gazetteer
App. A: Diabolical Deals
App. B: Infernal War Machines
App. C: Magic Items
App. D: Creatures
App. E: Infernal Rapture Menus
App. F: Story Concept Art
App. G: Infernal Script
Maps


[Most recent indexed post: #16 ]

*These posts typically start discussions so don't forget to read relevant following posts!

If you're looking for reviews of Baldur’s Gate: Descent in to Avernus , you can find them here.
 
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Ash Mantle

Adventurer
When I get the chance to DM this excellent adventure (hopefully not if I get the chance this time), when the PCs enter into Avernus I intend to have them arrive on a great plain with a huge iron-gate in the distance.

They are not within Hell as yet, merely on the Welcome Mat of Hell. They would need to travel through that iron-gate, on which would be inscribed, in nine dead languages, the following transcription:

'I am the way into the city of woe.
I am the way to a forsaken people.
I am the way into eternal sorrow.
Sacred justice moved my architect.
I was raised here by divine omnipotence, primordial love and ultimate intellect
Only those elements time cannot wear are beyond me,
and beyond time I stand.

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here.'

As they travel through that great iron-gate, they'll feel a heaviness pulling at their feet and a seemingly great weight descending upon their body in a fleeting instant. This is the price of willingly entering the House of Tyranny.

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Though Hell is a layer of order and conformity, distance within its Circles is subjective. Whenever the PCs blink, distances are warped and structures move closer.

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Perhaps not applying as much since the adventure is limited to Avernus, but if PCs descend further down the Circles of Perdition I intend to have them feel an increasing pressure, as if traveling down a great ocean trench. Standing within Nessus, without the adequate protective magics, will be akin to standing at the bottom of the deepest ocean trench.
 
Reading through the first chapter I think I would get rid of the contrivance of the Flaming Fist pressing the PCs into service. Instead, I would have them specifically hired to track down Kreeg, who is rumored to not only be in Baldur's Gate but mixed up with Dead Three cultists. Their only clue is a not-to-be-trusted former pirate in the Elfsong Tavern.

I prefer the PCs to have a clear motivation to begin with. It will change over the course of play but it should encourage them to get on the plot train BG:DiA is selling. I dont mean that in a pejorative way either. Sometimes an adventure with a clear plot is totally fine. But if you pretend from the outset that the PCs have been cajoled into behaving a certain way, in my experience you are asking for trouble. It's easier instead to get them to agree to an initial goal and then dangle clear ways to achieve that goal in front of them.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Also, I wanted to mention that putting the enemies' standard attack spells in their Actions section of the stat block is super helpful. I dont know how long WotC has been doing this but kudos.
Sounds like the first time in 5e and, yes, that does sound handy.
 

Xenonnonex

Adventurer
Playing a lot of Dishonored and Dishonored 2 lately I will be remaining Baldur's Gate into a combination of Dunwall and Karnaca.
Along with all of that decadence and corruption and intrigue. And along with the level of technology and infestation.
 

Talltomwright

Villager
Just finished reading it cover to cover and can't wait to run it for my players!

The only change that's occurred to me so far is the book mentions the optional rule of a daily Wis save or have your alignment change to LE (reversible with Dispel Evil and Good, as per DMG p.64) I like that being in Avernus is corrupting but it doesn't seem to add much role play value; after the first poor roll and the party realise one of their number is suddenly evil then the Cleric will be doing a lot of routine dispelling each morning. I reckon it would be more fun to bring back the old 2E Ravenloft Dark Powers Check - each evil deed done in Avenrus brings a chance of being changed slightly with boons and penalties, building over time, to become more and more fiendish with acts of altruism the only way to reverse the process. Seems in keeping with the overall theme of redemption.

Hastily thought through examples include: torture someone and feel compelled to hide your face, while gaining the ability to control chains; steal something someone else needs and barbs grow out of your skin affecting your appearance but doing damage on a successful grapple, kill an innocent in a fit of rage and discover snakes growing from your chin.
 

sim-h

Explorer
To make the whole first chapter less of an obvious railroad of strange coincidence I would probably have the Dark Secret be known by Zodge, and have him blackmail the characters into accepting his mission (no 200gp for them...)

Furthermore, the fact he drops them a single lead that 100% pays off (rather than them having real freedom of options in the investigation) is irritating to me. Doubly so when the coincidence of pirates Tarina robbed YEARS earlier turning up THAT DAY is added in.

I'm thinking Zodge will say Tarina has offered him information but wants protection, since she knows the pirates are coming. Zodge tells the PCs to be her protection and then act on the info she gives. He's too busy at the gate to go himself and wait with her.

To me that fixes all the suspension of disbelief issues. I'm frankly disappointed by the contrived threads between those first couple of encounters as written - but easily fixed!

[edit] I'd also add some spiel from Zodge about uncovering who is bankrolling the cultists - to provide stronger hooks to the Low Lantern. Maybe he even offers a reward, for that extra info (since I'll be removing the reward from the initial mission)
 
My concern is that without a personal hook there isn't much motivating the PCs to follow the adventure threads to completion. I think making them interested in finding out what happened to the city from the get go is an easier sell.
 

sim-h

Explorer
My concern is that without a personal hook there isn't much motivating the PCs to follow the adventure threads to completion. I think making them interested in finding out what happened to the city from the get go is an easier sell.
That's also true. I'll tackle that when my players create their characters, I think. Personality traits / bonds will need to drive the character's pursuit of the quest. One of them being a Warlock would also help ;)
 

sim-h

Explorer
Something for the errata: If Ravengard left for Elturel 'A tenday ago' (Fall of Elturel section in Chapter 1) then he'd barely have arrived since it appears to be over 200 miles from Baldur's Gate. Certainly refugees couldn't be expected at Baldur's Gate for another tenday.

Should be 'A month ago' that he left?
 

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