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

We had our Session 0 Wednesday night and the players decided they wanted to bend toward Good characters motivated to save Elturel, but not be agents of that city itself. So instead they all threaded cult activity through their individual backstories, which is what brought them together and is what will motivate them to do the initial Baldur's Gate bits of the adventure. By the time they get to the bottom of things they will be invested enough to go ahead and step into Avernus.

One thing I need to figure out before then is what to do about Lulu. I DESPISE cutesy, especially in my D&D. I need to change the character into something else, something tragic or weird or anything but cutesy. I am thinking that instead Lulu IS Zariel's sword but just doesnt remember (that's how they hid it) and now takes the form of a minor archon that thinks it was Zariel's page or squire.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
I am going to play it that the Cult of the Dead Three will be an unknown until the group finds them. I like adding a little more mystery to the game.
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
What was the point of Mordenkainen being in the module? It seems the encounter him is entirely superfluous... was it just for the name drop?

I see no point in having this encounter, so I am removing it in its entirety.
 
What was the point of Mordenkainen being in the module? It seems the encounter him is entirely superfluous... was it just for the name drop?

I see no point in having this encounter, so I am removing it in its entirety.
I kind of got the same vibe as well. It's just fan service dropped in. I'dve preferred someone else if they wanted to have some sort of cameo. His inclusion in Barovia was entertaining, and actually made sense. Here it is just...odd.
 

Weiley31

Adventurer
One enhancement I'm doing is making the Unicorn Mooncolor a UA Sidekick for the party. I have to decide Warrior or Spellcaster though. Also the Shield of The Hidden Lord will "fill" the role of Lulu(kinda) for an evil party.
 
I wanted to just straight to Tier 2 for the kick off for two reasons. We are playing adventurers league and there are loads of tier one games available locally but not much T2 and above. This provided an opportunity for players to bring their level 4 PCs and get down into T2-4.

I also used a more fleshed out scenario when our tempest priestess Aasimar hit level 5.
I had the aasimar of Valkur (forgotten Realms exarch of Tempus) arrive and 'bless' the PC, inducting her into the ranks of the Valkuri (a phrase coined for winged warrior followers of Valkur).
listen at the 56 min mark here:
 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
I have posted my notes in a separate thread detailing how I plan to convert the start of the adventure to take place in Ravnica instead of Baldur's Gate. Find it here:

 

MonkeezOnFire

Adventurer
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.
There are some hooks in the Baldur's Gate Gazeteer section that relate directly to the adventure. Hamhocks Slaughterhouse has been taken over by members of the Cult of the Dead Three so investigating there could lead the PCs to the bath house.

Alternatively, a cambion named Kaddrus is mentioned in the Hhune house entry that is investigating the disappearance of the Shielf of the Hidden Lord. Mixing in some hooks there could lead the PCs to go on an investigation that then leads them directly to Vanthampur Villa where the shield is being kept.

Both definitely require some fleshing out and creating new content to work. But I like that the option is there to make the initial city parts more of a sandbox.
 
The dungeon crawling is a little bit of a slog so I cut the Bath House short and delivered the PCs the necessary information by way of a couple bumbling cultists (which allowed me to get my funny-voices on to boot). Despite running it on Fantasy grounds, I am going to pull back on using the grid. it just slows down play.

The Low lantern is next and I am going to truncate that, too, and make sure the PCs have info about the Shield and the Vanthampur Villa (as well as the missing Hell Rider agent I used as a plot hook in the first place). Because I let the PCs start off at 3rd and I am using milestone leveling, I am not worried about the XP.

I should look at that treasure they are not getting, though. I presume they will need magic weapons before they actually go into Avernus. Can anyone speak to that part of it?
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
The dungeon crawling is a little bit of a slog so I cut the Bath House short and delivered the PCs the necessary information by way of a couple bumbling cultists (which allowed me to get my funny-voices on to boot). Despite running it on Fantasy grounds, I am going to pull back on using the grid. it just slows down play.

The Low lantern is next and I am going to truncate that, too, and make sure the PCs have info about the Shield and the Vanthampur Villa (as well as the missing Hell Rider agent I used as a plot hook in the first place). Because I let the PCs start off at 3rd and I am using milestone leveling, I am not worried about the XP.

I should look at that treasure they are not getting, though. I presume they will need magic weapons before they actually go into Avernus. Can anyone speak to that part of it?
I actually liked the initial dungeon in the bath house...was quite flavorful, and I loved the cult of the dead three. They ran into the witch down there, and it would have been a TPK from the witch's fireball if it wasn't for the Red Dragonborn Paladin (the player is rping him like The Tick, and it is absolutely hilarious! "Ha! Ha! Tiny human...my stalwart companions and I thought that tickled turns around and looks at his roasted companions Oh...").

I am looking at a different approach to Candlekeep and the puzzle box. My idea is that Lady Vanthampur has been trying to open the box because it is a portal to Avernus, but hasn't figured it out yet. This module has a bit too much of the following the carrot on the stick for my tastes. Also, I am not sure I am going to use Lulu at all. My idea is to use the Shield as the party's guide...and I will also have it try to slowly corrupt the person using it.
 
Also, I am not sure I am going to use Lulu at all. My idea is to use the Shield as the party's guide...and I will also have it try to slowly corrupt the person using it.
I don't do cutesy so I am thinking of making the character an imp or similar low powered fiend that is motivated to get Zuriel ousted and happens to know where her sword is hidden.
 
Question regarding ugency and motivations?
How are people grappling with time urgency in DIA? Throughout the crossing of Elturel there there are references to meteors, blasts of lighting, earthquakes, burning lava, and the city slowly being dragged into the styx. in the citadel there are 100-200 survivors clinging to hope of survival.
  • If its so urgent why is it still in that state for the players when they get back?
  • If I have successfully given them a sense of urgency (via dead refugees in the catacombs) why will the party go on a protracted road trip?
  • If there are only "100 survivors or so why save the city at all?" Nations would hardly put resources into saving a 100 popn hamlet from rampaging giants let alone an entire level of Hell?
 
My group have had an interesting experience with NPC followers. The party encountered the morose Vrock in Elturel and with a nat 20 persuasion roll the party Kenku convinced him to join them and move on with his life. I dont know where this will go but interesting to have both a Vrock and a Hollyphant in the same group.
<iframe title="5 - The Search for Ravenguard - Ch 2 Elturel has Fallen 2" height="122" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player" src=""></iframe>
 
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Advise request: how are people managing the abundance/availability of imp familiars. This is more generally a DND problem but more exacerbated in DIA. We have a warlock with an imp that whenever they go anywhere it starts with I send my familiar invisibly to fly through half a mile of dungeon to map it out.
I dont want to over correct with blast damage and frequent implausible familiar death, but not only are surprises fewer but any party scouts are obsolete as the warlocks just do it better.
I am leaning to the answer in that Zariel can listen in on any magical conversation so knows of any instruction given to the imp.
Would Zariel care?
Would she dispatch fiends to sort out this threat?
If the warlock/imp discuss Lulu Zariel would learn of her existence and presence on the plane.
 

JValeur

Explorer
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Eltab

Adventurer
We have a warlock with an imp that whenever they go anywhere it starts with "I send my familiar invisibly to fly through half a mile of dungeon to map it out."
I dont want to over correct with blast damage and frequent implausible familiar death ...
The devils have been dealing with this since the beginning of time. They know to
  • Dedicated guardians at the gate / bridge have permanent See Invisibility cast on them.
  • Patrol beings that can "follow their nose" not just eyes to detect things.
  • A patrol officer's familiar is a fiendish bat, or a "bloodhound", for examples.
  • Some of the chandeliers and lanterns are actually Lanterns of Revealing.
  • Some blatantly-magical traps cast Counterspell (Invisibility) on whatever triggered them.
  • Sure your familiar is invisible, but there was a chime hanging on the other side of the door and it tinkled when he opened it.
  • Cast Alarm on the shutters of a window, triggered when something opens them.

Use these lightly until the PCs try to sneak into a fortress. Really defend that place from their spying antics.

If the PCs pick up a recurring rival, (s)he should be more effective at messing with their plans / tactics than the average devil.
 

Talltomwright

Villager
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