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

Fort Knucklebone notes,
I've just run through fort knucklebone and thought to post some notes on the experience:
  • this provides necessary comic and safety relief on an otherwise fairly bleak story line so I extended this a little
  • I created a village much like a wild west style town populated by madcaps and redcaps
  • In this way there are places to explore such as the blacksmith, workshop, tavern, sleeping areas, bar etc...
  • I maintained the Fey proclivity for partying and excess
  • hammed up and hammered home the madcaps 'doing the Mikey'
  • I've used very cheap party packs of quad bikes and motocross bikes to make a large group of devils rides. simply spray them black and add stuff from your bitz box.
  • I also got two tractor/bulldozers from the dollar store, sprayed it black and glued enough card to it so its unrecognisable but has windows, tracks and pistons visible through the armour plates.

Here is a link to the play through including the dream sequence:
8 - Fort Knucklebone - Ch 3 Avernus part1
(NB its on itunes podcasts as well)
<iframe title="8 - Fort Knucklebone - Ch 3 Avernus part1" src="" height="315" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player"></iframe>
 

ddaley

Explorer
Now, this is a shameless (ok, there's always at least a little smidge of shape, I blame my parents for raising me this way!) self-plug, but we've created some cool resources we think might help you enhance your Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus campaign. At the very least, it should shave hours of your preparation, provide you with dozens of full-color maps and other nifty resources.


It's not free, but you get a lot of bang for your buck:
  • Running Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus. 40+ pages of guides, suggestions and troubleshooting for all five chapters!
  • Magical Items, Monsters and Handouts. Outfit your players with the greatsword Redemption, pit them against a Hellwasp Queen, or let them read Thavis Kreeg's infernal contract for themselves.
  • Monster Stat Blocks. Nearly a hundred pages of monster stat blocks covering chapters 1-4, neatly arranged together on pages, so you don't have to flip through several books.
    DM's Cheatsheets. Neatly condensed notes of everything in Chapters 2 and 4 for easy use at the table. Also includes an Avernus Cheatsheet, summing up the entire nine hells on a single page!
  • 25+ Encounter Maps. More than two-dozen battlemaps in both DM's and player versions primed for virtual tabletops. Features both colorized and detailed versions of the official maps, as well as entirely new maps showing locations in Avernus.
  • Bonus Content (added after release at no cost!):
    • Enhanced Devils. New versions of the devils in the Monster Manual, providing them with more interesting and varied combat options without increasing their challenge rating!
    • A Cold Day in Hell. A 3-6 hour original adventure for a group of adventurers of 7th-level or higher, featuring frosty devils, infernal snowtoys and epic battles.

You can get the Complete DM's Bundle for Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus here, where you'll also find links to buy resources for individual chapters and products, if you're not interested in the whole package. And, if you just want some free stuff, ideas and inspiration, come visit us at Eventyr Games – we have a few free maps for Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus up already.

Alright, alright, that's it, I promise. I'll show myself out. Thanks for your time – and have fun in hell!
I just started reading Descent into Avernus. I am only in the chapter on the bathhouse. I am liking this adventure so far, and had been considering running it for a group that is new to D&D. However, once I started looking at the stat blocks for the early encounters, I don't see a group that is new to D&D surviving long. Does this supplement address toning down the adventure? I would like for it to be challenging, while not having the risk of a TPK because of a mistake or bad saving throw roll...
 
A few more notes, lessons and inconsistencies/challenges with Haruman's Hill and thereabouts.

- I continued my expansion of the Fae Tom-follery in Fort Knucklebone creating madcap culture as some sort of violent smurf village - (they love bootscooting adn both kinds of music.... country and western). In hell the only song in the juke box is Achey Breaky Heart

- I skipped Ragdragga for use later on as one of the players had a tormentor.

- I used the initial travel sessions across avernus to give more of a feel for it rather than an out and out running battle.

- At Harumans Hill The hellwasp abduction doesnt really make sense. Lulu is completely immune to poison and the poisoned condition so I move the hellwasp to some time after the battle - with 2-3 wasps lying in wait hidden in the trees. Then while the players are focussed on Jander Sunstar the wasps attack lulu and carry her off unconscious - but stable.

PS I now have two recording devices and getting better at sound editing so from this session on its much easier listen.

<iframe title="9 - Harumans Hill - Ch3 Avernus part 2" height="122" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player" src=""></iframe>
 
....
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.
I guess you dont need to make her cute and if she gets killed off early the shield can start to take on her role.
Be aware of whether it is you or your players who dont like cutsey.
Rather than change her into something else I am slowly hardening her up by having her go hrough the seven stages of grief.

I am using chipmunk versions of well known songs to reflect this.

ie starts off ignorant and cute
gets depressed and introverted - black Parade / My imortal
gets morose and ambivalent - black hole sun (soundgarden)
gets angry and goes all badass- killing in the name of (rage against the machine)
resigned and cold - hurt (Jonny Cash) Red Right hand (nick Cave)
 
I have recorded a just over 20 minutes of a recap of my Season 1 tips and lessons as well as an example of how you might jump straight into the deep end at lvel 4:

<iframe title="13 - Chapter 1 tips" height="122" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player" src=""></iframe>
 

sim-h

Explorer
Question. The Hellriders (e.g. Reya Mantlemorm) know Zariel led their ancestors into hell and was defeated. This is presumably not secret knowledge.

Do they know she was corrupted and became an archdevil? How widely is this known?

I can see several possibilities:

1) It is known to only a few scholars of the lower planes
2) It is more widely known, but the Hellriders and others who choose to, live in denial of the fact
3) Everyone knows

The book states that Reya is horrified at the news of Thavius Kreeg's compact with Zariel when this is found in the infernal puzzle box - but does she know Zariel fell to evil in the first place?

I'm interested because this will affect how she reacts to various cues when with the party - e.g. in the basement of Vanthampur Villa where there is a statue of Zariel.
 

Talltomwright

Villager
Question. The Hellriders (e.g. Reya Mantlemorm) know Zariel led their ancestors into hell and was defeated. This is presumably not secret knowledge.

Do they know she was corrupted and became an archdevil? How widely is this known?

I can see several possibilities:

1) It is known to only a few scholars of the lower planes
2) It is more widely known, but the Hellriders and others who choose to, live in denial of the fact
3) Everyone knows

The book states that Reya is horrified at the news of Thavius Kreeg's compact with Zariel when this is found in the infernal puzzle box - but does she know Zariel fell to evil in the first place?

I'm interested because this will affect how she reacts to various cues when with the party - e.g. in the basement of Vanthampur Villa where there is a statue of Zariel.
I’ve been wondering the exact same thing! I think 1) makes the most sense but it’s not stated anywhere.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
- I continued my expansion of the Fae Tom-follery in Fort Knucklebone creating madcap culture as some sort of violent smurf village - (they love bootscooting adn both kinds of music.... country and western). In hell the only song in the juke box is Achey Breaky Heart
LOL! I suppose for a group of country fans, you could make it opera or something else that's commonly disliked. (Disclaimer: I like opera.)

Thanks for the podcast links, btw. They'll be super-useful if/when I get to running this.
 
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OK just ran my group through the Bone brambles and a Visit to Mahadi's Emporium.
in terms of the bone brambles lessons and tips.
its very short if they pass a single check and find thier way to red ruth's straight away so I assumed the forest was larger and ensured they had a 'rich' bone brambles experience prior to meeting Red Ruth.

In line with my penchant for incorporating music references Red Ruth is names as such because she keep congealed blood in one of her dusty leather trench coat pockets as a means of soothing and affliction on her right hand:

Theme song:
She's a god, she's a girl
She's a ghost, she's a guru
They're whispering her name
Through this disappearing land
But hidden in her coat
Is a red right hand

The group went all in at Mahadis and ran amok, dayspas, feasts and stolen lemures

<iframe title="11 - Bone Brambles and Mahadi - Ch3 Avernus Part 4" height="122" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player" src=""></iframe>
 

jasper

Rotten DM
My changes. Lulu aura comes and goes depending on party strength. PC can obtain a story award of land vechilies war machine. This is temporary and goes away at the end of the season. If your die or sell your soul, your name goes onto a soul coin. These coins have 4 charges.
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
I had the party, right at the beginning, travelling to Elturel (rather than Baldur's Gate) and watched from a bluff (their riverboat was stuck on rocks from a Dead Three Attack, so they started to hoof it) as the Companion went odd-colored and then imploded and the city disappeared from existence. (This was a session cliffhanger).

Then I ran a wonderful session that was a skill-challenge of rescuing small craft on the river that were being pulled toward waterfalls, and then rescuing people from the left-behind outskirts that were crumbling along the edges, and capped it with a fight with some goat-devils (I can't remember what they're called ATM) that bounded up out of the pit. Everyone had a great time, and they were super motivated to return to Baldur's Gate and go looking for Kreeg.
 

Reynard

Legend
I had the party, right at the beginning, travelling to Elturel (rather than Baldur's Gate) and watched from a bluff (their riverboat was stuck on rocks from a Dead Three Attack, so they started to hoof it) as the Companion went odd-colored and then imploded and the city disappeared from existence. (This was a session cliffhanger).

Then I ran a wonderful session that was a skill-challenge of rescuing small craft on the river that were being pulled toward waterfalls, and then rescuing people from the left-behind outskirts that were crumbling along the edges, and capped it with a fight with some goat-devils (I can't remember what they're called ATM) that bounded up out of the pit. Everyone had a great time, and they were super motivated to return to Baldur's Gate and go looking for Kreeg.
Excellent. Giving the party a real motivation and really investing them in the fate of Elturel is super important, IMO. It still bugs me that the authors though just bullying the PCs into investigating the cultists should be sufficient.
 

Talltomwright

Villager
Excellent. Giving the party a real motivation and really investing them in the fate of Elturel is super important, IMO. It still bugs me that the authors though just bullying the PCs into investigating the cultists should be sufficient.
I did something similar. In my session 0 the players created their characters, which were definitely more rough and tumble Baldurians than holy Elturgardians, and, conveniently for me, they were all searching for loved ones who had gone missing (and who I had decided had fled to Elturel just in the time to be sucked to Avernus.)

Session 1 started with loosely RPed their guilty secret; accidentally killing an innocent man in the midst or interrogating a lead on their disappearances (an agent for the Duke, but they don't know that yet) who says, 'You're too late. It's happening right now.'

Then I said we were going to run a pre-credit sequence and I gave them all LG characters (which they would never normally play) who go on a little devil hunt (made by mashing bits of The Fall of Elturel and Escape From Elturgard), accompanied by their squire, Little Reya 'Sunshine' Mantlemorn. On their way back to Elturgard they see the city being dragged into Avernus and are killed by the emerging devils, apart from Reya, who they told to flee with some innocent farmers.

Then we cut back to their actual PCs in Baldur's Gate. They are short on healing magic as a party so I made Reya a healer sidekick and introduced her early by placing her in the Elfsong tavern, where she stepped in to heal those who dropped in the opening fight. The players were really excited to see her and quickly adopted her in to the party. So now they as players are more invested in the fate of Elturel (and in Reya) and there will be a bigger payoff when I drop in later that their loved ones where in Elturel at the time of it's disappearance.
 

FitzTheRuke

Adventurer
Excellent. Giving the party a real motivation and really investing them in the fate of Elturel is super important, IMO. It still bugs me that the authors though just bullying the PCs into investigating the cultists should be sufficient.
Thanks. Yeah, I thought so too. I had them on their way to meet specific friends in Elturel (one was an established character who is cousin to one of the PCs and had sent a note about uncovering some conspiracy and needing help). So they have specific people to rescue, too. That means that some of the later hooks can be given out by those characters when they find them either in Elturel or having ranged out into Avernus.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
I ran a wonderful session that was a skill-challenge of rescuing small craft on the river that were being pulled toward waterfalls, and then rescuing people from the left-behind outskirts that were crumbling along the edges, and capped it with a fight with some goat-devils (I can't remember what they're called ATM) that bounded up out of the pit.
This sounds great! Would you by chance still have the details for this (skills, DCs, etc.? I'd love to incorporate it when I run this adventure.
 

JValeur

Explorer
A bit of promotion – don't worry, there's free stuff in there too ;)

We just published Bitter Rivals on the DM's Guild, a new adventure for Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, featuring intense war machine combat and chases, avernian war lords and much, much more! If you've already got our Complete DM's Bundle, it's been added to your download at no extra cost.

While making the adventure, we put together an Infernal War Machine Cheat Sheet, which will help you run infernal war machine combat and chases (even if you're not running the adventure!). You can pick it up for free at eventyrgames.com!

J. A. Valeur
Eventyr GamesMailing ListFacebookTwitter
 

Raunalyn

Adventurer
I am definitely going to skip out on Lulu. I am going to use the shield as their guide. The group just found the shield at the end of last session after a VERY harrowing encounter with a barbed devil who summoned a second barbed devil...the group was able to defeat them, but not without considerable cost to resources. The group has encountered Thavius Kreeg...the Paladin is suspicious of him due to the strange shadow, but is also trying to persuade the former follower of Torm to repent from his evil ways. The shield is trying to bond with the Paladin and is being extremely helpful, letting the group know that the Vanthampurs were trying to use the shield along with some strange box so that they could pull Baldur's Gate into hell. Neither Kreeg nor the shield are exactly sure what this box is or what it does, only that it is tied to the 9 hells. When the party finds the box, I intend to show them a picture of one of the puzzle boxes from Hellraiser :cool:

When they find the box, they will probably go to Candlekeep to figure out what it does. I am going to give them a tenday to adventure in the city while the sage figures it out.
 

Eltab

Adventurer
the DM could fill the jukebox with Rap.
For young whippersnapper players who have not yet reached a certain age, the sappy 1950s songs about "Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love?" would seem to be hellish and of utterly unfamiliar musical style. 👿
And they would be just the kind of songs that used to be in a jukebox.
 
Hi, We ran through another Tier 2 adventurers league one shot game (ruined prospects) with 4 APL level 8 PCs.
If you want to listen in for ideas of what it may play out like check out the link below:

<iframe title="12b - Avernus Sidequests - DDAL09-09 Ruined Prospects" height="122" width="100%" style="border: none;" scrolling="no" data-name="pb-iframe-player" src=""></iframe>
 

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