Heroes of Baldur's Gate is a D&D Adventure From Bioware's Baldur's Gate Designer

James Ohlen and Jesse Sky of Bioware fame have released the 160-page PDF and hardcover Heroes of Baldur's Gate over on DMs Guild.


hobg.jpg

It's an adventure which takes PCs from levels 1-6, and also includes stats for fourteen characters from the video games, including Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, Edwin, Viconia, and more. Also included are eight new monsters, four new backgrounds, and lots of maps of Baldur's Gate and the Sword Coast.

"The city of Baldur’s Gate is the pride of West Faerûn—a mercantile stronghold ruled by the famous Grand Dukes. One year ago, a powerful merchant leader named Sarevok nearly catapulted the city into war with the neighboring nation of Amn. This crisis was averted, and the remnants of the organization were scattered throughout the Sword Coast.

Now, the city is threatened from within by agents of the nefarious Zhentarim, who seek to fill the power vacuum left behind in the wake of these events. Meanwhile, the Shadow Druids plot to destroy the city by performing terrible rituals, deep within the Cloakwood. Who will rise to oppose them?"

There's even a trailer!



[video=youtube;F581HTuZX-M]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F581HTuZX-M[/video]​
 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments

MockingBird

Explorer
Maybe he's asking for recommendations on AD&D modules that could be converted/run after running Heroes...?
Yeah this is what I was asking. Since it takes place in the Time of Troubles. I'm not real familiar with the old FR modules so any insight or recommendations would be awesome.
 
Maybe he's asking for recommendations on AD&D modules that could be converted/run after running Heroes...?
I'm sure that was exactly being asked, but I didn't know of any. Baldur's Gate was 2nd edition but it didn't have any direct connection to any 2nd edition PnP modules that I know of*. The Time of Troubles was largely described in novels, and BG was set after that. If there was ever a "Time of Troubles" module published it would take place prior to Baldur's Gate. There is a Baldur's Gate novel, but it is awful, play the game instead.

By the time BG2 was published 3rd edition was the official PnP ruleset, hence the addition of barbarians and sorcerers.


* Addendum: Bioware just paid for the licence, there was no co-ordination with WotC the way things are done now.
 
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lkj

Explorer
I'm sure that was exactly being asked, but I didn't know of any. Baldur's Gate was 2nd edition but it didn't have any direct connection to any 2nd edition PnP modules that I know of*. The Time of Troubles was largely described in novels, and BG was set after that. If there was ever a "Time of Troubles" module published it would take place prior to Baldur's Gate. There is a Baldur's Gate novel, but it is awful, play the game instead.

By the time BG2 was published 3rd edition was the official PnP ruleset, hence the addition of barbarians and sorcerers.


* Addendum: Bioware just paid for the licence, there was no co-ordination with WotC the way things are done now.
Just as a note-- There were a series of three modules published for the Time of Troubles, called Shadowdale, Tantras and Waterdeep. I own them. Somewhere. God knows where.

AD
 

ddaley

Explorer
Just as a note-- There were a series of three modules published for the Time of Troubles, called Shadowdale, Tantras and Waterdeep. I own them. Somewhere. God knows where.

AD
Well, all 3 of those (FRE1-FRE3) are available on dmsguild... but only as PDF.
 

jeremypowell

Explorer
Yeah this is what I was asking. Since it takes place in the Time of Troubles. I'm not real familiar with the old FR modules so any insight or recommendations would be awesome.
Heroes of Baldur's Gate takes place a decade after the Time of Troubles, not during it. You're not the first to make this mistake, though. This book, set almost 125 years in the "past" from the current Forgotten Realms year, was trumpeted as "a new supplement from around the time of the Time of Troubles."

In a sense, the Time of Troubles is the ur-event for the whole Baldur's Gate series; that's when (30-year-old spoiler warning) Bhaal died.

Time of Troubles: summer 1358 DR. Heroes of Badur's Gate: 1368-1369 DR.
 
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Baldur's Gate stems from the Aftermath of the Time of Troubles.

So the adventures set during the Time of Troubles must take place before Heroes of Baldur's Gate.
 

Burnside

Explorer
Okay. So having read most of the adventure, I'd have to amend my review to emphasize a fairly important point.

I don't think the designers are really familiar with 5E. And by that I mean, if it didn't exist in 2E, it pretty much doesn't exist in this adventure. Four chapters in, zero skill checks of any kind except lock picking. No perception, no persuasion, no investigation, no stealth, nothing but lock picking. No advantage or disadvantage. No warlocks, no tieflings, no dragonborn, no characters with any race/class combinations that didn't exist in 2E. No monsters that didn't exist in 2E. I realize that for some this is just fine - but it's something that should definitely be known in advance.

It's like someone wrote a 2E adventure and then kinda sorta did the absolute bare minimum humanly possible to almost make it 5E. But if you're a DM planning to deliver what 5E players are generally used to from a published adventure, burden is on you to do so. You're given fights, talking, and picking locks. Everything else in terms of game mechanics is on you to add. Not an impossible job, but a job you'd generally expect a pre-written adventure to do more of for you.
 
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Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Okay. So having read most of the adventure, I'd have to amend my review to emphasize a fairly important point. (...) No warlocks, no tieflings, no dragonborn, no characters with any race/class combinations that didn't exist in 2E.
Some of those things didn't exist in Faerun in 1368 DR. Dragonborn, for example, arrived during the Spellplague a hundred years later. It would be silly to add one in without a good explanation for how it got there and why it isn't being dissected in Waterdeep by a curious mage.
 

Burnside

Explorer
Some of those things didn't exist in Faerun in 1368 DR. Dragonborn, for example, arrived during the Spellplague a hundred years later. It would be silly to add one in without a good explanation for how it got there and why it isn't being dissected in Waterdeep by a curious mage.

Yeah, TBH it's less of a "no dragonborn issue" and more of a "not a single investigation or perception check written into this adventure" issue, for me anyway.
 
Yeah, TBH it's less of a "no dragonborn issue" and more of a "not a single investigation or perception check written into this adventure" issue, for me anyway.
Firstly, that isn't true - there are lots of Survival checks in Chapter 2 for a start. And the other thing is I have never felt that skill checks needed to be "written in" to an adventure. If the party wants to hide from the gibberlings, they can make a stealth check. If they want to try and steal Boo they can make a Slight of Hand Check. I sometime write difficulty classes for skill checks in to an adventure - if I'm designing a trap for example - but more often skill checks arise from the party's actions during play.

Nor is it a 2nd edition / 5e conflict. 2nd edition had skill checks for Open Locks, Find Traps, Pick Pockets, Remove Traps, Climb Walls, Hide In Shadows and Move Silently, as well as Reaction checks (using Charisma) when interacting with NPCs. You will find most of those (apart from Climb Walls) in the CRPG Baldur's Gate.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
Okay. So having read most of the adventure, I'd have to amend my review to emphasize a fairly important point.

I don't think the designers are really familiar with 5E. And by that I mean, if it didn't exist in 2E, it pretty much doesn't exist in this adventure. Four chapters in, zero skill checks of any kind except lock picking. No perception, no persuasion, no investigation, no stealth, nothing but lock picking. No advantage or disadvantage. No warlocks, no tieflings, no dragonborn, no characters with any race/class combinations that didn't exist in 2E. No monsters that didn't exist in 2E. I realize that for some this is just fine - but it's something that should definitely be known in advance.

It's like someone wrote a 2E adventure and then kinda sorta did the absolute bare minimum humanly possible to almost make it 5E. But if you're a DM planning to deliver what 5E players are generally used to from a published adventure, burden is on you to do so. You're given fights, talking, and picking locks. Everything else in terms of game mechanics is on you to add. Not an impossible job, but a job you'd generally expect a pre-written adventure to do more of for you.
That a Baldur's Gate adventure doesn't contain dragonborn or other elements that did not exist in Baldur's Gate is something positive.

More supplements should dare to not do the kitchen-sink approach of "add everything". Less CAN be more.

If on the other hand the adventure contains monster stats that are badly designed, wonky test DCs, stories that depend on alignment, charm person or mind shielding (all AD&D bugbears that have no place in 5E), too hard encounter CRs or other indications the devs have no mastery of the 5E ruleset that would be a serious issue.

But not including stuff just because subsequent editions have added them? That is not a problem, that is a solution!
 
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Burnside

Explorer
That a Baldur's Gate adventure doesn't contain dragonborn or other elements that did not exist in Baldur's Gate is something positive.

More supplements should dare to not do the kitchen-sink approach of "add everything". Less CAN be more.

If on the other hand the adventure contains monster stats that are badly designed, wonky test DCs, stories that depend on alignment, charm person or mind shielding (all AD&D bugbears that have no place in 5E), too hard encounter CRs or other indications the devs have no mastery of the 5E ruleset that would be a serious issue.

But not including stuff just because subsequent editions have added them? That is not a problem, that is a solution!
Like I said - for some people, not a problem.

But the near-total absence of a good deal of game mechanics which the vast majority of users would absolutely expect to see included is definitely something I would like to have known before buying.
 

Burnside

Explorer
Firstly, that isn't true - there are lots of Survival checks in Chapter 2 for a start. And the other thing is I have never felt that skill checks needed to be "written in" to an adventure. If the party wants to hide from the gibberlings, they can make a stealth check. If they want to try and steal Boo they can make a Slight of Hand Check. I sometime write difficulty classes for skill checks in to an adventure - if I'm designing a trap for example - but more often skill checks arise from the party's actions during play.
Of course that's true. But there is still a basic level of skill checks one generally expects to see written into 5E adventures (for example, to spot a secret door) that is absent here. And the reason some DMs buy a pre-written adventure is exactly do avoid doing that work themselves.

The adventure in general doesn't anticipate using skills to overcome challenges, and doesn't build in any place to use them. There are people you talk to, and people you kill. It's pretty binary. Of course situations will arise organically where some skills come into play. But in most 5E adventures, there are built-in opportunities and this is clearly a deviation from that design philosophy, a couple of Survival checks in chapter 2 notwithstanding.

And yes, we all know "a good DM will fix it". I tend to judge adventures by how much work I need to do to "fix" them
 
Of course that's true. But there is still a basic level of skill checks one generally expects to see written into 5E adventures (for example, to spot a secret door) that is absent here. And the reason some DMs buy a pre-written adventure is exactly do avoid doing that work themselves.

The adventure in general doesn't anticipate using skills to overcome challenges, and doesn't build in any place to use them. There are people you talk to, and people you kill. It's pretty binary. Of course situations will arise organically where some skills come into play. But in most 5E adventures, there are built-in opportunities and this is clearly a deviation from that design philosophy, a couple of Survival checks in chapter 2 notwithstanding.

And yes, we all know "a good DM will fix it". I tend to judge adventures by how much work I need to do to "fix" them
It doesn't need fixing. The structure of the adventure is quite open, with the players able to wander all over a city poking their noses into things looking for clues*. It's not an enclosed dungeon and it's not a series of linear, railroaded "skill challenges" - frankly, if that is what you are looking for in a "modern" adventure, give me old school any day.

*And not in this style:

Player: "I go into the city and look for Clues."
DM: "Roll a DC 17 Intelligence (Investigation) check."
Player "21!"
DM: "You discover that the next place you need to go to is Gullykin**".


** not a spoiler
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
That a Baldur's Gate adventure doesn't contain dragonborn or other elements that did not exist in Baldur's Gate is something positive.

More supplements should dare to not do the kitchen-sink approach of "add everything". Less CAN be more.

If on the other hand the adventure contains monster stats that are badly designed, wonky test DCs, stories that depend on alignment, charm person or mind shielding (all AD&D bugbears that have no place in 5E), too hard encounter CRs or other indications the devs have no mastery of the 5E ruleset that would be a serious issue.

But not including stuff just because subsequent editions have added them? That is not a problem, that is a solution!
Hey, look at this! I completely agree with CapnZapp!

Huh...maybe I should reconsider magic shoppes....

:)
 

Burnside

Explorer
*And not in this style:

Player: "I go into the city and look for Clues."
DM: "Roll a DC 17 Intelligence (Investigation) check."
Player "21!"
DM: "You discover that the next place you need to go to is Gullykin**".


** not a spoiler
Well yeah I think we can all agree that Chapter 2 of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist is pretty much the worst case scenario for handling stuff like this.

If you're saying I was requesting a series of linear, railroaded skill challenges that's obviously a total misrepresentation of my point. I'd like to have seen the designers incorporate, into the open flow of the adventure, more opportunities where 5E mechanics came into play - and I think there are absolutely areas and encounters that could be made more fun and interesting had the time & effort to incorporate those mechanics been taken.
 
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