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

Tazawa

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.
I really don’t think this is true. Do you maybe have an earlier version of the PDF than me? Chapter 1 has Perception, Survival, and Stealth checks and the other chapters have skill checks on a fairly regular basis.

I think the writers have a very good grasp of 5e mechanics. The new monsters are formatted to WotC standards and have appropriate CRs. The stat blocks are relatively simple and should be easy to run, while the descriptive text is detailed and evocative. Similar to if not better than the entries in the Monster Manual (except for the skeleton warriors—for some reason they have really high Intelligence).

The NPCs are also well done. Unlike many third party adventures, they don’t try to recreate a player character—instead they distill the character to an easy-to-run stat block with the interesting details contained in the roleplaying advice. I don’t see any ‘2e-isms’. All of the class features come from the 5e versions of the classes—the writers aren’t trying to recreate any distinctive features of earlier editions. Minsc is even given barbarian class features instead of being shoe-horned into the ranger class (2e didn’t have barbarians as a core class).

All and all I think it’s a very good sandbox-style 5e adventure with some nostalgic throwbacks to prior editions.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
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's disappointing. Hopefully it is still a fun read.
 
I think the key point is it is more of a sandbox, so is probably not a good choice for a first time DM. It would be good for an experienced DM to introduce inexperienced players to the game though, and is pretty much a must for anyone who likes the original CRPG. You could go big on the "historical" aspect, banning Dragonborn PCs, tweaking the deities available to clerics, and so in. If you want a primer on FR it has a lot of background.

Updated to the FR "present" it can also work a description of the Baldur's Gate city and area with optional sidequests if an adventuring party should happen that way as part of a larger quest. In which case no knowledge of the CRPG is required.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
Murder in Baldurs Gate is probably the most up to date version of the city. That AP has a whole book dedicated to the city at present time. That AP in conjunction with Heros and a little work should make it a breeze to advance the timeline if one desires to do so.
 

EthanSental

Explorer
Picked up my hard copy from the post office today. Nicely done except for a dent to the box that also dented the front cover due to poor packing. Bubble wrap laid flat on top of the book inside a box, nothing wrapped around it to keep it from shifting, denting. And wow that artwork looks great!
 

Von Ether

Explorer
Damn. Anyone who thinks that dms guild is just for amateurs just got proved wrong.
If I had like crazy amounts of money, I'd be tempted to "James Patterson" on the DM's Guild. Basically be a mini-publisher within the Guild and invest in the production values. It might take a while to make the money back, if ever, but it would be more to have fun and raise the bar.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Similar to if not better than the entries in the Monster Manual (except for the skeleton warriors—for some reason they have really high Intelligence).
Skeleton warriors were highly intelligent in previous editions (from their introduction in 1e's Fiend Folio onward), too.
 

RxDrAcula

Villager
That's super cool!

Although if I played this like I had played the video game, it would just be me telling the DM that I rest until I am interrupted by a sirine. Then I would kill said sirine. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
 

MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
Have had my copy for several days now. While the materials are not the same production values as the WotC published books, it is still feels like a quality book and it fits right in with my other 5e books on the shelf. Other than the unobtrusive DMs Guild logo on top of the book title and at the bottom of the back cover, it looks like any other official 5e book.

I enjoyed the content and it was fun to follow along in the book while listening to Chris Perkins "Lore You Should Know" segment on Baldur's Gate in the most recent episode of Dragon Talk.

The book is organized to make it easier to run the game in a particular order. It is not a sandbox. Which is fine. But if you want to use it as setting book, it is annoying to not have all the maps of the city together. The first map and content on the city is in Chaptor 2: Southwest District. Then Chapter 3 goes into the sewers beneath the city. Then, 38 pages (covering locations outside the city) later you get back to Baldur's Gate in Chapter 9: The City of Baldurs Gate, with contains the bulk of information on the city (other than the Southwest District and Sewers, which were covered in Chapters 2 and 3).

I would have preferred to have chapters 2 and 3 combined into Chapter 9.

But I can understand they they organized it this way to support the adventure's story line and make it easy for the DM to run without having to jump around the book.
 

ddaley

Explorer
I have played quite a few CRPGs over the years... Wizardry was the first computer game I ever owned. Then probably Ultima... much later it was Eye of the Beholder, Icewin Dale and Neverwinter Nights. There are so many more (Bard's Tale, Wasteland... etc)... but I never played Baldur's Gate. I did own it, but never played it. So, I just picked up Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition a few days ago, rolled up my sleeves and made a character.
 

cbwjm

I can add a custom title.
I have played quite a few CRPGs over the years... Wizardry was the first computer game I ever owned. Then probably Ultima... much later it was Eye of the Beholder, Icewin Dale and Neverwinter Nights. There are so many more (Bard's Tale, Wasteland... etc)... but I never played Baldur's Gate. I did own it, but never played it. So, I just picked up Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition a few days ago, rolled up my sleeves and made a character.
It's a lot of fun, they even added in an expansion to cover what happens between BG1 and BG2 which was pretty cool. Recently I started up a game of Icewind Dale EE. I still have to finish Pathfinder Kingmaker and yet, here I am going back to an old school 2e CRPG. I'm having a lot of fun with it.
 

Elfcrusher

Adventurer
Minor thread necromancy...

For those familiar with this adventure, 2 questions:

1) I read the bit about iconic character "companions". Would that make this a good candidate for just two players, in that you could pad out the party with these NPCs?

2) Where is this on the railroad-sandbox spectrum? My two players will be D&D novices (especially one) who I think are going to want a pretty straightforward story line, where it's generally obvious where to go next, and who you fight versus who you talk to.
 

Tazawa

Explorer
Minor thread necromancy...

For those familiar with this adventure, 2 questions:

1) I read the bit about iconic character "companions". Would that make this a good candidate for just two players, in that you could pad out the party with these NPCs?

2) Where is this on the railroad-sandbox spectrum? My two players will be D&D novices (especially one) who I think are going to want a pretty straightforward story line, where it's generally obvious where to go next, and who you fight versus who you talk to.
1) The adventure would work well with just one player and the companions, just like the original video game. The companions have simple stat block and are easy to run, with a lot of personality details in their descriptions (and nice pictures). Two players would be fine.

2) About in the middle. Enemies and allies are generally easy to distinguish. The story has clear goals but the characters can take different routes to get there.

Have fun!
 
Minor thread necromancy...

For those familiar with this adventure, 2 questions:

1) I read the bit about iconic character "companions". Would that make this a good candidate for just two players, in that you could pad out the party with these NPCs?

2) Where is this on the railroad-sandbox spectrum? My two players will be D&D novices (especially one) who I think are going to want a pretty straightforward story line, where it's generally obvious where to go next, and who you fight versus who you talk to.
1) Yes, this adventure is about as good as you can get for that.

2) It's quite sandboxy compared to most published adventures. However, if players are familiar with the CRPG they should have a better idea about what to do.
 

MockingBird

Explorer
Thread Necromancy...so is this still available? The link takes me to Murder in Bladurs Gate. The search function yields nothing as well.
 

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