D&D 5E [Let's Read] The Adventurer's Guide to the Bible

The Path of the Nazirite Barbarian and Circle of the Baptist Druid are enough to make me consider getting this book as a novelty.

I'm also struck that the first adventure seems to be a loose adaptation of the Book of Tobit.
I genuinely like the Baptist druid. Travelling around the world and giving permanent magical abilities to your friends is a pretty adventurous design choice and it’d be interesting to see how it worked in play. It’d be portable to, for example FR for a worshipper of Eldath, though you’d need to fix the specific sacred bodies of water accordingly.

The ranger subclass is really good too, though the rogue one is hyperspecialised and not a good fit for the campaign, and the Prophesy domain Channel Divinity option is wildly overpowered and I’d black ban it.

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Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
I want to be able to travel back in time to the early 80's during the "Satanic Panic" and show this to many specific people.

Just, you know, because.



Events & Encounters, Part II

This section has been split into two parts for ease of length

For the second half of this chapter, roughly half of the sections detail the remaining archdemon lairs, two important settlements in Judea, two that are Jesus-centric, and one is an escort mission for a holy artifact. The settlements follow a similar layout to the Atlas entries in showing a birds-eye view of locations filled with people and quest hooks that tie into other events and encounters.

Tomb of the Buried Queen is a dungeon crawl taking place in and under the Great Pyramid of Giza. Back in the day, the archdemon Mammon masqueraded as the goddess Selket to trick the Pharaohs into burying themselves with their royal wealth, believing that their bounties will come over with them in the afterlife. This worked out well for Mammon, as the Pharaohs offered her tribute while living and she turned the Pyramid of Giza into her personal treasure trove. As an 18 room, multi-level dungeon filled with a variety of monsters, traps, and puzzles, this is definitely one of the highlights of the campaign. I can see gaming groups having a lot of fun going through it. Some interesting features include scarab beetle swarms which can be kept at bay via fire, a room filled with trapped hieroglyphic tiles that zap people with magical energy if they step on any tiles besides the ones with the Ancient Egyptian word for “life,”a “wishing well” that opens up doors of a certain metal matching the coins dropped in, and Golden Calf construct guardians which reform into a golden key upon death to unlock doors to proceed further into the dungeon.

Mammon will be encountered in the big treasure room, her human form looking like an Ancient Egyptian aristocrat. She can attack with a dagger that deals bonus necrotic damage as well as use a rechargeable telepathic AoE attack. Like Naamah she can turn invisible and teleport to dodge attacks, albeit also in simulacrum form, and has the benefits of Spider Climb in both forms. Her true form is a centaur-like monster but with the bottom half having scorpion legs, claws, and tail. In this form she gets access to new features such as a Flesh to Gold spell and a poisonous sting attack. Being a literal load-bearing boss, the pyramid will enter a timed collapse, and PCs can stick around each round to loot her treasure trove with some randomly-generated treasure and magic items. This comes at increased risk of being buried alive, naturally; such is the price of greed.

Pleasure Cruise involves Moloch, the Archdemon of Gluttony. His simulacrum is known as Captain Gula, the owner of a floating luxury resort ship called the Laimargia, docked in the city of Tarsus. Already infamous for his decadent parties, people curry favor to gain tickets to the cruise where everyone has to wear a mask. This allowance of anonymity encourages party-goers to engage in excesses they wouldn’t otherwise, and also allows Moloch to discretely murder and eat people with minimal risk as few can truly say who is attending beyond speculation.

There are multiple hooks and reasons the PCs may board the Laimargia, but this event is less a dungeon crawl and more a murder mystery. The cruise lasts for 6 days out on the open sea, and the ship has 3 levels (or decks) along with 10 party-goers. A league of goat demons (new monsters) are in the bowels of the ship rowing. The party-goers have randomly-generated false names, appearances, vices, and secrets. Vices in this case are more character flaws and indulgences that can determine where they are on the ship and how Moloch may take advantage of them, while secrets are reasons the party-goers won’t trust other people or the PCs. Secrets include things like being one of Moloch’s agents, a Roman senator frightened of being assassinated by the Sicarii, or a religious leader in Tarsus who preaches the virtues of moderation and self-control.

I wanted to mention that one of the sample Vices is “flirting with women…or men…or both.” While this isn’t being portrayed as an explicit moral flaw, it being listed alongside other Vices such as opium, gambling, and being the center of attention, this comes off as a “bisexuals are overly lustful” reading.

Over the course of 6 days Moloch will slowly isolate, kill, and eat passengers who wander off alone, and by the fourth day it will be obvious to everyone that something terrible is going on. If the PCs haven’t confronted Moloch by then, he will go after them.

As Captain Gula, Moloch is a physically-oriented enemy with a powerful slam attack and the ability to heal damage by gorging himself on food. He has a variety of good spells such as Cloudkill and Gaseous Form, as well as Disguise Self which he can use to impersonate other passengers. His true form is a large frog-like demon with a powerful bite and poisonous belch attack. Moloch doesn’t have any spells in this form, but his legendary actions are more physical, such as saliva which mimics the Grease spell, the ability to swallow targets, and increasing in size categories the more creatures he eats. Even if slain, the goat demons will leap out of the Laimargia, stranding the boat at sea. The PCs can help sail it to the island of Cyprus, which depending on their earlier actions may either help them find Caspar and/or put them in the crosshairs of Simon Magus. There’s also a sidebar for turning the Laimargia into a mobile base of operations. Much like Naamah, Moloch has letter correspondence with other archdemons, and this can reveal the location of Naamah and Beelzebub’s lairs.

Tending to the Garden is where we’ll find Beelzebub, Archdemon of Sloth. Making his lair in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, he has perhaps the most inefficient means of locating the Messiah: by encouraging travelers to relax and hang out in the gardens, he can keep up with gossip and tales and learn more about the Messiah that way.This comes off as an excuse, but is very in-character for a demon that is the representation of laziness so I’m cool with it.

The Hanging Gardens are treated as a dungeon crawl, separated into leveled tiers with Beelzebub at the top. There’s also a hedge maze, and he has swarms of Abyssal Flies which keep in telepathic contact with him at all times to keep tabs on intruders. Abyssal Flies individually are incredibly weak, having just 1 HP and doing 1 damage with their sting. But the real danger here lies in Exhaustion ratings. Not only does Beelzebub’s Aura trigger a level of exhaustion on a failed Constitution save, so too do the sting attacks of Abyssal Flies. So PCs can be worn down by the lethargic atmosphere just as much as damage. Otherwise the only other enemy types here are Shedim and Goat Demons.

Beelzebub, once encountered, isn’t in the mood for conversation. So beyond a brief welcome he will attack the party as he grows bored of them. His simulacrum is an old man with a giant scythe who as a reaction can knock opponents prone by making them drowsy. He can also summon decorative garden statues to fight in battle, which the stat block calls…Garden Gnomes.

Beelzebub’s true form is a frightening-looking classical demon: a Huge-sized, horned, red-skinned humanoid with sharp teeth and mighty strength. He can’t cast spells, but he wields Goliath’s Greatsword which is a +2 magic weapon that ignores slashing resistance and deals +4d8 damage on a critical hit. He can also hurl enemies up to 40 feet, damaging them depending on how far they traveled. The text points out he can use this to throw PCs off the current tier of the Garden, and for ease of movement-tracking characters must spend their entire turn to return to the battlefield.

Upon defeat, the PCs can find a horde of gems as well as a partially-dissolved leatherbound scroll signed by Lilith giving orders to the various Archdemons and what to do. The most useful information is that Legion is underground somewhere in Judea.


Welcome to Galilee details the region of Judea famed for containing Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth. In addition to that settlement, it has a full-page map detailing 10 unique locations for the PCs to visit. Galilee is a poor, rural region, and besides the richer Roman-sponsored cities of Capernaum and Magdala the majority of settlements are in states of disrepair that can be most accurately described as rural slums. Nazareth is regarded as one of the worst settlements, with its neighbors often joking that nothing good can come out of there.

Galilee is one of the likely places PCs can meet Jesus and possibly witness a few of his more notable deeds, such as the verse where he multiples bread and fish or stopping an angry mob from stoning a woman to death via his “he who is without sin” speech.* This isn’t a railroad. PCs have a chance to deal with the mob on their own first, and Jesus does his challenge if the party doesn’t otherwise intervene or manage to quell their wrath. This section also serves as a good means for inquisitive PCs to learn more about him (or rumors of the Messiah) by visiting friends and family.

Nazareth, unsurprisingly, is where the most potential character development in learning about Jesus can happen, particularly at the house of his mother. Appropriate role-playing, social skill checks, or even mind-reading magic can cause the family members to open up a bit and reveal more details. For instance, Mary’s virgin birth was not well-regarded initially; rumors around the town spread that she conceived a child out of marriage, and that her husband Joseph believed that she had cheated on him. This scandal caused most of her friends in Nazareth to abandon her.

So I cannot say how Biblically accurate this is, but I really like this little detail. Contemporary Christian culture often exalts the Virgin Mary as a paragon of feminine ideals, but if something like a virgin pregnancy were to happen in the times before the miracle of artificial insemination, it sadly makes sense that most people would assume that the woman would be lying about it. Also given that Jesus’ own mother has been viewed in such a way adds a bit more depth to the time when he protected the woman accused of adultery from being stoned to death. Yes I know it’s Jesus, protecting the innocent and abhorring murder is his bread and fish, but it helps paint a more empathetic picture.

For some non-Jesus related interesting areas, there are local hot springs which have possible randomly-determined healing properties, the PCs can also beat Jesus to the punch at a few of his miracles in healing several people if they have the right spells, engage a friendly one on one duel with the angel Barachiel in a swamp who can give them a Holy Ground benefit if they win, and visit the Witch of Endor in a cozy-looking cottage. For some reason the duel brings to mind the sword-training duels in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.

I figure that now’s as good a time as any to discuss the Witch of Endor. She’s an immortal mage who was cast out of Israel by King Saul for her powerful divination magic, and ever since has pursued power and knowledge for its own sake. She has a complex relationship with God, hating the idea of living under a moral code that can inhibit her own power. Yet she hates Satan’s minions for the lies they spread which in turn hampers the ability to pursue truth. For this reason she can serve as an enigmatic ally, and her quaint little cottage is capable of teleporting, meaning it can also be found as a random encounter. She can use her powers to aid the PCs, but in exchange she asks them to perform seemingly innocuous errands which will pit them against the archdemons or otherwise get them involved in some other quest in this book. A few examples are laid out in a sample table.

In terms of stats the Witch of Endor is a wizardly mage who can cast up to 5th level spells. She has a damaging at-will energy bolt that can inflict various damage types, can force a targeted creature to transform into a form reflecting their physical vices on a failed save, and has Legendary Actions which she can spend to make a free Perception check, teleport, or cast a spell. Overall a pretty cool character to meet.


Meeting Jesus is likely something most readers here have been waiting for. It’s not really an encounter or event so much as general role-play advice which is surprisingly pretty good. Basically it tells the DM to relax and not overwhelm themselves with worrying about getting an historical figure’s exact mannerisms right. The book explains that many people have an image of Jesus as a formal, uptight preacher, but for the standards of his day his speech was actually rather plain and he used slang and jokes. In other words, Jesus “was a very normal person,” and should overall be role-played as a chill dude who is engaging in comfortable chats with close friends.

There will inevitably come times when the PCs, or players channeling their own views through the PCs, attempt to get Jesus’ opinion on some moral issue. Jesus’ overriding concern is love: the correct thing to do is always the most loving thing to do. The purpose of morality is not to determine who to condemn, it is to determine how to best uplift and support one another. This is also the closest the Adventurer’s Guide gets to an explicit stance on LGBT issues:

Jesus’s message (and, by extension, the Bible) is deliberately ambiguous about specific issues because issues shift and change with time. Thus, any question about sexuality, war, immigration, politics, etc. is the wrong question. The only relevant question is whether you are treating others with love, and only the person acting (and God) knows the answer to that question.

When it comes to combat encounters, the DM is advised to avoid placing Jesus in such scenarios, as the majority of his portrayals in the Bible were less action-packed barring a few circumstances. He has the uncanny ability to get out of harm’s way and defuse tensions, no matter how bloodthirsty his enemies are at the moment. That being said, there are times when Jesus rolled up his sleeves to layeth the smackdown, and there are Bible verses cited for all of these as examples for “when he rolls initiative” such as the infamous public freakout when he drives money-lenders out of a temple which sadly isn’t a scenario that happens in this book. Interestingly one of these “combat verses” (Mark 5:1 to 5:20) has him exorcize Legion from a possessed man. Which means that Jesus has encountered one of the archdemons! So shouldn’t this be used as an obvious plot hook by the DM? The book doesn’t say; bit of a wasted opportunity.

When it comes to stats Jesus doesn’t have a stat block. Instead he has guidelines; while Jesus is God and has the ability to know and do whatever he wants, while in human form he wishes to “have a true human experience and accept things as they come.” Basically in terms of physical stats he’s a Commoner, but when it comes to mental and magical abilities he’s out of this world. When making mental ability checks he either has a significantly high bonus or is assumed to auto-succeed. As for his miracles, a list of spells along with chapters and verses in which he uses them are provided; Jesus has no spellcasting bonus or save DCs, as the DM can decide whether they are successful or not, and his spells don’t require material components.

There is one exception: Jesus, and only Jesus, has the True Atonement spell. As sins have often been atoned via sacrifice, Jesus can perform this ritual on behalf of the world by offering his own blood as the material sacrifice. But as God, he is an infinitely perfect being, which means that the spell’s duration, range, and level are also infinite. What this means is that his sacrifice is capable of dispelling all sin everywhere for those who atone. In practical game terms, this means that any spells requiring human sin* as a material component are instantly dispelled, meaning that any surviving archdemon simulacrums are destroyed and reveal the demons for who they truly are. Without this ability, the demons will be unable to return to the material plane should they die.

*doesn’t specify for sins of other creatures such as giants, monsters, and nephilim.

So what happens if someone tries to divine Jesus’ true nature, such as reading his thoughts, tracking down his location, or similar abilities? Well that caster is Stunned for one hour, no save, and talks nonstop in a stream-of-conscious manner about the nature of life, the universe, and everything for the duration.

There are also brief write-ups on Jesus’ Disciples in listing their Quirks, Bonds, Ideals, and Flaws. These include the 12 Apostles, Judas, and three women allies of Jesus: Susanna from the Book of Daniel, Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Saint Veronica.

Welcome to Jerusalem is like Galilee in being an open-ended settlement with a series of various locations, characters, and quest hooks. As the home of the holiest location of Judaism, the Temple Mount, Jerusalem is a city of immense value to the Jewish people and its historical and cultural legacy is intertwined with them. There are other cultural influences present, the most prominent being the Roman Empire. Jerusalem has a heavy Roman military presence, and Pontius Pilate serves as the Proconsul and is rather unhappy in having to deal with the ever-present social strife underlying the occupation. Jerusalem’s previous ruler, King Herod, still lives in his palace, but being stripped of official duties he’s willing to while away the rest of his days in idle amusements.

There’s a lot of things the PCs can do here. If they’re at least level 7 they can encounter hooks for the Protectors of the Ark sidequest. Otherwise Pontius Pilate may hire the PCs as an outside neutral party to investigate Jesus of Nazareth. Caipahas, one of the high priests of the Sanhedrin (the supreme council of Jewish religious authorities), is accusing Jesus of planning a violent insurrection and is thus pushing Pilate to do something about him. The marketplaces sell some holy magic items, and there’s a network of subterranean tunnels leading to various locations. These underground areas include the Ruins of Solomon’s Temple which holds the sacred stone of Urim guarded by a pair of Dybbuks (undead shadowy monsters), the headquarters of the Sicarii, and the secret hideout of Legion in the Caverns of Salt and Silver.

Legion is hard at work in Judea. In his lair he’s been minting cursed silver pieces designed to make its owners intensely jealous of the Messiah and seek to thwart his plans. There’s a 25% chance such silver ends up in the PC’s inventory every time they engage in a financial transaction in the city. The curse has affected Caiaphas as well as one of Jesus’ own apostles, Judas.

Protectors of the Ark has the PCs visiting a priestess in the Essene Quarter of Jerusalem with an important, secret mission. The Roman occupiers have been looting Judea of prized cultural artifacts, and combined with their tightening grip on Jerusalem it’s only a matter of time until they find the holiest treasure of all: the Ark of the Covenant, which is discretely kept in her house. As the artifact has been prized by people in power throughout history, the PCs must covertly transport it out of the city and carry it all the way to Ma’rib. As part of an ancient oath, the Queen of Sheba will safely transport it further into Africa where it will be held until it can be safely returned to Jerusalem.

In spite of whatever best efforts the PCs take, trouble is bound to find them. Random encounters on the way to Ma’rib are replaced with 9 predetermined ones of ascending difficulty, being a mixture of more mundane Roman spies, soldiers, and Spartan mercenaries as well as cultists of the Shadow of the Beast. If the party is truly unlucky, the 9th encounter can place them toe to toe with the archdemon Abaddon himself! An encounter which would ordinarily cause a TPK instead has the party left alive, but when they come to the Ark has been stolen and lost forever.

The Ark of the Covenant is a potent artifact. Those who come in close proximity gain a variety of immunities and have their alignment change to good due to becoming aware of God’s presence while they remain in close contact. People have an intuitive understanding that opening the lid would be disrespectful and cannot do this while under the aura’s influence. But if it somehow happens they are smote with a whopping 28d6 radiant damage on a successful Constitution save, and instant death on a failed one. Characters who enter combat in defense of the Ark gain access to a Lair action which casts the Call Lightning spell.



Caverns of Salt and Silver is the hideout of Legion, Archdemon of Envy. The presence of the Dead Sea and receding underground tides means that there are tunnels made entirely of salt stretching for miles beneath Judea. Centuries ago, Legion used enchantment magic to manipulate the political leaders of Canaan to better search for the prophesied Messiah, although the personal nature and limitations of concentration spells meant that this was a very slow process. Further magical studies allowed Legion a more efficient means: by fracturing his consciousness among multiple possessed bodies, he can maintain even more concentration-duration spells at once. By creating cursed silver pieces acting as a spell focus for his enchantments, he could control hundreds if not thousands of people at once this way.

But celestials and demons are beings not of flesh and blood but of intellect and spirit. Legion was forced to divide himself more and more over the ages, eroding his mental stability. Now, what remains of his true form is a herd of possessed swine and all but a few of his mortal followers abandoned him for more reliable, popular archdemons. Which of course fueled his Envy further.

The Caverns are a 5-room dungeon that is rather light on treasure and monsters. Besides Legion, there are sentry golems and water elementals bound to his service. Throughout the caverns there are herds of demonic swine, evident by their glowing red eyes. They all have signs in Hebrew hanging from them reading names like Caipahas, Judas, and the like indicating which cursed silver piece of which that particular pig is concentrating. The pigs are harmless, but killing them reduces the HP maximum of Legion’s true form.

The PCs can encounter Legion in his simulacrum form in a laboratory. He will try to bargain with the party first, offering them a legendary magic item from Israel’s past known as the Circlet of Solomon’s Wisdom (raises Wisdom to 27 and lets you concentrate on two spells, he’s actually wearing it and is attuned). He recently discovered the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, and will give the party the Circlet if they help find the Messiah.

If combat is entered, Legion’s simulacrum is first and foremost a magic-user. His spells are rather wizardly, including options such as Magic Missile, Ray of Enfeeblement, Dominate Person, and Telekinesis, and he can also switch places with a creature as a reaction. His true form is a swarm of dozens of pigs, who can make up to 5 individual bite attacks depending on his remaining hit points and his legendary actions include an AoE stampede, uttering blasphemous curses against God that deal Psychic damage, and can possess a creature via Dominate Person. Beyond the Circlet, the PCs can find his spellbook as a treasure along with a lot of silver pieces and letter correspondences with Lilith as well as the true identity of the Messiah (this last letter he has yet to send to Lilith). From these letters the PCs can find out that Legion is engaging in a conspiracy to have Jesus arrested and executed on false charges.

Way of the Cross is the penultimate adventure in this campaign, triggered ideally when the PCs are 8th or 9th level, likely after they discovered Legion’s plot, or likely any time after the PCs met Jesus depending on how the DM feels. The book notes that this adventure is important to proceed a certain way for “historical, narrative, and mechanical reasons.” In other words, it’s heavily rail-roaded: Jesus must die by human hands in order to atone for humanity’s sins, and this will occur when Judas betrays him to the Romans.

The adventure opens up with the PCs invited to Jesus’ Passover supper in Jerusalem. While there, observant characters may notice Judas sneaking away from the festivities. Everyone else will head to Bethany for a pleasant stroll, and Jesus will ask the PCs and three of his apostles to follow him to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is here a monumental skill challenge will take place, where Satan will seek to instill fear and doubt in Jesus via a variety of methods. Challenges include things like resisting Satan casting the Sleep spell, recognizing that biting snakes he’s sending out are illusions, reciting prayers with Jesus to comfort him, realizing that Satan’s stalling for time when he starts listing out the party’s worst sins, and so on. Failing the skill challenge causes Jesus to collapse, completely exhausted and unable to interact or say anything when Roman soldiers come to arrest him. Succeeding allows Jesus to give some final words of advice about how pride will be Lillith’s downfall and that the Word of God is sharper than any sword.

This isn’t just a metaphor; one of the PCs will find the Sword of the Spirit in their inventory for succeeding on this challenge. It is a weapon of otherworldly construction with scriptural verses written in Hebrew along the blade’s length. It can take the form of any weapon, has a +3 enhancement, the wielder treats any roll on Persuasion or Religion lower than a 15 as a 15, and can cast the Spirit Guardians spell once per short or long rest without the need to concentrate to sustain it.

Judas, Caiaphas, and 16 Roman guards will come to arrest Jesus, and just as combat begins when the apostles move to defend him, Jesus will diffuse the tension with Mass Suggestion and a healing spell on one of the struck guards. He will let himself be arrested and share some encouraging parting words, telling the PCs that he will send them help if they wait on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus’ imprisonment and crucifixion more or less goes as planned. This also includes Pontius Pilate letting an angry crowd choose to have either Barabbas or Jesus pardoned, and the crowd chooses Barabbas. The module doesn’t say what happens in the event that the PCs killed Barabbas earlier in the module.

Once Jesus dies, the True Atonement spell is cast, and a teleportation spell will activate next to the PCs. Caspar the Magi plus one or two other allies determined by the DM from earlier in the campaign will have arrived, with information about Lilith’s location.

This adventure is very obviously railroaded. The book does talk about actions the PCs may take to defy destiny and ways the DM can adapt to this. However, just as Jesus has the uncanny ability to prevent outbreaks of death and violence in his presence, so too can he ensure that his death comes about for PCs who are insistent on finding ways to protect him at all costs.

Jesus is going to die. For more on how his death affects the adventure mechanically, see the “True Atonement” box below. The great mistake made by the Magi was their assumption that Jesus needed to be protected. In actuality, the single most important part of Jesus’s mission is to die, and to die by human hands.

In the narrative of the Gospel, this happens because he is betrayed by one of his followers (Judas), and handed over to the High Priest of the Sanhedrin (Caiaphas) who leverages his connections with the Roman proconsul (Pontius Pilate) to bring about a brutal execution. Ideally, these things still play out this way at the table...but...

This is a roleplaying game, and in games like this you must be prepared for the unexpected. If your players feel exceptionally driven to alter history, either by protecting Jesus at all costs or by playing a role in bringing about his death themselves, don’t panic. Remember, this is just a game, and not everything has to happen the way it does in the Bible. If the players make choices that inadvertently (or intentionally) bring about Jesus’s death, great! In that case, they just replace the role of “Judas” in the narrative. If the party is obsessed with protecting Jesus from all danger, great! That will just lead to a cool story moment when they finally fail. Jesus is also aware that he eventually needs to die, and can prevent the party from defending him too vigorously in the same way that he normally avoids combat (see “Avoiding Combat” above).

And don’t be afraid to get creative. Jesus does not need to be crucified; as long as he is killed by a conscious choice made by a human being, the prophecy can be fulfilled, and True Atonement (see box below) achieved.

While a huge portion of the world knows the narrative of Jesus, PCs who may be insistent on avoiding metagaming may try to save Jesus when he’s crucified. Think about it: even if he tells the party that this is his destiny, PCs may be motivated to rescue him. It’s one thing to gracefully let someone walk to death’s door to spare further bloodshed; it’s another thing to see a defenseless man being tortured for hours and showing human vulnerability by crying out and pleading why God has forsaken him. Those who heeded his message may very well take it as a test of faith or act of conscience: saving Jesus, after all, would be the Christian thing to do. Why should an innocent man have to suffer for the sake of other people’s sins?

But beyond that, canny PCs who catch on to Legion’s schemes may decide to undo the curse much earlier. What happens when the Remove Curse spell is cast upon Judas and/or Caiaphas? What if the party presents evidence of the demon’s wrongdoings to Pontius Pilate, who from how the module is written is skeptical of Caiaphas’ conspiratorial ramblings about Jesus?


Catacombs of Kadesh is the final adventure of the Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible, taking place immediately after the Way of the Cross. Realizing that her plans are all for naught, Lilith is incensed beyond words and intends to take out as many people as possible out of spite. Caspar is saddened by Jesus’ death, but knows that he found a way to weaken Lilith’s defenses. Via researching star charts he narrowed her and Abaddon’s location to some Egyptian ruins in the middle of the Wilderness of Zin. He can help teleport the party there via a stone taken from the dungeon. This is a two-level dungeon with 22 rooms, and the major enemies here are Abaddon and Lilith plus many of their minions.

The PCs are likely to fight Abaddon first. While he has no simulacrum, he still adheres to the two-form boss battle, with his first form a dark cloaked figure. Abaddon is primarily a spellcaster, having offensive cleric spells such as Insect Plague, Blight, and Finger of Death, and his claw melee attacks can reduce a target’s maximum hit points. Once defeated he will disperse into a swarm of demonic locusts and retreat further into the dungeon. The swarm has no magical abilities but can do up to 6 sting attacks depending on their remaining hit points. During the battle he can animate nearby statues to attack the party, including a giant sculpture of Ramses. Also, Abaddon’s swarm form repeatedly chants his name during combat, which I find to be a cool touch: “ABADDON! ABADDON! ABADDON!”

As for Lilith, she will fight the PCs in the middle of a large mine, with a hostage of an NPC who the PCs care about held in a cage suspended over a pit of Saraph Serpents. Lilith in her archangel form is a gish, having a few spells to directly aid her in combat such as Dispel Magic and Inflict Wounds, and she has a Sword of the Guardian which she can multiattack with. These swords were made for specific angels, and the ones who sided with Satan can deal extra damage against their bonded wielder for their energies cry out for justice against those who chose evil. Lilith is also aided in combat by Corrupted Simulacrums of the other archdemons, which are decaying and little more than strong shambling zombies due to Jesus’ True Atonement.

Once Lilith falls, Satan’s voice will echo through the chamber, saying that he’s disappointed in her and to show them “what the fury of a woman scorned looks like!” At this point she’ll transform into a Hellspawn, a huge serpent-like monster that has a poisonous bite and spit attack along with two multi-target spells. She can also Charm opponents with a Hypnotic Gaze via one of her legendary actions.

Defeating Lilith ensures that the Fellowship of the Beast will fall apart, and due to Jesus’ death she will never be able to return to the material plane again. While this marks the end of the adventure, the book notes that the DM can continue the plotline if they want, particularly if the party has any unfulfilled quests or other archdemons still alive and kicking.

Thoughts So Far: The second half of Events and Encounters has a nice mixture of adventures. The pyramid dungeon crawl is a high point and one I can see being adapted the most easily for other RPGs. It also has a non-linear layout so PCs won’t end up stalled if they are unable to solve certain puzzles, which I appreciate. The Hanging Gardens dungeon is a bit lackluster in comparison, and Moloch’s murder mystery is an interesting change of pace. The two-part boss fights for the archdemons is a cool touch. I like how Galilee and Jerusalem are full of interesting locations and plot hooks, although sadly there are some places which could serve to be more fleshed out. The Sicarii headquarters comes to my most immediate mind, which many gaming groups are likely to run afoul of and want to bring the fight to their doorstep.

The low points of this section, and I am sad to say, involve the more railroady aspects of Jesus’ story. At first the PCs have some agency, as evidenced in potential encounters in Galilee, but the Way of the Cross is a tonal whiplash from the freeform open world nature the campaign has previously emphasized. The plot holes regarding the dispelling of Legion’s cursed coins or the possible death of Barabbas being unaddressed just hurt this section even more.

Finally, I have noticed that the bulk of the archdemon lairs and quests are huddled in the western edge of the map. Only Beelzebub is in the east, which may very well mean that the PCs have little incentive to travel to the Parthian-held territories otherwise. One idea I had would be to change Naamah from an Archdemon of (Sexual) Lust to instead focus on its broader aspect of desire in general. Prince Gotarzes in Ecbatana is a great candidate for her machinations, and I can see her whipping up him and Parthian military leaders into sweeping into Judea as “liberators” and “recruit the Messiah to our cause against Rome!” Additionally Parthia is one of the cultural successors to ancient Persia, who had a king known as Cyrus the Great who is beloved by many Jews by ending their captivity in Babylon and thus helping their return to their ancestral homelands. So using this tale can result in a form of “colonizing savior” among the Parthian elite in rationalizing themselves as a merciful alternative to Rome.

Whilst desire can easily fall into other sin categories (coveting neighbor’s possessions as Greed, coveting respect being Envy when contrasted with another), I feel that a form of nationalism in making one’s country a rising superpower to be a kind of nonsexual Lust.

Join us next time as we wrap up this review with new spells, magic items, monsters, and NPCs in the Appendix!


Okay ... what year is this supposed to be set again? Because according to conventional history, Cleopatra Selene was born in 40 BCE and died in 5 BCE. If this is taking place during Jesus' preaching (generally around 25-30 CE) she's been gone for a long while.

Campaign begins at 26 AD, and the campaign lasts for 4 years ending at 30 AD. It's up to the DM when time progresses.


Thanks for posting this! I backed it and have the hardcopy book on my desk, but haven't gotten around to opening it yet...still slowly eventually working my way through the A5e MM.

The Archdemon lairs and battles all seem to be very flavorful and unique, and I can tell this has a lot of variety baked in.

So far the campaign looks like it is MUCH better organized than what I've seen of the reviews I have read of SKT, OOTA, ROTFM or most of the other WOTC campaigns. I am getting excited to run it a couple of years from now when the campaign after this one is finished.




Making up the last third of the book, the Appendix holds all the new material that isn’t as player-friendly as new races and classes.

We first have 39 New Spells. While most are learnable by PCs in this adventure, quite a few are surprisingly 6th level or higher which would put them out of reach of the expected campaign. Clerics, Sorcerers, and Wizards get a fair bit to learn, with Paladins surprisingly getting few (the bulk of which are 1st level).

There are seven spells themed around magnifying sinful behavior in others: Induce Envy, Induce Lust, etc. Overall they serve as debuffs hindering certain actions in addition to giving the Charmed condition in regards to the caster. For example, Wrath will force a target to attack the nearest creature, Sloth can impose a level of exhaustion if the target isn’t already exhausted, Greed forces a target to spend their movement and action to move up to a nearby object and pick it up, etc.

Two more sin-generic spells are used by the archdemons. Weave Sin creates a simulacrum the caster can transfer their soul into, while Aura of Temptation generates a 1 mile radius effect that can tempt people into more easily committing a certain category of sin. They are 8th and 9th level respectively, so they’re not the kinds of things which can be cast by the PCs during the regular campaign. I honestly feel that they’re better served as plot devices.

Some of the more interesting spells include Covenant (lasts 30 days where targets swear an oath and the caster intuitively knows if the oath is broken), Create Golem (creates a golem servant for 24 hours), Every Knee Shall Bend (reduce target speed to 0 as they bow down upon hearing God’s name), Magnificent (if a target casts a hostile spell on you they take radiant damage), Mark of Cain (the Hebrew letter “Vav” appears on forehead of target and caster, half of damage dealt to caster transfers to target), Scapegoat (celestial in form of goat appears, can transfer damage dealt to a nearby creature to the goat instead), Turn the Other Cheek (cast as reaction upon taking damage, attacker is turned and spends next minute fleeing from caster on a failed save), and Unum in Christo (ignore range and sight restrictions on spells cast on a specific willing target you touched for the next 24 hours).

But there are three spells that bear special discussion on their own. Do Unto Others is a first level enchantment cast as a reaction upon performing a selfless action done out of concern for another’s well-being and not selfish gain. If these conditions are met at the DM’s discretion, the universe bends itself over the next 3 days to have aid given in kind to the caster reflecting the original selfless action. For example, casting a healing spell on a target can grant the benefits of a same-level spell to the caster later on. The spell can also be cast as a form of inaction, like if the caster doesn’t respond to a challenge or act of aggression then bandits may choose to not attack the party if they’re later triggered as a random encounter.

This spell is incredibly open-ended. While one can argue that the casting of the spell is “selfish” in the sense of expecting some future benefit as a metagame concept, I presume that’s more of an in-character roleplaying justification; otherwise the spell’s entire purpose is moot.

Two related spells are Lesser and Greater Atonement. The former spell requires a valuable offering related to one of the seven sins to be burned: a gem worth at least 500 gold for greed, the caster’s spellcasting focus for pride, etc. The spell can divinely forgive sins of that type to those inside the radius as well as dispelling any magic empowered by sin. It doesn’t protect a character from more earthly consequences of their sin but works in regards to things like a paladin’s code of conduct. The spell is concentration duration for up to 1 hour, and deals automatic damage to the simulacrums of archdemons. Greater Atonement summons a spectral ram to instead serve as the material component of the spell, can reduce simulacrum to 0 hit points, and has a greater range of 1 mile and has an instantaneous duration.

There are some spells which are very questionable balance-wise. For instance, the 9th level spell Ascension can teleport the caster’s body and soul into Heaven, but without any description of what Heaven is like in this sourcebook it’s practically flavor text. There’s the 7th-level spell Hail and Fire, which creates 4 cylindrical AoEs anywhere within 1,000 feet of the caster. The damage is a meager 2d6 bludgeoning and 2d6 radiant, but overlapping areas of the cylinders do additional damage to a maximum of 8d6/8d6. Compare this to the Fire Storm spell, which is also 7th level. That spell does 7d10 damage and creates 8 10 foot cubes within 150 feet of the caster, and the damage doesn’t overlap. So not only is Hail and Fire at a much greater range than virtually any core spell, it can also do much more damage than one of the blastiest spells for the Sorcerer class at the same level.

I’ve already addressed how open-ended Do Unto Others is, and Scapegoat does much of the same of what Warding Bond does in regards to damage transference. But Scapegoat is 1 level higher and requires concentration. Maybe the upside is that the damage transfers to a goat that disappears upon spell’s end rather than the caster or target, but as the goat only has 4d8 hit points it may not be as reliable for warding off damage.

Magic Items gives us 85 magic items, although a significant amount are copy-pasted from the 5e SRD. 63 of these items are completely original. I’m not going to cover every magic item, and several have already been discussed in the adventure section, so instead I’ll cover the ones which catch my eye.

Several magic items are implied not to be magical so much as being exemplary craftsmanship by certain cultures. Boots of Chinese Silk grant advantage on Stealth checks related to quiet movement, Roman Centurions carry Gladiuses which are +1 shortswords or longswords, Persian arrows are +1 arrows, Persian Chain is a chain shirt that grants +1 AC and anyone who wears it is treated as being proficient with it, and medium and heavy armor made of Egyptian design doesn’t impose disadvantage on Stealth checks. Roman Armor is a breastplate which turns any critical hit against the wearer into a normal hit. There is one exception to the non-supernatural influence: Jokoto are Chinese swords with ornamental rings on their pommels indicating allegiance to a particular faction or military unit. They are +3 longswords or shortswords, and anyone who wields them can read and speak Chinese.

The Censor of Atonement can allow anyone to cast the Lesser Atonement spell provided they have the proper material components, and it was commonly used by people willing to repent for sins but a priest wasn’t around to cast the spell. Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors can cast the Dream spell once per 1d4 days and has a chance of granting the wearer a Vision every time they go to sleep.

Holy Ground isn’t a magic item so much as a place of great historical and religious significance which is forever altered by God’s will. Good-aligned creatures who enter immediately gain the benefits of a short rest and can take long rests in just 1 hour. Evil aligned creatures are compelled to leave and must devote concentration (as though concentrating on a spell) to willingly remain within the area. Those resting can roll a DC 20 Grace check to roll from a d12 Font of Blessings table. 5 of the results grant a unique magic item, while the other 7 grant a powerful permanent boon such as Truesight out to 30 feet, becoming immune to all poison and disease plus gaining advantage on Constitution saves, gaining proficiency in “all abilities” which I presume means ability checks, or can cast a single chosen 4th level spell once per day without expending a spell slot.

The Mark of Cain Tattoo is inscribed as part of a ritual to mark the bearer as a descendant of Cain, the first murderer, and allows them to cast the spell Mark of Cain once per long rest. Mark of the Guardian Tattoo lets the bearer summon an Angel Guardian to their side once per day. The Medallion of Gomorrah is a cursed locket with a piece of stone from that wicked city, and when opened can be used as a gaze attack that can turn a target into a pillar of salt if they fail three Constitution saves. Sarah’s Lucky Necklace, which can be purchased from Sarah back in Teredon, allows the wearer to reroll an ability check or saving throw once per day. The Song of Deborah isn’t an item so much as the lyrics of a song by Deborah, a famous Israelite judge. Those who sing it and spend 6 hours in meditation permanently increase their Charisma score and Charisma maximum by 2.

The stones Thummim and Urim are famous divination devices used by priests in ancient Israel. On their own they can cast Zone of Truth or Augury once per day respectively. But when someone attunes to both stones at once, they gain immunity to being Surprised, Truesight out to 30 feet, and add their Wisdom modifier to their AC and all saving throws. Meaning that for Wisdom saves they add the modifier twice!


Monsters and NPCs is the bestiary section of the Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible. There are 68 stat blocks, although 12 are core creatures taken from the 5e SRD. But even in the latter case there have been slight alterations to make them fit in more with the setting, such as the Noble’s main weapon being a hidden dagger that deals bonus poison damage. Even in such cases there’s flavor text explaining how they fit into societal roles in the First Century.

I already covered quite a few of the monsters and NPCs in the adventure, including the Archdemons, so like the magic items I’m only going to focus on some of the more interesting ones. Most of the creatures here are within the bounds of the adventure’s level range, with only a few going above CR 10. Those are Lilith and Abaddon, along with the Behemoth and Leviathan who aren’t meant to be fought in this campaign. The other two monsters are the Tannin sea serpents (which don’t appear in any violent encounters by default and are more setting dressing in the Great Sea) and the Cherubim angel (which most parties aren’t likely to fight).

Sadly, I have noticed a few errors in stat blocks. In some cases the bonuses for certain skills and saves are off in regards to the calculation of proficiency bonus and their ability modifier, such as Angels having +10 to History and Religion in spite of several being CR 5 with no Intelligence bonus. The Sentry Golem’s Perception bonus is +6 (CR 4, Wisdom 0 but Expertise should mean it’s +4) but its Passive Perception is 13. The spellcasting NPCs don’t specify what classes they are; while this doesn’t impact their useability, it is breaking in tradition with prior stat block methods. One monster, the Addax, is CR 0 but their horns do a powerful 2d4 piercing damage. Such a CR is normally reserved for harmless and near-harmless beasts who usually do 1 point of damage if any.

Without further ado, let’s get to the monsters!

We have the Agama, a tiny lizard whose skin can change in reflection of its mood. Having them as a familiar can let them change color based on the emotional state of people nearby.

Angels are servants of God, appearing on Earth to do specific missions on his behalf. Their unwavering focus means that they often don’t grasp the subtleties and changes in mortal society. They also share a special affinity for mortals that is not always present among other celestials: when Satan rebelled against allowing humans into Heaven, the angels were the first to defy him. Challenger Angels communicate the will of God through violence, which usually takes the form of challenging a mortal in a non-lethal duel as a means of bringing about some change or growth. They primarily attack with a sword but have a variety of spells. Guardian Angels protect mortals through subtle means and have more defensive abilities and magic. Messenger Angels seek to deliver important lessons to mortals, not through direct messages but more through subtle manipulations behind the scenes as a means of allowing mortals to come to such conclusions themselves. Their primary means of offense are a ranged lightning strike, and most of their spells are defensive or utility in nature.

Archangels are a more powerful tier of angelkind, tasked with guarding the material plane from otherworldly threats. Michael is the most famous to mortals for fighting Satan himself, and in surviving the battle makes him a veteran of demonic tactics and manipulations. They are like angels but with more powerful attacks and magic along with the ability to pronounce judgment and proclaim good news to impose buffs and debuffs in battle. The Cherubim are among the most powerful celestials in existence, and Satan was once among their number. They are CR 23 beings with legendary actions and wield unique swords that can move and float of their own accord while generating pillars of flame. Cherbum are blessed with supreme intellect, but lack an understanding of human experiences that rob them of empathy. Although they have a moral compass, they cannot understand mortal perspectives such as the hope people cling to in times of uncertainty or the love a mother has for their child.

Angry Mobs deserve a special mention, both for the fact that they’re a kind of “summonable monster” for the Zealot subclass and being an NPC ally entry of characters who can accompany the PCs on their quests. It’s a general representation of any group of non-military trained people who join together into a crowd to avenge or defend against a real or imagined injustice. They’re a Huge-sized swarm of Medium humanoids who can be best described as a Steel Cannon. The mob has a beefy 165 hit points but are pretty easy to hit (AC 10) and slow at 20 feet. They’re remarkably resilient against most mental-based effects with +3 and +8 to Wisdom and Charisma saves, and add +5 to initiative despite their average Dexterity and win ties in initiative.. They can attack up to four times a round, with three meager Throw Stone attacks but one very damaging Overwhelm attack which can grapple a single target. If they’re reduced to 0 hit points, the Mob doesn’t “die” so much as scatter into a bunch of Commoners with the Frightened condition.

All in all, a useful ally for PCs to have when violence is the preferred solution, although unlike other DMPC allies they’re not good for much besides straightforward combat. As for the Zealot subclass, their HP is determined by how many silver pieces are paid to summon them, and require 3 days in advance. Gaining a mob with the full HP value costs 1,000 silver (or 100 gold), whereas the minimum is 250 silver for 50 hit points. At the time the Zealot gets this ability at 13th level, it’s a rather meager class feature to have, especially when compared with summoning spells.

The Behemoth isn’t actually encountered in battle during the campaign but whose stats are included for reasons of completeness. It is akin to the Tarrasque in being a CR 27 physical powerhouse with frightful presence and legendary actions that allow for powerful AoE attacks. The Leviathan, by contrast, is a powerful water-based monster with a fiery breath weapon and can generate lightning storms.

Dybbuk are departed spirits residing in Sheol. Some escape back into the material plane, and the Rephaim are tasked with hunting them down to bring them back. They are incorporeal monsters who can possess targets as a rechargeable ability.

Enchantress are your typical “hot people who use their looks and implied magic to manipulate others.” They aren’t gender-specific, and they lack any direct-damaging attacks save for blowing a kiss that deals psychic damage in an AoE cone. They have the ability to auto-reflect any Enchantment spell cast on them back on the caster, can cast Suggestion at will, Charm others with a dance, and can use a magical ring to summon 6 Guards to aid them once per day.

Given that Salome mentioned earlier uses this for her stat block and the Is That In the Bible? section mentions that this was inspired by her character in that holy time, this ties back into my earlier concerns and criticisms of her character in the earlier Atlas.

There are a few monsters which aren’t explicitly in the Bible but included more for the writer’s own personal inspiration or related folklore at the time. Feign Spiders are a nearly-extinct species who survived the Great Flood and now live in the abandoned Noah’s Ark. They are capable of weaving invisible webs to trap prey. Deepmaw are Huge-sized fish common to rivers in Mesopotamia, and can swallow smaller targets on a successful bite attack. T’ifiri are giant scorpions who are a plague on nomads and merchants moving through the deserts, capable of digging through sand and detecting prey on the surface via tremorsense.


Golems are artificial humanoid beings created by rituals mimicking the act of God breathing life into the first human. As mortal replication is an imperfection of this process, golems aren’t truly alive and have animal-level intelligence. They take all orders literally and to the word, leading many frustrated mages to experience the pains of computer programmers two thousand years early. The Adventurer’s Guide has three new types of Golems which are lower Challenge Rating (CR 4) than the ones in the Monster Manual. Death Golems are often used for assassinations, having rending fist attacks and can score critical hits on surprised creatures. Sentry Golems are often tasked with watching over an item or area and have advantage on sight-based Perception checks. Helper Golems are primarily designed to help with manual labor and have the greatest Strength scores and spells such as Floating Disc and Spider Climb to help in such tasks.

Magi have been discussed earlier, but there are three stat blocks for ones with different areas of expertise and all of which are used for one of the Three Wise Men. They are brainy mages who share identical stats save for a specific Namburbu they can use three times per day and unique spell lists. Researcher Magi have high-level divination spells, Seeker Magi have movement and teleportation-based ones, and Tactician Magi have a multitude of Area of Effect spells.

Night Spirits are invisible evil entities who are the servants of demons. Their Dark Insight lets them ferret out mortal secrets and failings if they fail a Charisma save, and several times in the module the Archdemons and other evil characters make use of them to learn more about the PCs so as to better tempt or manipulate them.

Parthia and Rome’s soldiers are special enough to warrant their own stat blocks. Parthian Cataphracts are heavily-armored mounted archers who can do a Parthian Shot* by turning around to fire at people behind them in the saddle, represented as a bonus action ranged attack when they move at least 20 feet. Parthian Spahbeds are military commanders who can Parry and Multiattack with melee weapons but otherwise don’t have anything truly unique or special. Roman Legionaries are heavily-armored infantry with spears, and their Pack Tactics (advantage on attack rolls when adjacent to allies) makes them deadlier than your average Guard or Bandit. Roman Centurions have the benefits of Legionaries but with better stats, as well as the ability to trade in one of their attacks for granting a reaction attack to a nearby ally. Centurions all carry +1 Gladiuses.

*which was the origin of the ‘parting shot’ saying, courtesy of a sidebar in the book.

Queen Makeda is the ruler of Sheba. Her past is mysterious and her origins of how she came into power unknown, but she is a fair ruler and her subjects are fine with this. Her kingdom’s strategic position sees heavy trade, and along with being the leading producer of myrrh and frankincense makes Sheba a very wealthy nation. The Queen has a variety of offensive spells but her primary actions involve granting boosts and bonus actions to allies.

The Shadow of the Beast cult attracts mortals from all walks of life, who for various reasons are the witting or unwitting pawns of the Archdemons. There are three generic statblocks: Shadow Cultists aren’t very powerful save for a poisoned dagger attack being their main offense. Shadow Mages gain their powers from demons and in addition to typical spells can do an AoE hellfire attack as a rechargeable ability. Shadow Champions are esteemed warriors, immune to all spells of 2nd level or lower and can Multiattack with infernal longswords that deal bonus fire damage.

Shedim commonly serve as the demonic officers of the Shadow of the Beast, acting as local leaders. They appear like humanoid serpents with a snake-like body with human arms. Shedim can change their shape into a humanoid of choice, have a poisonous bite, can cast Suggestion at will, and do a blast of hellfire as an Area of Effect attack.

Sicarii is actually a generic stat block that can be just as easily used for Zealots, but the concept reflects the Jewish insurgent forces conducting guerilla warfare against the Roman occupation. They’re basically low-level Rogues with the Assassinate ability of the Assassin subclass.

Sunwings are giant, intelligent, eaglelike beings who have a special bond with the Nabateans of Petra. Those they’re bonded with provide a special resistance vs supernatural enchantments that would force them to attack those they bonded with, and they can revive a creature struck dead within the last minute to 1 hit point once a day. The book notes in a sidebar that they’re based off of the common folkloric concept of magical eagles in this region of the world. As for Biblical accuracy, they are prominent in the book of Fourth Baruch, which is regarded as a legitimate book by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church but not by other Christian sects.

Tannin are powerful and dangerous sea serpents. Many ships avoid taking the most convenient and direct routes in order to avoid them, and with good reason. They’re powerful CR 12 creatures who have steam breath weapons and can generate rip currents that can affect creatures, ships, and objects alike.

The Zenido, or Desert Drake, are winged hunters who prey on large animals in the desert. They often target passing caravans in the Assur Wates and Wilderness of Zin. Unlike typical D&D dragons they are more bestial and animalistic in mindset, being instinct-based hunters. They still have typical dragon features such as flight, a bite and claw attack, and a fiery breath weapon.

Is That In the Bible? is our final section of the Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible. It is a comprehensive alphabetical listing of virtually every major character, creature, location, and artifact in this sourcebook. If it appears in the Bible, the proper chapters and verses are marked along with a Bible symbol. There are three other symbols: a scroll for being mentioned in other ancient writings around this time period, a paper and quill for archeological evidence and reliable secondary sources, and a paintbrush and paint pallet for when creative liberties were taken. In the case of the scroll and quill the author elaborates on the sources, albeit less a bibliographic listing and more mentions of general topics such as “Rabbinical literature” and regional folklore.

Beyond the symbols, many entries have short descriptions elaborating on things. For instance, the Deepmaw is a giant fish that can swallow people which definitely appears in the Bible and folklore, but the name and new monster is inspired by the stories. Or the Catacombs of Kadesh, which were based on the Battle of Kadesh but the underground catacombs serving as the final dungeon were invented for the adventure.

Thoughts So Far: The balance of a lot of the new material is questionable and may not necessarily map well to existing core material. Quite a few spells feel too weak, powerful, or open-ended for their respective levels, and several monsters can do with another editing pass. Additionally, the large amount of repeated OGL content in the magic items and monsters sections feels like artificial padding.

The magic items are my favorite part of the Appendix along with Is That in the Bible? Many of the new items are cool and in keeping with the historical fantasy themes of the region and Abrahamic faiths. Is That in the Bible? shows that the authors did their homework in compiling resources and inspiration, and given the likely high standards a project of this type requires, it is good to see that they delved into things more than a surface level pop culture reading of Christianity.

Final Thoughts: Overall I found myself impressed with the Adventurer’s Guide to the Bible. Writing an historical fantasy drawing upon explicit religious themes is a difficult task without falling into the common perils that suffuse such an undertaking. Overall I feel that Red Panda Publishing more or less threaded the needle in a way that gives people a quality open-ended adventure, and who don’t necessarily have to practice the faith to find it enjoyable. I have nothing but praise to say about the campaign’s sandbox nature, and how non-linear exploration is encouraged while giving players and DMs multiple avenues of resolving or coming upon certain quests. This is very much a campaign I can see running for an extended period of time and in a variety of ways with different gaming groups without having to heavily resort to homebrew. The research and resources of the authors is also to be commended, for not just creating an immersive setting that feels authentic but is also fun to play.

With that being said, I do have my criticisms. There are aspects of the book which could use a second editing pass, from the questionable balance of several class and spell options, mistakes made in sentence grammar, or the calculation of certain monster/NPC stats. There are also adventures which can require a lot more work on the DM’s part to heavily revise or plan for their players in ways it feels the book should’ve got around to addressing, such as Aphrodite’s Touch or certain elements in the Way of the Cross. And while it’s not a constant, the use of DMPCs at certain points in the adventure is also one that needs more care taken given how hard it is for many DMs to handle such characters in a non-disruptive manner.

I thank everyone who has read this far with me. I don’t know what I will review next or when that time will come, although I have a few ideas. Until then, I hope this Let’s Read helped shed some light on one of the most innovative third party D&D sourcebooks to come out in quite some time!


Thanks for posting this! I backed it and have the hardcopy book on my desk, but haven't gotten around to opening it yet...still slowly eventually working my way through the A5e MM.

The Archdemon lairs and battles all seem to be very flavorful and unique, and I can tell this has a lot of variety baked in.

So far the campaign looks like it is MUCH better organized than what I've seen of the reviews I have read of SKT, OOTA, ROTFM or most of the other WOTC campaigns. I am getting excited to run it a couple of years from now when the campaign after this one is finished.

Believe it or not, I haven't really read or checked out the main WotC products in forever, so I cannot really compare the official adventures to the Adventurer's Guide to the Bible. But overall this product has really high marks in comparison to other open world sandboxes I've read.

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