The New Dungeons & Dragons Storyline for 2019 Leaked Ahead of Live Stream

Canadian bookstore chain Renaud-Bray posts listing for new Dungeons & Dragons adventure due this September several hours ahead of the planned live stream release. The title of the new adventure is...

Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus

The details from the Canadian bookseller match more obfuscated listings that popped up on Amazon earlier today and were confirmed by postings on D&D Beyond. Amazon already has pre-orders live for the hardcover with a release date of September 17 and a retail price of $49.95 and a dice and accessory set coming out the same time for $24.95. A Platinum Edition will be available from Beadle & Grimm (limited to 1000 copies) for $499 which will include the full adventure, hand-outs, battlemaps, artifacts, trinkets, miniatures, and the Infernal War Machine "mini"ature (pictured below, which is large enough for a 25mm figure to act as a pilot), plus more items to be announced. The Infernal War Machine will also be available separately from WizKids for a retail price of $69.99.


D&D Beyond posted information about the new adventure on their website, also ahead of the official announcement on stream:

The biggest and most exciting announcement of the weekend is, of course, the next D&D storyline! Last year’s storyline was a saga set in the city of Waterdeep, comprised of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. This year, D&D is taking a trip to Avernus, the first layer of the Nine Hells. The celestial-turned-archdevil Zariel is enacting her long-awaited vengeance upon the city of Elturel, and a group of unlikely adventurers have been pulled into the struggle!

This adventure spans levels 1 through 13, starting with low-level adventures in Baldur’s Gate, the dark and gritty metropolis which lead designer Adam Lee describes as “the Gotham [City] of the Sword Coast.” Starting a campaign in Baldur’s Gate is wildly different from starting a campaign in bright, shiny Waterdeep, and it perfectly suits a campaign that is destined to go straight to Hell. Introducing more than just the city of Baldur’s Gate, this adventure also opens up the massive sandbox environment of Avernus.

The adventure promises a deep story filled with unforgiveable betrayals, unspeakable evils, and a fallen angel. Those who dare venture into the Nine Hells can fight to bring redemption to Avernus, or give in to corruption themselves. Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus is available for pre-order on the D&D Beyond Marketplace now, and releases in stores on September 17th, 2019. A limited-edition, game store-exclusive cover by Hydro74 features the skull-shaped icon of Bhaal that is now inexorably linked with Baldur’s Gate.


D&D Beyond also posted a trailer for the new adventure along with an interview with Chris Perkins and Adam Lee.


[video=youtube;Q-yBdYnphH8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-yBdYnphH8[/video]

View attachment 106524
Baldur's Gate new art from the book

More information from the Twitch stream:


  • "It's a trip to Hell! It is D&D meets Mad Max Fury Road with a bit of Dante's Inferno." - Chris Perkins.
  • Starts in Baldur's Gate (which is Gotham to Waterdeep's Metropolis) and goes to Hell, literally.
  • Will involve the Blood War and Outer Planes, starting in Hell. "You can only go up from there, right?" - Chris Perkins.
  • Set up in Mordekainen's Tome of Foes for the Blood Wars, so this has been in the works for a while.
  • Kate Welch implies there will be new character creation options for characters from Baldur's Gate, while Perkins confirms characters and even groups can have "dark secrets".
  • "There's something in Baldur's Gate that teases what's to come." - Perkins
  • Jeremy Crawford gives a very vivid description of the first level of Hell, Avernus.
  • Crawford states that resting and death saving throws will have different rules in Avernus.
  • Perkins talks about Warlords, creatures who live in Avernus and have carved out a living in the desert of destruction, including the Infernal War Machines.
  • Welch confirms iteration on the vehicle rules from Ghosts of Saltmarsh to create more options for creating more vehicles.
  • Player Characters can become Warlords in Avernus according to Welch.
  • Per Perkins, there are vehicle customization rules for the Infernal War Machines, but there's a catch. "It's not all fun and games in Hell."
  • Machines in Hell are powered by souls, so Good characters will have to deal with the moral questions of consuming even evil souls.
  • New rules for Deals with the Devil that ties into the dark secret rules, per Welch.
  • "Personal Hell" is a big part for big NPCs and PCs alike.
  • Per Crawford, there are many characters who are not demons, devils, or corrupt souls. However, Avernus itself corrupts by its nature so even refugees from other planes who are there may have become evil as the plane infects them.
  • "Do you think it's easier to get into hell than to get out of it?" Crawford: Yes.
  • Paladins and Clerics of Good deities will be confronted directly with the pure representation of their cosmic foes, which may inspire them or become an obsessive driving force after seeing how bad things can get to make things better in the Material Plane. - Crawford
  • Variel is on the front lines of the Blood War. "So you can get to meet her and pick her brain?" "Or maybe she'll open your skull and pick yours."
  • "She [Variel] is a final boss kind of thing." - Welch
  • Inspiration from the MCU and other sources for sympathetic antagonists, making Variel's motivations understandable and making you ask "Would I have done the same?"
  • You can always embrace the chaos/evil and become a Warlord and run around Avernus if you want. "The food tastes terrible." - Perkins
  • The adventure is built for any kind of party, but the idea behind the Dark Secret mechanic is to bind the party together. Perkins admits he's not a fan of Evil Parties, but that the mechanics of the adventure most feed to that.
  • Devils and demons are more likely to make deals with players because, in Hell, dead means dead for them.
  • A lot of jokes about comparisons to corporate environments. "You'll have to kill me to take this job!" Perkins to Welch, before admitting she probably could do it.
  • The adventure is written with brand-new DMs in mind to make the transition to multi-planar adventures as easy and painless as possible.
  • A brand new Infernal language font was created for the adventure (and was used on the water bottles given to attendees).
  • When asked what their favorite tidbits are to close out the interview, "Abyssal Chickens can be familiars." - Perkins "I can't follow that!" - Welch
  • "The art in this book is not like others. It's crazy." - Perkins. "It's crazy!! If you see something that feels like a giant wound creeping out of the earth...go check it out!" - Welch Her description of that section made for the grosses Google search the artist ever had to make.
  • Jim Zub talked about the currency of Avernus, the "Soul Coins" - the physical representation of souls traded, bought, or sold.
  • There will be a tie-in comic series that involves characters from Baldur's Gate (including Minsc and Boo) going to Avernus.
  • "Books can be weapons." - Zub
  • The Dungeon Mayhem card game is getting expansions featuring characters from Baldur's Gate, per Shelly Mazzanoble. First one: The Battle for Baldur's Gate.
  • The stream starts talking about Minsc and Boo for those who don't know and the continuity handwaves to get them in the current setting with the time jump, but I would feel I did a disservice if I didn't point out that the vast majority of D&D licensed games are currently on sale on Steam.
  • As pictured below, the children's/young adult books Monsters & Creatures, Weapons & Warriors, and the like (which we've talked about on EN World several times previously) are featured on the stream as the event is the first look at the finalized versions of the book.
  • Not only will there be the new Starter Set themed around Rick and Morty, but there will be a new comic series about the journey to "Painscape". Comments sections, go wild how this will apply to Sunday's announcement...
  • When it came time to announce the Starter Set, Zub said "Rick and Morty versus Dungeons & Dragons" only to be quickly corrected by both Mazzanoble and Welch (the latter of whom was lead on the project) that it is Dungeons & Dragons vs. Rick and Morty.
  • "Rick is not an actual entity. I have had to fight Rick on this product." - Welch, as the book is presented as an in-character "revised" version of D&D 5e by Rick.
  • When it came time to talk about the Essentials Kit, Chris Perkins came on saying "I'm Chris Perkins, I'm a nerd." Chris also can't stop playing with the box. Nathan Stewart introduced Chris and licensing manager Liz Schuh as the "longest-running D&D employees" which...is questionable at best...
  • The Essential Kit features red dice, a new adventure (see below for details), cards for NPCs and more, and other bits including character creation rules. The dice also include two D20s (for advantage) and 4d6 (for rolling characters).
  • "Can you tell us anything we can find in that adventure?" Perkins: "...Fun."
  • Adventure can tie into Lost Mines of Phandelver from the original Starter Set either before or after this one, though both are from levels one through four to six (depending on what the players do).
  • The Dice Set (mentioned above) for this adventure is custom dice in a velvet-lined box usable as dice trays and includes a map of Avernus that's about 11x18 sized with other tiles involved for monster types, and a cypher key for translating Infernal to Common.
  • One of the cards included is a description of the food. After the MC Anna Prosser rolled, Perkins informed her that her food was delicious but every morsel had a face and screamed as it was consumed. Someone watched Nightmare on Elm Street 4: Dream Warriors before writing that bit
  • They hired a puzzle designer to create legitimate puzzle boxes usable with the adventure, with a challenge to those at the event to solve it in under an hour.

D&D Beyond also posted information about the Essentials Kit:

This brand-new boxed set is more than just a second Starter Set—though it certainly is that, too. The D&D Essentials Kit is “A newly designed rulebook which on-boards players by teaching them how to make characters,” and will be the ideal resource for brand-new players and DMs. A full five years will have passed between the release of the original Starter Set and the release of the new D&D Essentials Kit, giving its creators five years of lessons learned to make the new player experience the best it can possibly be. These days, many new D&D players learn the basics of the game from watching streams like Critical Role; will this boxed set include video tutorials in addition to its starter rulebook?

The Essentials Kit also includes a brand-new, 64-page starter adventure written by Chris Perkins entitled Dragon of Icespire Peak, which contains enough adventure to bring a new D&D party from level 1 to 6. It also includes a new “1-on-1 rules variant,” which transforms D&D into a single-player adventure with just you and your DM. This boxed set will cost $24.99 and releases in Target stores in North America on June 24th, 2019, and everywhere else on September 3rd.​


Comicbook.com had an article posted which listed a new Rick and Morty licensed starter set, but their article has since been edited and this information removed. This isn't the first D&D / Rick & Morty crossover; there was a comic book last year. And, of course, Jim Zub (writer of the Rick and Morty D&D comics) is on the opening ceremonies list.

rmdnd1.jpg


Cover of last year's Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons comic book

Again from D&D Beyond comes information about this new starter set:

Following up on the success of the “Rick and Morty vs. D&D” comic series illustrated by Jim Zub and written by Patrick Rothfuss, D&D has partnered with Adult Swim to create a new boxed set adventure that puts the characters and weirdness of Rick and Morty front and center. This adventure “[blends] the world of Dungeons & Dragons with the mad narcissistic genius of Rick Sanchez’s power-gaming sensibilities, and it includes everything a Dungeon Master needs to channel their inner mad scientist and run a rickrolling adventure for up to 5 players, levels 1-3.”

Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon is no stranger to D&D, as evidenced by his “actual-play-meets-animated-special” series HarmonQuest. This boxed set also follows up on the warmly received Stranger Things D&D adventure boxed set that released earlier this year. A release date for this boxed set was not given.​



Photos of goodie bags for those attending the event in-person also show an Adventure Zone comic book.

164A7066-02C6-4B28-A73A-40990D0AF261.jpeg


More official announcements are due during the live stream event, which is going on all weekend with several games and interviews spread across five different Twitch channels. The full schedule of events and which channel they're on can be found on the Wizards of the Coast website, which also includes links to streams on other outlets beyond Twitch.

View attachment 106505View attachment 106506

Screenshots from the original leak Friday morning.

As is usual with these events, EN World will be updating as new information comes out and you can do your own speculation, extrapolation, wild guesses, and outright pleas in the comments.
 
Darryl Mott

Comments

Mercador

Explorer
I must say, not sure what new rules will bring, 1 DM/1 player is something you can already do.

And its how I taught my kids. (they are sperated by 6 years of age, so I did it twice...)
In 5E? I would like to play PF1 AP with my daughter but it's quite difficult to adjust combat when it's clearly for 4-5 players. I guess I could give her superpowers but it won't be the same.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Frankly, I'm more invested in trying to figure out when the announcement will be since there's not a clear-cut slot on the schedule. There's a concert starting in about 45 minutes and, based on the number of musicians, that'll be going for several hours. Right now, the main channel isn't even live and I can't see them announcing the new big book on their equivalent of ESPN-3.
Ugh, I knew I should've gotten that second cup of coffee, converted the time the wrong way. Concert's not until 7PM Central (so four hours from now) and it's the only thing on the main channel schedule. There's not even some kind of wrap-up scheduled that I can see.
 

vecna00

Explorer
Ugh, I knew I should've gotten that second cup of coffee, converted the time the wrong way. Concert's not until 7PM Central (so four hours from now) and it's the only thing on the main channel schedule. There's not even some kind of wrap-up scheduled that I can see.
If I remember correctly, the event ends at 8 pm PST (10 Central), and Nathan Stewart teased that the "Big Announcement" would be at 8:45 (no time zone given) to mess with Game of Thrones viewers. It was also noted that the announcement would not appear on the VOD. Not sure how much of that is legit information or trolling on his part.

I do expect it to just be a video reveal like they did for Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
 

vecna00

Explorer
If I remember correctly, the event ends at 8 pm PST (10 Central), and Nathan Stewart teased that the "Big Announcement" would be at 8:45 (no time zone given) to mess with Game of Thrones viewers. It was also noted that the announcement would not appear on the VOD. Not sure how much of that is legit information or trolling on his part.

I do expect it to just be a video reveal like they did for Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
For context, they were talking about the Game of Thrones finally airing on the East Coast...which is 6 pm PST.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Reporting things from Spoilers & Swag without a link is always dubious to me. It always turns things into a game of Telephone. Posters here have a loooong history of hearing things they want to hear.

If that is the third hardcover, then it will revealed be the end of con video around the concert (like Dungeon of the Mad Mage was), wrapping up the event at 7 PST. They've mentioned it will be just before Game of Thrones.
Which is a little anticlimactic as it means we know about it, but get no real information beyond a couple minute video.
Take it for what it is worth, per Reddit at the time:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/330660672?t=01h01m58s

1 hour 2 minutes in, as a part of his Spoilers and Swag show, Nathan Stewart "announced" in a way that doesn't reveal any real details that there will be a new D&D setting book. Here's what he said in the stream:

"Next year for our annual releases I can confirm there will be a setting book. A new setting book. A book that we have not created that is for a D&D setting. Yes. That question comes up a lot. I'm not telling you which one, but I am confirming that, because we don't always do that. That is not always a given."
 

Parmandur

Legend
Stewart did said they wanted to use Curse of Strahd as the template for future settings, with an adventure as part of the setting. The fewer racial and class and monster options that are added, the longer the adventure will be.
An adventure will almost certainly be the centerpiece of the book.


The catch is, they don't need to do a book on Sigil. That book already exists.

If doing Planescape, they need to add something beyond just the fluff. As fluff is edition neutral. Mechanical faction details and rules for reputation in that city are something that isn't featured in a 2e book.
They don't seem interested in doing the giant books of setting lore like they did in 2e and 3e.
WotC appears to have solved for setting sbooks for 5E in Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica: 5E applicable crunch for players, DM aids, and a ton of monsters. Basically, a PHB add-on, a MM add-on, and a DMG add-on. That was the impression Stewart gave when talking about the reception of that book, at any rate.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Take it for what it is worth, per Reddit at the time:

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/330660672?t=01h01m58s
Twitch sez: "Sorry. Unless you’ve got a time machine, that content is unavailable."

But the quote does sound pretty definitive. But, again, he could be referring to a PDF. I'm not willing to put down any money that plans haven't changed or schedules shifted.

WotC appears to have solved for setting sbooks for 5E in Guildmasters Guide to Ravnica: 5E applicable crunch for players, DM aids, and a ton of monsters. Basically, a PHB add-on, a MM add-on, and a DMG add-on. That was the impression Stewart gave when talking about the reception of that book, at any rate.
That will work well for a setting like Dark Sun. If they make that setting akin to Guildmaster's Guide it will work well. That would be my guess, but that really requires psionics to function.

But there's not nearly as many monsters for Planescape that haven't been done. There's very little applicable crunch for players (apart from races we've seen). There's less to fill out the book, unless they go for a small 160-pages.
Sigil would work better as a full adventure, like Dragon Heist. Big adventure and small gazetteer. Heck, before Dragon Heist was announced, a lot of people were predicting that. People have been predicting Planescape for three years now...

A majority of players don't know the Guild exists. A vast majority of players never experienced 2e.
Right. And that vast majority won't give an eff about a classic setting.

Just like they didn't need to release Curse of Strahd because the i-series exists; they don't need to do any new setting book.
Updating Castle Ravenloft is not the same thing as updating the Ravenloft campaign setting.
They can update The Great Modron March without "updating" Planescape by making it self contained (as I suggest above in a response to another poster).

True, but by the same logic, we didn't need a book on Waterdeep. Or Chult or Barovia or Eberron or...
And we only got one on Waterdeep because of an adventure than was mostly adventure with a very minor section on the city.

If we get a Planescape/ Sigil book you can also expect a comparable 24 pages on the city and 200 pages of adventure. Give or take. It likely won't just be a setting book like we saw previously.

People still want setting books because they want to see how they're updated to the new edition and the current timeline. They want not just what already exists but to see it updated.
Here's the thing... 100% of Planescape in 2e is still applicable. Literally nothing in Eberron changed because of a timeline change, because the timeline didn't change. The only setting that needs an update is the Realms.

That's why the PDF approach worked for Eberron, when they released Wayfinder's Guide. It updated the crunch for people who already had the books and were fans of the setting, letting them use material they already owned. That will work just fine for Dragonlance and Spelljammer and even Planescape.

And there's also a LOT of people playing today who weren't even born when the first Planescape boxed set came out. They might not be interested in reading a book older than they are written for an edition they never played written in a style that's not remotely close to the current style RPG books are written in.
True.
But then why would said audience care about a new book written about a setting from an edition they never played? Why do they care?

WotC updates settings for the old fans, because the new fans have zero attachment to the worlds. The world of Critical Role and the Tal'dorei Campaign Setting are ten times as appealing as Eberron or Planescape to the new fans.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
True.
But then why would said audience care about a new book written about a setting from an edition they never played? Why do they care?

WotC updates settings for the old fans, because the new fans have zero attachment to the worlds. The world of Critical Role and the Tal'dorei Campaign Setting are ten times as appealing as Eberron or Planescape to the new fans.
Actually, you said it. Critical Role. And Relics and Rarities and all the other big streamers and celebrity D&D players. The people on those shows talk about the old settings in interviews and on social media, driving up interest for them for new fans who've never had a chance to experience them. New fans who aren't as interested at digging up 35 year old Dragonlance modules but really wants to see what Krynn's all about after Joe Manganiello talks about it.
 

Parmandur

Legend
[MENTION=37579]Jester David[/MENTION]

Try this on for size, the context suggested a hardcover like Ravnica, but time will tell:

https://youtu.be/o6Ipq4S_TrY

I can see a whole book like GGtR about Sigil, particularly one with a lot of unique stat blocks for NPCs and much more proper Gazeeter material: a lot of playable races not seen yet, and Mearls floated a lot of subclass ideas last year that would fit.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
[MENTION=37579]Jester David[/MENTION]

Try this on for size, the context suggested a hardcover like Ravnica, but time will tell:

https://youtu.be/o6Ipq4S_TrY
Thanks.
And Steward immediately describes Ravnica as "one of the best selling adventures on DnDBeyond". ;)

He then says he doesn't know if he'll do any more settings "this year" because they wanted to see how Ravnica was received (as they plan their schedule like a year to 18 months in advance).

View attachment 106569

(I don't know where your quote came from... Could it have been early 2018 and referring to Ravnica?)

I can see a whole book like GGtR about Sigil, particularly one with a lot of unique stat blocks for NPCs and much more proper Gazeeter material: a lot of playable races not seen yet, and Mearls floated a lot of subclass ideas last year that would fit.
If we were expecting subclasses, we would have seen them in January to test them. That's about when we saw the Ravnica subclasses last year.
We could still see some races to test, as the Ravnica ones were out in July IIRC. But so far we've only seen the artificer, which isn't ready and they haven't even started surveying for. That's a 2020 release at the earliest...
 

gyor

Adventurer
Twitch sez: "Sorry. Unless you’ve got a time machine, that content is unavailable."

But the quote does sound pretty definitive. But, again, he could be referring to a PDF. I'm not willing to put down any money that plans haven't changed or schedules shifted.


That will work well for a setting like Dark Sun. If they make that setting akin to Guildmaster's Guide it will work well. That would be my guess, but that really requires psionics to function.

But there's not nearly as many monsters for Planescape that haven't been done. There's very little applicable crunch for players (apart from races we've seen). There's less to fill out the book, unless they go for a small 160-pages.
Sigil would work better as a full adventure, like Dragon Heist. Big adventure and small gazetteer. Heck, before Dragon Heist was announced, a lot of people were predicting that. People have been predicting Planescape for three years now...


Right. And that vast majority won't give an eff about a classic setting.


Updating Castle Ravenloft is not the same thing as updating the Ravenloft campaign setting.
They can update The Great Modron March without "updating" Planescape by making it self contained (as I suggest above in a response to another poster).


And we only got one on Waterdeep because of an adventure than was mostly adventure with a very minor section on the city.

If we get a Planescape/ Sigil book you can also expect a comparable 24 pages on the city and 200 pages of adventure. Give or take. It likely won't just be a setting book like we saw previously.


Here's the thing... 100% of Planescape in 2e is still applicable. Literally nothing in Eberron changed because of a timeline change, because the timeline didn't change. The only setting that needs an update is the Realms.

That's why the PDF approach worked for Eberron, when they released Wayfinder's Guide. It updated the crunch for people who already had the books and were fans of the setting, letting them use material they already owned. That will work just fine for Dragonlance and Spelljammer and even Planescape.


True.
But then why would said audience care about a new book written about a setting from an edition they never played? Why do they care?

WotC updates settings for the old fans, because the new fans have zero attachment to the worlds. The world of Critical Role and the Tal'dorei Campaign Setting are ten times as appealing as Eberron or Planescape to the new fans.
There are tons of monsters that they can explore, there are celestials like Asuras, Celestial Eladarin, Guardianals, Celestial Archons, 4e Angels, different types of Aasimon Angels that haven't been done yet, Heilophants, Lilends, ect..., there are also tons of untouched fiends, like Brachina, Warden Devils, various kinds of Yugoloths. And room to add new types of Fiends and Celestials like Succubi Queens.

There are also Barbiars, Dabus, and more.

Plus if they combine Spelljammer into it, you have Spelljammer Monsters. Some Ravnica celestials might make a reappearance.

And there are elementals that haven't been touched yet.
 

Parmandur

Legend
Thanks.
And Steward immediately describes Ravnica as "one of the best selling adventures on DnDBeyond". ;)

He then says he doesn't know if he'll do any more settings "this year" because they wanted to see how Ravnica was received (as they plan their schedule like a year to 18 months in advance).

View attachment 106569

(I don't know where your quote came from... Could it have been early 2018 and referring to Ravnica?)


If we were expecting subclasses, we would have seen them in January to test them. That's about when we saw the Ravnica subclasses last year.
We could still see some races to test, as the Ravnica ones were out in July IIRC. But so far we've only seen the artificer, which isn't ready and they haven't even started surveying for. That's a 2020 release at the earliest...
Actually, it looks like I was thinking of November's S&S: can't check the link at the moment, but per the Reddit thread I found Stewart does specify that he is talking about a hardcover setting book.
 

Jester David

Adventurer
Actually, it looks like I was thinking of November's S&S: can't check the link at the moment, but per the Reddit thread I found Stewart does specify that he is talking about a hardcover setting book.
Here: https://youtu.be/LmEel4spCRc?t=3574


So either he was mistaken in November when he said there would be a setting book or he was mistaken in January.
It's very possible they had planned to do a setting book but decided to wait to see how Ravnica would do, and the later January statement was him rolling back his statement.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
If the 4th announcement isn't a setting, what is it? Volo's Guide to Spirits and Specters?
I really don't think that's going to be an actual book. I think it was just a bit of a joke / word play involving the two meanings of "spirit".
 

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