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]

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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.

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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.

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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

Parmandur

Legend
The setting is almost certainly coming Sunday.

Stewart said they are saving one surprise for Sunday night.

Comicbook.com announced 3 products (prematurely) after having interviewed the staff last night (all documented on Twitter)

Meaning those 3 products were meant to be announced tonight and a 4th product is being saved for Sunday.

No way in all hell Nathan Stewart would tease a big reveal for Sunday and make it a dice set.

Seriously people, the dice set isn't one of the 4 products. They wouldn't screw up an announcement that bad.
Could be they meant for the Rick & Morty box to be the Sunday surprise. Cute capper to the week. I dunno. They did not announce Ravnica at the Stream of Annihilation, it would be in pattern to wait to announce the next book.
 
Comicbook.com announced 3 products (prematurely) after having interviewed the staff last night (all documented on Twitter)

Meaning those 3 products were meant to be announced tonight and a 4th product is being saved for Sunday.

No way in all hell Nathan Stewart would tease a big reveal for Sunday and make it a dice set.

Seriously people, the dice set isn't one of the 4 products. They wouldn't screw up an announcement that bad.
Not just those folks. Last night was a big media event, with all sorts of publications invited. We will be flooded with articles once they are allowed to publish them.

And yeah, accessories have never been counted in the big reveals as part of the pre-announced number of products to be revealed.
 

GarrettKP

Villager
Could be they meant for the Rick & Morty box to be the Sunday surprise. Cute capper to the week. I dunno. They did not announce Ravnica at the Stream of Annihilation, it would be in pattern to wait to announce the next book.
Jim Zub (writer of the Rick and Morty D&D comics) is on the opening ceremonies list. Rick and Morty Starter was always meant to be announced tonight. Setting Book is coming Sunday.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Seriously people, the dice set isn't one of the 4 products. They wouldn't screw up an announcement that bad.
I don't know...there's been a broken embargo on every single one of these big announcement streams with sites posting information before they're supposed to.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
It's possible, but there's no other listings that I've been able to dig up. I can't remember if there were any other placeholder listings with the Waterdeep books or if that just got posted later. I guess we'll find out in a few hours.
Last year, Dungeon of the Mad Mage was announced during the closing chat. Basically, the designers sitting around talking about the weekend and finishing with "Oh, and we also have this coming in November."
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Last year, Dungeon of the Mad Mage was announced during the closing chat. Basically, the designers sitting around talking about the weekend and finishing with "Oh, and we also have this coming in November."
Oh trust me. I remember that vividly...
 

Parmandur

Legend
So, the plot does involve the players starting in Baldur's Gate, and finding that there are diabolical forces at work in the city, and that cities around the Western Heartlands are being sucked into Hell.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
Okay, think that's all the info we have so far updated in the column now, including the information on the Essentials Kit and the Rick and Morty starter set.
 

Parmandur

Legend
So, the Essential's Set will start as a Target exclusive: that's interesting, as the old Starter Set sells like hotcakes at Target from what I have seen.
 
Here's the cover (taken from the D&D Beyond YouTube link above):

View attachment 106519
Interesting that the symbol in the upper left corner is that of Bhaal, the FR god of murder and assassins. Now, that symbol is often associated with Baldur's Gate itself since the CRPGs with the city's name used it prominently (since Bhaal was an important part of the backstory to those games), but... there was a recent LYSK concerning Bhaal (and Bane and Myrkul) specifically mentioning they were active in Baldur's Gate. So I'm betting they will have something to do with the plot here...
 

Parmandur

Legend
Interesting that the symbol in the upper left corner is that of Bhaal, the FR god of murder and assassins. Now, that symbol is often associated with Baldur's Gate itself since the CRPGs with the city's name used it prominently (since Bhaal was an important part of the backstory to those games), but... there was a recent LYSK concerning Bhaal (and Bane and Myrkul) specifically mentioning they were active in Baldur's Gate. So I'm betting they will have something to do with the plot here...
Apparently, the special cover will be Bhaal's symbol apparently.
 

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