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

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
WotC's marketing department said:
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.
"D&D Essentials," huh? Really, guys? Too soon. In fact, it will never not be too soon. Just remove that word from the branding lexicon now. Maybe set it on fire, maybe pee on the ashes. Better safe than sorry.

I mean they announced the new Rick & Morty comic is about "Painscape" and no one under 30 knows what the hell that's a reference to unless they make it the new campaign setting...
Half Life 3 confirmed.

If we are getting a new setting announcement I doubt it will be until June.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?658502-Announcement-after-The-Descent

Planescape would be a logical way to expand D&D5's core setting, but these blurbs from Descent into Avernus make me nervous. The World Axis worked for D&D4 because they started from scratch. If they're going to trundle out the old branding just to gut it, I'll be very disappointed.

It sure looked like they learned this lesson from what happened with the Forgotten Realms; I hope that was not a fluke. These settings need updates, not reboots.
 
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silentdante

Villager
weird thing, has anyone noticed even though he was scheduled, Mike Mearls has not been on the stream as far as i have seen.

i dont know what the controversy was/is with him, but is it really that bad? his name was on the reveal part of today and no him.
looking now, he is no where on the page, so maybe i imagined it? or he just got removed like some of the DCA people?
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
weird thing, has anyone noticed even though he was scheduled, Mike Mearls has not been on the stream as far as i have seen.

i dont know what the controversy was/is with him, but is it really that bad? his name was on the reveal part of today and no him.
looking now, he is no where on the page, so maybe i imagined it? or he just got removed like some of the DCA people?
Mearls wasn't listed on the main schedule on the WotC page. If he was listed appearing anywhere else, I haven't seen it. As far as controversy, he's been pretty radio silent since his initial statement following the accusations against Zak S. of sexual abuse from his former partners. Similarly, the cast of Dice, Camera, Action is noticeably absent from the rather large cast of D&D streamers for the show.
 
There are quite a few more videos from D&D Beyond on BG: DtA (do I get credit for being the first to use the abbreviation?). Some interesting stuff in these, especially in the "Friends and Fiends" one. One demon lord that wasn't in OotA or in MtoF gets a couple of mentions in the videos (it would be nice to see him get statted up!), as well as at least one celestial creature that will be getting its official introduction to 5e...
 

silentdante

Villager
Mearls wasn't listed on the main schedule on the WotC page. If he was listed appearing anywhere else, I haven't seen it. As far as controversy, he's been pretty radio silent since his initial statement following the accusations against Zak S. of sexual abuse from his former partners. Similarly, the cast of Dice, Camera, Action is noticeably absent from the rather large cast of D&D streamers for the show.
yeah i think you are right, i must have imagined him being there, as the way back machine only shows the 2 DCA people who are part of that controversy but no Mearls anywhere.

thanks! great coverage too, thank you for doing it.
 

Abstruse

Adventurer
There are quite a few more videos from D&D Beyond on BG: DtA (do I get credit for being the first to use the abbreviation?).
Nope, I did BG : DTA earlier this thread...I just got caught by the auto-emote feature of the site that turns the colon-D into :D so it looks like BG:DTA.
 

MonsterEnvy

Adventurer
Mearls wasn't listed on the main schedule on the WotC page. If he was listed appearing anywhere else, I haven't seen it. As far as controversy, he's been pretty radio silent since his initial statement following the accusations against Zak S. of sexual abuse from his former partners. Similarly, the cast of Dice, Camera, Action is noticeably absent from the rather large cast of D&D streamers for the show.
Anna is there.
 

ssvegeta555

Explorer
Meh, the only thing that even peaked my interest is the Essentials starter set (not sure why they used Essentials again but whatever) and only because of the 1 on 1 variant rules. I'd like to see how that works and if it's something that can be used for all levels of play. :)
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
"Hated with the heat of nine suns"? That's more hyperbolic than the warmly received claim.
Yeah I was trying to be funny. And I’m not sure there’s been many (any?) positive reviews of that starter set.

Sorry to hear you're not a fan, but a lot of others are - Curse of Strahd, which won the ENNIE for Best Adventure in 2016 (and Best Cover/Art, and runner-up for Best Product), was his project. Sure it was an adaptation of I6: Ravenloft, but drastically expanded I6 for 5E. Given his bibliography of content produced, including a majority of the Shackled City adventure path (also an ENNIE award winner), I'm looking forward to the Essentials Kit. I'm not sure what's soured you on his work, but it might be worth giving some of his other products a look.
I believe he has his hand in pretty much every product so far? I think he’s the one who likes to inject silliness into the products? My players bring enough of that without WotC adding more.

I dunno, I think I’m just burnt out on WotC adventures, they just don’t work for me I’m finding. Time to go it alone.
 
I dunno, I think I’m just burnt out on WotC adventures, they just don’t work for me I’m finding. Time to go it alone.
I find I don't get much use out of the "Adventure Path" format (for which I blame Paizo). I prefer to use my own story arc for a campaign. What I do find useful are short adventures, dungeons and locations that I can drop into a campaign to save me doing all the work.
 

Parmandur

Legend
I find I don't get much use out of the "Adventure Path" format (for which I blame Paizo). I prefer to use my own story arc for a campaign. What I do find useful are short adventures, dungeons and locations that I can drop into a campaign to save me doing all the work.
#lifehack: you can do that by cannibalising the APs: Perkins has basically said he plans them out for such a purpose.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
#lifehack: you can do that by cannibalising the APs: Perkins has basically said he plans them out for such a purpose.
This. You can pretty much cut and paste any bit from any of the 5e campaigns. Need a giant lair? Grab one from SKT. Need a castle in a swamp? Use Castle Naerytar from HotDQ. Need a wizard's tower in a city? Use Kolat Towers from W: DH. And so on.
 
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This. You can pretty much cut and paste any bit from any of the 5e campaigns. Need a giant lair? Grab one from SKT. Need a castle in a swamp? Use Castle Naerytar from HotDQ. Need a wizard's tower in a city? Use Kolat Towers from W:DH. And so on.
I was about to mention SKT myself, but I'll put in a nod to Dungeon of the Mad Mage instead - virtually every level could easily be removed individually and used as a stand-alone adventure. Druid grove? Dwarven ruin? Evil Hogwarts? Githyanki base? Cursed mansion? All those and more are available!
 

briggart

Explorer
"D&D Essentials," huh? Really, guys? Too soon. In fact, it will never not be too soon. Just remove that word from the branding lexicon now. Maybe set it on fire, maybe pee on the ashes. Better safe than sorry.
well, urine+ash is a pretty good fertilizer, so ... :D
 

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