It’s no spoiler to point out that the new Dungeons & Dragons campaign book, Descent Into Avernus, leads a party of heroes from the mean streets of Baldur’s Gate directly into the first layer of Hell itself.
But how does it happen? And what happens when we get there? I want to avoid anything that spoils the story, but still give you a sense of whether the new expansion is a worthy experience for your table.
TL;DR: Yes. Yes it is.
Who it isn’t for: a group that wants pure, high fantasy D&D as the focus of its adventuring experience. Descent Into Avernus deviates from the classical fantasy tropes and instead embraces a Hell that invokes metal album covers and Mad Max vibes. War machines powered by souls roam this battlefield, and your group will have reason to get involved in these shenanigans.
There will not be green and pleasant lands to tromp through. There will not be relaxing taverns to rest in. Good will not necessarily triumph at the end of the day.
When you read this book, it feels like a D&D creative team that is really enjoying its work. And they are delivering adventure books that are utterly epic in proportion.
The current model of campaign design gives us stories that are for characters starting from the ground floor and heading off on journeys that have world shaping consequences. Descent Into Avernus is an exemplar of this model. It says it is for characters starting at first level and takes them on a journey through to level 13.
When you think of traditional ideas of visiting other planes, it is usually treated as the stuff of high level campaigning. Here, it doesn’t take long to find your character out of its depth in the middle of the blood war between devils and demons. And being out of one’s depth in combat terms means characters need to think smart and use their wits to not die. Always a worthy challenge.
Ahead of the launch, folks like Chris Perkins pointed out that there was a lot of work put into making you really feel like you’re in Hell. That everyone in Hell is, well, in their own Hell of sorts, so the scene setting does a lot of work to ensure you know your character is not having a nice time. But there’s a very important distinction here. One that means “my character is in Hell and having a rotten time” and “I, the player, am having a great time dealing with my character being in Hell” are all part of the experience.
The stakes in this storyline are vast. I am curious to see in the D&D canon after this campaign has been around for a while whether official lore will change to accommodate what is suggested by this story. Outcomes will vary based on what your party does, but with stakes like these it’ll be fun to see whether the lore keepers declare one outcome or another as having eventuated.
Early on I did hold some concern that this campaign might not suit younger players. But this feels like a fun conceptual space that has gross demonic and devilish things happening but can be delivered in a way that gives it all a laugh and a gross out without being nightmarish. Barovia is a far more troubling place for younger minds that this version of Hell.
The inclusion of deeper detailing of the city of Baldur’s Gate is great fodder for any Forgotten Realms campaign, as is the core mapping and detailing of the inhabitants of Avernus. If you never run this as a full fledged campaign, your table could still be a lot richer for having the source material available. There is a menagerie of characters and monsters here that would slot in nicely whatever kind of game you happen to run – as long as you’re ready for a side order of Hell to slot them into.
Descent Into Avernus is a bargain with the devils you should sign up for. No blood required.
We chat to the DM and Vinnie from liveplay D&D podcast “I Speak Giant” about the show. Where it started, how it has evolved, what it’s been like working with Wizards of the Coast on the Avernus preview campaign, and we even dig deep into their personal histories playing RPGs for the first time.
Going back to where it all began can bring with it a lot of very specific vibes someone is looking for to get their nostagia trip just right. So it’ll be exciting for some, anxiety inducing for others, to hear that Blizzard is opening a chance to secure your perfect character name before WoW Classic launch day.
In a post to the WoW Classic forums, Community Manager Bornakk announced that anyone with an active subscription or game time in World of Warcraft will be eligible to reserve up to three character names.
We will release details regarding realm names and realm types later this week so you can coordinate with your friends on where to begin your adventure. If there are high numbers of players congregating on individual realms during the name reservation/character creation process, we will post warnings about the potential for long queues on those realms, giving you time to choose alternate realms.
No build up. No hype. Just a wonderful sneaky release that means you can get it in your iPhones and iPads immediately. The best kind of surprise!
Annapurna Interactive has released the classic PlayStation 3 game ‘Journey’ for iOS. More than any other, the beautiful game is lauded as one of the greatest examples of a game that is a true art experience.
If you’ve had the pleasure, here’s a great excuse to carry it with you wherever you go, pushing it into the hands on unsuspecting doubters.
If you’ve never played it. Get it now. Then set aside a movie worth of time to play it start to finish. It’s the perfect way to play it.
There have been plenty of occasions in Fortnite’s history where hidden Battle Star have been placed in dark corners of Fortnite’s ever-changing map. The first week of Season X (yes, that’s Season 10) is no exception.
If you’re new to the race to level and tier up, you need to complete missions and challenges. Over the course of a Fortnite season, new challenges are released, and new secrets are uncovered. And all of these award precious Battle Stars, which are the primary currency when it comes to moving your Battle Tier from 1 to 100 – unlocking all the cool skins, emotes, tools and other collectibles along the way.
So it makes sense that a lot of Fortniters, especially anyone wanting to get to Tier 100 as soon as possible, will want to know where the only hidden Battle Star known so far this season is hiding.
Once you have completed your third B.R.U.T.E mission – a limited time set of challenges that ends on August 8 – you get the B.R.U.T.E squad loading screen. At first glace, it may seem like yet another awesome looking loading screen. But then it gets even more interesting when you find out that above game character X-lord, on the right side of the loading screen, there are a set of coordinates. These read: D2, D3, E2 and E3.
What could it be? Everyone’s best guess is that it reveals map coordinates, and there you will be able to find this precious prize.
The precise location of the Battle Star is directly south of the bottom left corner of The Block. Keep walking until you either see it or feel as though you’ve been walking for long enough. If that doesn’t help, here’s a video showing where you should go.
Notice there’s nothing in the video? That’s because, while we know the coordinates, so far the Battle Star has yet to appear. With just days remaining in the B.R.U.T.E challenge window… it’s got to happen soon? Right?
Don’t forget – if you miss this or you get to it in time – this will certainly not be the only Battle Star treasure for you to track down and collect. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. So keep hunting those secrets!
Seamus rounds up his thoughts from being there, as well as the mainstream media interest that blew up around the event. Plus why the haters need to calm the farm – Fortnite is an esport and it’s not going away anytime soon.
And the positives of the shift into a new phase of Fortnite esports starting just days from now with Season X.