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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > August 2019 (#33) > To Hell with it

To Hell with it

From the bloodstained streets of Baldur’s Gate to Hell itself, Dungeons & Dragons’ next adventure is its most infernal yet. Chris Perkins drags us into Avernus


Main image by Daarken, all images courtesy of Wizards of the Coast

What does a chicken from the depths of Hell taste like? Venture into the first layer of Dungeons & Dragons’ Nine Hells and you might come across the common fowl’s abyssal cousin, which in Descent into Avernus can become familiars or food. Principal story designer Chris Perkins accepts that some players will immediately spark up a fireball barbecue, just to see how the demonic equivalent of a cheeky Nando’s goes down.

“We actually have talked about that in the adventure, because it’s going to come up!” he laughs.

Roasting chickens is one of the lesser evils going on in Avernus, which properly returns D&D to the Nine Hells for the first time since the fantasy RPG’s second edition almost two decades ago.

“We haven’t really done an outer-planer adventure for Fifth Edition yet, and we haven’t done a Hell adventure in a hell of a long time, since the Planescape days,” Perkins says. “So for us it was an opportunity to finally kind of pay off a promise that eventually we would go to the outer planes and visit them to some extent.”

Avernus also sees D&D head back to one of its most iconic cities, Baldur’s Gate, the backdrop for the seminal nineties computer games of the same name. It was the green light for Baldur’s Gate III, the first numbered entry in the series since 2000, that inspired the tabletop RPG’s team to return to the setting for the first time since Murder in Baldur’s Gate, a 2013 bridge adventure released between Fourth and Fifth Edition.

“Larian [Studios], who are doing Baldur’s Gate III, are huge D&D goobs,” Perkins says. “When they got on board to do a D&D story, we felt it was our imperative to tie our big story into Baldur’s Gate as well.”

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About Tabletop Gaming

Dungeons & Dragons: Descent into Avernus: Ahead of the fantasy RPG’s momentous journey into the depths of the Nine Hells in this year’s Descent into Avernus adventure, principal story designer Chris Perkins tells us about returning to Baldur’s Gate, surviving the Blood War and taking inspiration from Mad Max: Fury Road. Pathfinder: Second Edition: A fantasy roleplaying giant in its own right, Pathfinder’s second edition brings over a decade of changes and stories to the RPG for players new and old. Director of game design Jason Bulmahn runs us through everything you need to know. Chris Spivey: The roleplaying designer speaks to us about confronting racism in his acclaimed Lovecraftian RPG Harlem Unbound and upcoming western Haunted West. Die: Kieron Gillen tells us about his ‘goth Jumanji’ comic book for roleplaying fans – and the real RPG it spawned. Undaunted: Normandy: David Thompson and Trevor Benjamin follow up their acclaimed War Chest with an innovative blend of deckbuilding and tactical wargaming set during World War II. Games for kids: As the summer holidays begin, we run through the perfect games to enjoy with younger players – and older players, too. How We Made: Viticulture: Jamey Stegmaier and Alan Stone pop open the cork on their winemaking strategy hit. Reviews: Villainous: Wicked to the Core Proving Grounds The Expanse RPG Roll for Adventure Patchwork Doodle Blackout: Hong Kong Slide Quest + more!