The Best Books For Descent into Avernus

The cover of Descent Into Avernus

Descent into Avernus is a harrowing journey from the cobblestone alleys of Baldur’s Gate to the fiery depths of Hell itself. This Dungeons & Dragons campaign offers a unique blend of urban intrigue and cosmic warfare, with a sinister plot that begins in the shadows of Baldur’s Gate. Players find themselves on a collision course with destiny, embarking on a quest that will lead them into the heart of the Blood War—the eternal battle between devils and demons raging in the infernal realm of Avernus.

The Road to Hell

Descent into Avernus opens with the players at the center of a diabolical plot that threatens not just Baldur’s Gate but the very fabric of the Sword Coast. The journey transitions from the familiar to the fantastical as the heroes traverse the River Styx, entering Avernus, where the ash-choked sky and the blood-soaked fields bear witness to the unending conflict of the Blood War.

The stakes in Descent into Avernus are as high as they come, with infernal powers looming over the mortal world. Players are embroiled in a cosmic struggle that tests their convictions, challenges their morality, and asks the ultimate question: what are they willing to sacrifice for the greater good? Amidst the corruption and temptation of Hell, heroes must navigate a path that could lead to salvation or damnation, not just for themselves but for the realms they’ve sworn to protect.

Exploring the Themes

In Descent into Avernus, the DM’s role is pivotal in bringing the bleak and war-torn landscape of Avernus to life, presenting challenges that test the party’s resolve, morality, and willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good. The campaign guide equips Dungeon Masters with a rich tapestry of lore, detailing the fiendish politics of Hell, the tragic histories of its denizens, and the eternal conflict that is the Blood War.

Descent into Avernus invites players to explore profound and often unsettling questions about the nature of evil and the possibility of redemption. The campaign offers a canvas on which the moral complexities of the Blood War come to life. Through encounters with devils, demons, and the damned souls ensnared in Hell’s infernal bureaucracy, players are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and the permeable line between good and evil.

Devils in Avernus are entities with their own codes, desires, and offers of tempting deals. These interactions challenge parties to consider the costs of power, the value of a soul, and whether redemption is possible for beings steeped in corruption. Similarly, the souls trapped within Hell’s machinations humanize the infernal landscape, presenting stories of loss, regret, and the hope for salvation. Through these narratives, Descent into Avernus probes the impact of choice, not just on the material plane but in the cosmic balance of the universe.

Influence of Classic Lore

Descent into Avernus draws upon decades of D&D lore to enrich its narrative. The campaign pays homage to iconic figures and locations, weaving them into the fabric of its story. The influence of the archdevil Asmodeus looms large, his machinations echoing through the layers of Hell and hinting at the depth of the game’s mythos. The lore surrounding the Blood War, the eternal conflict between devils and demons, serves as a pivotal backdrop, influencing the landscape, politics, and potential allies or enemies the party may encounter.

This campaign is a bridge between the past and present of D&D, inviting veterans and newcomers alike to delve into a world where the legends of old are very much alive and kicking. Through nods to classic adventures, figures, and the intricate lore of the Blood War, Descent into Avernus offers a celebration of the Dungeons & Dragons universe.

Baldur’s Gate: A Gazetteer

Within the pages of Descent into Avernus lies a comprehensive guide to one of the most iconic locations in the Forgotten Realms: Baldur’s Gate. This bustling city, teeming with political intrigue, hidden danger, and endless opportunity, serves as the starting point for the adventurers’ descent into the fiery depths of Avernus. The gazetteer provided in the campaign offers a gateway into the a rich urban backdrop against which their stories can unfold.

The gazetteer paints a vivid picture of the city’s districts, the intricate web of politics, the numerous guilds and factions, military and mercenary organizations, and the city’s dark underbelly. It sets up Baldur’s Gate as a gateway to adventure, offering Dungeon Masters the tools to bring the city to life. It’s a living, breathing entity that reacts to the players’ actions and setting the stage for a journey that will lead players from its cobblestone streets to the gates of Hell.

Descent into Avernus’ Unique Gameplay Elements

Descent into Avernus elevates the traditional Dungeons & Dragons campaign by introducing gameplay elements unique to the campaign. Among these are the infernal war machines, roaring across the desolate plains of Avernus. These towering constructs of metal and mayhem are veritable fortresses on wheels, equipped for the harsh landscape of the first layer of Hell. Players will find themselves engaging in Mad Max-styled high-octane chases and battles against other infernal contraptions as they explore the vast, scarred wasteland.

The campaign also offers mechanics for infernal contracts, offer tempting powers or crucial information at a price, often one that is not fully understood until the terms come due. Navigating these deals requires wit, caution, and a deep understanding of the infernal legalese, adding a layer of psychological warfare to the physical battles that rage across Avernus.

Core Adventure Books

Embark on a journey to the first layer of Hell with the Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, the core adventure book that serves as your gateway into the fiery depths of Avernus. This campaign adventure sets the stage for an epic descent, where heroes will confront the forces of evil in a battle for the fate of the Forgotten Realms.

For those adventurers seeking even more depth and challenge from their journey into Avernus, Chains of Asmodeus offers an expanded experience that delves deeper into the lore, conflicts, and landscapes of the first layer of Hell. This supplementary material enriches the core adventure with additional quests, encounters, and secrets that unveil more of Avernus’s infernal wonders and horrors.

Expanding Descent into Avernus

For Dungeon Masters looking to deepen the narrative and add layers to this infernal adventure, several resources are available to enhance the core experience:

  • Complete DM’s Bundle is a comprehensive package containing everything needed for DMs to run Descent into Avernus, including maps, guides, cheat sheets, extra adventures, and more. It’s designed to streamline preparation and enhance engagement for both DMs and players.
  • Tessa Presents 90 Maps for Descent into Avernus provides detailed maps that visualize all the key locations in every chapter from the book, starting with Baldurs Gate and taking you all the way through to the depths of Avernus. These maps are perfect for planning encounters and ensuring players remain immersed in the vivid setting of the campaign.
  • Treasures of Avernus is a collection of magic items found in the battlefields of the Blood War. This contains 40 new Avernus themed items including armour, weapons, and wondrous items.
  • Monster Loot – Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus enhances your encounters with unique loot drops for the campaign’s myriad fiends and foes. It adds an extra layer of depth to combat and exploration, rewarding players with items that reflect the hellish environment they brave.

These resources collectively offer Dungeon Masters a wealth of material to enrich the Descent into Avernus experience, making each foray into Hell a unique and unforgettable adventure.

Allies in Hell: NPCs and Sidekicks

Navigating the treacherous landscapes of Avernus and the complex politics of Hell requires more than just bravery and might; it demands allies, both powerful and cunning. The following resources provide Dungeon Masters with an array of NPCs and sidekicks, designed to enrich the narrative and party dynamics of the Descent into Avernus campaign.

  • Warlords of Avernus adds 4 new warlords that rule over the blasted landscapes of Hell. This resource is invaluable for DMs seeking to add extra adversaries in the power struggles that define Avernus. Each warlord comes with a write up, statblocks, and forces at their disposal making them potential allies or formidable foes. Incorporating these characters can significantly enrich the campaign’s dynamics, offering players complex relationships to navigate and potentially shift the balance of power in Hell.
  • Adventure Sidekicks: Descent into Avernus introduces a collection of sidekicks tailored specifically for the Descent into Avernus campaign. These sidekicks offer unique abilities, perspectives, and personal stakes in the outcome of the adventure. They provide not only additional support in combat but also opportunities for deeper roleplaying and story development.

Utilizing these resources allows Dungeon Masters to craft a more dynamic and immersive experience in the Descent into Avernus campaign, offering players a diverse array of interactions and relationships to explore as they navigate the dangers of Hell.

Key Locations for Descent into Avernus

The journey into Avernus is not just a path through the infernal landscape. To fully realize the campaign world, these key locations and supplements will provide depth and context to your campaign.

  • Elminster’s Candlekeep Companion sets the stage before the descent, inviting adventurers to Candlekeep, the fortress of knowledge. This resource is essential for Dungeon Masters looking to weave in secrets, and magical mysteries that can aid the party on their journey. Candlekeep offers quests, lore, and artifacts that tie directly into the fabric of Avernus. Expanding this iconic library provides players with tools and knowledge that will serve them in the trials ahead.
  • Hellturel delves into the lore and tragedy of Elturel’s fall into Avernus, the pivotal event that sets the campaign in motion. This supplement offers DMs a detailed account of Elturel’s history, its fall, and the current state of its inhabitants. Providing context and adventure hooks, Hellturel enriches the narrative, grounding the players’ mission in a struggle for salvation and redemption.
  • Taverns, Inns, and Taprooms In Hell introduces three hellish establishments that offer a moment of respite. In the bleakness of Hell, these taverns and inns become unlikely focal points of relative safety, rumors, and plot hooks. Each establishment comes with its backstory, patrons, and potential quests, turning them into more than just places to rest.

Utilizing these resources, Dungeon Masters can use these key locations to create a rich and complex landscape to explore.

Additional Hellish Adventures

For Dungeon Masters seeking to expand the narrative and gameplay possibilities of Descent into Avernus, a suite of supplements offers new quests, intriguing locations, and unique challenges. These additional resources ensure that every journey into Hell is as rich and varied as the Nine Hells themselves.

  • Baldur’s Gate Notice Boards serves as a perfect preamble to the descent, with a collection of quests and adventures that can be undertaken in the streets of Baldur’s Gate. This supplement enriches the starting city with vibrant life, offering tasks that range from the mundane to the bizarre. These notice boards not only provide immediate hooks for adventure but also set the tone for a world teetering on the brink of chaos. They’re an excellent way for DMs to introduce the themes of Descent into Avernus while still within the relative safety of Baldur’s Gate.
  • The Fall of Elturel delves deeper into the backstory and adventure hooks related to Elturel’s tragic descent into Avernus. This supplement provides Dungeon Masters with detailed lore, key figures, and the sequence of events that led to the city’s fall. By integrating The Fall of Elturel into the campaign, DMs can offer players a more nuanced understanding of the stakes at play, enhancing the emotional and narrative depth of their adventure.
  • To Hell and Back Again is an adventure that can be seamlessly woven into the main campaign or played as a standalone quest. To Hell and Back Again offers a simple job that leads into the fiery depths of Avernus. It introduce new locations, formidable foes, and opportunities for heroism that lead into Descent into Avernus.

By incorporating these additional hellish adventures, Dungeon Masters can craft a campaign experience that is both expansive and deeply personal. From the streets of Baldur’s Gate to the depths of Hell, each supplement adds texture to the adventure.

More Hellish Encounters

As the adventure unfolds in Descent into Avernus, Dungeon Masters have the opportunity to enhance the journey with an array of challenging and thematic encounters. To aid in this endeavor, these supplements promise to elevate the campaign’s intensity.

  • Deeper Descent into Avernus offers a collection of 21 encounters specifically designed to complement the existing campaign narrative. This resource presents Dungeon Masters with a variety of scenarios and statblocks crafted to reflect the perilous and unpredictable nature of Avernus.
  • Encounters in Avernus further expands the campaign’s scope with 60 short encounters that can be seamlessly integrated into any session. This supplement is perfect for Dungeon Masters looking to add depth to the exploration of Avernus. Each encounter comes with detailed descriptions making it easy for DMs to adapt them to their campaign’s needs.
  • Infernal Encounters contains 70 ready-to-use, Adventurers League-compatible encounters that promise to bring the fiery depths of Hell to life. The encounters are versatile enough to be used as main plot points, side quests, or unexpected twists, providing DMs with the flexibility to tailor the campaign to their group’s interests.

Together, these supplements serve as invaluable resources for Dungeon Masters aiming to create a Descent into Avernus campaign filled with extra encounters and challenges. The road through Hell is fraught with danger, but with the right encounters, it can also be an epic adventure that is richly rewarding.


Descent into Avernus offers a thrilling journey through the infernal landscapes of Hell. This campaign is not just a descent in the literal sense but a delve into the complexities of morality, power, and the consequences of one’s choices. This plethora of resources stands ready to enrich their experience, ensuring that every moment in Avernus is as immersive and impactful as possible.

As you prepare to guide your players through the depths of Hell, remember that Descent into Avernus is rich with opportunities to tell incredible stories beyond the main campaign plot. We encourage Dungeon Masters and players alike to explore these resources, each designed to enhance your journey through Avernus. With the right preparation, creativity, and a willingness to embrace the infernal chaos, your adventure in Hell will be as unforgettable as it is unforgiving. Embrace the descent, and let your story unfold in the fires of Avernus.

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