DM’s resources for Chapter 3: Avernus out now (and a free map!)

Just a quick update to let you know that our DM’s resources for Chapter 3 of Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus have been published on the DM’s Guild! It’s our biggest DM’s resources yet, covering more than 70 pages in the campaign book. The download includes:

  • Running Chapter 3. An overview of Chapter 3, including a thorough look at the chapter’s pacing with advice on how to handle travel, encounters, rests and much more.
  • Fort Knucklebone. Thoughts and ideas that will help you improve the various encounters at Fort Knucklebone and make the party’s stay at Mad Maggie’s even more memorable.
  • Quest for the Sword. A brief look at the Quest for the Sword, including ideas on how you can change the structure to give your players more options and agency, advice on how to handle Haruman’s Hill and the Hellwasp Nest, as well as a new monster: the Hellwasp Queen!
  • Path of Demons and Path of Devils. A complete walkthrough of the two paths to the Bleeding Citadel, offering ideas on how to run, enhance or even remove various encounters to better fit your campaign.
  • Avernus Cheatsheet. A one-page cheetsheet invaluable to any traveler in Avernus, giving you abbreviated rules for traveling in Avernus, as well as lists of devils, warlords and a complete rundown of the Nine Hells and their rulers.
  • Monster Stat Blocks. Monster stat blocks covering every foe in the chapter, neatly arranged together on pages, so you don’t have to flip through several books when running encounters.
  • 7 Encounter Maps. Fully colored and in both DM’s and player versions, these seven maps showing the plains of Avernus, Bel’s Forge, Crypt of the Hellriders, the Bone Brambles, the Hellwasp Nest, a Styx Watchtower and a Wrecked Flying Fortress are primed for digital tabletop.

With the amount of work put into these DM’s resources, we’re happy we can continue to set a low price of just 3.99$ at launch (although we can’t say for sure that the price won’t increase later). But! We know that not everyone has the dollars to spare, so here’s one of the battlemaps (Crypt of the Hellriders in both DM’s and player versions!) from the download for the low cost of FREE! Hope you enjoy – and have fun in hell!

Ghosts of Saltmarsh in the Forgotten Realms (free maps!)

In our last blogpost, we discussed making WotC’s newest adventure series Ghosts of Saltmarsh into a full campaign. It’s a topic that deserves more attention – and a more detailed look – but before we get further into that, I wanted to take a detour and talk about putting Ghosts of Saltmarsh in the Forgotten Realms.

We’ve just published DM’s Resources for Danger at Dunwater, our second installment of DM’s Resources for Ghosts of Saltmarsh. In it – spoilers ahead! – the players begin exploring the region around Saltmarsh, as they are sent to investigate a lizardfolk lair in the nearby marshes. Since we’ve moved the campaign to the Forgotten Realms, a new map was needed – which also got me thinking about Forgotten Realms in general.

Sword Coast map with Saltmarsh included. Original map by Mike Schley.

Hate it or love it, Forgotten Realms has so far been the primary campaign setting for 5th edition D&D. And while I understand the criticisms that Forgotten Realms is sometimes met with – mostly that it’s a pretty generic, medieval-style setting, inspired heavily by the tropes in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth – I can’t help but love it anyway.

Perhaps it’s because the Avatar-novels was what got me into D&D to begin with – and the fact that I’ve since read nearly all the Forgotten Realms-novels. Or maybe it’s because the setting is generic, allowing me to decide which quirky and unique elements to introduce when I want to give a campaign a particular flavor. It’s probably a combination of both – using a world with a rich and Google-able lore, that is simultaneously easy to understand because it is built on old traditions, seems to be the perfect fit for me.

I can’t say too much about Greyhawk, because I’ve never played a game set in it, but as far as I can tell, it’s a pretty generic setting as well. So for me, it simply becomes a choice between a setting I know and understand, and one that I don’t. That’s an easy enough choice for me – so we’re moving to the Forgotten Realms!

Overall, moving Ghosts of Saltmarsh to the Forgotten Realms is remarkably easy. I’ve gone into more depth with this in our first DM’s Resources for The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, but to quickly summarize, most of the work is done by simply changing the three primary factions.

  • The Traditionalists remain as they are; local people who are wary of outsiders.
  • The Loyalists are instead members of the Lord’s Alliance, called upon by Saltmarsh to protect the town when giants were rampaging the North (during the events of Storm King’s Thunder) and who are now working to make a proper harbor city out of the backwater town (bringing with them unwanted taxes and laws against smuggling).
  • The Scarlet Brotherhood are the Zhentarim, eager to reap the profits of Saltmarsh’ growth, by taking control of the Town Council.

Here and there you’ll have to change some minor stuff (such as replacing the Sea Princes with the pirate-controlled city of Luskan, when they’re mentioned), but simply changing the factions will get you far. But there’s one thing we still need – maps! Luckily, Mike Schley (check out his amazing work here: https://prints.mikeschley.com/) has made some huge maps for the Sword Coast, where we can easily fit Saltmarsh in.

A Mere of Dead Men-map showing Saltmarsh and surrounding adventure locations.

Inspired by redditor /u/murganis, who’s made his own maps, showing Saltmarsh in the Forgotten Realms, and the suggestions given in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh book, I’ve added Saltmarsh to Mike Schley’s maps. These are featured in both a larger Sword Coast-version, as well as a Mere of Dead Men-version, that shows the adventure sites described in chapter 2, 3, and 6. These maps are, off course, completely free, as they are only remakes of maps provided for free to the community by Mike Schley and WotC. You’ll find a full-size gallery with all versions at the bottom of the post.

For maps showing the insides of the adventure locations – the Haunted House and the Sea Ghost, as well as the Lizardfolk Lair – check out our DM’s Resources for The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and Danger at Dunwater respectively. And stay tuned for the next post, where we’ll talk more about making a proper campaign out of Ghosts of Saltmarsh!

Waterdeep Dock Ward Map

This encounter map isn’t from the encounter chain in Chapter 4: Dragon Season of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, but is instead a map showing Waterdeep’s Dock Ward (or another ward, if you crop off the water). Perfect for running one of those urban encounters you never plan for, but that always happen anyway, when your players insult a local crime lord, resist arrest, or whatever they did to start a fight in the street this time.

If you’re looking for more city encounter maps or street encounter maps like this urban encounter map, check out our newest products on the Zhentarim faction missions. In our product for the first Zhentarim faction mission, ‘Hatred Surfacing’, you’ll find a night version of this map. In our product for the second mission, ‘Deadly Delivery’, you’ll find a map for the Trades’ Ward, and finally you’ll get both the Night Dock Ward Encounter Map and a map showing the Shard Shunners’ base in the sewers in our third product, ‘Shard Shunners’, that details the third Zhentarim faction mission.

Anyway, enjoy –  and let us know in the comments below, if there’s something you’d like us to look at next!

Dock Ward Day

 

Waterdeep Dragon Heist – Converted Windmill

Time has come for another map for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. This time it’s the map for Encounter 10 of Chapter 4: Dragon Season: Converted Windmill. 

Credit to Mike Schley’s Schleyscapes for some of the objects used in this map. 

Find the rest of our free maps for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist here and our other resources for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist at the DM’s Guild.

Enjoy!

DM’s version:

Encounter 10 - Converted Windmill 34x25 (DMs)
Players’ version:
Encounter 10 - Converted Windmill 34x25 (players)

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – Old Tower

After a brief hiatus, here’s another encounter map for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. It’s the map for Encounter 7 of Chapter 4: Dragon Season. Old Tower is the setting for up to four different encounters, depending on what season you’re playing through. 

Credit to Mike Schley’s Schleyscapes for some of the objects used in this map. 

Find the rest of our free maps for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist here and our other resources for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist at the DM’s Guild.

Enjoy!

DM’s Version
Player’s Version

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – Cellar Complex

Another encounter map for Chapter 4 of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist. This time it’s Encounter 9: Cellar Complex. Once again made using Mike Schley’s Schleyscapes.

Find the rest of our free maps for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist here and our other resources for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist at the DM’s Guild.

Enjoy!

Waterdeep: Dragon Heist – Vault of Dragons

As promised, another map for Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, made with tools from Mike Schley’s Schleyscapes. This time we’re going straight for the crown jewel: the Vault of Dragons.

Vault of the Dragon

You can find both player and DM’s versions of the map here. Be aware – they’re a bit larger than usual, so you might have to scale them down a bit.

We’ll try to get more up for the encounter chains as soon as possible, so stay tuned.

Don’t forget to check out our DM’s Resources on the DM’s Guild: