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To Hell and Back Again
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To Hell and Back Again


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Play alone or with friends! For characters of 1st to 3rd level.

What begins as a simple job for the oddball wizard Shandalar leads to a heart-pounding romp through the fey-haunted Cloakwood and into the fiery depths of Avernus! Do you have what it takes to escape hell? And just how far will you be willing to go to return home again?

To Hell and Back Again is the perfect adventure for new players and veterans looking to experience Dungeons & Dragons in a new way! It's written as a solo adventure, where choices have gigantic consequences, but it also provides balanced rules to play with a group or a Dungeon Master as well! This 80 page adventure features:

- A heart-pounding origins story that fits perfectly as either a prequel to Descent Into Avernus, a stand-alone adventure, or into your ongoing fantasy campaign.

- Beloved characters like Lulu the hollyphant, Mad Maggie and her redcap gang, the archdevil Zariel, and many others brand new to this adventure.

- Infernal War Machines, and exciting encounters with unique stat blocks.

- Innovative Destiny and Traits mechanics that make your choices really matter.

- A ton of possible outcomes that will fuel your character's many adventures to come!

- Four gorgeous sample characters, with interactive character sheets designed to be new-player friendly so that you can jump right into the story if you'd like.

- A community survey when you finish so that you can see how your outcomes and choices compared to other players!

- A true project of the heart by D&D veterans, but first time DM's Guild creators, Kienna Shaw and Donathin Frye!

If you enjoy the adventure, please let the creators know by leaving a review! You can also get the fully interactive Fantasy Grounds version of the adventure here.

"To Hell and Back Again is one of those unique products that makes you do a double take: it has the length and depth of a massive book adventure, but the simplicity and clearness of the solo adventure mechanic." - Comic, Clerics, & Controllers [5 stars]

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Reviews (18)
Discussions (12)
Customer avatar
M A B September 07, 2021 11:20 pm UTC
Awesome adventure, lots of fun, though a crit fail on comforting Lulu had fairly far-reaching effects for a single, otherwise unimportant-looking, roll.

Question: My PCs (I used two, with the HP doubling for baddies) ended up having to fight both bosses. Is there no XP reward for those encounters? I ended up giving out XP based on their challenge ratings (scaled for small party and the fact that their HP were doubled).
Customer avatar
Donathin F September 08, 2021 4:32 pm UTC
I'm glad you enjoyed the adventure! We recommend milestone leveling when noted in the book but XP rewards work as well, using the Challenge Ratings for those final encounters. Because of the Destiny Points mechanic in the adventure, you shouldn't need to scale up the XP rewards, but you certainly can! There are several recommendations on how to adjust and re-balance characters if you take them on into other adventures in Chapter Four: What Comes Next on page 54.
Customer avatar
M A B September 10, 2021 7:13 pm UTC
Thanks for the reply. I used the milestones as written, but the boss fights were post the last milestone, and significantly challenging, so I just thought that there should be some further reward for them.

I hadn't factored in the Destiny Points, and I did end up using one in each of the two boss fights (the only points I spent in the Adventure). Of course, that meant that both my characters now have full moon PTSD, so, uh, I'm not sure that the DP really offset the difficulty. I didn't feel like either PC ended up unbalanced, and I'm not planning to do Descent, so I just left them as is (I didn't maximize HP at the milestones).
Customer avatar
Mark B February 19, 2021 9:59 pm UTC
I'm totally newb with all of this and bought this on recommendation. It looks like it's going to be a lot of fun! I was wondering if there are blank character sheets to create your own characters? Or are solo games usually done with pre-made characters? (Sorry, I'm *reaaaaaallllyyy* new.)
Customer avatar
Donathin F February 20, 2021 7:01 pm UTC
You can totally play with your own characters instead of the pre-made characters! I'd happily recommend the D&D Beyond website to create a character sheet using the rules in the introductory chapter of the adventure if you'd like to make your own. All you'll need is to keep notes of your Destiny Points and any traits you pick up as you play.
Customer avatar
Spencer E December 16, 2020 1:12 am UTC
This was a fun one!! Cant waif to see whats next!
Customer avatar
Antonio W October 11, 2020 12:03 am UTC
Make this beautiful book POD pls
Customer avatar
Donathin F October 11, 2020 10:39 pm UTC
I'd love to see it in print and think it would work very well printed! I'll keep my fingers crossed for DM's Guild selecting it for that. :)
Customer avatar
Colin D October 05, 2020 12:09 am UTC
I had a lot of fun with this!


In B79, if the PCs just keep closing to melee range and attacking, is the intent that the enemy will both do something damaging *and* retreat via Misty Step? (Normally, a creature can't cast 2 non-cantrips in a turn, and I don't see a damage dealer other than an at-will 1st level spell.)

Sorry for being oblique: trying not to spoil things unnecessarily.

Customer avatar
Donathin F October 07, 2020 3:37 pm UTC
I'm glad you enjoyed the adventure! :)

Correct! The intention with the attack in question being a listed action (and modified in a few other ways from the spell it is similar to) is that the NPC can both misty step and attack on the same turn. I'd treat the attack as more of a natural ability than as an actual spell.
Customer avatar
Sean D May 26, 2020 10:39 pm UTC
That was fantastic, absolutely loved it.
Customer avatar
Matthew I May 01, 2020 11:43 pm UTC
The style of character sheet you use is fantastic. Do you have a link to a blank version anywhere, I run a D&D club at the school I work at and the style would be brilliant in helping the kids understand how everything works!

Also, I absolutely love the adventure, I've only done the first little bit, but it's ace!
Customer avatar
Kienna S May 08, 2020 12:54 am UTC
Thank you for the kind words!
I custom designed the sheets myself for these characters in particular - but I will see if I can make a blank template at some point!
Customer avatar
kevin L April 08, 2020 10:51 am UTC
love, love ,love this adventure I bought and DMed this for a small group of 2 PCs and all three of us had an amazing time.
I'm not a very experienced DM but this was by far the easiest adventure to read and run I have ever seen, and despite that i never felt limited on what i could improve with and my players where still free to explore the material as they pleased

feel bad for not paying more, please more adventures like this, will defiantly be keeping an eye open for future content from these creators
Customer avatar
Donathin F April 17, 2020 6:16 pm UTC
We definitely hope to have the opportunity to write more adventures like this. It means a lot to us that so many folks are enjoying the adventure, and sharing it with others! It was very much a work of the heart for Kienna and myself, and we're glad to be able to provide it as Pay-What-You-Can while the world is weathering the storm of physical distancing.

Thank you for your kind words! Good luck with all of your future adventures. :)
Customer avatar
Andrew T April 01, 2020 5:45 am UTC
I am currently playing Descent Into Avernus. Does this contain any spoilers?
Customer avatar
Donathin F April 01, 2020 3:08 pm UTC
The adventure does contain light spoilers for Descent into Avernus! It's designed to be able to be used as a prequel to Descent, and during the course of the adventure you will meet Lulu the hollyphant, and possibly learn some of the history of Lulu and the Archdevil Zariel. It does not spoil any of the actual plot or events that occur in Descent, however, but does create some new hooks for characters that continue on into Descent into Avernus after finishing To Hell and Back Again.
Customer avatar
claudio A February 23, 2021 2:58 pm UTC
1. Does the character level up during the adventure? To avoid having to calibrate the matches in the "Descent into Avernus" campaign if done as a prequel
2. After this adventure, can the next campaign be started in the town of Elturel, or is it out of place?
Customer avatar
Ari T March 30, 2020 7:46 pm UTC
Hey there! I'm a first-time DM, and I would love to run this as a duet (me and a single PC). I'm wondering if y'all have any recommendations for how best to tweak the solo set-up for that purpose?

I love the story, and I cannot wait to play through this!
Customer avatar
Donathin F March 31, 2020 3:42 pm UTC
There are a few suggestions in the opening chapter, before the adventure, that might help you! Overall, I recommend you read the text as written, paraphrasing as necessary so that it makes sense for you and the other player. Offer your player the options presented in the story, but feel free to narrate other moments as well: conversations between the player's character and non-player characters like Lulu and Shandalar, descriptions of scenery, the intensity of the action and combat scenes!

Think of the rest as a guideline, and you get to fill in the moments unwritten, especially when the dice are rolled.

I hope you have fun! Let us know how it goes. :)
Customer avatar
Ned P October 26, 2019 9:37 pm UTC
About how long does it take to complete the adventure?
Customer avatar
Donathin F October 27, 2019 1:08 pm UTC
One playthrough tends to be 2-5 hours, depending on your reading speed and whether or not you play alone or with a group!
Customer avatar
5E Solo G October 06, 2019 10:38 pm UTC
Hi there, what level is this for?
Customer avatar
Kienna S October 07, 2019 2:48 pm UTC
It runs adventurers from level 1 to level 3!
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File Last Updated:
September 22, 2019
This title was added to our catalog on September 09, 2019.