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Murder in Baldur's Gate (5e) $17.99
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Greg T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/08/2019 21:10:10

A superb product - D&D at its best.

Murder in Baldur's Gate is a fantastic start to Dungeons & Dragons' 5th Edition, and remains one of the best adventures AND best campaign supplements ever published by TSR or Wizards. It contains a full-fledged fast-paced low-level campaign in the city of Baldur's Gate that combines a political sandbox with a constant stream of high-stakes events. It engages with a surprisingly political theme - class warfare - with genuine teeth. It's the sort of story where, by design, players can't interact with everything and are constantly asked to make choices about what's important to them. The finale has wide-reaching consequences for the Forgotten Realms. It's absolutely my dream format for a D&D adventure. Plus, players familiar with the Baldur's Gate videogames will appreciate regular tasteful callbacks, while those who are not won't even notice them.

Combined with that, you get an exhaustive guide to the city of Baldur's Gate and surrounds, sufficient to run a year's worth of games. There's more useful detail and compelling plot hooks here in this one adventure than there was in the entirety of the 4th Edition Forgotten Realms material. It is absolutely a worthy purchase as a setting book even if you have no intention of running the adventure. The whole thing is in full colour, and dotted with maps, character portraits, and just a really attractive presentation throughout.

The flaws are relatively few. The largest is that the adventure all but forces players to take sides with one of three factions, each of whom are equally and obviously villainous, and players are likely to resist this railroading. The second note is not really a flaw, but it's worth saying this isn't a play-by-play adventure - DMs will have to do a lot of creativity on the fly around and between the adventure content to support the player freedom that this sort of sandbox promotes, and therefore more experienced DMs will get more out of this product. Third, it's an adventure that requires the players to fail to save everyone and to be less than perfectly heroic for the plot to advance, and that may irritate some players. And fourth, this product was created before the Monster Manual and PHB were settled, and therefore the combat encounters are almost entirely limited to generic non-spellcasting humanoids - DMs will need to do a little extra work to keep combat interesting for a combat-heavy party.

The original physical edition came with one of the most gorgeous DM's screens ever produced for D&D, and while the graphics are included in this purchase sadly the production values of the original item are not. But to make up for that, the DriveThru release comes conveniently packaged with all the bonus content that Wizards released online for this adventure, including an expanded opening encounter, additional events, and monster conversions for 3rd and 4th Edition.

All told this is a must-have for 5th Edition collectors, or for anyone interested in great D&D adventure design. Highly recommended, from someone who's rarely generous towards Wizards products.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Murder in Baldur's Gate (5e)
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