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Dungeons & Dragons’ next chapter is ‘D&D meets Mad Max: Fury Road’

Go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect 200 gold pieces.

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Cover art for D&D’s Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus. Archdevil Zariel reaches for her sword—a reminder of her angelic origins—as her evil henchman Haruman follows her into damnation. Wizards of the Coast
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Over the weekend the team from Wizards of the Coast hosted its annual Dungeons & Dragons live-streaming event. Called D&D: The Descent, it was an elaborate series of shows that included new product reveals and an extremely metal rock concert. You can watch an archive of the opening ceremonies on YouTube, but the big news is that the franchise is going straight to hell.

The next epic adventure to be published for the fifth edition of D&D is called Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, due out Sept. 17. According to the official product description, the 256-page module will take players from level one all the way up to level 13. Most importantly, it takes fresh-face characters far outside of Faerûn’s Material Plane.

“We’ve waited long enough,” said D&D’s principal narrative designer, Chris Perkins, during the opening ceremonies. “It’s time to get off the Material Plane, and hell seemed like the best place to start.”

“It’s timely,” he continued, to nervous chuckles from the assembled audience. “The alternative is reality,” rejoined game designer Kate Welch.

Jeremy Crawford, lead rules designer, said that players will be thrust into the middle of the Blood War. First teased in Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, it’s a millenia-long conflict between devils and demons. The narrative will explore lawful evil and chaotic evil characters in detail, and give adventuring parties access to massive rolling vehicles called infernal war machines.

“It’s Dungeons & Dragons meets Mad Max: Fury Road,” said Perkins.

Additionally, the team at Wizards of the Coast is revising D&D’s boxed set for new players. The D&D Essentials Kit. Retailing for $24.99, it will include a newly-designed rulebook as well as a new adventure, Dragon of Icespire Peak. There’s also a Dungeon Master’s screen with handy basic rules on the back, and also includes a new one-on-one variant for two-player action. The boxed set will be available only at Target starting June 24, with a wider release starting Sept. 3.

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