Episode 8: The Choice

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the Blood War.

In episode 8, the adventurers face the loss of one of their own beneath the streets of Baldur’s Gate.

A soul coin, courtesy of Beadle & Grimm’s Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, Platinum Edition

For your consideration, below: the contract offered in this episode, in PDF form. Would you have signed it?

Episode 7: Dark Waters

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the Blood War.

In episode 7, the adventurers approach the heart of the Dungeon of the Dead Three – but the mission takes a desperate and deadly turn.

Magic sparkle sound effect by YleArkisto at freesound.org
Used under the Attribution 3.0 license:
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode

Undead skeletons stalk the Dungeon of the Dead Three

Level Up: Death Saving Throws.

In Dungeons & Dragons, whenever a player starts their turn with 0 hit points, they must make a special saving throw, called a death saving throw, to determine whether they creep closer to death or hang onto life. Unlike other saving throws, this one isn’t tied to any ability score. You are in the hands of fate now, aided only by spells and features that improve your chances of succeeding on a saving throw.

Roll a d20. If the roll is 10 or higher, you succeed. Otherwise, you fail. A success or failure has no effect by itself. On your third success, you become stable (see below). On your third failure, you die. The successes and failures don’t need to be consecutive; keep track of both until you collect three of a kind. The number of both is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable.

Rolling 1 or 20. When you make a death saving throw and roll a 1 on the d20, it counts as two failures. If you roll a 20 on the d20, you regain 1 hit point and become conscious.

Damage at 0 Hit Points. If you take any damage while you have 0 hit points, you suffer a death saving throw failure. If the damage is from a critical hit, you suffer two failures instead. If the damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum, you suffer instant death.

Stabilizing a Creature

The best way to save a creature with 0 hit points is to heal it. If healing is unavailable, the creature can at least be stabilized so that it isn’t killed by a failed death saving throw.

You can use your action to administer first aid to an unconscious creature and attempt to stabilize it, which requires a successful DC 10 Wisdom (Medicine) check.

stable creature doesn’t make death saving throws, even though it has 0 hit points, but it does remain unconscious. The creature stops being stable, and must start making death saving throws again, if it takes any damage. A stable creature that isn’t healed regains 1 hit point after 1d4 hours.

Episode 6: Choke Point

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. In Episode 6, the adventurers fight their way through the Dungeon of the Dead Three.

Initiative sound effect by Humanoide9000 (Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LuisHumanoide.)

Used under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

A zombie; one of the less fortunate denizens of the Dungeon of the Dead Three.

Episode 5: Fun Volcano of Blood

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. In Episode 5, the adventurers continue their raid on the Dungeon of the Dead Three.

Initiative sound effect by Humanoide9000 (Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/LuisHumanoide.) Used under the Creative Commons Attribution license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/legalcode

Level Up: You’re Not Helping. Our campaign uses a house rule with regard to characters helping each other during skill checks. In standard Dungeons & Dragons 5E, characters can generally grant each other advantage on skill checks by taking the Help action. However, with our house rule, characters can only assist with a skill check if they are Proficient with that skill. When a character attempts to Help with a skill check, you may hear the Dungeon Master ask whether that character is “trained” or “proficient” with that skill. In the first part of this episode, Corbin, who is proficient with the Religion skill, helps Renascence to make a Religion check.

Episode 4: Into the Depths

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. In Episode 4, the adventurers explore a secret temple hidden in the sewers below Baldur’s Gate.

A black hand, the symbol of Bane
The symbol of Bane, God of Strife and Tyranny
From L to R: A white-haired priest in ragged robes holds a skull dangling from a chain. A mailed warrior with an eye-patch wields a morning star and a shield. A black-robed figure holds a curved dagger.
Left to right: Necromite of Myrkul, Black Gauntlet of Bane, and Reaper of Bhaal

Level Up: Darkvision. In this episode, Corbin calls upon the power of his god, Ilmater, to help the adventurers see in the dark. He does this using a special ability granted to clerics of the Twilight Domain, introduced in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything:

Description of the Eyes of Night domain feature granted to Twilight Clerics. These clerics have 300 feet of dark vision, and can share that ability with allies for one hour, once per long rest.

Episode 3: For Mom!

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. In episode 3, the adventurers continue their investigation into the cult of the Dead Three. But first they must survive a deadly fight with pirates at the Elfsong Tavern.

Map of Baldur’s Gate with the locations of Basilisk Gate, the Elfsong Tavern, and the Bathhouse.
The insignia of the Flaming Fist, the mercenary police force in Baldur’s Gate.

Level Up: Why does Renascence have cantrips? Listeners may have noticed that Renascence uses the Guidance cantrip in this episode. In previous episodes, he has made liberal use of the Thaumaturgy cantrip, which he can use as a result of his fiendish tiefling heritage. But longtime D&D players may be wondering where his additional cantrips come from. Since the 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons was released in 2014, paladins have not had access to cantrips. But that changed in late 2020 with the release of Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything, which included new Fighting Style Options for paladins. One of these options is “Blessed Warrior”, which allows the paladin to select two cleric cantrips:

…so Renascence has had the Thaumaturgy cantrip since level 1 because he’s a tiefling. At level 2, he chose the Blessed Warrior style and learned the Guidance cantrip…as well as one additional cantrip that will be revealed in Episode 4!

Episode 2: Dead-Eye

Welcome to Cast Party’s actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. In episode 2, the adventurers arrive at Elfsong Tavern to question a spy named Tarina about the cult of the Dead Three. But surprises both supernatural and extremely physical await.

Map of Baldur’s Gate with Basilisk Gate and the Elfsong Tavern
And here’s the floorplan of the Elfsong in our campaign. Note that the layout used for the tavern here (created in 2019) is almost identical to the 1998 game!

“The Song of Elturel” heard in this episode was performed by Arianna Ferrara Gennari (used by permission). Thanks Arianna!

Lyrics (by M.T. Black):

O sing a song of Elturel

Of water, woods, and hill

The sun dawns on her ruddy cliffs

And fields green and still.

This land of long-abiding joy

Home of the strong and brave

Renowned by all, across the realms,

And never once a slave.

O sing a song of Elturel

When foes are at her door

Her fields torn by cloven feet

From some infernal shore.

Arise the mighty Hellriders

Take up your swift, keen swords

Then charge into the hellish fray

And scatter devil hordes.

O sing a song of Elturel

And when the night does fall

Sleep safe beneath Companion’s light

Until the dawn does call.

We’re bound by mortal covenant

That only ends with death

And so we’ll sing of Elturel

Until our final breath.

Episode 1: The Gate

Welcome to Cast Party’s first actual play podcast. In PodCast Party: Descent Into Avernus, Dungeon Master Matt Gordon leads players Tal Aviezer, Andy Cannistra, Carolyn Fox, and Rachel Tamarin from the shadows of Baldur’s Gate to the front lines of the planes-spanning Blood War. Do the adventurers have what it takes to turn infernal war machines and nefarious contracts against the archdevil Zariel and her diabolical hordes? And can they ever hope to find their way home safely when pitted against the infinite evils of the Nine Hells?

Our story begins in the corrupt city of Baldur’s Gate
Corbin, Hylan, Ofelia, and Renascence
Map of Baldur’s Gate