I made a video review for it that you can access through the above embedded link or by going to https://youtu.be/Rfu8E3yqdLQ.
Overall, I found that the book is good. But that doesn’t mean it was without its faults. The book really needed to flesh out the Cowled Wizards more. Them banning all arcane magic (which technically means more than just spells) actually affects artificers, bards, sorcerers, warlocks, and wizards. The fact that the book doesn’t meaningfully address this is a big oversight.
In fact, they are the biggest challenge with running anything in Athkatla. So the book should have at least included them as a patron as a way to let the party operate normally.
The maps are good but their numbering is terrible and it can be difficult to find places because of it.
Suldenessellar’s section has inconsistencies over who runs it (is it Irenicus or Ellesime?) and is 90% talking about Shadowfell Suldenessellar.
Ust Natha’s section is too small to be much use.
The group patrons and villains are cool. But most of the monsters and many of the patron contacts are just reprinted from Heroes of Baldur’s Gate (aka the art and statblocks). A lot of the art also comes from Odyssey of the Dragonlords too apparently.
Then there are the proofreading issues. This book has a lot of typos and oversights. It’s really not at the level I would hope for a WotC product. In most cases its minor things but it adds up.
Also, it’s been over a month since they released this and they haven’t either updated it or responded to a single post on the DMsGuild discussion section. Which makes me think they have no plans to address the numerous proofreading issues.
At the end of the day though it is a book that is helping charity. Some people may be willing to overlook its issues more because of the good that it is doing (and fair enough). You can find a list of the proofreading issues below.
I didn’t generally include page numbers but each point within each section is within order of when it appears in the book. So the further down you go into the typos section the later into the book you’ll find that typo.
- The Lords’ Alliance is regularly misspelled as Lord’s Alliance
- There is a typo on page 50: bottom of the page, “Eat the apply.” Should be “Eat the apple…”
- Dagryn lists Conjure Image as a spell.
- Several cantrips on Edwin’s statblock are suggested as being a 1st level or higher conjuration spell.
- On Minsc’s statblock “If Boo take damage” should be “If Boo takes damage”
- “deathward” on the Naes, Viconia, and Viktor statblocks should be “death ward”
- Mephistopheles has acid arrow as a 4th level spell in his statblock (no other statblock treats upcasting spells this way so I have no reason to believe this wasn’t a typo).
- Mephistopheles also has sunlight (instead of maybe sunburst) listed as an 8th level spell
- Pazuzu’s breath weapon says it’s both a line and a cone.
- The Emerald Cabal is mentioned but not elaborated on.
- Imoen can give “Controlled Lycanthropy”, but what this is is not elaborated on. The Monster Manual briefly touches on this but also states characters would likely become evil if they try to embrace/control it.
- Minsc’s Go For the Eyes ability has no time or usage limits (even though later on it mentions “for the duration of the rage”). This is a weird line to include if there were no limits intended since there are no downsides for him just always raging.
- Baalzebul and the Bhaal Ravager reference a fear aura ability that isn’t in their statblock
- Mephistopheles statblock also references spells from Elemental Evil (Storm Sphere and Whirlwind for instance) without making note that these are from that source.
- Pazazu’s Lethal Leap doesn’t say how far you fly away
Inconsistencies within the book
- Suldanessellar’s section has inconsistencies over who runs it (is it Irenicus or Ellesime?). In the description block for Suldanessellar, Irenicus is described as being the dictator. But the description for Irenicus himself makes him out to be more of an agent of terror. Ellesime is described as being the ruler but this is not elaborated on (and 90% of this section is actually talking about Shadowfell Suldanessellar).
Inconsistencies with previous official products
- Minsc’s tattoo is on the wrong side in both images of him in the book.
- Boo looks like a guinea pig instead of a hamster
- The Elfsong Tavern is in a different place (on the Baldur’s Gate map) than from where it is in Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus.
Inconsistencies with the video games
- Imoen is described as losing her Bhaalspawn powers when she actually starts gaining them by the end of Throne of Bhaal.
- Melissan is also described as being a Bhaalspawn when she wasn’t.
- Some of the characters change a lot from the video games. Like Kagain is described as always being this bloodthirsty character, even before he was approached by Bhaal. When in the games he’s actually really level headed. Likewise, Kivan is described as this character that raided villages with Faldorn in response to his wife’s death. Which is not at all what the character did or is about. This thread and the responses to it goes into everything in further detail.
- The map of Athkatla has this weird black border line around it.
- The numbering on the Athkatla/Baldur’s Gate maps is all over the place. You’ll get #27 right next to #1. Which makes it hard to find places using the legend.
- The Slaad Lord’s Amoeba ability isn’t bolded (supposedly there are other statblocks with this issue but I personally didn’t notice any others).
- The Phaerimm is out of order alphabetically with the rest of the monsters.
- There is an editors note in the bookmarks.
- Disintegrate is listed as twinnable on Eo Ashmajiir when Sage Advice points to it not being twinnable (because it can also target objects).
- Gibberlings are also described as being humanoids but their statblock calls them an aberration.
- Gibberlings have a Burrow ability but don’t have any burrow speed.
- Mephistopheles has devils sight but does not know the Darkness spell.
- One of Baalzebul’s lair actions says he gains half-cover when buried 10 feet and three-quarters cover when at 20 feet. But the rules for cover are in the PHB/DMG and relate more to your position compared to them (and obstacles in your way) and not your depth underground. You could argue specific beats general here though.
- Statblocks use spell slots instead of the new per day casting.
- I didn’t find all of these. /u/WonderfulWafflesLast on Reddit posted a bunch and other users on the DMsGuild did as well.