DMs Guild Review – Hellbound Heists

Nine heist adventures, one for each layer of Hell.

A review copy of “Hellbound Heists” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Designed by: Bryan Holmes, Chad Lensch, Christian Eichhorn, Steve “Jaspor” Orr, John PArker, Jos van Egmond, Justice Arman, Ryan Langr, and Zavier Bates

At first glance Hellbound Heists appears to be a collection of adventures for Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, and their close release dates and obvious similar themes might suggest the tie-in. Hellbound Heists is actually far more encompassing when it comes to Hell, however, featuring one heist adventure for every single layer of hell – that’s nine adventures altogether.

At nearly 300 pages, Hellbound Heists includes a staggering amount of content. We get introductions to the layers of Hell, entry and exit strategies, and dealing with devils. Since each adventure takes place in its own layer, they each have their own detailed background information on the unique environmental challenges and major NPCs.

Most impressively, I didn’t see a single adventure I didn’t like. Some I were impressed with more than others, and I definitely have my favorites, but even the weaker heists are still very solid adventures.

Be prepared, however – Hell is not for the faint of heart. These adventures are primarily designed for Tier 3 and Tier 4 parties, levels 10-20 (the first adventure, which takes place in Avernus, is for level 8). Most adventures I see tend to rest firmly within the familiar level 1-10 range, so seeing higher level challenges that are still localized in a single area, is a breath of fresh air.

dms guild review

The variety of mission styles is also impressive. Each adventure labels itself as a heist, but within that framework of informants, macguffins, prison breaks, and car chases (hello infernal war machines!) there’s a rich variety of settings and ideas.

My favorite, Dis Protocol, relishes in the classic secret agent story, with the PCs waking up on the memory-stealing River Styx with a self-destructing message, and tasked with recovering an infernal contract. To do so they’ll need to scout out a four-story pyramid archive building, avoiding guard patrols and laser grid traps to learn the right combination of keys. Then they paraglide in onto the roof with hellscreamer demons and sneak in through the vents. Of course their informant betrays them in the end, leading to an emotionally satisfying, action-packed ending.

The most unique heist, Meltdown Masquerade in Malbolge, takes place entirely within a demonic ball, with a gathering of devils dancing, dressing each other down, and betting on dying human soils. There’s a deliciously wacky range of attendees, including an eye-less flesh golem in a tuxedo, a kobold head waiter, and a monodrome suffering from multiple personalities. The adventure is a role-player’s dream and incredibly detailed and comprehensive.

Another of my favorites, 6:66 to Mephistar, takes place on a demonic helltrain speeding through the icy wastelands of Cania. The train dungeon is completely modular, letting DMs pick and choose which train cars to use as the PCs need to travel across and recover a deadly weapon, then realize the train isn’t on delivery, but sent as a kamikaze explosion. Did I mention the Otyugh ticket collector who serves hot chocolates with a tentacle, or the demons riding on Nightmares who try to rob the train? Amazing.

dms guild

As much as I adore these adventures, the collection falls apart when it comes to maps. Heists especially tend to focus on a central area that the PCs need to learn as much as they can before entering, such as the several guarded prisons used in many of the adventures. Only one of the adventures includes color grid maps and separate player handouts, and it’s more functional than attractive. An ugly omission in an otherwise amazing adventure package.

Pros:

  • Nine full-length, detailed adventures that all take place in the layers of Hell.
  • Good variety of adventure styles from stealthy heists to prison breaks and even a devil-filled ball.
  • 40 pages of new magic items, monsters, and player handouts.

Cons:

  • Only one of the nine adventures features player-ready battle maps.

The Verdict: Nine Layers of Hell bequeath Nine Excellent, highly detailed adventures for mid to high level parties in “HEllbound Heists.”

A review copy of “Hellbound Heists” was provided by the publisher. Find more DMs Guild Reviews on my website and YouTube channel.

Support my work by using affiliate links for shopping and pledging via Patreon.

Author: roguewatson

Freelance Writer

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