Hello fellow Jackers and Jillers!
I wanted to ask your thoughts on what to add for flavor in my D&D game. Keeping things brief, I have been running a D&D group for about 2.5 years now and the players are all around 17th level. They are trying to stop a war from breaking out on their homeworld between Demons and Devils, and have decided to let NPC's handle the Demons while they handle the Devils (long story, two players are Tieflings is the short version).
Let me preface the following by saying that I hat D&D levels. I started the game only because I wanted to get a local group started, and D&D is by far the easiest crack to sell. 3 of my 4 kids play (now age 12 to 18), we have about 6 other regular players between 14 and 40, and everyone seems to be having a good time because they almost all show up for our weekly game. If I had my druthers, I'd run this E6 style (max level of 6 for D&D). But I promised a normal(ish) D&D game, and by god I follow through on my promises and we've had one go on until the end campaign! (I never thought I'd make it, and I cheated a bit, but we are there now).
So coming around to where I need your help, the players have decided that in order to destroy the Gate that is allowing Devils to build an army on their Gateworld (powered by the soul of a players younger NPC Tiefling sister lost in an epic battle to prevent the return of an evil overlord that the PC's lost due to 3 players turning over to the Dark Side), they are going to travel into Hell and destroy the Gate from the other side. This is after deciding attacking a city of 1,000,000 where the Gate is located may not be survivable. I have run the first game where they open the Gate, and as several players were unable to make the game had them passing through as it shut and were thus flung across Hell and will be discovered as the main group advances and they are able to rejoin. But I need ideas for how to make Hell more ... fun.
The players arrived into Avernus (though not stated), they taste the pollution and see the smoke and ash, and had the choice of following a nearby River or heading to a nearby Town that they could see from the Ridge they arrived on. They chose the River, and eventually met a Minotaur Boatman who pulled near the shore and asked them their business. The players stated they were traders (the only two who spoke Infernal were 2 of the 3 PC's who joined the BGG, leaving the other PC's really nervous as to what was being said), and offered potions of Climbing or Healing for transport along the river. The Boatman was unimpressed, until one of the players pulled out a Soul (he is a 15th level Warlock) to offer in trade. They booked passage, and made their way past several encounters (that they watched from afar) as they traveled the river.
The only time the PC's have stepped off the boat is when they saw a field of bones surrounding a dead tree, which had a silvered sickle stuck into it. When they asked the Boatman for information, they were told that the sickle was called the Thrice-Cursed Bloodclaw, and so of course immediately decided that they must have it. They were ambushed by an extraplanar creature that used the site as a hunting ground, and managed to fight their way free and claim the sickle. They then returned to their boat, and have continued their journey to the City of Brass.
I need help deciding what they will see before finding the City. Are their any ideas you are willing to share, or prompted by the style of game I am trying to run? Thoughts? Random ideas? Anything?
Thank you for your time, and I hope you are all staying safe!
Ed from Minnesota, Big Troll on the forums.