I'm currently running Descent Into Avernus and I was wondering:

How are distances between locations determined?

I know the rules say that a normal travel is considered a forced march and the Con saving throw that must be made is 10 + hours spent traveling to overcome a fatigue... but I don't see anywhere in the book how long it takes to get from one place to another or the calculation it takes to determine it. Is this something that I'm just making up?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I went ahead and edited this to focus only on the first question you asked. Feel free to ask the other two in their own separate questions. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2019 at 15:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ Remember, you can check out the edit history to "retrieve" you other questions from an older version of your post for you to ask separately. \$\endgroup\$
    – NathanS
    Dec 16, 2019 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


Distances are determined by the DM--and don't have to be consistent

In the Introduction, it says this

Geography warps at the whims of the Nine Hells. One of the liberating aspects of this planar feature is that you don’t need to be fastidious about keeping track of where locations are in relation to one another.


You can decide how long it takes for characters to get from one place to the next. For example, the characters might need to travel 6 miles to get from Fort Knucklebone to Haruman’s Hill, and 60 miles to get from Haruman’s Hill back to Fort Knucklebone.

The section on using the map says...

distances in Avernus are impossible to gauge and locations sometimes shift supernaturally.


No scale is marked on the map, and the placement of locations is based on the memories of an intrepid yet insane cartographer. Distances and travel times between locations cannot be determined by studying the map and can change with each journey, at your discretion. Your players should never feel like they understand Avernus geographically, providing an unsettled and disorienting feeling as they roam the hellscape.

In short, the only one who can determine how far it is from Point A to B in Avernus is the DM. Things are not always in the same place you left them. Even if you are trying to return to the same location you've been to before, there's a chance you'll end up in entirely the wrong place

Using the map to chart a course from one location to another is unreliable at best. It helps if the characters have visited a destination before, but even that is no guarantee they’ll end up where they intended.

Maybe today it takes two hours to get from the Bone Brambles to the Arches of Ulloch, and you get there by traveling "North West." But the next time you make the trip, it takes three days and you have to travel in an entirely different direction to get there.

So, to put it simply...

The map is a crude guideline made by an increasingly crazy person. It is not reliable, and it gives no indication of the distance between points. Whenever players choose to travel within Avernus, it is up to the DM to decide how far they have to go and how long they have to travel.

Descent into Avernus offers no guidelines beyond this.


Where you say...

I know the rules say that a normal travel is considered a forced march and the Con saving throw that must be made is 10 + hour spent traveling to overcome a fatigue

Note that this is an optional rule provided for DMs to add to the game if they want to.


It is entirely up to the DM to determine distances between two locations, because "location" is more of a suggestion in Avernus than an actual rule. And the distances do not always have to be the same twice in a row...in fact, it is recommended that they not always be the same.


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