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T O P I C    R E V I E W
farinal Posted - 03 Jun 2017 : 14:21:35
Tomb of Annihilation takes place in the Forgotten Realms in the lost Land of Chult. There players will trudge through dense jungle and encounter dinosaurs, undead, and the snake-like Yuan-Ti. Acererak, the demi-lich from Tomb of Horrors, will make a comeback and appear stronger than ever.

http://geekandsundry.com/wizards-of-the-coast-announce-new-storyline-tomb-of-annihilation/

What do you guys think?
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 19:33:53
It's some good homebrew, Markus.
Markustay Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 19:31:36
Yeah, I've tied all of that to my homebrewed Ancient History of Zakhara, and the Raksasha (who ruled in that region before the Genie revolt). The Raksasha had performed certain 'favors for the gods' (see my history of the Godswar involving Baast & Ra), and were thus allowed to maintain their own domains within the prime Material (until newer gods - who never even saw that agreement - came into play). One of the things they did was crossbreed with various groups of kidnapped peoples, trying to create strains of 'optimized' slaves for specific tasks. One place they raided was the Large Island just east of Katashaka, homeland of the ancient Tabaxi people. They created the cat-like Tabaxi from these captives, but those people still insisted on referring to themselves as 'Tabaxi' - the never lost their connection to their heritage (although outside of the name, very little is left now besides legends).

There are at least a dozen different cat-like, intelligent races on Toril, and all are related back to the Rakshasa experiments. The ones that bred the most 'True' would be the Catlords; these creatures are akin to first-generation hybrids (so technically tieflings, but a VERY specfic kind of Tiefling). Like the regular Tieflings (4e+) that we see around the Realms today, they have become a race unto themselves, albeit a very small one. They only 'breed true' when mating with other Catlords, and their independent nature does not allow for this very often. Female Catlords are insanely rare, but when they do copulate with another Catlord, they will have a multiple birth. Roll 2D6 -

2 = single birth (bad omen)
3-5 = twins
6-8 = triplets
9-11 = quadruplets
12 = Auspicious birth (roll 1D6)

1,2 = Five children
3 = Six offspring
4 = Seven newborn (at least one female)
5 = Eight brood (at least one a powerful chaotic evil manipulator like their fiendish forbears)
6 = DM's Special (more kids, or maybe a 'Chosen One', born with some strange physical feature, etc).

Seven or more children ALWAYS means at least one female, otherwise there is only a 10% chance (roll for each babe on a D10, with 10 = female). Like all felines, Tabaxi do NOT have an aversion to 'incest'. In fact, they find the concept amusing.

Almost no non-Tabaxi will have heard of female 'Catlords' (which they refer to as a 'Catmistress'); they will hide their true nature from everyone (including other Catfolk if it suits their purposes). If a non-Catfolk finds out about a female Catlord, it will be one of the rare times several will work together in order to kill the persons involved, and destroy all evidence. They know how precariously their own continued existence hang by a thread because of this utmost secrecy. It is very rare when you find more than one Catlord in a single settlement, no matter how large, but they will have other catfolk about (including Tabaxi) who defer to them as a 'lord' amongst their kind. They do have a network of sorts, through minions, wherein they keep tabs on other Catlords and where they are operating, mostly to stay out of each other's way, but also in case of the situation described above (Catlords WILL answer the summons of another Catlord in that scenario, otherwise they treat any sort of interaction with disdain and indifference... just like a cat.)

Thats ALL homebrew, BTW.

quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta

Volo's Guide to Monsters gives the explanation on the name difference, but I think it should have been stated in the book and they should have acknowledged that over the last 100 years the tribal affiliations of most native Chultans has weakened as tribes in the interior have disappeared, leaving most Chultans living in small settlements in the coastal areas having no specific linkage to the original tribes of Chult's settlers, the Tabaxi, Eshow, Aldani, etc.

I think by this point (post Spellplague, 5e+) everyone just calls them 'Chultans, including themselves (except for maybe some VERY 'old folk'). This would make it so much easier than still using 'Tabaxi' for them (but keep it in the lore, of course). It also won't get mixed-up with the ethnic group, since thats Turami.
TomCosta Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 19:14:06
Volo's Guide to Monsters gives the explanation on the name difference, but I think it should have been stated in the book and they should have acknowledged that over the last 100 years the tribal affiliations of most native Chultans has weakened as tribes in the interior have disappeared, leaving most Chultans living in small settlements in the coastal areas having no specific linkage to the original tribes of Chult's settlers, the Tabaxi, Eshow, Aldani, etc.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 17:22:56
Having both human and cat Tabaxi share a common heritage makes the most sense. Mistaking cat-people for non cat-people is a huge stretch -- it only makes sense if the viewers were at a distance, and could only see some humanoid figures. Of course, if that was the case, why were they making the assumption?

No, it makes more sense -- at least in my opinion -- that one group of Tabaxi split off from the rest, and were somehow turned into cat-people.
sleyvas Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 13:54:57
Given that one set looks like humans and the other set looks like cat people, I'm not buying that explanation. I will buy an explanation that the tabaxi came from Katashaka (canon from GHotR), and that they left many of their people behind (canon from GHotR). Then I will buy that these tabaxi at some point over the last 4200 years were changed from humans into cat folk (possibly using some of the creator race magics of the humans) <not canon>. I will also buy that Katashaka is the big continent south of Maztica (which isn't canon, but is becoming accepted by many of us, just like the one off on its lonesome is becoming accepted as being Osse my many of us). I will also buy that the tabaxi of Katashaka at some point crossed the small stretch from Katashaka to the jungles of Maztica (also not canon). Finally, I will buy that Quotal and Ubtao are one and the same being (also not canon, but HEAVILY hinted at, and Brian R. James at one point did indicate he was leaning this way... which of course makes Qotal a Primordial, as well as possibly his "brothers and sisters").


–2809 DR
The Eshowe, the Tabaxi, and the Thinguth tribes, as well as several others that accepted Ubtao’s message, follow the couatls in a great pilgrimage across the seas to the Jungles of Chult. The tribes land on the Wild Coast and march inland to the Peaks of Flame, where the avatar of Ubtao welcomes them.

also this from GHotR

Though we were anxious, we trusted in the Father to deliver us safely to Chult. Our tribe had never before made a long journey upon the liquid sky. Each hour of paddling took us northward and farther away from Katashaka—our home since the birthing days. Floating in our canoa amid the endless blue, we Tabaxi held faith in Ubtao and his plumed servant Ecatzin.

and this from later

We soon prepared for a great pilgrimage across the endless blue to Chult, the home of Ubtao. On the day of departure, I whispered a silent prayer to the spirits of Katashaka, beseeching them to watch over those who remained behind. When the shores of my homeland had at last slipped silently away into the thickening fog behind us, I turned to Ecatzin and spoke.
“The current is swift, and we are three hundred canoa strong ,” I said. “Take us to Chult, friend Ecatzin, and into the mighty
arms of the Father. There the enemies of the Tabaxi shall know fear, because I am Oyai, Slayer of the Sleeper, First Bara of Ubtao, and long shall I rule!”
moonbeast Posted - 22 Sep 2017 : 05:26:26
quote:
Originally posted by TomCosta
My beef, as with many things are some of the small things. Not addressing that the biggest tribe of Chultans are the Tabaxi (doh, the same name as the cat people which is fine, but should have gotten a throw away sentence explaining it).



Actually, I did just read an explanation about why the two races, the cat people and the human tribe have the same name. I will post a link when I find it, but it's also explained by someone that was part of the Tomb of Annihilation development IIRC. So possibly the blurb explanation may appear on the final product? I have mine on pre-order.

For those who don't already know (I assume many old veterans in Candlekeep already know the reason the two groups are named the same). Basically, one group was mistaken for the other by early West Faerunian explorers (i.e. conquistadors).

And a real-world historical analogy of this…. is when Christopher Columbus also wrongly mis-identified the Caribbean and American natives and called them "Indians", believing that he had arrived in Asiatic India. But by the time the Spanish and Portuguese colonizers/cartographers realized Columbus' mistake, it was too late. The word stuck. The native Americans were labelled as "Indians" for centuries. Not to be confused with the (Hindu) Indians of Asia.
TomCosta Posted - 15 Sep 2017 : 03:50:19
So I'm pretty excited about Tomb of Annihilation. High production value, good story, great vibe, interesting encounters, etc. And I don't feel they did much that isn't in line with existing lore, at least given the passage of time.

My beef, as with many things are some of the small things. Not addressing that the biggest tribe of Chultans are the Tabaxi (doh, the same name as the cat people which is fine, but should have gotten a throw away sentence explaining it). Or the forgetting of wild dwarves and Thard Harr; they don't have to play a role in the story--I know a lot of folks hate them--but in some ways I almost feel that they made the albino shield dwarves a bit more "wild." Again a place where a bit of acknowledgment would go a long way. Not explaining (at least that I've read yet) how Volo is still alive, and so on. Ah, well, I guess you can't have it all.

All that said, though, I think it's my favorite 5E adventure after Out of the Abyss and can't wait to play it.
Delwa Posted - 11 Sep 2017 : 13:17:46
I'm really enjoying that as well.

Zorbo make for a great way to teach a group humility. Throw those in with a few rust monsters, and I can see any group happily prefer fighting a tarrasque instead.
sleyvas Posted - 11 Sep 2017 : 13:11:03
quote:
Originally posted by Delwa

Apologies. Maybe this will be better?
The art doesn't show him with his odd sword. I wonder if that's on purpose or an oversight.



Ah, thank you. Ok, I'll say it again, its weird how people are introducing monsters that I would have never thought others would be interested in but that I was using. I speak specifically of the almiraj, but also the kamadan.... and flying monkeys.

Update monsters: Almiraj (unicorn bunny), Kamadan, Mantrap, Tri-flower frond, Jacuuli, Zorbo (evil koala that destroys magic items).
Wooly Rupert Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 17:19:22
Mike Schley has gone back and added to the pdf file map download -- now there are hexless versions!
Delwa Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 15:42:50
Apologies. Maybe this will be better?
The art doesn't show him with his odd sword. I wonder if that's on purpose or an oversight.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 15:25:50
quote:
Originally posted by Delwa

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Delwa

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So, anyone want a free Mike Schley map of Chult, very large and made for this adventure?


Got it! Now I'm just waiting for the book to get here.
I looked at D&D Beyond's digital offering for the adventure and I'm stoked.
On Beyond, you don't have to buy the whole tome, they've broken it down to where you can just purchase an individual monster or NPC stat block, or magic item. While it doesn't let you preview those individual stats, it gives a nice idea of what exactly is going to be in the crunchy bits.
Can't wait to see how they stat Artus Cimber and Dragonbait.



Dragonbait will be in Chult? I mean, I can see the saurials there, just hadn't noted anything about it.




Yep! Scroll down to the Monster Section. He's there.




<rant on>
why the hell does every GD site require you to create a new ID. I was interested for a minute.... why can't they just let you look at things as a guest... I swear things are getting too stupid. Just not going to do it. Guess I'll wait for the arrival of the book.

<rant off>

sorry, just had to say it.
Delwa Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 14:48:25
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Delwa

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So, anyone want a free Mike Schley map of Chult, very large and made for this adventure?


Got it! Now I'm just waiting for the book to get here.
I looked at D&D Beyond's digital offering for the adventure and I'm stoked.
On Beyond, you don't have to buy the whole tome, they've broken it down to where you can just purchase an individual monster or NPC stat block, or magic item. While it doesn't let you preview those individual stats, it gives a nice idea of what exactly is going to be in the crunchy bits.
Can't wait to see how they stat Artus Cimber and Dragonbait.



Dragonbait will be in Chult? I mean, I can see the saurials there, just hadn't noted anything about it.




Yep! Scroll down to the Monster Section. He's there.
sleyvas Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 14:43:30
quote:
Originally posted by Delwa

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So, anyone want a free Mike Schley map of Chult, very large and made for this adventure?


Got it! Now I'm just waiting for the book to get here.
I looked at D&D Beyond's digital offering for the adventure and I'm stoked.
On Beyond, you don't have to buy the whole tome, they've broken it down to where you can just purchase an individual monster or NPC stat block, or magic item. While it doesn't let you preview those individual stats, it gives a nice idea of what exactly is going to be in the crunchy bits.
Can't wait to see how they stat Artus Cimber and Dragonbait.



Dragonbait will be in Chult? I mean, I can see the saurials there, just hadn't noted anything about it.
Delwa Posted - 10 Sep 2017 : 13:36:34
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

So, anyone want a free Mike Schley map of Chult, very large and made for this adventure?


Got it! Now I'm just waiting for the book to get here.
I looked at D&D Beyond's digital offering for the adventure and I'm stoked.
On Beyond, you don't have to buy the whole tome, they've broken it down to where you can just purchase an individual monster or NPC stat block, or magic item. While it doesn't let you preview those individual stats, it gives a nice idea of what exactly is going to be in the crunchy bits.
Can't wait to see how they stat Artus Cimber and Dragonbait.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 08 Sep 2017 : 20:57:03
So, anyone want a free Mike Schley map of Chult, very large and made for this adventure?
Delwa Posted - 01 Jul 2017 : 22:43:23
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

People might be interested in the prelude story in the latest issue of Dragon Magazine.



I really, really enjoyed that short story. I kinda wish there were a follow up novel....
sleyvas Posted - 01 Jul 2017 : 11:29:02
quote:
Originally posted by KanzenAU

People might be interested in the prelude story in the latest issue of Dragon Magazine.



NOW THAT WAS GREAT. I honestly loved that read. I only wish they'd made Alfin Biscop a follower of the Red Knight instead of Torm with his love of the lanceboard.

So, something's happened that has diverted the "funnel" of energy from the positive material plane to the rest of Toril. Damn, but its odd when two things I'm talking about seem to synch up.... but I'll be damned if Entropy isn't an extension of the exact opposite of the positive material plane.


Hmmm, wonder if the sphere of annihilation that's part of the Tomb of Horrors is somehow an extension of Entropy? I wonder if the Sundering reseparating Pandorym didn't somehow or other draw Acererak's tomb here? For that matter, how did Acererak become a vestige, and did IT have something to do with that sphere of annihilation .... and somehow Entropy.
KanzenAU Posted - 01 Jul 2017 : 02:44:24
People might be interested in the prelude story in the latest issue of Dragon Magazine.
moonbeast Posted - 28 Jun 2017 : 06:39:05
Thanks for that link to the Polygon review, farinal.

It seems that that "Chultans" are not exactly portrayed (stereotyped) as jungle-dwelling sub-Saharan Africans. They seem to be dressed more like Middle Eastern Arabs, possibly as North African Arabs.

Here is the pic in question:
[image]https://www.polygon.com/2017/6/20/15834134/dungeons-and-dragons-new-module-tomb-of-annihilation-tomb-of-horrors-origins[/image]

Just as well. I did not like the idea of Chult being troped as The Forgotten Realms' analogy of tropical Africa. We need to get away from those real Earth stereotypes.
farinal Posted - 20 Jun 2017 : 23:04:34
https://www.polygon.com/2017/6/20/15834134/dungeons-and-dragons-new-module-tomb-of-annihilation-tomb-of-horrors-origins
Diffan Posted - 08 Jun 2017 : 15:03:52
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

Looks like fun honestly. I never had a campaign in Chult and one that goes from 1-11 levels sounds awesome



I can't imagine Level 2 characters knowing what to do if a T-Rex ever wanted to use them as a chew toy.



Probably roll up new Level 1 Characters and meta-game to not go into that particular area for a while . But if I were playing there and was a lowly level 2, I'm making a run for it and hoping any sort of spell or magical item or even a good Stealth check gets me to see another day.
sleyvas Posted - 08 Jun 2017 : 07:01:44
If they eat someone using an outhouse, do they taste better or worse (you know, having been recently purged). Just wondering because you know, will dinosaurs begin to equate outhouses to better tasting meals....
see Posted - 08 Jun 2017 : 05:43:32
quote:
Originally posted by moonbeast

quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

Looks like fun honestly. I never had a campaign in Chult and one that goes from 1-11 levels sounds awesome



I can't imagine Level 2 characters knowing what to do if a T-Rex ever wanted to use them as a chew toy.



Easy. Hold completely still so he can't see you, and wait for him to eat someone using an outhouse.
moonbeast Posted - 08 Jun 2017 : 03:01:42
quote:
Originally posted by Diffan

Looks like fun honestly. I never had a campaign in Chult and one that goes from 1-11 levels sounds awesome



I can't imagine Level 2 characters knowing what to do if a T-Rex ever wanted to use them as a chew toy.

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