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5E A non-canon timeline of Chult for ToA DMs

fuindordm

First Post
Hi everyone,

I've pieced together a geopolitical history of Chult based on snippets of information throughout the book and my own interpolations. Here it is, in hopes that other DMs find it useful. Note that I'm running ToA in Eberron, which is why the timeline ignores any pre-ToA history of Chult that might be canon in the Forgotten Realms.

All dates are approximate and stated relative to the present day.

-500: Arrival of first human settlers to Chult. (In my campaign, they are refugees from the expanding Rierdran Empire in Sarlona.) The original settlers are legendary, but their matriarchs and patriarchs gave their names to a dozen or so tribal ethnic groups such as the Aldani (transformed) and the Eshowe (wiped out by Ras Nsi). Some of these tribes persist to this day, but the mass migration to the coast after the fall of Mezro blurred or erased many ethnic distinctions.

-480 to -380: Humans expand quickly into Chult, and build several major cities. Each city becomes the heart of a small kingdom. By the end of this period, Chult is divided into the kingdoms of Orolunga, Mezro, Mbala, Omu, and Hisari. During this period, the Chultans are isolationist, making no expeditions to other continents, although they do their best to preserve their knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation in certain families.

-350 to -300: The Omu conquest begins, led by Na N'buso "The Great King". By the end of this period, Orolunga is destroyed or abandoned (perhaps their mentor advised them well), and the kingdoms of Mbala, Mezro and Hisari all pay tribute to Omu. The legendary exploits of Ch'gakare and the Golden Chalice happened sometime during this expansion.

-225: Queen Zalkoré, the great-granddaughter of Na N'buso, builds Nangalore and is later banished.

-200: Ubtao abandons Omu, the Omuan Empire fragments. Central Mbala, beset on all sides, degenerates into a handful of villages and its royal line ends.

-180: Hisari succumbs to the cult of Dendar (substitute evil serpentine god of your choice), its royal line and noble families become yuan-ti.

-170: Omu begins worshipping its Nine Trickster Gods. Of all the original kingdoms, only Mezro still stands proud in its virtue and worhip of Ubtao. The "Golden Age" of Omu, from -300 to -200 is over, and the "Silver Age" of Mezro, the Unsullied Kingdom, will last only two generations.

-150: Ras Nsi breaks his sacred oath and falls from paladin to blackguard. No one knows what he did; the shame was so great that all records of the warlord's past were destroyed.

-130: In Omu, Queen Napaka takes the throne. She is the granddaughter of Queen Zalkoré. Napaka tries gently to turn her people away from the capricious Trickster Gods and back towards virtue and worship of Ubtao.

-120: Ras Nsi raises an army of undead in the jungle and besieges Mezro. It looks as if all is lost for the Unsullied Kingdom, but then a Mysterious Cataclysm happens. Volcanos erupt, magical weird stuff happens, and at the end Mezro is in ruins and its sister city Shilkra is buried in ash. The Yuan-ti also abandon Hisari at this time. Ras Nsi is stripped of his magical power in the event, and loses control of his army.

-110: Perhaps attracted by the Mysterious Cataclysm, Acererak arrives in Chult and enslaves Omu. Queen Napaka nobly offers herself as a sacrifice for her people's lives, but this is a ruse to distract the lich while her servants sneak her infant granddaugher Razaan out of Omu. Razaan makes her way to Orolunga, where she bides for a time, unaging.

-100: The Tomb is completed. By this time, the human tribes have abandoned the interior of Chult and gathered at Port Nyanzaru. Without the guiding light of Mezro, the Chultans become secular but superstitious. They see little difference between priests and magicians, and worship only minor gods with negligence bordering on disdain. They begin building ships again, first for mobility and then for trade.

-80: The Chultans reveal themselves to the rest of the world and begin trading with other continents.

-50: After a long migration and several intermediate settlements, the yuan-ti of Hisari find Omu and take up permanent residence. Ras Nsi is already there, aging slowly and nursing grudges; the coming of the yuan-ti reinvigorates him and his natural leadership reasserts itself. He becomes first their demagogue, then their prophet. Also around this time, an oracle signals that Princess Razaan, now 8 years old, should rejoin the world.

-40: Port Nyanzaru has reached its present form, with the Merchant Princes in power. Crusaders from other lands try their luck at eradicating the undead plague, in return for permanent settlements and a toehold on the continent. The bargain doesn't set well with the Chultans, but they don't have the numbers or magic to destroy the undead themselves. The merchant princes and foreign representatives maintain an uneasy alliance seasoned with minor betrayals. Despite this foreign aid, not much progress is made on the undead threat.

-20: Princess Razaan marries Omek, a Chultan adventurer. Three years later, her daughter Mwaxanaré is born.

0: The Death Curse begins. Cheerful and flamboyant on the surface, Port Nyanzaru suffers from a deep malaise stemming from a mixture of unsatisfying hedonism, decades of undead horror, fear of foreign influence, and of course the aura of the Death Curse itself. Many people long for the return of a spiritual king or queen, but the memory of Omu is tainted and the royal line of Mezro is no more.

----------------------------------------

--Ben

Follow my campaign on twitter: AcererakUnholy
 
Last edited:

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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
So you missed the spot where he does say this has nothing to do with Forgotten Realms too, eh...?
I was ignoring the bits external to Chult (and external to the adventure core) :)

(And have I mentioned how much I hate the Realms? ;) )
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
Sorry but your title is misleading. Please amend your thread title to signal this is a homebrew non-canon effort - I just wasted my time trying to find the details on the Amnian colonization of Chult.
Jeez man, I think you're coming down a bit hard on the OP. Just because it isn't perfect for your purposes doesn't mean it has no value. Isn't just about everything posted here homebrew and non-canon?
 

fuindordm

First Post
No worries.

The only canon FR detail that I checked for this timeline was how long ago the Spellplague happened, and I did make sure that the disappearance of Mezro happened at about the same time.

Cheers,
Ben
 


Teldarian

First Post
Hi everyone,

I've pieced together a geopolitical history of Chult based on snippets of information throughout the book and my own interpolations. Here it is, in hopes that other DMs find it useful. Note that I'm running ToA in Eberron, which is why the timeline ignores any pre-ToA history of Chult that might be canon in the Forgotten Realms.

All dates are approximate and stated relative to the present day.

-500: Arrival of first human settlers to Chult. (In my campaign, they are refugees from the expanding Rierdran Empire in Sarlona.) The original settlers are legendary, but their matriarchs and patriarchs gave their names to a dozen or so tribal ethnic groups such as the Aldani (transformed) and the Eshowe (wiped out by Ras Nsi). Some of these tribes persist to this day, but the mass migration to the coast after the fall of Mezro blurred or erased many ethnic distinctions.

-480 to -380: Humans expand quickly into Chult, and build several major cities. Each city becomes the heart of a small kingdom. By the end of this period, Chult is divided into the kingdoms of Orolunga, Mezro, Mbala, Omu, and Hisari. During this period, the Chultans are isolationist, making no expeditions to other continents, although they do their best to preserve their knowledge of shipbuilding and navigation in certain families.

-350 to -300: The Omu conquest begins, led by Na N'buso "The Great King". By the end of this period, Orolunga is destroyed or abandoned (perhaps their mentor advised them well), and the kingdoms of Mbala, Mezro and Hisari all pay tribute to Omu. The legendary exploits of Ch'gakare and the Golden Chalice happened sometime during this expansion.

-225: Queen Zalkoré, the great-granddaughter of Na N'buso, builds Nangalore and is later banished.

-200: Ubtao abandons Omu, the Omuan Empire fragments. Central Mbala, beset on all sides, degenerates into a handful of villages and its royal line ends.

-180: Hisari succumbs to the cult of Dendar (substitute evil serpentine god of your choice), its royal line and noble families become yuan-ti.

-170: Omu begins worshipping its Nine Trickster Gods. Of all the original kingdoms, only Mezro still stands proud in its virtue and worhip of Ubtao. The "Golden Age" of Omu, from -300 to -200 is over, and the "Silver Age" of Mezro, the Unsullied Kingdom, will last only two generations.

-150: Ras Nsi breaks his sacred oath and falls from paladin to blackguard. No one knows what he did; the shame was so great that all records of the warlord's past were destroyed.

-130: In Omu, Queen Napaka takes the throne. She is the granddaughter of Queen Zalkoré. Napaka tries gently to turn her people away from the capricious Trickster Gods and back towards virtue and worship of Ubtao.

-120: Ras Nsi raises an army of undead in the jungle and besieges Mezro. It looks as if all is lost for the Unsullied Kingdom, but then a Mysterious Cataclysm happens. Volcanos erupt, magical weird stuff happens, and at the end Mezro is in ruins and its sister city Shilkra is buried in ash. The Yuan-ti also abandon Hisari at this time. Ras Nsi is stripped of his magical power in the event, and loses control of his army.

-110: Perhaps attracted by the Mysterious Cataclysm, Acererak arrives in Chult and enslaves Omu. Queen Napaka nobly offers herself as a sacrifice for her people's lives, but this is a ruse to distract the lich while her servants sneak her infant granddaugher Razaan out of Omu. Razaan makes her way to Orolunga, where she bides for a time, unaging.

-100: The Tomb is completed. By this time, the human tribes have abandoned the interior of Chult and gathered at Port Nyanzaru. Without the guiding light of Mezro, the Chultans become secular but superstitious. They see little difference between priests and magicians, and worship only minor gods with negligence bordering on disdain. They begin building ships again, first for mobility and then for trade.

-80: The Chultans reveal themselves to the rest of the world and begin trading with other continents.

-50: After a long migration and several intermediate settlements, the yuan-ti of Hisari find Omu and take up permanent residence. Ras Nsi is already there, aging slowly and nursing grudges; the coming of the yuan-ti reinvigorates him and his natural leadership reasserts itself. He becomes first their demagogue, then their prophet. Also around this time, an oracle signals that Princess Razaan, now 8 years old, should rejoin the world.

-40: Port Nyanzaru has reached its present form, with the Merchant Princes in power. Crusaders from other lands try their luck at eradicating the undead plague, in return for permanent settlements and a toehold on the continent. The bargain doesn't set well with the Chultans, but they don't have the numbers or magic to destroy the undead themselves. The merchant princes and foreign representatives maintain an uneasy alliance seasoned with minor betrayals. Despite this foreign aid, not much progress is made on the undead threat.

-20: Princess Razaan marries Omek, a Chultan adventurer. Three years later, her daughter Mwaxanaré is born.

0: The Death Curse begins. Cheerful and flamboyant on the surface, Port Nyanzaru suffers from a deep malaise stemming from a mixture of unsatisfying hedonism, decades of undead horror, fear of foreign influence, and of course the aura of the Death Curse itself. Many people long for the return of a spiritual king or queen, but the memory of Omu is tainted and the royal line of Mezro is no more.

----------------------------------------

--Ben

Follow my campaign on twitter: AcererakUnholy
Hi Ben,

I just wanted to reply to your timeline with some clarifications. While I appreciate that you have established your own timeline of Chult's past, I thought I'd offer up a more canonical version for people wishing to stick with the established history of Chult.

Firstly, we need to clarify something about Ras Nsi's class. He's not a blackguard; he's not even a paladin. He's a wizard. This is pretty important. Well, actually, not really that important, since if your party is fighting Ras Nsi your campaign has probably gone a bit sideways, so his class isn't likely to come into play.

Second (and more importantly), let's talk about Ras Nsi's age and his history. The Tomb of Annihilation book really does not offer enough on him for readers who have not read The Ring of Winter to really appreciate how significant his character is, and I really think that's a shame. Ras Nsi (“Nsi” being his name, “ras” is a noble rank, like “duke”) is over 4,000 years old. He was, for centuries, a Chosen of Ubtao, one of the seven original barae (immortal defenders) of Mezro.

About 1,600 years ago, Mezro was at war with another tribe of Chultans called the Eshowe. The war had lasted three hundred years before the Eshowe made a desperate gamble. They struck at Mezro with a creature they found in the deepest, darkest caves of Chult, a place that had not seen light since the gods themselves were young. This entity, a shadow giant, was repulsed by the Mezroans in a great battle, and then turned on the Eshowe, decimating their ranks.

It was at this point that Nsi decided to launch a punitive expedition to destroy the remainder of the Eshowe army. It was brutal. Far more than it needed to be. And yet, it was not enough for Ras Nsi.

It is important to note at this point that all of Ubtao's Chosen were granted a special, unique power. Nsi's was the ability to create undead at will. When Nsi sallied forth from Mezro, he did so at the head of an undead army created from the fallen Eshowe. It was this army that he then turned into the jungle, seeking out any and all who remained of the Eshowe tribe. Elders, women, children, all were hunted down. All were slain. All became a part of Nsi's ever-growing horde.

When at last Nsi was satisfied that he had destroyed the Eshowe, he returned to Mezro. He did not get the hero's welcome he anticipated. The Mezroans were repulsed by him and his actions and banished him from the city. Furious, but still wholly devoted to Ubtao and Mezro, he retreated and established himself as the city's protector at large. For centuries, he built up his undead army, eventually controlling most of the jungle. He used the undead as slaves to industry, building up a trading company that made him obscenely wealthy from trade with the rest of Faerûn. When Artus Cimber met him in the 14th century DR, Nsi's court (borne on the backs of two giant, undead turtles) was filled with all manner of imported treasures from as far away as Cormyr.

Nsi finally returned to Mezro some 1,500 years after his exile after the city came under attack by Batiri goblins. Once again, he was repulsed from entering the city. This time, he was also stripped of his mantle as a Chosen of Ubtao... (I think? It's been a while since I read the book)

When next we hear about Ras Nsi, it's in the adventure. According to page 92, he arrived in Omu about fifty years ago (about 80 years since he was driven from Mezro). He becomes a yuan-ti (presumably to extend his lifespan if he was mortal again) dedicated to releasing Dendar the Night Serpent from her prison beneath the Peaks of Flame. Dendar, it should be noted, is the reason that Ubtao was given all of Chult as his domain. He was entrusted by the gods to protect the Peaks of Flame, Dendar's prison. Betrayed by Ubao, Nsi has thrown in with his former patron's sworn enemy. It's personal. It's poetic.

It's also going to :):):):).

Nsi is dying. He is afflicted by the Death Curse, and the value of his vengeance is now being measured against the value of his life. This makes him the perfect ally of convenience against Acererak: he literally has every reason to help the players. He will get to live and he will get to continue his vengeance.

That's a bit of a word explosion, but hopefully it will help inform people who are interested in the canonical history of Nsi. I think it is an exceptional narrative that is worth using, especially if you know it in full.
 


fuindordm

First Post
Hi Teldarian,
Thanks for the details! I didn't realize that Ras Nsi came from a novel.
Unfortunately, my campaign stalled due to life changes among the players and the demands of a new job. I'm still hoping to run it one of these days...
Ben
 

Quickleaf

Legend
[MENTION=6808994]Teldarian[/MENTION] Great summary of Ras Nsi! It's one of the big failings of the adventure that this his story wasn't fully laid out somewhere. I also had to piece it together from Jungles of Chult, Ring of Winter, wikis, and other sources. And even then, I never realized that Nsi's undead army was created from the remains of the Eshowe! That's especially grisly when you imagine him sending out zombified uncles/aunts to hunt down their living nephews/nieces, and so forth.

I think of Ras Nsi's role in the narrative as something like a horrible warlord that no one wants to deal with & everyone would prefer would just go away, but that the narrative drives the PCs toward dealing with for their own quest. It's the "I feel icky after making that deal" moment in the movie, followed by just waiting for the other shoe to drop and Nsi to betray us.

To really drive this home, I think Nsi's atrocities need to be revealed at a couple points prior to meeting Ras Nsi in the Fane. At Mezro, maybe in the Nsi Wastes, maybe in a book in a Merchant Prince's library, maybe talking to tribes, maybe mass graves along the River Olung, certainly in the Valley of Lost Honor, maybe even meeting the last survivor(s) of the Eshowe. Then in his lair, Ras Nsi should have macabre trophies celebrating his genocide of the Eshowe, and he should be quick to suggest genocidal strategies for the PCs dealing with other enemies like grung or pterafolk.

Finally, while Acererak is presented as teleporting in as soon as the Soulmonger is destroyed and the Death Curse ended...if the PCs ally with Ras Nsi, I can imagine an alternative/additional scene where Ras Nsi's forces lurk in the shadows to backstab the PCs. Thus fulfilling on that tension waiting for his betrayal.
 

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