5E [SPOILERS] Enhancing Tomb of Annihilation

For discussing aspects of ToA and how to run it.

This thread WILL HAVE SPOILERS IN IT. Do not read if you're not going to run it.

This post contains shortcuts to particular posts* that offer suggestions and answer questions raised by the adventure. It is broken down by chapter:

Introduction


Ch. 1: Port Nyanzaru


Ch. 2: The Land of Chult



Ch. 3: Dwellers of the Forbidden City

Ch. 4: Fane of the Night Serpent


Ch. 5: Tomb of the Nine Gods


Handouts

  • Handout 13, Lord Brixton's Letter: #354
  • Handout 22, Withers' journal: #362
[Most recent indexed post: #412]

*These posts typically start discussions so don't forget to read relevant following posts!
 
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In the introduction chapter it mentions how hot and humid it is in Chult and recommends that, when there's a tropical storm (25 percent chance on any day that receives heavy rain, which I'm presuming uses the DMG random charts), you do the following:

If characters insist on traveling by foot, every character gains 1 level of exhaustion automatically and must make a successful DC 10 Constitution check or gain another.
That's all it says. Not when you get the automatic exhaustion or have to make the check for the second level of exhaustion. So, my question is, how would you run it?

I'm also considering using this rule for wearing armour. Armour in the hot, humid conditions of Chult is really a terrible idea.

Chult is hot, humid, and rainy throughout the year. The temperature regularly climbs as high as 95 degrees F (35 degrees C) during the day and seldom falls below 70 degrees F (20 degrees C) even at night. A day without rain is rare, but rain varies from a steady mist to drenching downpours.
You do not want to be wearing armour, any armour, in that.
 

kalil

Villager
In the introduction chapter it mentions how hot and humid it is in Chult and recommends that, when there's a tropical storm (25 percent chance on any day that receives heavy rain, which I'm presuming uses the DMG random charts), you do the following:



That's all it says. Not when you get the automatic exhaustion or have to make the check for the second level of exhaustion. So, my question is, how would you run it?

I'm also considering using this rule for wearing armour. Armour in the hot, humid conditions of Chult is really a terrible idea.



You do not want to be wearing armour, any armour, in that.
Give disadvantage on the Con check if wearing armor or heavy clothes?
 

Croesus

Villager
"If characters insist on traveling by foot, every character gains 1 level of exhaustion automatically and must make a successful DC 10 Constitution check or gain another."

That's all it says. Not when you get the automatic exhaustion or have to make the check for the second level of exhaustion. So, my question is, how would you run it?
If I use this rule, I would apply the level of exhaustion and check at the end of the day, right before they stop for a long rest. If the rest is interrupted, they'll have the level of exhaustion (possibly two levels). By morning, they'll be refreshed (one level recovered), but rinse and repeat each day.

If you want to make this more problematic, apply the automatic level at mid-day, then roll the extra level right before camping/resting. Or course, if I did this, my players would probably just do half-day travel then rest 16 hours instead of 8.

Keep in mind that this is a check, so a natural 1 is not an automatic failure, though not sure that will matter. Stacking bonuses to checks is much more difficult that stacking bonuses to saves (bless, paladin's aura).
 

Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
p 110 of the DMG has rules on when to apply exhaustion. It covers not just heavy armor, but medium armor and heavy clothing as well. Even though the DMG says 100 degrees or higher, if Chult gets to 95 degrees, I think with the humidity, the total heat index will be way over 100 F so I'd apply that rule. ToA also mentions 2 gallons of water a day (in real life, the army recommends 3, but close enough).

So no, armor is not a good idea in Chult. And the PCs will need to think of ways to ensure clean drinking water, since it says rivers and standing water are not safe without being boiled first (which I would assume attracts unwanted attention with fires). Having significant experience in wilderness survival myself, how I would rule it is that outside of magical means, a survival roll to make a fire and keep it going would be at disadvantage. You can find appropriate wood for a fire, even in a rain forest. It's just harder.

I really, really like how this adventure is more than just combat, but places a huge emphasis on the exploration pillar.
 

Croesus

Villager
You can only benefit from one long rest per 24 hours.
I know. My point was that if they all gain a level of exhaustion around noon, they would likely stop, rather than continue and risk running into bad things. They'd effectively be moving only half normal distance each day, but that's only a problem if they're on a time limit.
 
p 110 of the DMG has rules on when to apply exhaustion. It covers not just heavy armor, but medium armor and heavy clothing as well. Even though the DMG says 100 degrees or higher, if Chult gets to 95 degrees, I think with the humidity, the total heat index will be way over 100 F so I'd apply that rule. ToA also mentions 2 gallons of water a day (in real life, the army recommends 3, but close enough).
Ah, I didn't know about that rule, cool.

So no, armor is not a good idea in Chult. And the PCs will need to think of ways to ensure clean drinking water, since it says rivers and standing water are not safe without being boiled first (which I would assume attracts unwanted attention with fires). Having significant experience in wilderness survival myself, how I would rule it is that outside of magical means, a survival roll to make a fire and keep it going would be at disadvantage. You can find appropriate wood for a fire, even in a rain forest. It's just harder.
They even have a "rain catcher" item in the "Buying a Special Item" section in ToA.

I'm going to have to make sure I'm well read on the exploration chapters and how to deal with it all before I run it, methinks.
 
I know. My point was that if they all gain a level of exhaustion around noon, they would likely stop, rather than continue and risk running into bad things.
Ah, fair enough.

They'd effectively be moving only half normal distance each day, but that's only a problem if they're on a time limit.
Well, they are, at least they are if they care about the reward and saving Syndra's life. A 79 day time limit, to be precise :)
 

hawkeyefan

Explorer
Reading through the book, I think that the rule about exhaustion is only for days that have a full blown tropical storm. That's the way I read it, anyway. It talks about how on such days the guides know to hunker down; travel on rivers is impossible, and characters who insist on traveling by foot gain 1 level of exhaustion and must save against a second. It then points out that skill checks made to avoid becoming lost are made with disadvantage on storm days.

That's my interpretation of how it is presented in the book. It seems to be in the context of "storm days".

However....given that it's all up to the DM anyway, you can pretty much apply this penalty whenever you want. All it says about determining the weather is that most days in Chult don't go by without some rain, but it may be a mist or a torrential downpour. On days that receive heavy rain, there's a 25% chance of a tropical storm developing.
 
I'm not sure what the official year is for Faerun currently but I worked out that if you set ToA in 1492: The Year of Three Ships sailing, you could do something pretty neat with the calendar. This is a leap year where there's a Shieldmeet in-between Flamerule and Eleasias, just after Midsummer's Day. If you start the adventure on the 11th of Mirtul, then Midsummer's Day is the 80th day since the adventure started, and the day when Syndra will die. The very next day is Shieldmeet, which you could then also say is the day that the atropal finally ascends to god-hood, marking the beginning of a new age in Faerun.

Oh, and you can use this calendar to input moon phases and pre-rolled weather events: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?532892-Simple-Faerun-Calendar

Reading through the book, I think that the rule about exhaustion is only for days that have a full blown tropical storm.
That's literally what I said in my very first sentence.
 
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Sacrosanct

Slayer of Keraptis
Edit* I had it backwards lol. I view the exhaustion rules as replacing. I.e., if there is a monsoon and you decide to travel, you don't have to roll for normal exhaustion as per the DMG under those conditions. Rather, you get it automatically. Then have to roll again specifically for the monsoon to see if you get more.

that was my interpretation.
 
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hawkeyefan

Explorer
I'm not sure what the official year is for Faerun currently but I worked out that if you set ToA in 1492: The Year of Three Ships sailing, you could do something pretty neat with the calendar. This is a leap year where there's a Shieldmeet in-between Flamerule and Eleasias, just after Midsummer's Day. If you start the adventure on the 11th of Mirtul, then Midsummer's Day is the 80th day since the adventure started, and the day when Syndra will die. The very next day is Shieldmeet, which you could then also say is the day that the atropal finally ascends to god-hood, marking the beginning of a new age in Faerun.

Oh, and you can use this calendar to input moon phases and pre-rolled weather events: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?532892-Simple-Faerun-Calendar



That's literally what I said in my very first sentence.
Sorry about that....there are a few threads that touched on this topic, and I didn't realize you had mentioned it so clearly. In the other threads there seems to be some doubt.

My bad.
 
There's another issue with the weather :(

If you use the DMG random weather tables, and try to balance that with the stated temperature ranges in ToA, then you get... weirdness.

70˚F is the nighttime usual minimum temperature and 95˚F is the daytime usual maximum. Extreme events should therefore fall lower and higher than these numbers. The average temperature during the day should probably sit somewhere around 86˚F since daytime is hotter than night but 95 is considered a maximum not average. The DMG has variances of up to +/- 40˚F. That is... problematic. That could mean a 126˚F day or a 46˚F day. That just seems completely out of whack no matter the environment or setting.

So I can't really do random weather. Any suggestions on how to do this randomly? I mean, I guess I could just tweak the variances to 1d4x5 instead of 1d4x10, but that seems clunky as well.
 
Going through the various rules for extreme heat and water requirements as well as trying to reconcile them with the ToA version has me very confused. So I've made up my own version and completely ignored the tropical storm rule from ToA (having lived through a few tropical storms, honestly, they're a relief if anything). Let me know what you think:

If the character drinks two gallons of drinkable water per day, three if wearing armour, then they need not make any saving throws to avoid exhaustion for that day.

If the character does not drink this amount of water per day but still drinks some water, they must make a DC 15 Constitution saving throw at the end of the day to avoid a level of exhaustion.

If the character has no drinkable water for the day, then they automatically fail the above saving throw and must make a second saving throw to avoid gaining a further level of exhaustion. In addition, at the end of every hour that they actively travel without water, they must make an additional saving throw to avoid gaining a level of exhaustion.

All saving throws made to avoid these levels of exhaustion are made with disadvantage if wearing armour.
I think that simplifies things a bit while still being incredibly deadly if you end up getting lost and have no way to find clean water. It also makes wearing armour a really, really bad idea. Which, while it could be considered unfair to players who have built around armour, I think as long as the players understand before they make characters that some characters are going to be at a disadvantage (whether you tell them you're running ToA or not, or whether you specify armour is the detrimental factor or not), then it shouldn't create too much of a problem and enterprising players will find a way to mitigate it or work around it.
 
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JesterOC

Explorer
I like the simplified rules. I will kick that around in my head for a while. While I have not lived through tropical rainstorms you would think it makes everything tougher. The ground gets muddy, water gets into everything, fabrics get heavier, and food could get spoiled. While sitting at a campsite during a rain does sound refreshing. Hiking with gear seems like the opposite. But like I said... No direct experience in my part.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
 
I like the simplified rules. I will kick that around in my head for a while. While I have not lived through tropical rainstorms you would think it makes everything tougher. The ground gets muddy, water gets into everything, fabrics get heavier, and food could get spoiled. While sitting at a campsite during a rain does sound refreshing. Hiking with gear seems like the opposite. But like I said... No direct experience in my part.
True, that is a good point. I've not hiked in a tropical storm, just it's more a relief from the heat. I'll think on it.
 

Dark_T_Zeratul

Explorer
So I've got a bit of a story question regarding the specifics of the Death Curse.

The two main effects of the curse are that no one who dies can be raised, and people who have previously been raised are wasting away.

The cause of the first part is easy: their souls are getting trapped in the Soulmonger and devoured by the atropal. But I've yet to find anywhere where it explains the cause of the second part - why would a soul raised years before the soulmonger even existed be affected by it? Have I just not found the explanation for this, or does it actually go unexplained in the book?
 

JesterOC

Explorer
So I've got a bit of a story question regarding the specifics of the Death Curse.

The two main effects of the curse are that no one who dies can be raised, and people who have previously been raised are wasting away.

The cause of the first part is easy: their souls are getting trapped in the Soulmonger and devoured by the atropal. But I've yet to find anywhere where it explains the cause of the second part - why would a soul raised years before the soulmonger even existed be affected by it? Have I just not found the explanation for this, or does it actually go unexplained in the book?
I don't recall seeing the explanation but I assumed it was because the resurrected spirit has already left the body once and was stitches back using magic. But the soulmonger is pulling at those spirits and the magical binding is unraveling.

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