5E Tomb of Annihilation campaign recaps

Nebulous

Hero
These things happen. As long as you tell the players you stuffed up and that you'll play it by the rules from now on, then it won't matter. If you let them keep on doing it then it might break the game.
I hate having to double check on spells, I leave up to them for these low level common spells to do them correctly, and they usually do, but every once in a while something slides by us that really should't.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
Here's the latest journal. It's very brief and ill-remembered as I've had a lot of big drama in real life (a near death) while managing a large project that went public last week. Not the most exiting episode, but the group really enjoyed it.

Link to Journal: Roll20
 

Nebulous

Hero
Here's the latest journal. It's very brief and ill-remembered as I've had a lot of big drama in real life (a near death) while managing a large project that went public last week. Not the most exiting episode, but the group really enjoyed it.

Link to Journal: Roll20
I can't wait until someone gets possessed by a Trickster God in my game.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
Session 38: Day 118 - Gears of Hate


I think that we are getting very close to the end now. There are maybe 6 more sessions in this. That's good. I feel that if there was any more wandering in the tomb it would start to feel a bit samey, but it seems to be big but not too big.

I do worry that they are going to die in the encounter with Acererak, as only three of the party have decided to take on the spirits of the trickster gods. But we'll see how it goes.

I've got to say the the cogs in the roll20 app worked so well. An inspired idea to seperate the pictures of the cogs from the main map and multiside them so you just needed to scroll to whichever setting the player chose.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Session 38: Day 118 - Gears of Hate


I think that we are getting very close to the end now. There are maybe 6 more sessions in this. That's good. I feel that if there was any more wandering in the tomb it would start to feel a bit samey, but it seems to be big but not too big.
We are only on the first level of the Tomb for 2 sessions and I am getting the impression that it will get samey. As DM, I can already see it setting in, trap after trap after trap, and that's not really fun for me either. I might truncate some of it.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
We are only on the first level of the Tomb for 2 sessions and I am getting the impression that it will get samey. As DM, I can already see it setting in, trap after trap after trap, and that's not really fun for me either. I might truncate some of it.
I think the difference they have made to each of the levels helps quite a lot, so make sure you really play that up.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Damn. Our game got cancelled last minute tonight. It is getting increasingly difficult to meet in person, so eventually this might move to an online format.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
I recommend Roll20. If you want to have a look at it, send me a private message with your e-mail address. I'll send you an invite into my game so you can have a looksee before you pay for the module.

Alternatively you can use the free version and upload the maps yourself.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I recommend Roll20. If you want to have a look at it, send me a private message with your e-mail address. I'll send you an invite into my game so you can have a looksee before you pay for the module.

Alternatively you can use the free version and upload the maps yourself.
Thanks. I actually bought Fantasy Grounds a couple months ago but I haven't dug into how to use it yet.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
Session 39, Day 118 - Too many devils.


This was pretty tough. I think if they had not detected the block trap in the ceiling they would probably be toast by now. Good fun though.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Our game was cancelled again last minute. Unfortunately, the guy's house we play at cancels a lot, which screws everyone else up. We would just play without him, but we don't have a venue. So we haven't played Tomb since August. Anyway, here is one of the next sessions.

Tomb Session #37 - A Shrine of Jaculi & Gate of the Fane


Box
 

Nebulous

Hero
Session 39, Day 118 - Too many devils.


This was pretty tough. I think if they had not detected the block trap in the ceiling they would probably be toast by now. Good fun though.
I agree. That sounds like a deathtrap. What's the CR for that many devils all at once??
 

Keravath

Explorer
Thanks for posting these recaps and the comments. I haven't read through them all but the little pieces in the summaries are cool just by themselves.


I played through this last year and enjoyed it quite a bit (took about a year and a half ~36 sessions (4-5 hours each) once every 2 weeks). One difference I noted between your play-throughs and mine is the time limit. We were under constant time pressure since we knew we only had about 70+ days to cure the death curse. As a result, our playing did not include a lot of ToA content that was spread around the edges of the continent and would take too long to get to. However, the DM did include some of the Guild Adept content like Return of the Lizard King to give more destinations that could be added to our path.

The Fane of the Night Serpent can be deadly. We snuck in through the back door, had a few encounters and killed a few yuan-ti and came up with a plan to ambush Ras Nsi. Unfortunately, by that point, he had become aware of our presence, the ambush became a trap and it would have been a TPK except that before they finished us off we had a little discussion about our purpose. When he found out that we were trying to retrieve the last cube to enter the tomb to fix the death curse (which he is suffering from), he decided that putting us into the tomb to fix it would be a suitable punishment since he wins either way. He also converted some of the humans in the group to yuan-ti in an effort to make us more malleable.

The tomb itself is loaded with deadly traps. Our party was relatively lucky since we had a rogue/warlock with the observant feat and devils sight with a passive perception of 24 which made finding the traps and secret doors much easier though several of them were still dangerous to deal with or bypass. The challenges of the individual tombs of the nine gods kept it interesting ... however, we learned that any room that wasn't a resting place for a god was likely just a trap containing nothing of real interest. Any magic items we found except those inhabited by the gods appeared to be cursed.

We had also acquired Nolzur's Marvellous Pigments (I think they are in the grung village in ToA or in the Return of the Lizard King module). These allow the character to paint doors/pits/mundane items that then become real. With some imagination, these made it possible to further disable/deal with or avoid some of the traps in the tomb.

There were parts of the tomb we didn't visit after we dealt with the tombs of the gods (due to the learning curve). If it didn't lead downward we didn't go that way so we never encountered the devil trap or some of the other encounters on the level before the hags.

We lost two characters in the tomb. We set off the trap on level 2 that filled the room with wine and a couple of characters tried to teleport into the room to help the others escape which dropped them in the garbage room. One of the clues in the tomb for level 2 said something about "Into Darkness Descend". When the darkness of the mouth in the garbage room tried to draw them in they decided to jump in. Unfortunately, the Sphere of Annihilation left nothing behind. They brought in new characters for the next session.

For the final battle, the DM threw in all the remaining tomb dwarves, some undead, the stone juggernaut (from the other part of the dungeon that we didn't do) running along the ledge, along with the soul monger and atropal. Defeating the soul monger and the Atropal were a challenge with all the minions and the battle rolls right on over to Acerak as soon as the Atropal goes down. Acerak himself turned out to be a bit easier than expected though it could easily be a TPK if Acerak had gotten loose. In our case, the moon druid took a flying form and grappled Acerak (he is VERY bad at grappling) dragging him over to the platform where the party (including a paladin with divine smite and a warlock with eldritch smite) were able to hit him for very large amounts of damage. A crit from a maxed level eldritch smite did sufficient damage to kill him before he could flee.

We ended about level 11 or 12. We entered the tomb at level 9. We were playing the end of the adventure using season 8 AL rules so leveling was a bit faster than expected towards the end of the tomb. However, if you are using XP as the basis for leveling the tomb itself is really badly designed. There is very little actual XP unless the DM awards it for completing the puzzles and defeating traps.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
I agree. That sounds like a deathtrap. What's the CR for that many devils all at once??
No idea. I never worry too much about that sort of stuff. My players long ago realised that sometimes they will face overwhelming odds and just need to run away.
 

Rabbitbait

Explorer
Thanks for posting these recaps and the comments. I haven't read through them all but the little pieces in the summaries are cool just by themselves.
That's an excellent recap. My group knew there was a time limit before their patron died, but that didn't really speed them up at all. It didn't help that they got lost in the jungle a couple of times and one of those times they were lost for a couple of weeks.

One of the characters in my game has just levelled up to level 10 and the rest are level 9. I expect that they will all be level 10 by the time they face Acererak. Only half of them have taken on trickster gods though, which may make the battle a lot harder.

We've been on pause for a couple of weeks due to too much real life going on for lots of us, but hopefully we'll get back into it soon. It feels so close to the end.
 

Nebulous

Hero
We ended about level 11 or 12. We entered the tomb at level 9. We were playing the end of the adventure using season 8 AL rules so leveling was a bit faster than expected towards the end of the tomb. However, if you are using XP as the basis for leveling the tomb itself is really badly designed. There is very little actual XP unless the DM awards it for completing the puzzles and defeating traps.
My group entered at 7th level, and i doubt they'll pass 9th by the end. I don't use XP at all, I just level them up when it feels right. I kept them at 6th level through all of Omu.
 

JediSoth

Semi-Professional Author
I ended the last session right after one of the PCs broke the Mirror of Life Trapping on level 4 of the Tomb of Nine Gods. Everything within spilled out, into a 15' square room (which I can't even build with Dwarven Forge because it's too small. Having all these creature crammed into that space seems really absurd.
 

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