D&D 5E Tomb of Annihilation Post-Mortem (Spoilers)

Li Shenron

Legend
I own and have read ToA, and chose not to run it.

It would depend on how you handled levelling. You could skip through it quite quickly, but you would either need to level the party very quickly or start at a higher level. And there is some random stuff scattered around in the jungle that you would miss out on. One thing I would never do it let the dice completely dictate the encounters - it would be quite easy for the PCs to encounter something of completely unsuitable level and get annihilated!
Ok, that's interesting. Sounds like basically the main design purpose of the long jungle crawl is to level up characters, but I have an odd approach to levelling up and choosing adventures: since I don't like adventures designed to span many levels*, I usually start an adventure when the characters are already at mid-levels if not near the levels expected to finish such adventure. If I read it right, ToA is designed from level 1 to 11, which is way too long for my tastes (I am more used to older editions adventures spanning 2-3 levels), so I would be looking to start it with the characters at least of level 5. With my approach, obviously the first part of any adventure is always easy and the second part gets harder, but this is how I like them to be, rather than scaled up but mostly equally difficult start-to-finish. Maybe in ToA starting at higher level would also help moving faster through the boring jungle crawl, but not necessarily as even easy combats can be time-consuming, so it would be more a matter of avoiding them or being able to end them quickly. I would be more concerned about missing that good "random stuff", but perhaps the DM can just choose to make the PCs stumble upon the interesting one.

*technically, my utopic campaign is many adventures that run in parallel, in which case I wouldn't mind each of them to span lots of levels, but in reality I can only really afford to run serial adventures

Overall it sounds like ToA roadmap could be summarized as Jungle -> Temple -> Dungeon -> BBEG. From a story point of view that's something that by my personal tastes shouldn't even require to level up once, but of course at WotC they want to cover as many levels as possible so that the players are using a larger portion of the character material (and feel like they need to buy another book soon).
 

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Ok, that's interesting. Sounds like basically the main design purpose of the long jungle crawl is to level up characters, but I have an odd approach to levelling up and choosing adventures: since I don't like adventures designed to span many levels*, I usually start an adventure when the characters are already at mid-levels if not near the levels expected to finish such adventure. If I read it right, ToA is designed from level 1 to 11, which is way too long for my tastes (I am more used to older editions adventures spanning 2-3 levels), so I would be looking to start it with the characters at least of level 5. With my approach, obviously the first part of any adventure is always easy and the second part gets harder, but this is how I like them to be, rather than scaled up but mostly equally difficult start-to-finish. Maybe in ToA starting at higher level would also help moving faster through the boring jungle crawl, but not necessarily as even easy combats can be time-consuming, so it would be more a matter of avoiding them or being able to end them quickly. I would be more concerned about missing that good "random stuff", but perhaps the DM can just choose to make the PCs stumble upon the interesting one.

*technically, my utopic campaign is many adventures that run in parallel, in which case I wouldn't mind each of them to span lots of levels, but in reality I can only really afford to run serial adventures

Overall it sounds like ToA roadmap could be summarized as Jungle -> Temple -> Dungeon -> BBEG. From a story point of view that's something that by my personal tastes shouldn't even require to level up once, but of course at WotC they want to cover as many levels as possible so that the players are using a larger portion of the character material (and feel like they need to buy another book soon).
Yes, the hexcrawl is for levelling up. It's good (without the Death Curse) for players who like sandbox play. Otherwise, start at level 4-8 with the Death Curse quest.
 

pukunui

Legend
Overall it sounds like ToA roadmap could be summarized as Jungle -> Temple -> Dungeon -> BBEG. From a story point of view that's something that by my personal tastes shouldn't even require to level up once, but of course at WotC they want to cover as many levels as possible so that the players are using a larger portion of the character material (and feel like they need to buy another book soon).
There is this:
Screenshot 2022-02-10 000653.jpg
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Overall it sounds like ToA roadmap could be summarized as Jungle -> Temple -> Dungeon -> BBEG.

For our group, it was more CITY (Lvls 1-5) - Jungle Hexcrawl (3-7) - CIty (8-9) - Dungeon (10-11).

Yes, the hexcrawl is for levelling up.

I really don't like this explanation. Nothing is for "levelling up". Either you give XPs, and every part gives XPs, or you use milestones (or, as we do, just decide at relevant points), and each section is played exactly at the level that you want to.

For us, it's been a very long time since we needed XPs as carrots or even cherry on the cake, we just play the adventures that we want to enjoy them at an appropriate level.
 

For our group, it was more CITY (Lvls 1-5) - Jungle Hexcrawl (3-7) - CIty (8-9) - Dungeon (10-11).



I really don't like this explanation. Nothing is for "levelling up". Either you give XPs, and every part gives XPs, or you use milestones (or, as we do, just decide at relevant points), and each section is played exactly at the level that you want to.

For us, it's been a very long time since we needed XPs as carrots or even cherry on the cake, we just play the adventures that we want to enjoy them at an appropriate level.
Or padding, if you prefer. So you don't go "okay, you arrive, gain four levels".
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Or padding, if you prefer. So you don't go "okay, you arrive, gain four levels".

The thing is, only play a section if your group enjoys it. And if they don't rather than jump 4 levels, just don't play the preceding sections, or raise their level (easy at low level anyway) so that there is a continuity. Players won't enjoy playing "padding".
 

The thing is, only play a section if your group enjoys it. And if they don't rather than jump 4 levels, just don't play the preceding sections, or raise their level (easy at low level anyway) so that there is a continuity. Players won't enjoy playing "padding".
Some players enjoy a series of randomised encounters.
 


UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
So! a question, given that this module has a lot of hexcrawling/exploration, are there any addition guidlines or rules for exploration in this over and above what is found in the PHB and the DMG?
For that matter does any D&D adventure expand on the basic travel/exploration rules?
 

Retreater

Legend
@Li Shenron, yes I think others beat me to it, but the book provides guidelines for starting at higher levels, at which point you could skip whatever sections you don't want to use.
I didn't think of the urban portion and the wilderness (which is levels 1-5) as just wasted time. We did enjoy it, it just went on too long (partially based on our real life schedule) and I didn't direct it enough. There are many great short adventure sites that could be used, but you mostly just "stumble into them."
If you were going to do high levels only, you could do the Lost City and the Tomb (two different areas) as a pretty solid mega-adventure (kind of like the old 64 page ones from back in the day). Or you could just run the Tomb as a high level single adventure.
Whether or not you're cool with buying a big hardcover book for 32 pages of adventure is up to you, though.
 

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