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[UPDATED] What's Next For D&D? Live From Origins - Tomb of Annihilation

What's Next For D&D? Live From Origins - Tomb of Annihilation

Origins Game Fair is taking place, and WotC held a What's Next For D&D? panel, featuring Christopher Lindsay, Chris Perkins, Shelly Mazzanoble, and Curse's Adam Bradford (represent D&D Beyond). Special thanks goes to Kato Katonian over on Twitter who live-tweeted the panel. This first part covers Tomb of Annihilation, and touches on accessories (dice, mats, screen) and Xanathar's Guide to Everything. D&D Beyond will be in a separate post.

  • Tomb of Annihilation is level 1-11 but you can go higher level. Adventurer's League content will take you to 20.
  • Tomb of Annihilation adventure. Fall. "Death matters" Something is preventing people from being brought back from dead.
  • Levity provided by input from Penn Ward of Adventure Time.
  • Penn's constant doodling provided inspiration for traps in the module.
  • Next slides are art images of Jungles of Chult. Hard to photograph.

  • A Dragon Turtle hunts the bay. Original name of Turtle was Aremag, which is "Gamera" backwards.
  • Inhabitants include Pterafolk, Bateri goblins, and Aarakocra. Not sure on any of those spellings :)
  • Update monsters: Almiraj (unicorn bunny), Kamadan, Mantrap, Tri-flower frond, Jacuuli, Zorbo (evil koala that destroys magic items).
  • New monster: Chwingas (magical elemental creatures) that might be befriended. And Flying Monkeys!
  • Chult has Albino Dwarves and Su-Monsters (psionic monkeys).
  • And dinosaurs, in Chult. Not all of them alive.
  • More playtesters on Annihilation than any previously released adventure.
  • Dragonbait, from Curse of the Azure Bonds, appears in the adventure.

  • Payoff for Ring of Winter thread in Storm King's Thunder appears in Annihilation.
  • Traps and elements from Tomb of Horrors appear, like Four Armed Gargoyles.
  • Only need three core rule books for Annihilation. Monsters from Volo's Guide have statblocks in adventure, based on playtest feedback.
  • Annihilation has some player handouts (room illustrations).
  • All maps in Tomb of Annihilation done by [Mike Schley].
  • Rules for racing dinosaurs!
  • Two sided poster map of Chult. One side shows everything, other shows just edges that PCs would know.
  • The Tortle Package: a short accessory that will probably appear on DM Guild. 5e Tortles
  • Includes short Tortle-themed adventure.
  • Tomb of Annihilation credits. Arrives widely September 19. In FLGS September 8.


  • Tomb of Annihilation Dice Tin. Sep 19. Green dice in a tin.
  • New DM Screen (not Annihilation specific). Red Dragon art. Layout based on feedback. Out Sep 19.
  • D&D Adventure Grid. Wet and dry erase grid map. Folded up same size as a book. Dungeon tile on one side, grass on other. Oct 8 and 17.
  • Xanathar's Guide To Everything. Over 20 subclasses (at least one for each PHB class). Additional feats, spells, backgrounds.
  • New rules for traps. Two covers (like Volos Guide).
  • Xanathar's available Nov 21 wide.

A more detailed version posted by KeyTenavast on Reddit (thanks to Demetrios1453!) --

Chris started with a presentation on Tomb of Annihilation. It's 256 pages and includes a 2-sided poster map of Chult. The DM's version on one side includes the whole island, while the Player's map on the other side only shows the outline of the island and what's visible from the shore. It's like the maps in Isle of Dread.

ToA is based on two past adventures: Tomb of Horrors and Dwellers of the Forbidden City.

Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time, inspired NPCs, but also many of the traps in the titular Tomb.

Art: Chult is dangerous, but also a "lost world" full of beauty. There was a picture of the River Tiryki's waterfalls. There was the same picture of the Dragon Turtle from Chris Lindsay's presentation. This is Aremag, the dragon turtle who lives in the Bay of Chult, the only way in to Port Nyanzaru. In order to pass him, you have to fight him or bribe him. Fun fact: Aremag is Gamera backwards.

More art: colorful red Aarakocra, green pteranodon-like Pterafolk (or "Terrorfolk," because they tend to suddenly drop out of the sky and kill you. And Batiri Goblins in a "battle stack": the totem mask goblins I saw before.

More monsters: the Almiraj and the Kamadan. The Almiraj can be a familiar or animal companion. There will also be Man Traps, Tri-Flower Fronds, Jaculi, Zorbos, and a new monster: Chwingas. Chwingas are tiny elemental leaf, rock, and river spirits reminiscent of the little kodamas from Princess Mononoke. They like to play pranks and cast spells on people, but if they like you (and they can like you for just the color of your hair), they can grant you boons like those in the DMG.

There will also be a flying monkeys (available for familiars and animal companions), albino dwarves (no player race), su-monsters (psionic monkeys), and of course the undead T-Rex.

Some NPCs include: Princess Mwaxanare and her brother Prince Na, who can lead you on dangerous adventures. Nanny Pu'pu is a Chultan witch who worships dark powers. The name was a placeholder at first, but they kept it because players 13 and under loved it. She has a special power. There's Dragonbait, who originally appeared in the Curse of the Azure Bonds novel. He's not a lizardfolk, not a dragonborn. Maybe a pterafolk? But he can't speak and he just projects scents to communicate. He's a mysterious figure with a mysterious purpose.

There's also Artus Cimber and the Ring of Winter. He found the lost city of Mezro and fell in love with a paladin woman. He doesn't age because he has the Ring of Winter. Mezro was "destroyed" but Artus knows the truth. He might help the party on their quest. And yes, the Frost Giants from Storm King's Thunder are still after the Ring of Winter. (Similarly, ToA will also drop threads for future products.)

The Tomb of Annihilation itself was given lots of character. It features a 4-armed gargoyle; a giant rolling juggernaut that looks like a steamroller; creatures called Skeleton Keys; also the creepy, toy-like Playthings who know secrets about the tomb; bodaks that crawl out of the green devil's mouth.

For creatures like bodaks, which were featured in Volo's Guide to Monsters, they originally wanted to require VGTM, but they reprinted the stats instead. So all you need are the core books and ToA.

There's a trap called a zombie door, which is a door controlled by zombies in this small cubbies in the walls. The picture looked like they could reach out to you as you walk through the door.

The Tomb of Annihilation is a "god tomb" and its true name is The Tomb of Nine Gods. It's a multi-level dungeon featuring lots of traps and servants of Acererak. One room has corpses hanging by their feet over pools of blood. The Tomb is maintained by creatures, including masked Tomb Dwarves.

There's a player handout for a puzzle

There is a grid of nine animals that correspond to the Nine Gods and the nine alignments. Top row, left to right: Snake (or Coatl), Froghemoth, Displacer Beast. Middle row, left to right: Rabbit, Flail Snail, and thing that looked like a plant/tiger. Bottom row, left to right: Stork, ?????, and Monkey. The snake represents Lawful Good and the God Moa. The monkey represents Chaotic Evil and the god Wongo.

More images of locations: the aarakocra establishment Kir Sabal (sp?). The floating earth mote the Heart of Ubtao. Jakaka (?) Anchorage, a pirate hideout. Nangalore, a palace where a medusa lives. Wyrmheart Mine.

All maps are by Mike Schley

Port Nyanzaru features guides, side quests, rumors, trade, and dinosaur races. Guides include character such as Azaha Stormfang, Hew Hackinstone ( a dwarf, maybe albino), and River Mist (a tabaxi). Also Sharo, and a Vegepygmy called Kupalue (koopa loo-ay).

The city is run by seven merchant princes, some of whom are female, like Jessamine and Zhanthi.

There are dinosaur racing rules. One potential guide is a former dino racer.

The Ytepka Society are mysterious guardians of the city who warn disruptive visitors with an iron token of a Triceratops (called a ytepka).

There's a Fort Beluarian "satellite" from Baldur's Gate, run by the Flaming Fist. If they catch you out in the jungle without a charter for exploration, you're in trouble.

And there's the Forbidden City. There are things hidden here that you need in order to complete the adventure. The King of Feathers, a feathered T-Rex who isn't what he seems, lives here.

More characters: Bag of Nails (a tabaxi) and Fenthuza (a yuan-ti lady who's all snake below the belt).

Also, on DMsGuild you'll be able to find on release day (same day DLC kinda thing)... The Tortle Package! It's an adventure that takes place on a small Chultan island/peninsula called the Snout of Ongar, where Tortles live. It has rules for Tortle PCs. It features locations like Ahoyhoy Village and Typhoon Palace.

On to Chris Lindsay's portion: the ToA dice tin is coming out, and the revised DM Screen, which he let everyone look at. The D&D Adventure Grid is a dry/wet erase two-sided (tile and grass) grid that folds up like a board game, rather than rolling up like a mat.

Xanathar's Guide to Everything is a "massive rules expansion" with 20+ new subclasses, each PHB class getting at least one, new feats, new spells, a new system for backgrounds, new traps, new magic items, and new variant rules. Much of it was tested in the Unearthed Arcana series.

Shelly Mazzanoble presented stuff about Betrayal at Baldur's Gate. Lots of the same information as on the Stream of Annihilation. It'll be $50. The clips actually work now (and you can contact Avalon Hill to replace your old useless ones for the original game). I actually got to play Betrayal at Baldur's Gate and it was awesome. My drow warlock got killed by a gnoll once the haunt started. Triggering haunts works a little differently. You now roll as many dice as there are Omen cards, so it's impossible to trigger the haunt until there are at least 3 Omens (you still have to roll 6 or more to trigger the haunt, and the six-sided dice are still 0, 1, and 2).

D&D Beyond with Adam Bradford: it's not going to be like a video game, it's to enhance gameplay at the table. 2nd phase (character builder) will be out before June 30th, so the next 1-2 weeks. You'll be able to quick build a character and randomize a character. They will do a stream with some D&D stars where they play completely randomized characters.

Stage 3 (Homebrew and Campaigns) is coming shortly after stage 2. You can share homebrew items (someone asked about DMsGuild creators sharing stuff on D&D Beyond and Chris Lindsay and Adam shared a look and they said they weren't ready to announce anything yet). DMs can invited players to their campaigns. DM can look at and edit character sheets (the player will know when this happens, though).

They will have Hero Tier subscriptions for players, which includes unlimited characters. Master Tier for DMs allows DMs to purchase content (VGTM, for example) and share it with all players.

Right now, DnDB is just SRD stuff, but soon you can purchase digital sourcebooks and view the compendium for that material. People asked about paying twice for the same material and the panelists sidestepped it a bit, but said they've been working on a way for all that to make sense and that we'll be surprised what they come up with.

D&D Beyond future: Twitch stream integration. Also the Pronunciation Guide with the voices of Matt Mercer and Marisha Ray should be available in 3-4 weeks.

D&D Partner Products with Chris Lindsay again: Tomb of Annihilation "adventure system" board game from WizKids, as well as Dice Masters, ToA minis, tombs and traps minis, Dragonfire deck building game, and two expansion decks for Tyrants of the Underdark by Gale Force 9: aberrations and undead.

Chris Perkins talked about the 3 Ps in regards to their slow release schedule: Pacing, Playtesting, and Partnership. Pacing: they want to give players time to play the books and savor each release, with a little time to anticipate the next release. Playtesting: more playtesting makes the game better, but it takes time. Partnership: they want to create shared experiences over multiple platforms and different products, but coordinating all that takes time, too.

Some highlights from the Q&A that followed: no new races or reprints in ToA or XGTE. The 9 Gods will be present in ToA (statted up, basically). ToA is similar to CoS in complexity for DMs. ToA is 1-11, but can go higher, especially with all the DMs Guild and Adventurer's League material they're going to be promoting. Acererak is CR 25. He loves to bait the PCs. His presence will be felt by the effects he has on the world, but he won't always pop in and out like Strahd. An interesting, unexpected thing will happen to the PCs at the end.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey


[UPDATED] What's Next For D&D? Live From Origins - Tomb of Annihilation

No mention of the black & red dice they used in SoA? They looked pretty.

Those were recently available during a stream they did for meltdown comic shop that was filmed like a home shopping network thing. They are promo dice they give the celebrities, they sold the dice with a black bag or green bag with the Tome of Horrors face thing.


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I doubt they will go that far out before detailing more popular locations nearer the heart of the setting. And I can't see them doing dinosaurs and jungles twice in a row.

Dragonbait finding that Moander is trying to return to the Realms, leading to an adventure based around Yulash and giving us updated details concerning the Dalelands, Elven Court, and the Moonsea? Perhaps a new Schley poster map of the region? Now that would both interesting and extremely useful!

I did believe there are details and maps for the Moonsea in some of the AL modules if your interested.


So over at the D&D twitch channel they threw up a handful of videos from Origins. https://www.twitch.tv/dnd/videos/all

I can't figure out which is the first chronologically in the session where Chris Perkins and Satine Phoenix are playing. They are not numbered or time stamped that I can see. Anyone have any idea?


It was so awesome to be there with the design team, can't wait for ToA, finally getting a new expansion setting for the Forgotten Realms. I won one of the prizes for being able to name 3 of the 9 hells, (a possible hint for the adventure?)!!

I was there, too, and I agree, this was a great session and it was awesome to be a part of it. Looking forward to all of the great upcoming stuff that was shown.

chibi graz'zt

First Post
I was there, too, and I agree, this was a great session and it was awesome to be a part of it. Looking forward to all of the great upcoming stuff that was shown.
Thats awesome! Obviously the room was full! Hope you enjoyed Origins, definitely enjoyed it better than Gencon!

chibi graz'zt

First Post
Those were recently available during a stream they did for meltdown comic shop that was filmed like a home shopping network thing. They are promo dice they give the celebrities, they sold the dice with a black bag or green bag with the Tome of Horrors face thing.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Those ampersand dice roll great, just saying... ;-)

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