I recently started running the Tomb of Annihilation adventure with a group of players from my summer Rage of Demons tier 1 mini-campaign. The group consisted of a Duergar fighter (from RoD), a half-orc barbarian, a dwarf barbarian/druid, a tiefling sorcerer, and a tabaxi bard, all between levels 1 and 4. Since this campaign operates under the Adventurers League organized play, that made it easy for them to feel like they had some continuity, even if only one player kept the same character from our previous games together.
Before deciding for sure to run the book itself, we started with the “City on the Edge” scenarios, or at least most of them. That got everyone acclimated to the new setting and provided a bit more dynamism in the early going before starting Chapter 1. That also meant that some of the NPCs there became contacts useful in the rest of their urban adventures.
After wrapping up the final scenario there, they received a summons to a merchant prince villa, where Syndra waited with her proposal. Since they came to Chult on their own, we could skip the whole teleportation bit. When they started casting about for ways to start their investigation, they decided to start with Mezro. The warrior-monk Nerissa had told them she was from that city, and Soggy Wren pointed them towards getting some guides.
Despite the interest from the duergar in the two dwarf guides and their quests to reclaim their mines, the group eventually settled on Azaka Stormfang. They found her trustworthy, they said, and they also didn’t want to fight the “giant red dragon” one of the dwarves told them had taken over his clan’s mine. (Nobody ever thinks the NPCs exaggerate… but they usually do, or at least mine do!) She told them about Firefinger and indicated that Mezro was just a few days travel past that, so it fit the price they wanted to pay.
The session concluded with expedition planning and outfitting (i.e. a shopping quest).
This time, only three of the players could attend due to various time conflicts, including the lower leveled characters. So, rather than set out into the jungle in this weakened state, they decided to see what else could be done in Port Nyanzaru. Using the AL-legal material from the Guild Adept program, we instead ran the session from “Encounters in Port Nyanzaru“.
This got them quite a bit of experience, as they defeated an otyugh, a whole mess of crawling claws, and a vampire spawn. The crawling claws led to some really good roleplay with the merchant prince Kwayothé, because they suspected a necromancer had infiltrated her household. Our budding spymaster tiefling (who had earlier organized a bunch of the Old City urchins into a makeshift spy network to track down the otyugh) tried to semi-threaten her into letting them investigate by warning her he’d go tell the other merchant princes bad things about her. That’s going to have some future consequences for them…
I gave them a few rumors from the table at the end of Chapter 1 and that will probably feed some future drama. But already, they’ve started to rack up some suspicion in the city and worm their way into the intrigue among the merchant princes and various factions. (Honestly, you could run an entire urban intrigue campaign in Port Nyanzaru if you were so inclined!)
Hopefully, tonight they can finally get in those canoes they bought and set off down the River Tiryki towards Firefinger and then Mezro. I plan to use “Ruins of Mezro” for that as well, and a future post will review “Encounters in Port Nyanzaru” in more detail.