Here’s the start of the new campaign set in Chult that I’m calling « Ruins of Chult ». It’s homebrew, open hexcrawl exploration-focused and without time constraint. I’m using a little of the Tomb of Annihilation module; the Merchant Princes for sure and a few good locations. Certainly not the plot, it doesn’t make any sense IMO.
Edit: Anyway, this first session was lacking in many ways, I admit readily, it would be much better if we re-runned it but that’s almost always how it goes doesn’t it? I find my groove around the third or fourth session I think.
- Shin, Tabaxi Fighter, Outlander; Big-game hunter
- Lucky, Half-Elf Cleric of Tymora, Street Urchin; the lowly will be exalted
- Procor, Human Druid, Outlander; comes from a far away place
- Pheleas, Half-Elf Bard, Archeologist; « it’s not tomb-robbing if you do it respectfully »
- Corpos, Forest Gnome Wizard, Archeologist; antiquary, somewhat sinister for a gnome.
Fun fact: Both players with archeologists characters were, some years ago, real-life archeologists themselves! (Now one is an accountant and the other a government bureaucrat, so much for an exciting life, ugh!)
Lured by the promises of riches the PCs are leaving the city of Baldur’s Gate aboard the Amnian Fop, a fast schooner headed for the Chultan Peninsula. Amongst the would-be adventurers, Procor looks likes he’s already an experimented seaman and have some successful fishing along the way. Pheleas didn’t fare so well in his aquatic journey and will be a few pounds lighter at arrival.
The Pink Reef
The ship’s captain had planned a quick stop about halfway to their destination. He had some business to conduct at the Pink Reef, a place where merfolks traders gather. Young Lucky accepts an offer to invest his meager funds, buying a pearl and making some profit later on. Captain Shago left on a rowboat with two sailors to meet the merfolks. Meanwhile First Mate Blimponia scanned the horizon with her spyglass looking for pirates, vulnerable as they were anchored at the atoll.
Aside: I’ve refurbished NPC Shago from ToA as a free-willed captain, rather than a Flaming Fist flunky…
Unexpectedly, the attack came from below. A sudden, unnatural wave brought creatures aboard! Five Sea Spawns crashed clamsily (get it? GET IT? err) on the ship’ s deck. The sailors and PCs immediately tried to fend off the invaders. Two sailors were grievously wounded in the ensuing battle and Procor was grabbed by a tentacle at some point, but the superior number of the defenders proved to be more than enough. Procor and Pheleas used magic to heal two grievously injured sailors (Bayiz and Kid Shago) earning even more gratitude. Searching the dead creatures, Shin found a wristband made of seashells and shark teeth.
Leaving the Pink Reef behind, the crew observed with some unease that they were pursued by sharks. LOTS of sharks. A day later the swarm did not relent in the least. The following windless night, the sharks circled the ship hungrily and something else could be seen swimming amongst them: a sahuagin! The sahuagin talked to the crew in aquaan (the captain translated), said it wanted an object: the Sea spawn’s wristband, or else…The sahuagin was in fact hunting the Sea spawns before they got killed! The PCs decided, after a quick discussion, to give up the wristband rather than risk a fight and the satisfied sahuagin simply left.
A few uneventful days later, not so far from Chult’s coast, they spotted something in the sky. A look through the spyglass revealed an unusual sight: a harpy harassed by some pteranodons, desperately fleeing. Wounded by many cruel bites, the harpy was flying toward the boat. And was shot dead. An arrow from Shin’s longbow and a seashell shot from Lucky’ sling put a brutal end to her flight.
The curious pteranodons approached the ship but paid dearly as they were met with a volley of projectiles, killing three in no time. The dead-eye Tabaxi shot the last fleeing pteranodon more than 200′ away.
Before the landing, the Captain, aware of his passengers’ foolish desire to explore Chult, gave them a high quality (if partial) map, as a reward for their help in defending his ship.
Well, to be honest, I can’t say that my campaign’s prelude was that exciting. Sea travel isn’t easy to convey, for sure. We were all a bit rusty roleplay-wise. But one big mistake I made as the DM is leaving the PCs aboard the ship at the Pink Reef by default, more meaningful interactions would have been welcomed for sure. Doing this again, I would put some things going on on the atoll for the players to mess with.