The ToA’s sidequests are all pretty much pointless and boring so I had to invent my own (except chasing pirates, that’s perfectly fine to me). Not only that but if you’re actually following the main plot of ToA (unlike me), doing the sidequests is actually detrimental to accomplishing the main quest! Talk about bad design… I did run the dinosaur race (but that was already an idea in the Jungles of Chult supplement (1993)).
- Shin, Tabaxi Fighter, Outlander; Big-game hunter
- Lucky, Half-Elf Cleric of Tymora, Street Urchin; the lowly will be exalted
- Pocor, Human Druid, Outlander; Traveller of chultan descent
- Phileas, Half-Elf Bard, Archeologist; “it’s not tomb-robbing if you do it respectfully”
- Corpos, Forest Gnome Wizard, Archeologist; antiquary, strange fixation on the undead
And now what’s the plan?
The PCs disembarked in Port Nyanzaru at dusk and their first move was, unsurprisingly, to find shelter for the night. They opted for Kaya’s House of Repose, a cozy inn located inside the walls feeling confident that their meagre funds would soon be replenished. Puzzled by the lack of other customers they asked around and learned that everybody (except the staff) went to see an unusual sight: a Halruaan airship had landed in town! Joining the crowd in the plaza, the soon-to-be explorers could only marvel at this efficient way of locomotion. Young Lucky, accustomed to city life, quickly became aware that wily pickpockets were taking full advantage of the diversion. Fortunately, targeted Pocor was vigilant enough to evade theft.
With so much people around, the PCs heard some interesting rumors they could benefit from.
Let’s talk money
In their first couple of days in Chult, the PCs have found out of a few ways to earn some gps before leaving Port Nyanzaru for their dangerous jungle expeditions:
- Arena Fun: The Mercenaries vs the Velociraptors
- Arena Fun: The Mercenaries vs the Skeletal Horde!
- Middleman Mboka have a job: Cleaning a Mine from critters (coast, two days away)
- Captain Shago have a job: find a certain M’panzu thought to be in league with the pirates and bring him to the captain.
Shin, Corpos and Phileas happily enlisted, whilst Pocor and Lucky had some mischievous plans of their own.
Mercenaries VS Velociraptors!
From his spectator seat, Pocor cast an entangle spell at one of the two porticullis where were kept the raptors, effectively blocking it. Two raptors entered the arena from the other side and advanced rapidly to the center of the arena, where Phileas and Corpos were ready for action. As for the Tabaxi, he climbed with celerity on one of the spike jutting from the encircling wall, intent on using his bow on the beasts.
Corpos’ mage hand threw sand in the eyes of one raptor and Phileas attempted to skewer the other with a fancy move of his rapier but only lightly wounded it. The savage bite and claw attack against him nearly put an end to his barely-started adventuring career, but for the help of Pocor’s healing powers.
As Corpos, Phileas and Shin finished the two raptors, yet another magical intervention from Pocor triggered an angry reaction from two young hooligans seated nearby. If he was so intent on helping the “mercenaries” they told him, he might as well join them in the arena below! A short scuffle ensued and Pocor got the upper hand (but not without losing his concentration on his entangle spell).
Below the two remaining raptors were finally free and Phileas, quite the crowd-pleaser, made a loud cracking noise with his whip that sent a magical Thunderwave, killing one raptor and wounding the other. A flame bolt from Corpos finished the poor beast.
(Shin’s player wasn’t too lucky with his dice throughout the combat. I think he hit once with an arrow?)
Meanwhile, Lucky tried to gain money another way. Feigning intoxication, he attempted to pickpocket a richly attired Chultan but got his greedy hand stung and was poisoned. He felt ill for an hour or so for his troubles. The locals aren’t the easiest of targets it seems.
A dinosaur race was announced for the evening. Two contenders: the ill-tempered allosaurus Bonecruncher was a 2:1 betting favorite against the young ankylosaurus Grung Stomper!
Of course it occurred almost immediately to Phileas to mess with the race and try to win against the odds! Corpos and Lucky were both convinced by the bard’s greedy enthusiasm and put a sum on Grung Stomper.
Phileas’ plan was to wait somewhere further on the circuit and play tricks on the allosaurus’ mind with a well placed Dissonant Whisper spell. And oh my! How it worked! The ill-tempered Bonecruncher failed spectacularly (rolled a 1! botches do count in my game) to resist the mind intrusion and went berzerk, losing precious time before his handler managed to steer him back on track. The race was still close but it was enough so Grung Stomper won!
- With Pocor’s player agreement, I’ve decided that his character’s ancestors were from Chult.
- I did some foreshadowing for the Halruaan airship before it become, huh, a jungle location?
- This session was rather short with 3 hours of play. I had thought that a lot more would be accomplished but it’s ok, the players have learned a lot of stuff about the setting and had some ideas how to tackle it.
- Last campaign finished with lvl 20 characters, beginning anew at lvl 1 is so different!
- Phileas’ player loves when his PC shines and has fame! That’s certainly a good way to keep his interest in the campaign.
- Both in the Arena and dinosaurs race, the players cheated their way to victory. That was a lot of fun. But hey, they are not the only crooks in town! I have to keep this in mind…