A note on Batiri Goblins

Most intelligent creatures in Chult fear the
Batiri. They are relentless trackers, skilled in
jungle lore and the use of the bow and spear.

That comes from the Jungles of Chult (1998). That makes sense, I mean, the Batiri have been in Chult for a long time, in the middle of friggin‘ DINOTOPIA! They have to be some tough goblin mofos, don’t they?

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Art: Raph Lomotan

But guess what, in Tomb of annihilation, the Batiri are comic relief… Relief from WHAT? In order to need relief you must first build TENSION. With one encounter every 2 days, as written, I don’t see any need of comic relief before reaching Omu, where things finally start to get serious.

Anyway, I rarely see eye to eye with the writers of 5E on a storytelling perspective, that’s just one more thing that bothers me.

The point is, battlestacks and catapulting villages aren’t for me. In my campaign the Batiri goblins are clever little killers…

They’ll have some annoying tricks too!

  • poisoned arrows
  • snares, nets, exploding spores, etc.
  • steeds & pets: giant wasps, troodons, giant mantis, spiders, bats, etc.
  • shoot & hide tactics (hide as a bonus action)

Tomb of Annihilation: recycling old stuff

I’m really not an expert on D&D lore but I just figured that ToA is, in fact, a mash-up poorly assembled from earlier stuff:

  • The Jungles of Chult, setting supplement (1993, James Lowder and Jean Rabe)
  • The ring of winter, novel (1992, James Lowder)
  • Dwellers of the Forbidden City, adventure (1981, David Cook)
  • The Tomb of Horrors, adventure (1975, Gary Gygax)

Here, above, I think you got about 85% of ToA’s content.  And frankly, Gygax’s Tomb of Horrors is NOT something that’s worth copying…

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That’s chapter 2 of ToA for you.

I paid 30-something bucks for ToA and now I just bought the Jungle of Chult’s pdf for 5$ and I prefer the latter! Indeed, IMO, the 68 pages-long 1993 supplement (I didn’t even like D&D in the 90s), provides more inspiration than ToA. That pisses me off.

So, while detail-oriented
research has gone into this product to make
the Tabaxi society historically sound and the
Chultan jungle ecologically logical, I spent
more time trying to capture the feel of the
Allan Quatermain tales of H. Rider Haggard
and the Professor Challenger stories by Arthur
Conan Doyle. After all, this is a fantasy campaign
guide.

The Jungles of Chult, James Lowder

You see, Lowder sought material in classics whilst in this modern module, the writers have chosen inbreeding all the way, copying their own D&D predecessors instead of, well, creating something new.

 

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A cool idea from DotFC that isn’t in ToA

I’ll be renaming my campaign: Ruins of Chult. I am using ToA, some of it at least, but it won’t be the main thing. Next session in 2 weeks.