18 comments on “Tomb of Annihilation Review Part 1: Chult in 5e

  1. Hi! Just letting you know that you have a new reader. I found my way here from Kotaku’s review on Tomb of Annihilation and have started to read through your articles.

    Thanks for providing some insightful reviews.

    D&D has been my hobby for many, many years now, but I have never paid much attention to the published settings. It’s sad that, for many gamers and especially for POC, you have to eschew almost all the published material to get something that’s more representative of the experience you want.

  2. At first, I was hesitant about this topic because of the source I heard it from: It’s Kotaku, one of the sites on my $#!* list. However, this site here, an RPG blog from a Person of Color, has a bit more promise for me. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you come up with to flesh out Chult, a setting that, understandingly for me, Wizards of the Coast hasn’t devoted too much time on.

    What I hope to see you do is to understand one thing: Faerunian Culture is _not_ Earth Culture. A Person of Color in Faerun should not have the same history or experiences of life story as, say, a POC youth in an American Inner City. That’s what I fear some folks going, and I can bet that in some microblog sites like Tumblr and Twitter, that’s already happening. If you refrain from doing that, we can get along just fine.

    I haven’t started on ToA yet, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what you suggest to flesh out Chult so I can add it to my own campaign. In fact, if it’s workable enough, I might even translate your suggestions to my own homebrew setting; a classic fantasy world set in a Post-Apocalyptic earth. Let me know if you’re interested.

  3. WotC has done a crappy job in general in detailing the 5e Forgotten Realms in general, its the greatest weakness of the Edition.

    I will admit Chultan culture could have been explored much better, but to do it justice argueably means exploring Katashaka, because otherwise that would be like exploring Canadian History without knowing what Europe is.

    I see a huge opportunity in exploring Katashaka, but because of WotC’s lack of ambition it will go to waste, just like Maztica, Mulhorand, Unther, Kara Tur, Zakhara, Durpur, Osse, and Abeir.

    Actually what could have been cool is showing us what Chults Feywild is like.

    Still personally for “Black Civilizations” I find Turmish more interesting then Chult has ever been, its a Democracy, the only major one in Faerun, it the home turf of the Emerald Enclave, a major enviromental group in FR.

    I recommend the novel The Reaver, for a look at Turmish.

    Still even though Culturally African, the names sound more Italian.

    • Good point on Turmish, but I find it suffers from a lot of the same issues that Chult does; poor support and description being the largest. I think that region is supposed to be a Moorish-Spain sort of operation, but with Venetian influences, which might explain the names.

      I disagree about Katashaka needing exploration to really explore Chultean culture though. Given the time scales involved since the migration, ~4000 years, your argument is more like saying that you couldn’t understand Canadian culture and history without exploring Proto-Indo European culture. There may be some core carryovers and cultural artifacts that would still be somewhat recognizable, but culturally and linguistically, they’d be very different from what their ancestors were like.

      I concur about the poor job in detailing the FRCS for 5e, it’s a serious failing that is only getting worse as time is passing.

  4. I also found my way here from the Kotaku article.

    Thank you for reviewing the setting information — I wasn’t expecting the cultural information in ToA to be particularly compelling, but the lack of environmental writing is bizarre to say the least.

    I’d love to know whether you think the book is worthwhile as a fun hexcrawl, assuming a DM disregarded the canon, avoided the trap of humanoid-as-ethnicity, and made the peoples of Chult less passive.

  5. I am very interested in Part 2 of this article. I am about to run a homebrewed adaption of Tomb of Annihilation, and before reading your articles I had no idea that Chult had such a fraught history. I plan on making some alterations to the key factions and editing some historical details to make the overall setting into a more empowering narrative, and I think your take on the subject will be invaluable to my efforts to do that.

  6. You say “During an interview about the Tomb of Annihilation (ToA) with Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio, it was revealed that in the writing of this adventure, there were no POC involved, and when time came to determine if they should go into detail about Chultean culture and history, the decision was “no”, because it would be “boring”. ”

    In her article on Kotaku, Ms. D’Anastasio mentioned the “no PoC involved” answer from Chris Perkins, but not the “Chultean culture and history would be boring” part. In fact, although his other comments don’t contradict that, it seems, at least to me, like a surprising contrast.

    I am curious to know – is this something that Ms D’Anastatio communicated to you privately or is there some other source I am missing?

    • “contrast”, meaning “contrast with what he was reported in the article to have said”

      • This was something communicated during the interview. I responded that it wasn’t a surprise to me, because POC dominated regions tend to get the short end of the stick in world building and creative efforts, because they’re largely used as one shot locations and backdrops for characters from “conventional” fantasy regions to be in; not as much a place to be from.

  7. Pingback: Tomb of Annihilation Review Part 2: The Adventure | POCGamer

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  9. I always had the same issues with Chult and the Pathfinder equivalent of the Garundi and Mwangi peoples. I’ll never forget the the Golarion Inner Sea bits that went into great detail about every peoples of that world, and had half-a-page detailing jungle ‘folk’. A peoples history, as can a regions, can be just as rich, complex and narratively interesting without a long history of warfare and strife. Or better yet, it may be even more interesting.

  10. Pingback: Tomb of Annihilation Review Part 3: World Building | POCGamer

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  12. Thank you for both the series on ToA, and your blog. I’ll be reading here regularly (came here from Google while trying to find more Chultean history). I was disappointed that all of the story hooks came from outside Chult, as two and maybe three of my four players are from Chult. I also appreciate the ideas on things I can do with the party after ToA, as at least one of them will respond favorably to the idea of reviving the royal bloodlines. Thank you!

  13. Pingback: Chultan Diaspora | Streets&Turmoil

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