Tag Archives: Jungles of Chult
This has been one of the hardest posts I’ve written to date, largely because it kept opening up entirely new venues of examination and thought. In all seriousness, I’ve written something close to 8000+/- words in various drafts for this. This is the final installment of the Tomb of Annihilation (ToA) review, where I’m looking at the world building that went into the module, use of canon, its integration with other 5e products and the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS), and how perceptions and anchoring acted to influence planning and writing in my estimation based on the resulting product. If you haven’t already, check out the first installments of this review! 
The Tomb of Annihilation is probably one of the most complex reviews I’ve approached to date, because it intersects with a number of topics all at once. These being world building, diversity in gaming, and of course, the adventure itself. This book represents the first major move by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) to expand the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (FRCS) in a deliberate manner in the form of a book that acts both as a source book for the base world of 5e D&D, and as the next installment in their ongoing semi-annual adventure publication schedule. Last post was the baseline establishment, this post will look at the adventure itself. If you missed it, check out part one before proceeding. 
This entire blog was initiated because of the gross injustice done to Chult in the 4e D&D Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting.  With 5e D&D, a lot of “fixit” work was done to the setting, a bid to reverse almost universally disliked changes. To date, Chult has been a relatively ignored or abused since 2e AD&D; when James Lowder cracked the area open with his Ring of Winter novel and as a co-writer on the Jungles Of Chult Module. So its selection as the location for the redone Tomb of Annihilation module came as a surprise. Given past experience, I approached it with caution. Time to review The Tomb of Annihilation.
“The Chult Event” is my term for the events that occurred during the retcon and revamp of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting for 4e D&D. The Chult Event was the last straw for me, it was one of the catalysts that brought this blog into being. As with most things, it’s best to start with some background on racism in fantasy. It’s not unfair or hostile to say that the genre of fantasy is riddled with racism. Sometimes intentional, sometimes not, it is mostly achieved through the aggressive use of stereotypes and writing tropes, racism by omission, and through substitution (of monsters for human ethnicities).  For all intents and purposes, it happens to further the immersion in and to carefully maintain the comfort zone and status quo enjoyed by the main audience and producers of the product, namely, a White audience. Given the increased and increasing plurality and integration in modern society, where more and more minorities and POC are asking for recognition and fair depiction, this has lead to a clash in the roleplaying and gaming subculture. It has also lead to game companies like Wizards of the Coast (WotC), to (hopefully unintentionally) commit some fairly racist actions that make it hard for POC to invest themselves in their product.