I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. It was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s the follow up campaign – 2018’s Tomb of Annihilation. We used experience points rather than milestones/level-based progression, which led to some ‘xp grinding’ along the way. Each session was 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing; don’t forget these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.
For literally the first time in years, we didn’t have enough players to play (only three plus me, the DM, turned up). I was concerned there might be some…unnecessary fatalities…if we ran a session, so, we played some cool fantasy card games (whose names escape me) and had a fun time anyway. Yeah, I could have run a little one-shot but the card games looked geeky cool. And it turns out they were!
The party travelled from their convenient teleportation spot to discover a broken airship in the branches high above them. Some sailors were yelling for assistance, so Dan’s plucky halfling Paladin climbed to the rescue. The crew had seen better days, as they’d been starving in the trees for some time. Just then a Zombie Girallon attacked, which the halfling had to fight up top by himself, as the ground crew were attacked by ghouls. Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer flew in, zapping beasties left and right.
A few more Zombie Girallons and lots of experience points later, all the noise attracted a lumbering Tyrannosaurus Rex, which ended up being main course for dinner that night.
The party rested in the humidity, flies and the cacophony of the jungle all around them. In the distance, a high rock tower extended phallically into the sky, a wisp of smoke curling from its summit. “That’s one of the Firefinger towers,” said Hew Hackyabutt, the redoubtable one-armed Scottish Dwarven guide. “There was once a network of those old towers across the Omuan kingdom, hundreds of years ago. Some of them still exist. They were used for signalling and messaging.”
“Experience points!” cried the meta-gaming party.
Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer bravely decided to lead the local Pterafolk away so the party could approach the tower undetected. Climbing up the tower ladder to the first cave opening, Mark’s Cleric successfully broke some rungs and ate the ground. Eventually the party got to the cave, which was infested with Giant Wolf Spiders. Dan’s halfling decided he just had to have one, and decided to wrestle and tame it to make it his mount. Steve’s Rogue decided to kill it (harsh words were spoken) and Dan ran off to grapple another. Dan’s halfling realised it’s not that easy to train a dragon, I mean wolf spider, but eventually it all came good. Meanwhile, Daniel’s Bard and Mark’s Cleric decided to leap/fall (badly) down a ten-foot hole. Steve’s Rogue decided to join them.
Jake’s Sorcerer very coolly led one of the Pterafolk to its doom, straight into the side of the tower.
The party fought with the Pterafolk on the ledge in a pretty rough battle, then decided to climb down the tower to rest. That’s alright, I’m sure no one noticed all that stuff happening or all the noise from spells and the like…
After resting the party headed back to Firefinger. Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer flew up to the top to draw a few Pterafolk away, only to find that they had disappeared. Meanwhile, Dan’s halfling Paladin used his wolf spider mount to climb the walls easily to the first level, and Daniel’s Bard and Steve’s Rogue followed up the first ladder. Climbing up the chimney to the second level, Dan’s halfling was swarmed by Stirges, which also took a liking to the rogue and bard. Jake’s Sorcerer managed to kill all of the Stirges using a few well-placed Shatter spells. Unfortunately, Dan’s mount was shattered as well.
Climbing up to the next level, the party encountered more Pterafolk. After zapping one, Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer experienced a wild magic surge and he lost all his feathers. Plunging to the ground, he grabbed the ladder which then started pulling off the wall. Meanwhile, Dan’s Paladin crit failed and cut open the bag containing his reversal stone, which reversed gravity and sent everyone up to hit the roof, except for Daniel’s Bard who flew up in the air and out of potential combat. Jake’s Sorcerer managed to climb down to the first level and then sat naked and humiliated for a long time.
Dan’s paladin and Steve’s Rogue fought more Pterafolk, and found Morgan’s Tabaxi Fighter, a prisoner who freed himself and then recovered his weapons to fight the last Pterafolk on that level. He had been held captive by the Pterafolk after his party were killed exploring Chult for the very same Soul Monger that this party was after. Nice segue, new player!
Climbing up to the top level of Firefinger, the party (sans Jake’s Sorcerer) confronted the last three Pterafolk (Daniel’s Bard creating a giant nightclub bouncer from his phantasmal force spell to prevent one of the Pterafolk from leaving). Soon the pterafolk were no more – treasure was gained, including a magical mask of the beasts, which Dan’s paladin initially didn’t want, but then found out that it makes animals your friends (DOH!). Daniel’s Bard ended up with the mask. From the top of Firefinger, they could see the ruins of Nangalore. A good choice for their next experience point-accruing destination.
A long rest, then off to the Monkey Bridge, where the party defeated a Stone Golem, which turned out to be their biggest challenge yet!
Next time: The ruins of Nangalore!
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