This adventure deals with stuff in the upcoming Tomb of Annihilation book, so I think we are getting a look at some of the content from the book right now. These four sessions introduce a lot of the NPC guides and some of the locations from Port Nyanzaru, which is the home base from which adventurers can launch expeditions into the jungle from.
From what I understand, all of the players are working actors. Their game is heavy on the roleplaying, to the point that they wear gear at the table. If you're looking for lots of combat, you might not like this.
That said, there's a lot to like. The DM clearly puts in an incredible amount of effort into the campaign. Each player has a distinct, fully fleshed-out character. They're very funny, especially Sujata, who made me laugh every single episode.
(Alice) Rowan of Glen Hollyhock - Gnome Druid
(Rachel) Moira Muirren - Human Paladin
(Allie) Lilith Lucena - Tiefling Bard
(Sujata) Ichabod Ferndweller - Dwarf Fighter
(Erika) Lala Lemonboots - Pixie Ranger
If you check out their site, you can see that all of their character sheets are completely filled out, full of backstory and character notes. The only thing that jumped out to me is that Lilith is chaotic neutral, an alignment that's given some of us DMs a lot of trouble. Allie doesn't play it in a maniacal way, so no big deal.
Episode 1 - Port Nyanzaru
The heroes have been hired to find the soulmonger, a device that an undead villain named Acererak is using to slowly kill everyone who has ever been brought back to life by a raise dead spell. The soulmonger is said to be in a lost city somewhere in the jungles of Chult.
The heroes arrive at Port Nyanzaru. It is hot and humid. They are in awe of the gigantic dinosaurs used as beasts of burden.
The group needs to go to the Thundering Lizard to meet a guide. Before they can do so, they are approached by a pair of tabaxi guides.
Rowan seems to really, really like them. They're a brother and sister team. Their names: Rivermist and Flask of Wine, which amuses me greatly.
The group makes no promises, but is definitely intrigued by their offer.
The adventurers head to a tavern called the Thundering Lizard. The dwarf, Ichabod, goes into a rant about having thrown up his breakfast and how he might pass out if he doesn't eat soon. They are approached by another potential guide, Selena. She has a wife. Ichabod is very, very excited about this and the others begin to squirm. Ichabod is hilarious.
They drink tedge (tudge?), a fermented drink made from honey. The group sits down at a table.
They are approached by a good-looking dude named Pharul and a halfling named Gundolo. They want to be hired on as guides. Lilith is 100% into Pharul. The group isn't impressed with their offer, so Ichabod stammers out a very pointed and firm rejection.
On the Stream of Annihilation, Kim said that she edits this thing herself. With that in mind, I notice that there's a million cuts, just like a TV show. It's very well done. I imagine this must take forever. It looks like they are using three cameras, too.
We learn that a merchant prince named Jobul the spider is in charge of all of the guides.
They meet another guide who has dark hair and dark features. Her name is Azaka. She's the one who was recommended to them.
Ichabod drinks way too much tedge and begins weeping. He can't read! He was raised by wolves. When he sees people reading, it brings back a lot of bad memories.
Ichabod is hilarious. Sujata does this slack-jawed British accent, so good.
Looking at the youtube comments, I see that some people don't like Ichabod. That kind of boggles my mind. I think Sujata is really funny.
Episode 2 - Faryn Reed Underbough
The group debates which guides to hire. Rowan says she really likes the tabaxi dude. Ichabod says that the tabaxi's sister "stirred up a couple of feelings in my loins." I'm dying.
They don't have a lot of money. They throw around the idea of Lilith seducing Pharul as a way of convincing him to forgo the payment. Or, she could seduce him and rob him.
It looks like a lot of the guides want 5 gp per day, with 30 days pay in advance.
They get a room and go to sleep.
The next day, the underling of a merchant prince (even females are referred to as princess) named Jessamine has summoned the group to her quarters. A halfling boy named Faryn is her messenger. The DM ran Faryn in the awesome Mike Mearls session during the Stream of Annihilation.
The adventurers go to her home. Jessamyne is suffering from the death curse. Years ago, she was an assassin who was slain. Her benefactor paid to have her raised.
Episode 3 - Bubbasaur
It looks like there are sanctioned guides and unsanctioned guides.
Jessamyne says that she will pay for Azaka to be their guide. She's heard that Flask and Rivermist (the tabaxi guides) are "good in the jungle."
Faryn takes the group to the market. It begins raining. There's sound effects and everything. This show is very well done. It's noticeable even if you just listen to it.
The group makes their way through the city. People riding dinosaurs come racing at the heroes, yelling for the group to get out of the way. There are special dinosaur races happening today. One of the dinosaurs tramples Moira and Rowyn gets stepped on.
At the market, the heroes buy:
- Camping gear
- Insect repellent (3 vials of salve)
- Rain catchers for drinking water
- A longsword
- A morningstar
There's a stand selling giant lizards, flying monkeys and dinosaurs. Ichabod never had a pet, never had a family. "It would be nice to have something that loves me," he says somewhat matter-of-factly.
A hadrosaurus is making puppy eyes at them. It's a runt. The merchant say it's useless and that he plans on eating it when is grows a bit more. The hadrosaurus is actually in Volo's Guide to Monsters on page 140. It is a "semi-quadrapedal herbivore recognized by its bony head crests".
They haggle over the price.
The merchant agrees to 20 gold and a kiss on the cheek from Rowan. Rowan kind of blows him a kiss and they have themselves one pet dinosaur. They name it "Bubbasaur." He's six feet tall.
Episode 4 - Into the Jungle
The group has a pool of 98 gold pieces that they share. Lilith doesn't want to chip in for the dinosaur. Rowan points out that she can eat him later, which alarms some of the party.
Rowan can talk to animals. She talks to Bubbasaur and lies to Ichabod, telling him that the dinosaur really likes him.
The heroes go get their guide, Azaka, and head into the jungle.
They travel for a bit and then two zombies emerge from the tick jungle, shambling toward them. Rowan attacks one with thorn whip, rolls a critical! She pulls a zombie's head right off. Ichabod goes into a thing about how cornea juice is good for "the gastrointestinal." Ichabod lunges at the other zombie. He cuts its arms off and it dies.
Azaka says that a yuan-ti villain named Ras Nsi assembled a zombie army long ago. That army now roams freely in the jungle. Ras might be in the lost city of Omu.
Good stuff! Ichabod cracks me up and the whole thing is fun. Having episodes that are just 15 minutes long is a big plus, because a lot of these shows are just way too long to follow. I guess that means that the format of some of these shows is going to be more like a series of movies, with just a few sessions broken into little pieces to form an entire season.
I am very interested in watching these characters gain levels and see how they evolve. Rowan in particular is an interesting character. On her sheet, it says that she has a hard time relating to people. In the game, she is definitely a little off-kilter and seems almost like a bit of a schemer. She plays it very cool, but it comes out here and there.
It's only 15 minutes, so if this sounds like something you might like, definitely check it out!