Table of Contents - A handy way to check out my articles by topic
Follow me on Twitter
Check out the Power Score RPG Youtube Channel here.
You can reach me at

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tomb of Annihilation Episode 2 - Grand Prize of the Oracle

My Tomb of Annihilation Episode 2 show is right here.
The TLDW version is right here.

Thanks to everyone who checked out episode 1! The response far exceeded my expectations!

Online Players: I am planning on running side games online (1 or 2 sessions, not an ongoing campaign) fairly regularly with different players.

These will go on youtube. Ideally, I'd like each group to have 2 males and 2 females, something like that. I am planning on running some of the Guild Adept adventures for Tomb of Annihilation, Shadowrun, and a special Halloween zombie game (using the All Flesh Must be Eaten rules, probably). If you're interested in any of this, first look over this list:
  • Check out my show! I run goofy games. Most people like it, but if you are into the numbers and stats side of the game, you might not enjoy yourself. I always choose pacing over rules accuracy. 
  • I love new players! I don't care if you've ever played before.
  • You must be considerate of others. Be polite, pleasant and accommodating.
  • Know your character! If you are running a spellcaster, make sure you know your spell attack bonus, your DC, and what your spells do!
  • You have to pay attention, you can't be doing other things or leaving for 5-10 minutes. I try very hard to keep things moving and I run short games (an hour an a half, usually). I'm somewhat obsessed with getting stuff done.
  • I'll likely run these on Thursdays from 7-8:30 PM EST, or Saturdays from 6:30-8:30 PM EST.
  • I might run special games on Thanksgiving day and/or Christmas day, so if you don't celebrate those holidays we might be able to do something.

If this sound like something you're interested in, email me at

Session 2: I tape these online shows so that I can avoid live technical glitches. I ran this almost two weeks ago. Going into this one, I really wanted to dive into those Adventurer League scenarios that I liked so much.

I ran a mission from City on the Edge that has dinosaur racing and an arena fight. I generally don't like arena fights. Kind of boring! But this one had some cool gimmicks and I thought it was pretty good.

Running Games Online: Someone in real life asked me if I was nervous about this whole "putting myself on youtube" thing. It's funny, I get nervous over all sorts of things in real life. I used to joke with my friend about the "diarrhea feeling" I got every time there was an inspection at the movie theater (which always went fine, despite the mice).

When it comes to D&D, I am never nervous. D&D is a huge part of my life! I have been running games weekly, bi-weekly or tri-weekly for about 10 years straight, now. When it comes to running a game, I feel very at at ease.

I always think about Christopher Hitchens when this topic comes up. When he would come on a show or take part in a debate, he knew so much about the middle east in particular that people couldn't get away with half-truths or bogus claims. To me, he was living proof of the phrase "knowledge is power".

I have made every mistake you can think of when running D&D games. Through years of trial and error, I was able to overcome my own faults, deficiencies and personality flaws enough to keep campaigns running all the way to the end. This is probably the one area in life where I am completely comfortable in my own skin.

So.. no! I don't get nervous!

The Party

(Ryan) Mistletoe - Human Druid
(Garrett) Ramrod - Goliath Barbarian
(Annalise) Val - Tiefling Sorcerer
(Joe) Zavagor - Half-orc Warlock

The heroes were trying to get the four pieces of the dreamer's amulet. With it, the believed they could find the location of the Lost City of Omu.

My dino race tracking chart

They entered into a dinosaur race to win the prize, which included a piece of the amulet. We stopped last time in mid-race.

Val rolled incredibly well, and left everyone in her dust. Her final animal handling check was a natural 20!

Dinosaur Racing Rules Issues: These racing rules were pretty good, but the race was too short. It might just have been because of good die rolls, but I feel like it need some tweaking.

I am very leery of the dinosaur racing rules in the book, which is very abstract to the point that it's hard to figure out how to depict it. The first person to get to 300 feet wins. The whole thing is described in about 5 paragraphs and one chart.

I sat down a few days ago to try to figure out how I could run these things better. Here's my idea:
  • Look at the map of Port Nyanzaru and plot the race course.
  • Break it up into sections and create an "event" for each. Each round, everyone enters the new section.
  • The riders are in a clump, rolling for "feet" like in the Tomb book. Whoever has the mot feet is in the lead.
  • The winner isn't the first person to get to 300. It is whoever has the most points at the end of initiative in the final section.
So I am going to start my city race at area 4 on the map (pg 19). See the elevated bridge that leads to area 7? Section 1 of my race will give people the opportunity to bump riders over the side of the bridge.

I made up events based on the places they are passing. The church of Gond has clockwork water contraptions, old city has executioner's run, etc.

I think that is a way to make the race easier to imagine, and it gives you tools to create exciting or dramatic moments.

Hopefully we'll get to that on episode 5, which we're taping this weekend.

Val won the race and so the group defeated the NPC adventurers known as... the Green Vipers. Now they had to fight in the arena against a kenku named slicer, and his two velociraptors.

Slicer: Before the event, Ramrod walked up to Slicer and intimidated him. The roll: Natural 20! Slicer gave him the finger and then fled the scene.

That's when Val blew our minds with wordplay. I don't want to spoil it, but man... how did she come up with that so fast? It belongs in the dad joke hall of fame. On top of that, she actually came up with a better one on episode 3!

The arena fight is right out of City on the Edge. The iron bars have these vines wrapped around them. At the end of each round, the vines lash out and strike a random person, possibly poisoning them.

The arena map
Zavagor riled up the crowd, which worked out very well for the group by the end. Mistletoe bludgeoned Slicer into unconsciousness but got his throat slit in the process. He was up, but just barely.

Val kicked a dinosaur into the vines and then Ramrod hit it with his maul, ending it flying through the bars into the dirt of the arena.

After the fight, the group headed to the locker room to clean up. There was a bath tub. Mistletoe got in. Ramrod joined him. Then Hoppy, the froghemoth, decided to try to get in, too. The heroes made their saving throws and the tub was ruined.

Then they went to get their prizes! They met Kwayothe. My version of Kwayothe is a bit different from the book. She's very fire-demon-oriented. Here's the art I got:
My Kwayothe

She came down the step with her many beautiful concubines and gave the group their rewards:
  • A leather thong full of gold.
  • A piece of the dreamer's amulet (an orange gem)
  • Passes to a private bath house - their appointment was in two days' time.
Bath house, you say? Yes, that's right. I'm using the bath house thing from Encounters in Port Nyanzaru ASAP.

Zavagor noticed that she was wearing a ring that bore the symbol of the demon lord he was enslaved to - Eman, demon queen of fire.

That's where we stopped!

Was a great game! I love Port Nyanzaru and I have figured out a way to keep the group coming back there during the adventure. Right now the problem I have is that there's too much good material to fit into one campaign!


Jason said...

Where'd you get the arena map?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm also inyeeested in the arena map, could you point us to where you got it?