[ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

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[ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby tetrasodium » Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:45 am

Princes of the Apocalypse has a section on localizing for Eberron (248-250), but it effectively amounts to "Khorvaire is a sprawling continent with plenty of thinly
settled frontiers, so it's relatively easy to find a good place to set Princes ofthe Apocalypse. Here are a few examples"
, an admission that "Eberron lacks the traditional elemental planes" and some dubious advice on making various groups in eberron into the roles of the Forgotten Realms factions rather than advice on adapting the FR factions used in PotA as they are used so that those roles & functions can be adapted to fit various groups in eberron. There is zero guidance on adapting FR specific lore & such to fit those of Eberron.

This discussion on reddit made me want to start doing some proper Eberronizing of it ahead of time in the hope that ToA does a better job.

What we know:
- Back cover blurb?
The talk of the streets and taverns has all been about the so-called death curse: a wasting disease afflicting everyone who’s ever been raised from the dead. Victims grow thinner and weaker each day, slowly but steadily sliding toward the death they once denied.
When they finally succumb, they can’t be raised—and neither can anyone else, regardless of whether they’ve ever received that miracle in the past. Temples and scholars of divine magic are at a loss to explain a curse that has affected the entire region, and possibly the entire world.
The cause is a necromantic artifact called the Soulmonger, which is located somewhere in Chult, a mysterious peninsula far to the south, ringed with mountains and choked with rainforests.

- Acererak is a wizard, lich, and child of a demon/human pairing.
- Chult has a population breakdown of Humans 60%
Goblin 20%, Lizardfolk 10%, Wild dwarves 5%, Pterafolk 4%, Other 1%. two of those don't exist in eberron & likely don't exist anywhere other than FR.
-- Chult is an island, so what?
-- Chult has dangerous jungles with dinosaurs, carnivorous plants, & more
--Chult has some mountains that
The Peaks of Flame were the abode of salamanders and other creatures of fire. The peaks were also said to sit over a pair of iron doors that led to the Fugue Plane, the world of the dead. Legend had it that at the end of the world Dendar the Night Serpent would tear down these doors and break through into the world.

Sounds a lot like a manifest zone to Mabar or maybe Dolurrh under them?
-this post on twitter lists a bunch of ToA "brainstorming" ideas & not all of them made it into toa per the tweet... but it can give some idea for themes/flavors/etc. Among the various pictures are:
Mezro, the Last City (ruins)
Omu, the Forbidden City (ruins) - Flooded garden w/ froghemoth
Aarakocra Aerie
Pterafolk roost(beacon) - Elemental Evil Beacon
Goblins ("Batiri") - Goblin "town" & markers houdtah(??)-town
Yaun-Ti Giralbans (bodyguards)
Grung flower eaters'.
Dwarves (albino) Craaazy!
Firenewts
Undead - Ghouls
Red Wizards of Thay
Vegepygmies
Su-Monster
Zent flying snake catcher
"Dinosaur doctorsticks!"
Abandoned Mine
Blazed(??) trail (continual flame spells)
Dracolich - Cult of the Dragonexplanation.
Red Dragon lair
Hive of _______
Giant uneaten carcass full of stirges
Herb/Flower harvesters
Grotto
Crashed ship (Haruaan airship)
Lava plain w/firenewts
Deadlands (bogs, dead forests)
Dinosaur graveyard culture/burial ground
monkey swarms
Open-air temple
Treefort structures & emerald enclave retreats
Dead explorers
Old coral "reef" in riverbed canyon
rope bridge
Basalt "forest"
Dr.Moreau-like Figure
Ring of Winter "event"
Thayan stronghold
Abandoned shield guardian w/amulet


- of these things, an awful lot of them would be difficult to fit in at first glance as it's largely a soup of new races & cultures that just don't exist in Eberron, but then we get to the Dr.Moreau-like Figure savior. We know that there are multiple instances of rumored illegal House Vadalis experiments trying to make magebred humans & such during the war between 3.5 & 4e Eberron books. Poof... Aarakocra, ptrafolk, Yaun-Ti, & crazy albino dwarves re the result of Moreau d'Vadalis & his team over the last hundred years (or more/less)

- While Grung don't really have a presence in Eberron, they don't have one in faerun either since they seem to have been introduced with Volo's guide to monsters. Going by their entry there, they are a pretty insular culture & their treefort villages can just be stuck in jungles without disruption

- In the brief reddit discussion I linked earlier, someone suggested that xen'drik would make for an easy location to simply dump the whole thing, but I disagree & feel like Q'Barra would be a much better fit for a lot of reasons. I dislike Xen'drik because it's too far away & somewhat isolated from so much of the depth & intrigue of Khorvaire & its status as an unexplored dark continent makes it too easy to just say "dump all this forgotten realms stuff in wholesale". More importantly against xen'drik is that there are numerous reasons why somewhere else fits better. Specifically, Q'Barra from the looks of things given the lack of more details

- The racial breakdown in Qbarra is similar to chult with
Lizardfolk 40%, Humans 30%, Kobolds 7%, Halflings 7%, Dwarves 3%, Half-Elves 2%, Other 3%

- Q'barra is relatively primitive compared to most of the 5 nations, but not so unexplored that setting up shop in an isolated area means risking god knows what horrors making it a perfect place for Moreau d'Vadalis & his team to work in isolation without being too far from khorvaire & The War back when The War was still going.
- Because it's on Khorvaire, an airship could have crashed there after a battle & not gotten repaired/recovered for numerous reasons.
- Gatekeeper druids are there & could potentially stand in for the emerald enclave retreats with minor changes to those retreats to focus them more on the anti-aberration/outsider/undead role of gatekeepers than the pointlessly absurd emerald enclave harmony between civilization & nature. Many of the gatekeepers are lizardfolk.
- The Dracolich/cult of the dragon thing is incredibly wound up in forgotten realms lore & history, but altering them shouldn't be too difficult. Cult of the dragon below groups are generally borderline crazy (at least) & sort of extremely varied catchall for any number of cults. The gatekeeper druids could easily have been protecting some kind of artifact from the age of demons or somesuch that is important to creating a dracolich or the cultists could be followers of Vvarak who chose to become/was raised as a dracolich after death & has gone over the deep end over the last several thousand years. It's also possible that if Vvarak, or some other screw loose dracolich calling themselves Vvarak, is involved with the cultists... he/she could be out to recover something entrusted to the gatekeepers all those years ago when they were learning the magic to end the war between the Dhakaani Empire & Daelkyr


It was already noted that - Acererak could be one of the Lords of Dust, working with a dracolich who may or may not also be one or both using/wanting to use the same artifact/manifest zone is more than reasonable, that goes double if there is an extremely rare overlapping manifest zone to dolurrh & mabar happening there

Granted at this point we won't know enough about what's inside the pages of Tomb of Annihilation to do more than make guesses, but that's no reason not to make guesses to start making the prospect of running ToA in Eberron rather than changing Eberron to fit a big chunk of Forgotten Realms more easily. Who knows, maybe WotC will surprise.

What do you guys think/what other ideas do you have?
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Re: [ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby enderxenocide0 » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:46 pm

Personally, I would 100% put Tomb of Annihilation in Xen'drik, but not simply because it is so often used as a dumping ground. Rather, I think the history of the land provides a far more interesting fit. Let me just list a few quick conversion notes:

  • Acererak / Undead - The crux of ToA is the plot about resurrection magic failing. There's zombies and dinosaurs (and zombie dinosaurs) and behind it all is the demilich Acererak. Xen'drik has two historical connections already set up here: the blood magic of the giants and the Qabalrin elves. The Qabalrin city of Qalatesh was destroyed by the Heart of Siberys falling from the sky, but there is still a significant portion of the city buried beneath it with all sorts of ancient necromantic potential. Or maybe Cul'sir never died with his empire, using his last days to enact a ritual that saved his spirit while his body was destroyed in the dragon's attack.

  • Dragons - You want dragons? We've got dragons! They destroyed Xen'drik and established the Du'rashka Tul to keep civilization from building up in the wake of Aureon's Folly. There are rogues that live in the jungles, a Chamber agent that controls a network of spies monitoring Stormreach, dragon spirits in the Council of Skulls, and more! If there's a mention of a prophecy anywhere in ToA, then I'd steal liberally from Eye of the Lich Queen and make Dragonmarks important.

  • Druids - The Guardians of Rushemé are modern giants that believe in the peaceful spirit of the land, the resting soul of Xen'drik. They are directly tied to the lineage of the old giant empires, so they would be able to link multiple aspects of the campaign.

  • Dinosaurs - Sure, you can put dinosaurs in lots of places in Eberron. But where else do you have Lurking Two-Maws? Tell me you wouldn't be tempted to adapt Two-Maws to that T-Rex that vomits zombies in ToA.

  • Yuan-ti - There's an image of a Yuan-ti mummy associated with ToA. The Yuan-ti recently fled Argonnessen and landed in Stormreach, slowly building up their power. They are insidious and devious. It's said they are touched by Sakinnirot, The Scar that Abides. As a sidenote, this Overlord could make for an excellent backdrop to the entire campaign. He's all about patient vengeance, so a threat from 40,000 years ago finally surfacing is absolutely his thing.

  • Port Nyanzaru - Stormreach. Unquestionably. "Port Nyanzaru is ruled by seven merchant princes, each with their own agenda, and offers plenty of entertaining diversions such as a market where you can purchase items not found anywhere else in the game world." Seven merchant princes? We've got Five Storm Lords of Stormreach that are exactly this, gladiatorial fights, pirates, ruins beneath the city, relics of the giants, a mish-mash of cultures, and intrigue to fill a whole source book. I'll admit, I'm a little biased. I love Stormreach. It's my favorite Eberron locale, honestly. If you're worried it's too far removed from Khorvaire politics, I respectfully suggest you read the sourcebook. If anything, the politics of Khorvaire are often amplified here where nations are condensed into districts and the Houses can conduct schemes outside the laws of Khorvaire.
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Re: [ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby tetrasodium » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:24 pm

enderxenocide0 wrote:Personally, I would 100% put Tomb of Annihilation in Xen'drik, but not simply because it is so often used as a dumping ground. Rather, I think the history of the land provides a far more interesting fit. Let me just list a few quick conversion notes:

  • Acererak / Undead - The crux of ToA is the plot about resurrection magic failing. There's zombies and dinosaurs (and zombie dinosaurs) and behind it all is the demilich Acererak. Xen'drik has two historical connections already set up here: the blood magic of the giants and the Qabalrin elves. The Qabalrin city of Qalatesh was destroyed by the Heart of Siberys falling from the sky, but there is still a significant portion of the city buried beneath it with all sorts of ancient necromantic potential. Or maybe Cul'sir never died with his empire, using his last days to enact a ritual that saved his spirit while his body was destroyed in the dragon's attack.

  • Dragons - You want dragons? We've got dragons! They destroyed Xen'drik and established the Du'rashka Tul to keep civilization from building up in the wake of Aureon's Folly. There are rogues that live in the jungles, a Chamber agent that controls a network of spies monitoring Stormreach, dragon spirits in the Council of Skulls, and more! If there's a mention of a prophecy anywhere in ToA, then I'd steal liberally from Eye of the Lich Queen and make Dragonmarks important.

  • Druids - The Guardians of Rushemé are modern giants that believe in the peaceful spirit of the land, the resting soul of Xen'drik. They are directly tied to the lineage of the old giant empires, so they would be able to link multiple aspects of the campaign.

  • Dinosaurs - Sure, you can put dinosaurs in lots of places in Eberron. But where else do you have Lurking Two-Maws? Tell me you wouldn't be tempted to adapt Two-Maws to that T-Rex that vomits zombies in ToA.

  • Yuan-ti - There's an image of a Yuan-ti mummy associated with ToA. The Yuan-ti recently fled Argonnessen and landed in Stormreach, slowly building up their power. They are insidious and devious. It's said they are touched by Sakinnirot, The Scar that Abides. As a sidenote, this Overlord could make for an excellent backdrop to the entire campaign. He's all about patient vengeance, so a threat from 40,000 years ago finally surfacing is absolutely his thing.

  • Port Nyanzaru - Stormreach. Unquestionably. "Port Nyanzaru is ruled by seven merchant princes, each with their own agenda, and offers plenty of entertaining diversions such as a market where you can purchase items not found anywhere else in the game world." Seven merchant princes? We've got Five Storm Lords of Stormreach that are exactly this, gladiatorial fights, pirates, ruins beneath the city, relics of the giants, a mish-mash of cultures, and intrigue to fill a whole source book. I'll admit, I'm a little biased. I love Stormreach. It's my favorite Eberron locale, honestly. If you're worried it's too far removed from Khorvaire politics, I respectfully suggest you read the sourcebook. If anything, the politics of Khorvaire are often amplified here where nations are condensed into districts and the Houses can conduct schemes outside the laws of Khorvaire.


I don't disagree. Stormreach/xen'drik isn't bad, but it scares the hell out of me to think of WotC giving "guidance" on how to adapt stuff made for Forgotten realms there after watching ddo import more and more greyhawk/forgotten realms stuff wholesale until finally just giving up on adding a thin semitransparent veneer of eberron styled paint and importing Fr style spider worshiping drow & lloth & claiming it fit within eberron because it was totally a portal to faerun. the section for it in PotA does not inspire much hope either
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Re: [ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby Big Mac » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:39 pm

Hi Tetrasodium,

Welcome to The Piazza! You might want to pop over to Ashtagon's Introduce yourself here topic, say "hi" to everyone and tell them a bit about yourself and the stuff you like. :)

This is a pretty tricky...but fun topic.

There is a lot to think about, but I zoomed in on this:

tetrasodium wrote:<snip>
Crashed ship (Haruaan airship)
</snip>

What do you guys think/what other ideas do you have?


Monster Manual V featured a fairly large section on Thoon that had a sidebar that showed how to bring Thoon into Eberron. That sidebar had mind flayers flying off in a nautiloid ship on an expedition to The Far Realm and returning to the world having being converted to Thoon.

If you used a crashed Thoon ship, in place of the Haruaan airship, I think you could have illithid cultists invading the jungles around the crash site and attempting to convert various groups of locals and monsters into thralls of Thoon. You wouldn't need to turn every creature in the area into a thrall of Thoon, as some Thoon spies would be able to stir up enough trouble to trick non-dominated groups into battling other non-dominated groups. Plus Thoon cultists could take control of the leaders of some factions and control those factions undetected for some time.
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Re: [ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby AvonRekaes » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:39 pm

tetrasodium wrote:I don't disagree. Stormreach/xen'drik isn't bad, but it scares the hell out of me to think of WotC giving "guidance" on how to adapt stuff made for Forgotten realms there after watching ddo import more and more greyhawk/forgotten realms stuff wholesale until finally just giving up on adding a thin semitransparent veneer of eberron styled paint and importing Fr style spider worshiping drow & lloth & claiming it fit within eberron because it was totally a portal to faerun. the section for it in PotA does not inspire much hope either


Don't let a bad Xen'drik conversion dissuade you from a good one. This adventure pretty much screams "Set me in Xen'drik!" for Eberron.

I think any proper conversion would need a pretty large overhaul, though there are ways to make things fit. Pteradons don't exist as such in Eberron, but Xen'drik IS the land of "whatever you want to include". While sometimes that's a lazy handwave, it can be useful for not having to re-write entire sections of the adventure. Perhaps a recent Wayfinder Foundation expedition found a Pteradon enclave in some lost stretch of jungle, and now they're part of the setting. This is one of those times where the "stick it in Xen'drik" attitude can help.

Other things might need more work. Like, the chult goblins tribes aren't a good fit because Eberron's goblinoids have a pretty strong identity and the bitari aren't it. I mean, I suppose it might be possible that a clan of goblins from ancient Dhakann sailed across the Thunder Sea and settled in Xen'drik and then over the millennia got hit with the Durashka Tul and their civilization collapsed. However, I don't like that idea, because it pollutes the "Dhakanniness" of the rest of the setting's goblins. Better to just make the bitari a completely new creature, or replace them with kobolds or something without a major Eberron identity.
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Re: [ToA] Lets start localizing Tomb Of Annihilation

Postby tetrasodium » Fri Jul 21, 2017 8:01 am

well this bodes well. Looks like PoTA's "place it anywhere in khorvaie or whatever, here's how to change stuff to fit this chunk of faerun" guidance, might be getting tossed aside for something a little more sane with q'barra & shadow marches getting noted... unfortunately, it's in a section that looks like it might be about 3.5's tomb of horrors. Also worrisome is nanedropping a FR novel/character I can't seem to copy/paste out of it & just linking in case it turns out to have some useful stuff later once we know more
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