Aug 23 2021

On the Other Hand, Screw Omu :P

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Friggin' orcs, man.

Friggin’ orcs, man.

So I’ve been running an adaptation of Tomb of Annihilation for a while, and I have come to the unexpected conclusion that I don’t like running a hexcrawl as much as I thought I would, and also that I’m probably done with “big book campaigns” as a general thing any more once we’re finished with this. (Red Hand of Doom was amazing; every one I’ve tried since then, not so much.) I polled my players, and they’ve enjoyed the game fairly well, except for feeling the pressure of the Death Curse making them anxious about taking wrong turns or losing time to the jungle. ToA as written is kind of the worst of both worlds in that regard, in that you can’t just pfutz around and do what you want (which is the hexcrawl’s theoretical strength), but you also don’t have clear signposts showing you where the plot went (which is the strength of a linear plot).

Still, after only a few major detours, the characters found their way to the Forbidden City of Omu, home of the titular Tomb of Annihilation, except that before you can actually go into the tomb you have to get through… another hexcrawl! There are nine mini-dungeons scattered across the city, from which you are supposed to collect plot coupons, which in turn leads to another dungeon to get the last key, at which point you can start the first… level… of the last… dungeon… and collect… keys… for the… later…

Y’know what? No.

I spent the past few weeks prepping Omu while Plotline ran his game a while, and as we’re coming close the time when I’m actually supposed to run again? I just don’t want to. The stuff in Omu isn’t bad per se, but it feels like busywork, literally grinding for XP to get the characters high enough level to go through the main dungeon. And just… why? I guess it must have been written this way for a reason, but I ain’t running it.

I’ve got at least two weeks before I actually run; I have decided in that time to tear out all that “wander around the city as a whole ‘nother hex crawl” nonsense and instead create a semi-linear structure with a story the players can get into. There are existing and established factions for them to get involved with, a couple of subplots they are already connected to (including Inete’s crisis of faith and the Bag-of-Nails/Hooded Lantern/Copper Bell story), and so on. I’m also going to refactor the adventure as needed so they can tackle it at the level they are, instead of putting in a bunch of STUFF for them to level up with.

Realizing you want to skip to the end of your own adventure is not a good sign when you’re the DM. It’s time to do some fixing.


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