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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Review: Tomb of Annihilation Tie-in Fiction

There are two stories split into four parts that connect to the 2017 adventure Tomb of Annihilation. In recent years most Forgotten Realms fiction we have gotten are short stories from Dragon+ that relate to the recently released adventures, such as Ice Out for Rime of the Frostmaiden, Kallinor's Charge for Descent Into Avernus, A Man & His Dog for Storm Kings Thunder, and so forth. Today let us get into the gritty, undead-filled jungles of Chult.


From Dragon+ issue 14 from June 2017, by Bart Caroll.

Pion, in Neverwinter regales us with the local news: a curse over death,  resurrections are not working, and what about those who were resurrected in the past? (RAFO)

Pion is a gambler, but someone needed to check out the cleric Alfin Biscop’s house, he’d been gone for more than half the twelvemonth. Pion gets the job somehow, poor luck working for the Shadow Thieves. It’s interesting as Pion often thinks in the term of lancebords and chess.

We also get a brief follow up for the antics of the first part of Prelude, where an artificer is in the Positive Material Plane, also known as the Positive Energy Plane and the Plane of Life.

Good, but exceptionally short. There is little here, and it really works as a prelude.

Part 1

Found in Dragon+ issue 15 from August 2017,  by Adam Lee

The story starts with an epigraph by Jessamine, Merchant Prince of Chult, this adds a nice touch, rare enough in fantasy novels, let alone short stories.

Qawasha is a chultan druid of Port Nyanzaru and Kupalué is a vegepygmy. They are partners and work as guides for Jobal the Spider.

There isn't much of a story here, just Qawasha explaining his past. It’s relaxing and fun to read as he explains his interest in the jungle and ruins. He also touches on the influx of foreigners coming to Chult.

Part 2 

From Dragon+ issue 16 October 2017.

We learn that Kupalué means “weed that walks” and that special drink called chatali can be brewed from a plant in the jungles. I am curious if this is similar to coffee or chocolate.

The story starts with the flowering of the two’s friendship, continuing right where part 1 leaves off. But this is mostly dialogue of Qawasha describing the lost city of Mezro to a curious visitor from Baldur’s Gate.

It’s interesting but mostly exposition in the form of dialogue, not much story.

Part 3

From Dragon+ issue 19, published April 2018.

This part is longer and better.  I think fans of the Lost Empires series (my review here

chwinga, elemental spirits native to Chult
) would enjoy this tale. This is one of the few tales in Chult besides The Ring of Winter and The Fanged Crown.

This last part of the tale really shows us a beginning. Qawasha is truly the main character and the title is bit misleading as it could easily be called “Qawasha, Kupalué, Samrith, and Zara.” This last part we also get a sliver of combat for the first time, for those looking for action.

This is an Acceptable tale, if it had more substance beyond just being a prologue, the writing would easily elevate it to good. So for the tie-in fiction for Tomb of Annihilation we have a prelude and a prologue, nothing too exciting. I have not played Tomb of Annihilation though, are any of these characters present? 


You can track my current progress here.

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