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Why You’re Not Likely To Get Out Of D&D’s ‘Tomb Of Annihilation’ Alive


“Tomb of Annihilation” will bring “Dungeons and Dragons” players to a strange, unexplored world full of dinosaurs, zombies, and other predatory monsters. “Dare to defy death in this adventure for the world’s greatest role playing game,” Wizards of the Coast posted about their new fifth edition D&D campaign, set to release September 19. Pre-orders for the book are already available through hobby store websites.

This campaign is based in the unexplored territory of Chult, a place mentioned in previous campaigns. It’s a region dense with rainforest and savage tribes, and surrounded by mountains, making it a difficult place to travel to. Human tribes that call Chult home race dinosaurs, creatures native to the area. The habitat includes carnivores with teeth and claws, monstrous insatiable insects constantly poking and biting at your character, and tribes of creatures that track and hunt travelers.

There are also disease-ridden swamps, goblins, wild dwarves, and creatures yet to be revealed. On top of all of it, the heat is blistering and intense, the water has to be boiled if you want to drink it, and you might be slowly dying. The campaign will bring your group to the Chult region to find an artifact called “The Soulmonger,” possibly hidden in catacombs. Why traverse such a dangerous route for one artifact?

Here’s the Payoff

“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.”

This product description on the D&D website reveals that you will be unable to raise the dead, and that if you die in this campaign, there will be no way to bring you back to life. It’s a very good incentive to find the artifact they suspect is responsible for this curse.

The campaign is designed to be very hard and will try to kill you in a world where there is no coming back, turning those who have been previously raised into walking-dead zombies. Groups will race against the clock, searching for the “Soulmonger” because some of their characters’ lives depend on it.

Designed with dead ends left and right, and littered with difficult enemies meant to frustrate and distract from the main goals of the group, “Tomb of Annihilation” is truly supposed to be the most fierce and extreme adventure. To alleviate intensity, they have recruited one of the creators of the popular television series “Adventure Time” to add elements of comedic relief within the dark storyline.

The Rumor Mill Is Excited

This campaign has been playtested more than any other campaign in “Dungeons and Dragons” to make sure it is ruthless and unforgiving, but still beatable. Players around the country have been given an opportunity to playtest the new campaign far before release. Although many “Dungeons and Dragons” players meet at public locations to play their campaigns, playtesters must play in private and keep all details of what they have seen a secret.

I spoke to an incredibly experienced dungeon master at my local game store, who had the opportunity for his group to playtest “Tomb of Annihilation.” Although he was unable to give even clues into the new campaign, he believes this is the best one to be released in years and he is incredibly excited to play with all of his groups.

In addition to the new campaign, Wizards of the Coast will release a book, “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything,” on November 21. It will be similar to “Volo’s Guide to Monsters,” which released November 2016, and have the same limited-edition cover option available to those who pre-order from hobby stores. Xanathar’s guide will include expansions to add 20 more sub-classes, new feats and spells, and additional systems of play for dungeon masters to help customize their group’s play methods.

If you are interested in learning “Dungeons and Dragons,” but do not know where to start, the current fifth edition is designed to be easy to new players, and is the easiest time to pick up the hobby since it was released in 1974. Although a difficult campaign, “Tomb of Annihilation” is designed for adventurers levels 1-11. If you are an old or returning player, but do not have a group to play with, the Dungeons and Dragons website has an event and store locator.

If you have ever played “Dungeons and Dragons,” or are interested in playing, be sure to order a copy of “Tomb of Annihilation,” and get ready to play for the release next month.