So, it looks like I will be running Tomb of Annihilation.
I would like to keep it short enough that we can finish it; two of my last three campaigns (one as player, one as DM) ended because at least one player moved away or just got too busy to continue. This is not an issue with a full sandbox, but this makes it difficult to continue the campaign when it is at least somewhat scripted.
I will be starting with the PCs at level 5 in Port Nyanzaru, and probably play the parts where Syndra Silvane sends them there as a flashback. Starting with already established adventurers will probably allow me to insert Syndra somewhere into their past, and give them reasons to embark on the quest.
I will try to give them other, more personal reasons as well; I will know more after session zero.
Here is a quick summary of what remains to be done:
- Look for some more players. At the moment I only have 3, I don’t think this will be enough.
- Read the book! At the moment I mostly have skimmed chapter 2, aka the Big Jungle Sandbox. I will need to read chapter 1 in detail, at least. The later chapters about the lost city can wait.
- Prepare interactions with some NPCs, who will provide some hooks. The guides are obvious choices here, but I don’t want them to be alone.
- Decide what to do with Fort Beluarian. I quite like the idea of the Flaming Fist playing colonial power but I don’t want it so far from anything else. Maybe moving the fort closer to Port Nyanzaru would do? Or maybe just providing regular boat service?
- Look for additional ideas online. I am already aware of this excellent post at Power Score.
- With all of this done, prepare a few plausible goals for the first part of the expedition. Prepare some encounters as well.
This should be enough to keep the players busy for the first few sessions.