Expand your expeditions in the Land of Chult as we explore the legends, lore, and history of the world’s greatest RPG jungle.
Tomb of Annihilation is one of the best adventures written for the 5th Edition D&D. It often lands in most people’s Top 5, and is my personal favorite. For more on why this is my favorite & the rest of my adventure rankings click the link: D&D Top 15 Adventures. Taking inspiration from three beloved classic modules, Isle of Dread, Dwellers of the Forbidden City, and the infamous Tomb of Horrors, this adventure is incredibly ambitious. It brilliantly combines the three staples of RPG play; exploration, combat action, and roleplay, in an exciting setting that we’d never seen before: The deadly Jungle of Chult.
Chult is a sub-tropical continent; a hostile land of wild savannahs, primordial jungles, and infested swamps. The heat is oppressive, the rain ceaseless, and the danger constant; anything in the jungle can kill you. Disease, Dehydration, Exhaustion, Poison, Starvation and even Insanity are all lethal realities. And let’s not forget about the inhabitants; everything that walks, crawls, slithers, swims, and flies in the jungle seems hellbent on killing your players. Oh yeah, and there are dinosaurs.
Most of the prior adventures take place in the Sword Coast of the Forgotten Realms, an area analogous with fantasy Medieval Europe with a familiar identity, a shared culture and language, and a common pantheon of religion. Chult has none of that. The book does a fair job of introducing you to these new elements, but in the interest of brevity, they left a bunch of stuff out. So, to flesh out your sessions and add a little more depth to your game, let’s explore further into the Land of Chult
As an RPG setting, Chult is a combination of African and South American jungles. Think African safari merged with Amazonian rainforest. Big game hunters, King Solomon’s Mines, and Gorillas in the Mists exist side by side with Mayan ruins, Jurassic Park, and Indiana Jones. In D&D, Pre-Columbian America is embodied in the Maztica setting, which has yet to receive a full 5th Edition conversion. There is no official African setting. Thus, Chult, as a society, is an amalgamation of Forgotten Realms, Maztica, and some original elements.
Ubtao (oob-TAY-Oh) – Unique to Chult, Ubtao is the one main god. Primarily, Chult is mono-theistic, with a few lesser deities as friends or enemies, and other “gods” that are really aspects of Ubtao. Ubtao has many titles: The Creator of Chult, the Founder of Mezro, the Father of Dinosaurs, and The Deceiver. (See History below) In his human form, he is depicted as an ageless dark-skinned man with short-cropped black hair, trimmed goatee, and a distant look in his eyes. More often he is depicted as an enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex.
He is True Neutral in alignment and impassive toward most things including his own followers. His symbol is a stylized maze which represents the path each man must follow in life as they journey to reach the end of their own maze. Ubtao hold domain over Nature, Animal and Plant Life, Divination, Elementals, Protection, and Balance. He is known for his patience, detached emotions, and wisdom. Officially, he is a Primordial and not a true god, but we’ll discuss that later.
Dendar (den-DAR) – Dendar the Night Serpent is another primordial and an elder evil since the birth of the world. She feeds off nightmares and fears and is prophesized to bring about the end of the world by devouring the sun. She is currently trapped in a prison buried deep in the Chultan volcanoes called the Peaks of Flames. Part of Ubtao’s duty is to keep Dendar imprisoned to keep this prophesy from happening.
Dendar is depicted as a 300-foot-long snake, with blue-black scales and yellow eyes. She is Neutral evil in alignment and seeks nothing but destruction. She is worshipped by several yuan-ti tribes who work to free Dendar and fulfill her prophesy. In my world, the people of Chult refer to the moon as Dendar. During a solar eclipse, when the moon swallows the sun for a brief moment, Chultans pray to Ubtao to place Dendar back in her prison.
Ecatzin (eck-CAHT-zin) – He is not a deity, but rather a mythical couatl who is favored by Ubtao. At the behest of Ubtao, Ecatzin led the first settlers of Chult to the land. Because of this, a couatl is a sacred animal in Chult. An interesting development could occur if Eku, who is a disguised couatl, was with the party, and after a tough combat, she could, “Praise Ecatzin”, opening up a new line of dialog with the players.
Eshowdow (Eh-SHOH-doh) – He was a demi-god of destruction, and cowardice. He is the evil aspect of Ubtao and was, in essence, his shadow. Ages ago, during a war between rival Chultan tribes, Eshowdow was called forth to destroy the city of Mezro. He was repelled and turned on the tribe that summoned him, destroying that tribe, the Eshowe, instead. His main temple, Great Shadow’s Mansion, was located in the Valley of Lost Honor. He is presumed dead and consumed by Shar, the evil goddess of night.
Thard Harr (THARD-harr) – He is the dwarven deity of jungle survival and hunting. He is worshipped by wild and albino dwarves. He is a close ally of Ubtao. He is depicted as a naked, pot-bellied, 6-foot-tall dwarf covered in tattoos, hair, and his very long beard. He wears clawed gauntlets, which is also his symbol, and a bronzed crocodile skull covering his face. Chaotic Good in alignment, he is also referred to as the The Disentangler and Lord of Green Mantle. He has an affinity with all animals; thus, the Mask of the Beast magic item could be dedicated to him.
Forgotten Realms Pantheon
Until recently, Chult was a colony of Amn, a country 1500 miles to the North, famous for its traders and merchants. During this period, many Forgotten Realms gods gained prominence and are still worshipped today. They are detailed in the Port Nyanzaru section of the adventure book; so I will just list them briefly here.
Waukeen (wau-KEEN) – The neutral goddess of trade, merchants, and gold. As in the Amn, she is the most revered goddess, especially among the Merchant Princes who currently rule Port Nyanzaru.
Gond (GOND) – The neutral god of crafting, smithing, and inventions. His worship is a result of the island nation of Lantan, 150 miles NE, where Gond is the most-revered deity.
Lathander (lah-THAN-der) – Neutral Good god of dawn, birth, spring, and youth. His shrine is in the Temple of Waukeen and prayed to at the start of any new business venture.
Malar (MAHL-arr) – Not mentioned as such in the book, Malar is a chaotic evil lesser deity of the hunt. He lends his name to the Malar’s Throat district in Port Nyanzaru. No temples, but prayed to before any hunt.
Savras (SAV-ras) – The Lawful Neutral god of wizards, divination, and the truth. A lot of fun can be had, with various soothsayers, their numerous fortune telling methods, (tarot, bones, tea leaves, etc.), and their dubious, but possibly accurate prophesies.
Sune (SOO-nee) – The Chaotic Good goddess of beauty and passion. She is present in all the vibrant sights, sounds, smells and tastes that Chult has to offer.
Tymora (tie-MOR-ah) – Chaotic Good goddess of good luck, which one will need to survive any jungle expedition. Though not mentioned, her feared counterpart is Beshaba, the goddess of bad luck.
Hundreds of years ago, Ubtao stopped having a direct influence on Chult and stepped away from his followers. This gave rise to the Realms gods mentioned above, but also to nine Trickster gods (or spirits). All are represented by creatures unique to Chult, and many consider them to be aspects of Ubtao as well.
They play an important role in the latter part of the adventure, but are not mentioned beforehand. Try to incorporate them earlier in the adventure, foreshadowing their abilities, domains, powers and flaws that will be relevant later. I created a Festival week that focuses on each of these spirits with competitions and traditions that focus on each one. Place this holiday during the first week your players arrive in Chult. (See Calendar) They are presented alphabetically, but I prefer to list them based on alignment.
Moa (MOH-ah) – Lawful Good. Animal: Jaculi. Aspect: Be one with the jungle and true to one’s self. Power: Stealth (invisibility)
Shagambi (shah-GOM-bee) – Neutral Good. Animal: Kamadan. Aspect: Combat prowess; no mercy in the jungle. Power: Extra attack.
Kubazan (KOO-bah-zahn) – Chaotic Good. Animal: Froghemoth. Aspect: One must be strong and fearless to survive. Power: Strength.
Obo’laka (oh-boh-LAH-kah) – Lawful Neutral. Animal: Zorbo. Aspect: One must not risk danger needlessly. Power: Extra magic.
Unkh (UNK) – Neutral. Animal: Flail Snail. Aspect: Jungle requires great stamina and caring for yourself. Power: Constitution.
I’jin (EYE-jin) – Chaotic Neutral. Animal: Almiraj. Aspect: The jungle is unpredictable and one must be flexible. Power: Dexterity
Papazotl (pah-pah-ZAH-tul) – Lawful Evil. Animal: Eblis. Aspect: Always be vigilant and only trust your instincts. Power: Never surprised
Nangnang (NANG-nang) – Neutral Evil. Animal: Grung. Aspect: Jungle is cruel, use every advantage and put yourself first. Power: Spider Climb
Wongo (WONG-go) – Chaotic Evil. Animal: Su-monster. Aspect: The jungle is lethal; hit first, and every man for himself. Power: Stun attack
This is not canon, but I added the gods of Maztica to flesh out the calendar and add flavor. In my Chult, these are all aspects of Ubtao. Listed in order of importance / birth.
Kukul – Father of gods, creator of man.
Maztica – Mother of gods, Mother Earth.
Qotal – 1st born. God of freedom, peace.
Zaltec – 2nd. God of war. Hates Qotal.
Tezca – First of triplets. God of fire, sun.
Plutoq – 2nd. God of mountains and stone.
Azul – 3rd. God of water and rain.
Kiltzi – 1st daughter. Goddess of love.
Watil – 2nd. Goddess of plants. Nula’s twin.
Nula – 3rd daughter. Goddess of animals.
Eha – Last born, Goddess of wind, air.
Brief History of Chult
Note: In the Forgotten Realms, years are recorded based upon a system called Dale Reckoning, or DR for short. This event commemorates a pact between humans and elves almost 1500 years ago. I’ll speak more of this later in the Calendar section, but for context with this History of Chult, the current year of my campaign is 1490DR.
Prior to -35000DR – At the dawn of time, gods and primordials fought for dominance over this new planet, called Abeir-Toril in the Forgotten Realms. This was called the Dawn War. Primordials are god-like beings of elemental energy, similar to Titans of Greek mythology. During this war, a primordial called Dendar the Night Serpent swallowed the sun, killing most life on the planet; akin to our Ice Age that killed off the dinosaurs. Another Primordial, Ubtao, embodiment of life, despised this act of destruction. He betrayed his fellow Primordials, captured Dendar, and helped create a new sun, creating new life on the planet. This earned Ubtao the title of Ubtao, the Deceiver. This ended the Dawn War.
As a consequence of this, the world was split into two nearly identical (but not exact) planets. The land of Abeir was sent to a separate dimension, along with the remaining Primordials and other elemental forces. Toril (the land we adventure upon today) remained behind, to be ruled over by the gods. This was known as the First Sundering.
For his services, Ubtao was one of the few Primordials allowed to remain in Toril. He was given the land of Chult to rule exclusively, without interference from any of the gods. This explains why so many unusual creatures exist here, unique to Chult, including dinosaurs, which are referred to as the Children of Ubtao. Ubtao’s only duty was to guard the prison that held Dendar. Dendar remains trapped behind an enormous iron door somewhere in the Peaks of Flame, a series of volcanoes in the southern part of Chult.
Circa -3000DR – An army of couatls led by Ecatzin, in the service of Ubtao, travelled to the distant land of Katashaka (synonymous with our South America). There they convinced three tribes of humans to follow them back to Chult, the Thinguth, the Eshowe, and the Tabaxi (no relation to the race of cat-people with the same name). They arrived in Chult in -2809DR.
The Thinguths settled in eastern Chult, became enslaved by Yuan-ti and ultimately absorbed by other nations east of Chult. The Eshowe were a particularly violent tribe who settled the southern peninsula and eventually go to war with the Tabaxi (see below). The Tabaxi were favored by Ubtao, who settled in the north and ultimately became the sole tribe of Chult. Since then, the Tabaxi tribe refer to themselves as Chultan, to avoid confusion with the race of cat-people whom also live here.
-2637DR – Ubtao creates the holy city of Mezro in the north, along the shore of the Olung River. The city is governed by seven guardians, called Bara (plural barae), humans Chosen by Ubtao and imbued with supernatural powers and immortality (although they can be killed). Strongest among them, and the only remaining Bara of the original seven, is Ras Nsi.
Circa -437DR – Civil war erupts between the Eshowe and Tabaxi tribes of Chult. Lasts for nearly 300 years.
-137DR Year of the Blooded Sunsets – The war between the Tabaxi of Mezro and the Eshowe ends. The Eshowe summon a Shadow Giant to destroy Mezro. But the Shadow is repulsed from the city and turns on the Eshowe, killing most of the tribe that summoned it. Today, the Shadow Giant is called Eshowdow, meaning shadow of the Eshowe.
Ras Nsi wages a campaign to exterminate every last Eshowe. Using his undead army, he annihilates the tribe in the Valley of Lost Honor. The Eshowe are believed destroyed but fears of their return still exist to this day. For this genocide, Ras Nsi is exiled from Mezro. He disappears into the jungle but vows to return to Mezro by any means necessary.
863DR Year of the Wondrous Sea – To further protect Mezro, the entire city is turned invisible. Anyone not granted access is rendered temporarily confused as they walk around the perimeter of the city until they move away from the city. To the outside world, the city just vanished and was eventually forgotten.
Circa 1330DR – The country of Amn “discovers” Chult and claims the land as a colony. Establishes Port Nyanzaru and turns the city into the main capital of the country.
Circa 1350DR – The city-state of Baldur’s Gate establishes a post at Fort Belaurian. Run by the mercenary company, The Flaming Fist.
1358DR Year of Shadows – Also called The Time of Troubles or The Godswar. The gods are cast down to earth as punishment when an artifact known as the Tablet of Fate are stolen by then unknown gods (Bane, Bhaal, and Myrkul). Chaos reigns. Ubtao (not a god) spends this time as a huge tyrannosaurus rex and ignores the conflict. Order is restored when a human, Midnight, finds and returns the tablets. She ascends to godhood as Mystra, the new goddess of magic. This is the transition from 1st Edition D&D to 2nd, and is recounted in the Avatar series of novels and adventures.
1361DR Year of Maidens – The continent of Maztica is “discovered” by Amn, which proceeds to plunder this new land and ignore Chult.
1363DR Year of the Wyvern – The city of Mezro is besieged by the combined forces of a Batiri goblin army, The Cult of Frost, and an ancient evil spirit called Skuld. The defenses had been breached following the capture of one of the city’s barae. The adventurer Artus Cimber is instrumental in saving the city after discovering a magical artefact, the Ring of Winter, inside the Temple of Ubtao. During these events Artus falls in love with one of Mezro’s bara, Alisanda Rayburton. None of this is common knowledge but makes up the backstory of one of the major sub-plots in Tomb of Annihilation. In celebration of this victory, the invisible barriers are removed and Mezro reappears, for the first time in 500 years.
1385DR Year of Blue Fire – This is the year of the Spellplauge, where the god Cyric murdered Mystra, causing all magic to go wild. Most wizards are killed or driven insane. This also ended the First Sundering, as some parts of Abeir were swapped with parts of Toril, again wreaking havoc across the lands. For instance, Maztica disappears. The transition event from 3rd Edition to 4th.
To avoid this calamity, the city of Mezro is transported safely to a pocket dimension. To the outside world, Mezro appears destroyed, as several “ruins” were left behind to dissuade people from looking for the city.
1482DR Year of the Nathex Murders. Ao, god of gods, begins the Second Sundering, separating Abeir and Toril once more, resetting the world back to normal. This is the transition event into our current 5th Edition. The main effect on Chult is that Maztica reappeared and Amn sends numerous forces to reclaim that continent, pulling forces away from Chult. Also, Mezro did not return as expected and still remains “destroyed”.
1484DR Year of the Awaken Sleepers – Amn is plagued by locust. The remaining troops are pulled from Port Nyanzaru and sent back to Amn. Several Merchant Princes in Nyanzaru stage a bloodless coup and claim Chult to be an independent country. Tomb of Annihilation vaguely lists this event as happening several years before the events in Tomb. For me, this year fit best.
Calendar of Chult
The calendar of Chult is also a merging of several cultures. To avoid too much confusion, I kept the same 12-month calendar, each consisting of 30 days, divided into three (3) 10-day weeks, called a tenday. There are 5 seasonal festival days sprinkled in between several months that exist outside the usual ten-day structure. Every leap year adds another festival day, which follows directly after the Summer Festival. The next leap year will be in 1492DR.
Each year in the Forgotten Realms is given a unique descriptive title. These names were recorded hundreds of years ago by the famous seer, Aluondo. Whether these names carry any truth to their prophetic names remains to be seen. Here is the Roll of Years for the Forgotten Realms 5th edition setting.
Although 1482DR is listed as the beginning of fifth edition, most of the printed adventures occur after 1489DR. No year is specified for Tomb of Annihilation. I chose 1490DR Year of Star Walker’s Return. For my campaign, the Star Walker is the atropol that the players have to fight at the end of the adventure. The atropol is a dead god, adrift in the Astral Sea until discovered by Acererak and returned to Faerun. How I will work this lore into the campaign is still a mystery to me. Okay, onto the rest of the calendar.
Because it is Chult, I’ve renamed all of the months of the year, drawing upon the Maztica gods for naming purposes. In the Chult Calendar I’ve created (Calendar ToA), I list the Chultan month, also its new Common name, our calendar’s equivalent, and the tradition Forgotten Realms name. For instance, the Rainy season of Chult begins in April (just like in Africa). That month is called Azul (for the god of rain), the Common name is Waterdown, and its Forgotten Realms name is Tarsakh. Here is the complete list:
The Forgotten Realms does not have any official names for the days of the week, which I always found odd. For Chult, I named each day after one of the nine trickster gods (to further reinforce their importance to the story for my players). The last day of the week is dedicated to Ubtao and is synonymous with our Sunday.
The word “siku” at the end of each day’s name is Swahili for the word “day”. So, the ten days of the week in Chult are called: Moasiku, Shagamsiku, Kubasiku, Obolsiku, Unkasiku, Ijinsiku, Papasiku, Nangsiku, Wongosiku, and Ubsiko. This order is also based upon their alignment which might help your players during that puzzle later in the adventure.
Seasons of Chult
Chult does not have seasons as you would expect in the usual European setting such as the Sword Coast. As with any county along the equator, there is no Winter or even Autumn and the temperature never drops below 80 degrees. Instead, there are rainy seasons and dry seasons.
The main rainy season begins in April (Azul) and runs through June (Watil). This is the season where rains every day, sometimes to monsoon levels, and is when I start my campaign to cash in on that misery. A second, more sporadic rainy season occurs in November and December (Zaltec & Kukal respectively).
The dry season is in July and August (Tezca & Ecatzin) and is subject to temperatures above 100 degrees and possible droughts. In my Chult, the worse dry season is January through March (Plotoq to Eha) where there is no rain, the dirt is dry and hard, and food is scarce.
For the sake of convenience, I kept the Forgotten Realms Festival days that occur between some months but I’ve altered the nature of the festivals to reflect this culture.
Festival of Hard Earth – after Plutoq. This is the closest Chult gets to a Midwinter Festival. In defiance of the fact that the land is dry and food is scarce, Chultans celebrate Ubtao and pray that the jungle will still provide for them until the next rainy season.
Festival of the Monsoon – after Azul. Also called Azul’s Tears. Every year, a massive rainstorm occurs on this day, further proving the importance and dependence on water for Chult. In celebration, Chultans dance and parade in the rain all day. It culminates with a lunar eclipse and the Defeat of Dendar.
Festival of the High Sun – after Tezca. The sun is equally important to life in Chult. Without light, there is no life. The festival starts at sunrise and goes past sunset. Mock battles are fought of Tezca defeating Dendar the Night Serpent, time after time.
Festival of Fruitful Bounty – after Nula. Commemorating the animal mating season and the year’s harvest, the markets are full of delicious delicacies and the street are full of animals on parade. The day ends with every household’s dining table out on the street in a huge communal feast.
Festival of Waning Light – after Zaltec. As the year winds down and the days get shorter, this is a somber celebration of reflection and prayer, thanking the gods for all they have provided and praying for the quick return of next year’s rainy season.
Dendar’s Sacrifice – every four years after the Festival of the High Sun. Next one to occur in 1492. Dendar is destined to one day swallow the sun and destroy the world. In my Chult, Dendar is symbolized by the moon. Every four years, there is a pilgrimage to the northernmost spur of land in the Bay of Chult. Then as the full moon sets over the horizon, sacrifices of food, gold, and mystical tokens imbued with one’s fears are thrown into the sea. The Chultans pray that these offering will appease Dendar enough to keep her from fulfilling this prophesy.
There are a few more seasonal events on the calendar that need mention. I included the phases of the moon (specifically full & new moons) for two reasons. The first reason is for the lycanthropes. While were-creatures can control their transformations, I always have them lose control during a full moon. And there is a certain guide that your players might hire just before an unfortunate full moon.
The second is Dendar, the Night Serpent. Trapped in her prison, her aspect, the moon, breaks out every night chasing after the sun. The various phases of the moon are very relevant to Chult, for example a crescent moon looks like a snake’s open maw. Of particular importance are eclipses. A lunar eclipse (where the full moon is covered by earth’s shadow) signifies Dendar’s Defeat. One occurs during the Festival of The Monsoon. But a solar eclipse, also called Dendar’s Revenge, where a new moon “swallows” the sun, is terrifying to the people of Chult. The next one is scheduled to occur on Qotal (October) 15th, and I’m sure an entire adventure could be written around this event. I plan to have one.
Next are the Princemeet days that occur on the 15th every three months, starting with Eha. This is a day when all the Merchant Princes assemble in the seat of government, Goldenthrone, to discuss plans for the upcoming season. The rest of the city just gets a day off. This could be used by players to find all of the Merchant Princes in one place, or more importantly, know when none of them are home in their treasure filled villas.
Finally, the last day of every week is dedicated to Ubtao. While he has not intervened with human affairs for centuries, and he has no temples, he is still revered as the creator of Chult. Each day honors a different aspect or characteristic of Ubtao, and there are a still few clerics and druids who can remember them all. For example, the days that occur near full moons usually remind us of Ubtao’s duty to keep Dendar imprisoned. These days are not considered holidays, but they are a day of rest. And since Ubtao is the Father of Dinosaurs, the Dino Races are held on each of these days.
I find that the easiest way to incorporate my players into the lore of the world is by having some sessions, especially the ones that occur in town, to coincidentally happen on the nearest holiday. I usually begin my campaigns on a holiday and momentous events often happen during festivals. But I always save the end of my campaign to occur on a non-holiday, so that this world-saving event can become a new holiday.
Like the rest of Chultan culture, its holidays are a mix of Forgotten Realms celebrations, with some Maztica and some original ones. Many of the Realms’ holiday came from Waterdeep: Dragon Heist and are noted with a “WDH” in the descriptions.
Wintershield – Plutoq 1. A day to celebrate the new year with friends and family as you reflect on the past year and plan for the coming one. (WDH)
Betrothal Day – Kiltzi 14. Called The Grand Revel in Waterdeep which seems pompous. In Chult, marriages are arranged on this day based upon what is best for the family. Dedicated to Sune. (WDH)
Tezca’s Rebirth – Ches 20, Chult celebrates the Spring Equinox with prayers and homages to Tezca, god of the sun.
Fair Seas Festival – Eha 27-30. I’ve shortened the week long Fleetswake to just include the Fair Seas Festival. Umberlee’s Mercy prays for smooth seas. Valkur’s Favor is dedicated to sturdy ships. It is good luck to launch a new ship on this day. Selune’s Grace gives thanks for clear skies and stars to guide your way home. (WDH)
Trickster Trials – Azul 1-9. This festival week honors the nine trickster gods. The coliseum is converted into a giant maze and, on each day, competitions and games are run to reflect each spirit. Moa’s Hunt is a trial of stealth. Shagambi’s Valor is a gladiatorial contest. Feats of Kubazan has feats of strength. Obo’laka’s Obsession is a wizard’s game of flag football. Unkh’s Contest is a test of one’s Constitution. I’jin’s Race is a dexterity-based jumping chase. Papazotl’s Flight challenges one’s intelligence and bravery in a bungee jumping contest. Nangnang’s Ascent is a rock-climbing maze. Wongo’s Daze is a game of Red Light, Green Light but less deadly than in Squid Games. Finally, Ubtao’s Glory is the Kentucky Derby of dinosaur racing and capped off with a huge city-wide party.
Waukeentide – Maztica 11-19. I moved this festival to Maztica (May) and altered some of the individual holidays. Still the major celebration of Waukeen, currently the most revered deity of Chult. (WDH)
Farsight – Maztica 13. Dedicated to Savras, today is the day that everyone get’s the fortune read. Soothsayers and mystics are out in full force. A good excuse to give your players some puzzling prophesies.
Lliira’s Night – Maztica 15. Moved from July, this nighttime festival celebrates the Lady of Joy and ally of Waukeen. Dances, fireworks, and lots of tej tonight. (WDH)
Waukeenrise – Maztica 17. Celebrates her reappearance following her absence during the Time of Troubles. Marked with a giant parade where the Merchant Princes throw coins (usually coppers) to the crowd.
Leiruin – Maztica 18. Marks the day Leira, goddess of deception, was caught trying to cheat Waukeen in a deal. Pacts are formed and guild dues are paid today. (WDH)
Goldennight – Maztica 19. The Festival of Gold. The markets are open all night offering huge sales and promotions. (WDH)
Firepeak – Watil 20. The Summer Solstice is celebrated with another festival to Tezca.
Ubtao’s Gifts – Tezca 1-10. Another festival week, this one celebrates the creator of Chult in the guise of his Maztica aspects. Major analogies to Christian creation myths here. Gift of Light or Inception Day is the day Ubtao created light in the form of Tezca, the sun god. On the second day, Ubtao created the land in the form of mountains and valleys, the aspect of Plutoq. On the third day, Ubtao created water, in the form of Azul, rain. On day 4, The Gift of Air, Ubtao gave us Eha, goddess of wind. Days 5 and 6 is also called Green Mantle where Ubtao, with the help of his friend, Tharr Harr, gave us the jungle and all the animals, in the forms of Watil and Nula respectively. On the seventh day, the Gift of Man, Ubtao, in the aspect of Kukul, cut off his fingers which each became men and women. On Day 8, to show his love for man in the guise of Kiltzi, Ubtao created Mezro the holy city. On the ninth day, Ubtao brought peace to the land, where man, animal, and jungle lived in harmony under the aspect of Qotal. In my campaign, this is also the day Chult became independent from Amn. In the real world, this is the celebrated day of African Independence. Lastly, on the 10th day, Ubtao rested. While Ubtao slept, the Aspect of War, Zaltec, and those who bring evil to the world, plot against the people of Chult. In my campaign, this is the day that the death curse begins.
Sornyn – Ecatzin 4-6. Festival to Waukeen and Lathander. Many business plans are made, along with treaties, agreements, and envoys. Many patrons are open to new endeavors at this time. (WDH)
Katashaka – Ecatzin 15. Commemorates the day the couatl spirit Ecatzin led the Tabaxi from the land of Katashaka to Chult. A time spent remembering and reflecting on the past. Elderly are honored.
Brightswords – Nula 21. The Autumn Equinox is celebrated by the city guard with parades, demonstrations and mock battles. Weapon sales are brisk. (WDH)
Day of Wonder – Qotal 3. Today honor the god of invention, Gond, and the nearby island of Lantan, with numerous displays of new inventions and creations. (WDH)
God’s Day – Qotal 15. Observes the anniversary of the end of the God’s War in 1358DR, and the gods returned to the heavens. No magic is allowed this day to remember the chaos of the wild magic at that time. It is a day of thankful prayer. Coincides with a solar eclipse. In my campaign, this day will also be the day the solar eclipse might not end, plunging Chult into chaos, called Dendar’s Revenge.
Starfall – Qotal 22. Holy day for Tymora, Lady Luck. Signifies the destruction of Tyche (ancient god of all luck) and the birth of Tymora (good luck) and Beshaba (bad). Coincides with an annual meteor shower. Games of chance and gambling are rampant on this day.
Couatl’s Feast – Zaltec 15. Commemorates the day the Ecatzin and the Tabaxi tribe arrived in Chult after over a year at sea. Marked with a grand feast of thanks between friends and family.
Howldown – Kukal 11. Marks the day that the city guard travels out through Malar’s Throat to eliminate any encroaching monster threats in the surrounding area, such as predator beasts, goblin tribes, and undead. A bounty is paid for any threats eliminated, sometimes resulting in aggressive poaching and fights among hunters.
Simril – Kukal 20. The Winter Solstice is celebrated by finding the star(s) that are significant to you and your family. Vigils are held all night tracking the star, seeking Tymora’s blessing. Numerous vendors can help you find your star based upon your time and place of birth. For small fee. (WDH)
Waukeenrise (actual) – Kukal 24. Though celebrated in Maztica (May), this is the actual date of Waukeen’s return from her absence during her capture in The Time of Troubles.
Languages of Chult
Very little is mentioned about the Chultan language beyond it’s “a mix of exhaled and inhaled vowels, consonants, and tongue clicks”, and the fact that most everyone speaks Common. This can be expanded upon (like everything else). To start, Amn, and thus its colonies like Chult, speak an older version of Common called Thorass.
This allows you to sprinkle unique, local words and phrases that are not “Common” but can be deciphered in context. An easy example of this is to never refer to goblins as such, but always as “Batiri”, the tribal name. Or you can make up your own, such as “she’s a snippy nipper” for a pack animal or dino that tends to bite people. Thorass also has its own alphabet which could be seen on signs in port or in old documents.
As the party ventures out into the jungle, perhaps they might discover older languages possibly based on Phoenician or Demotic sources. The book briefly mentions that Omu has its own language, Old Omuan, that is indecipherable without magic, certain skill sets, or discovering a specific tablet (a Rosetta Stone for Omu) hidden within the Forbidden City. This language is based upon ancient cuneiform (I prefer Persian). Even the Yuan-ti could have their own language and alphabet. Yes, they speak Draconic and Abyssal, but their alphabet could be based off something different. I particularly like the Hieratic script, since all the letters look like snakes.
I know this is a ton of extra info (maybe too much) and even I don’t expect to utilize all of it in my campaign. But you never know what extra bit of lore may be that something your players really engage with or further enhances the reality of the setting. Either way, have fun exploring the wonders of Chult and Game On!
It’s on! My group has started their own Expedition to Chult. Click here: Tomb of Annihilation, Session 1 to read up on our campaign diary and, eventually, a full Tomb of Annihilation Resources Page. Until then, be sure to stock up on healing potions and tej. Gallons and gallons of tej.
The Tomb of Annihilation Resources Page is up and running, filled with all the stuff I use to make this epic campaign even more epicier: My full Campaign Diary, plus Handouts, Maps, Charts, PDFs, Images, and more to use, abuse, or ignore at your peril.
2 thoughts on “Explorer’s Guide to Chult”