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I'm two sessions into DMing Tomb of Annihilation for my face-to-face group and we're really enjoying it. However, I am reading lots of "area descriptions" that are described in exceedingly broad strokes... In an attempt to fill these in I've turned to older edition treatment of Chult (e.g. James Lowder's Ring of Winter, AD&D Jungles of Chult, 3e Serpent Kingdoms) & to DM's Guild products like Ruins of Mezro.

One example, the one that's most immediate for me as my group is headed for Mezro...

Mezro - or its ruins - seems like a really important area. You need to buy a DM's Guild Adept product for a more-than-paragraph description. OK, I got that, but then it paints area descriptions in really broad strokes that are very similar to the (necessarily) broad coverage back in AD&D Jungles of Chult. For example, the College of Wizards & Temple of Ubtao are key areas with clues to discover...and are complex shifting/teleporting dungeons yet lack sufficient detail to DM (without making up a dungeon of my own). Has anyone detailed these (or other) areas of Mezro in greater detail?

Thanks for any help you can offer. :) I'm a veteran DM realizing that ToA requires a lot of customization & filling-in-the-blanks, and while I am doing that, I want to make sure I don't overlook things, make glaring mistakes by improvising in a way that invalidates some hidden (but critical) plot point sentence, or recreate the wheel.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Bravo, you have some great stuff here and I am excited to hear some helpful answers. May I suggest you break this up into several different questions? Your asks are a bit broad in nature. \$\endgroup\$ – Night Owl Apr 16 '18 at 2:24
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    \$\begingroup\$ Voting to close as too broad. You've got a lot of good research done here, and you have some good questions, but this really should be split up into 4 different questions to fit the format of this site better. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Apr 16 '18 at 7:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DuckTapeAl Would it be ok for me to edit this thread content & title towards one specific question, rather than creating a new one? \$\endgroup\$ – Quickleaf Apr 17 '18 at 2:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ That would work! If you edit the question to be more specific, then it could be reopened. \$\endgroup\$ – DuckTapeAl Apr 17 '18 at 3:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks @DuckTapeAl ! I edited my query to focus on Mezro. \$\endgroup\$ – Quickleaf Apr 17 '18 at 3:44
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I have two suggestions, having recently been through these areas (and still running this campaign actively). The issue you mentioned is one I hit as well while running the campaign - areas with very little description that could use more detail. Here was how I handled this during my campaign...

Alternatives

  1. Depending on situation, you might consider more "generic" or non-descriptive details when dealing with repetitive areas (such as shifting mazes or similar encounters). A single statement such as "This room looks similar, however you have the sense that small details have changed such as the foliage pattern on the wall."
  2. Have a set of descriptions at the ready. Things like entering a generic room suddenly becomes a lot more interesting if you have a description for a random room ready. It does not have to be fancy - just something you can be consistent with. I usually came up with 10-20 descriptive rooms and would pick them randomly.

Recommended

  1. Roll20 has a pre-built campaign already written. Having read through the book first, Roll20 added a lot more detail and information. Though access to this campaign costs money.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Quickleaf I am not sure if this 100% answers your question, as I would have to do a lot of additional reading to find out if the content covered by Roll20 is just additional information from WotC or from previous or other sources. That being said, there is a few YouTube video series using Roll20 ToA that you can quickly look at to find out if it has the content you are looking for. \$\endgroup\$ – Sh4d0wsPlyr Jun 29 '18 at 15:36

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