Tomb of Horrors - example of many, or one of a kind? - Page 7

# Thread: Tomb of Horrors - example of many, or one of a kind?

1. Pit traps (10 total throughout the Tomb):
Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
All pits (except where noted to the contrary) throughout the Tomb are 10' deep and concealed by a counter-weighted trap door which opens as soon as any person steps on it. Thrusting with force upon these traps with a pole will reveal them 4 in 6 (d6, 1-4). Those who step upon a pit lid will have a base 100% of falling, modified downwards by 1% per point of dexterity through 12, and 2% for each point above 12, i.e. dexterity of 13 = 14% chance of not falling into a pit, dexterity of 14 = 16%, 15 = 18%, 16 = 20%, 17 = 22%, and 18 dexterity = 24% chance of not going in. At the bottom of each pit are 5 iron spikes coated with poison. Roll d6 to determine how many spikes wound the victim; 1, 2, and 3 meaning that number of spikes have wounded the victim, 4-6 equal NONE HAVE WOUNDED the character. Each spike causes 1-6 hit points of damage, and the victim must make a saving throw versus poison for each spike which wounds him or her. Any failure means the victim is killed by the poison.
Bullgrit

2. Originally Posted by Bullgrit
And then they come to an area where they have to fight a bunch of terrible monsters! Ha! You fell for the pattern. Old school Players were wise and knew not to assume the next part of the dungeon will be exactly like the previous part of the dungeon. Old school Players always stayed properly prepared for diverse obstacles.

Bullgrit
The party is missing a couple chant and locate object spells (for auguries and a cure serious wounds for a divination, are at full (or nearly so) hp and have the illusionist's true seeing running.

How does this hinder them appreciably in a fight? More, how is it that swapping out three spells for spells that help you know how to prepare somehow leaves you less prepared?

In my 3e game, a pc had a diviner cohort. When they had time, they would prepare with his aid so as to be probably five times as effective as they would have been going in to whatever situation blind. I'd say that those two auguries and that divination trump those other spells in terms of "prepared for diverse challenges".

3. An untrapped secret door:
Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
17. MAGICAL SECRET DOOR: This entrance to the remainder of the Tomb is along the stairway which leads down. It can be found by any means, but nothing will enable it to be opened until the area is either viewed through a gem of seeing, a similar spell is cast, or a detect magic spell is used to pinpoint the magic aura. When the magic of the door is found, it will require a dispel magic or remove curse spell to remove the guard which prevents the door from being opened. Once accomplished, the secret door can be opened easily from either side.
Bullgrit

4. And the adamantine door (the "marking" refers to the S on the map):
Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
24. ADAMANTINE DOOR: Although it is marked secret, it is very evident; the marking is simply to make certain that its actual nature is known. It has permanent anti-magics on it, and there is no magical or physical way of forcing entry. There are 3 slots in the door at about waist height. If 3 sword blades are shoved simultaneously into the slots, the 1' thick panel will swing open. THIS IS A ONE WAY DOOR WHICH CANNOT BE PREVENTED FROM CLOSING IN 5 ROUNDS!
Bullgrit

5. I'm not sure what the point of posting vast swaths of the module is without spoiler tags, except to possibly spoil it for others that haven't played it.

If you're trying to demonstrate that the Tomb is a no-win, unfair, meanie module, you're still failing to address the experiences of those that have seen (or been in, or run) groups make it through.

Nobody is denying that it is a hard module, and I'll go a step forward and risk sounding elitist to say- it's TOO HARD for any but the BEST PLAYERS. Take that as you will; I have never successfully played through it to the end myself.

Does that make it unfair? No more than having Kasparov for an opponent makes a chess game unfair. Perhaps the player is outclassed; perhaps he cannot win. It's a fair game nonetheless, although I can agree that it might be an unfair match-up.

Well, so is the Tomb of Horrors.

6. Originally Posted by Bullgrit
This is something that makes discussing classic D&D so difficult.

There're a bunch of sacks full of something in the corner of the room. What's in them? You don't know until you check them.

If you check the sacks: It's a trap, and your PC dies! Ha! You shouldn't have bothered them. Old school Players were wise and knew not to mess with stuff unnecessarily.

If you don't check the sacks: There was treasure hidden in them, and you didn't get it! Ha! You should have thought to check them. Old school Players were wise and knew to investigate everything.

If you carefully check them using a 10' pole, or a summoned creature: They're just sacks of moldy grain and flour. Ha! You wasted time and magic messing with just some old bags, and got a wondering monster check and now have fewer spells for the boss encounter in the next area. Old school Players were wise and knew to conserve their time and resources for truly important things.

Bullgrit
With my mad divination skills, I sense some sort of chip on your shoulder.

a) The skilled player of any edition knows that his life is worth more than gold. Gold is in fact relatively valueless except for the XP it may offer to recover it. The skilled player doesn't worry too much about recovering treasure until after the main mission is over and the immediate environs are cleared. If you miss some treasure, there is more where that came from and if you really want to search an area you can always come back. If it comes down to a choice between risking death and possibly missing some treasure, I'm going to choose missing out on treasure almost every time.

b) Good dungeon hygiene was an essential part of dungeoneering. This usually involves liberal use of 10' poles and torches, occasional use of soap and water or strong alchohol, and with back up plans of burning oil and cure disease when it becomes available. If you can't see it, don't touch it. If it looks dirty or filthy, assume its lethal to touch because it probably is. Loot can be explored in detail back at camp or town. If it wastes time, it's better than dying, and if you get an extra wandering encounter check out of it well chances are what comes along won't be as lethal as yellow mold, green slime, or rot grubs. AC provides excellent protection against monsters and cure spells are relatively cheap; ergo, anything that causes hit point damage is preferable to anything that provokes saving throws. If you want your character to survive, you have to treat being asked to make a saving throw as some sort of failure on your part. I personally felt 'unlucky' and felt as if I 'never' passed a saving throw, so a lot of the way I gamed back then revolved around avoiding them.

7. Originally Posted by the Jester
I'm not sure what the point of posting vast swaths of the module is without spoiler tags, except to possibly spoil it for others that haven't played it.
I'd be interested in a thread that dissected the ToH on a room by room basis, parsing the clues the module gives out and analyzing how a party might work their through it.

Hell, if nobody else does it first, I'll start one when I get home this evening.

8. Removed

9. Just because...

The Orc and the Pie: The Tomb of Horrors version.

The wooden door to this 10'x10' room is neither locked nor trapped. But a message is scrawled in large and dark letters on the front. YE HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR AVOIDING YOUR DOOM. YET NOT ALL MOUTHS SHOULD CONSUME TO GET THEIR JUST DESSERTS. EVER HUNGRY, EVEN DARKNESS MAY BE FILLED.

Inside stands a single orc (hp: 4) holding a pie. Acererak has placed a powerful stasis spell on the orc that breaks once the door is open. The rhubarb pie itself is fresh and warm, and with a dash of cinnimon in the aroma.

The orc only speaks orcish, and will freely give up the pie if asked nicely. If attacked, he drops the pie (ruining the pie) and pulls out a dagger to defend himself. He knows nothing about the tomb itself. If charmedor placed under some other mind-altering enchantment, he might mumble something about "being a servant to the devil."

If the pie is tossed into [spoiler]the mouth of Green Devil Face, the sphere of annihilation is destroyed, beyond is a chute that leads to area 25. Alternately, the pie may be thrown at the demi-lich itself, sating it for 1d4 rounds.[/spoiler].

The pie tastes great when eaten. If a character, however, eats the whole pie, one hour later he suffers from stomach distress, taking a -2 penalty to AC, attack rolls, and saves for 12 hours.

10. I'm not sure what the point of posting vast swaths of the module is without spoiler tags, except to possibly spoil it for others that haven't played it.
Yeah, and how ridiculous of me to post actual text from the subject we’re all talking about. Really? You’re upset that I’m posting actual text from the subject?

And spoilers?! It’s a 30+ year old module for a game edition that been out of print for 20+ years!

King Kong dies.

Rosebud is a sled.

With my mad divination skills, I sense some sort of chip on your shoulder.
Nope, no chip on my shoulder. Just some frustration with the daisy chain of logic.

With my mad divination skills, I sense some annoyance at having your description of the text questioned. And by god, how rude of me to post actual text from the module? You made an unsupported claim. I found your claim incongruent with the text. I merely posted some samples from the text so specifics can be discussed. How rude of me to not just fully accept your description, even though it was opposite what I’ve read.

Whats so difficult?
The problem is that *everything* is a feature.

Treasure was “devilishly” hidden in classic D&D. You had to search everything to find it.

Traps were everywhere in classic D&D. You had to leave stuff alone to avoid them.

Every conversation around here about classic D&D becomes a daisy chain of “it’s your fault.” Didn’t search the random bags: you missed the treasure. Did search the random bags: you fell for the trap. Either way, it’s because you just weren’t a “skilled player.”

Nothing was wonky back in classic D&D – “you” just don’t/didn’t understand the brilliance.

This is not to say that everything was wonky with classic D&D. Classic D&D had truly wonderful stuff as well as really wonky stuff. I just find it problematic for conversations and discussions to have *everything* presented as wonderful and brilliant. I also find it insulting to the truly great stuff of classic D&D.

Bullgrit