WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    Again, the answers are based on already knowing what the danger is.
    I think the pitons in the wall is a good precaution whenever you're in a room ike this, especially with the levers. It is the Tomb of Horrors so I would expect the levers to be trapped, after all.

    So it is possible to avoid them even if you don't know they are there, but what I'm thinking is that "being a good D&D player" is getting reduced to "Augary, a 10 foot pole and pitons in the wall. Oh, and spike the doors."

    There seems to be a handful of things that can be applied at all times to avoid a lot of dangers.

    /M

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    Area 8. Gargoyle Lair

    "Go back to the tormentor" tear through the plaster on the wall, find a concealed door and go through it, then go through another (untrapped) door and you'll reach Area 8. Easy!

    When you enter Area 8, you meet this guy:

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...oHGraphic8.jpg

    He's newly awakened from Temporal Stasis, and he's looking forward to a frank and open philosophical discussion about the merits of old-school sandbox play that challenges the player versus new-school story-based play that challenges the PC. Bloody combat inevitably follows.

    The Gargoyle has 12 HD/64 hp. He attacks six times a round, and does pretty buff damage. The module doesn't list his AC. I guess you should use the AC of the regular old 4+4 HD gargoyle from the Monster Manual? If so, Mr. Gargoyle is probably going down in a hurry. How has this fight played out for folks who have actually run the module?

    He's wearing a bedazzled dog collar. Go ahead and take the gems, 'cause you'll want them in Area 11. Hidden in a "secret compartment" in his collar is a parchment. It reads:

    "Look low and high for gold, to hear a tale untold. The archway at the end, and on your way you'll wend. -A"

    IMO. Not much to say about Mr. Gargoyle. Gang up on him and rest when he's dead.

    But what in the hell does that riddle mean? Low and High? Gold? What is the 'tale untold?' Is it pointing you back to the arch at Area 5? I'm flummoxed.

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  4. #114
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    Area 8. Gargoyle Lair
    Yes, this is an interesting thing. There's an obvious (to the DM, reading) connection between this monster and the gargoyle statue in area 11 (to come). The blue quartz gems from this creature's collar will fit the palms of the gargoyle statue, to potentially, eventually produce a gem of seeing. If the PCs come to this room before getting to 11, they can possibly deduce a connection, and possibly think of using the gems. This serves as "a thinking person's" clue. Good.

    But, if the PCs [correctly?] use the arch at area 5, they will appear in area 11, bypassing this area 8, and so will be standing before the gargoyle statue without the area 8 clue (or gems). Hmm. Kind of hard to call this. Arguably, if they do the right thing in area 5, they have no clue for area 11. If they take the hard way (deconstructing their way) through area 4, they will pass through area 8 and get a clue for area 11. So is digging through area 4 the right/better answer than figuring out the Simon Says archway at area 5?

    And then the cryptic clue, "Look low and high for gold, to hear a tale untold. The archway at the end, and on your way you'll wend." I agree with Stoat -- I don't know what this refers to, either. I see there are some things it might refer to -- the gold orb in the area 10 hallway, and there are at least 3 archways after this clue -- but the riddle makes no sense in relation to them.

    Either this is a clue that even the DM reading the module (probably?) might not understand, or it's a false clue not meant to be followed. If it is a real clue, it is too unclear. If it is false, then this is an example of punishing, (or at least counter-rewarding), attentive and thorough PCs.

    And finally, looking at the stats for the gargoyle, here: this is another example of Gygaxian stream-of-consciousness writing style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
    This monster is a huge (H.P.: 64; 19 strength) monstrosity that attacks 6 times/round as a 12 hit dice creature inflicting damage as follows: 2-8 x 4/3-12/1-6, and if any 2 of the clawing attacks (2-8 x 4) hit, the creature will do an additional 7 hit points of rending damage to the opponent so struck.
    I know this is a very early-era module, but other modules of its day used better, more concise stat blocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Simple Edit
    This monster is a huge monstrosity (AC: 5, HD: 12, HP: 64, Attacks: claws x4/bite/horn, Damage: 2-8 x4/3-12/1-6, if two claws hit add 7 more damage).
    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    But what in the hell does that riddle mean? Low and High? Gold? What is the 'tale untold?' Is it pointing you back to the arch at Area 5? I'm flummoxed.
    Yes, it is pointing back to area 5. You gain access to area 8, via area 3A where a plaster fresco shows a painting of a torture chamber containing a horrible monster (the huge gargoyle, in fact) waiting to be released.

    Both area 8 and area 9 are something of punishment zones in my opinion - just as promised by their entrance motif. They aren't particularly deadly to a party of this level, but the party would be better off going around them.

    The riddle in the collar probably makes no sense to a party that has gone into area 8 without fully exploring the entrance corridor, but if a party turns back at this point (whether they understand the riddle or not) and does as directed they should:

    a) By paying careful attention ('looking...low') uncover the all important riddle ('a tale untold') in the entrance corridor, which will again mention an arch (or advise them that they can in fact gain access by going back to the gargoyle 'the tormentor' where they've just been, if they can't figure out the arch's simple puzzle)
    b) Gain a short cut to area 10 via the arch in area 5 - thus avoiding the complex of secret doors in area 9 and its unavoidable damage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim
    By paying careful attention ('looking...low') uncover the all important riddle ('a tale untold') in the entrance corridor
    So you are saying that "Look low and high for gold, to hear a tale untold," references looking low at the red path and reading the clue?

    "Low and high" = low?
    "gold" = red?
    "hear" = see/read?

    Both area 8 and area 9 are something of punishment zones in my opinion
    So following the clue in the path riddle (to go through the tormentor, to areas 8 and 9) leads to a punishment?

    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    So you are saying that "Look low and high for gold, to hear a tale untold," references looking low at the red path and reading the clue?
    Yes. Looking 'high and low' means in English "look everywhere". "For gold" means generally, "something valueable" but whether it is interpreted by the clue reciever literally or not doesn't matter much provided he does look 'high and low'.

    So following the clue in the path riddle (to go through the tormentor, to areas 8 and 9) leads to a punishment?
    You just won't let go of these dry bones will you?

    No, according to the clue it leads to the "second great hall". Whether you get there through the tormentor or the arch determines whether you are tormented and punished.

    The arch puzzle is straight foward and the majority of groups solve it just fine. We did. Personally, after I read the module and the description of area 9 (an area I'd never been as a PC), I felt that there was no way that a group would get through this area, and I've seen similar anxious observations from other DM's, but universally in play they've reported that players 'got' this area far more often than they'd expect and I've seen far more accounts of players getting through this way than I'd have ever credited if I was just dryly offering uninformed opions of the bare text. Your various hypotheticals about how this might play out are reasonable in that certainly some players might be so confused but not the most likely, and the experience of the vast majority of players on this thread (as evidence by the earlier overwhelming agreement I recieved) bears that out.

    Sure, some parties will probably be stumped by any of the problems you raise, and most parties will probably be stumped by at least one conunudrum you raise. If everything were perfectly obvious, the dungeon would present no danger at all. But so what? If you want perfect clues, bump up the level of your party a bit and cast, "Find the Path". Dungeon all but solved.
    Last edited by Celebrim; Saturday, 2nd July, 2011 at 08:41 PM.

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    Giving it some more thought, the Gargoyle's riddle from Area 8 looks pretty problematic to me.

    On the one hand, the reference to "Gold" seems to point at the hidden doorway between Area 10 and Area 11 -- an illusory golden sphere held up high by a painting on the wall. It seems significant to me that the module goes in to so much detail about which of those spheres in Area 10 are "high" and which ones are "low". I'm also working under the theory that "night's good color" and "shades of red" refer to the other exits from Area 10. There's some logic in Acererak giving clues to all of them. Of course, if the Gargoyle's riddle is talking about Area 10, then it includes a red herring. Go on and wend your way through that Arch! Do it! I dares you! It doesn't bother me that there might be a red herring, but the presence of one cuts against the argument that Acererak "plays fair with the PC's." This interpretation also doesn't really account for the "tale untold." Unless you get real metaphoric and think of the gem of seeing from Area 11 as revealing untold tales?

    On the other hand, Acererak has already told the PC's to through the Arch at Area 5. Why repeat that? Also, there's no need to look "high and low" for the riddle in Area 3. You only need to look low. And there's no gold in Area 3, at least not literally. Calling the riddle a "tale untold" sort of presupposes that the players haven't found it yet, and I'm not sure that's a safe assumption at this point. After all, Area 8 isn't exactly easy to find without the riddle telling you to go back to the tormentor. There's also the fact that once the PC's have gotten this far, they're halfway to Area 10 anyway. Sure Area 9 is going to be a baffling pain in the ass to negotiate (probably), but it's not like they're heading toward a death trap. Do they need to be told to go back? Are they not just as likely to go forward and then wend their way through the Arch in Area 10?

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    Also, I've convinced my regular group to try a play-by-post run at the Tomb. I'm interested to see how they fare!

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    I really wish we had a Gygax around to answer questions and explain the riddles.

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