WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    Points for thoroughness. But they're not even in the Tomb, yet.
    No, they're not. The cleric is probably going to start casting divination spells, and that should put them on the right track. Although the specific spell and the wording of any questions asked may throw off the result. The ranger and m-u/thief are looking around the bare spot on the hill where the entrances are hidden, but they aren't poking it with spears and poles. This is a destructive group, and I'm curious about what they'll do when they realize that digging into the hill is an option.

    Also, I haven't forgotten about the real point of this thread. I've had godawful computer problems for the last few weeks, and it's made posting the WIR a pain in the ass. That's behind me, and I hope to get to Area 10 this weekend.

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    Area 10. Great Hall of Spheres

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...HGraphic10.jpg

    Like Area 3, this is a hallway 20 feet long by 130 feet long decorated with inlaid tiles on the floor and pictures of animals, strange signs and glyphs on the walls. The module is quick to tell the DM that the signs and glyphs mean "absolutely nothing." The highlight of the place are a number of paintings on the walls that depict humanoid creatures carrying spheres of many colors.

    From north to south, with the west wall represented in the first column and the east wall represented in the second, the figures and spheres appear as follows:

    GOLD held high above head..................PALE BLUE at shoulder
    ORANGE held waist high.......................SILVER at feet
    PURPLE at feet....................................GREEN he!d high above head
    BRONZE held waist high.......................YELLOW at shoulder
    GRAY at shoulder................................PINK held high above head
    BRIGHT BLUE at feet...........................BLACK at feet
    WHITE held high above head................PALE VIOLET at shoulder
    TURQUOISE at shoulder.......................RED held waist high""
    SCARLET held waist high......................BUFF at feet
    PALE GREEN at feet.............................INDIGO held high above head

    Some of the "spheres" are illusions that cover hidden passages in the walls. The GOLD sphere leads to Area 11. The RED sphere leads to Area 13. The BLACK sphere leads to Area 14. Also, the SILVER sphere covers a secret one-way door leading from Area 9. Some of the spheres are false doors.

    At the end of the hall is another misty archway similar to the one at Area 5.

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...oHGraphic5.jpg

    The stones on this arch glow Russet, Olive and Citron (which reminds me of the kitchen in my parent's house, circa 1977). No matter what the PC's do, the arch remains clouded with mist. Living matter that passes through the arch is teleported back to Area 3. Non-living matter (right down to your underpants) is teleported to Acererak's Crypt, Area 33. So anybody who walks through this archway winds up back at the beginning of the dungeon naked and defenseless.

    [Nelson Munz]Ha, Ha![/Nelson Munz]

    IMO: There's a lot of description in this room, but not much action. Basically it's a bunch of secret passages protected by illusions and a non-lethal screw you trap. PC's will either enter from Area 11 (which is reached by solving Area 5) or from Area 9. Those coming from Area 11 have to pass through one of the illusory spheres to get here, so they ought to be clued to check the other spheres carefully. Those coming from Area 9 might have the riddle that says, "Archway at the end, and on your way you'll wend." I'm going to bet that a substantial percentage of those folks wind up adding their boxer shorts to Acererak's collection in Area 33.

    The way out is behind the black sphere, and this is probably what "Night's good color" from Area 3 refers to. The red sphere is almost certainly what "Shades of red stand for blood" refers to, because that passage eventually leads the players to a "loop of magical metal." These clues are pretty vague, but none of the spheres are trapped or dangerous, so even players who don't get the clues won't suffer if they poke around here.

    The only "clue" to the danger represented by the arch is that the mist never goes away. I'm betting that your chances on avoiding this trap depend a lot on how you got here. If you solved Area 5, that might seem weird enough to make you leery here. If you walked through a misty Area 5 and wound up in Area 7, you might realize that walking through misty arches is a dumb idea. If you smashed your way through Areas 8 and 9 and found the Gargoyle's riddle, you'll probably be tempted to wend your way through the arch. If you don't have the Gargoyle's riddle? I dunno.

    Finally, it bugs me that the module keeps talking about "spheres." They're two-dimensional paintings. They aren't spheres, they're circles.
    Last edited by Stoat; Saturday, 23rd July, 2011 at 04:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Finally, it bugs me that the module keeps talking about "spheres." They're two-dimensional paintings. They aren't spheres, they're circles.
    That bothers me too, especially because the picture shows them as flat without a single indication of depth. If they were drawn as shaded 2D representations of spheres, I wouldn't have minded so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolflyn View Post
    That bothers me too, especially because the picture shows them as flat without a single indication of depth. If they were drawn as shaded 2D representations of spheres, I wouldn't have minded so much.
    It is rather disconcerting. Having not played this module, the impression I got from the various mentions of this room up-thread had me visualising metal globes of various shapes and colours, suspended from the ceiling at varying heights like a collection of disco balls.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkB View Post
    It is rather disconcerting. Having not played this module, the impression I got from the various mentions of this room up-thread had me visualising metal globes of various shapes and colours, suspended from the ceiling at varying heights like a collection of disco balls.
    I'm glad I wasn't the only one!

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    Area 10. Great Hall of Spheres
    This area is an example of a "puzzle" that I've never really cared for. This whole thing is just a big time sink with no real risk and the only real reward is being able to move forward to the next area of the Tomb.

    I put "puzzle" in quotation marks because although there's a lot to see and look at and consider in this hall, there's not much to figure out through puzzle solving. There doesn't seem to be anything like a logical solution to be deduced.

    Figuring out what circle ("sphere") to go through is just a matter of poking around and then randomly picking a tunnel to explore. The descriptions of colors and positionings suggests there's maybe some kind of pattern to figure out, but I don't see a pattern. (And the module text doesn't tell the DM if there's any kind of pattern.)

    Even using the long poem-clue from the path in the previous great hall is so vague that it might or might not actually give a hint for this place. For instance, if "night's good color" is a reference to the black circle, is the "shun green" phrase in the same line referencing the green circle here? The green circle is nothing special.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
    If shades of red stand for blood the wise
    will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of
    magical metal -- you're well along your march.
    "If shades of red stand for blood"? Is that a clue for going forward or a hint of danger? And the second part of that section, "need sacrifice aught but a loop of magical metal"? If that is referencing the method of opening the door in the Chapel of Evil, well, that is behind the black circle, not the red circle.

    Having seen different people interpret that poem clue in different ways, and going through the module in detail, I'm starting to think that it isn't really a clue or hint for the Tomb. It's seeming more and more like a red herring. It might have a few actual hints, but they are mixed in with useless gibberish. Was this intentional, or just an unfortunately very poorly worded poem?

    So far, this isn't seeming, to me, to be much of a "thinking person's adventure" so much as it's a "testing person's adventure." You just have to test and test and test to determine the right solution to the various obstacles. This particular area could have been cool if a "thinking person" could figure out the correct next way to go by paying attention to all the clues without ever poking around on anything. But as it is, I don't see a way of thinking through this area -- it requires poking and prodding and random choices.

    If I'm missing the clues, hints, or patterns, please for the love of adventure explain them to me. I can't shake the feeling that I'm just missing something.

    Bullgrit
    Last edited by Bullgrit; Tuesday, 26th July, 2011 at 01:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    This area is an example of a "puzzle" that I've never really cared for. This whole thing is just a big time sink with no real risk and the only real reward is being able to move forward to the next area of the Tomb.

    I put "puzzle" in quotation marks because although there's a lot to see and look at and consider in this hall, there's not much to figure out through puzzle solving. There doesn't seem to be anything like a logical solution to be deduced.

    Figuring out what circle ("sphere") to go through is just a matter of poking around and then randomly picking a tunnel to explore. The descriptions of colors and positionings suggests there's maybe some kind of pattern to figure out, but I don't see a pattern. (And the module text doesn't tell the DM if there's any kind of pattern.)
    I agree. The Archway at Area 10a. is the only risky thing here. And there's there's little to no clue or warning about its nature of.

    As for the hallway itself, there's a lot of the groovy stuff in the picture, and lots of info to dump on the PC's, but there's no risk, the only clue is Acererak's first riddle, and your ability to find the right way forward mostly depends on how your DM handles disbelieving illusions.

    (aside, I've never liked the way disbelieving illusions works in D&D)

    "If shades of red stand for blood"? Is that a clue for going forward or a hint of danger? And the second part of that section, "need sacrifice aught but a loop of magical metal"? If that is referencing the method of opening the door in the Chapel of Evil, well, that is behind the black circle, not the red circle.
    IIRC, the red circle leads to a chamber where the PC's can find a magic ring. In other words, you can go there and find a loop of magical metal to sacrifice. But yeah, the riddle sounds as much like a warning as anything else.

    Having seen different people interpret that poem clue in different ways, and going through the module in detail, I'm starting to think that it isn't really a clue or hint for the Tomb. It's seeming more and more like a red herring. It might have a few actual hints, but they are mixed in with useless gibberish. Was this intentional, or just an unfortunately very poorly worded poem?
    I'm saving any grand conclusions for after I've finished with all 33 rooms, but so far IMO, Acererak's riddle is the sort of thing that makes sense if you're the DM with the module in front of you, but isn't much help otherwise. The biggest challenge the riddle poses is that it refers to different sections of the tomb, but it shifts focus from one section to another without any textual clue. Consider:

    Go back to the tormentor or through the arch,
    and the second great hall you'll discover.
    Shun green if you can, but night's good color
    is for those of great valor.


    The first two lines tell you (roughly) how to get to Area 10 -- the second great hall. Then the first half of the third line jumps back to warn about the GGD in the first hall. Then the second half of the third line jumps back to the second hall and talk about the black sphere there.

    So if I'm playing this module, I can't treat the riddle as a series of step-by-step directions. I'm not sure I'd call it gibberish, but the hints are out of order and aggressively vague.

    My guess is that most groups who successfully navigated the Tomb got through more with dumb luck, magic and ten-foot-pole-style dungeoneering than through deciphering riddles and solving puzzles. I'd be curious to know from folks who have actually run the module.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat
    your ability to find the right way forward mostly depends on how your DM handles disbelieving illusions.
    You know, until you said it this way, it never dawned on me with regard to this area in the Tomb.

    I always just assumed that probing the circles would reveal their illusory properties -- that is, a 10' pole would just obviously poke right through. But if the DM rules that until you disbelieve the illusion, you think your pole taps on solid wall . . . whoa. This is a legitimate ruling, supported by some of the rules on illusions. (Some illusions had real effects, even damage, until disbelieved.)

    That can completely change how this area plays out. If the PCs have to make saving throws against the illusions, instead of just poke at them, random chance (saving throw roll) rears its ugly head and muddies up the "puzzle solving."

    Bullgrit

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    The way I've always played, there are two ways that a PC can get a save to disbelieve an illusion.

    First, the player can say, "I disbelieve the [blank]." The PC spends a minute or so squinting and staring at the [blank] and then rolls their save.

    Second, any player that interacts with an illusion gets an automatic save to disbelieve. "Interaction" includes touching, poking, closely examining, etc. etc.

    So, poking the spheres with a stick will get you a saving throw in my game, but it won't automatically find the illusion.

    I haven't crunched the numbers, but given the level of the PC's going through the Tomb, I'd expect most illusions would be discovered if at least two PC's roll saving throws. My gut tells me that the chances of two mid-to-high level PC's both failing saves vs. spell is pretty low.

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    I remember playing in a published adventure back in the day where we had some interaction with an illusion.

    The walls erupted into a fire, forcing us closer to the center of the area. I "knew" the fire had to be an illusion, and wanted to disbelieve. The DM asked how I was doing it, and I stuck my hand into the fire to prove it -- I *knew* it was an illusion. The DM rolled my save behind his screen. My PC couldn't disbelieve away the fire, and took damage. Despite that, I still "knew" the fire had to be an illusion, but I stayed away from it to avoid damage. And no one else in the party bothered with the fire, real or not.

    Literally right around the corner, we encountered a basilisk. Most of our party escaped the area in a panic, but a couple were left behind because, well, basilisk.

    Years later, when I bought and read that module, I discovered: The fire was real. The basilisk was an illusion.

    Bullgrit
    Last edited by Bullgrit; Wednesday, 27th July, 2011 at 01:12 PM.

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