WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 16
  1. #151
    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    Years later, when I bought and read that module, I discovered: The fire was real. The basilisk was an illusion.
    Are you sure, though? Maybe the module you believe to have bought is just an illusion

    BTW, I really enjoy this thread and I'm quite pleased that so far it confirms my impressions after reading it and my experiences when actually playing the module (as far as we got, that is...).

  2. #152
    I'm also enjoying this thread immensely. It made me realize I don't own a copy of the module anymore... which I will remedy at Gen Con!

    As far as the usefulness of the clues, or patterns therein, I look at it from Acererak's point of view. Imagine how much life sucks for a demi-lich. Trapped in his gem-encrusted skull, sitting around in the dust for most of eternity, his only amusement comes from watching would-be tomb robbers die in increasingly horrible ways. And those who finally find his resting place, slurrrrp goes the soul.

    I think the tomb is set up with near-identical features that have far different effects (e.g., mist-filled arches) because Acererak knew what they did, so had no cause to label them or make them logical to outsiders. That he knew everything's function was enough.

    The purpose is deathtrap, with the nuggets of truth in the clues serving as what Acererak would consider "a sporting chance." But then again, he's evil, probably mad, and craves bloodshed and ruin.

  3. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cutter XXIII View Post
    The purpose is deathtrap, with the nuggets of truth in the clues serving as what Acererak would consider "a sporting chance." But then again, he's evil, probably mad, and craves bloodshed and ruin.
    The impression I get, so far, is that the purpose is a testing ground, with a bit of entertainment thrown in.

    Acererak is a fussy eater, and doesn't want just any old souls filling his gems - he wants the people he consumes to be perfect, by his own unique definition of the term. The Tomb is designed so that only those with the perfect combination of luck, stamina, twisty-minded cunning, and almost insanely dogged determination get to reach the inner sanctum, because those are the qualities he craves most in his soul food diet.

  4. #154
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkB View Post
    The impression I get, so far, is that the purpose is a testing ground, with a bit of entertainment thrown in.

    Acererak is a fussy eater, and doesn't want just any old souls filling his gems - he wants the people he consumes to be perfect, by his own unique definition of the term. The Tomb is designed so that only those with the perfect combination of luck, stamina, twisty-minded cunning, and almost insanely dogged determination get to reach the inner sanctum, because those are the qualities he craves most in his soul food diet.
    Exactly.

    And now I'm sitting here chuckling over the idea that "ACERERAK CRAVES SOUL FOOD!"

    Anyway, great thread. Looking forward to exploring the next area...

  5. #155
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    Area 11. The Three Armed Statue

    Let's backtrack. If you properly activate the Archway from Area 5, you are teleported to Area 11, from which you can make your way to Area 10. Yay non-linear design!

    Area 11 is a small chamber, 10 feet wide by 20 feet long. Those who enter immediately see a broken, 8-foot tall statue depicting a four armed gargoyle. The fourth arm is sitting nearby.

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...HGraphic11.jpg

    According to the module, "no amount of fooling around with the broken arm will enable it to be replaced, and the statue will do nothing at all meanwhile." So ho-hum. But, if you look close you can see that each of the arms still attached to the statue contains a depression just big enough for a large gem. Conveniently, the blue quartz stones available after the real gargoyle in Area 8 is defeated fit perfectly in the depressions.

    What happens if the party puts three gems into the statue's three remaining hands? The hand smush the gems to powder and dump the once-valuable dust onto the floor! [Nelson Munz]Ha, Ha![/Nelson Munz]

    The party has to go through the process until 10 gems are crushed. If you're keeping score at home, that's four activations of the gem-crushing statue. At that point, a helpful magic mouth activates and gives you a clue: "YOUR SACRIFICE WAS NOT IN VAIN. LOOK TO THE FOURTH TO FIND YOUR GAIN."

    An invisible gem of seeing appears in the palm of the broken arm on the floor. You got to find it and wipe away whatever goo it is that makes it invisible before you can use it. Of course if you handle the broken arm carelessly the gem will "roll away." The module also says "Detect invisibility or any other sort of searching except by careful feeling will be useless," but it isn't clear if this applies under all circumstances, or if the gem has "rolled away."

    IMO: WTF? Who on Earth sacrifices watches 3 gems get crushed to powder and thinks, "Let's put three more gems in the crushinator?" And then does it again? And then again? 'Cause that's step one here. Okay, the gargoyle in Area 8 has 10 gems, they fit in the gem-crushing statue's hands, and you have to crush 10 gems to get the treasure here. As far as I can tell, that's the closest thing to a "clue" here.

    And then the gem of seeing is invisible, and likely to "roll away" if you're not careful looking for it. That's just mean.

    Folks who have played/DM'd S1: has anybody ever solved this puzzle? Please share.

    Three other thoughts:

    1. The module doesn't describe the exit to this room. Based on the map, it's a narrow crawlspace.

    2. It's weird to me how some parts of the Tomb have garish, brightly painted walls while other parts (like this room) are left largely undescribed. What do the walls look like here?

    3. I like how non-linear the first third of the module is. There are three separate ways to get from Area 3 to Area 10 -- The Arch, the Tormentor and the hidden passage from Area 7. You don't see that much anymore.

  6. #156
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    The module also says "Detect invisibility or any other sort of searching except by careful feeling will be useless,"
    This kind of "magic can't solve this" shows up a few times in this module. And then there are other times when only magic can solve something. This is a lousy gimmick. Dare I say, lazy design.

    Just what does a gem of seeing do? From the AD&D1 DMG:
    Gem of Seeing: One of these finely cut and polished stones is normally indistinguishable from a jewel of the ordinary sort, although a detect magic will reveal its dweomer. When gazed through, the gem of seeing enables the user to detect all hidden, illusionary, invisible, astral, ethereal, or out of phase things within viewing range. Peering through the crystal is time consuming and tedious. The viewing range of the gem is 30" [30 feet] for a cursory scan if only large, obvious objects are being sought, 10" [10 feet] if small things are to be seen. It requires 1 round [1 minute] to scan a 200' square area in a cursory manner, 2 rounds [2 minutes] to view a 100' square area in a careful way. There is a 5% chance each time the gem is used that the viewer will see an hallucination, see something that is not there, or possibly see through some real thing as if it were an illusion.
    It should also be noted that this gem of seeing in ToH will only work 12 times and then shatter. There is no clue or information for the PCs to learn this.

    Bullgrit
    Last edited by Bullgrit; Monday, 1st August, 2011 at 07:45 AM.

  7. #157
    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    We're less than 10 areas into the Tomb. I just went back and read this thread from the beginning, and I wonder if Stoat's original post/question needs to be repeated:


    I'd like to throw in some quotes that struck me, from that mentioned other thread:
    So, in the spirit of Stoat starting this thread: From what we're seeing so far, (again, we're not 10 areas in, yet), are the above quotes about ToH accurate?

    Bullgrit
    I'd like to answer that by comparison to another competition module published about the same time: C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. C1 also has a reputation as a PC killer.

    I'm running a group through C1 right now.

    Here is the description of a likely deadly trap, area 12A:

    Quote Originally Posted by C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
    This passageway is slime-covered and a stream of water trickles away from the door. There is condensation on the walls, door and ceiling, which drips on the party. A quiet sound of dripping and splashing echoes in the corridor. This door is tightly sealed and appears to be warped outward or wedged shut. The doors hinges are mounted on this side.
    There are several hints here that the room beyond is filled with water, which will wash the party back down the corridor towards a moat, and possible drowning/ loss of items.

    In my opinion, C1, here and elsewhere gives perceptive players the chance to figure out how to avoid danger in a way that the traps in S1 do not - since the descriptions in S1 often are no help to the "logic" of the traps. Hence, the evolution of "flying thief on a rope" or "cattle driving through the dungeon" methods to play S1.

  8. #158
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    Area 12. Trapped False Door

    At several locations throughout the Tomb, there are false doors which hide spear traps. When the door is opened, OMG! A spear shoots out!! The target must make a save versus spells or take 2d8 points of damage.

    Meh. I address Area 12 only out of an insane completionist drive. It isn't even a single "area", just a type of trap scattered around the Tomb. And it's a pretty low-budget trap. Nobody between 10th and 14th level is going to sweat over "save vs. magic or lose 2-16 hits." Nobody. Orcs and goblins put better traps in the Caves of Chaos. At least its unnecessarily magical. If the door is closed and reopened, another spear will appear out of nowhere and fire again!

    There's an illustration that goes with this area, but it's stupid and ugly.

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...HGraphic12.jpg

    The first time the players encounter one of these traps is in Area 10. One trap is behind "an ORANGE sphere held waist high," and one is behind "a PURPLE sphere at feet." Nothing even close to that comes through in the illustration.

    It's marginally interesting that the trap forces a saving throw instead of making an attack roll against AC. I wonder if that's an artifact of the module's age, or because of the "magic" nature of the spear.

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    I would imagine the trap will only [potentially] hit one person, once. Opening future doors will be done from the side, out of line of a spear shot.

    In this second great hall, the PCs may "learn" that illusions conceal safe, real passages that lead to more areas of the Tomb. Physical doors are trapped and lead nowhere. But then, after this second great hall, (with only 2-3 examples of both), the pattern is dropped. No other passages are concealed by these kinds of illusions, and most future physical doors are real and safe. (There are only two other such trapped fake doors anywhere in the Tomb.) So learning this "pattern" in this area serves no use for navigating any other area of the Tomb.

    "Meh" is apropos.

    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    Just what does a gem of seeing do? From the AD&D1 DMG:
    FWIW, in Greyhawk, it's a bit more vague:

    Quote Originally Posted by Gem of Seeing in Greyhawk Supplement 1
    Gem of Seeing: This jewel allows the user to see hidden, invisible, out-of-phase, or astrally projected things. The user may not be moving when it is being used. It requires a full turn to scan a 20' wall section or a space volume of 20' square. Range: 3".
    EGG often provides you as treasure with the means to have more-easily solved the challenge you just faced---sometimes, like this one, it's kind of a "nyah-nyah " and sometimes it allows you to recover better after defeating the encounter (scroll of stone to flesh found after fighting cockatrices in the tourney version of S4, for example). I simply took the difficult nature of finding the invisible gem (which is a nod back to a Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser short story too) to be another instance of this style of treasure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat
    3. I like how non-linear the first third of the module is. There are three separate ways to get from Area 3 to Area 10 -- The Arch, the Tormentor and the hidden passage from Area 7. You don't see that much anymore.
    Very true---and when you factor in the teleporters, the module becomes even further non-linear. The one-way doors, however complicate that a bit, too.
    Last edited by grodog; Thursday, 4th August, 2011 at 04:46 AM.

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