WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    This kind of magic-won't-solve-this-scenario crops up in several classic D&D modules, and it always seems like lazy design, to me. Designing and enforcing one and only one way to solve a challenge is usually considered bad design and poor game mastering.
    To be fair, it IS only the "gate" itself that's anti-magicked- the stone around it is normal. When I ran through the Tomb years ago as part of Return to the Tomb of Horrors, we bypassed the gate by turning the stone around it to mud. We figured out that a magic ring might open it (because of the riddle) but weren't about to sacrifice anything- in fact, we made a point of stripping everything valuable out of the Tomb. (We, by chance, had two portable holes in the party. We pulled the silver and gold of the chests, got the gold couch from later on, and even the adamantine door of the throne room. It's anti-magicked as well, but again, set in normal stone.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultimatecaliber
    I did manage to ask Luke about the Tomb and the poem. .... the poem was as much a trap as it was a clue with all the word plays and homonyms it contained.
    I know this is going back to very early in this thread, but this just came to me: Why should the explorers trust the poem in the path? Following the path leads through some of the pit traps, (while going around others). Stoat mentioned this in his original description.

    Following the path leads the party into traps sometimes, and avoids traps sometimes. From the party's perspective/experience, the path shouldn't be trusted 100%. So why trust the poem hidden in the path?

    The more I think on this, the more convinced I become that the path poem isn't meant to be a "walk through" text. It is intentionally difficult, vague, and misleading. I'm bring this up now, even this late in the thread, because we keep referring back to it as we discuss more tricks and traps through the Tomb. Comparing that path-poem to the tricks and traps throughout the Tomb is sort of like comparing a daily horoscope with our daily events. We'll find things that seem to be related, and we'll overlook/dismiss things that don't relate.

    Bullgrit

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    It might also be worth mentioning that there's a mosaic path in Area 14 that simply leads up to the altar and stops. The altar is a trap, and the path does not contain any hidden clues or riddles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    An interesting thing: there is only a 1 in 6 chance per PC that they can even find the secret door to let them into this room. So unless they sacrificed the 10 gems to the three-armed statue earlier, there is a distinct chance that the party could be stopped before entering this room merely because no one rolled a 1 on d6. But then I don't know of any DM who would be so unfun as to allow the party to not find the secret door and continue the adventure.
    That DM call is gonna come up a lot running ToH.

    I don't think I've noticed before following this thread how many of the transitions from one room to the next require the party to find a secret door.

    By my count there are 12 secret doors the party must find to reach the demi-lich from area 3. That is the vast majority of transitions [there are maybe 15 total].

    Compare that to C1 Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. There is 1 secret door along the main path that must be found in order to progress further [Area 15 to 16]. And it's made pretty easy to find.

    This is obviously an intentional design decision when ToH was written - that searching for secret doors is a fun activity.
    I can verify that players definitely enjoy finding them, at least. I'm not so sure about the searching especially when they are required to progress further.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    The more I think on this, the more convinced I become that the path poem isn't meant to be a "walk through" text. It is intentionally difficult, vague, and misleading. I'm bring this up now, even this late in the thread, because we keep referring back to it as we discuss more tricks and traps through the Tomb. Comparing that path-poem to the tricks and traps throughout the Tomb is sort of like comparing a daily horoscope with our daily events. We'll find things that seem to be related, and we'll overlook/dismiss things that don't relate.

    Bullgrit
    I recently posted that it is much like a prophecy vs. a walkthough. Upon further thought, here is what I think it does functionally:

    • A warning. If the owner of the abode is willing to give you information, bad juju ahead
    • Hope - no matter where you are at, you have something that gives you hope that the Tomb can be defeated. Its just a problem that needs to be solved.
    • Everyone can partake in solving the problem. Regardless of if it is a walkthrough or not, the whole group can try to work through what room they are in and does the poem apply. Basically, people enter the room, absorb the detail and try to relate it to the poem.
    • Prophecy - as many have pointed out, the thing is maddenly obscure. That has a strong attraction to some.
    • Its not a walkthrough, its a Driver. Lets face it, ToH is a big pile of deathtraps that in and of themselves are not all the interesting. A sensible person would just leave well enough alone. But the poem creates momentum to move forward. It gives hints to try something in the more complex rooms ("hmmm, maybe night's good color means...."). It gets people to touch stuff that good gaming sense says to leave well enough alone.


    You strip out the poem, the ToH is just a boring killer dungeon. With the poem, it creates an interesting challenge for some.

    For me, I love the idea of running ToH, but its not all that exciting to me as a player. I fall into the "hack and slasher/action" player that Gygax warned probably would not like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amerigov
    You strip out the poem, the ToH is just a boring killer dungeon. With the poem, it creates an interesting challenge for some.
    I think you have an interesting idea. But the poem is so very hard to find. Why hide it, (requiring 130' of persistent, careful study, over several poison-spike-pit traps), if it is intended to be a integral driver?

    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by shmoo2 View Post
    I don't think I've noticed before following this thread how many of the transitions from one room to the next require the party to find a secret door.

    By my count there are 12 secret doors the party must find to reach the demi-lich from area 3. That is the vast majority of transitions [there are maybe 15 total].
    It's interesting to me that in some cases, like the entrance to Area 14, the module tells the DM what chance the PC's have to find the secret door. In other cases, like the nest of secret doors in Area 9, the module is silent about the issue. Further, as far as I can tell, the relevant portions of the DMG pretty much leave the question up to the DM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    I think you have an interesting idea. But the poem is so very hard to find. Why hide it, (requiring 130' of persistent, careful study, over several poison-spike-pit traps), if it is intended to be a integral driver?

    Bullgrit
    I would separate this into what it does and what it was designed to do. The only time I played it, we found the poem. I do not recall how hard it was to find, but we played the 3.5 rules update - maybe that one is easier.

    It may very well be the accidental brilliance of the module. It could have been thrown in as yet another challenge (as the one poster mentioned from Luke Gygax) that turned out to be brilliant item that ties the whole thing together.

    I do agree that if it was placed there by design to do the things I list out, it does seem like it should be easier to find. On the other hand, after the 3 entrances, the sphere of anhilation, the funky pit trap by the box, and the glowing arch, groups might look long and hard to see if there is any patterns along the hall to find. But the latter is speculation - all groups vary

    So while I think the poem is the key to the ToH having a long-lasting appeal, I would not go so far to say that it was the original intention of the poem.

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    Interesting analysis, amerigoV.

    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    I find this text from the module, interesting:He calls avoiding a pit trap "carelessness" because he placed a secret door in the pit.
    No, he calls ignoring the pit "carelessness." He does not call it careless to avoid the trap. I think there is a significant difference.

    By the time the 3rd door and pit have been reached, they will certainly expect the pit, and will be likely to ignore it. This carelessness will prevent them from examining the pit from within...

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