WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 25
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    Something I find interesting about various gimmicks in the Tomb is that for some things/spots, magic doesn't work. In other spots very specific magic must be used. For one way, detection magic doesn't work, for another way, you must use detection magic to move forward.

    Is this supposed to be frustrating, or is there some pattern to the can't/must use magic?

    Bullgrit

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    I haven't forgot about the ToH. I'm on vacation, and I left my copy of S1 at home. (I brought I1, but there isn't much to say about it.). also, I-Pad != easy posting.

    A thought about Area 17. How much help is True Seeing? IIRC, the lvl 14 Pregen cleric can cast it at least 1 x daily.

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    True Seeing should certainly count as 'similar magic', in fact it's practically identical to the gem of seeing. It's what the group I ran thru used. Years back we had an intelligent dagger that could detect secret doors at will (which made the Tomb a LOT easier to navigate).

    Now we've come to the point where things got really interesting when I ran this a few weeks ago. What happens when the group casts Find the Path?

    Time was running out on our game session and we were doing this as just a one-shot game in honor of Gary's b-day. My wife (running the cleric) cast this spell as a way to speed things up and hopefully actually finish. The spell in 1E is essentially identical to the 3.5 version. And I could find nothing in the adventure that would prevent this from working (in fact I couldn't really think of anything that would stop the spell from working period- but that's a subject for another post). This spell makes the Tomb a cake walk. You can bypass everything. The only saving grace for the adventure was that it only tells you what actions to take when you should do them. So it won't "tell" you about the keys until you need to use them at the mithral doors. Then the party will curse when they get zapped using the key they just found there- and then they'll probably have to backtrack to find the real key. They'll eventually have to come all the way back to the laboratory for the First Key. But still, find the path makes this all way to easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat
    I'm on vacation, and I left my copy of S1 at home.
    Vacation!? You're bailing out of the conversation about Tomb of Horrors for a vacation!? Dude, where are your priorities?

    Just kidding. Have a good one. (I'll be off on vacation in two weeks, myself.)

    Quote Originally Posted by FoxWander
    True Seeing should certainly count as 'similar magic', in fact it's practically identical to the gem of seeing.
    Yeah, what he said.

    Bullgrit

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    Where was I?

    Area 18. False Crypt Protected by Fear Gas

    As Bullgrit noted, the PC's are likely to bypass Area 17. It's set in the wall adjacent a down staircase. The stairs lead to a short hall, and then another set of descending stairs.

    The hallway at the bottom of the second staircase is "slightly cloudy." Surely there's nothing suspicious about that! Turns out, there's fear gas down below there. Any PC who doesn't hold his breath has to make a save vs. poison or run off at top speed for 20 to 80 minutes. There's a door down here, but the fear gas makes it hard to find. There is "only 3 in 6 [chance] for any character to notice the south door."

    Beyond the aforementioned south door is Area 18A. The False Crypt, an elaborate hoax.

    The door opens into yet another descending staircase. The stairs are filled with Webs which can only be removed by magical fire. Any character who tries to break through them becomes "hopelessly entangled and can not get free unless magically burned free or wished out." Sucks for them.

    At the very foot of the stairs is a silver-inlaid mace. If anybody picks it up, the mace starts to glow with a bright golden light. Also, there's this:

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/images/To...HGraphic18.jpg

    The PC's have entered a crypt (the module keeps calling it the "pseudo-crypt") filled with rotting and decayed furnishings. Among the furnishings are a jade coffer and an unrotted leather bag. A "lich-like" monster wearing a crown is resting on a sold-gold couch. It starts to get up when the PC's enter, and it is afraid of the silvery mace. A booming voice calls out, "WHO DARES TO DISTURB THE REST OF ACERERAK? IT IS YOUR DEATH YOU HAVE FOUND." The lich attacks!

    Except it's not a lich. It's a special zombie with AC -4 and 32 hit points that attacks once per round for 1d8+2 points of damage. It can also absorb up to 12 levels of spells. It pretends to be casting spells, but really it just pounds on the PC's. If somebody hits the monster with the silver mace, it roars in pain and staggers back.

    After three hits from the mace, the monster crumbles to dust, the mace shatters, and the room starts to collapse. The DM is encouraged to take time and carefully detail the rumbling, trembling and shaking that happens. Only the jade coffer, the leather bag, and the lich's crown are within easy reach. The DM should start counting slowly to 10, just as in Areas 2 and 16, and enjoy the show as the players panic and the PC's run up the stairs. The tunnel collapses behind them.

    It's all an illusion. Nothing has collapsed. Everything is fine. The jade coffer contains six real healing potions. The crown is worth 25,000 g.p. The sack contains a few coins, a scroll of low-level spells and a fake treasure map.

    IMO: At the outset, I've never known a group of PC's who would blithely walk into a "slightly cloudy" dungeon corridor. I would expect them to be prepared for poison gas. If they do fall prey to the gas, the PC's panic and run at top speed for 2-8 turns. As noted above, that's a long time. Where are they going to go?

    The pseudo-crypt with the fake lich sort of presupposes that the PC's will pick up the silver mace, assume that the mace is useful against the fake lich, and use the mace to attack the fake lich. That's a lot to assume. Moreover, the silver mace is sitting at the foot of the stairs that lead down to Area 18a. There's no door between the stairs and the false crypt, and the room is pretty small. The PC's really should see the silver mace, the false crypt and the fake lich all at once. Finally, the whole thing ends with a big Programmed Illusion of a cave in. How long does that last? If the PC's come back in two weeks does it still look like the Tomb has collapsed?

    I'm not impressed with this room, but I'm not sure why. For one thing, it's a particularly poorly written area. The module's stream of consciousness style is very evident here. For another, the module presupposes a lot: that the PC's will take up the mace.; that the PC's will think the fake lich is Acererak; that the PC's will attack the fake lich instead of fleeing or negotiating; that the fake mace will strike the killing blow against the fake lich; that the PC's will fall for the illusory cave-in. It feels overly scripted to me.

    Still, this isn't a death trap. The fake lich is not dangerous, does not cast spells and should be pretty easy to kill. The treasure is OK but no overwhelmingly valuable. Those facts are clues to the players that the module isn't over yet. My guess is that most groups are not fooled by Area 18.
    Last edited by Stoat; Monday, 5th September, 2011 at 04:03 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    The door opens into yet another descending staircase. The stairs are filled with Webs which can only be removed by magical fire. Any character who tries to break through them becomes "hopelessly entangled and can not get free unless magically burned free or wished out." Sucks for them.
    Considering everything else in this area, that seems an oddly specific and hard to handle trap. If the party first tries to use normal fire to break it (which I'd assume would be everyone's natural first reaction after trying to hack at it), how many will think to use magical fire? How many traps do you remember where normal fire is ineffective, but magical fire isn't?

  7. #247
    It's also weird that your options for freeing your trapped friend are "a common 3rd-level spell" or "rewrite reality."

    It smacks of the Evil Overlord list:

    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Overlord List, Cellblock A
    150. I will provide funding and research to develop tactical and strategic weapons covering a full range of needs so my choices are not limited to "hand to hand combat with swords" and "blow up the planet".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae View Post
    It's also weird that your options for freeing your trapped friend are "a common 3rd-level spell" or "rewrite reality."
    The module actually suggests good old first level Burning Hands as a way to get through the webs.

  9. #249
    Quote Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae View Post
    It's also weird that your options for freeing your trapped friend are "a common 3rd-level spell" or "rewrite reality."
    Burning Hands is a 1st level spell, and very common.

    Some DM's might allow Produce Flame or Pyrotechnics (both 2nd level) to be used here as well.

    I just don't understand why the restriction to magical fire is there.
    From an in-character point of view - why are there Webs resistant to normal fire? What's special about them?

    And more important, from a metagame POV how does this add to the fun in any way?

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    Area 18. False Crypt Protected by Fear Gas

    Yeah, this is a strange one.

    Any PC who doesn't hold his breath has to make a save vs. poison or run off at top speed for 20 to 80 minutes.
    Where are they going to run? Its not like they have a clear path anywhere. Its likely a feared PC will simply run back to the bottom of the pit trap and have to stop. And even if the feared PC can get out of the pit and navigate backwards through the Tomb, that means the DM has to split his time and attention between the PCs who stay at area 18 and those who are fleeing. This is just a frustration for a DM and the Players.

    The stairs are filled with Webs which can only be removed by magical fire.
    Another example of requiring magic to move forward. Later well see where using this magic will be restricted or a bad idea.

    At the very foot of the stairs is a silver-inlaid mace. If anybody picks it up, the mace starts to glow with a bright golden light.
    I would think that this would scream trap or trick to anyone whos made it this far into the Tomb. Is it smart to pick up and use the mace, or smart to leave it alone?

    It's a special zombie with AC -4 and 32 hit points that attacks once per round for 1d8+2 points of damage.
    After three hits from the mace, the monster crumbles to dust, the mace shatters, and the room starts to collapse.
    The lich only has 32 hit points. It wont last three rounds even without the mace.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
    Between strikes the zombie will gesture magically with its hands as if readying a spell.
    So it gestures like casting a spell, but then swats at you, it gestures, then swats at you? This whole fight will be short and pathetic. Does the room collapse illusion happen if the lich is killed without the mace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
    If the party runs out, ask them if they thought it was too hard a dungeon.
    Oh wow, look at the smug attitude. I wonder how the designer would feel if the Players quickly figured out the whole thing was a programmed illusion and they told the DM they thought it was too insipid a dungeon?

    Only the jade coffer, the leather bag, and the lich's crown are within easy reach.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tomb of Horrors
    and a fine leather bag (a give-away it isnt rotten)
    What exactly is being given away here? What is it about the presence of a non-rotten leather bag that gives a clue to anything? It isnt a trap or trick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat
    the module presupposes a lot: that the PC's will take up the mace.; that the PC's will think the fake lich is Acererak; that the PC's will attack the fake lich instead of fleeing or negotiating; that the fake mace will strike the killing blow against the fake lich; that the PC's will fall for the illusory cave-in. It feels overly scripted to me.
    I agree. This is one of the weakest areas of the Tomb, which is weird because its supposed to be a climactic moment a moment that should seem like the end of the Tomb adventure. I cant imagine any experienced Players falling for this whole thing.

    Bullgrit

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