WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 58
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    First take the Tomb of Tutankhamun as your premise. Then imagine how you'd protect it from robbers if it was yours, and ramp up the difficulty all the way up. And then imagine that you are an adventurer trying to discover its secrets. I'd be pretty darn careful too.

    The problem comes with this being a tournament module and there being a time limit, which I think is the reason the whole setup comes across so forced.

    The only reasons for going fast are meta.

    The Tomb has been there for ages and is in no hurry to be penetrated. There aren't any proper in-game reasons why the party would need to go fast.

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    Area 31.

    Area 31 is unnamed. It is also boring.

    If you discover the secret door under the statue in Area 30, you will find yourself in a short hallway that runs due west 20 feet and then takes a right turn to the north. (Area 32 is a secret door to the left/south). The passage eventually leads to a 20 foot wide corridor that runs south to some doors. The doors are Area 31.

    Basically, Area 31 is a set of unnecessarily elaborate one-way doors. You can only open them from the north. In other words, you have to go through Area 30 to be able to open them. Nothing, even a wish, will allow you find find the passage from the south. If you open one of the doors, Acererak uses all of his titanic and godlike power to summon . . . a pit trap.

    The whole thing leads back to the hall that runs from Area 21 to Area 22. Maybe you should go back and talk to that Siren. She seemed nice.

    IMO: zzz I feel asleep zzz. The only marginally interesting thing about Area 31 is that it seems out of order. You have to walk past Area 32 to get there.

    Speaking of which:

    Area 32. Secret Door

    Move the statue back in Area 30. Find the secret door. Follow a short hallway 20 feet to the west and look to your left. You'll see a blank stone wall.

    This wall contains another secret door. A secret door so secret that no magic means of any type will detect it. Super secret. No attempt to force open the door by physical or magical means will work. Secret strength! In fact, the secret door is actually "a stone-sheathed adamantine slab of tremendous thickness." Secret adamant!

    Careful inspection (no magic!) will reveal a tiny, metal-lined keyhole set into the wall. If the FIRST KEY (which is the key you found way back in Area 19) is inserted into the keyhole, the super secret door will slide slowly, ever so slowly, into the floor. Acererak's tomb is just beyond.

    IMO: Acererak's riddle says, "You've left and left and found my Tomb." The secret door is to the left after you leave Area 30. That's a pretty opaque clue, but it is a clue. It also implies that there might be two significant "lefts", but this is the only one I see. Do you see another? Or does this line mean, "once you've left, go left."

    After the secret door opens, the DM text reads, "There can be no real doubt that the end of the adventure -- one way or another -- is near." This is codswollop. There's nothing to indicate to the players that they are getting any closer to the end unless they can tell that the DM is looking at the second-to-last page of the module.

    The last run up to Mr. A's Tomb is dull and safe. Lot's of powerful magic has been deployed to create super-duper one-way doors, a big ole' super ecret door, and a magically appearing pit trap. What's lamer than a magically appearing pit trap?
    Last edited by Stoat; Wednesday, 21st December, 2011 at 01:33 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    What's lamer than a magically appearing pit trap?
    Two magic mouths. The first triggered when some enters the 10 foot area in front of "it". "Beware, pit traps ahead." The second mouth triggers 5 minutes after the first mouth if people are in the area. "Ha ha, made you look."







    I'm so ashamed.

  4. #574
    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    IMO: Acererak's riddle says, "You've left and left and found my Tomb." The secret door is to the left after you leave Area 30. That's a pretty opaque clue, but it is a clue. It also implies that there might be two significant "lefts", but this is the only one I see. Do you see another? Or does this line mean, "once you've left, go left."
    I've only found one left to take here. It is a mistake in the module. Oh well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    Or does this line mean, "once you've left, go left."
    I think this reading makes the most sense.

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    Area 31.
    Basically, Area 31 is a set of unnecessarily elaborate one-way doors. You can only open them from the north. In other words, you have to go through Area 30 to be able to open them. Nothing, even a wish, will allow you find find the passage from the south. If you open one of the doors, Acererak uses all of his titanic and godlike power to summon . . . a pit trap.
    I think this gimmick is a great concept, but it fails disappointingly in execution.

    First off, most parties of the era would probably be mapping their way through the Tomb, so before they step through the one-way doors to the south, they would know those doors just opened on the earlier hallway they had already explored. They probably would just start backtracking before stepping through the trick.

    But say the party does steps through the doors to the south and find themselves unable to backtrack. OK, so they have to go through areas 23 through 30 again.

    I can imagine the Players groaning and slapping their foreheads, crying, "Oh God, we have to go through all that again!?" But wait, no. Sure they have to physically walk back around, but having gone through areas 23 through 30 already, they know what to do and how to avoid the tricks and traps this second time.

    Once they've gone through the false/true door, found the secret passage, opened the adamantite doors, safely navigated the pillared chamber, acquired the scepter and second key, and all that, going back through is completely safe. Even if going through 23--30 the first time was a hellish debacle full of death and embarrassment, the second time through is already solved. They just retrace the safe steps and proper actions, and they get back to where they need to be in just a few minutes.

    So instead of this Area 31 being a sadistic trick, it's actually just a mild annoyance requiring the party to simply walk back through a few areas now knowing all the solutions and safe paths.

    Area 32. Secret Door
    I find this back and forth of magic-is-required and then magic-is-useless to be poor. And then, for the previous door, inserting a key in the key hole was mocked as "foolish," (because it did damage), but here inserting a key is the solution. (Again, my complaint is not with the different solutions, but with the designer mocking the Players for not reading his mind.)

    After the secret door opens, the DM text reads, "There can be no real doubt that the end of the adventure -- one way or another -- is near." This is codswollop. There's nothing to indicate to the players that they are getting any closer to the end unless they can tell that the DM is looking at the second-to-last page of the module.
    I completely agree. There is nothing especially ominous or stirring about this secret door opening. Heck, it's not even the first adamantite door they party has come to. (And they have no way of even knowing that this door is adamantite anyway.)

    Acererak's riddle says, "You've left and left and found my Tomb."
    More example of the horoscope style of the poem. Write something vague that *seems* to mean something, and then let the reader interpret it after the fact to match what they experienced. I still believe that poem is gibberish, and not meant to actually serve as clues -- it's a red herring.

    Bullgrit

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    So, a review of the entire riddle:

    Go back to the tormentor
    Accurate advice. Also quite easy, but only as long as the players receive the description of the painting with the tormentor creature while searching area 3.

    or through the arch,
    Area 5 is the first arch they'll come across, and fits the bill.

    and the second great hall youll discover.
    The arch at area 5 teleports to three locations, only one of which is the hall in question. It's not enough to just 'go through the arch'.

    Shun green if you can,
    Shun green. Gotcha. Green things in the Tomb:
    - The green face in area 6. Lethal.
    - Green sphere held high in area 10. Irrelevant.
    - Pale Green sphere at the feet of a figure in area 10. Irrevelant.
    - The tapestries in area 21. Highly dangerous. The description is easy to miss though when actually in that area. DM dependant in my opinion.
    - The other green face in area 25. Not particularly dangerous on its own, but it does steal your equipment and teleport you.
    - The other face in area 25 is 'tinged with bluish over the green'. Teleports party.
    - When opening the door from area 25 to area 27 there is a sickly green shine. It's the sword room.

    So it is good to avoid green.

    but nights good color
    is for those of great valor.
    This is highly problematic. Different people will interpret this differently and I don't think there is a universal good colour of night. Black, grey, blue, orange, purple, what? Useless tip. Might even be lethal if they think it's black and decide to use the green devil since "We'll be fine if we don't touch the green parts when we jump into its black mouth".

    If shades of red stand for blood the wise
    will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of
    magical metal - youre well along your march.
    Red things in the Tomb:
    - Red tiles in the entry hall. Snakes so that they avoid two pits, and lead over four.
    - Red sphere in area 10. Leads to area 13 and the three dangerous chests. And remember, the first person entering the room gets automatic damage.
    - If the altar in area 14 gains a red color, it is explosive.
    - When the gem in area 25 begins to explode it turns red.
    - In area 29 the door turns red when attacked and bleeds blood when cut. leviation magic used against the blood turns it into a red ochre jelly.

    So which of those is it referring to? Why of course none of them. It is referring to passage to area 15 which requires a magic ring, and which is associated with nothing red. Not unless they mess with the altar. Are they really supposed to fail here to succeed according to the riddle? And even then the colour isn't red, it's blue-red.

    Two pits along the way will be found to lead
    to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall.
    There are two passages inside pits. Pretty straightforward advice.

    These keys and those are most important of all,
    There are keys. Remember to look for keys.

    and beware of trembling hands and what will maul.
    Completely useless advice. There is no way to avoid either the agitated room or the juggernaut based on this line, because you won't know that it refers to them until after you've gone through. Maybe not even then. There are no trembling hands in the Tomb, unless it just means for the characters to be generally careful and not go touching what they don't need to. Which should already be obvious to everyone involved.

    If you find the false you find the true
    and into the columned hall youll come,
    As I already noted earlier, if you follow strictly what is said here, regardless of which order you take the 12/22/23 crossroads, regardless of which one you go into first, it doesn't lead you to the columned hall. Most likely it leads you into the sleep passage.

    and there the throne thats key and keyed.
    Investigate throne. Check.

    The iron men of visage grim do more than
    meets the viewers eye.
    Ooh. Look at the statues.

    Youve left and left and found my Tomb
    and now your soul will die.
    This just says that there's something here, look closer. As Bullgrit said, just backtrack if you missed it. Keep looking.


    So what is my final verdict? It's decent. There are a couple of points which might mislead to something bad ('night's good colour', 'shades of red', and the 'find false you find true'). But mostly following it might help you. 'Avoid the green' helps surprisingly much. But it is really vague, and a lot of this conjecture is from already knowing what the passages are referring to.

    Meh.

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    Crap! I totally missed that the FIRST KEY actually opens a door. Well now my s-blocked note earlier is just stupid. Meh, whatever. I was mostly waiting for a chance to go over the riddle line-by-line but jonesy beat me to it. For the most part I agree with that analysis but I have a few differences of opinion. Essentially, I think the riddle is accurate thru-out the Tomb BUT it's impossible for a player in the dungeon to know that at the time. As Bullgrit mentioned, like a horoscope it's only "accurate" in hindsight. And even then it requires some mangling to get it to REALLY fit the facts. Anyway, on to the bits where I disagree with jonesy's analysis...

    I think all these color references here are about the second great hall with all the "spheres"…
    Shun green if you can,
    …Except, there's nothing green to be shunned here so- if it's referring to the devil face it, A) makes no sense because they've already passed that, and 2)makes even less sense because of what jonesy pointed out- the devil face is both green and black! So this next bit could get everyone annihilated…

    but night’s good color
    is for those of great valor.
    I think night's color here is most likely 'black' and it fits because the one black sphere in the hall happens to be the way out to the chapel. But if you head for it first you miss this…

    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.
    Again, if the colors refer only to this hall, this is a decent clue. There are two 'shades of red' here. The SCARLET one is just paint but the RED red one leads to the 3 chests and a 'loop of magical metal' needed to get passed the chapel.

    Skipping ahead here…
    and beware of trembling hands and what will maul.
    Totally agree with jonesy here- these clues obviously refer to stuff in the Tomb BUT they'll only ever make sense after you're dead! And they're both vague even then! So. clever and ominous- but completely pointless.

    The iron men of visage grim do more than
    meets the viewer’s eye.
    Well, stupid as this is it IS accurate- one of them does more- it covers a secret door.

    You’ve left and left and found my Tomb
    Yeah, this one I completely useless though. There's no combination of two lefts that actually leads to the Tomb's tomb. As I've mentioned earlier, this can easily lead to pointlessly searching the east wall in room 30 since it's the "left" wall when you're first confronted with the "iron men". But if it's meant for AFTER they find the door behind the statue then the Tomb is only ONE left. Or, if you miss the super-secret door to that, then TWO lefts puts you in the hall of one-way doors. So this clue is either wrong, wrong again, or leads to a complete waste of time.


    So- the riddle is somewhat accurate for many things but only from the DM's perspective (or that of fans who will pour over every detail of the Tomb- perhaps on a message board- and still won't be able to agree on what it means. ). But still, it's largely useless to PCs because it does very little to help the party either avoid or find anything. Mostly it's just another time-waster for PCS attempting to divine it's meaning. So in that respect it is perfect- because just like the rest of the Tomb its main role is to amuse the DM while the PCs bumble about trying to "solve" it.

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    We're getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we? There's a lot going on in Area 33 we'll want to talk about.

    Still and all, thanks @jonesy and @FoxWander for your analyses. I think FW is right to remind us that the red sphere in Area 10 eventually leads to the "loop of magical metal." I'm also going to stand up a little for "left and left and found my Tomb." Area 32 is to the left after you leave Area 30. The clue is pretty vague, but it's better than that business about "Trembling hands."

    There's also the "Low and high for gold, to find a tale untold" riddle from Area 8. Back in the summer, Celebrim and Raven Crowking had essentially opposite interpretations of that one. Anybody want to try and parse it out now?

    Finally, and I plan to talk about this after I do Area 33, consider how the riddle gets less and less useful/detailed as it goes along. The first stanza is a pretty good roadmap from Area 3 to the Chapel. The second stanza has some useful clues about the route to the Columned Hall, but omits significant details. The third stanza contains only partial, sketchy clues, and it makes no mention at all of the dangers waiting between the Columned Hall and Area 33.

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    Regarding the "clue" riddle:
    Snakes so that they avoid two pits, and lead over four.
    The riddle itself is very much like the path it is hidden in. The path snakes and twists around, leading you around a couple of traps but right into other traps. This fact should be the first and definitive warning that the riddle cannot be trusted any more than the red path. Before you even get the riddle, it has twisted and snaked you into deadly trouble. Why would following the riddle be any better/wiser than following the path it is in?

    It's like believing the "LOVE" written on the knuckles of the fist that just punched you in the face.

    Bullgrit

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