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Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 10:40 AM #671
Gallant (Lvl 3)
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 11:06 AM #672
Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)
Trial and terror
It's trial and error that will take me as a player through the Tomb. The problem for me is the meta aspect of that. To apply the experience from one run where my PC was killed, I have to rely on knowledge that I as a player has gathered, but which really shouldn't be available to my PC.
And if I willfully disregard that meta knowledge, and go into the Tomb expecting to solve it, my PC will in all probability die. That makes the Tomb a module not suited for my tastes.
Still is a classic module, of course.
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 02:46 PM #673
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
Originally Posted by Freakohollik
This is not a matter of some of us wanting ToH to be different than it is, it's a matter of so many ToH fans telling us it is different than it is.
For instance, read this description of ToH:First, TOH is primarily a test of player ability and not of character ability. There is almost no combat in TOH. There are very few saving throws in TOH. There are numerous traps that by pass hit points completely. Until the very final encounter, which seems by intention to be one that the wiser player avoids, what is on your character sheet is almost irrelevant in determining whether you succeed in the module.
Secondly, this amounts to a spoiler of some sort, but Tomb of Horrors is fair. Acererak plays fair. He's so uncannily and unusually fair given his apparant goal (killing adventurers) that it had to be lamp shaded and explained in the game universe in 'Return to the Tomb of Horrors'. He's not using reverse psychology on the players to force them into guessing what's behind door #2. If you must guess whether to go left or right, then success depends largely on luck. Acererak follows a pattern and sticks to it, so that with care you really don't have to guess after you successfully enter the tomb. If success depends on hitting the target AC or making a saving throw or doing enough damage when rolling damage, then success is at least in part luck and even a party which makes the correct choices might still be defeated in the module. Tomb of Horrors is almost entirely singular in being a killer dungeon where this is not true. If you make the right choices, you can 'beat the dungeon' with practically a party of 1st levels. Of course, with 1st level characters you'd practically have to be perfect in your play, to the extent that I think no one could do it without having first read the text, but really to 'beat the dungeon' requires you to make no big mistakes in play anyway and so even 10th level characters only gain the ability to survive minor mistakes.
This is the main reason why Tomb of Horrors has acquired such a reputation. It really is entirely different from everything else. S2 'White Plume Mountain' is a killer dungeon, but its often a killer dungeon in the obvious sense of having very dangerous monsters. The puzzles are still there, but environment is reduced to being only an equal threat and challenge. A first level party even making all the right decisions still has no chance of defeating the module, because so many dangerous monsters stand in the way. By something like S4: 'Caverns of Tsojcanth' its almost entirely the dangerous monsters and the ability to make saving throws and use your characters abilities effectively that determines success. It's not remotely the same sort of dungeon.
So many people think/believe/espouse the above as truth about ToH. But as we've seen in this thread, most of it is completely and demonstrably false.
Now, I'm not calling out the particular poster who said all the above, nor the people who gave the post xp. It is just one of many examples around here, (and from outside ENWorld), but it is a recent and extensive example, and it is from the thread that prompted Stoat to start this particular discussion.
I feel that a lot of posters think that the module should have a solution to all the problems written into the module.
Again, this is not all to say that ToH isn't, or doesn't deserve to be, a legendary classic D&D module. It's just very odd that ToH's biggest fans describe it as something very different than what it actually is. The way the ToH's fans describe it, I would think I'd love it. I'd love to run/play a module with the style and features it is said to have. But when you read/play the actual module as written, it's very disappointing to see that it is not at all like how it is described.
It's like hearing that a particular movie is a deep mystery story, but when you watch it you see it's actually a thriller horror flick. When you complain that it's a horror flick, someone else comes back with, "What did you want? A mystery story?" Well, yeah, that's what I was told it would be.
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 03:37 PM #674
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
here). Nostalgia and misremembering a lot (apparently QUITE a lot) of the details accounts for much of that, as we've learned here, mistaken idea of what the Tomb is. However, in keeping with the post I linked to above, I will say that I still stand by my XP comment to that other post in regards to how the Tomb felt (as far as how I remembered it at the time)- unfortunately that feeling does mesh with the actual analysis and details of the Tomb.
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 04:43 PM #675
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- Join Date
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ø Block Remus Lupin
I wonder if part of the issue is the difference between how it is experienced as a player vs. how it is experienced as a DM. If you're a player, and you've got a decent DM, and you've never actually read the module yourself, you may walk away thinking that the whole thing was "fair," because it was never apparent to you just how arbitrary it all was.
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 07:15 PM #676
Gallant (Lvl 3)
I think the majority of "classic" modules are viewed that way for two reasons. 1) There was a shared continuity at the time. There weren't many published modules available, so pretty much everyone played several of them at some point in time before DMs started scripting their own and 2) many DMs at the time relied more on their own judgement for written modules as many of them had such flaws in their descriptive text.
I'm not putting down today's modules. I enjoy running many of them, as it is just easier, especially with all the new rules. But a relatively simpler game back then resulted in relatively simpler modules which, conversely, required DMs to invest more creative thinking into running them. And I think that creative thinking is what makes the difference.
Tuesday, 10th January, 2012, 09:55 PM #677
Gallant (Lvl 3)
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