WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏ - Page 7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    All told, this looks fairly simple to me. I'm guessing that most of the groups I've played with would figure it out. For those who have actually run the module, how did it work for you?
    After coming up the corridor, we were terrified of touching _anything_. I've since decided that this is the main purpose of the entrance corridor. It's really not that deadly for a party with neutralize poison, high hit points, good saves, and lots of spells at its command but it does get you paranoid and conveys the essential message that Acererak means business and its time to get serious.

    I'd found the clue on the floor by way of Chekhov's Gun - "This red path is bound to be a clue of some sort, or the author wouldn't have thought to put it here!" - although paying attention to it cost me a trip into a pit - so we had main clue by that point.

    We also had no intention of going into the Mists or through the Devil's Mouth (which we didn't even touch). Eventually I got brave enough to touch the glowing gems, and hit them in the correct left-to-right sequence on the first try. It was a huge thrill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Celebrim View Post
    After coming up the corridor, we were terrified of touching _anything_. I've since decided that this is the main purpose of the entrance corridor. It's really not that deadly for a party with neutralize poison, high hit points, good saves, and lots of spells at its command but it does get you paranoid and conveys the essential message that Acererak means business and its time to get serious.
    I agree that the main point of the false entrances and the entrance hall is to get the party into a paranoid, "expect trouble from any angle" frame of mind. The traps here are mostly survivable and unlikely to end in a TPK.

    Did your group interact with Area 4?

  4. #64
    Hey, all - would you mind explaining the "solution" to the mist arch?

    I think, Cel, you just sort of blundered into it, but is there any indication that playing a simplified "Simon Says" is the right way rather than just walking through?

    Does touching the gems with a pole work, or does it have to be a hand? A bare hand?

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    As far as I can tell, there is no hint or clue as to how to clear up the mist. The players have to figure out by themselves that they need to poke the colored stones. But there's no penalty for touching the stones in the wrong order. Trial and error should eventually clear out the mist.
    How should the characters know that the mist needs to be cleared before going through the arch? With the mist gone, the area just looks like an alcove, so I could completely understand Players thinking that the mist must be present to do something.

    Heck, how do the characters know they should mess with the stones to activate anything? Maybe touching the stones sets off a trap? Remember all the comments about how the Players should be extremely cautious and paranoid? Following the red path lead to traps. Messing with the box earlier in the hall set off a trap. I guess this is a spot where the diviners have to do their thing.

    A party that finds the riddle has no excuse if they don't at least fool around with the arch.
    *If* they find the riddle.

    those who step through ON the path
    This is something that stood out to me from the first time I read this module: How does the DM determine whether the character walks through the arch on the path or off the path? Does he ask the Player? And wouldnĺt asking that question set off every Playerĺs mental trap detector?

    Since the path is in the center of the arch, would it be natural to walk on the path? But following the path earlier led to traps, sometimes. It also bypassed traps, sometimes. Is this a case of the Players just having to guess what the designer was thinking, and what the DM is smiling about?

    Bullgrit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    This is something that stood out to me from the first time I read this module: How does the DM determine whether the character walks through the arch on the path or off the path? Does he ask the Player? And wouldnĺt asking that question set off every Playerĺs mental trap detector?
    This is an issue that comes up for me anytime I'm playing without a battlemap and there are traps on the floor. Consider the pit traps in Area 3. The hallway is 20 feet wide. Each pit is 10 feet square. Some of the pits are set to the west, and the eastern 10 feet of the hall is safe. Some pits are set to the east, and the western 10 feet of the hall is safe. Some pits are right in the middle, with a 5 foot safety zone on either side.

    I had this problem the first time with I6 (which contains, my all-time favorite hall full of pit traps), and I've never quite figured out how to deal with it.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae View Post
    I think, Cel, you just sort of blundered into it, but is there any indication that playing a simplified "Simon Says" is the right way rather than just walking through?
    Nope, although it seems to be a common inference (since I've seen several groups try it). And once you've decided to start hitting them in a sequence, there's a limited number of sequences to try. The archway clears of mist when you hit the right combination, so it's clear when you've done it right.

    In addition, it doesn't matter. Going through without figuring out the combination isn't ideal, but it still allows you to progress deeper into the tomb.

    Does touching the gems with a pole work, or does it have to be a hand? A bare hand?
    The text just says "pressed", so I would say you can press them however you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    This is something that stood out to me from the first time I read this module: How does the DM determine whether the character walks through the arch on the path or off the path? Does he ask the Player? And wouldnĺt asking that question set off every Playerĺs mental trap detector?
    I've run it three ways:

    (1) I ignore that text and just have the non-misty arch send them to area 11.

    (2) If they don't specify they're stepping through on the path, I randomly determine whether they've done it accidentally or not.

    (3) Using a battlemap, I simply ask them to show me exactly how they walk through on the map. (This does make them paranoid. But I simply make a habit of asking them to do this in the Tomb whether it's actually important or not.)

    With #2, what usually happens is that some people end up in area 11 and some end up back at the entrance. And then people start trying to figure out what each of them did differently. With #3 the same thing happens, but people tend to figure it out quicker.

    In one case, realizing that being on the path was important led people to go back and examine/follow the path in detail, resulting in them finding the poem. On balance, I think #2 is probably the most effective method.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stoat View Post
    This is an issue that comes up for me anytime I'm playing without a battlemap and there are traps on the floor. Consider the pit traps in Area 3. The hallway is 20 feet wide. Each pit is 10 feet square. Some of the pits are set to the west, and the eastern 10 feet of the hall is safe. Some pits are set to the east, and the western 10 feet of the hall is safe. Some pits are right in the middle, with a 5 foot safety zone on either side.
    I highly recommend using a battlemap for the entirety of Tomb of Horrors for exactly this reason: There's way too many points where precise location becomes important.

    More generally, a useful mechanic for this is the old-school method of rolling to see if a trap is triggered. So rather than "the pit always opens", the might only open 1 time in 4.

    The reasons why a trap doesn't trigger can be many, but I've often imagined it being "you missed the trigger". (Think about the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark -- the floor isn't one big pressure plate; it's a bunch of little triggers.) In the case of pit traps like these, it could also be "you unwittingly walked down the safe portion of the hallway".

    Quote Originally Posted by Raven Crowking View Post
    Unless you somehow imagine that Bullgrit doesn't assume that the majority of treasure is found
    I disagree with characterizing it as a strawman, but I do think it's a largely irrelevant distinction. We can argue about the exact percentage of treasure which one is expected to find, but since the vast majority of XP is coming from the treasure it has little impact on the amount of treasure someone has at any given level.

    This is particularly true once you realize that Bullgrit is also assuming that PCs will fight all of the monsters in a module; and that's also non-typical.

    Bullgrit's numbers, for example, show that roughly 75% of the XP available in a published adventures was from treasure. If we set recovery rates at 60% treasure XP and 80% monster XP, the result is that 70% of the XP is coming from treasure. This means that PCs won't advance quite as quickly as they assumed, but the amount of treasure a character has at any given level isn't going to be significantly different than what they're indicating.

    (The ratio of AD&D&D3 advancement is also only marginally affected by this.)

    I would tend to agree with you that parties which succeed in the Tomb are likely to retrieve a higher percentage of the total available treasure than in other adventures. But, on the other hand, what percentage of parties succeed in reaching that Vault?

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    Thanks, BotE!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Patryn of Elvenshae View Post
    Hey, all - would you mind explaining the "solution" to the mist arch?

    I think, Cel, you just sort of blundered into it, but is there any indication that playing a simplified "Simon Says" is the right way rather than just walking through?

    Does touching the gems with a pole work, or does it have to be a hand? A bare hand?
    I think one of the trickier parts of this area is that the text doesn't specify that the stones do anything when you touch them. In other words, touching a stone doesn't make it blink or beep or flicker off or anything else. I can imagine a group poking the stones a few times, not getting any immediate result, and giving up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullgrit View Post
    How should the characters know that the mist needs to be cleared before going through the arch? With the mist gone, the area just looks like an alcove, so I could completely understand Players thinking that the mist must be present to do something.
    It isn't clear that the area looks like an alcove when the mist clears. According to the module, "the vapors disappear, and the path appears to go eastwards." The map shows an alcove, so that's a reasonable interpretation for the DM to use, but as far as I can tell, there isn't any alcove at all. I think it's just a teleporter.

    *If* they find the riddle.
    You can say that again. And again and again. If the players don't find the riddle, they're going to have to fall back on magic and dumb luck to make it through the tomb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beginning of the End
    Bullgrit's numbers, for example, show that roughly 75% of the XP available in a published adventures was from treasure. If we set recovery rates at 60% treasure XP and 80% monster XP, the result is that 70% of the XP is coming from treasure. This means that PCs won't advance quite as quickly as they assumed, but the amount of treasure a character has at any given level isn't going to be significantly different than what they're indicating.
    To humor someone else in that original thread, I figured up what the xp award would be at ô75% efficiency.ö The average result at the end of ToEE was less than one level difference than using 100%.

    I later figured up the xp at 50%, and the results were a little more than a level difference at the end of ToEE, but again less than a level by the end of the Giants, compared to 100%:
    Treasure and Experience in Classic D&D Adventures Total Bullgrit

    Bullgrit
    Last edited by Bullgrit; Sunday, 21st August, 2011 at 05:13 AM.

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