5E Let's Talk About Yawning Portal

I picked it up today at a "preferred retailer" and have done some overall skimming and more careful reading of Tomb of Horrors.

I was surprised to see that not only does the titular inn have no place in any of the adventures, it seems to point to an adventure location (The Underdark) that is not covered in the book at all. I would say maybe it was setup for an Underdark AP but we have one of those already. I don't own Out of the Abyss though: does the Yawning Portal factor into that adventure?

Reading the Tomb of Horrors I feel like it is not especially dangerous for 15th or so level characters in 5E. Even when there is unavoidable damage it seems pretty low and challenges requiring flight or sight seem a literal pedestrian at the suggested level. But I am only 1/3 of the way through the adventure so maybe the difficulty ramps up.

You thoughts on Yawning Portal?
 

pukunui

Adventurer
It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
 
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It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
I have never played in or run a game in FR so I am not sure what the difference between the two is.

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pukunui

Adventurer
Undermountain is a man-made mega-dungeon located beneath Waterdeep. The Underdark is a natural network of caverns and tunnels far below the surface. The are passages that connect Undermountain to the Underdark.

See the second paragraph under "The Yawning Portal" on page 5 of the book for more.
 
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Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
The gold values were definitely reduced for Against the Giants. Here's a comparison:

Maids' Chamber
1st Edition (original):
3,000 gp
three bracelets worth 2,000-8,000 gp each
Total: 9,000 - 27,000 gp

5th Edition:
800 gp
three bracelets worth 1,000 each
Total: 3,800 gp

***

Minor Treasure Room
1st Edition (original):
13,000 cp
27,300 sp
7,140 ep
10,800 cp (in metal)
11,000 gp (in items)
980 gp (in gems)
Total: 18,518 gp

5th Edition:
13,000 cp
9,100 sp
2,400 ep
10,800 cp (in metal)
2,750 gp (in items)
325 gp (in gems)
Total: 5,423 gp

Seems about right for level 11 characters in 5th Edition.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
OK. I was mostly looking at The Sunless Citadel and The Forge of Fury. The treasure values are nearly identical. There are going to be some very wealthy (and possibly overpowered) PCs coming out of those adventures!


EDIT: Nightscale's Hoard (The Forge of Fury):

3e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 dwarven waraxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
large steel +1 shield
potion of cure light wounds
potion of levitation

5e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 greataxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
+1 shield
potion of healing
potion of flying
 
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flametitan

Explorer
It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
From what I've heard from others reading it (my book's still in the mail), it sounds like it's less deadly in that there's more times to notice something's off, roll saves, does damage instead of death, but it also has the damage cranked up enough that it's still easy to lose a character if you're not careful.
 

pukunui

Adventurer
From what I've heard from others reading it (my book's still in the mail), it sounds like it's less deadly in that there's more times to notice something's off, roll saves, does damage instead of death, but it also has the damage cranked up enough that it's still easy to lose a character if you're not careful.
I'll have to look at it more closely. I am still skeptical that many PCs will die, simply because, as I said before, it's so hard for PCs to die (or at least stay dead) in 5e, especially at high levels.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I picked it up today at a "preferred retailer" and have done some overall skimming and more careful reading of Tomb of Horrors.

I was surprised to see that not only does the titular inn have no place in any of the adventures, it seems to point to an adventure location (The Underdark) that is not covered in the book at all. I would say maybe it was setup for an Underdark AP but we have one of those already. I don't own Out of the Abyss though: does the Yawning Portal factor into that adventure?

Reading the Tomb of Horrors I feel like it is not especially dangerous for 15th or so level characters in 5E. Even when there is unavoidable damage it seems pretty low and challenges requiring flight or sight seem a literal pedestrian at the suggested level. But I am only 1/3 of the way through the adventure so maybe the difficulty ramps up.

You thoughts on Yawning Portal?
This doesn't surprise me.

The only thing that can kill high-level 5e characters are encounters way deadlier than the official guidelines suggest, and insta-death traps.

The former is out of the question until WotC admits they don't want to think about what optimization and powergaming does to their precious balance.

The second, however, is there, but perhaps not frequently enough or too easily avoidable.

But my reaction to all the hopes for a really deadly environment was always:

Not until they admit monster and encounter guidelines lead to a severely carebearian game, and massively upgrades high-level monsters from the jokes they are today.

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machineelf

Explorer
I haven't gotten mine yet, but from some of your descriptions of the deadliness (or not) of ToH, that does seem to be disappointing. However, the more I thought about it, the more I am thinking that it might not be all that bad.

For one, it seems psychologically easier to increase damage and challenges of an adventure than it is to nerf an adventure. So that might give us players and DMs more options. What I mean by that is, if someone wants a more playable ToH instead of a pure death-trap, then maybe they have that. And if someone wants the death-trap, it would be easy to take what we have in this book and ramp up the deadliness. Simply make a few of those high-damage traps into insta-death traps, and you're basically there. Easy-peasy.

So now we have more options. Want to include the dungeon in your campaign as something that might be achievable? Just run it as is in the book. Want to make it closer to the original as a super death-trap? Make some of the traps instant-death, and you've got it. So maybe that gives us more options and is a good thing?

Like I said, I haven't read the adventure yet, so these are just off-the-cuff thoughts about what you guys are reporting so far.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
It does feel a bit like they should have used the Yawning Portal as a framing device for an Undermountain campaign (Undermountain is not the same thing as the Underdark, btw.)

Having skimmed through it, my initial reaction is that they don't appear to have adjusted the treasure values much, if at all. The early adventures, at least, look like they are filled to the brim with loot and magic items. Very different to the stingier 5e campaigns that have come before. (My players have noticed a dearth of coinage in CoS, for instance.)

I haven't looked at Tomb of Horrors all that closely, but I have a feeling it won't be as deadly for the simple reason that 5e is not as deadly as the older editions, especially at higher levels. If they've made the traps less damaging as well, then ToH will definitely not be as deadly as it might once have been.
Yes, gold is perhaps the biggest weakness of 5e.

There simply isn't any coherent thought as to how much you should get, and what you can use it for.

In short: the game desperately needs a magic item creation and pricing system that a) assumes little or no downtime, and b) is based on actual utility of the item and it's effects, in complete opposition to this rarity-based nonsense


That this *finally* becomes a complaint that reaches the powers that be at WotC is not a second too soon.

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CapnZapp

Hero
Undermountain is a man-made mega-dungeon located beneath Waterdeep. The Underdark is a natural network of caverns and tunnels far below the surface. The are passages that connect Undermountain to the Underdark.

See the second paragraph under "The Yawning Portal" on page 5 of the book for more.
The Undermountain does not feature in the module.

My advice is to look elsewhere for information. I suggest Google.

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CapnZapp

Hero
OK. I was mostly looking at The Sunless Citadel and The Forge of Fury. The treasure values are nearly identical. There are going to be some very wealthy (and possibly overpowered) PCs coming out of those adventures!


EDIT: Nightscale's Hoard (The Forge of Fury):

3e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 dwarven waraxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
large steel +1 shield
potion of cure light wounds
potion of levitation

5e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 greataxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
+1 shield
potion of healing
potion of flying
Yes, if somebody thought their adventurers would come through all this item-starved (so things like resistance to non-magical weaponry actually have a meaning) will have to be disappointed.

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CapnZapp

Hero
I'll have to look at it more closely. I am still skeptical that many PCs will die, simply because, as I said before, it's so hard for PCs to die (or at least stay dead) in 5e, especially at high levels.
Skeptical is the word.

Compared to previous editions, 5e characters are so resilient, with so very many tricks up their sleeves, including abilities that even deny the DM basic stuff such as making successful rolls against them, that in order to deserve a "deadly" label, you must throw insane numbers and waves of foes against them, or use severely overlevelled foes.

Since WotC haven't yet conceded their encounter guidelines can't challenge seasoned veterans for shots, there was no reason to expect any deadliness out of the module.

With one exception: insta-death traps. If there are enough ways to die with no saves or hit points to cushion your demise, and these cases aren't too trivial to anticipate and avoid, then perhaps just maybe the dungeon can deserve its reputation after all...

But sceptical is the word.

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pukunui

Adventurer
According to Mearls, it's just as deadly, but I remain skeptical ... then again, I've never played Tomb of Horrors myself, so I am probably not the best judge. I have, however, DMed enough 5e games (and played in one that went all the way up to 20th plus epic boons) to know that it's difficult for PCs to die permanently. I'm not necessarily saying this is a bad thing, either. There's a lot more that goes into the crafting of a 5e PC, so it's understandable that players wouldn't want them to die arbitrarily. But it does probably mean that Mearls is not actually correct ...


Capture.JPG
 

thethain

Visitor
There are several places in tomb of horrors that will kill players. Some don't even have saves, a foolhardy character would simply die.

Really though the places are full of loot. White plume mountain has three legendary items that without the others might be considered best weapons in the game. Wave is literally 4 magic items in one. And more!

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JonnyP71

Explorer
According to Mearls, it's just as deadly, but I remain skeptical ...
You are correct to.

I had a quick browse of a copy on Saturday - only a couple of minutes - but it was enough to disappoint me.

[sblock]Example
- 1st collapsing passage - in the original it was 5d10 damage no save
- in the new one, still 5d10, but save for 1/2 damage

...crucially, 5E characters also have more hitpoints than their 1E counterparts, so 5d10 - average 27 - save 13 - barely a scratch... but 27hp damage could easily kill a Mage in 1E of around 10th-12th level.[/sblock]
 
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Onslaught

Explorer
OK. I was mostly looking at The Sunless Citadel and The Forge of Fury. The treasure values are nearly identical. There are going to be some very wealthy (and possibly overpowered) PCs coming out of those adventures!


EDIT: Nightscale's Hoard (The Forge of Fury):

3e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 dwarven waraxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
large steel +1 shield
potion of cure light wounds
potion of levitation

5e version
6,200 sp
1,430 gp
2 garnets (20 gp each)
black pearl (50 gp)
wand of magic missiles
+2 greataxe w/ Durgeddin's mark
+1 shield
potion of healing
potion of flying
I understand that the dragon hoard is valuable, but other tresure spread across the dungeon are also copy-pasted instead of adapted?
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
One of the biggest reasons why the Tomb of Horrors has never been as deadly in any of the 3E, 4E or 5E versions compared to the original is simply due to the change in DMing style with the introduction of skills. Which has been pretty much true for all trap-based encounters.

Back in the day, the prototypical methodology for most DMs would be to recite the boxed text or narrate casually what was list in any particular room, and then the players had to spend all their time narrating exactly what they were doing. Any any narration that didn't specifically mention specific types of traps they were looking for / avoiding, or specific things they were looking at and *how* they were looking at them... basically gave the DM license to just let the PCs blunder into things. "You forgot to tell me what specific measures you took walking down this corridor unlike the last seven, so you fall into this pit." and so on.

But once they introduced skills into the game, it changed how many DMs ran things. No longer was overly-precise (and let's face it, in many cases completely lucky and arbitrary) language expected or needed... now the PCs just would say "I'll make a Search check!" or "I'll make a Perception check!" and DMs have become more conditioned to tell the players outright the kinds of things they notice that are more likely important (either positively or negatively). No longer do they have to spend every 10 feet tapping the ground with poles, or verbalizing "What do I see on the ceiling here?" "What are on these walls?" "Tell me specifically what these frescoes depict." etc. etc.

To really get back to the spirit of playing ToH in the classic sense... every DM needs to fight their more modern impulses and really not tell their players ANYTHING unless they ask. And take everything they say (or don't say) as their word of what they're doing (and only that) and adjudicate results appropriately. And for goodness sake never let the players use "Can I make a Perception check?" or "Can I make an Investigation check?" to get information, rather than actually narrating everything they feel like they need to observe *and* make them actually manipulate / test objects to see what happens (and usually blunder into the traps in the process of trying to figure them out.)

Quite frankly? I don't know if many more modern players would actually enjoy something like ToH if truly run in AD&D style, because it not only doesn't have the DMs give players any hints... but also because so many traps (and their solutions to get around them) are so completely arbitrary that you aren't really "figuring" stuff out, you're just throwing stuff at the wall (usually the lives of dozens of PCs) to see what sticks and works.
 

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