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D&D 5E Tomb of horrors first time running it for 5e making some changes for my players looking for some input from the community

Nightbeat84

Explorer
Good day everyone as the tittle suggest, I have ran this adventure as a player once and I will be running this as a DM first time, looking over the module plan to add some combat encounters and change the existing one's because I can and because some of my players are hack and slash so I don't want alienated those players. Was reading Undead Tactics: Demiliches - The Monsters Know What They’re Doing and the lore from the stat block from the MM. Would it be to crazy if the demilich life drained someone or when they pick up the skull and sucked the soul from the player for him to become a proper lich again? Thoughts and suggestions welcomed
 

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I haven't read the 5E version of it yet, but I recall that the majority of the adventure is a thinking player's game. If you buff the combat, you'll either need to lessen the effects of the traps or you'll need to provide options for short/long resting. As for facing the Demi-Lich, your idea fits nicely into the description of the article. Just be ready with the new stats as soon as it feeds on one soul.
 


Nightbeat84

Explorer
I haven't read the 5E version of it yet, but I recall that the majority of the adventure is a thinking player's game. If you buff the combat, you'll either need to lessen the effects of the traps or you'll need to provide options for short/long resting. As for facing the Demi-Lich, your idea fits nicely into the description of the article. Just be ready with the new stats as soon as it feeds on one soul.
From what I have read is that the traps in the 1e version if you failed the save you died in where the 5e version you do not there is still some stuff that will straight up kill you but I think it is lessen in the 5e version vs 1e also sounds like the general consensus is that 5e players are heartier then 1e version as well. Also having short/long rest management great idea thank you
 


Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
5e version is kids play compared to 1e version.

Very true. You can't capture the gestalt of most of 1e in 5e, simply because:
A. Save or die.
B. People were accustomed to dying due to traps.
C. 5e characters are more resilient.
D. The original TOH was designed to kill everyone, dead.

That said, the change of emphasis in TOH from the usual 5e experience can be interesting. Just know that if your players love the combat, they are going to hate this with a passion.
 

Stormonu

Legend
If you're going to add extra combat encounters to the module, I'd suggest they be "puzzle fights" instead of straight up brawls to keep in spirit of the original module. Direct approach to fighting anything lingering in the Tomb should be a Deadly+ encounter unless the characters figure out the "trick" that gives them an edge to lessen the danger. An extra guardian or two sprinkled at entryways here and there should spice things up for those looking for fights.

Overall, I wouldn't suggest making the adventure fight heavy. It's purposely a thinking puzzle adventure and you and your group would be better served with a different adventure if you all are more into the combat side of things.

Besides, the way the tomb is laid out, there would be nothing that would prevent the characters from taking a long rest between each room/encounter, regardless how long you stretch out rests and the PC's likely have spells that make food/water/sleep/travel to town irrelevant.
 


Nightbeat84

Explorer
I'm aware of the hack and slash might hate it but I've asked them if they where interested and did warn them it was combat light and more thinking. They told me they where for it I think having something little different can be interesting and me adding some more combat for those that do want it should help.
Very true. You can't capture the gestalt of most of 1e in 5e, simply because:
A. Save or die.
B. People were accustomed to dying due to traps.
C. 5e characters are more resilient.
D. The original TOH was designed to kill everyone, dead.

That said, the change of emphasis in TOH from the usual 5e experience can be interesting. Just know that if your players love the combat, they are going to hate this with a passion.
 

Nightbeat84

Explorer
I like that idea will have to work on it. My intention is not to be combat heavy more random fights during some of the puzzles maybe to give more tension. More combat medium. Was also thinking locking them in similar to the tomb of the 9 gods in tomb of annihilation which also had a great chart that prevented teleportation outside the tomb that I will steal. Seemed interesting. It made most of those spells teleport to a specific location in the tomb instead or did not work
If you're going to add extra combat encounters to the module, I'd suggest they be "puzzle fights" instead of straight up brawls to keep in spirit of the original module. Direct approach to fighting anything lingering in the Tomb should be a Deadly+ encounter unless the characters figure out the "trick" that gives them an edge to lessen the danger. An extra guardian or two sprinkled at entryways here and there should spice things up for those looking for fights.

Overall, I wouldn't suggest making the adventure fight heavy. It's purposely a thinking puzzle adventure and you and your group would be better served with a different adventure if you all are more into the combat side of things.

Besides, the way the tomb is laid out, there would be nothing that would prevent the characters from taking a long rest between each room/encounter, regardless how long you stretch out rests and the PC's likely have spells that make food/water/sleep/travel to town irrelevant.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I'm aware of the hack and slash might hate it but I've asked them if they where interested and did warn them it was combat light and more thinking. They told me they where for it I think having something little different can be interesting and me adding some more combat for those that do want it should help.

To be honest, I would NOT put in more combat. It's not like TOH is an entire adventure path, so it's not going to be more than a few days (or, in 1e terms, a few minutes .... SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN THE OTHER TUNNEL!).

The entire point of the module is that it is different. That it is all puzzles and traps. @Stormonu addressed this, and I will concur; if you want to up the difficulty, then make the puzzles and traps more "save or die" type. Adding more combats would take away from the experience. IMO.

If you are looking for tips, try purchasing the original pdf version and compare!


Man, I LOVE those old illustrations.
 

Depends on what you want out of it. This is not an adventure for hack n' slash. The preface from the original module said it's a "thinking man's dungeon."
It was an anti-hack 'n slash adventure, Gary's answer to players who thought they'd collected enough magical items and tricks of the trade to plow through anything DMs could shove at them. I've run this in AD&D, 3.5, and 5E, and I don't use conversions. I run it from the original module, which takes very little work. Some things to consider:

Fights are irrelevant. They were supposed to be. You can rest as much as you want, making fights pointless. In the original module, there's only 1 true combat in the entire dungeon (gargoyle). Everything else is avoidable or actually a puzzle/trap. Yes, the original boss is actually a puzzle if you read closely. You can only beat this puzzle by doing X, Y, or Z. A great irony is (spoiler for anyone who wishes to play it):
you don't have to fight the boss. It's so built into us that there's a final boss level to fight that players likely would never consider they could simply ignore the hostiles, grab the loot and leave.

Traps were originally solved by cleverness. Poles, patterns, and quick thinking. Originally, you could think your way through the traps. You didn't get a "Perception" roll set on autopilot. You had to tell the DM exactly what you're doing, and it was all being done originally on a time limit (tournament play). If players know this coming in advance, that they're going to have to puzzle their way through it, it will raise the stakes. And, it puts life and death of the character solely in the decisions of the players. Many of the original traps were "make the right choice or be screwed."

It used to be a badge of pride: I survived. The easier you make the dungeon, the more the legacy of the Tomb is diminished. It can be a meatgrinder, but it's a unique one in that a party of 20th level characters might fail, but a party of 3rd level characters, in theory, could puzzle their way through and succeed. Your combat prowess is supposed to be largely irrelevant. Hence, the "thinking" part.

So again, it depends what you want out of it.
 

Nightbeat84

Explorer
To be honest, I would NOT put in more combat. It's not like TOH is an entire adventure path, so it's not going to be more than a few days (or, in 1e terms, a few minutes .... SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN THE OTHER TUNNEL!).

The entire point of the module is that it is different. That it is all puzzles and traps. @Stormonu addressed this, and I will concur; if you want to up the difficulty, then make the puzzles and traps more "save or die" type. Adding more combats would take away from the experience. IMO.

If you are looking for tips, try purchasing the original pdf version and compare!


Man, I LOVE those old illustrations.
I have purchase the original (green book) pdf and the print on demand. I do agree the art is great. Hmm maybe I should have posted that I want to run TOH but with a different spin? My intention is to run something fun with TOH part not trying to run as is if that makes sense? I will talk to my group and see if they want OG or a spin on it. Really comes down to that really. The encounters arent supper deadly just some spice but yes might look into puzzles that involve combat like @Stormonu suggested
 

Nightbeat84

Explorer
Most of my players are newer like me and i dont think really care about the presidge of it. If I keep in the spirit of it does that really detract from the idea of it? Maybe later on i can run it again as is?
Depends on what you want out of it. This is not an adventure for hack n' slash. The preface from the original module said it's a "thinking man's dungeon."
It was an anti-hack 'n slash adventure, Gary's answer to players who thought they'd collected enough magical items and tricks of the trade to plow through anything DMs could shove at them. I've run this in AD&D, 3.5, and 5E, and I don't use conversions. I run it from the original module, which takes very little work. Some things to consider:

Fights are irrelevant. They were supposed to be. You can rest as much as you want, making fights pointless. In the original module, there's only 1 true combat in the entire dungeon (gargoyle). Everything else is avoidable or actually a puzzle/trap. Yes, the original boss is actually a puzzle if you read closely. You can only beat this puzzle by doing X, Y, or Z. A great irony is (spoiler for anyone who wishes to play it):
you don't have to fight the boss. It's so built into us that there's a final boss level to fight that players likely would never consider they could simply ignore the hostiles, grab the loot and leave.

Traps were originally solved by cleverness. Poles, patterns, and quick thinking. Originally, you could think your way through the traps. You didn't get a "Perception" roll set on autopilot. You had to tell the DM exactly what you're doing, and it was all being done originally on a time limit (tournament play). If players know this coming in advance, that they're going to have to puzzle their way through it, it will raise the stakes. And, it puts life and death of the character solely in the decisions of the players. Many of the original traps were "make the right choice or be screwed."

It used to be a badge of pride: I survived. The easier you make the dungeon, the more the legacy of the Tomb is diminished. It can be a meatgrinder, but it's a unique one in that a party of 20th level characters might fail, but a party of 3rd level characters, in theory, could puzzle their way through and succeed. Your combat prowess is supposed to be largely irrelevant. Hence, the "thinking" part.

So again, it depends what you want out of it.
 

Nightbeat84

Explorer
That's just it was originally design with time limit because of tournament play. We aren't running a tournament this is at home so in that sense adding some combat could perhaps add a timer back in and the tension. Having a great big monster coming at you while trying to open a door and your in a hurry because eit is going to kill you unless you get throught the obstacle it adds tension does it not I've seen it in horror games and mboies/shows?
Depends on what you want out of it. This is not an adventure for hack n' slash. The preface from the original module said it's a "thinking man's dungeon."
It was an anti-hack 'n slash adventure, Gary's answer to players who thought they'd collected enough magical items and tricks of the trade to plow through anything DMs could shove at them. I've run this in AD&D, 3.5, and 5E, and I don't use conversions. I run it from the original module, which takes very little work. Some things to consider:

Fights are irrelevant. They were supposed to be. You can rest as much as you want, making fights pointless. In the original module, there's only 1 true combat in the entire dungeon (gargoyle). Everything else is avoidable or actually a puzzle/trap. Yes, the original boss is actually a puzzle if you read closely. You can only beat this puzzle by doing X, Y, or Z. A great irony is (spoiler for anyone who wishes to play it):
you don't have to fight the boss. It's so built into us that there's a final boss level to fight that players likely would never consider they could simply ignore the hostiles, grab the loot and leave.

Traps were originally solved by cleverness. Poles, patterns, and quick thinking. Originally, you could think your way through the traps. You didn't get a "Perception" roll set on autopilot. You had to tell the DM exactly what you're doing, and it was all being done originally on a time limit (tournament play). If players know this coming in advance, that they're going to have to puzzle their way through it, it will raise the stakes. And, it puts life and death of the character solely in the decisions of the players. Many of the original traps were "make the right choice or be screwed."

It used to be a badge of pride: I survived. The easier you make the dungeon, the more the legacy of the Tomb is diminished. It can be a meatgrinder, but it's a unique one in that a party of 20th level characters might fail, but a party of 3rd level characters, in theory, could puzzle their way through and succeed. Your combat prowess is supposed to be largely irrelevant. Hence, the "thinking" part.

So again, it depends what you want out of it.
 

Nightbeat84

Explorer
D&d as a whole is built on combat and to deny players the use of there abilities that are specific to combat seems a disservice?
To be honest, I would NOT put in more combat. It's not like TOH is an entire adventure path, so it's not going to be more than a few days (or, in 1e terms, a few minutes .... SHOULD HAVE CHOSEN THE OTHER TUNNEL!).

The entire point of the module is that it is different. That it is all puzzles and traps. @Stormonu addressed this, and I will concur; if you want to up the difficulty, then make the puzzles and traps more "save or die" type. Adding more combats would take away from the experience. IMO.

If you are looking for tips, try purchasing the original pdf version and compare!


Man, I LOVE those old illustrations.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
D&d as a whole is built on combat and to deny players the use of there abilities that are specific to combat seems a disservice?

D&D has 3 pillars of play:

Combat, Social Interaction and Exploration.

True, many modules and many campaigns de-emphasize the second 2 but often that's a disservice to the fun of the table.

The whole point of Tomb of Horrors is that combat is not the solution.

Tomb of Horrors is meant to give players a different experience from what they are used to. IMO opinion (seemingly shared by many here) adding combats would take away from that.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
D&d as a whole is built on combat and to deny players the use of there abilities that are specific to combat seems a disservice?

Again, that's not a bug of TOH, that's a feature!

Look, if your instinct when reading it is, "I need to put in more combat," then you should probably run a different module. I'm not saying your preferences are wrong, but that the reason TOH is so well-known is that it took that instinct (if every problem is a bag of XP waiting to be slain, then every solution is my sword!) and turned it on its head.

There are countless APs and modules that have bountiful combat. This is one of the few exceptions (Crystal Cave being another notable one from ye olden days).
 

I'm going to echo the others and say to not put more combat in the tomb. If you must have more combat, have it outside the tomb. A fun way to do that might be good (or at least neutral) guardians trying to keep explorers away from disturbing the tomb and awakening what's inside.

Otherwise, my main advice for the tomb is to get the PDF of the original adventure and print out all the illustrations. They're great and iconic and help draw people in. One of the illustrations of the initial hallway actually contains useful clues, which will help the players get into the idea of the dungeon as well, IMO.
 


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