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WIR S1 Tomb of Horrors [SPOILERS!! SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!!]‏

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Treasure xp is half the normal, (1xp per 2gp value), so without defeating Acererak’s skull, the total xp value of this tomb raid is 152,895 xp. Defeating the skull adds 100,000 xp to the total, for 252,895 xp. So 150K or 250K xp to be split among the surviving characters. (Six surviving characters = 25,483 or 42,149 xp each. For reference: a 12th level fighter needs 250,ooo xp for 13th level; a magic-user needs 375,000 xp.)

Compare all of this to the total gp and xp that can be earned in Hall of the Fire Giant King (the adventure of equivalent level): 1 million gp, 1.6 million xp — 3.5 times more gp, and 10.6 or 6.4 times more xp.
Looking at those numbers it really is baffling why you'd need to halve the xp for the treasure. Maybe it's because it's such an early module, but now it just makes the Tomb look cheapskate. Especially when so few parties ever get the full price.

What about the solid gold couch, adamantite doors, mithril valves and doors and vault?
 
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Gentlegamer

First Post
Something to keep in mind about the xp totals - the module was originally written for OD&D, which had smaller xp requirements to level up past name level than AD&D. It's possible the xp suggestion is a hold over, and may be less stingy than it seems.

Given the difficulty of the dungeon, I personally see no reason to not give full xp per gp recovered, however. I would possibly give double xp, depending on the performance of the players.
 

Bullgrit

First Post
What about the solid gold couch, adamantite doors, mithril valves and doors and vault?
My numbers include the gold couch because the module gives a gp value, (it apparently is intended to be treasure). But I don't include the various Tomb structural pieces, as there is no gp value for them, (they apparently are not intended to be treasure).

To my knowledge, there is no gp value for adamantite or mithril in any AD&D1 book. It would be interesting to calculate the doors' value, though.

Bullgrit
 

FoxWander

First Post
To my knowledge, there is no gp value for adamantite or mithril in any AD&D1 book. It would be interesting to calculate the doors' value, though.

Bullgrit

Well the VALVES OF MITHRAL are easy, they have a cost per pound listed. They're 14' tall x 28' wide x 3' thick so 1,176 cubic feet. 1 cubic foot of steel weighs 490 lbs. Mithral is half the weight of steel, 245 lbs per cu. ft..

1176 x 245 = 288,120 lbs of mithral

288,120 x 500 gp/lb. = 144,060,000 gp! :eek: Holy Schnikes!
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
288,120 x 500 gp/lb. = 144,060,000 gp! :eek: Holy Schnikes!
That would be well worth all of the trouble actually.

But I don't think that's a 1st edition price. Sounds like 3rd to me. I don't think they had specific prices for them back in 1E. Mithral was simply woven into armor to make it +4 and adamantite made +5 armor (and +3 armors were considered meteorite steel, which sounds really odd now).

But if the price is even close to that same ballpark, bazinga.
 

Stoat

Adventurer
Bullgrit calculates a total of 252,895 exp available in the module.

If Mithril is worth only 1 gp a pound, and Foxwander's calculations are correct, the doors would be worth 288,120 exp.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Bullgrit calculates a total of 252,895 exp available in the module.

If Mithril is worth only 1 gp a pound, and Foxwander's calculations are correct, the doors would be worth 288,120 exp.
Good point. We can then safely say that the Tomb is the treasure. :p

Wait, that means that the vault where the final treasure and all the equipment is, is worth more than everything in it and the Tomb.

:eek:
 
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Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Here we are at the final encounter. I thought I would have some brilliant, scathing put-down that would expose the Tomb as arbitrary, cockamamie, and overrated.

But instead, I've got nothing.

I mean, one of the spells you can use to buy yourself a round against the demilich is... forget. What can I possibly say that is more insulting than that?
 

Bullgrit

First Post
Stoat said:
If Mithril is worth only 1 gp a pound, and Foxwander's calculations are correct, the doors would be worth 288,120 exp.
Half the xp for gp. So 144,060 xp. Still...

jonesy said:
Wait, that means that the vault where the final treasure and all the equipment is, is worth more than everything in it and the Tomb.
And it is completely untrapped.

Bullgrit
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
I mean, one of the spells you can use to buy yourself a round against the demilich is... forget. What can I possibly say that is more insulting than that?
Yeah, but how exactly is the mage supposed to use the spell? Acererak strikes instantaneously, and then sinks back down on his own. What's the point where using the spell makes any sense?
 

Bullgrit

First Post
jonesy said:
Yeah, but how exactly is the mage supposed to use the spell? Acererak strikes instantaneously, and then sinks back down on his own. What's the point where using the spell makes any sense?
Well, in fairness, the text does say the skull rises and scans the group for the most powerful individual to drain. I guess the forget spell could be used during that scan.

But I think Joshua Randall was meaning: forget is a 2nd level m-u spell. A 2nd-level spell "will force the skull to sink down without taking away a soul." (No save is mentioned.)

Exorcise is a 4th-level cleric spell that duplicates what forget does.

Shatter, a 2nd-level m-u spell, does 10 hp damage to the skull. (Skull has 50 hp.)

Dispel evil, a 5th-level cleric spell, does only 5 hp damage to the skull.

Bullgrit
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Well, in fairness, the text does say the skull rises and scans the group for the most powerful individual to drain. I guess the forget spell could be used during that scan.
I.. guess. That implies a fair DM. ;)

Let's say one allows forget to be used like that. One mage casting forget and another using shatter at the same time could really humiliate him. You'd probably need to go through every spell with augury to find out about it (but they are at the beginning of the list).
 

Joshua Randall

Adventurer
Yeah, but how exactly is the mage supposed to use the spell?
Exactly.

What's the point where using the spell makes any sense?
It never does. That's my point.

Bullgrit's list is a good illustration of what I was trying to say. The spells that affect A. are completely arbitrary both in selection and in effect.

The claim that Tomb of Horrors is a thinking person's adventure has been completely demolished.

It is an adventure for bomb squad members or QA testers, willing to figure out which arbitrary idea Gary had in mind for how to approach each encounter. A. himself is only the last and most egregious example of that.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
I am simply fascinated by how this thread refuses to go off-topic.

The claim that Tomb of Horrors is a thinking person's adventure has been completely demolished.
Let's not go from one extreme straight to the other. I recall Bullgrit saying the same to me much earlier in the thread. But that was about something else. :blush:

Since this was the first appearance of the demilich (I think) you could call all of its properties arbitrary, regardless of what they would have been. No player of the era would have known anything about it beforehand.

And since this was a tournament module prototype some of the problems can be excused. Excused but not forgotten as the module does need a DM to go through it with a fine tooth comb before presenting it to players.

All of which isn't to deny that it has been an overly hyped module.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
By the way, I have an idea of why the page numbers are reversed on the forum page.

You know how if you place the word 'print' into the topic the thread turns into print form and no-one can reply to it?

I think the ] letter at the end of the title somehow flipped the numbering around. I haven't seen any other threads with that.

I wonder if there are instructions somewhere for what title commands there might be in vBulletin.
 

FoxWander

First Post
That would be well worth all of the trouble actually.

But I don't think that's a 1st edition price. Sounds like 3rd to me. I don't think they had specific prices for them back in 1E. Mithral was simply woven into armor to make it +4 and adamantite made +5 armor (and +3 armors were considered meteorite steel, which sounds really odd now).

But if the price is even close to that same ballpark, bazinga.

D'oh! Yeah, that price is totally 3rd edition. Got rushed to post before leaving for work and wasn't even thinking. But still- even at 1 gp/lb. that would be almost be worth the trouble of straight digging down from the top of the skull hill to retrieve them. And mithral has got to be worth more than 1 gp/lb.
 


Votan

Explorer
So how do you explain the scepter and crown solution?

Bad design on the part of the scepter and crown. Is this an item that can kill deities if you trick them into using it? If so, is it not actually the most valuable thing in the tomb (as opposed to a trap)?

Seriously, this simply kills with no conditions or saves is lazy design and begs for creative uses in all sorts of situations.
 

Hussar

Legend
Votan - to be fair, in AD&D, there are ALL sorts of things like this. You could abuse stuff six ways from Sunday because they hadn't really come to grips yet with legalese rules codification to prevent it.

Heck, how many groups tried to cast "Create Water" inside a target? :D
 

Stoat

Adventurer
So how do you explain the scepter and crown solution?

IMO: The scepter and crown solution is a perfect meeting of good players and good DM'ing. The players are engaged with the game and the setting, and they are ready to think laterally to solve their predicament. The DM is willing to "say yes" and allow an inventive solution to work. It's a great moment.

Of course, if the players are going through the module as part of an ongoing campaign (as opposed to a one-off at a tournament) the trick will get old in a hurry if they keep trying it. Such is life.

The scepter and crown solution was also (IIRC) an on the spot ruling made by Gygax at the request of the referee who was running the module. I'm not sure I would say that the crown and scepter PC's "figured out which arbitrary idea Gary had in mind," but I think it is fair to say that they won by appealing to Gygax's discretion. I also think that Gygax's exercise of discretion was to some extent "arbitrary." He could have reached any number of different rulings if he had cared to.

Which is consistent with the rest of the module. We've seen a number of encounters in the Tomb that could play very differently depending on how the DM handled them -- the timing of the Agitated Chamber, and the precise way the Juggernaut works are the first examples that come to mind.

I hope to sit down and organize my thoughts this weekend, but I'll get a little ahead of myself here. I don't think the Tomb of Horrors gives the players anything like a "walkthrough". I don't think it is possible to get through the Tomb simply by reasoning through Acererak's clues.

On the other hand, I think a group of cautious players can minimize most of the worst risks in the Tomb with a few fairly straightforward tactics. (Most significantly, by sending an expendable scout ahead of the main group.) A group that makes liberal use of magic and rests frequently should be able to make it to Area 33 without a TPK.
 

Presents for Goblins

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