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

Bullgrit

First Post
Hussar said:
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.
Yes, we have to give at least a little slack in our critique of things like this. We have to remember that when Gygax wrote this, (and other things of the very early era), he may have had a relatively very large game group for play testing, but even a few dozen players under one DM doesn't give the vast array of ideas that thousands and thousands of players under hundreds and hundreds of DMs give.

Just because the Players in one group don't abuse or break something doesn't mean that others won't try. And a designer, especially in the beginning stage of the game, can be forgiven for not thinking of every possible abuse someone else could think of.

Sure, Gygax's group may not have thought to put effort into something like looting the adamantite and mithril doors from the Tomb; they may have all agreed, (probably passively and unspokenly), that PCs don't deconstruct the dungeons. Heck, I could even imagine Gygax making the excavation work extremely difficult and dangerous just to discourage those who did think of and try it. That was his style, (judging from what I've read of his style). "You didn't have the proper amount of support for the scaffolding around the adamantite door, so it falls, crushing the fighter. No save. He's dead." He admitted in several articles that he made rulings like that to punish tricksy Players. It was his style for keeping control of abuse.

When I critique the Tomb of Horrors, I try not to judge it by how devious Players could twist and undermine things in ways the designer didn't expect. I try to judge it on things the designer intentionally designed and planned.

For instance, the scepter and crown and the wishing gem are things that, yes, could be crazy powerful when taken outside the Tomb by Players/PCs. But I think it's apparent that the designer didn't intend or consider that when making this module. Taking non-treasure things out of the Tomb weren't part of the plan, and so the designer shouldn't be too derided for that oversight.

But, for me, it's the designer's intent within the framework of the Tomb that bothers me. The various arbitrary things stick in my craw.

In one area, detection spells don't work at all. But the Players/PCs have no way of knowing they don't work there. They cast detect X and get no pings. Does that mean there's no X? Or did the spell just not work at all? Then in another area, detection spells work, but they give false positives. Then in another area, detection spells are required as the only method of finding/discovering something.

And then you have situations where you must cast specific spells in ways that don't intuitively/thematically/logically fit the spell. Like using remove curse to unlock a door. Can you fault a Player for not making the mental connection that a lock could be a curse? Or the spells useful against the demi-lich's skull. Disintegrate is useless, but shatter does 10 hp damage? A thief using magical sling stones does nothing, but a thief using very expensive gems found in the demi-lich's treasure pile is effective?

It's these things that Gygax intentionally designed into the Tomb that make the adventure faulty, to me. Requiring the Players/PCs to search everything in one area so they can move forward, but then punishing the Players/PCs for searching in the next area is a fault.

Rewarding blind leaps in one area, but punishing such in another is a fault.

Preventing certain actions in one area, but requiring them in another area is a fault.

Now, I have to admit, that my calling these things "faults" comes from angle of the premise that all the hype about the Tomb is accurate. The hyped premise that the Tomb is fair and gives clues and is logical. That premise is how I like my "thinking person's" adventures.

But, to be honest, I don't think that Gygax intended the Tomb to be fair and logical. I think he intended it to be a pure madhouse of aggravation with harm and death. I mean, he designs many areas with a spectacle of dungeon dressing and designs and colors, all screaming out to be considered for/as clues. But in the end, nothing there is actually a clue or hint.

It's like being handed a kaleidoscope and mistaking it for, (and trying to use it as), a telescope. Or being handed Rorschach cards and mistaking them for, (and trying to use them as), clue notes.

Presuming that the Tomb is designed, (by Acererak), as a logical and "fair" challenge is the first mistake of the Players/PCs. Trying to use any of the presented information as logical and "fair" clues is the second mistake of the Players/PCs. [Going to and into the Tomb at all is Mistake Zero.]

Tomb of Horrors is to standard D&D what Paranoia is to standard RPGs.

Bullgrit
 
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jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Heck, how many groups tried to cast "Create Water" inside a target? :D
Quite many, I'm thinking. And that's one of those situations that requires a DM who's on top of his game, because the 1E DMG is full of little tidbits of information that the players aren't privy to. Like this one:

Create Water: It is not possible to create water within living material, i.e.
it is not possible to cast the spell upon a creature and create liquid in any
part of its body.
 

FoxWander

First Post
Presuming that the Tomb is designed, (by Acererak), as a logical and "fair" challenge is the first mistake of the Players/PCs. Trying to use any of the presented information as logical and "fair" clues is the second mistake of the Players/PCs. [Going to and into the Tomb at all is Mistake Zero.]

Tomb of Horrors is to standard D&D what Paranoia is to standard RPGs.

Bullgrit

Yes, I think this is an excellent summation of what we've proven in this thread. The Tomb is only a "thinking person's dungeon" in that it is not merely a chain of combats set in a dungeon. So the absence of combat means one must "think" their way through it- even if there is no rhyme or reason to solving some of it's traps and tricks.

Remember also, the Tomb was designed primarily as a way for Gary to foil his best players...
Gary Gygax said:
There were several very expert players in my campaign, and this was meant as yet another challenge to their skill—and the persistence of their theretofore-invincible characters. Specifically, I had in mind foiling Rob Kuntz's PC, Robilar, and Ernie Gygax's PC, Tenser.
Since it was literally meant as DM vs. PC, fair and logical were, I think, the last things Gary was thinking of.
 

MarkB

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

I once managed to make the incredibly-hard percentile roll to give one of my characters a psionic power (something like a 4% chance IIRC), and he got the power to transmute small quantities of metal.

The one use I remember putting it to was to get past a really tough hobgoblin warrior. I transmuted his gold ear-rings and necklaces to mercury, and managed to convince the DM that this would cause him to die of mercury poisoning pretty much instantly.

We were about 14 at the time.
 

Bullgrit

First Post
FoxWander said:
Remember also, the Tomb was designed primarily as a way for Gary to foil his best players...

Gary Gygax said:
There were several very expert players in my campaign, and this was meant as yet another challenge to their skill—and the persistence of their theretofore-invincible characters. Specifically, I had in mind foiling Rob Kuntz's PC, Robilar, and Ernie Gygax's PC, Tenser.

Since it was literally meant as DM vs. PC, fair and logical were, I think, the last things Gary was thinking of.
I can't give you xp again, but you deserve some for posting that relevant quote. Thanks.

Bullgrit
 


shmoo2

First Post
I am simply fascinated by how this thread refuses to go off-topic.

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

I'd think that’s the general consensus of those who’ve continued to comment in this thread – Tomb of Horrors is overrated and doesn't really reward thinking so much as bomb squad tactics. Most of the dissenters who were participating earlier have stopped joining in the discussion.

So how do those who feel S1 is overrated account for its legendary status?

1) The name: “Tomb of Horrors” is a name, really, for the adventure product, not an in-character name for the locale (such as, say, White Plume Mountain or Ghost Tower of Inverness). But as such, it is a challenge to players, right on the cover.

It’s a badge of honor for DM’s to run the Tomb of Horrors, and a special merit for players to get through it - There are “I survived the Tomb of Horrors” bumper stickers, but none say “I survived Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth”. I think the adventure wouldn’t have quite the reputation it does if it had been named Tomb of Acererak.

2) The forward: Gygax’s forward to ToH serves the same purpose – it builds up S1 as the ultimate challenge for the best players, and declares that only those who are smart enough will beat it.

3) Linearity: Earlier in the thread we remarked on the linearity of the dungeon. This has helped make the Tomb a communal experience. Everyone who’s played or DMed in S1 has gone through the Great Hall, puzzled over the Great Green Devil and the Arch of Mist, and then proceeded through the Hall of Spheres, Chapel, Laboratory, Agitated Chamber, Pillared Throne Room, False Treasure Room, and Crypt. In that order.

Unlike a discussion of playing Ravenloft, or Keep on the Borderlands, or Isle of Dread where play experiences can vary so much from group to group, everyone gets the full Tomb of Horrors experience.

4) The art: The included art booklet with illustrations to show what the PCs see room-by-room makes to module. I can’t imagine trying to run the adventure without it. A lot of the illustrations are really evocative – especially the Great Hall, GGD, the Chapel, and exploding gem. They make one feel one is exploring an ancient tomb, and often help make sense of the dense text descriptions.

5) Great encounters: Some of the rooms in the Tomb are really terrific, even if they don’t actually test players ability to think. The Great Hall especially, which everyone (even those who TPK there) encounters in just terrific fun to explore. The pictures for this area have so many details. There is so much going on with the red path, and the pit traps, Area 4, and the Arch of Mist and the Great Green Devil face. The chapel and the pillared throne room are similar (though not as good).
 
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Bullgrit

First Post
Good points, [MENTION=6847]shmoo2[/MENTION].
shmoo2 said:
So how do those who feel S1 is overrated account for its legendary status?
In the late 70s and early 80s Tomb of Horrors was just another D&D module, with no hype or reputation. I bought it off the shelf at my local book store about the same time I got Against the Giants, Secret of Saltmarsh, Dwellers of the Forbidden City, and Slavepits of the Undercity, and other classic modules.

ToH was different than the standard D&D adventure, but it wasn’t different! Expedition to Barrier Peaks was different, too. So was Assassin’s Knot, and Land Beyond the Magic Mirror, and Beyond the Crystal Cave, and others – each an AD&D module from the classic era. Being a trap-filled linear dungeon made ToH outside the ordinary standard for D&D adventures of the time, so it’s rather ironic that in these later years it has been held up as sort of the ultimate example of “old school” D&D. It was an outlier, by intention and self admittance; it is not a standard example of classic D&D play. (The standard is more like those examples given in the previous paragraph.)

I think ToH started getting its hype and reputation as a backlash against what some consider the “new school” style of play. Some consider deep immersive role playing, thespianism, and storytelling to be a terrible bastardization of what D&D should be. Some hold up the Dragonlance series as the epitome* of this “new school” play style. So if that direction is ultimate bad, the exact and extreme opposite direction must be ultimate good, right? What’s the extreme opposite direction? Tomb of Horrors.

* I also believe Dragonlance has gained a reputation as ultimate new school that it doesn’t really live up to when you actually read the original modules.

So, even though most D&D players in the classic era didn’t actually play D&D regularly in the play style of ToH, the Tomb started getting this attention and hype as the ultimate example of the golden age and old school of D&D. With that hype came exaggerations and wishes for it to be the grand thing. It came to represent classic D&D to some people, even though it was not a standard example of classic D&D even in its original days. And if something is the ultimate representation for an era, it can’t have flaws or else it reflects badly on its era. It must GLOW!

And since most people haven’t read ToH, personally, the hype was believed. I have read it, a few times even before this thread, so I was very knowledgeable of what’s actually in the ToH. And every time I read some of the hype about it, it stunned me. “Where are they getting these claims?” I thought.

Unfortunately, as a side effect of the hype making ToH = old school D&D : old school D&D = ToH, some folks think that saying ToH isn’t the ultimate greatness means that classic D&D wasn’t ultimate greatness. But that connection is mythical. Standard, regular, common classic D&D was not like ToH. ToH was by intention and design outside the norm for classic D&D. It wasn't designed to represent its era; it didn't have to glow.

Now, whether someone likes ToH or not has more to do with their personal play style preferences than what standard classic D&D was like. In the big picture of classic D&D, Tomb of Horrors is just another example of the varied styles of classic D&D. The hype around ToH does a disservice to it specifically and to classic D&D in general.

Bullgrit
 

Stoat

Adventurer
I offered my opinion regarding the module's popularity a few weeks ago:

As for the module's popularity, I think there are several reasons for it. For one thing, the Tomb of Horrors is old. It was written in 1975 and first published in 1978. In other words, it's older than AD&D. It was there at the beginning, and that fact alone is going to give some cachet.

Moreover, and more important, the Tomb is different from the vast majority of published adventures. It is extremely light on combat. So far, the only unavoidable fight we've seen is the grey ocher jelly in Area 19. As far as I know, it is the only classic module based around tricks and puzzles instead of monster encounters. It sticks out, and people remember it for that reason.

Further, the encounters we've looked at so far are memorable. We can argue about whether the Great Green Devil or the gender-bending Chapel or the Agitated Chamber are fair, but I think we can all agree that they stick in the mind. The encounters are original and weird. They present unusual challenges, and failing to meet those challenges results not just in death, but in strange and gruesome outcomes. PC's might be disintegrated, they might wind up naked back where they started, they might have their gender reversed, they might get turned into slime. You don't forget something like that. You talk about it for years after it happens.

Finally, Gygax talked a big game about the Tomb. Check out a few quotes from Wikipedia: "There were several very expert players in my campaign, and this was meant as yet another challenge to their skill—and the persistence of their theretofore-invincible characters. Specifically, I had in mind foiling Rob Kuntz's PC, Robilar, and Ernie Gygax's PC, Tenser." Gygax wanted to be "ready for those fans [players] who boasted of having mighty PCs able to best any challenge offered by the AD&D game." When Gary Gygax says that he wrote a module to test the most expert players with the mightiest PC's, he's going to get attention.
 

Hussar

Legend
In all honesty, I think the high points have been hit here. The art thing certainly makes it stick out in my mind. It was the first module that I saw that came with it's own art book. And (mostly) very cool art as well.

And, let's be honest, despite all the criticisms (and quite valid ones IMO), this is a fun module. It's similar to something like Barrier Peaks or Land Beyond the Magic Mirror in that it's completely nonsensical. It's popular for the same reason that something like Time Bandits or Army of Darkness is popular - cult following. Army of Darkness is a bad movie. But, I still love the heck out of it.

ToH, really, isn't a very good module. But, I still love it to pieces.
 

A

amerigoV

Guest
I will add to the great analysis above by emphasizing a couple of things:

1. The name and the nature of the module changes both play and expectations of the experience. If you ask people what D&D means to them, many will 1/2 joke 1/2 serious answer "kill monsters and take their stuff." That just does not happen here, and its reputation reinforces it. The module sets that tone by having the 3 "entrances" all being traps (with one of them continuing on the way if you do it right).

This reinforces what other have said - its a different experience. But tied to it is a different expectation of experience, which leads to different approach to play. When I played the 3.x version a couple of years ago, my approach and expectations of the experience were 180 degrees opposite of my normal D&D experience -- and that added to the fun.

2. The poem is key. I posted long ago in this thread that it serves many purposes. It provides hope that the Tomb can be beaten (it may be false hope). It gets players to have their PCs touch stuff they rightly would not do so after the first room or two. It drives PCs/Players to move forward. It also allows everyone to participate, as everyone can provide their interpretation. It also provides the "see, I told ya!" that every player loves to say when their interpretation of something is right (even if it is dumb luck).

I am not sure how conscious Gygax was of what the poem serves in this type of situation, but its clear that he recognized its value. Necropolis by Gygax is the grandchild of ToH. In there, you guessed it, is an obscure riddle/warning to a tomb.

3. The artwork is huge, IMO. That graphic of entrance hall just screams "this is different. Pay attention!"

4. I just like that none of my friends will play it, even as a one-shot. Its rep may be overblown, or it may be spot on as a killer dungeon. But the fact that some refuse to play it based on reputation alone gives the module staying power.

(And I must be right since this is my 666th post on EnWorld....)
 
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jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
1. The name and the nature of the module changes both play and expectations of the experience. If you ask people what D&D means to them, many will 1/2 joke 1/2 serious answer "kill monsters and take their stuff." That just does not happen here, and its reputation reinforces it.
Now I know what the motto for the Tomb should be:

"Get killed by the dungeon and have your stuff taken away."
 

Bullgrit

First Post
As everyone here has explained, Tomb of Horrors has plenty of legitimate reasons to be legendary in the D&D culture. What really surprises and confuses me is why do so many people hype it as something it is not?

The whole it's the ultimate old school adventure, it's fair and logical with clues, it will be successfully navigated by smart and wise Players/PCs paying attention and thinking and figuring out the clues -- these things it is demonstrably not. So why present it as such?

The last several posts above this one give plenty of good points for its glory, but when ToH is brought up in other discussions, those points are not given. It's like trying to sell a world-class Baja racer dune buggy as a high-priced luxury sedan.

Bullgrit
 

FoxWander

First Post
As everyone here has explained, Tomb of Horrors has plenty of legitimate reasons to be legendary in the D&D culture. What really surprises and confuses me is why do so many people hype it as something it is not?

The whole it's the ultimate old school adventure, it's fair and logical with clues, it will be successfully navigated by smart and wise Players/PCs paying attention and thinking and figuring out the clues -- these things it is demonstrably not. So why present it as such?

The last several posts above this one give plenty of good points for its glory, but when ToH is brought up in other discussions, those points are not given. It's like trying to sell a world-class Baja racer dune buggy as a high-priced luxury sedan.

Bullgrit

I think the dichotomy in the Tomb's reputation comes from equal parts nostalgia and ignorance. Older gamers played the Tomb 'way back when' and they only half remember all the details. What they do recall is rose-colored by all the wonder of their early days of gaming. All of it is bigger and better (and deadlier) than it actually was. Even analyzing the Tomb as we've done here won't change that large-than-life feeling they have of what the Tomb was. (Keep in mind, I consider myself one of the "they" here.)

And then there's the part where most gamers have only really skimmed when reading thru the module. As we've mentioned more than once, the Tomb's dense text and stream-of-consciousness presentation make it a challenge to really 'get' everything that's going on. I've certainly been surprised by a few things that I'd have sworn worked differently because of this thread. Combine these two things and you get the overall opinion of the Tomb that most people seem to have that, as we've found, differs from the reality.

--------

As for my thoughts on what makes the Tomb great. I'll throw out one more that hasn't been covered in all the excellent points above. For all it's faults and craziness, the Tomb is one of D&D's few examples of a "realistic", true dungeon. It's a deathtrap, pure and simple. It has no monsters because how would they survive in such a place? It makes no illogical provisions for survival because why should a deathtrap be survivable? It's a place designed by a crazy and powerful person to protect something valuable. It's rooms and themes fit the whims of it's creator (Acererack or Gary, take your pick). It's as eccentric as the person who would make such a thing would have to be so it requires no suspension of disbelief to justify it's existence.

Too often published dungeons have logical holes which put them at odds with even a fantastical "reality." Why does the dragon live in a cave with no entrances large enough for it to use? Why is this orc guarding a random collection of powerful items rather than using them to fight? What exactly do all of these monsters eat? Where do they sleep? Or go to the bathroom? Why do they even live in a place filled with pits and deadly traps to begin with? If the PCs can barely survive just walking around there how do the monsters manage?

The Tomb of Horrors has none of these faults. Random, illogical tricks and traps- sure. Radically changing expectations of what works from one room to the next- why not. Arbitrary, unavoidable death- of course! A decent representation of what an actual dungeon in a fantasy setting might actually be like- definitely! And to me, that's a big part of the Tomb's staying power.:)
 
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Stoat

Adventurer
Several folks have already broken down Acererak's riddle. I'm going to break down the Tomb. The following is the quickest, safest walkthrough for the Tomb of Horrors:

First, locate the true entrance to the Tomb. Avoid the two false entrances. All three entrances are hidden behind loose earth on the north side of the burial mound. You'll need to dig to find any of them. The true entrance is between the two false entrances, roughly in the center of the hillside.

The true entrance leads to Area 3, a long, wide corridor. Follow the corridor to the south. There are 5 pit traps in the hallway, but it is possible to avoid crossing them. Note that the red path in Area 3 crosses 3 of the 5 pit traps. Ignore Area 4; it is a pit trap.

Study the red path if you want to learn Acererak's riddle. The clues it provides are in brackets below.

Ignore Area 6, the Face of the Great Green Devil [Shun green if you can,]. It is a lethal trap.

Approach Area 5, the Arch of Mist [Go back to the tormentor or through the arch]. Poke the glowing stones around the edge of Area 5 in the correct order -- Yellow, Blue, Orange. When the mist clears, walk through the arch while standing on the red path. Failure to follow the proper procedure is not immediately lethal, but teleports you either to Area 7 or Area 3.

Arrive in the Area 10, the Great Hall of Spheres [and the second great hall you'll discover]. Ignore Area 10a, the misty arch at the end of the hall, it is a (non-lethal but sucky) trap.

Follow the crawl space behind the Red Sphere. Follow it to the secret door and continue to Area 13, the Chamber of Three Chests. The PC taking point will automaticall fall and take 1d6 points of damage. Inside Area 13, open the Silver Chest. Be aware that it contains a non-lethal dart trap. Take the Ring of Protection+1 and return to Area 10 [If shades of red stand for blood the wise will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of magical metal]. Ignore the other two chests. They are trapped and start dangerous combats.

Back in Area 10, follow the crawlspace behind the Black Sphere [night's good color is for those of great valor.] Find the secret door. You have a 1 in 6 chance. If you cannot find the secret door yourself, you need to get the Gem of Seeing from Area 11. That gem is the only magical way to find the secret door.

Assuming you found the secret door, enter Area 14, the Chapel of Evil. Take the treasure from the first three rows of pews. Do not open the row of pews closest to the altar, it is a non-lethal, strength draining trap. Do not touch the Opalescent Blue Altar, it is a damage dealing trap. Do not enter the Archway of Glowing Orange, it is a gender bending, alignment swappig trap. Carefully inspect the southeast corner of the Chapel. You have a 4 in 6 chance of finding the way forward.

The way forward is Area 15, the Stone Gate. Stick the Ring of Protection+1 from Area 13 into the slot [sacrifice aught but a loop of magical metal -- you're well along your march.] A secret door will open. Follow the hallway beyond down the stairs and to the west. You'll find a door with a pit trap behind it; a second door with a pit trap behind it; and a third door with a pit trap behind it. There's a secret door at the bottom of the third pit trap [Two pits along the way will be found to lead to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall].

Open the secret door in the third pit trap. Another secret door is immediately on your left, to the east -- Area 17, the Magical Secret Door. Area 17 can only be found by using a Gem of Seeing, "a similar spell" (presumably True Seeing), or Detect Magic. It can only be opened by casting Disepl Magic or Remove Curse. Find and open it.

Follow the hallway behind Area 17 to Area 19, the Laboratory and Mummy Preparation Room. There are three stone vats in the room. Ignore the first. The middle vat contains half a golden key submerged in deadly acid. Drain the acid out of the vat, or find a way to safely fish out the half-key. The last vat contains the other half of the golden key and a deadly slime. Fight the slime, and recover the second half of the key. This combat is mandatory. Join the two halves together, and you have the FIRST KEY [These keys and those are most important of all].

Beyond Area 19 is Area 20, the Huge Pit Filled With 200 Spikes. If you try walking across Area 20, you'll take some damage. Cast Fly, Levitate, Teleport, Dimension Door, Jump, Spider Climb or just use a rope to get across.

There's a secret door to the north 60 feet past Area 20. Open it to find Area 21, the Agitated Chamber [beware of trembling hands]. Area 21 is the most dangerous room you have to enter in the Tomb. The floor shakes randomly, and the tapestries will turn to green slime if you damage them. The best way through is to say off the floor. Fly to the northwest corner of the room, carefully move aside the tapestry (possibly using Telekinesis), and find the secret door on the other side.

Follow the hallway east beyond Area 21. Avoid the pit trap in the intersection and go north. Open the false door and find the secret door on the other side [If you find the false, you'll find the true]. Go through the secret door and immediately look down. There is a secret trapdoor set in the floor. Open the secret trapdoor and go down. Do NOT continue north or you will encounter another lethal trap (the Juggernaut).

Continue along until you find Area 24, the Adamantite Door. Shove three swords into the slots in the door and enter Area 25, the Pillared Room [into the columned hall you'll come].

Do not touch the pillars in Area 25 they are a potentially dangerous trap. Ignore the doors to the north and the gem in the southeast corner. Proceed directly to throne set against the southern wall [there is the throne that's key and keyed]. Take the golden crown but do not try to wear it. Touch the silver end of the scepter to the silver crown inlaid on the base of the throne. This will open the way forward.

Proceed to Area 28, the Wondrous Foyer. Pick up the SECOND KEY [These keys and those are most important of all]. Keep in the mind that the SECOND KEY is protected by an Antipathy spell, so picking it up might be a challenge. Area 28 leads directly to Area 29, the Valves of Mithril. Open them by placing the gold end of the scepter into the depression between the two doors. Trying to use either key in the Valves of Mithril will cause damage. Using the wrong end of the scepter will automatically kill you.

Follow the doors to Area 30, the False Treasure Room. Carefully open the bronze urn to obtain the services of an Efreet. Move the statue to the northeast. Doing this requires three people who each have a least a 16 strength. You might need the Efreet's help.

Follow the hallway to the west until it turns north. There is a secret door to the south. Open the secret door with the FIRST KEY and enter Area 33, the Crypt of Acererak the Demilich.

The room looks empty, but there is a small keyhole in the floor. Move the whole party as far north as possible. Have the fastest moving PC put the SECOND in the keyhole and turn it to the right 3 times. (Note that using the FIRST KEY will cause a damaging explosion). As soon as you finish turning the key, run north. Otherwise, you will be squased to jelly as the floor rises up to the ceiling.

Enter the vault and take everything that isn't (a) nailed down or (b) a jewled skull. Ignore the ghostly creature that appears to threaten you, it's harmless. Ask the Efreet to put the Gold Crown from Area 25 onto the skull and to touch the crown with the silver end of the scepter from Area 25. Tell the DM that Gygax himself approved of this course of action, and laugh as Acererak is turned to fetid powder.

Return to town. Buy Ale and Whores.

Note that there is only one mandatory combat in the Tomb (the slime in Area 19) and only two one unavoidable death traps (Area 21, the Agitated Chamber, and the risk of being killed trying to open Area 29.). There are also nine covered pit traps to bypass, each of which is potentially fatal.

i]Edit: Upon review, I decided Area 29 is not a mandatory deathtrap[/i]
 
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Lexeme

First Post
I just wanted to drop in here and mention that I've thoroughly enjoyed this thread. Everyone's contributions have been great.

I've been running the 4e conversion of the Tomb for a group of my friends. Despite losing gear to the arches - shield for the Fighter and complete loss of gear for the Rogue - everyone seems to be enjoying it. If I were in their place, I think I'd find it a frustrating experience, for basically all the reasons spelled out throughout this discussion. Primarily, it's difficult to proceed with any mentality aside from "methodically explore everything. Expect that everything is trapped."

One of my players even said this is exactly how he wants to play D&D. Perhaps it's just been a nice respite from the long combats in 4e. Perhaps it's just nice as a change of pace. Perhaps it's because the module is a bit less deadly in the 4e conversion. Whatever it is, my players are having fun, and really that's all that counts.
 

TarionzCousin

Second Most Angelic Devil Ever
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!
When one of my D&D groups played the 3.5E "Level 30" dungeon a few years ago, the DM wasn't prepared for us to haul the mithral golems out of the dungeon. He had no idea how much they were worth--but one of the players knew.

Hey, is the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth going to get a thread like this? Please...?:D
 
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