Tomb of Horrors!

Within are to be writ the tales of daring and adventure of those who have placed themselves on the path of glory. Share your exploits with other Castlers & Crusaders!
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Joined: Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:00 am

Tomb of Horrors!

Post by Ekimus »

I've been trying to get my group to switch from D&D 3rd edition to C&C for some time. I got them interested when I proposed a campaign that would romp through the Classic D&D and AD&D 1st Edition modules that we all have fond memories of. I decided to introduce them to the system with an adventure that would allow them to hit the ground running - Tomb of Horrors.

A couple of notes on some house rules that carried over from our other gaming:

We did away with weapon and physical attack damage dice, instead determining damage by the amount an attacker overcame a defender's AC after factoring modifiers like Str., Weapon Modifier, Magic bonuses, etc. Spells, poisons and many other special attacks retained their damage randomness.

We also introduced Sanity Checks. My group is a big fan of the Cthulhu Mythos, so whenever a PC ran into an Aberration, Elemental, Extraplanar or Undead of greater HD than their level they were required to make a Cha. Check. Failure causes a loss of Cha. equal to the amount that the check was failed by. If the creature is defeated, the PC gains back Cha. equal to the HD of the creature up to their original Cha. If a PC reaches 0 Cha. insanity sets in. If a PC's Cha. goes into the negatives the PC is insane but is adapting to his new world view. His Alignment shifts one degree over towards the creature that drove him insane and his negative Alignment acts to the outside world as its positive opposite.

Both of these House Rules are still works in progress.

Lastly we use Spell Points for magic enabling casters to cast spells over and over again as long as they haven't exhausted the points needed to cast a spell ( Hey! A fighter can swing his sword over and over again, right?). Yes, this means that 0 level spells can be cast even when Spell Points are used up.

Word of warning to the purists - I took liberties with the module content to fit it to C&C, exercise my own tastes, and because most of my group had gone through ToH before, though long, long ago. Even so, I tried to keep true to the core of the adventure.

The Party is as follows:

Lord Raivo - 9th Level LE Human Knight

Abbot Gozen - 10th Level LE Human Cleric

Radsoph - 9th Level NE Half-Elf Wizard

Smidge - 12th Level CN Halfling Rogue

Each character was made at 450,000 XP and allowed 5 magic items.


The Campaign takes place in the World of Greyhawk, circa 576 CY (hate that Greyhawk Wars stuff).

Lord Raivo is the younger brother of Chelor, Herzog of the South Province of Aerdy. Raivo views his brother as an unrefined lout, so when he fell into disfavor with the Overking of the Great Kingdom, Raivo thought the time was ripe for a coup. With the aid of his long time confident Abbot Gozen and his wizard Radsoph, he planned his brother's downfall. Smidge, a rogue reputed to be the best burglar in the kingdom, was hired to work with an assassin to murder the Herzog. The attempt was botched however by the assassin and now Raivo and his co-conspirators are on the run. Ever the optimist (Wis. 7) Raivo sees his failed coup only as a minor setback. He has embarked with his cronies on a quest to regain power by sacking the dreaded Tomb of Horrors, said to be filled with the rich and magical treasures of the legendary lich king Acererak!


The party has been travelling through the Vast Swamp for a week by barge led by a Bullywug guide obtained through shady dealings at the edge of the dismal morass. In the late afternoon, appearing out of the mists, rose a steep, dark mound. As the party grounded their barge on the western muddy bank that surrounded the hillock, they observed that it was covered with thick vegetation and crowned with immense, black stones. While the party gathered to discuss their course of action, their Bullywug guide interupted in crude common to demand his promised reward, a large pearl. Lord Raivo began to argue with him, insisting that his job wasn't done until the crypt was ransacked.

In the middle of their dispute the Bullywug suddenly went still and began to scan the surrounding swamp with its wide-eyed vision, and then all of a sudden dove into the swamp in a panic, disappearing from sight. It was then that Abbot Gozen, Radsoph and Smidge noticed the swirls in the water traveling towards their location. Out of the water on both sides of their grounded barge erupted 18 Lizardfolk, with one on the left larger than the others and apparently the leader. The creatures roared and surged towards the Party. Lord Raivo stood at the shore still confused by the Bullywug's abrupt departure. Smidge unsheathed his Short Sword of Dancing and flung it into the air to summon its magic. Abbot Gozen cast Bless upon the group and readied his +2 Heavy Flail and small shield while stepping up beside Smidge. Radsoph cast a fireball which he launched at the Lizardfolk on the left side of the barge. The only creature to stumble out of the conflageration was the Lizardfolk Chief, who was horribly burned. The Dancing Short Sword swung at the creature, but missed and the monster completed it's charge against Lord Raivo, whose +2 Plate Mail turned aside the crude, blackened spear. Smidge threw a dagger at the Lizardfolk leader, but missed, loosing the blade in the water. His Dancing Short Sword, however, cut a deep gash in the monster's side. Both Raivo and Gozen missed their attacks but Radsoph ended the sorely wounded creature with 5 Magic Missiles that punched through its chest, flinging it back into the swamp. Seeing their chief slain along with half their number, the rest of the Lizardfolk turned and fled, diving back into the depths of the swamp. Searching the remains of their attackers, the party found nothing of value or interest other than the a burned piece of parchment with the letters "...erak" still recognizable upon it found on the leader. While reflecting on the incident, the group realized that they had seen the swirls in the water that had heralded the Lizardfolk's attack many times during their travel through the swamp and that the creatures had been tracking them from the beginning.

With Lord Raivo and Radsoph on guard, Smidge and Abbot Gozen turned their attention towards the mound of the Tomb. Smidge climbed up the steep, vegetation covered slope to reach the summit 60' above. On the flat crest he found nine enormous boulders of obsidian - two round, one triangular, and six rectangular. All were relatively low in height for their size, maybe 6' tall. Smidge found nothing else of interest, but threw down a rope to Gozen to get his opinion on the immense, black stones. After much cursing and slipping, the Abbot finally climbed to the top of the mound and together he and Smidge determined that the boulders were not from this region and placed in a pattern that, if observed from the air, would make the mound of the Tomb resemble a grinning, green skull. Walking the perimeter of the hill top they found that the north side dropped off abruptly while the other sides had steep slopes.

Calling to Raivo and Radsoph, Smidge directed them to check out the north side of the mound, which turned out to be a relatively straight wall of rock protected by an overhang of the hill crest. Coming down from the mound's summit, Gozen and Smidge joined Lord Raivo and Radsoph to decide their next move. Using burnt spears abandoned by the Lizardfolk as prods the party soon discovered three tunnel entrances filled almost to the top with mud, rocks and silt from the swamp. Seeing as they only had about two hours of daylight left before nightfall, it was decided that smidge would escavate one of the tunnel entrances while Abbot Gozen remained on guard. Raivo and Radsoph would go back to the barge and pilot it to the north bank of the mound where they would then set up camp.

Smidge examined the middle entrance first and from torchlight could just make out a lavish double door at the end of a 20' wide, 30' long corridor covered in cobwebs. Moving on to the left entrance, Smidge was able to discern a 20' wide corridor with a kalidescope of brightly colored illustrations on the walls and ceiling and a equally brilliant tiled floor that continued beyond the torchlight. Conveying his finds to the others, it was decided that Smidge should clear the center entrance first. By the time he finished night has fallen and his companions had regrounded the barge on the north shore and unloaded it. The party made camp in the middle tunnel's mouth, where they lite a fire. A cursory investigation of the middle tunnel and its double door revealed nothing, so Radsoph cast a Hold Portal to prevent any surprises and the group settled in to pass the night regaining spell points and some much needed rest.

The party spent the rest of the evening without incident, all awakening at sunrise. Looking at the double door again, Detect Magic and Detect Evil were cast but revealed nothing. Smidge, this time closely examining the doors, detected some sort of trap involving the doors, lintle and ceiling. It was decided to tie lengths of rope to the door pull rings and back off to the tunnel entrance where the party would then pull the doors open. This was done, resulting in a tremendous cave-in that buried the double door under tons of stone blocks that had made up the tunnel ceiling.

Sighing in collective relief, the companions recover as much of the rope as they could and then moved on to the brightly decorated corridor. After about an hour of excavation by Smidge and Abbot Gozen, enough blocking material was cleared to allow easy entrance into the corridor. The hallway's walls and ceiling were covered with brilliant illustrations showing fields with kin grazing, a copse with several wolves in the background, slaves of many races (some unknown human/animal types) toiling, a library filled with books and scrolls, a torture chamber, a wizard's laboratory and many others pictures of individual things and symbols. The floor was a multicolored mosaic with a distinct, winding path of red tiles snaking its way to the south end of the corridor. Radsoph also noticed that the place was spotless. Despite being over a thousand years old and open to the outside, the corridor was unsoiled by the dirt and mud that blocked its entrance. The colors were undimmed by age and exposure. Casting Detect Magic, he found that the whole hallway radiated a subtle dweomer and Gozen, casting Detect Evil, detected a similarly faint scent of evil.

With the rest of the party behind him, Smidge began to search along the red tiled path on hands and knees for traps until coming up to an illustration of two jackal-headed figures in robes holding what truly was a bronze box protruding from the wall. Examining the box, Smidge discovered that it had a lid on the side that swung downward and JUST detected a simple needle trap on the catch, which he broke off with his dagger. Inside was a lever that pulled outward. The party decided to throw the lever by tying a rope to it and pull it from the safety of the entrance. A cunningly hidden 30' deep pit opened up in front of the bronze box with spikes at the bottom that were covered with a viscous, green substance. Smidge next found another pit trap with poisoned spikes, this one 10' deep, in front of an image of an iron door with the clawed hands of a monster grasping the bars of its small window.

Impatient with their progress, Abbot Gozen cast Detect Traps and began to lead the party down the corridor while avoiding traps on the floor outlined by a ghostly blue glow. The group passed four of these to reach the end of the 130' long painted corridor. There they found facing them an 8 ' tall green devil face and to their left an archway filled with a bluish mist with three glowing arch stones: yellow for the left base stone, blue for the keystone and orange for the right base stone. Smidge approached the great, green devil head with his appropriated lizardfolk spear, when suddenly it animated and spoke out in a loud, malevolent voice "Acererak Congratulates you on your powers of observation. So make of this whatever you wish, for you will be mine in the end no matter what! go back to the tormentor or through the arch, and the second great hall you'll discover. Shun green if you can, but night's good color is for those of great valor. If shades of red stand for blood the wise not need sacrifice aught but a loop of magical metal - you're well along your march. Two pits along the way will be found to lead to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall. These keys and those are most importantof all, and beware of trembling hands and what will maul. If you find the false you find the true and into the columned hall you'll come, and there the throne that's key and keyed. The iron men of visage grim do more than meets the viewer's eye. You've left and left and found my Tomb and now your soul will die." After this it became inanimate again with its mouth gaping open in a 3', dead black hole. In curiosity Smidge slowly probed the black maw with his spear and immediately dropped it when freezing cold afflicted his hands. Examining the spear, the party found that it was rimed with frost, its bladed tip gone, the stump glassy.

All agreed to turn their attentions to the archway. Gozen and Radsoph discussed the possibilities of touching the glowing stones in some sort of sequence, and then cast Detect Magic, Detect Evil, Detect Traps and Detect Poison. Both the archway and the green devil head were highly magical. The devil head also radiated pure evil and detected positive as a trap. The archway was inconclusive for traps, but concentraiting on the glowing stones Gozen determined that the yellow one and the blue keystone were still unclear in nature, but that the orange one seemed to be safe. The bluish mist was revealed to be poisonous.

That was all Smidge needed to hear. He touched the orange glowing base stone, whereupon the bluish mists that had obscured the archway disapated to reveal a 10' wide, 10' tall, dark corridor that went on beyond sight. Smidge entered and began searching for further traps in this new passageway. As he worked his way forward, the mists returned in the archway, obscuring the halfling from the rest of the party. Lord Raivo called out to the rogue, asking whether he was all right. Looking back, Smidge saw his concerned comrads through the archway without any obscurity, but it was obvious to him that they couldn't see him. Realizing that the mists only cleared for a short duration and only blocked to archway, Raivo touched the orange glowing stone himself, the mists disapated, and he and his wizard and the cleric passed through the arch into the passageway to join Smidge.

Clearing the next 10' for traps, Smidge suddenly beheld 20' away an 8' tall statue of a four-armed Gargoyle at the end of the corridor. One of the limbs had broken off and lay at the statue's feet. Confused by the miraculous appearance of the statue, Smidge began to ask the others about it, but recieved only blank stares until they all walked up beside the rogue and were equally surprised at the sudden manifistation of the broken statue. Approaching it cautiously, they began to examine it. Detect Traps was again inconclusive. Detect Magic idicated that the statue was highly magical. Detect Evil did register with the statue. Smidge detected no physical traps but did notice that each of the gargoyle's hands, even the detatched one, were cupped as if to hold something small in to palm. Radsoph noted that where the broken arm and stump would fit together there was different types of rock that represented bone, muscle and skin.

Hearing this and before anyone could stop him, Smidge picked up the detatched arm, jumped up onto the statue's lap and fitted the limb to it's stump. There was a flash and the arm and stump knitted together, and the four-armed Gargoyle began to stir. Locking it's red eyes upon the halfing, it howled suddenly in pain as Smidge slashed across it's face with the Dancing Sword he held. The creature lashed out at the small rogue with all it's attacks, but missed with all as Smidge dodged away unscathed. Gozen stepped forward and stuck the creature a mighty, stone-cracking blow with his +2 Heavy Flail and then Radsoph finished it with five stinging Magic Missiles that left molten holes in the thing's chest. Striking the ground the gargoyle smashed into a thousand pieces. Lord Raivo, standing tall with his +2 Flaming Long Sword, congratulated his companions on a job well done to cover up the embarrassment of hesitating for the second time in combat.

Searching the remains and the corridor dead-end, nothing of value was found, but Smidge did find a 5' diameter tunnel leading down from the pedestal that the gargoyle had occupied. Smidge climbed down and travelled carefully for 30' until he came to an opening into a large, long hall. Scanning the new area with his lantern, Smidge saw that it was another hall, shaped, illustrated and tiled in a similar fashion to the one they had entered the tomb in. The walls and ceiling were painted with figures of different races and monsters holding faintly glowing spheres of many different colors along with many strange signs and glyphs. The floor was a multitude of different, brightly colored tiles. Seeing no immediate threats in the hall, Smidge scurried back to his companions to inform them of his discovery.

The whole party then proceeded to follow Smidge down the tunnel to the new hall. Exiting from the tunnel, whose opening was 10' above the floor, they were immediately puzzled by the absence of the tunnel exit. In it's place they saw the painted image of a faintly glowing gold sphere held aloft by a masterfully illustrated four-armed gargoyle. In exploring the hall the companions saw on the western wall south of the gargoyle, which was the northern most painted figure, an elf female holding an orange sphere at the waist, a mind flayer standing upon a purple sphere, a minotaur holding a bronze sphere at it's waist, a human male holding a gray sphere upon his shoulder, a dwarf male standing upon a bright blue sphere, a gnoll holding high a white sphere, a goblin holding a turquoise sphere at it's shoulder, a salamander holding a scarlet sphere at it's waist, and a medusa standing upon a pale green sphere. On the eastern wall were painted northernmost first a naga holding in it's coils at shoulder height a pale blue sphere, an androsphinx standing upon a silver sphere, an orc holding a green sphere high above it's head, a kenku holding a yellow sphere at it's shoulder, a yuan-ti holding aloft with one hand a pink sphere, a hydra standing upon a black sphere, a kobold holding a pale violet sphere at shoulder height, a female centaur holding a red sphere at her waist, a red dragon standing upon a brown sphere, and a kuo-toa holding an indigo sphere above it's head.

Casting Detect Magic, Detect Traps, Detect Secret Doors and Detect Evil, Abbot Gozen and Radsoph found that all of the spheres radiated magic; the orange, bronze and silver spheres contained traps, and the silver sphere also contained a secret door.

At the end of the 20' wide 130' hall the party found another archway identical to one one they had previously encountered. Detect Traps revealed that the glowing blue and orange stones registered inconclusively for traps but that the yellow stone was clear of one. The blue mist again was detected to be poison. After hearing the divinations of the spellcasters, Smidge touched the yellow stone, the mists disapated, and he passed through the archway. He immediately felt a change in himself, a surge of robustness. He reported this back to his companions and then proceeded to carefully search for traps in the new corridor he found himself in. Lord Raivo then proceeded to touch the glowing, yellow stone and pass through the arch, followed quickly by Radsoph and Abbot Gozen. Raivo suddenly also felt an increase in his vitality. Radsoph experienced a boost in self-confidence, and Gozen's perceptions of reality sharpened. With the party all together, they proceeded down the new corridor after Abbot Gozen cast his Detect Traps again. After traveling several hundred feet with no traps detected, no doors, or intersecting passages, the party turned around to investigate whether they had missed any secret doors. As soon as they took the first step back they found themselves back out the arch and again in the hall of spheres.

Not ready to try the other glowing stones in the arch, the companions decided to investigate the spheres more closely. Starting with the gold sphere that was located at the spot where they had entered the hall they discovered that it was an illusion that hid the passageway to the gargoyle they had defeated. Avoiding the orange and bronze spheres that had been detected to contain a traps, they found nothing remarkable about the purple sphere, but found that the gray sphere was also an illusion concealing a passageway.

After tying a length of rope about his waist to be anchored by Raivo, Smidge crawled up into the 5' passage, which went 10' before opening into a completely black chamber. With out warning Lord Raivo, Abbot Gozen and Radsoph heard a piercing, agonizing scream from Smidge and a jerk on the rope. The three immediately began to pull on the rope to reel Smidge back. When he finally came through the gray sphere illusion, he fopped to hall floor in a heap of twisted limbs. Smidge's face was drawn in a silent scream, his eyes had roled up to show only the whites, and his skin had taken on a gray pallor. Smidge was dead, and it was obvious that it was a horrible death, though not a mark was on him.

It was quickly decided that a retreat was in order to better prepare for this threat. While Lord Raivo guarded their backs, Abbot Gozen hefted Smidge's body and followed Radsoph back to the passage hidden by the gold sphere. The three made it back to the site of the destroyed gargoyle where they blocked up the passage as best they could with the remains of the gargoyle. Then while Raivo and Radsoph stood guard, Gozen cast Raise Dead upon Smidge.

The halfling revived screaming, and it took some time to quiet him down. Eventually Smidge was able to talk and in a whisper he told the rest of the party about the black chamber, and the black, writhing humanoid his lantern exposed in the middle of the room. All he remembered then was horror as the creature turned it's eyeless face towards him and cast his soul into the Abyss! Smidge then fell into a soft, maniacal giggle until loosing consciousness.

It was agreed by Raivo, Gozen and Radsoph to hold up here for a while in the hope that Smidge would recover his senses and also to allow the cleric and wizard time to regain their spell casting strength. So Radsoph cast Web into the passageway to obstruct it and they all then settled in to rest and recover. And thus ends the first part of this journey through the Tomb of Horrors.

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Post by serleran »

I wish him luck.

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