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Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:44 am
by Captain_K
I started playing DnD in 1979 or so... we may have played some modules, but not many. That said, with the "Ready Player One: book/movie being based on "Tomb of Horrors"... I was thinking about getting the original DnD module. I do not think I ever played it. What I've read on line says, "Do not waste your time." "Do not use loved characters"... "You'll make your PCs nuts.. this is the reason there is a 10' pole...."

1) Where can I get the old school original print/pdf?
2) Should I run anyone through it? Is it fun?

Re: Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:34 pm
by anvil242

Re: Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 12:35 pm
by Buttmonkey
You can get it at RPG Now/Drive Thru in PDF for $4.99.

ToH is not a traditional module. Gygax designed it to challenge cocky players who thought they could handle anything thrown at them. The module is a death trap that demands hyper-cautious play to survive. Players who turn up their noses at spells like augury are in for a rough time. You need/want cannon fodder to send down corridors and touch things while the PC masterminds hang back. If you've ever played a DCC funnel adventure, you have a feel for what to expect.

I have never played through it personally. I think it could make for a fun novelty one shot for your gaming group, but I wouldn't incorporate it into your campaign and use regular PCs unless your players understand what they are getting into and want this kind of thing inflicted on their PCs.

I think the module gets a bad rap largely because some DMs at the time read the module and thought this is the apex of dungeon design (which I don't think is at all what Gygax intended). This contributed to some DMs taking an adversarial role against their players. To appreciate ToH, I think you need to view it in the context in which it was created. It was designed to be a unique challenge for players who thought they could defeat any challenge. It was not designed to be a prototypical dungeon (unless the DM is Jim Ward in which case a TPK is virtually inevitable regardless of the adventure).

Re: Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:23 pm
by DMMike
If your players are combat monsters, don't run it for them. There's actually rather little combat in the adventure, as most of it is puzzles or traps that take very specific means (ie not just a FART roll) to disable/overcome. To repeat what was said above, EGG wrote it as a reply to the "My character is 36th level and has +5 swords of everything so I must be a badass D&D player!" mentality of the time. Gygax was big on player skill in the game as opposed to a PC's power level and ToH reflects this to the nines.

If your players are ok with the above, or just playing it for the intellectual challenge, or just for laughs then go ahead.

On a side note, there was a podcast a while back where a guy tried to repeat the "Ready Player One" challenge. That is, he was playing AD&D and had a copy of the module to reference....but he only had 1 character! ;) Dunno if he ever finished it, but was making good progress.


PS: The recently published "D&D Art and Arcana" book/set has a print copy of the original "Horrible Tomb" Gary ran at Origins; the prototype of what would become the Tomb of Horrors. I haven't read it yet, but look forward to the differences with the TSR published module.


Re: Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 9:15 pm
by Go0gleplex
Our group got ran through this back in the '80s. We found it relatively easy though.
Granted...we, as a group, were freakin' paranoid when we played to begin with 'cause our DM was quite fond of 'odd' things and twisting stuff on us. lol If we didn't play smart in Castle Misbegotten and Wolf Mountain, we got quissinarted... with extreme prejudice. :) Good memories.

Re: Tomb of Horrors

Posted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:57 pm
by Captain_K
Thanks, I bought it. Going to use it for show. My son and I (debut DMing for him) are co DMing a home grown adventure for 8 8th to 9th lvl PCs (one shot characters). May run it later as it is just to try.

"Ready Roll Player One"... the characters are forced to find the Tomb of Horrors for a pair of dwarves who let it get away... it is likely with The Knight of Darkness, By-Tor... three levels of video games to get to the final crystal gate and combat By-Tor (after the Snow Dog had already failed). So far we are using Mario Bro between levels (the tunnels to the tubes which are the gates). The first game was space invaders... small floating gas spores which could shoot acid bolts from little cross bow-like devices. The second game and third are yet to come.... do not want to give away too much as I will run this at Cleveland Concoction and / or Origins.