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The Original S1-Tomb of Horrors


morganm
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Going to be running the original Tomb of Horrors with some friends on our next D&D game night. Bought a sweet little .PDF version from Paizo for only $4.00. It's the complete booklet that's even been OCR'ed. A little hard to read do to the quality of the scan but readable. I bought the original module because I was reading so many people saying the updated 3.5 compatible version was made easier and wussed out. So my intention is to run the original but we'll be using 3.5 characters and just supplement 3.5 mechanics where necessary. That way we'll get to experience the original adventure but not have to relearn 2nd Edition.

 

I'm only on page 4 of the module and wow... what a cruel adventure! Lots of terrible consequences with no saves. The puzzles and traps are not intuitive and failure in attempts usually results in the previous sentence. It's no wonder the module recommends at least 6 characters (up to 2 characters per player if you don't have 6 players) and gives the basic stats of 20 characters to use. I really think we'll be burning through most of those 20 characters! =P

 

We'll be playing it as a one-shot adventure just like we have been doing for months now. So really the idea of killing off 20 characters isn't a big deal :) Don't think we'll be able to get through it in one session which is unfortunate. We'll have to talk it over and see if we want to make an exception here and take a couple of sessions to finish this one or maybe plan a marathon game session and finish it all in one day =) Anyone have ideas on how to streamline the adventure and maybe shave some time off so it's not quite as long?

 

Wondering how to handle introducing new characters as players kill one and start another one. One method is to come up with a story to explain why there are 20 adventurers standing around outside the entrance and players will simply grab a new character and head off into the dungeon. The other idea I had is that once a player kills a character they will get a new character sheet then the party will encounter this new character in the dungeon. Or perhaps for the sake of time and lending to a real sense of danger; each player gets two characters (we usually only have 3 players per session so 6 characters in the dungeon at once) and when they all die the session is over. Frankly I don't foresee anyone making it with out killing off at least 3 or 4 characters. Any other ideas?

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Lots of terrible consequences with no saves. The puzzles and traps are not intuitive and failure in attempts usually results in the previous sentence.

 

 

Yes!!

 

Feel the Gygax.

Experience the Gygax.

Know the Gygax.

 

I still love that darned module just as much as I ever hated it. A thing of cruel beauty is a joy forever.

 

I haven't played it in years, but I seem to remember that as kids we just had the survivors exit to town to recruit new suckers - ulp, I mean new comrades, to finish it out.

 

But the way I'd handle it now would probably be a tag-team situation. Like, imagine the PCs know this thing is the most dangerous crypt imagineable, and they have backups lined up outside ready to rush in to take their place when they fall.

 

"Joe is dead! You're up, Mike. Go! Go! Go!" Mike hustles down the passage while the hirelings drag Joe's lifeless husk off the field.

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ToH was never meant to make it all the way through, or at least with the original characters at the start of it, ha ha.

 

Its been forever but is that one with

the open mouthed statue with the Disintegration orb in it? I think that is the final trap or near the end.

 

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I played the one converted into 3e by someone in EN world, with a 5-men + 1 Cohort party.

 

Believe of not. We all survived and killed the BBEG!

 

We used tons of divination spells as there are death traps with no hints. Also, we used really a lot of Summon Monster I spells to call celestial dogs and let them run the corridor. Now I guess some Celestial Animal Welfare organizations are hunting for my cleric. Though summoned animals do not actually die.

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ToH was never meant to make it all the way through, or at least with the original characters at the start of it, ha ha.

 

Its been forever but is that one with...

 

 

Yes, but I believe it's actually near the beginning. Sort of like a test of who is too impulsive to be allowed to go on.

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Is it just me or is this thing poorly organized? It reads more like a brain dump than a published module. Maybe I've just been getting too spoiled with the formatting, editing, and layout of more modern modules. Encounter descriptions and stats are all intermingled so you have to pick apart what information PCs know and what is behind the scenes.

 

Also one thing that's been throwing me off. He keeps saying things like "take 2-15 damage". Well how do I decide that? Just whatever I feel like giving? Disregard and roll similar dice? Another one is "a 6 in 8 chance" of something happening. What? I'm confused =/ Convert that to percentile and roll d% ?

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This was posted on the Privateer Forums by The Glen in regards to the tomb of horrors. It has been blacked out so it wont ruin the surprise for those players that will be running it.

 

"If anybody is forced to play the character grinder Tomb of Horrors, print out this page.

 

 

You need to start: 1 magic ring of any type you can part with, 3 swords, bag of holding, cleric memorizing multiple command spells. You probably don't need any one except than a thief and cleric.

 

1. Take the middle tunnel. You're gonna have to dig it out, but the other two are dead end death traps.

 

2. 40ft on the western side is the secret door to the rest of the adventure. Do not pull the lever you find, it opens the trap door underneath you. Break the plaster apart, it reveals the door.

 

3. Follow the corrider till the next room, you'll get jumped by a 4-armed gargoyle. Kill it and take the east facing door. It's a 10x10 square room, there a a series of three secret doors to the south, each with a different way of opening. Doors are found in direction: S, S, S, W, N, W, W

 

4. Open the doors as follows: pull down, pivot the door centrally, pull in and up at the bottom, slide up, pull double panels in, slide left, push all the buttons.

 

5. In the room of orbs, walk through the illusionary wall that has the black sphere. Take the tunnel until it dead ends, find the secret door.

 

6. Southeast corner is secret door. Everything else is trapped. Find hole in secret door, insert magic ring.

 

7. Open next three doors, there are pit traps on the other sides of them. Third pit trap has secret door at bottom. Set off trap with weapon or pole, descend into pit and use door.

 

8. First staircase in the corridor to the east is secret door. It's magically warded, so have the thief take 20 to find it.

 

9. In room pour out acid from middle jar take key half, open east vat and kill gelationous cube and take key half. Put them together. Secret door in next room is in SW corner facing west.

 

10. Take stairs down, at end of stairs 20ft from base is very large pit trap. Deliberately trigger with reach weapon if possible, descend into 30' pit. You can walk between the spikes. Stop twenty feet in pit, find pressure trap and disarm.

 

11. 50ft from end of hall is secret door to the north.

 

12. In room search and disable the earthquake trap, use magical fire to burn away the green slime tapestries.

 

13. At crossroads of corriders is trap. Take northern fork.

 

14. Secret door at end of corridor, then again immediately after door on the W. Door at end of winding secret passages opens with 3 swords inserted.

 

15. At the throne in the south take the scepter. Touch silver end of scepter to crown inscription on throne, open secret door. Get bronze key on stairs. To open doors at end of passage insert gold end of scepter into depression.

 

16. Pull statue out of way in NW, find secret door.

 

17. When corridor turns N, look for secret door S. Open with key you found.

 

18. Have thief disable trap on keyhole. Insert gold key. Second key that opens insert bronze key, turn key clockwise 3 turns, immediately retreat back to party as floor begins to rise.

 

19. Kill ghost that attacks, during fight have cleric cast command spell on demilich. Thief stuffs demilich in bag of holding, cut bag. Loss bag of holding, demilich is now Githyanki's problem.

 

20. Loot with unbridled glee, do not take the cursed spear or 2 cursed longswords.

"

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In the old days of 1st edition, and maybe some of second, that was how it was given and you had to create the math.

 

So 2-15 (16?) is a range. 2-13 is 1d12+1, for example. 2-16 is 2d8.

 

A 6 in 8 chance is roll a d8, 6 or lower something happens. 7 or 8, nada.

 

In some places the math looks a little whacky, but it should all convert fairly easily into dice rolls with a standard set of 4,6,8,10,12, and 20.

 

In the old 1st ed. AD&D there's a whole whack of info about odds, variables, bell curves, and working the math into dice rolls. Since then it's more standardized and simplified.

 

Edit: occassionally you may come across a reference of using a d20 for percentile. You can just roll 2d10, 10's and 1's instead, or if it's given as a % chance to hit just roll a D20. Remember that every number on a 20 represents 5% of a percentile. So if it says a 5% better chance to hit, it means +1 on the D20. 10% = +2, and so on.

 

I don't know if any of that is in that module, but I've come across it before so I figure the info might come in handy.

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Thanks buglips; that makes much more sense now. I'll probably go through the adventure again and just 'do the math' so I'm not wasting time during the game.

 

So 3-10 dmg would be 1d8+2 ? 2-5 is 1d4+1 ? How about 4-16 dmg?

 

In one section it actually says "5-30 (5d6) hit points of damage" or in another "5-50 (5d10) hit points of damage". Wish they would have done that through the whole thing.

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4-16 could be 4d4. Or I guess 1d4+1d10+2.

 

Simply giving a range is kinda weird IMO since it tells you nothing about distribution. 4d4 and 1d4+1d10+2 have the same range but the distribution is very different.

 

EDIT: or even 1d6 + 1d8 +2

Edited by vejlin
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Played the ToH at a Con one year and won an award. I was the only one to make it through without a scratch!!! And I was the Thief!!!

 

I run my players today though it. If it is part of a campaign instead of dying, I just have them appear at the beginning naked with all of their gear going to the liche room. I also add a bunch of riddles and mind-game traps along with character specific challenges where I give out Kool magic and/or extra feats or abilities that will help latter on or just help trick-out the character. It is a lot of fun and really brings up the play of my characters!!

 

DMs are all evil,

Brian

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No problem helping on the interpretation.

 

A note on ranges: unless otherwise specified it will refer to a range generated with multiple dice of the same kind, and not mixed like 1d4+1d8.

 

Unless there's no other, simpler way to generate the range but if multiple d-types are used it is *usually* spelled out.

 

I think there's some of that in the old 1st ed. survival guides and Manual of the Planes.

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ToH was never meant to make it all the way through, or at least with the original characters at the start of it, ha ha.

 

Its been forever but is that one with

the open mouthed statue with the Disintegration orb in it? I think that is the final trap or near the end.

 

 

Yes it is.

 

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