Friday, April 1, 2016

Tombs Too Tough to Touch

For those upset that Gygax's classic Tomb of Horrors is too scary:



Credit to Erik Garland, via Facebook.


18 comments:

  1. wait, what? People are upset about S1?

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    1. Relatively recently, John Wick wrote a hate piece about it.
      http://johnwickpresents.com/updates/the-worst-adventure-of-all-times/

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    2. Yeah, that's it; thanks for the link, Daniel.

      The author of that piece really comes off as emotional disturbed IMO (feels compelled to control the players, whether for good or ill).

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    3. That piece was interesting. I think his analysis is underinformed and unprofessionally extreme.

      That said, I don't think ToH is enjoyable as a player or DM unless the DM puts it right out there that the module is fundamentally unfair, and the exploration expectations the module has (describing actions instead of rolling for success). If the players are all actually OK with a virtually guaranteed TPK, with the fun being how far in you can get before it happens, then it's all good.

      What I particularly find interesting is that the guy says Gygax all but called him a dick but he seems to think it's untrue.

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    4. Oops, after reading more of his stuff I figured out why I felt like I could safely ignore Wick. His games are nothing like my games. See "Hit 'Em Where It Hurts", an article he wrote in 1999 and reposted with relish on his blog about 2004: http://googlebordello.crushhumanity.org/internettreasures/hitem.html
      I've gamed with people like him. Once each.

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    5. I totally agree that Tomb of Horrors can be critiqued; in fact, I've personally run into tremendous trouble running it. I discovered late that it becomes eminently playable if you make sure to provide the puzzle-riddle at the start; I wish that Gygax made that more transparent to the DM (as well as some other things), and I wish I could get a chance to re-run it sometime. Anyway: Wick's report is insanely off-target.

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  2. I would fail my save vs. charm and spend the entire session petting that pup.

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  3. A module about dead puppies and dead kitties?

    YOU MONSTER!

    ;)

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    1. UNdead puppies and kitties, of course!
      ; )

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  4. Thanks for the links, I would not wish to play with the author of those articles. I have had TPKs before, but the characters had a fighting chance and the players were given a heads up that it was most likely 50/50 chances for survival.

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    1. Right. I effectively had a TPK this weekend, and the players afterward said it was one of their most exciting experiences.

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  5. Some other recent ToH haters (dislikers? The articles are good and I like a lot of there other articles, I just disagree with their conclusions)

    5 REASONS NOT TO RUN TOMB OF HORRORS IN YOUR D&D GROUP: http://www.nerdsonearth.com/2015/08/tomb-of-horrors-5e-conversion/

    Tomb of Horrors tests patience, but still ranks as Dungeons & Dragons’ best villain:
    http://dmdavid.com/tag/tomb-of-horrors-still-ranks-as-dungeons-dragons-best-villain/

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    1. I like these two articles. I've noticed a trend in RPGs to reduce the amount of back-and-forth of the description between DM and players, and instead make a roll. People act like they've been cheated if they choose to jump into a death trap instead of poking it with something or sending a Charmed monster in first. "There's no way to avoid this trap!" they wail, having tried nothing besides walking into it face-first. But the game rules encourage this behavior: instead of a conversation you roll for Diplomacy. Instead of probing the hall for hollow-sounding spaces or pressure plates you roll Search. I'll agree that it takes longer. But part of my enjoyment of D&D is chewing on it, tasting it. There are definitely parts you can safely wolf down or just slide to the edge of your plate and ignore entirely. I guess it's up to every group to figure out what parts they want to really savor. Excuse me, I was just barbecuing and the steaks are about ready. I'll finish this comment af

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  6. Hey, first time I ever played ToH, our group lived. We didn't beat the demi-lich, but we got pretty deep into the dungeon, had a few deaths, and managed to pull out without losing anyone else.

    Second time I played it (same character, so I could apply my previous knowledge), we beat it. Lost all but one of the henchmen/hirelings and all but two of the party, though three of them were lost to the demi-lich and were restored to bodies created via Simulacrum (I always kept samples of characters' hair and blood in jars meant to preserve organic matter just for the purpose of "resurrecting" them through Simulacrum - I didn't have Clone).

    It's a very hard module. It's not fundamentally unbeatable if the party is careful and experienced. The only TPKs in ToH I've ever seen - and I've run it at least nine times - is with parties that were reckless, foolish, inexperienced at the game, or just goofing around.

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    1. Great. My experience was that once I got running it, it seemed surprisingly... safe. I had carefully players and from the DM's side of the screen it surprisingly felt like they weren't in much danger most of the time. Just grindingly slow and methodical trying to get past the next barrier point. At one point they used _commune_ and I gave them part of the starting riddle, and then they began jumping past the secrets and traps almost easily.

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    2. Exactly! I've never seen ToH pose a real threat to a cautious party. It seems like its reputation was cemented when Gygax originally ran it and the groups he was playing with didn't know what they were in for. These days... if you know you're going into ToH, you can be exceeding cautious.

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