View Full Version : That darn gargoyle in that darn tomb

2010-06-07, 12:22 AM
I'm DMing some friends trip to the Tomb of Horrors. Unfortunately, they aren't very experienced, so it's quite a trip for them. Here's my notes from this last session:

Our characters include: Urist Ironblood the dwarven dungeoneer, Toblin the halfling cleric, and Roland the half-elven bard. Dungeoneer is a rogue-like homebrew (with a d10 hit die, and different class features). Instead of sneak attack, it has premeditated strike, which works like the assassin's death strike (requiring 2 rounds study) but deals +2d8 damage (which increases to +4d8, etc as class levels increase)

DM notes (note: this isn't a question, just for my and your amusement):
Why make the bard go first into the main hallway? Urist is the dungeoneer with the high search check.

There he goes.

Urist took my suggestion to use a Cloak of Resistance +3 and ring of protection +1. Since these guys aren't experienced minmaxers, I did give one of them some suggestions on making better characters.

Disable device on a pit trap makes it a sturdy floor I guess. Sure.

There's only 3 characters (so only 3 turns to each opponent's 1, rather than 4-6), not minmaxed to any real degree, but they're level 10. Does that give them a fighting chance (as much as anyone in ToH)?

Having fought the gargoyle before (and the resulting TPK), the characters are hesitant before room 8. Toblin considers creating a wall of summoned bees.

Urist ties a rope to the room 8 entry-door. They've started using the "open doors from 30' away" trick on all their doors.

The bard is sticking to casting slow on the gargoyle. Pretty good, since no one is really built to be a fighter, so casting haste wouldn't do much good.

The gargoyle takes 1 damage from the cleric's-spiritual-weapon's max damage (8+3 - edit: whoops, forgot DR doesn't apply to spiritual weapon).
Gargoyle damage: 11(SW)+39(Flame Strike)+11(SW)+14(Flame Strike)+6(Sound Burst)+28(Dwarven Waraxe premeditated strike crit)+2(sound burst)+6(SW)+4(sound burst)+10(SW)+7(SW)+19(premeditated strike)+8(sound burst)+6(SW)+3(regular attack)+2(sound burst)+4(SW)+17(SWx2) (197)

I like Awesome Blow because of its name and because it makes your opponents prone. I don't like it because your opponents get a reflex save and it only deals 1d6 when they strike a wall, and because it _only_ makes them prone.

The guys are actually doing pretty well against this gargoyle. 75 damage in 2 rounds is impressive for a creature with DR 10.

I never realized that inspire greatness and inspire courage stacked. I guess I've never thought of using 2 bardic musics in 1 battle. It makes sense for this place though, since there aren't that many encounters.

Casting slow on that gargoyle may have been the best action these guys have taken in this entire battle. It can't attack anyone more than 5 feet away, and it can't use its REND since it can't full-attack.

Lucky for the PCs that the hallway is exactly the same size as the gargoyle, so it can't move past any of them to attack any others.

Prayer+Inspire Courage = good stuff, IMO.

I start with +6 for PA on the +24 bonus, then go up in intervals of two. For the halfling cleric, I decided to do +6 (whereas I was doing +8 on the dwarf dungeoneer and +10 on little creatures), which gave him just enough to hit AC 19. Will my players believe me when I tell them?

I'm surprised none of the players have tried to figure out the creature's AC yet. I guess it doesn't matter since they don't have power attack.

The bard wants to cast sleep. I guess he doesn't know that the spell is pretty much useless after level 2-3. Edit: After some encouraging from Toblin, he went with sound burst instead.

Rather than healing his 0 HP partner, whose inspired greatness is about to expire, Roland chooses to cast sound burst on the gargoyle. I rule that since IG says it gives temp HP, those hit points went away first and Urist does not die.

The guys are 23hp away from killing the gargoyle, and Urist starts fleeing. To be fair, his full-attack did only 3 damage.

And the slow effect finally wears off! The PCs are screwed now!

So close! Don't give up now guys! I almost don't want to kill them, since they've come so far (180 damage).

But Urist dies in 2 attacks and a rend from the creature, who power attacked for 8 and dealt 80 damage to Urists 70 HP.

Nice! Roland readied an action to cast slow on the gargoyle, set to go off when Toblin cast Eagle's Splendor on him (to give him more spell slots). Eagle's splendor upped the save DC on Slow, and the gargoyle being under the influence of Toblin's prayer, rolled 9+6(will)-1(prayer)=14 against a DC 17 and was slowed, allowing the pair of Roland and Toblin to live.

If they only knew the gargoyle has exactly 2 hp left. The spiritual weapon keeps missing. And disappears, because its time has run out.

In a surprise move, Toblin casts comprehend languages, and attempts to command the gargoyle to stop! The response: "Bugger off." (Diplomacy roll at -20 for super-rush: -16)

Dark Herald
2010-06-07, 12:26 AM
can't you just ignore the gargoyle?

What are you asking?

2010-06-07, 12:29 AM
I'm slightly confused and moderately entertained by the fact you sent only slightly experienced players into the ToH. Also, quick nitpick, I believe Comprehend Languages only lets you listen to the words. If you wish to speak other languages, you need Tounges.

I'd like to give a short piece of information about my experience with that place. I ran my inexperienced PCs through it. They had 10th level, well optimized characters designed to survive the tomb. I gave each of them 7 lives. Only a few of them made it all the way through.

EDIT: @Dark Herald: I believe this is a campaign journal more than it is a question.

2010-06-07, 01:03 AM
@Dark Herald: Yes, what drengnikrafe said.

Yes, comprehend languages only lets you hear, not speak other languages. I sent them into the ToH because I'd only be DMing for a few sessions, and wanted to use a well-thought out, fun and interesting module. Since I've started, I've also been able to help them out with their roll-playing skills.

2010-06-07, 02:00 AM
I found this very interesting and entertaining as well.

Got one problem though.

Since I've started, I've also been able to help them out with their roll-playing skills.

Did you mean ROLE-playing skills or ROLL-playing skills?

2010-06-07, 02:23 AM
Rockdeworld, this is awesome, I hope they're loving it - I know I would.

Just for your future reference Eagle's Splendor does not grant more spell slots. You don't get bonus spells from temporary bumps to your casting stat. However you are correct that it bumps the person's save DCs so it was still a good call on their part.

Are you going to have it heal in any way before they seek it out again, or leave it at 2 hp? I would do the latter but I forget its stats and whether it has any way of healing.


2010-06-07, 02:51 AM
"Enough is enough! I've had it with this monkey fightin' gargoyle in this monday-to-friday tomb!" :smallwink::smallbiggrin:

2010-06-07, 07:08 AM
You could consider helping your players a bit, seeing how they are inexperienced. I know, the module says you shouldn't do that, but then - it was not meant to be played by inexperienced players.
At least allow the bard a knowledge check from time to time, so he knows which of his spells are actually useful.
(Hint: Bard 10 has Dominate Person, which works on humanoids, which the gargoyle happens to be. It's will save is just +6, to boot. The bard should have at least a 65% chance to pull it off: DC 10+4 spell level+5 cha (cha 16 base, +2 level, +2 item)=19)).