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    Default Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    One of my friends gave me the module and ever since then it's been playing on my mind since then. We play fourth, though one of my friends recons he can source the rules for AD&D so we can play it.

    So, will the effort be worthwhile? I'll be running it, so if there are any yesses I could do with a few tips.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    1ed has two major differences from 3.xed and on (and many others, but these two are the most relevant ones here).
    1) Large parties.
    2) Casual mortality.

    Tomb of Horrors epitomizes both of them. If you have a group of three or four characters, each of whom their players are attached to, it will go badly.
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    "The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in the future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present--they are real." --Aral Vorkosigan

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    This, in a nutshell.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kish View Post
    It will go badly.
    Fixed.
    The original tomb of horrors is actually pretty nightmarish, since there wasn't really a reliable way to resolve the presence of traps except poke them. This means you got to play "Guess What Gygax Was Thinking?!" Which is more fun than it sounds, but not really something I'd teach a system for. There are other iconic gaming experiences that I would prioritize over it if I were to be telling you to learn a whole game system.

    And trust me, if you've only played 3e, 1e really will mean learning a whole system.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2010-05-05 at 08:17 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    We have as many as nine players at the table at a time, numbers will not be a problem.

    And as we're just playing 1ed for the Tomb of Horrors, I doubt there will be much attachment.

    And it would be more for fun than anything else really, no seriousness...hopefully.

    And we play 4th, though some of us have played 2nd or 3rd.
    Last edited by Katana_Geldar; 2010-05-05 at 08:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    We have as many as nine players at the table at a time, numbers will not be a problem.

    And as we're just playing 1ed for the Tomb of Horrors, I doubt there will be much attachment.

    And it would be more for fun than anything else really, no seriousness...hopefully.

    And we play 4th, though some of us have played 2nd or 3rd.
    If you play 4th, just... don't. Find a different 1-shot to run.
    I recommend Kobolds Ate My Babies, or All Flesh Must Be Eaten. It's basically the same experience as Tomb of Horrors.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Combine it with the Paranoia mechanics of everyone starting the game with 6 clones, and you're good

    Or let your players do what the original group did, hire A LOT of henchmen and let them poke everything first.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    I was considering running it Paranoia style, also with the fact we're playing against each other

    And I'm not mean enough to jump right in with Tomb of Horrors first time. Of course there will be a "How the hell do I do x?" playtest session before we go there.
    Last edited by Katana_Geldar; 2010-05-05 at 08:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    There is a 3.5 conversion of ToH available free online. You might have an easier time with that, as some of your players have already played 3rd edition, and it has more similarities with 4th (D20 system, high AC is good, etc) so it will be simpler to teach the newbies.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    I was considering running it Paranoia style, also with the fact we're playing against each other

    And I'm not mean enough to jump right in with Tomb of Horrors first time. Of course there will be a "How the hell do I do x?" playtest session before we go there.
    Are you already familiar with 1st edition? If not, you should sit down and learn it thoroughly before trying to teach it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starscream View Post
    There is a 3.5 conversion of ToH available free online. You might have an easier time with that, as some of your players have already played 3rd edition, and it has more similarities with 4th (D20 system, high AC is good, etc) so it will be simpler to teach the newbies.
    If you're looking for lethality, I wouldn't use this. We beat it with unoptimized characters, no trouble, and one party member short on top of being two levels under par.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2010-05-05 at 08:29 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Here are some retro-clones. 1ed but with a bit more clear rules. You can download the core-rules for free. Disclaimer: I have never played it before, but I did read them through.

    Labyrinth Lord
    and
    Swords and Wizardry

    You can download the 3.5 revision of the Tomb of Horrors here. In combination with the original module, maybe you could create a fourth edition version?

    EDIT: Hum, I was a bit ninja'd whilst looking up those links. Oh, well.
    Last edited by some guy; 2010-05-05 at 08:33 AM.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    In a word: NO.

    In more than that, Doc Roc about summed it up. Gygax made that for pain, not for fun. It's really only fun for a sadistic DM because at the end you get a giant middle finger for your efforts as a player.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Note that ToH has been updated to every edition of D&D (except 4th) and Pathfinder, in case someone in your group already happens to know how to play one of those rule sets.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Is it worth it to learn AD&D 1e/OSRIC? Yes. It's a rewarding system and strongly adaptable.

    Is it worth learning AD&D 1e/OSRIC just to play Tomb of Horrors with a group who games almost exclusively on more modern game systems? No. The Tomb of Horrors is a very fun module if you understand what it's about. It's not just yer average death module despite what people here will tell you.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    We have as many as nine players at the table at a time, numbers will not be a problem.

    And as we're just playing 1ed for the Tomb of Horrors, I doubt there will be much attachment.

    And it would be more for fun than anything else really, no seriousness...hopefully.

    And we play 4th, though some of us have played 2nd or 3rd.
    It sounds like you've already made up your mind to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by hamlet View Post
    The Tomb of Horrors is a very fun module if you understand what it's about. It's not just yer average death module despite what people here will tell you.
    Right - it's an extra-special death module.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    The latest (3.5) conversion of Tomb of Horrors still retains some traps that aren't bypassable, because they're triggered by the mere presence of PCs. A properly optimized Rogue can take point on 90% of this trap-happy module without worries, and let the rest of the party twiddle their thumbs until they come across a monster. Even after all the prior updates, there are still some rules-breaking legacy elements left over from the original edition.
    Last edited by Curmudgeon; 2010-05-05 at 09:22 AM.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    ToH may be the iconic module from 1e, but if you're going to learn the system, go for the better modules- White Plume Mountain, the Pharoah series, the giants/drow/demonweb series are worth the edition.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrion View Post
    ToH may be the iconic module from 1e, but if you're going to learn the system, go for the better modules- White Plume Mountain, the Pharoah series, the giants/drow/demonweb series are worth the edition.
    I would say that module T1 (and not T1-T4, just Homlet) is more iconic, really. That, adn the SaltMarsh series, Slaver Series, and maybe one or two others. TOH is certainly memorable and a stand out, but it's not really iconic in that it does not represent actual campaign play so much as it represent what the module is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik
    Right - it's an extra-special death module.
    Kinda. The module is, EXPLICITELY, designed to "teach a lesson to" a specific group of gamers who had very high level characters with very high ability scores and scads of items and etc. that the game could still be deadly dangerous and still provide ample challenge.

    TOH was a smack down on arrogant gamers that caught on in popularity. It's widely viewed as a right of passage, now, amongst the OSR.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    ToH has enough deathtraps without considering the rest of your party a liability as well. If you decide to run it despite everything else that's been said, please don't make it a paranoia style game where you can't even trust your party.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
    The latest (3.5) conversion of Tomb of Horrors still retains some traps that aren't bypassable, because they're triggered by the mere presence of PCs. A properly optimized Rogue can take point on 90% of this trap-happy module without worries, and let the rest of the party twiddle their thumbs until they come across a monster. Even after all the prior updates, there are still some rules-breaking legacy elements left over from the original edition.
    A little 3.5 optimization makes the module quite easy even at the recommended levels, so long as you are cautious. Jack_Smith's Trapsmith Wizard and/or Disassembler Druid can generally get through the whole module unscathed.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    A little 3.5 optimization makes the module quite easy even at the recommended levels, so long as you are cautious. Jack_Smith's Trapsmith Wizard and/or Disassembler Druid can generally get through the whole module unscathed.
    Hell, all we needed was a chameleon with a +10 skill item. Disassembler druid is like nuking a housefly.
    Last edited by Doc Roc; 2010-05-05 at 10:09 AM.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katana_Geldar View Post
    One of my friends gave me the module and ever since then it's been playing on my mind since then. We play fourth, though one of my friends recons he can source the rules for AD&D so we can play it.

    So, will the effort be worthwhile? I'll be running it, so if there are any yesses I could do with a few tips.
    I've found the 3.5 conversion of it to be suitably nasty, if you'd rather not do all that work learning 1e.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Since you guys are saying that the 3.5 Tomb of Horrors is easy, do you guys know either, a way to make it harder without completely screwing over the players, or a similar modual/campain?
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Well, the problem is that the "threat" of the original Tomb of Horrors is incredibly primitive. It basically amounts to requiring the players to test every square they enter, in the right way, or else they lose at least one character. Hell, sometimes the only way you can test an area is by sending a character in and seeing what happens (I'm looking at the initial entry points here).

    The only reason this "works" (i.e., threatens the party's continued survival) in 1e is that AD&D suffers from fundamental confusion regarding the metagame's place in the game. Players are expected to come up with their characters' actual actions in a game ("I prod the edges of the ceiling with a ten-foot pole to see if the ceiling is built to collapse"), based on their own knowledge of what those actions should be, and the GM is expected to decide whether those actions work. In 3e, on the other hand, the game is designed to model the characters' capabilities, and players make tactical decisions ("I search the room *roll d20*") without being expected to know the details of how to search an area for traps any more than they "know" the details of how to cast a magic missile.

    The bottom line is that AD&D Tomb of Horrors "works," in terms of promoting paranoia and general freaking-out amongst the players, because the mechanics of AD&D mean that the traps are adjudicated by players making guesses about what Gygax expected them to do, and often being proved wrong because Gygax was a pretty odd guy. 3.5 Tomb of Horrors doesn't work that way, because 9th-level adventurers are pretty competent and have the mechanical ability to beat traps of the type found in the Tomb of Horrors. You're better off scaring them with the occasional above-CR encounter and monsters with good deception abilities - in other words, things that should be scary in-character, instead of scary only in a metagame sense.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Hell, all we needed was a chameleon with a +10 skill item. Disassembler druid is like nuking a housefly.
    From orbit! It's the only way to be sure.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    My original 1st ed party levelled the place the first time they played it. It punishes a particular playstyle, and is lethal with a particularly DM style.

    Optimisation is largely irrelevent. Your 'build' is largely irrelevent (it didn't really apply in 1st ed). What matters is how you play, and how your DM plays.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Person_Man View Post
    Note that ToH has been updated to every edition of D&D (except 4th) and Pathfinder, in case someone in your group already happens to know how to play one of those rule sets.
    Yeah... well, about that...

    See, players with evil-module running DMs have marked July 20th as a day of dread. And Horror. Because they'll be buried in it.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mando Knight View Post
    Yeah... well, about that...

    See, players with evil-module running DMs have marked July 20th as a day of dread. And Horror. Because they'll be buried in it.
    You're best off waiting for this, since it's in a system you're already familiar with. Of course, none of us can attest to its playability.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    A little 3.5 optimization makes the module quite easy even at the recommended levels, so long as you are cautious. Jack_Smith's Trapsmith Wizard and/or Disassembler Druid can generally get through the whole module unscathed.
    Ah, I got a mention.

    Also: The build works with any full caster if all sources are permitted, and can be done with a couple of partial casters as well. It can also be done Core, but you'll be resting a lot (expressly permitted in The Tomb - other than a handful of critters, it's all traps).

    Further, with a Wizard, it's actually possible (if you're lucky on available spells) to do that with the 1st edition version. Until your DM throws the book at you for abusing summons + limitless rest, anyway.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    If you're looking for lethality, I wouldn't use this. We beat it with unoptimized characters, no trouble, and one party member short on top of being two levels under par.
    Agreed. The 3.5 Tomb is hardly lethal at all.
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    Default Re: Is it worth teaching 1sted for the Tomb of Horrors?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyrion View Post
    ToH may be the iconic module from 1e, but if you're going to learn the system, go for the better modules- White Plume Mountain, the Pharoah series, the giants/drow/demonweb series are worth the edition.
    This. The Giants/Drow/Demonweb series was easily the best of AD&D, IMHO.
    There was also a Mind-flayer series whose name escapes me now that was excellent, and the Slavers series was also really good.

    For a one-shot, go with Dungeonland (aka Alice in Wonderland). Much better, much more fun, and (IIRC, it's been 20+ years) close to as deadly as Tomb of Horrors, without that feeling of "you're dead because the DM killed you" that ToH leaves.
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