A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    So, it'll be my turn to DM soon, and I'm going to run the 1e Tomb of Horrors. Now, before everyone freaks out, understand a few things:
    • This will be entirely for fun. My players know that the Tomb's very deadly, and instead of spoiling it all for them, we want to experience it all firsthand.
    • I'm thinking that whenever there's a TPWO, the players will "respawn" in a nearby spot. We'll be keeping track of who dies most often in unique manners.
    • We normally play 4e, so this game will be very rules light. The emphasis will be on getting past the traps, and I'm considering simply doing diceless combat.
    • We'll be using the pregenerated characters.

    I have one question about entering the tomb:
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    How do I determine which entrance the party entered? Roll 1d4, and reroll on a 4? Assume they enter the false entrances before they find the real one, just to reinforce how dangerous this place is?
    What's the easiest way to handle the opening corridor? Do I map it out all out and tell them to show me the exact path they take to get through it?


    Any advice on making this fun and simple for everyone?
    On a side note, I'm thinking of [replacing the siren with Gary Gygax. Given that she doesn't answer questions about the Tomb and cheerfully asks how everyone's doing in the Tomb, doesn't it fit?]

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    I say map everything out and see what they say. More work for you, but then it is their fault when they die a horrible death, not the dice.
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    For the very start, I suggest starting them outside the tomb and give them a pick of entrances.
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Usually the idea is they scout the area out looking for the entrances and choose which they want to enter.
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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew View Post
    Usually the idea is they scout the area out looking for the entrances and choose which they want to enter.
    Last time I went through, we started out essentially assuming that we had discovered the tomb and were faced with the three entrances. Choose your fate and all that.

    Good luck running the Tomb. Enjoy all the violent deaths and the comedy as players poke and prod every inch of the walls and floor if they're smart.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    I strongly recommend against the diceless combat idea. There aren't many combats, but there are a few memorable ones!

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    First, you are assuming your characters are not gumbi munchkin power gamers. That module is available online for all to see, demonoid and the pirate bay are right there.

    That said:
    Randomize as much as possible. Try to avoid a dice-less death, especially in this module, unless they are real dumb and have it coming.

    The "save point" is a great idea in this regard, but careful, as it can lead to meta-gaming (which honestly, since this is beer and pretzels gaming, is not that big a deal).

    Also, going from a 4e to a 1e is a BIG change. No healing surges, no dailies, no encounters, no nothing. Just you and your daily spell allotment, for those that have them. Fighters and rouges get nothing but good THACO and skills (respectively). Their is a good 4e Tomb of horrors out, you may want to give that a shot.

    I have ran Tomb of Horrors several times now, all in 1e, 2e, 3.5e. Believe me, I could run that thing blindfolded (other than the demilich), and be ok.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    keeping track of who dies most often in unique manners.[*]We normally play 4e, so this game will be very rules light. The emphasis will be on getting past the traps, and I'm considering simply doing diceless combat.
    Don't do diceless. D&D isn't really a system meant for diceless combat. Killing people without rolls happens enough in this dungeon. If they die to a mob, at least let the dice give them a shot.

    Be aware that the Tomb is ridiculously different in 4e from the earlier editions. It will not be the same experience. In fact, Im not aware of anything for 4e that resembles it at all. Module design has changed a lot. The 3.5 tomb is not exactly like the 1e tomb, but it's a lot closer. Not a bad choice if it's a system people know.

    I would like to second mapping out the entrance tunnel. It has important things in it, and location is a big deal for some things. You want to make sure the players know exactly what's going on.

    I suggest either a stack of spare character sheets or just arranging some way for them to get rezzes. The details are unimportant, the critical thing is that death doesn't make them stop playing.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by ken-do-nim View Post
    I strongly recommend against the diceless combat idea.
    +1

    are you playing under 1ed rules? or just rejigging the original Gygaxian deathtrap of the 1ed ToH and playing under 4ed rules? (it's been a LONG time, but i hear that later versions of the ToH are less instagib'like than the original)

    smart and careful players can get through the tomb semi-easily, it's just an incredibly slow process.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I think after giving an intro about their characters all having a death wish, they find the three entrances, then have them decide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slade View Post
    First, you are assuming your characters are not gumbi munchkin power gamers. That module is available online for all to see, demonoid and the pirate bay are right there.

    That said:
    Randomize as much as possible. Try to avoid a dice-less death, especially in this module, unless they are real dumb and have it coming.

    The "save point" is a great idea in this regard, but careful, as it can lead to meta-gaming (which honestly, since this is beer and pretzels gaming, is not that big a deal).

    Also, going from a 4e to a 1e is a BIG change. No healing surges, no dailies, no encounters, no nothing. Just you and your daily spell allotment, for those that have them. Fighters and rouges get nothing but good THACO and skills (respectively). Their is a good 4e Tomb of horrors out, you may want to give that a shot.

    I have ran Tomb of Horrors several times now, all in 1e, 2e, 3.5e. Believe me, I could run that thing blindfolded (other than the demilich), and be ok.
    With the exception of one, I've known my players for at least 12 years, and the one I know least has proved himself to be a trustworthy guy. Given all our unfamiliarity with the system, munchkins won't be a problem. They're also not the type of guys to pirate it.

    We also recognize that 1e is more likely to kick you in the groin than hold your hand. Basically my point in running the 1e version (as opposed to 3.5 or 4e) is so that the lethality of the Tomb remains intact. They're planning on having to dictate the individual things their characters will have to do.
    Probably just easiest to say that they know to throw 4e out the window for this game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyndmyr View Post
    I suggest either a stack of spare character sheets or just arranging some way for them to get rezzes. The details are unimportant, the critical thing is that death doesn't make them stop playing.
    I mentioned earlier that I'll have them "respawn" close to where they died. We're playing it as a one-shot deal, and part of the fun will be keeping track of who died in the most unique ways (a player's idea, not mine).

    Quote Originally Posted by sambo. View Post
    +1

    are you playing under 1ed rules? or just rejigging the original Gygaxian deathtrap of the 1ed ToH and playing under 4ed rules? (it's been a LONG time, but i hear that later versions of the ToH are less instagib'like than the original)

    smart and careful players can get through the tomb semi-easily, it's just an incredibly slow process.
    Er, "1e rules lite." None of us have ever played 1e, so it's basically going to be summed up as "Tell me precisely what your character is doing." No skill rolls.

    Thanks again, everyone.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by sambo. View Post
    smart and careful players can get through the tomb semi-easily, it's just an incredibly slow process.
    This. I'm not saying that my group was smarter than others, but we were careful the one time we played it. We had no knowledge going in except "one of the traps turns you into the opposite sex" and "everything in there kills you." That's all we knew. By the end, I did not die, one person only died once, and the other two players died twice. (I want an "I survived the Tomb of Horrors" bumper sticker.)

    As a Barbarian (we were using Unearthed Arcana), I foiled a few traps through judicious use of chickens (and chicken feed). Yep, chickens. When making my character, I realized there was a price on them. So I bought a backpack full of chickens. It actually saved me from being feminized; I threw a chicken into that trap and it came back a rooster. Crisis averted. Chickens are so handy. Luckily, PETA never showed up.

    The game did go fairly slowly, though. It took us about 9-10 hours to get through it and we were focusing strongly on the game. This was also our first foray into 1e.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by Janus View Post
    We also recognize that 1e is more likely to kick you in the groin than hold your hand.
    Kick you in the groin while lighting you on fire, running over you with a tank (literally), giving you mummy rot, getting you high, and laughing the entire way.

    Basically my point in running the 1e version (as opposed to 3.5 or 4e) is so that the lethality of the Tomb remains intact.
    How dare does 3.5 give you saving throws. The nerve!

    Thanks again, everyone.
    Oddly enough, I survived my first time through, but I was playing a healbot. The fighter though, got nuked the first few steps in though. Pit traps, I think it was, then later, the fake lich got him.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by Slade View Post
    How dare does 3.5 give you saving throws. The nerve!
    Actually, IIRC, there was only one "no save no hope" trap in the entire thing, and that was essentially a trap for the willfully stupid who climbed into a dark hole without prodding it with a 10' pole first.
    It doesn't matter what game you're playing as long as you're having fun.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Nah, the whole thing is full of them. I vaguely remember a 'touch the curtains and die' trap somewhere in there.

    Although I really don't get how anyone ever fell for the great green face.
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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Quote Originally Posted by potatocubed View Post
    Although I really don't get how anyone ever fell for the great green face.
    Heh, my friend's dad DM'd it back in the 70s or 80s, and the entire group jumped into the statue's mouth.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    When I ran the 3.5 conversion last summer, one of my players decided that the only way to progress through that initial corridor was to jump through the green devil's mouth.

    It was honestly pretty funny to watch. He pushed a couple of things first, and when he couldn't retrieve them, he decided that they had been teleported away. He even found some passage in the riddle that induced him to think you had to be "bold" and jump into the devil's mouth.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Ran this last year or the annual tribute to Gygax. Couple weeks before we all sat down and took a spiral notebook and made characters (4d6 straight down the sheet) and get got what we got. Was quite fun.

    They eventually defeated the demi-lich. Ok with some creative interpretation of a critical chart we decided to use for chits and giggles. After slaying several, and I mean several, characters our band of intrepid adventures were eye ball to eye ball with the floating head.

    The party Palidian strode forward with his mighty sword and rolled a critical hit (yes I'm aware that it's not RAW to crit in 1st ed). So we pulled out the chart and he rolled "Decapated, dead". I decided (with the aid of some of the Captain's Private stock) he must be dead, due to the fact that he once again lost his head.

    Was a great time.

    This year we have decided on the Temple of Elemental Evil, running it under 2nd edition.

    The bodies start piling up Sunday at High Noon.

    O and good luck, the Tomb is one of my favorite reads. It's just evil.
    Remember no matter where you go. There you are.

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    Default Re: [1e] Going to run Tomb of Horrors

    Several years ago the group I was in played this. A couple of us, besides the DM, had been through it before so we played kinda dumb and stuck to the back of the party and let the others make the important decisions. Like has been said before we posted a chart on the wall of the game room that we called, "The Dead Pool" where we kept tally marks by Player to record how many characters each of us lost. At the Green Face we didn't say a word until the 3rd party member(all thieves) climbed into the mouth. They kept saying, "Hey, he didn't come back, I bet he's getting the good stuff before we get there!"

    The two of us veterans were laughing too hard at that point and the DM didn't mind when we stepped in and said, "Maybe we should check out the mouth before sending someone else in."

    It was very fun. Hope your group has fun with it also.

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