Monday, October 2, 2017

Franks Mentzer's Worlds of Empyrea Kickstarter is LIVE

Just backed this baby!

Worlds of Empyrea

Monday, September 25, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - Star Trek in Name Only

My two paragraph ST; Discovery review 

*** spoilers*** 

I'm stunned at how much I pretty much hate everything about this show. The plot was full of holes, and the cinematography gave me a headache. The "Micheal' character is a Mary Sue, the Vulcans can communicate telepathically over thousands of light years, the 'Klingons' actions don't make any logical sense. Why did they decide to follow Vos..... or whatever his name was, other than it was in the script? "Let go to war with the Federation.. those guys are assholes!" Other Klingons, "You're not even on the council, who the F.... are you?".. "I'm the guy that found a ship and stuff, and I say lets fight these guys! Oh yeah, prophecy and stuff" .... The rest of the Klingon houses for no apparent reason, "Mmm.. yeah, sounds good!" Every time they spoke Klingon it was over enunciated, and laborious to listen to. The Fed Captain.... like hangs out in space just ... what a few hundred feet from the massive klingon vessel that decloked out of nowhere off the starboard bow?" How about an 'evasive maneuver' captain?" Nah.. we'll just float statically right here. What could go wrong?" 

I was not a fan of the 'odd angle/ 1960s batman hurky jurky, lens flared... shades of JJ Abrams camera work. That's a matter of personal taste... it just seemed like.. "Oooh.. look how creative and edgy we're being'. Style for the sake of style. I don't really care about 'the uniforms', or the 'Transporters aren't the same' or any of that. IF the story and characters are interesting, I'm in. It WAS well acted... The awkward klingon speech was just... weird. It wasn't spoken like a people who grew up with the language, but since all of them spoke it that way, I can only conclude that was the direction given to the actors.. which is strange, because it pulls me right out of the story, because I can't help thinking, "Why are they talking so awkwardly?" 

What a wreck

Lens flares! Aaarrrgh! My eyes! Please stop!

What is this suppose to be? A Drow-Klingon?
He looks 'fabulous' doesn't he?
More Lens Flares!

Even MORE lens flares!

Yummy lens flares!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Adventures in Primeval Thule

Over the last month, I've delved into a new campaign setting that I vaguely heard about a few years ago: Primeval Thule from Sasquatch games. The setting is a low magic, savage setting.... if you've seen Conan the Barbarian (1981 version), Beastmaster, any Roger Corman fantasy romp... if you like Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H.P. Lovecraft, you get this setting. A successful Kickstarter to convert the setting to fifth edition Dungeons and Dragons was done in 2015.

Anyway, I had been running a Monday night game on Fantasy Grounds for Castles and Crusades, but some dissatisfaction on my part with certain participants brought that to an end. Interestingly, after talking to one of my players, he suggested physically getting together on Monday nights, and starting something new. I brought Primeval Thule to his attention, and he was immediately excited about it. We were able to recruit three more players, and voila, we had Sesson 0 Monday night, and the players all created their characters together.

It was fun using Fantasy Grounds on the big screen. Everyone got a laugh as they each, in turn, choose their character narratives. We ended up with a Barbarian named Malstrom.. a former Katagian Pit Fighter, A Warlock named Yara the Bearer of the Black Book, a Druid Beastfriend named Edo, And an escaped pleasure slave Rogue who calls herself Seven. Returning from Katagia, Malstrom and Edo were traveling together as Mal returned to his village of Kalvandahar after years of captivity in Katagia. They encountered Seven (On the run from slavers from Marg) and Yara on the same road fighting a group of Cultists of Set who had attacked them... after the merchant caravan they were traveling with was ravaged by Beastmen.

 It was a tough fight, as none of them had fought together before, but with great injury, managed to persevere. Fortunately, they were not that far from Mal's home village, and they made it there before nightfall. Mal's father, Thorgran, the village chieftan was none to pleased to see his errant son, as the boy had run off in search of adventure... with his younger brother. A brother that he ultimately ended up having to kill in the pits of Katagia!

Regardless, as was their custom, the injured strangers, asking for aid were given it. Thorgran told his son, that once he was healed, he was to leave Kalvandahar until he found a way to restore honor to his name. Until then, he would be named Kin-slayer! However, the characters learned from the other villagers as their wounds were tended to that the Cult of Set was a problem throughout the region, and that the cultist were kidnapping young women for some unknown purpose.

Malstrom vowed to regain his honor by destroying the Cult's temple, or die trying. Edo the druid, of course, felt that ridding the jungle of the cultists was a good plan and decided to join the barbarian on his quest. Yara, while not really enthusiastic about it, felt a slight obligation to help since the barbarian had saved his life. In addition, Cults of Set were known to gather ancient secrets of the arcane. Seven, also felt some obligation, since the barbarian had saved her life as well, and, Cults of Set were known to have treasure!

Thus, the four strangers were now enjoined as companions on adventure!

Unfortunately, the Cultists were experts at covering their tracks, and no one knew the temple's location except that due to the raids frequency, it must be located relatively close, but difficult to detect in the dense jungle region. The PC's knew that the Cultists had taken the horses from the ravaged caravan, and deduced that horse tracks would be more challenging to cover than a man's. Thus, after healing, they trekked back to the scene of their battle, and together Edo and Mal were able to pick up the cultist's trail.

It took them a full day, but by night fall, at the beginning of the new moon, they found what they were looking for. Off in the distance, by firelight, shadowy figures danced and chanted atop a massive stone ziggurat, as they performed some type of ritual. A woman's desperate screams rang out in the night, and the characters sprang into action.

With a quick, but rather stealthy storm to the top of the pyramid, the heroes came upon a vile scene. Cultists gathered around a stone alter, daggers in hand, and chained to the thing, a nubile young lass, surely about to meet a horrid and bloody end! The battle was joined, and now, with some idea of their abilities, they worked together to lay the evil Cultists to ruin.

They freed the captive girl Valesska, and learned she was from one of the nearby villages, and that others were being held in the temple. In addition, the stone stairs at the top of the ziggurat, clearly lead downwards into the heart of the temple, and surely more cultist and who knows what else lies within! To be continued next week!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 Snakes and Jade (and corrections)

More beans have been spilled and a big reveal is coming later today.

First a correction, the blood red in the previous post was (to quote Darkest Dungeon's Wayne June) merely a trick of the light.

The design of the final segment of this kickstarter includes a massive amount of jade coloring and incredibly detailed sculpting of pieces.

This new Dwarven Forge set is gorgeous. I'm anxious to see the details in the full release information later today.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 Forsaken Temple (of Doom)

More previews from the Dungeon of Doom kickstarter. The awesome continues.

Blood red altar and steps, serpent pillars, the serpent floor design pieces speculated about in a much earlier post, additional decorative pieces, etc.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 - HOLY SNAKE SHIT

The Dungeon of Doom kickstarter is about half way through and already has eclipsed 1.6 million dollars on the way toward what could be well over 2 million by the end.

After looking carefully through the video of the kickstarter at the 3:38 mark you can see this amazing reveal of the heart and soul of this kickstarter: the real reason it is called the Dungeon of Doom; it may be inhabited by the bigger, badder brother of Conan's enemy Thulsa Doom.

Take a gander at these amazing pieces! The LED statue, the various wall pieces with intricate carvings, some with eyes, and the LED brazier with green flame. Wow!

At the time of writing this post, this has not been revealed in the kickstarter, but it isn't a secret since others have discovered it like I did by going through the video with frequent pauses to look for the cool pieces.

This truly is the dungeon of doom to your wallet; so much awesome stuff!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 Dungeon of Doom confirmed launch date

In order to focus more attention on pushing out shipments of the previous Kickstarter rewards, DF have pushed back the launch date until June 17th.

It will be interesting to see how this progresses.

Monday, May 29, 2017

West Marches -session something or other

I've lost track of the session count.

A quick update, the party is engaging the bandit/cultists and their necromancer ally. It has been a series of skirmishes in which the party has come out ahead until now.

Having decided to recon the bandit lair, the party have circled around to the east and then south of the encampment. They party is presently split into three units. The main unit is comprised of four characters and one npc, the second unit is two characters and two npcs, and the third unit is one character who is in big trouble.

Unit 2 is being tracked by a force of bandits and a war dog, which they are leading into an ambush by the main unit. Anton, alone, decided to get up close to see what the encampment held. His plan backfired when he triggered a magic mouth spell alerting the camp to his presence. Things are getting interesting and will be more so when the ambush kicks off.

We left off on that cliff hanger.

Below is a rough approximation of the positions. Not to scale.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Do Dragons Shit in their Hoard? (Things you can't unthink)

I was recently treated to a surprise party and the cake was D&D themed. The main cake was a DM's Guide book upon which sat a dragon's hoard and a black dragon with eggs sleeping atop it. The hoard was created from chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil. When removing the hoard of coins from beneath the dragon, some of them were coated with bits of the caramel icing from the book cake below, and this got me thinking.

In the real world (you know, the crutch for people that can't handle fantasy) hibernating creatures do indeed defecate and urinate during their long sleep. In fantasy, dragons are said to sleep sometimes for centuries between rampages. While it doesn't really matter for telling stories it might be fun for DM's that like to gross-out, inconvenience, or otherwise poke fun at the players and their characters, to add dragon feces to the list of things found in a hibernating dragon's hoard.

While nearly all fantasy stories completely ignore the unclean aspects of reality, unless we're talking about Game of Thrones, it might be fun to explore how much more difficult for our adventurers these things can make recovering treasure from lairs. Over the dragon's lifetime it has accumulated wealth during each rampage and then hibernated upon the pile creating strata of secreted waste that a geologist could use to determine the age of the beast and maybe when each rampage began and ended. The collection of filthy lucre would have things glued together, stuff that is a challenge to identify, and would add weight and bulk to what is collected.

"You're trying to pay for a room at my inn using shit caked money?! Bunch o' fuckin' murder hobos, get out of my tavern!"

Admittedly, walking around with packs full of loot reeking of dragon waste may keep some creatures away from the party, it is just as likely to draw others to camp. "Do you want assassin bugs? 'cause that's how you get assassin bugs." Imagine crossing through another dragon's territory leaving a trail of scent along the way. Will the offended dragon follow the scent trail to the party or back to the rest of the hoard? If to the hoard, will it be there should the party return for more treasure, or maybe to the town where they carried the loot? The odor of dragon waste might make for an interesting problem to overcome.

If any reader has done this or does do something like this please come and comment a brief bit about how the players reacted. Hopefully it's some funny shit.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 - Ziggurat of stairs and other goodies

The latest teaser shows some interesting pieces. Take a good long, close look. Some we've seen before like the fancy floors. There's a corner pillar piece carved like a demon of some sort, some rune stones, etc.
The updated date of launch is back to the estimated date of June 11th.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 - Dungeon of Doom Traps

Here is the latest peek at stuff coming in the new kickstarter project. Traps.
While I am not interested in most of the trap pieces, I did notice the stone ramp which if painted to match the sewer set and offered as a pack of 4 would be on my list for a potential add-on to acquire. A slick, steep access point to a lower section of sewers and dungeon would make for a nice minor challenge to descend, and an obstacle to ascend (especially when being pursued by nasty critters).

It now looks as if the launch date is expected to be June 9th.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter 5 - Dungeon of Doom! to your wallet

Here is the latest teaser picture for things coming in the Dwarven Forge Kickstarter later this spring.
In addition to the previously revealed terrain pieces a number of interesting items are revealed and hinted at in the image. LED walls, corners, and alcoves; walls with pedestals, curved and diagonal walls, a large pillar, a large archway with double doors, decorative floors, and what appears to be a portcullis add to the growing list of goodies to come.

The launch date for the Kickstarter has not been officially posted, though it is likely to be toward the end of May.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Dwarven Forge Kickstarter #5 forward look

Sometime in May, perhaps, Dwarven Forge will launch their 5th Kickstarter project which takes things back to the dungeon. Here are some preview pictures of prototypes for what is likely a big part of the new project.
The pillar and arch design provides the basic set a sufficiently different look and helps vary the appearance of the dungeon environment.
Here's what really grabbed my attention, the ability to build decent sized circular rooms using some freestanding curved walls and other pieces.

Additionally DF are working on alternative basic corners, diagonal walls, broken pillars, etc.

Does anyone recall if the snake design floor pieces below are old or new?
I currently have no available budget to speak of, but I would certainly like to add to my existing collection of DF terrain given the opportunity.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tower of Zenopus, Session 1

Our intrepid band gathered again this week to further their explorations of the strange, winding underhalls beneath Portown. Their gobin captive Gorfus was eager to join the group as 'Gorfus the Torchbearer!' as he and the halfling babarian Skit Runalong bonded, doing hand stands while hold up in the goblin room. Meanwhile, the rest of the group made the short trip back into town for some extra supplies, and food.

There, they met an Elvin Wizard named, Sulien, who had made the journey to Portown for reasons of his own. The wizard's research having led him to believe an elf wand of power and repute was lost within the catacombs beneath Zenopus's tower. The folks at the Green Dragon Inn were almost happy to see the party return one party member short, as it seems a 'dead pool' of sorts had begun, as to how many of the intrepid band would be lost to the dread halls. There was actually some groaning as the bard, Killian Sweetongue informed everyone that none had yet been lost, and the wizard was actually eager to join their party, as they were already exploring the very place he wanted to go!

Soon, explorations resumed, with an elven wizard in tow. As the party reentered the goblin room, their 'captive' jumped off his chair, held a torch aloft like a sword and proudly exclaimed, "I am Gorfus the Torchbearer"! Confused, worried and indifferent looks were exchanged, and the group returned to the room that had formerly contained a spider and mimic from last week. The spider's hidey hole in the ceiling seemed to be worth investigating, and Skit was just the right size for such work, so with a bit of effort, he crawled into the dark hole, discovering a rocky, refuse filled little tunnel leading back into darkness. With only enough room to crawl, and pushed on, barely avoiding a collapsed section of the floor that lead far below, the sounds of pebbles finding the water giving evidence to the depths of the shaft.

Carefully navigating around the 'pit', Skit went even further back, wondering if perhaps their weren't more spiders within this foul place.... but no, the little tunnel ended in a small chamber, that was open enough for the halfling to find his footing, and stand. What greeted his gaze was quite gruesome, however. A few goblins had clearly run afoul of the spider, as little web cocoons dotted the floor, and one dangled from the ceiling, a clenched mummified hand extending from the thing, the only evidence that there was something trapped within.

Most of what was found was rotted, or pitted with rust, but, from within the ceiling hanging cocoon, the goblin's prized possession was pressed uselessly against his body, in a desperate death grip for salvation... a shiny, jewel encrusted dagger! Skit happily liberated the dagger from its fate, and emerged from the tunnel pleased with his find, despite the danger.

At this point, the group was a bit flummoxed, though, Killian pointed out there was still the unexplored western passage of the entry hall, and everyone agreed that perhaps they should tackle that before trying to figure out the puzzle of the demon statue room.


The western passage quickly opened up into a larger room, with niches on the north and south walls, obscured by a thick mass of webbing, "On no, not more spiders" cried the half-orc Tempest, clearly his experience with the mimic causing a bit of PTSD.
Cautiously, the group entered the place, but a few steps in revealed that spiders were the least of their worries as the webbing began to move towards them... revealing....
Skeletons!! Four of the boney undead lurched forward, trailing stings of webbing, and attacked. The group was really starting to coordinate their skills at this point, and the skeletons gave them little trouble.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

West Marches sessions 10, 11, & 12

Three replacement characters were created at the start of session 10. Wolfe (elf), Samantha aka Sister Sam (cleric), and Anton (specialist).

The party decided to do some exploring and make their way again to Thistleblack. Along the way a Satyr in a magical grove offered up wine and food, and conversation. The party was suspicious, and declined the offer. A sleep spell later and all except Mira lay unconscious and the Satyr again offered wine and food. Mira, concerned for every one's safety, accepted. After some time passed the Satyr departed and the party awakened to continue their journey.

As a boon the Satyr had granted a Mira a minor one-time bonus in combat.

Returning to Thistleblack they continued exploring the under-city. Entering previously bypassed areas they located a shaft leading down to where they expected to find another way into the crypt with the well armed and armored zombie had been standing guard. Indeed, at the bottom of the shaft was a secret door to the expected location. Having been noticed by a zombie guardian, the door was quickly closed and the shaft ascended.

As the group was about to continue exploring the upper level a stone on stone grinding noise heralded the arrival, through the stone wall of a bizarre being with a skin of stone, three arms, three legs, and a mouth on the top of its head. In simple common tongue it requested precious metals. Uncertain of the risks involved in refusing the demand, the party gave up a quantity of copper and silver which the entity promptly devoured.

As a reward for their generosity, the creature answered questions about the existence and location of the sought after library.

Back above ground they encountered a pteranadon  and some giant ticks. The battles were difficult and very nearly cost the lives of two members of the adventuring band.

Eventually, after resting and licking their wounds, they opened a deep shaft hidden in a ruined tower and descended to the library entrance.

Friday, February 17, 2017

West Marches sessions 7, 8, & 9

Having fallen behind on session posts this will be a quick look at the activities of 3 sessions.

Two new players joined, adding their characters to the party. Rolfe (fighter), Lilura (wizard).

Rolfe and Lilura had arrived in town seeking to join an adventuring company and were accepted by the group. Safety in numbers.

The group decided that they would return to the scorpion cave and continue to explore. The cave no longer housed scorpions, though the other inhabitants were present proving to be a serious challenge. Blending into the surrounding stone and striking from above, the chokers grabbed at the explorers inflicting wounds on most of the party. After slaying two of the creatures and aware of at least one other still skulking nearby, the group retreated to seek the safety of the town.

The party agreed to venture to the surroundings of the Thistleblack Ruins to collect the unopened buds from the thistle plant that gave the ruined city its name, on behalf of Santhosh the local chirrurgeon and apothecary. The trip proved quite dangerous yet successful.

They encountered a large spitting cobra which temporarily blinded Mira. On their way back they discovered a small spring guarded by some large centipedes. They retrieved a black sapphire from the bottom of the spring, and two members of the party contracted an itchy rash which eventually went away. The spring is now called Blackstone Spring.

Their second trip to the ruins was prompted by their curiosity and at the request of Hart, high priestess of the goddess Vesta, to seek a rumored library which may contain knowledge of a divine nature that could greatly help the temple and community.

Reaching city center they began exploring the surface ruins, eventually coming under repeated attacks by ravenous beetles and lizards. Discovering a stairway leading below a partially standing building the party went below to investigate. A poison dart trap later and three members of the party were experiencing various stages of paralysis. This prompted a retreat back to their previous encampment outside the region of thistles.

While camped and with Rae paralyzed, a very young yellowish dragon attempted to extort treasure from the party. While some were willing to comply, Dorrak decided to insult the beast. One catastrophic reaction roll later left two party members dead, one dying, and another blinded from the scorching salt breath from the dragon. Dorrak decided to charge their attacker, against party wishes and paid for it with his life. The party surrendered 400 silver and begged for their lives. Mollified, the dragon departed.

Up till the dragon encounter that brought session 9 to a close there had been many close calls, but luck had prevented any casualties. This encounter resulted in 3 of the 7 party members dead and the others badly wounded.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Why the Tomb of Horrors is a Great Module

This article is in direct response to several posts I've seen lately critical of the classic AD&D adventure module the "Tomb of Horrors". Of course, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and as they say, 'opinions are like a...holes, everyone has one.' But, they also say, "You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant." So, with that in mind, I'm going to do my best to answer some of the criticisms, and inform as to why the 'Tomb of Horrors' is a great module.

Lets talk about the criticisms, point by point to get started:

1) The module's traps are too deadly

Deadly in relation to whom? The module was designed to foil exceptionally skilled characters, specifically those in Gygax's own campaign, Rob Kutz's character Robilar and Ernie Gygax's character Tenser. YOUR group may not be up to the same skill level as these players. This is an old school module, and one of the hallmarks of old school play is that many of the puzzles and traps were designed to challenge the PLAYER not the character. The solution to many of the module's traps and puzzles are not on the character sheet.

However, if you are running this module, and you think that many of the traps are too deadly for YOUR GROUP then, by all means change them! That's right. Go ahead. Where it says, "no saving throw" in the module, as DM you are fully authorized to alter it to say, "Make a save versus 'fill in the blank'. If you run this module as is, and your group is not up to the tasks as presented and something bad happens, that's YOUR fault as the DM, not the module's. Own it.

2) Character Death isn't Fun

That's a matter of opinion. Once again, it comes down to style of play, and in old school modules character death was a rather common thing. The specter of death was considered (and is still considered by many) one of the more enticing aspects of the game. The 'Tomb of Horrors' is about a creature who has designed their final resting place to lure souls to their doom. Its SUPPOSE to be horrible (its even in the title). Its okay if that's not your cup of tea, and not the style of your group. Don't play it. That doesn't make the module itself 'bad.'

3) That Fucking Mouth

Yes, John Wick, I'm calling you out. Spoiler Alert! I'm going to talk about this:
First, its important that the DM reads the description, and describe it to the players correctly. Players can only make informed decisions based on what the DM tells them.  In the description is reads:

 "...The face has a huge 0 of a mouth; it is dead black. The whole area radiates evil and magic if detected for. The mouth opening is similar to a (fixed) sphere of annihilation, but it is about 3' in diameter - plenty of room for those who wish to leap in and be completely and forever destroyed".

At this point, it might behoove a DM to look up 'sphere of annihilation', in the 1E DMG, page 154 to get an idea of what this thing is, as that might prove insightful in its description. When one does so the first few sentences read:

"A sphere of annihilation is a globe of absolute blackness, a ball of nothingness 2' in diameter. A sphere is actually a hole in the continuity of the multiverse, a void. Any matter which comes in contact with a sphere is instantly sucked into the void, gone, utterly destroyed."

Now, picture that in your head for a moment. Matter touches it and is "IMMEDIATELY SUCKED into the void...". Clearly, this would not be a subtle effect. No 'crawling into blackness' and disappearing. As soon as one iota of a person's body touches it, they are sucked into the thing. This would look rather violent, and unpleasant to the observer. "Woooosh!" then the person is gone. After witnessing such a thing, if someone, or an entire party decides to follow the unfortunate fool's example, then they get what they deserve.

Furthermore, this entire sequence can easily be avoided by simply prodding the thing with a 10 foot pole, which would immediately be violently wrenched from the character's hands as soon as it touched the sphere.

What? You're 14th level and no one in your party has a 10 foot pole? Have you learned nothing in the previous 13 levels? Perhaps its best if you try something safer, clearly this module is beyond your ken. I hear the palace of the 'Bubble Princess' is a challenge. *cough, cough*

Wait... what? You as DM didn't describe it this way either? Well, that's YOUR fault, not the module's. Own it.

Now, lets take a brief look at the map *big spoiler alert*

The place is not haphazardly drawn. I'm not going to go over every place, but point out that Gygax spaced things out carefully to reflect the various challenges provided. The map MEANS SOMETHING. You couldn't just find some random map someone drew online and plug the encounters in, as they wouldn't make any sense. The text, the traps and the actual drawing all come together as a cohesive whole, each complementing the other. Pits have secret passages, one hallway stretches overly long, a clue on its own, so that it ultimately 'tilts' into a fire pit, and so on. Clearly, this place was designed by a mad man, a genius or both!

Next, lets look at the nature of the traps themselves. Most of them show the characters what's going to get them. The players think, "Oh, that's a trap, its not going to get me", and then it gets them. Or it distracts in some way to lure the characters to their doom. In most cases, the traps can be avoided by simply ignoring them, and moving on. However, admittedly, some are pretty brutal. A tapestry of fungus in front of a door, that when touched collapses on the character, emulsifying them immediately, no saving throw. Its cruel, yes, but touching it with a 10 foot pole avoids it as well. As DM you might be kind and give them a Dex save, or something. Either way, the trap is avoidable if proper caution and care is taken.

And that's the key. Ingenuity, and caution will get most people through the tomb with only minor injury. These are 10th - 14th level characters after all. That is, until the encounter Acererack himself, and then all bets are off.

Lastly, we get to the Demi-Lich himself. Acererack is one tough BBEG, and probably something that no party can reasonably be prepared to encounter. That said, Acererak can be defeated in a single round, the solution of which I will not divulge here, but needless to say that Gygax himself was surprised by it at a convention... and that highlights my final point.

Player ingenuity knows no bounds, and there is no upper limit. The Tomb of Horrors is definitely a very tough challenge for any group. Most players and their characters will simply not be up to the challenge. Does that make it a bad module? Does that mean you shouldn't attempt it? I think not. Setting one's standards to accommodate the lowest common denominator is a recipe for boredom and stagnation. D&D is an amazing game, and the only limits on it are imagination. The Tomb of Horrors is a master class in trap and dungeon construction, and demonstrates the upper limits of D&D challenges. Even if you never run it, combing through these 14 pages of module lore will benefit any DM with an open mind.

For a further analysis and evaluation of this module I would invite you to also take a look at a video I made for my Youtube channel. Game on!

RPG Retro Review: Tomb of Horrors