Friday, April 29, 2011

Baranof of Horrors

So we played S1:Tomb of Horrors down at the Baranof tonight. With 1st and 2nd level characters.

You see, I've got this theory, see? That the Tomb of Horrors, while ostensibly for characters level 10th to 14th, is actually no more (or less) deadly at 1st level.

And it's not...I mean sure, everyone died (twice...but tonight was special 'cause we were calling "do overs"), but they were making progress. They were on their way, sorting through the riddles. Hell, they made it to the temple and would have probably made it farther if the thief hadn't gotten greedy with the treasure in the benches, leading to a gas attack that chased everyone through an arch that...well, you get the picture.

Point is, even 14th level characters get killed when they act stupid in an adventure that is designed to stomp the hell out of the players.

I've run Tomb of Horrors probably half a dozen times over the years. I've never had anyone (that I can recall) kill Acerack. I've only seen one or two parties actually discover his tomb. I've seen lots of "powerful" adventurers killed in any of the three entrance tunnels. The 1st level guys at least made it past those.

This was my first time playing S1 with B/X, but the only thing that really needs to be converted is the demilich. Ah,'ve got to make it to his lair first.

Maybe I'm silly. Maybe I'm just super-duper tired. But it wasn't a bad experiment. Next week, we'll return to the Caves of Chaos.
; )


  1. Sounds fun, especially the 'do overs'. :D

  2. JB, this is the kind of stuff we need more of - real experimentation to demystify the 'classics'. Very, very cool.

    Makes me wonder if every module would have been better off written as a 1st level adventure, with supplemental info to 'gear it up' for higher levels...

  3. The lack of divinations and conjurations is what weighs against low-level use of S1 for me. A savvy high-level party has a lot of resources at its disposal to minimize the alleged arbitrariness of the risk points.

  4. @ TS: I'm not a COMPLETE jerk.
    : )

    @ ScottZ: I don't think ALL modules can be played at any level...3rd level characters wouldn't make it past the 1st guard room in G1 let alone the acid trip plane of Lolth in Q1.

    However, I think you have a pretty cool idea with presenting low level adventures with instructions for "ramping 'em up." Much better than the traditional thing we find in modules, i.e. how to "nerf" them or "dumb them down."

    @ Scott: I've seen a lot of high level parties go into the Tomb of Horrors slotting all their spells as fireballs and chain lightnings. Maybe my past players were all DUMB, but the only thing "high level" ever helped them with was providing access to "raise dead" spells.
    ; )