Tomb of Horrors?

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So it is summer time and I've got my gaming group together again for several months of fun inside where it's nice and air conditioned.  As the DM for my play group, we had about a year's worth of good times getting their 4th Ed characters up to 10th level, but Paragon Tier and above just doesn't hold my interest as well as the Heroic levels.  Anyway, my group demands that they get to take their characters on one last hurrah and get to really explore what levels 11-20ish have to offer. 

I was in a bookstore the other day and ran across the Tome of Horrors adventure book.  I noticed that it starts at 10th level.  I brought it up with some of my players and they seemed really interested in giving it a go.  Only one of the bunch, besides me, is enough of a D&D player to remember the Tomb of Horrors from our 2nd Ed days.  So I was wondering what people thought of this newer 4th Ed incarnation of it?  My players aren't really the type to find the "traps spring, everybody dies" lethality that I remember from the older version to be very fun, but if 4th Ed made it more of an adventure and less an exercise in tiptoeing through a pit full of claymore mines, maybe they'll enjoy this?

What do you guys think?  Has anyone tried out the new Tomb of Horrors? 

My party of players consists of:
Elf Barbarian
Razorclaw Shifter Shaman
Half-Elf Paladin
Pixie Wizard (Witch)

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

Oh you mean the book, rather than the free DM material (that's level 9) that was handed out by WotC before?  Don't worry too much, it'll be fine it's not insta-kill heavy like the original — indeed, the original isn't even in the book; it's the free DM material that goes by the same name (I have a copy myself) — but it should prove to be an interesting challenge.

I just hope someone has Thievery in your group. 
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57047238 wrote:
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I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I just hope someone has Thievery in your group. 

Not...not so much.  Paladin has it at 2, Wizard at 6, Shaman at 8, and the Barbarian is leading the Thievery score at 9.  I may need to toss in an NPC to help them out...

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

I may need to toss in an NPC to help them out...



Chris Perkins used a ghost posessing co-habitating one of the PCs for this when he ran something similar for Penny Arcade.
I may need to toss in an NPC to help them out...



Chris Perkins used a ghost posessing co-habitating one of the PCs for this when he ran something similar for Penny Arcade.

I remember that.  That is actually a really good idea.  Especially in the Tomb of Horrors.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

One suggestion I may make, seeing as you've got a Witch and an Elf Barbarian in the party- should the Players choose, let them retrain (EVERYTHING)...
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
One suggestion I may make, seeing as you've got a Witch and an Elf Barbarian in the party- should the Players choose, let them retrain (EVERYTHING)...

Why?  They seem pretty happy with what they have.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

One suggestion I may make, seeing as you've got a Witch and an Elf Barbarian in the party- should the Players choose, let them retrain (EVERYTHING)...

Why?  They seem pretty happy with what they have.



*cough**char op**cough*
Show

You are Red/Blue!
Take The Magic Dual Colour Test - Beta today!
Created with Rum and Monkey's Personality Test Generator.

You are both rational and emotional. You value creation and discovery, and feel strongly about what you create. At best, you're innovative and intuitive. At worst, you're scattered and unpredictable.

D&D Home Page - What Monster Are You? - D&D Compendium

57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
*cough**char op**cough*

Oh, well my barbarian gril seems to like the elf abilities to ignore difficult terrain while she's charging into things and re-roll missed attack rolls.  The pixie witch is mostly in it to be a pixie and to turn people into frogs.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.

One suggestion I may make, seeing as you've got a Witch and an Elf Barbarian in the party- should the Players choose, let them retrain (EVERYTHING)...

Why?  They seem pretty happy with what they have.



*cough**char op**cough*



This. I'm not saying make them retrain, simple let them if they wish to do so.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
One thing to keep in mind is that the Tomb does not directly cover every level from 10-22 like it says.

It is divided into several chapters and each one has a different level range (often 2-3 levels higher than the chapter before it).
The intention is that you weave these events into your ongoing game and do something else in the off levels.

Alternatively, you could just narrate the off events and let your chars jump up to match the module (this offers a good chance for retraining)...
 

If you do decide to fill in the other levels with something published i'd recommend the 4 Against the Giants modules from Dungeon Magazine, since they are set up in a similar level-skipping fashion.
And it's not too hard to weave the stories together (a lich controlling some unruley giants...) 
FWIW [4e designer] baseline assumption was that roughly 70% of your feats would be put towards combat effectiveness, parties would coordinate, and strikers would do 20/40/60 at-will damage+novas. If your party isn't doing that... well, you are below baseline, so yes, you need to optimize slightly to meet baseline. -Alcestis
This. I'm not saying make them retrain, simple let them if they wish to do so.



If you think the group should retrain in order to properly enjoy an adventure... perhaps you should choose another adventure more suited to their specialties.

Or you could improvise a paragon feat that lets them use their Arcana checks for disabling traps. Like this one: Arcane Trapsmith. You could make it something like Trap Hexer, have it give the PC training in Thievery & use Int instead of Dex for it. Flavor it as the pixie witch cursing traps so they misfire or don't work.
Not sure I can make this clearer- I did NOT say they should retrain in order to enjoy the module; I'm coming at it from a CharOp standpoint, which is if you see those aforementioned PCs falling behind the curve, which they will, let them fix themselves without issue.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
Funny Forum Quotes
[quote author=82733368 post=532127449]
58115148 wrote:
"You notice a large piece of mold clinging to your toothbrush. What do you do?" "I cast Fireball." "I run like hell!
63797881 wrote:
The standard d4 is somewhat (SOMEWHAT) rounded on the top, the older models are even flat. The Lego is shaped in such a way that in an emergency, you can use one as a makeshift surgical knife.
147742801 wrote:
57457938 wrote:
My wife asked me if her pants made her look fat. What do you think I said?
Wife: Do these pants make me look fat? RedSiegfried: I just killed a bunch of orc women and children.
63797881 wrote:
82733368 wrote:
28.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character (Monk or otherwise) does not require my character to be completely shitfaced, no matter what the name (and fun interpretation) implies.
29.) Making a "Drunken Master" style character does not require ME to be completely tanked, no matter how "in-character" I want to be..
The 4th edition Tomb of Horrors book is, in my opinion, a vast improvment over the original. In fact it is something of a continuation of the original adventure, picking up after the original tomb has already been plundered. It is far more expansive and offers much more opportunity for adventure in vastly different regions and areas. The story arch is excellent, and as mentioned previously, allows for some much needed diversity in the campaign by allowing you ample space to weave in your own adventures and plot threads.

I wouldn't worry about your PCs not having all the "neccesary" skills to take on the adventure. In my experiance, good players will find a way even if they don't have the resources that the adventure calls for. Don't give them NPC help unless they go looking for it, and don't tell them to retrain, let them make that decision on their own. Not every group of adventurers is perfectly suited to every challenge they will face, and thats how it should be. Again this is only my opinion, but it creates a much more believable and realistic world when not every encounter to tailor made to suit the group.
Beware of the encounter G-3 (page 22-23). If your characters aren't good at area attacks it will become incredibly long and boring...i suggest to fix it by lowering the level of the Elesdri or by making her run away when bloodied.
 
So noted.  Our witch is pretty AoE centric though, so we'll see how it goes.

@mikemearls The office is basically empty this week, which opens up all sorts of possibilities for low shenanigans

@mikemearls In essence, all those arguments I lost are being unlost. Won, if you will. We're doing it MY way, baby.

@biotech66 aren't you the boss anyway? isn't "DO IT OR I FIRE YOU!" still an option?

@mikemearls I think Perkins would throat punch me if I ever tried that. And I'd give him a glowing quarterly review for it.