Party Level for Tomb of Horror D&D Next

Any idea on what the average party level should be to the S1 module for a D&D Next campaign? I plan on taking four players each with two characters into the Tomb. I noticed that the Demi-Lich at the end is Level 14 but some characters will be dead by then...

I want the sessions to be a challenge but not to such an extent that an average pitfall trap kills the whole party. :P
Generally, I would say between 11th and 15th. Character level matters less in this type of adventure, because it's more about Player Ability than Character Ability. I would not send lower than 11, because they just wouldn't be strong enough to survive, even if they were great players.

A fun way to run this adventure is to have everyone make a dozen or so characters (usually 20th level or so) and play it "coin-op." When a PC dies, their next character rejoins after the next Encounter area (they skip out on 1 full area). Keep track of which players/characters solve the most obstacles, and subtract twice the number of PC's lost. Highest score wins a prize (this was done by a game store near here when the "Return" adventure came out, where the winner got a free copy of the new Adventure).
My kids are going in as the culmination of an 18 month campaign which has raised them to level 11. Each of them bears an amulet, a gift of the powerful patron who has charged them with clearing the tomb, with a special property: it can, when broken, reverse time, sending the party approximately one minute back in history...before whatever massive screwup got them killed. Thus they get to experience all the fun deathtraps, but get a half-dozen "reset" buttons. Kinda like save-points in a video game.
Both of you have great ideas!

I guess I will need to decide wether to make it a stand alone event so the dungeon and just kill a ton of people or work it into the main questline but create some options that remove some of the extreme severity of the traps.

Thanks! :D 
I don't know if the reprint has this, but the original module suggested using it as a stand alone due to it's deadliness.

I recall a story about the adventure's creation. Gygax made it to push the skill of his best players to the limit. Afterwards, he kept it with him and took it to conventions. Whenever a player would brag about their awesome character, he would offer them the chance to test it in the Tomb. Needless to say, very few survived Wink
Haha! That is awesome! Gygax seemed like a super cool dude. I'm excited to dig into more of his material.  A lot of my players are new, having only playd 1-3 sessions. I would like to give them almost a history lesson of DnD using famous dungeons. Do you know of any others that I should look into?
Haha! That is awesome! Gygax seemed like a super cool dude. I'm excited to dig into more of his material.  A lot of my players are new, having only playd 1-3 sessions. I would like to give them almost a history lesson of DnD using famous dungeons. Do you know of any others that I should look into?



Temple of Elemental Evil is another 'classic' dungeon (and quite a good one).  I'm also partial to the module 'The Land Beyond The Magic Mirror', although it's not strictly a dungeon.  Gygax wrote it and the one before it (Dungeonland) to be pretty gonzo.  I'd use them for like a 'Halloween Special'.

...everyone else -does- do holiday specials, right...?

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Personal opinion...

The Tomb of Horrors IS my Halloween special this year.  :D   

All around helpful simian

Personal opinion...

The Tomb of Horrors IS my Halloween special this year.  :D   



Oooohhhhhh, you evil monkey you!  No fair!

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

Haha! That is awesome! Gygax seemed like a super cool dude. I'm excited to dig into more of his material.  A lot of my players are new, having only playd 1-3 sessions. I would like to give them almost a history lesson of DnD using famous dungeons. Do you know of any others that I should look into?



As a matter of fact, the 18-month campaign my kids just finished was constructed precisely along those lines.  I wanted to make their first experience with D&D an overview of the high points I remembered from my own experiences, so I constructed a campaign in which they were charged with investigating a series of mysterious locations in order to complete the skeleton of a long-dead arch-mage...culminating in their present excursion to the Tomb of Horrors.  along the way, they visited:

N4 - Treasure Hunt - the first '0th level' adventuire, in which characters are supposed to choose their class
U1 - Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh - a lovely mix of investigation and dungeon crawl, the first UK D&D module
N2 - the Forest Oracle - generally considered the worst module in the history of D&D.  A hoot for the descriptions alone.
C1 - Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan - my second favorite after Tomb of Horros, a kind of lead-up to the puzzle-heavy, monster-light Tomb model
S2 - White Plume Mountain - an all-time classic.
S4 - Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth - A sprawling, episodic adventure, each cave a distinct encounter
C2- Ghost Tower of Inverness - originally a tournament module, quick-paced

In terms of D&Ds Greatest Hits, you'd probably need to add Keep on the Borderlands, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, the Village of Hommlet, and the aforementioned Temple of Elemental Evil.  I never personally ran ToEE (too long), but the others are all worthy work.  Arguably Ravenloft belongs on the list as well, but that's a personal call as to whether it fits within the broader D&D mythos.  The 'Against the Giants' series and 'Vault of the Drow' were very involved, three or four modules apiece, so it's up to you whether you'd want to devote that many sessions to them.  I feel like my little campaign gave my kids a good idea of what D&D is all about.
My kids are going in as the culmination of an 18 month campaign which has raised them to level 11. Each of them bears an amulet, a gift of the powerful patron who has charged them with clearing the tomb, with a special property: it can, when broken, reverse time, sending the party approximately one minute back in history...before whatever massive screwup got them killed. Thus they get to experience all the fun deathtraps, but get a half-dozen "reset" buttons. Kinda like save-points in a video game.

Sounds awesome. Would love to hear the details!
If you do Against the Giants, you should just make a campaign of "Queen of the Spiders" which is Against the Giants (G1-3), Descent into the Depths of the Earth (D1-3) and Queen of the Demonweb Pits (Q1). It's long, like The Temple of Elemental Evil, but it's worth it.

Another great classic, IMO, is the Desert of Desolation series (Pharaoh, Oasis of the White Palm, and The Lost Tomb of Martek).

If you know anything about Greyhawk, the Falcon Series (Falcon's Revenge, Falconmaster, and Flames of the Falcon) and Vecna Lives! are great. If you don't know much about the setting, then it's not for you.

Professordaddy: I'm surprised you didn't complete the Underwater Trilogy (The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater, and The Final Enemy). Your campaign still looks awesome though Smile