This thing isn't even in the article, but it runs you over after a gas knocks you out.

This thing isn’t even in the article, but it runs you over after a gas knocks you out.

In case you are wondering what you’ve missed, make sure you read the first two parts of our journey into the Tomb of Horrors:
Part 1
Part 2

And now, what was going to be the epic conclusion of 9to5 (dot cc)’s delve into the depths of Evil and a final confrontation with the demi lich Acererak (I think it’s worth noting that just about every player at the table had a different way of pronouncing his name). Why is it not the epic conclusion? When I wrote this all out it was nearly 3000 words long, which is too long for your fun time internet reading experiences. So I chopped it into two. However, you can read this and rest assured that the 4th part is already written. It’ll be up next week. Cross my heart. As always Jono (the DM) has added his insights in blue.

So where were we? Oh yes, that’s right, completely stuck at this weird altar/temple place, with images of people doing everyday activities (presumably reaping and sowing and whatever non-Adventurer people in Dungeons & Dragons do) except, get this, all the people have no flesh! Creepy.  Finally we remember the all-important rule of Tomb of Horrors: fucking checking everything with every ability that lets you check anything. What does that mean? It means you cast Detect Magic, Detect Trap, Detect Secret Door all the time, every time. That last one was our mistake. We were scouring the walls, floors and ceilings looking for traps, but for some reason we forgot to look for Secret Doors. Eventually we realized our error and found a door to the next corridor.

Yeah, that room was one of the places where Gary decided to make wacky dungeon dressing.  There were portraits of good-aligned Gods and people doing normal things.  In the book, it’s revealed that the players are supposed to wonder if maybe Acererak isn’t so evil.  I think in the thousands of times this module was ran that happened all of never.

My notes get a little hazy at this next part, I seem to recall strange vats filled with mysterious substances, finding a magic key and fighting an Ochre Jelly that probably killed one of us. It was late in the night and I was rather drunk, here’s what my notes looked like at this point:

The scrawl of a drunk player.

The scrawl of a drunk player.

We continued on our merry way and found a room with a super shifty floor, apparently every time we moved Jon rolled a D6 and on a 1 or 2 we would fall down. Now, I’m not sure if I get the exact nature of this room, but if you fell down near a wall you would roll another D6 and on a 1 or 2 you would reach out and grab the drapes or something and if you did so, guess what happens? If you guessed “you instantly die” then you’ve clearly been paying attention. But how do you instantly die? Allow me to paraphrase:

You (and any character occupying the same area) are washed over with slime. The slime is so voluminous that there is no recourse, you are slain.

That’s right, you’re hit with a wall of slime, and because there’s a lot of it, you die. This was the fate that fell upon Subatai and a character named Beerfist Hammerheart. Was it because they failed a roll and fell? Nope. In a classic case of “player acting out of desperation”, Subatai tried to climb the drapes. Way to go. There was nothing on the ceiling, there was no reason to climb the drapes. An act like that in the Tomb of Horrors is tantamount to committing suicide. RIP Subatia and Beerfist. They were replaced by a homely little gnome lady named Sprocket McGadget and someone named Gildrapot Contraption.

That line always cracked me up.  There is no recourse.  You are slain.  A player is supposed to suspect that pulling on the drapes will instantly kill them?  It’s just so damned random.  I kind of wanted Subatai to survive the dungeons.  Not only was he named after Conan’s sidekick, but you guys sent him first into every room.  Oh well.

We entered the next room and this room was filled with coffers and chests of all makes and models. We opened one up and guess what happens? Ha ha! Fooled you! It was not instant death but rather a bunch of snakes (more asps!) that sprung out to attack us! After defeating the asps, our trusty druid informed us that yes, ALL the boxes and chests are filled with snakes.  This room is just a room full of boxes full of snakes. Who’s feeding these snakes? Assuming adventurers only get this far once every decade or so I’m willing to bet that these snakes are leading pretty shitty lives trapped in boxes, being kept alive by the dark magicks of Acererak. We ignore the boxes and press forward.

Actually, the boxes had a 50% chance of having snakes.  But the book wasn’t clear as to if they were filled with snakes beforehand or if they were magically summoned.  I treated it like a Schrodinger’s Box situation where they both did and did not have snakes in em.  This is a poor understanding of sub-atomic physics but if there is anything more 70s DnD than that kind of call I don’t know what it is.

We continue down one corridor or another and find a beautiful fairy or whatever named Elwinnie. She’s in a room filled with glittering bags of loot and a type of mist. We try to determine if the mist is poisonous, we roll some dice and Jon tells us “It is not poisonous.” One of the party members ventures into the room to save Elwinnie and Jon promptly tells the player “Roll to save against the poisonous mist.” We laugh and laugh and the player narrowly escapes death by making his saving through against poison. We tell Elwinnie to come with us and she does, we then promptly forget that she exists since she seems completely useless.

True story.  Had to save vs. magic not poison.  Magic mist.  That character was actually a siren that Acererak decided to imprison for shits and giggles and is essentially the only NPC in the whole game.  She even has a sort of semi-backstory.  It’s specific though:  she knows nothing useful, so there’s no real reason to talk to her.  Roleplaying wasn’t high on the agenda back in the day.

We make it into a grand hall filled with columns, with a big gem in the middle and a huge blast radius around it. There’s ornate demon faces on the walls and some sort of magic flowing into their mouths. On one side of the room, we find a passage where there are some statues holding huge swords and on the other there’s a throne with a crown and a scepter on it. Do you know what we do? We don’t fuck around with anything in this room since everything kills you in the Tomb of Horrors. We study (but don’t touch) the throne and see a little picture of the scepter and the crown. We eventually figure out that there is a trick with the crown on the scepter (both of which are being used by the homely little gnome Sprocket) that involves wearing the crown and touching the scepter to various parts of the throne to uncover yet another secret passage. Damn demi-lich just loves his secret passages.

Again, this is a room filled with lethal traps.  The blast radius had a thing to grant you a wish that was cursed, but you guys ignored all of it.  10 points.

Now this is where we will end this current chapter in this epic old timey D&D campaign. Let me tell you, we are close to Acererak, at this point we can feel it in our bones.

Tune in next week where we (hopefully) overcome the last of the Tomb’s murderous chambers and finally confront Acererak. How will we fare? Find out next Monday.