Return to the Tomb of Horrors Bruce R. Cordell

ISBN: 9780786907328

Published: July 13th 1998


0 pages


Return to the Tomb of Horrors  by  Bruce R. Cordell

Return to the Tomb of Horrors by Bruce R. Cordell
July 13th 1998 | Game | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, RTF | 0 pages | ISBN: 9780786907328 | 9.44 Mb

Return to the Tomb of Horrors really has no right to be as damned impressive as it is. I mean, were talking about a sequel/expansion/update to one of the most iconic first-edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventures ever printed. S1: The Tomb of Horrors has its reputation to consider, you understand. Its the corpse grinder, the sanity smasher, the adventure that invented the concept of the TPK* and gleefully pitted every last trick in the GMs dirty little playbook against the wit, cunning and rules-lawyering of experienced players and their (hopefully just as experienced) characters.

Gary Gygax was not messing around when he unleashed this grim, little (twelve pages, not counting the illustration booklet) monstrosity on the world. You either survived it or (much more commonly) you didnt, and that was that. What more, honestly, could revisiting this cruel and inhumane death trap accomplish? Was there really enough there to warrant an entire boxed set? Who the hell did Bruce Cordell think he was, tackling a project like this?Well get to the answers to questions one and two in a bit. I cant answer that third question though.

All I can say is this is the slickest, sickest, most vicious official campaign Ive read in my entire life, and after reading it my opinion was firmly cemented that Cordell is a freakin demigod of D&D design. I dont even know where to begin here.Sensible writing teachers always say to start at the beginning, so well open with the opening of the adventure, which involves the players getting dumped right into an awful situation as the tavern of the small coastal town theyre staying in gets a horrifying visit from some undead creatures.

What unfolds from there is a mystery the characters must slowly peel back, layer by layer, as they draw closer and closer to the vile heart of the evil behind everything. Im trying very, very hard not to spoil anything here--no player deserves to go into this one with advanced warning--but lets be honest: with a product calling itself Return to the Tomb of Horrors you know that Acererak, the horrifying demi-lich from the original, is going to be masterminding the whole thing.In the original adventure (a copy of which comes with the boxed set, and serves as the mid-way point of the campaign), Acererak was a fairly placid opponent: hed built his dungeon of death traps and was content to sit all by his undead self in the treasure room of his tomb, waiting to see if anybody was strong enough, smart enough, or lucky enough to make it into his presence.

Ah, but that was then. Now Acereraks getting more ambitious by the day: hes got a plan that could transform him from an already obscenely-powerful undead wizard into a deity capable of visiting ruin on a cosmic scale. Any volunteers to go obliterate one of the greatest evils known to Greyhawk? Wait, wheres everyone going?Between the unlucky party and the demi-lich, theres not only his tomb. A cult of necromancers has sprouted up around the tomb, studying the kind of Dark Arts that would give Voldemort the willies. Theres a couple of survivors from the last group that tried to raid Acereraks tomb years ago, a gorgeously atmospheric journal kept by their party cleric to read, a group of giants that will need dealing with, a trip to a plane that makes Ravenloft look like Candyland, enormous amounts of undead to be pacified, and much, much more.

Theres call for brute force as well as observation and deduction on the parts of the players and if introduced skillfully its entirely possible for the players to get swept up into the storyline for several days of playtime before they have any inkling what theyre in for.The artwork in the book is excellent, featuring plenty of beautiful pen-and-ink renderings of a sample party encountering the same things players will (and usually suffering some awful fate as a result).

When this nameless group of heroes isnt being portrayed, the artwork reflects the surroundings, notable characters the players may run into, the after-effects of traps, encounters with monsters, or sometimes just vague and menacing bits included solely for atmosphere.This adventure is not for faint-hearted players: Cordells update to the already violent original includes themes of slavery, necromancy, murder, torture, vivisection and other acts of unrepentant cruelty.

The characters are meant to be beacons of hope for the world, not a bunch of squabbling backstabbers- parties who cant get their acts together and work as a team have no hope of even reaching the titular Tomb, much less finishing the storyline. This is as grim and unforgiving as AD&D ever gets. Mature and serious players (and Game Masters) only, please.Good D&D adventures are fun to read.

Great D&D adventures are fun to run. Amazing D&D adventures are both. Cordells update to Garys classic killer dungeon is one of the nastiest supplements ever put on paper, and it will horrify even the most jaded of players. Theres little more you could ask of such an undertaking. Well worth the price of admission.*TPK = Total Party Kill, a situation in which every character in the adventure is killed, driven insane, banished to another dimension or otherwise removed from play.

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