Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tomb of Horrors!

Any old-school D&D player could tell you about Gary Gygax's infamous meat grinder adventure module "Tomb of Horrors." The module exemplified everything that was great about old school D&D: an emphasis on roleplaying, a sense of dread that your beloved character would meet it's maker and perhaps most importantly an emphasis on actual puzzle solving rather than rolling dice.

It's no surprise that gamers talk about that module in reverential terms. Surviving the module was a badge of honor among those that played early editions of D&D. It was almost certain you would most, if not all of your party, before you got halfway through the adventure.

So it was with no small bit of surprise that I read today that Wizards of the Coast is releasing an updated version of the module for 4th edition D&D. I'm pretty disappointed with this announcement.

Terabytes of data have been expended in debating the merits of the most recent version of D&D, so I have no interest of hashing that out here. I personally find the emphasis on character balance and dumbing-down of game mechanics to be off-putting. I can't shake the feeling when I play 4th edition games that I've played this game before online when it was called World of Warcraft.

Tank + Blaster + Wizard + Healer for the win = teh boring.

The prospect that you can take a module that contains only one monster but tons and tons of clever traps instead and translate it into the 4th edition rules with it's emphasis on fighting, player survival and rolling dice rather than roleplaying seems highly dubious to me. They're going to have to nerf the damned thing and if they do that they're entirely missing the point.

--Dean Wormer


Don Snabulus said...

I am completely ignorant of 4E D&D so I can't comment on that. All I can say is that I loved Tomb of Horrors in the old days and I still have my copy of it.

Randal Graves said...

Shit! Don wrote exactly what I was going to, except with less swearing.

Arkonbey said...

Stick with 3.5. It's a pretty elegant system with more old-school flavor and less Wow influences.

To my mind, people who want to pay a Wow-like game will play Wow. People who want to play D&D will play D&D.

Anonymous said...

I'll go a step further and say give OD&D a try. Check out the Grognardia blog for a few reasons why.

And yes, I mean Original flavor. I've been trying it and even 1st edition seems rules bloated in comparison.


Swinebread said...

I never got to play any of the clasics

ze bulette said...

pretty laughable... did you see the new "Red Box" version of 4e coming out that has rules for playing up to level 2? Sigh... Anon's Grognardia is a good start for OSR blogs, also check out maybe...

Rex Venom said...

I feel betrayed by the game gods with this! ha!
Rock on!

SK said...

Tomb of Horror was a classic.
Hate to see it nerfed.