Tomb of Horrors by Gary Gygax
The S1 module, Tomb of Horrors, is one of the most infamous and challenging adventure modules for the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) role-playing game…and probably for any DnD version or RPG game system. It was originally written by Gary Gygax, one of the co-creators of Dungeons & Dragons, and was first published in 1978.
It’s designed to test the mettle (able to cope well under difficulty) of experienced and skilled players. It is set in a labyrinthine tomb created by a powerful and sadistic archmage named Acererak. The module’s primary goal is not simply to defeat monsters or collect treasure, but rather to solve intricate puzzles, navigate deadly traps, and outwit the cunning designs of Acererak himself.
Here are many key aspects of the Tomb of Horrors adventure module that makes it so enjoyable. The adventure takes place in a vast underground tomb, filled with elaborate chambers and passages. It is located in a desolate and treacherous region, often situated near a ruined city or in a remote area difficult to reach.
The module is known for its dark and foreboding atmosphere. The tomb is shrouded in mystery, and a sense of impending doom hangs over the adventurers as they delve deeper into its depths. The adventure is notorious for its numerous and deadly traps and puzzles. These challenges often require careful observation, creative problem-solving, and trial-and-error to overcome. The module’s focus on mental agility and strategic thinking sets it apart from more combat-oriented adventures.
Magic plays a significant role in the Tomb of Horrors. Spells and magical items are integral to bypassing traps, uncovering secrets, and surviving the tomb’s many dangers. Unlike many traditional adventures, the Tomb of Horrors is not a linear progression from one room to another. Instead, players must explore the tomb freely, making choices that can lead to different encounters and outcomes.
It’s renowned for its lethality. The module is designed to challenge and potentially kill even experienced characters. It is not uncommon for players to lose their characters during their exploration of the tomb. This module has become an iconic adventure and has had several re-releases and adaptations over the years for different editions of Dungeons & Dragons. It has inspired other adventures, novels, and even video games.
It’s important to note that the specific details and mechanics of the Tomb of Horrors may vary between different editions of AD&D and subsequent adaptations. Players are advised to consult the appropriate version of the module for the rules and details relevant to their game.
Overall, the Tomb of Horrors is known for its challenging puzzles, deadly traps, and its ability to test players’ skills and problem-solving abilities. It has become a legendary adventure module within the realm of Dungeons & Dragons, leaving a lasting impact on the tabletop role-playing community.
And now it’s available, here.
An adventure for those seeking inspiration, but you can easily flip this PDF to any D&D version or game system. If you need help on conversion, I created this page for such an occasion: Convert Old Dungeons and Dragons Adventures