Doh! It's ToH!

Character Creation
#1

After spending some time creating characters, Daniel/Dale/Myles/Hughes/Yerin/“Brandon” headed to the opening of the Tomb of Horrors.

Upon finding a massive collection of rocks sculpted into a skull and not sensing any evil present, Griffith called bullshit and we began testing everything. We excavated tree doors, triggered a trap closing off one, got Yerin stuck behind another, and located tons of traps in the third.

Then, an alternate reality spell was used to teleport the trap guarding Yerin (an inexorably sliding block) to inbetween two parts of the skull, and triggered it. In breaking part of the massive skull, immediately dark magics were released, and we’re staring at 6 wraiths. Until next time…

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History of the World
Lore of the Tomb of Horrors

Some say that it lies at an eternal horizon, a never-reachable site that forever recedes to the edge of the world. Others claim that it lies in a gap between planes—perhaps the dead space between the positive and negative material planes, the same purgatory between life and death with which its occupants would only be too comfortable. And still others insist that the Tomb of Horrors doesn’t exist at all, that it’s only a figment of imagination born of a collective fear—after all, were it real, the dark terrors of their own nightmares would cease to be only dreams.

The lore of the tomb is rare, for few have knowledge of it, and of those none will speak of it willingly. The elves of Imilith, in the West, and Nareth Namerilli in the Northwest, have the greatest knowledge of the tomb, but they no longer permit Men into their kingdoms, having withdrawn from the world after they mistakenly taught humanity—a young, headstrong race—magic. To the South, in the confederate kingdom of Orarin, warring city-states are too preoccupied with political advantage to concern themselves with a legend that has now passed into myth. And the dwarves, holed up in the Eastern peaks of Din’hae Zaras, have no interest in the esoteric and the arcane.

By a struggle, though, some have come to learn of the existence of the tomb, and of the terrible legend behind it. In the age before all races, the time before time, dragons fashioned the world from the union of the four elements. They then created the races of the world: men, from fire; dwarves, from earth; and elves, from air and water. Elves, being uniquely borne of two elements, were taught the secrets of the forces of creation, what has since come to be called magic. But the elves were too trusting with this knowledge, and taught Men the intricate sorceries of their power. Humanity was not ready to wield such responsibility, for the fire that created them burns hot and dies soon. Tensions brewed, and conflicts erupted, growing into war.

One man, whose name has been lost to the passing of time, sought greater power than all of his fellows. He believed the magics taught him by the elves were mere intermediaries to the true power afforded by directly wielding creation—he as such desired the ascension to immortality and god-dom. Through dark rituals now forgotten, he bound his life energy to a material object, and when he died—some believe through suicide—he was reborn as a lich, a powerful, magical undead. He fashioned himself a new name from the Old Tongue: Acererak—“devourer of souls”.

Acererak bred an army of horrible undead servitors, and when he perceived himself strong enough, entered the Negative Material Plane—the realm of death and the god of the dead. Acererak marched on the City of Skulls and the Palace of the Dead, and in a magical duel that forever altered the course of history, slew the god of the dead and took his place. Yet fortune, ever fickle, was unkind to Acererak, and the power of his corporeal form waned. His body disintegrated, and a demon lord called the King of Ravens usurped the role Acererak himself had stolen, banishing Acererak’s soul back to the Material Plane. He believed Acererak destroyed. But the fallen god-lich’s power, so tightly bound to creation magic itself, could not be undone.

On the Mateiral Plane, Acererak’s servants labored for decades to construct the Tomb of Horrors, where Acererak—who had lost the power of his godhood but whose unlife had preserved his soul, transforming him into a demi-lich—would bide his time. They placed Acererak’s only unharmed physical remnant—no one knows which part—inside the tomb, while Acererak’s soul wandered far planes unknown to even the wisest sages. There, he seeks the power that will allow him to manifest a new body and return once again to the Negative Plane, to challenge the Raven King for the godhood over death that he believes to be rightfully his.

The tomb lay quiet for centuries, for ages, as time passed and civilizations rose and fell. Eventually it fell out of the awareness of all except those devoted to the early cosmic history of the world. But now, something is stirring inside the tomb. There has been a…change, which none can yet fathom, but which has called the champions of good toward the tomb.

A few have answered the call, though they do not know what power or motive compels them besides the twists of fate. Some have come out of arrogance, to test their strength against the fabled power of the demi-lich who still wards his final haunt. Others have come out of greed, for the promise of magical treasure deep within the tomb. Still others have been sent by the Holy Powers of the world, the gods of justice, righteousness, and protection—for they know that Acererak must not be allowed to return. And some who have come to face the tomb do not yet know why they have answered the world’s call, a call known only to them.

Yet come they have, as have legions of dead heroes before them. There is no turning back for these heroes, for there is no hope. They have found the Tomb of Horrors. And they have found their certain deaths.

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Diplomacy (By Various Means)
#2

Sneak Attacks by Philip: 4

Hughes runs very, very fast. Enough so to kite 3 wraiths almost by himself, and letting Philip and his ridiculous stealth backstab 3 wraiths, right one after another. All of the wraiths whiff their attacks, and die in Nicholas’ druidic fire without de-leveling anybody. We cautiously move inside, and clear out a great number of traps in the first passageway, including traps within traps within traps. A consequence of this, indirectly, is finding the Deck of Many Things…..

Deck of Many Things:
Griffith drew first, out of ambition: Gained a city with populace who pays tithe and set Charisma to 18. However, he already had 18 charisma and a keep to himself, so he instead gained another castle, both the gained castle and his previous one magically grew in size, and he gained a 35% increase in henchmen loyalty/reaction adjustment. This came in handy quite quickly….

Nicholas drew next out if impatience: +2 Attribute to stat of choice, and so his health went up by 28.

Philip drew, for dreams of wealth and glory: He earned two wishes, with two minutes to decide. Wished for: Everyone in the party to enter the dungeon gets the ability to cast the strongest healing spell (all health healed except 1d4 damage), and for a “Permanent, non-dispellable true vision applied to all party members entering the Tomb of Horrors”. Unfortunately, he said True Vision, not true sight, the spell he was looking for. So, we all got a prophetic vision about some traps in the tomb… because true sight would be rather OP.

Last Myles drew… DEATH. And so, Death incarnate appeared in our midst.
But. A certain paladin has a quite high charisma indeed…..

So began a dialogue with death (and yes, recursion was attempted: The GM wouldn’t allow though…), while in the meantime, in a ridiculous feat of stupidity and luck, Philip managed to pick the pockets of Death, grabbing a Grimore of some unknown sort.

Due to the nature of our quest, attempting to take down a Demi-Lich who had previously attained the position of Death itself, Griffith successfully bargained with Death as to leave us be. However, all the party members received a mysterious curse mark on their face…..

Moving into the next room, a mutated stone-gargoyle was encountered, and promptly rendered unconscious with pretty lights. Philip performed a coup de grace, dealing 60 points of damage, and this session ended with various members attempting to read the Grimore, and one of Griffith’s henchmen turning to dust in the attempt.

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Oh, Snap: An Invitation to Death
Acererak's Challenge

«ACERERAK CONGRATULATES YOU ON YOUR POWERS OF OBSERVATION. SO MAKE
OF THIS WHATEVER YOU WISH, FOR YOU WILL BE MINE IN THE END NO MATTER
WHAT!

Go back to the tormentor or through the arch,
and the second great hall you’ll discover.
Shun green if you can, but night’s good color
is for those of great valor.
If shades of red stand for blood the wise
will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of
magical metal – you’re well along your march.
Two pits along the way will be found to lead
to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall.
These keys and those are most important of all,
and beware of trembling hands and what will maul.
If you find the false you find the true
and into the columned hall you’ll come,
and there the throne that’s key and keyed.
The iron men of visage grim do more than
meets the viewer’s eye.
You’ve left and left and found my Tomb
and now your soul will die.»

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Wandering Monsters, Lost Adventurers
#3
  1. Slowly explored a set of doors, Dale saves Myles from skeleton deathtrap
  2. Trolling secret passageways, firing an infinite amount of magical arrows. Now the party has an arguably infinite amount of arrows to test traps with.
  3. Hughes runs fast, carrying a dwarf through set of said secret doors. Jo da Dragon/Myles punches their way through the walls instead
  4. Found a second great hallway, many illusionary orbs were messed with, many traps disarmed and obtained
  5. Ambushed by wandering shadows, all dispatched within a single segment, save for one which slunk away with PTSD.
  6. Found a stone gargoyle with 4 arms, one broken off- Jo tosses the broken one through a portal, never to be seen again, to the evil laughter of the DM.
  7. Uh oh.
  8. Much testing of secret portals, finding a one-way teleportation from near entrance to end of second great hallway.
  9. Dale opens a chest, spawns snakes. Animal-talking drunk monk had companions, led them out of the tomb.
  10. Dale tries again, spawns a giant monster. Runs out through it’s legs, hiding for the win.
  11. Continuing through secret passageway, find chapel inside this evil place. Seems to be for a zombie town. Interesting.
  12. Oh, the altar shoots lightning and explodes. Griffith says ouch.
  13. What’s this doorway? Oh, Nicholas is now a girl. Ok then….
  14. Myles undergoes mitosis, now has a twin brother under the control of Jo. Who promptly goes through said doorway several times, switches sex and alignment around, loses all his/her items and clothes, spawns at the entrance of the dungeon (naked), runs in to the demon’s mouth sculpture, touches a sphere of annihilation, and dies instantly. Fun!
  15. Oh, a secret passage!
  16. Found a possible pagan ritual, but went back and found a secret passageway as the prophetic message said there would be. Oh, and of course, another wandering monster appears.
  17. 4 armed demon. GG.
  18. Oh wait, spiderman-venom-drunk-kleptomaniac-monk blinded it with acid? Phillip pulls off another flying backstab, and down it goes!
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Party wipes? We scoff.
#5

(Adventure #4 has been skipped in the log, unfortunately, but this starts #5)

In this adventure:

  1. Three different hallways! One has the sound of weeping- let’s not go there.
  2. Ok, the second shot a spear out, sticks in Myles, and has a blank wall behind the door. Let’s try the third.
  3. A blank wall, but this one is a secret passageway! What’s behind it? A blank painting!
  4. Myles throws a spear at it, and oww, has a spear wound in his shoulder. Also, his picture appeared on the painting, and now both radiate some evil. Great.
  5. Drawing a moustache on the painting does not put one on Myles, darn.
  6. But trying to remove the paint from the painting deals soul damage to him. Ok, let’s not do that.
  7. Oh, and Myles can’t walk far from the painting. Great. Cleric says possession. Exorcism time!
  8. Uh… spectres coming. TO ARMS!
  9. Turn, turn, turn, chants the paladin, punch punch punchpunch goes the monk, and out pops the spirit. Nice.
  10. Moving on, checking for traps down a tunnel, we “don’t find anything”. On opening the door, we all fall unconscious immediately from a gas trap. Frick. GG everyone.
  11. WAIT! THE PALADIN HAS TWO MINIONS BEHIND US!
  12. Oh, well, one flees from terror. But the other, Mr. Dwarfy, saves our asses from an iron Indiana Jones-esque wrecking ball! Party wipe? Averted.
  13. Moving on to the weeping room. We find a figure shrouded in a misty room, radiating an aura of good… and convinced we’re minions sent by Acererak (alternatively, Asterisk, or just Ass, as Jo points out)
  14. Trying to reason with her, sending people in. The monk gets slapped by her, and sets his int to 2. Uhhh…
  15. We say we’ll do whatever she wants us to to prove that we’re not Ass’s minions. So, she asks for the (now) idiot monk to go in. Naked.
  16. A few minutes later, he comes out sane, and she’s satisfied with us.
  17. …….
  18. Ok, but we still have a problem that we can’t get her out. Damn. Eventually, we leave her, with my minions as company trying to dig a tunnel out of her room.
  19. Oooh, and adamantium door! And what’s this, three slots and some fuckery with keys? Nah…. shapestone the thing down. What plot devices?
  20. Massive room. Pillars make you float uncontrollably, so, no touchie. A few demon mouths similar to the sphere of annihilation earlier, except they don’t quite annihilate with the same force as the first one. An evil wish-ish granting gemstone, and a massive throne with sceptre and crown.
  21. Wearing the crown doesn’t seem to do anything. Until you can’t take it off. Great.
  22. Oh look, the throne has an image of a crown inlaid with silver, where the actual crown itself has no silver. Touch the silver end of the scepter to the picture and…. a secret passageway appears!
  23. What about the crown though…. Jo, who has it stuck to her head, tries touching the silver end, and is instantly vaporized. Oops. +1 to the DM.
  24. Wait, the cleric can restore dead. Ok, remove that, Jo’s back! Probably had a rather short and amusing conversation with death in the meantime.
  25. Going forward, there’s a room with evil iron statues, and three vases, one of the smouldering. The monk decides it’d be funny to throw it into the middle of the party, but it’s luckily caught.
  26. Ok, take it into the big chamber, and open it there.
  27. ….. why is the DM sniggering and reaching into…. holy **** that’s a big figurine. BALROG you say? Well, here comes party wipe two…
  28. Yup, almost oneshots the cleric, and blocks the escape. Great. Jo uses the evil stone and wishes for it to vanish… and it says it will. Eventually. Dammit.
  29. Wait. Jo still has the crown of instant-death……..
  30. Toss to the hiding thief, with a mighty leap, slapping a pillar to become weightless, flies at the Balrog’s head- he notices last second, and so an attack roll is made…. 19!
  31. I knight thee, Sir Dead-a-lot, Mr. Balrog!
  32. Moral of the story: We scoff at party wipe attempts.
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