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YMMV / Tomb of Horrors

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  • Awesome, but Impractical: In the Tomb of the Nine Gods, the Soulmonger is powered by a combination of geothermal power and a Mechanus chain that Acererak rerouted. Since the chain is on the fifth level of the dungeon and the Soulmonger is on the sixth, it is possible to disable the Soulmonger without even laying eyes on it. The catch? A Mechanus chain can only be destroyed by casting Wish on it. Three times. There is a machine on that same level that can let players cast Wish if they get really lucky when using it, but it is more likely to teleport them into the Sun or to Victorian England.
  • Broken Base: The fan perception of Tomb of Horrors is generally divided into two camps;
    • The proponents of the Tomb say that, while the dungeon is indeed incredibly hard and frustrating, it is not too unfair, and it is all worth it in the end for the sense of accomplishment you get by beating the most legendary meatgrind in D&D.
    • The other camp point to the Tomb as the primary example of why Gary Gygax was a sadistic bastard who should've never been allowed behind a DM's screen. The dungeon is not only extremely hard, it is too frustrating to actually be fun, and any sense of accomplishment is beaten out by how blatantly unfair the dungeon is, with countless traps that will instantly kill you if you don't know about them beforehand. Not to mention how the dungeon blatantly breaks the rules to make it harder.
  • Complete Monster: Acererak is a cambion demilich who founds cults, so he may manipulate their members into being his shield, resulting in their deaths when convenient. Creating the titular tomb of horrors to entrap adventurers, kill them horribly and drain their souls for his dark purposes, Acererak crafted even more tombs, in some cases wiping out entire cities or civilizations to do so while experimenting on countless innocents to create undead monsters, while also crafting a device to drain the souls of the dead to eventually create a new god to unleash to destroy as many innocents as possible. After his supposed defeat, Acererak returns to seek godhood by draining the essence of dead gods. Killing countless people via undead attacks, Acererak even orders a mass suicide of his followers to empower his abilities, intending on becoming a being strong enough to challenge the gods themselves and rise to force every living thing in the multiverse to suffer.
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  • Heartwarming Moments: Asking the Siren trapped in the Gold and Silver misted cave to join you would free her from the enchantment trapping her in the cave and make her the players' friend for life. Heartwarming indeed.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Atropal, dear god. It can be best described as an undead god-fetus.
  • Signature Scene: The Sphere of Annihilation inside the green demon face in the front entrance is perhaps the most iconic trap of the entire dungeon, and that's saying a lot.
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  • That One Boss: Shifts between Anticlimax Boss and That One Boss, but the Atropal qualifies as one or the other, depending on how you attack it. On the one hand, it has vulnerability to radiant damage, low hitpoints, and low dexterity, making it easy to kill quickly. If you aren't able to take advantage of that, though, its Wail attack can give every player a level of exhaustion. If it gets multiple wails off before dying, the party will be at a hopeless disadvantage against Acererak, even with the 11th-Hour Superpower.
  • That One Level: There are challenges aplenty in the hundreds of other adventures written for the various incarnations of Dungeons & Dragons. This is the one you don't want to see in your game master's hands.
  • The Woobie: The Siren in the original version of the Tomb of Horrors. Trapped inside the tomb as a personal joke by Acererak, she is cursed so she can't leave the cavern she is trapped in. The curse prevents her from saying how to lift it; she can only hope the players "Ask her to join them" to lift her curse. Of course, most players would suspect the Siren to be just one of many traps, a shmuck bait or just a monster or simply take one of the bag of holdings resting beside her, resulting in her being erased from existence. On the other hand, saving her would make the players' friend for life.
    • Nepartak, the ten-year-old girl Acererak killed to make a flameskull for his tomb. It's not even that tough of a fight, since the players will most likely be around lv. 9,note  but her screams will never fail to remind the players that they're fighting a scared little girl.


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