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Return to the Tomb of Horrors
Bruce R. Cordell
TSR/Wizards of the Coast, 208 pages
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons module

Return to the Tomb of Horrors
Module Details (TSR #1162)
One of the most popular adventures of all time returns! The Tomb of Horrors is the most popular of all AD&D game adventures, and its tricks and traps have challenged thousands of players. The demi-lich was slain and the tomb cleansed of its terrors -- or so we thought. Could it be that some other, more terrible evil has taken up residence in Acererak's tomb? Includes a bonus facsimile of the original Tomb of Horrors adventure.

Author: Bruce R. Cordell
ISBN: 0-7869-0732-0
Format: 9" x 11" x 1" box with five booklets, card sheet, screen, handouts
Age Level: 10+
Designed for: Novice through advanced players and Dungeon Masters
Price: $29.95US; $39.95CDN

TSR Catalogue

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Wayne MacLaurin

TSR's Tomb of Horrors is a classic. First appearing at ORIGINS 1 as a tournament module, it was eventually published (1978) under the TSR Game banner and became a "must-have" for all gamers.

I vividly remember one summer back in high-school when some friends and I first tested our mettle against this gaming module. To the background sounds of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust," we fared as most did and our characters rapidly met their demise.

But, Tomb of Horrors isn't a classic just because it killed off countless player characters. What made it great was that it was the first example of fantasy role-playing that didn't involved killing hordes of goblins or slaying dragons. Tomb of Horrors was a devilishly concocted collection of puzzles and traps. There are few monsters but traps aplenty -- and it was something completely unexpected for the average gamer of the time.

Twenty years have passed and TSR ("Games", "Hobbies" and other assorted suffixes have fallen by the wayside) takes us back to that famous swamp in Greyhawk.

Return to the Tomb of Horrors builds on the original premise of the demi-lich Acererak and extends the story. Years have gone by and Skull City, a dark community of necromantic evil, has been built on the site of the original tomb. But even the inhabitants of this fell city have no idea of the true evil that waits beneath them...

Ok, that's the basic intro to this adventure. Something really bad is about to happen and the players are the only ones who can stop it. They must venture into Skull City and discover the secrets of Acererak and put a stop to that ancient evil.

Twenty years has made a huge difference in production quality. Where the original module was a mere 12 pages, the Return is a boxed set that includes a 160-page adventure book, a 32-page illustration book, players handouts, a book of maps and monsters, and a reprint of the original module. The illustrations and player handouts are especially great.

Twenty years have also seen some changes in the original conception of a puzzle- and trap-based challenge. The three new parts of this adventure (the original module is actually the second part of a four-part adventure) include a lethal array of traps and some fiendishly difficult puzzles, but they also include an impressive array of critters for the less patient players to battle.

Nevertheless, this is certainly not a massive dungeon crawl of pitched battles and general mayhem. Players who take that approach will quickly discover the error of their ways. Even the first part, "Skull City," is an imposing challenge. Dozens of evil necromancers could make life (or unlife) really miserable for players who stab first and ask questions later!

All in all, Return to the Tomb of Horrors will make a fine challenge for any group of players looking for some stiff competition. But remember to dust off those old Queen albums before starting, because more than a few characters will indeed be finding themselves biting the dust...

Copyright © 1999 by Wayne MacLaurin

Wayne MacLaurin is a regular SF Site reviewer. More of his opinions are available on our Book Reviews pages.


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