Monday, June 21, 2010

Monsters from the Tomb of Horrors

As many of my readers know, I've been working on a 4e revision of the Tomb of Horrors (not the WotC version due out later this year).  I decided to take a quick break from designing the full encounters and take a moment to identify all the monsters in the Tomb and get them designed in the Monster Builder.

There are only about a dozen identifiable monsters in the Tomb of Horrors.  That's not too many, considering that the original module had over 30 encounters areas listed.  With such a light load, I thought it would be interesting to just list all of those monsters here.   This will make for a pretty long blog post, so feel free to scroll past the ones you're not interested in, and make sure you click on the image links for a better view of the image.

Presented in their original encounter order:

Encounter 8:  Mutated 4-Armed Gargoyle

I basically re-skinned an existing gargoyle in the Monster Creator, gave it a couple of more arms (and hence attacks), and balanced it for the encounter.  Here's my version:

Encounter 13:  12 Large Asps

With the way these creatures were originally presented, they really functioned more as a swarm, instead of individual creatures.  I re-skinned an asp swarm from Monster Builder, and came up with this:

Encounter 13:  Giant Skeleton

This one was pretty easy.  Take a brute-like skeleton from Monster Builder, give it a large size and give it the ability to attack twice in a round as specified by the original module.  Here's my version:

Encounter 18:  False Acererak

This one was tricky.  This false version of the dreaded demi-lich could only be harmed by a specific item (available in that encounter).  Thus, it had to be heavy on resistances and immunity. However, at the same time, I had to make it vulnerable to that special item.  Here's the result:

Encounter 19:  Gray Ochre Jelly

This one was pretty basic.  Re-skin the original ochre jelly found in the Monster Builder to the appropriate level.  Oh, and color it gray.  Here's the result:

Encounter 21:  More Asps

Occasionally (at least according to this encounter), a treasure chest yields a big mess of snakes.  I re-skinned my asp swarm, made it smaller, and reduced the level and damage of its poison.  This was the result:

Encounter 22:  Siren

This creature was probably the most difficult to come up with.  Currently, the Monster Builder doesn't have a Siren-like creature.  So, I had to take an appropriately leveled fey creature, and modify its powers and abilities to be similar to those found in the 1st edition version of this creature.  I actually kind of like what I came up with:

Encounter 26:  Fire Resistant Mummy

The original module calls for the mummy to wearing a Ring of Fire Resistance.  Instead of dealing with creating a magical item for that, I simply gave this mummy (a mummy lord in all actuality) some resistance to fire.  Here's what it looks like:

Encounter 27:  Animated Weapons 

This one was also a bit difficult.  I had considered making the area a trap, but the nature of the attack made it difficult to format as a traditional trap.  Instead, I created these as constructs, animated by the will of Acererak.  They increase in power, each time you enter the room, so I created 8 versions.  Presented below are the stats for the 1st & 8th "power levels" of these animated sets of armor:

Encounter 29:  Wights

This is another creature that pops up as a result of doing something to the existing environment.  In this case, attempting to polymorph any of the blood coming from the Mithril Vault.  As the encounter is dangerous enough, I created these creatures as minions:

Encounter 30:  Efreet

This creature pops up from a sealed urn.  I simply re-skinned an existing Efreet from the Monster Builder and made it an appropriate leveled challenge for the encounter.  Here's the result:

Encounter 33:  Dust of Acererak

While 4e has provided a stat block for the original demi-lich, Acererak, there are elements in this final encounter that have escaped the rules.  I created the "Dust of Acererak" in order to duplicate events that take place in the Tomb.  Look carefully at the stat block, it has a special mechanic:

Encounter 33:  Ghost of Acererak

In a similar vein as the Dust of Acererak, the Ghost of Acererak fulfills a needed gap in filling out the final encounter.  Here is how I imagined that creature:

Encounter 33:  Acererak the Demi-Lich

For the final encounter, I decided to create an alternate version of the 13th level monster that exists in the Monster Builder.  Either version gives the same amount of experience points, but are slightly different in flavor.  Feel free to compare them:

Monster Builder Version

My version

Well, there you have it.  All of the monsters in Tomb of Horrors re-imaged to fit the 4th edition of the rules.  As always, I'd love to have your feedback on any of the creatures presented here.  Enjoy!

Until next time...

Game excellently with one another.


  1. Looks great! I'm putting the ToH on the plateau of the Island of Dread in Eberron, and these are a big help!

  2. A comment on the False Acererak: I'm not sure that "resist Martial" actually exists.

    I believe the only way to model within the rules what you're trying to model is to give the False Acererak resist 20 all, and then immunity to the keyword damage types (cold, fire, thunder, psychic etc).

    Of course, that's going to look ugly on the stat block...

  3. Sorry. I should also have mentioned: did you intentionally leave Shadow and Psionic out of the list of power sources that the False Acererak is immune to?

  4. @Gregory...Thanks! Glad I could help!

    @Colmarr...Well, the one thing about 4e is that the rules are pretty malleable. I thought about using the "resist weapon", but it wasn't sufficient to cover physical attacks of a non-weapon nature. As for Shadow & Psionic...I know those are coming. I've left them out for now, until I have more details about the power sources (which I currently don't have). When I compile the full adventure into 1 .pdf, monster stats will be adjusted for those. In any event "False Acererak" would be immune to those as well. (The Gold Mace is the key to that entire encounter, in any event). Thank you for your comments! Much appreciated!