|James Jacobs Creative Director|
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As a long time player and DM of D&D I have sadly only ever had one adventure that has struck pure fear into the hearts of every adventurer who has ever attempted it. Many of my friend since my college games have leveled up with a final "out in a blaze of glory" wish to attempt to defeat THAT place. I have also had players have their favorite and most courageous characters give up and run away grateful for their lives (while the player clutches their most precious character sheets to their chest with a definite sense of mortality). This singular adventure that struck universal and unequaled fear into my players for decades was the original Tomb of Horrors and I have never seen anything to equal its effect on players (the words palpable terror become manifest at the gaming table). I wonder if you have had a similar experience with this adventure or any other. Do you think such a thing will ever be duplicated?
The tricky part is that Tomb of Horrors came out early, at the height of D&D's popularity, and at a time when there simply was no other high level adventure. So everyone who had a high level character played it. Repeating that notoriety at this point I think might be impossible.
For me, though... it was probably Baba Yaga's hut. I ran an adventure there in college with SUPER high level characters and the players were so terrified of Baba Yaga's reputation that they went through every room without touching a single thing. Turns out... that's a pretty safe way to progress through Baba Yaga's hut. I'm not sure it'd work as well in Tomb of Horrors... but maybe!