Monday, April 15, 2019

Helgacon 12 - The Lost Tomb of Ra Hotep

 Saturday morning started bright and early with the mighty Delta running the storied pre-cursor to the infamous Tomb of Horrors, the Lost Tomb of Ra Hotep. Well... not so bright and slightly late, as I just managed to get up, showered, and dressed and cram down breakfast in time to start. I'd been up late talking to folks the night before. It's an easy trap to fall into at Helgacon.

And speaking of traps, that was what was on the menu for this adventure. I grabbed a dwarf fighter/thief named Belarus Blue Eyes, and since I was stockier (and more durable) than yer average footpad I was up up front doing scouting with Miz K's halfling thief whose name I don't recall at the moment thru most of the game.

At the very start of it all my dwarfly eyes caught sight of a secret magic rune trap around the front door of the eponymous tomb that would have set a bunch of Invisible Stalkers on our tail if we'd crossed the threshold without noticing it. We got past it using a Passwall spell a little bit to the side. (We wound up fighting a bunch of what was probably Invisible Stalkers later on, but I dunno if they were just in the room we were looting (how could you tell?) or if they'd been summoned by runes that we'd missed.)

Fresh from that triumph, I headed down the first hall and fell smack into a 50' pit trap with spikes at the bottom. Thankfully that only half killed me, so I got hauled back up and we kept going.

Otherwise, we did pretty good detecting traps and avoiding them, although another memorable bit is when I thought I was being clever by dropping flat to try to activate what I thought was a horizontally aimed spear trap. If the group hadn't stopped me from following thru with that "clever" plan I would have been smushed by a falling block instead. So... yeah.

Otherwise, aside from finding traps the Tomb of Ra Hotep was all about punchin' mummies for me, and I punched quite a few. Some of 'em weren't doin' nothin' but being dead, but I punched 'em anyway. Got a fancy necklace from one of 'em. The ones in the final grand hall where we fought the lich Ra Hotep and his minions were a bit more lively, and when I got ensorcelled into fighting on the big bad's side I had to switch from punchin' mummies to punchin' my friends, which I wasn't so crazy about. (I tried to loophole my way around doing too much damage to my comrades by being super literal about the orders that ol' Hotep was giving me, but Delta put the kibosh on that. Eh. You try things, sometimes they work.)

The big shenanigan of the game was when Paul's character was summarily evaporated by a big magical jewel as soon as we entered the main tomb area. Having watched his & Delta's livecast and read their blogs, I was probably the first player to twig to the purpose of that sudden and severe HP reduction as setting the stage for Paul playing the Adversary role for the grand finale. He threw himself into the part with relish, particularly against one of the party fighters who'd been trash talking Ra Hotep to aggro a bunch of stone golems we fought outside the tomb proper. I thought that part worked really great, and look forward to seeing more of those sorts of things in future games. I may try it myself someday. We'll see.

So anyway, all told I had a great time with this adventure. Comparing it to Tomb of Horrors, also run by Delta all those years ago in the early days of Helgacon, I'd say it felt a lot more like just a good solid dose of dungeon crawling instead of the merciless exercise in character culling that ToH was. It was challenging and tricky, and Delta was running it with his usual aplomb, but it didn't feel as bleak and desperate as I remember the ToH being. There definitely weren't as many dead ends or any pixel bitching in Ra Hotep. There wasn't this sense that there was only 1 right answer per obstacle and if you didn't get it you were donesville. So I'd say the original adventure was a lot better and more fun than its notorious successor.

So yeah, it was a good session of some nice crusty old school dungeon delving. Thanks, Delta! :D

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