Posted on

Fantasy Weapons for d&d 5e Races | d&d 5e Homebrew

Fantasy Weapons and Equipment for d&d 5e races

So over the years, I have written various bits of lore that pertain to the d&d 5e races as well as several campaigns.

fantasy weapons d&d 5e races elves d&d 5e homebrew
mithrodin sword by rstovall CC -BY-ND 3.0 License.

That being said, the part that I see missing from Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition is the specific equipment that each race has at its disposal.

To this end, I did a bit of thinking and propose the following items and racial trait for your campaign. Now one could ask why one would even need or want more choices when choosing a weapon for your character.

The reason is that it adds a depth and flavor to the world, enhances roleplay, and adds mechanics to back the craftsmanship that is spoken of so often in lore.

From fine Elven blades to sturdy Dwarven axes and brutal Orcish weaponry these weapons are famous and iconic when one thinks of these d&d 5th edition races. Continue reading Fantasy Weapons for d&d 5e Races | d&d 5e Homebrew

Posted on

Gen Con 50: Live Stream Your Game with Maze Arcana’s Expert Help

Rolling dice? Roll that camera!

Gen Con 50 celebrates gaming history with a milestone for North America’s largest tabletop game convention.

“How to Live Stream At Home: the Hands-on Approach with Maze Arcana & Blackmagic Design” gives gamers the tools and knowledge to become part of that rich history and share their own unique experiences with the vibrant, growing tabletop game community.

A seminar and two workshops are open for registration. The events from some of the most popular and professional live streaming tabletop gamers partnered with leaders in the professional studio equipment industry aim to empower others to reach out and connect with the greater community.

Participants have chances to win thousands of dollars in giveaways including video cameras, technical studio equipment and applications over the course of the events, too. Check the links ahead and at the bottom to preregister and make sure you have a spot in these events. Continue reading Gen Con 50: Live Stream Your Game with Maze Arcana’s Expert Help

Posted on

E65 YR1- Playing Backgrounds & Equipment with D&D 5E Podcast



Episode 65 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One

Double episode with a deep dive into the players handbook of the newest edition of the world’s most popular role-playing game. This time we will look at the background and equipment section from the PHB.

Nerdarchy Breaks Down Backgrounds For 5E Dungeons & Dragons| Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition| Nerdarchy Breaks Down Backgrounds For 5E Dungeons and Dragons
Nerdarchy assembles to discuss the upcoming D&D 5E. In this episode of Nerdarchy Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition we focus on background from the D&D Starter Set.

Backgrounds is one of the biggest innovations to come to this dungeons and dragons edition. What do you think of D&D 5E backgrounds? Love them, hate them, or indifferent towards them let us know in the comments.

Let us know if you feel we missed anything when it come to 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons backgrounds or perhaps you’d like us to do video on a specific topic of 5E D&D just put it in the comments below.

Equipment- Gearing Up And Heading Out For Adventure With D&D 5E| Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons| Equipment- Gearing Up And Heading Out For Adventure With D&D 5E
You know what they say an adventurer is only as good as his gear. This holds true for 5th edition dungeons and dragons just like every other edition of D&D.

In D&D 5E the equipment rules are very streamlined in two different ways .

First is how you get your starting equipment. Gear comes prepackaged with your character class and also via your character background. You do have the option to roll your starting gold and buy it out of the book though.

Nerdarchist Ryan did the math in 5th edition dungeons and dragons they reward you for taking the prepackaged equipment by giving you way more than the average if you rolled for it.

Second in this edition of D&D armor and weapon rules feel much more intuitive. For instance there isn’t equipment by size like in Pathfinder and 3.5 edition D&D. If you are small and you want to use a long sword it’s two handed weapon for you.

Also the weapon descriptors tell you what you need to know here’s a list of some of them in D&D 5E-
Finesse- Use dex to hit and damage instead of str
Versatile- Using this weapon two handed increases the damage die
Light- Can be used as an off hand weapon
Heavy- -2 if used by a small character

Armor comes in three flavors for 5th edition dungeons and dragon light, medium, and heavy. You are either proficient in a class of armor or you aren’t. If you wear armor you aren’t proficient in you will suck at every thing you attempt.

Light Armor- Allows you to use your dex.
Medium Armor- Allows you to use up to a +2 dex mod.
Heavy Armor- No dex bonus or penalty applied to AC. All but one have str requirement. If you don’t meet it -10 to movement.

Some armors cause to be disadvantage when attempting stealth checks. Armor check penalties in 5E are a thing of the past. Also in 5th edition if you are proficient in armor you can cast arcane spells in it.

There is more, but this getting lengthy. Watch the video on 5th edition dungeons and dragons equipment and let us in the comments how you feel about the 5E rules on gear.


Posted on

E63 YR1- We are Talking the Fighter and Rogue in D&D Podcast



Episode 63 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One

Time for another double feature. This time we are talking character classes throughout the editions of D&D.

On Guard Here Comes The Fiercesome Fighter| Dungeons and Dragons Character Classes

Dungeons and Dragons Classes| On Guard Here Comes The Fiercesome Fighter

Nerdarchist Ted and Dave start breaking down dungeons and dragons classes starting with the fighter. The fighter has been a staple of D&D since the basic set from the very beginning.

Heck if you were talking edition wars terms that would be edition 0.0 I think. So needless to say the fighter has been around in D&D a long time.

Rogues From The Shadows With A Sneak Attack| Dungeons And Dragons Character Classes

Dungeons And Dragons Classes| Rogues From The Shadows With A Sneak Attack

The Nerdarchy crew gathers to discuss on of our most beloved Dungeons and Dragons Classes the Rogue.

This character class of all the D&D character classes really got redefined with the move from being the thief class back in the AD&D days to becoming the rogue of later editions of dungeons and dragons.

The rogue may very well be one of the most popular character class in the game at least in our tabletop RPG’s they are. The beauty of this class is it can be a simple or as complex as you like. Of all the D&D character classes with 3.0, 3.5, and Pathfinder the rogue is the most versatile.

Playing this character class isn’t just about picking pockets, finding traps, and back stabbing anymore. There are so many different roles you can cover with class. Let us know what you think about the rogue. Is he one of your favorite dungeons and dragons classes?

Or maybe you hate the rogue she just really piss you off if so tell us why this is your least favorite D&D character class. Got any good rogue stories please share them in the comments below.



Posted on

EP 61 YR 1- From the DMG We make a NPC and Look Magic- Items Podcast



Episode 61 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One

Another dive into the DMG for 5E. This time we take a look at making a NPC from the random generation charts as well an overview of the 5th Edition D&D magic items. Yes it’s another double sized episode.

NPCs for RPGs from the 5e DMG|Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition

NPCs for RPGs from the 5e DMG| 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons

Nerdarchy creates an npc from the new 5e dungeon masters guide in this video. We had some fun with the random Non Player Character generator. As fun as dropping the dice are it was even more fun to come up with the stories to go along with the rolls.

One of the awesome things about this edition of dungeons and dragons dungeon masters guide is all the random generator tables in the book. They are great for when you are stumped as the Dungeon Master working on your next adventure.

A couple quick rolls and your writer’s block is slain like an unruly dragon. Feel free to weigh in on 5e’s DMG and the NPC section.

D&D 5e Magic-Item Over View| Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeons Masters Guide

D&D 5e Magic-Item Over View| 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeons Masters Guide

Nerdarchy gives their first impression of magic items in 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons. We touch on most the changes briefly and point out some of the things we really like.

We also go into some of the changes that are throw backs to previous edition of dungeons and dragons as well as point out the 5e D&D magic item changes.


Posted on

E57 YR1- 5E D&D DMG Villainous Class Options| Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Masters Guide Podcast



Episode 57 of Nerdarchy the podcast Year One

So the deep dive into the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide begins. We start with the darker side of player options and NPCs.

5E D&D DMG Villainous Class Options| Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Masters Guide

5E D&D DMG Villainous Class Options| 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide

Nerdarchy has begun dissecting the new 5th edition DMG by wizards of the coast. We’ve already done our 1st impression video of the Dungeon Masters Guide now it is time to tear into the meat and potatoes of it.

This is a great looking D&D book full useful things for running the game whether you’re a new gamer or an experienced Game Master. In this video we look at the villainous options available for non player character, but would work just as easily for a player character.



Posted on

E56 YR1- 5E DMG Nerdarchy’s 1st Impression of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Masters Guide Podcast



Episode 56 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One

Here is our 1st impression vid and podcast of the 5E DMG. We spent quite a bit of time doing micro break downs of the DMG from here on out. We cover each section individually. Going forward I’ll probably combine two or more sections for the podcast.

5E DMG Nerdarchy’s 1st Impression of the Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition Dungeon Masters Guide

5E DMG Nerdarchy’s 1st Impression of the 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide

We take a look at the D&D 5E Dungeon Masters Guide and give an over view about how we feel about it. Collectively we have looked at a lot DMG’s over the years. I must sat the 5th edition D&D dungeon masters guide is shaping uf to be one of my favorites. It contains a lot of the great stuff from all the previous editions of dungeons and dragons plus some new material as well. This book is essential to the new DM, but I feel more experienced Dungeon Masters and Game Masters will also find it a very useful RPG toolbox. Feel free to let us know down in the comments how this book is adding to your game.


Posted on

Stream of Annihilation highlights what’s fantastic about D&D

It’s no fluke that an enormous and continually-growing slate of streaming game play has emerged alongside 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. When Greg Tito joined Wizards of the Coast’s marketing team a couple of years ago as communication manager, adding more streaming programming to their schedule was one of his goals to expand the audience for D&D. Continue reading Stream of Annihilation highlights what’s fantastic about D&D

Posted on

E38 YR1- Role-Playing Tips- Getting Into Character with Nerdarchy and Friends Podcast


podcastEpisode 38 of Nerdarchy the Podcast Year One. This time we bring in all of our gaming buddies from the game I Dungeon Master. We all give our role-playing tips for getting into character before a gaming session.

Role-Playing Tips- Getting Into Character with Nerdarchy and Friends

Role-Playing Tips- Getting Into Character with Nerdarchy and friends
Nerdarchy get’s together with some of our gaming friends to discuss some role-playing tips. One of the nerdarchy viewers asked what we do to get into character. So we answered with a table full of gamers before our D&D 5e game began. Most of the players have also run games as the dungeon master or game master. I don’t think we could gathered a better group of nerds to tackle this rpg topic. What do you think? Do you do anything special to get into character?


Posted on

‘Dice, Camera, Action’ never waffles on D&D fun

How can your game go wrong when the lead story designer for the team behind creating Dungeons & Dragons runs the campaign? In “Dice, Camera, Action,” Wizards of the Coast’s Chris Perkins leads a core party of adventurers along with several guest players through a live streaming season of the official published campaign Curse of Strahd in season one. The second season continues the party’s adventures with Storm King’s Thunder. Continue reading ‘Dice, Camera, Action’ never waffles on D&D fun

Posted on

Learn How to Play Dungeons & Dragons for Beginners | Brought to you by Easy Roller Dice

 Dungeons & Dragons for beginners, easy roller dice, play dungeons & dragons, adventure league
What a typical adventuring party might look like … well, actually there is no “typical” adventuring party!

At Nerdarchy we’re excited to announce we’ve recently joined an adventuring party with Easy Roller Dice to do a series focused on teaching new players how to play Dungeons & Dragons. The problem of learning how to play D&D has often been that you need someone to teach you how to play it, an older brother, cousin, or friend of the family who already knew how to play the game! Learning how to play D&D correctly is almost something of a hybrid between written and oral traditions as the complexity of the rules can make it difficult for new players to come into the hobby. That’s how I learned to play — when I was 11 years old, my eldest brother Dave began showing me how to play Dungeons & Dragons in the 2nd edition of the game (and believe me, there were some really awkward, wonky rules — just look up THACO!). Fortunately, we now have the ability to easily share information in written, audio, and visual forms — twenty years ago you needed that mentor player, but now, we can direct you to this series of videos that we’re making for you, apprentice D&D adventurer.

Continue reading Learn How to Play Dungeons & Dragons for Beginners | Brought to you by Easy Roller Dice

Posted on

The Monster Manual Is for Every Player During Every Moment of Every Dungeons & Dragons 5E Game

Last week, the Manual of Siraq was presented right here on Nerdarchy as a new Dungeons & Dragons 5E magic item for players. The Manual of Siraq is a distinctly unusual magic item that has a metagame purpose of allowing every Player Character in a gaming group to have access to the Monster Manual during every moment of every Dungeons & Dragons 5E game. This article is specifically targeted at explaining why the Manual of Siraq is needed.


Monster Manual
Monster Manual (original version for 1st ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) by Gary Gygax (TSR, Inc., 1977) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was blessed to be discussing Dungeons & Dragons with a few Nerdarchy Dungeon Masters (DMs) and one of them commented that he really wishes he could play more because he is almost always in the DM seat. I agreed that good DMs are few and far between, and then we got into a discussion about why there are so few good DMs. My fellow Nerdarchy DM stated he felt this issue was a lack of mentoring and that by mentoring players to be good DMs, this problem can be fixed. I disagree with his stance at a fundamental level. DM mentoring is already being done to a high degree. There are dozens of blogs, YouTube channels and podcasts aimed specifically at mentoring new DMs. Additionally, many existing good DMs are preparing their players to step into the DM seat.

My fellow Nerdarchy DM went into exactly how a player should be mentored into DMing, and explained that done right this process takes time and dedication. My goal is for there to be tens of thousands of new, good DMs, ideally hundreds of thousands of new, good DMs. That requires a fix to the problem that scales and scales quickly. The problem of why there are not more good DMs is not that there is a lack of mentoring, it is two specific obstacles to players playing and enjoying Dungeons & Dragons 5E:

  • Play Obstacle 1 – Takes far too long to play (typically four hours).
  • Play Obstacle 2 – Rewards system mastery greatly and punishes casual play brutally.

The Manual of Siraq is designed specifically to solve the second Play Obstacle. As it stands now, in a typical Dungeons & Dragons 5E game the DM brings his Player Characters into a dungeon and confronts them with a monster. Each player then thinks about how best to defeat that monster. Here is what typically happens with a group of five Dungeons & Dragons 5E Players.

  • Player 1 (Grognard) – Knows exactly how to defeat the monster because she has the Monster Manual entry memorized, but it does not matter because she is running a Cleric and while the player knows exactly how to approach defeating the monster, the Player Character cannot use that knowledge because the Player Character does not know that knowledge.
  • Player 2 (Dutiful) – Is a great player and has bought all three Core Rulebooks and has the Monster Manual sitting in her bag where she can quickly look up how to defeat the monster, but it does not matter because there is a long standing tradition her DM adheres to (along with the vast majority of DMs) that players cannot read the Monster Manual during a game session.
  • Player 3 (Newbie) – Has no idea how to defeat the monster and does not have a Monster Manual to check how to defeat the monster (but is really curious what the Monster Manual has to say about the monster).
  • Player 4 (Showboater) – Is a dubiously motivated player playing a Ranger who is really looking forward to using her knowledge of the monster to carve the monster apart and lord her expertise over the other players.
  • Player 5 (Hackster) – Is a player who wants her character to swing her sword and kill that monster immediately and could not give two displacer-beast tails about how best to approach defeating the monster (which is the same approach this player uses on every monster).

Here we see the problem: The Monster Manual is available at the table and there are players who need the Monster Manual to know how to fight the monsters the DM has presented, but because of long held DM traditions the information the Monster Manual holds is not available to those players who want it and/or need it.

Monster Manual
Monster Manual (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This tradition comes from the 1980s and in the ’80s this tradition made sense. Then Dungeons & Dragons was limited to a group of players who were generally nerds, generally scholars. We were happy with that, with having a limited population of Dungeons & Dragons players and the game being a niche. Dungeons & Dragons was for nerds and scholars then. Today, we have moved past the Dungeons & Dragons community being a community of nerds and scholars. We want to include as many people as possible in the hobby now, which means we need to move past this tradition of holding that the Monster Manual is not to be accessed during game play. We need to change this tradition so players can use the Monster Manual during every moment of a play session.

In the ’80s, players would spend four hours playing in the game and then go home and read and reread the Monster Manual. A large reason for this was that there was far less to do in the ’80s. There were not hundreds of great movies, hundreds of great video games, a higher focus on family time and building deeper relationships with friends. The world has fundamentally changed and Dungeons & Dragons needs to change in order to be inclusive and to do the simple things that will allow players to use the information that is available to them in the Monster Manual to defeat the monsters they are presented. Players need to be able to defeat monsters not with the knowledge they gained outside of the game (which rewards system mastery) but from the knowledge they gained during the game (which rewards casual play). Unlocking the Monster Manual and allowing it to the be used by players transforms the game into four hours of –

  • Using the Monster Manual the way we use the Player’s Handbook.
  • Using the Monster Manual to increase our knowledge of the monsters we are fighting.
  • Letting the game become a learning session as well as a fun session.

Dungeons & Dragons

This is an absolutely critical change that needs to happen with Dungeons & Dragon 5E. The Monster Manual should be for all players at all time. That is the reason I wrote the Manual of Siraq. The Manual of Siraq solves the in-game problem of Player Characters not having the knowledge of the player. DMs now need to solve the problem of the tradition of keeping the Monster Manual out of the hands of players during game sessions (This change also has the added benefit of making the Monster Manual a useful purchase for players, which will reward Wizards of the Coast for the amazing work they have already done on Dungeons & Dragons 5E.)


I should note that the Nerdarchy Primarchs (Dave, Ted, Ryan and Nate) have built a platform where you can read Scott Garibay’s thoughts on Tabletop Roleplaying Games each week, but that does not mean that a single one of them agree with my thoughts. This is a Scott Garibay stance, not a Nerdarchy stance. With that said, I call upon every Dungeons & Dragons 5E DM to take that bold step and make the Monster Manual available to Every Player During Every Moment of Every Dungeons & Dragons 5E Game. Thank you and great gaming to you!

Posted on

It’s time for a 5th Edition D&D Unearthed Arcana book

5th edition D&D Unearthed Arcana
The original Unearthed Arcana book by Gary Gygax for First Edition Dungeons & Dragons.

Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons has been around for more than a couple of years now. Since its inception, it has been obvious the game’s publisher Wizards of the Coast is doing something different with this edition when it comes to the number of publications. Earlier versions of D&D had lots and lots of books, from rules books to adventure modules, travel guides, setting guides, etc. Some might even suggest the third edition of the game was somewhat notorious for this.

Fifth Edition, however, has a slimmer number of publications beyond the core books. There is nothing wrong with this. Wizards of the Coast is obviously focusing upon a different strategy and it seems to have worked for them considering the popularity of the game. And in all fairness there have been some adventure modules and other books released, plus there have been fairly regular free pdf documents offered on the Wizards of the Coast website, not the least of which have been the Unearthed Arcana series which provides new but unofficial rules for Fifth Edition.

The Unearthed Arcana series appears to be rather popular, especially since recently Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford wrote on the site that they were going to focus more on Unearthed Arcana in months to come and that the Sage Advice column would be on standstill temporarily.

One might think, or maybe even hope, this means the material used in Unearthed Arcana over the last couple of years might be released sometime in the next year as an official publication in book form.

The future of Unearthed Arcana?

Unearthed Arcana 5th edition D&D Unearthed Arcana
The Unearthed Arcana book for Third Edition Dungeons and Dragons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is no secret Wizards of the Coast has made use of the Unearthed Arcana materials to test rules and to learn from the feedback of gamers. This is great! Not everything released through the Unearthed Arcana has been a winner, and I think Mearls and Crawford would agree, but there has been quite a lot that has been excellent, though maybe a few tweaks here and there might be nice.

That being said, we now have nearly two years’ worth of Unearthed Arcana material for 5e D&D, yet little of it is official.

In my opinion, it is time for that to change. Wizards of the Coast needs to seriously consider an Unearthed Arcana book, or something similar, which would gather together materials approved by the publisher.

Why do this? And why now?

Right off the bat, I can point to gamer dissatisfaction. I don’t mean to say there are droves of D&D fans out there who are foaming at the mouth because there aren’t more books, but there are a few, and one of the most common criticisms I see leveled against Fifth Edition is that it doesn’t have more books, especially books concerning new and/or additional rules expanding upon classes and races and player options.

To repeat, Wizards of the Coast is utilizing a different strategy than before. However, while I understand and actually appreciate that strategy, I do feel it is time for a new book providing additional rules. In fact, I appreciate this so much that only a few weeks ago I wrote an article titled “In Defense of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons and its streamlined approach.”

Also, so far Wizards of the Coast has been hesitant to release digital versions of its 5e D&D books. This is also a different strategy than many game publishers are following today, but again, it seems to be working. It also solidifies the current books as official while making the online works unofficial. There’s nothing wrong with this, but for gamers who are sticklers for what is canon and what isn’t, this might raise some concerns, possibly even creating some confusion; if nothing else, when some dungeon masters are only willing to use material from the actual books (or even just the core books), it makes it harder for some players to find a game they enjoy.

We need more 5th Edition

5th edition D&D Unearthed ArcanaAdmittedly the adventure modules and other books that have been released beyond the 5th edition Player’s Handbook and the Dungeon Master’s Guide have included some new rules for classes, magics, and the like, but there has not been much of that and it is still rather limiting. Not everyone wants to purchase adventure modules, many players and dungeon masters being more interested in creating their own worlds and adventures. Some gamers simply want more rules so they can play with them in their own settings.

Also, there has been some 5th edition material released by other companies and individual game creators, but again, for those who are sticklers, much of this material will not seem to be canon, and some of it might not even live up to expected standards.

Maybe Wizards of the Coast has plans for an Unearthed Arcana book. I hope so, and the sooner the better. Either way, I’m not enraged or even annoyed, but it is something I would like to see.

It’s time. No, I don’t want the publisher to change its strategy, nor do I want to see a glut of new D&D books hitting the market, but I feel gamers have patiently waited long enough. We’ve had a couple of years now to learn 5th Edition, to experiment, to learn the ins and outs, and we need more material, preferably material which focuses upon expanding the rules instead of another campaign or adventure book. We need more official 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons material as related to the rules, especially for character generation. An Unearthed Arcana book would be appreciated.

It’s time for a 5th Edition D&D Unearthed Arcana book
Posted on

In defense of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons and its streamlined approach

D&D books
Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons Role-playing Game
Several Dungeons & Dragons miniature figures. The grid mat underneath uses one-inch squares. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Considering for decades Dungeons & Dragons has been the most recognizable name of all tabletop role-playing games, and considering the popularity of Fifth Edition D&D, it might seem the game itself needs no defending. However, from time to time I have noticed online forums with various concerns or complaints raised against the game.

The most common complaint I’ve read is that in Fifth Edition a player cannot make the type of character he or she wants, that more rules are needed in order for there to be more character diversity, that currently only similar, cookie-cutter characters can be created because of the limited number of classes and rules.

I understand. I disagree, but I understand. Continue reading In defense of Fifth Edition Dungeons & Dragons and its streamlined approach

Posted on

Blast from the Past: Dungeons & Dragons Tomb of Horrors

blast from the past tomb of horrors dungeons & dragons
1978’s Tomb of Horrors
blast from the past tomb of horrors dungeons & dragons
1981’s Tomb of Horrors

Few words raise the ire of long-time Dungeons & Dragons aficionados more than “Tomb of Horrors.” The words “Fourth edition” come to mind, but that’s fairly recent and probably somewhat unfair as that version of D&D does have its loyalists.

Tomb of Horrors got its start as a gaming adventure back in 1975 when Gary Gygax decided to create a truly deadly and terrifying tournament session for the very first Origins gaming convention. Then later in 1978, Tomb of Horrors was released as a gaming module for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

That first module featured a monochrome color scheme of a light magenta hue as well as cover artwork by David C. Sutherland III of a mummy-like monster rising up with its arms waving in spooky fashion while a grinning gargoyle and bird-like beastie looked on.

Tomb of Horrors instantly became a classic. D&D gamers either loved it or hated it. Why? In the immortal words of Joseph Conrad’s Kurtz in the novel Heart of Darkness, “The horror. The horror.”

Immediately, Tomb of Horrors was known as the deadliest, most difficult D&D gaming module to exist. Many players and Dungeon Masters still to this day believe it so. Noticeably, over the decades this adventure has made many an article’s list of top or best gaming modules, D&D or otherwise.

And why not?

There are traps without savings throws that slay instantly, misdirections all over the place, teleportations to doomsville, a handful of cheating beasties, and a boss that is practically indestructible. Just opening the front door could easily wipe out an entire party. And all that is just the tip of the iceberg.

blast from the past tomb of horrors dungeons & dragons
1987’s Realms of Horror

Imagine, this death and destruction falls within a map that takes up only one page. One! And though this adventure is allegedly built for character levels of 10 to 14, it would be a challenge for characters of even a higher level. A Wish spell, even, doesn’t do you much good when some monsters always strike first and simply walking into a room can get you teleported (naked without any of your gear, no less) into instant death.

See why some people love this module and others hate it? Tomb of Horrors has been called a “character killer” by more than one disgruntled gamer, and sometimes by a gleeful one.

But Tomb of Horrors didn’t end with 1978’s edition. No, siree. In 1981, TSR Hobbies Inc. (then the publisher of all things D&D) released the module again, this time with full color on the outside cover, though much of the inside matter was the same as the 1978 version.

For this article I broke out my copy of the Tomb of Horrors, which is the 1981 edition, and I was surprised just how small it is. The actual adventure is only 12 pages, but there is an additional booklet of illustrations which is 20 pages, with the actual map being on the inside of the back cover. Compared to the heavy hardback gaming modules of today, this thing is miniscule, yet it packs a lot of punch.

Still, 1981’s edition was not the last time Tomb of Horrors would rear its head.

blast from the past tomb of horrors dungeons & dragons
1998’s Return to the Tomb of Horrors

In 1987, the module appeared along with three others in the AD&D collection titled Realms of Horror. I had this at one time, and I have to admit it was quite handy to have four famous modules all in one publication. Those modules were Tomb of Horrors, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, White Plume Mountain, and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

In 1998, Second Edition AD&D finally got into the swing of things when Return to the Tomb of Horrors was released. This was actually a boxed set and a sequel to the original Tomb of Horrors, expanding upon the story and the main villain, basically creating enough material for a full campaign.

2002 brought around a Tomb of Horrors novel, written by Keith Francis Strohm, and 2005 hosted a Halloween treat from Wizards of the Coast of a free pdf that was the Tomb of Horrors reworked for D&D 3.5 rules.

Fourth Edition D&D was not left out in 2010 as Ari Marmell and Scott Fitzgerald Gray penned for Wizards of the Coast a hardback adventure titled Tomb of Horrors which included some of the original’s material plus expanded material based on the 1998 boxed set. That same year, Gray also penned a new version of Tomb of Horrors updated for Fourth Edition.

Most recently, in 2013, the Tomb of Horrors was kept alive when it was released in a hardcover titled Dungeons of Dread, again with Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, White Plume Mountain, and The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth.

blast from the past tomb of horrors dungeons & dragons
2013’s Dungeons of Dread

So, it seems the Tomb of Horrors just won’t die. Every few years a reprint or new version pops up. This longevity alone should be enough to prove the importance of the module to the D&D game, but even if it didn’t, there are plenty of articles and blogs and social media postings which keep bringing it up.

Again, some players love it, some hate it, but whatever your opinion, Tomb of Horrors doesn’t seem to be going away.

I have never had the pleasure to actually play a character in the module, but back in the ’80s I did get to steer a party through the Tomb of Horrors as Dungeon Master. Pretty much every room wiped out the party, but I always let them start over, not out of sympathy but more for the sake of curiosity. Eventually the group did make it to the big, bad guy, but they couldn’t vanquish him after multiple attempts.

If you decide to delve into this most fiendish of adventurers, try to do so with a smile, and Stay Nerdy!

Looking for something fun? Love the sea and fantasy? Then check out Fan2Sea and use the word Nerdarchy for 10% off!

Blast from the Past: Dungeons & Dragons Tomb of Horrors