Zack: As much as you have pointed out that Acererak is a jerk, we're still just barely touching the surface of the nightmare hell of Tomb of Horrors.
Steve: Right, all throughout it there are teleport traps that strip you of your equipment and dump you naked back at the beginning. If you're lucky. Some of them will dump you into rooms where Acererak mocks you and tell you that you're going to die and then guess what happens.
Zack: Do you die?
Steve: Yeah, probably, unless you have some obscure ass spell that is only ever mentioned in the really old D&D books that didn't even have color covers. There's another teleporter trap that makes you fly out of that mouth from earlier so you think you can just climb back in and then BAM, no more character.
Zack: So what about the treasure? I see an item on the map called The Crypt of Acererak. Do you ever get to find the treasure and have your revenge on that jerk?
Steve: Yes and no.
Zack: There's no awesome final battle where you get to bash in his head and loot his treasure?
Steve: This is Acererak when you finally find him and his treasure chamber:
Zack: Just a skull.
Steve: Yep, just a skull with super valuable gems for eyes and teeth. And if you touch the skull it "rises into the air" and "scans the party" to determine who is the most powerful. Then it gets good. "The soul of the strongest will be drawn instantly from his or her body and trapped within the right eye jewel, and the gem-eye will gleam with wickedly evil lights as the character's body collapses in a mass of corruption and moulders in a single round - totally gone."
Zack: Then you can fight him?
Steve: You can try, but each time anyone touches him he does that again. Automatically. And it is hard as hell to destroy an evil skull. I'm talking +4 and +5 weapons only, vorpal swords, and you can shoot gems from the treasure at him. The more valuable, the more damage, but it destroys the gems.
Zack: What about magic?
Steve: Sure. You can cast dispel evil on the skull. Ten times.
Zack: No fireballs?
Steve: Won't do anything to the skull.
Zack: So the only point of destroying the skull is to get experience (you do get a lot), but it's almost impossible to destroy the skull. That about right?
Zack: Man Acererak is a dick.
Steve: Told you.
Zack: I'd just throw a sheet over him and call it a day.
Steve: Probably your best bet.
Zack: No, your best bet is to stay far, far away from the Tomb of Horrors.
We're spelunking through the movie catacombs this week. Join us, won't you?
Zack Parsons, Steve "Malak" Sumner, and friends tackle bizarre role playing game products that make them wonder, "What the fuck!?" From the early days of Gygax to contemporary role playing games, none will be spared.