Gary Gygax, well known as the father of Dungeons & Dragons, designed an adventure back in 1975 for the inaugural Origins gaming convention. The monster-laden, trap-riddled dungeon crawl, titled Tomb of Horrors, pitted players against the evil demi-lich, Acererak, as they sought to find his inner sanctum to destroy him once and for all.
It was deadly, insidious, and more than a few characters perished in the “Huge Pit Filled with 200 Spikes” or from the toxic fumes released by the “Poisonous Pews”.
Since it was first introduced, Tomb of Horrors has been remade many times over. It was recently updated for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition and was released as part a collection in April called: Tales from the Yawning Portal.
Now the Tomb is being resurrected again. This time as a digital board game called Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation. It will use the same base mechanics as other D&D board games like Wrath of Ashardalon, Castle Ravenloft, and Temple of Elemental Evil, but with a few tweaks. Olivier Latouche, Lead Game Designer, said “Finding the right balance between the board-game feel while remaining within the video game spirit was an amazing challenge, yet very rewarding once we’ve achieved it.”
According to the Tomb of Annihilation team, there will be a brand new crafting system to upgrade your hero’s weapons and armors, the addition of side quests, and you’ll be able to give your heros an Adrenaline Rush boost or even cancel an Encounter. Combine that with over 40 main quests and a procedurally generated map to keep everything fresh and exciting, and we have to say the game looks amazing!
When asked about his favorite part of the game Latouche said “The diversity of powers is what I like most, because they are all so very unique. They allow you to really create your own strategy.” We can’t wait to get a chance to try the game out, but until then, here are a few things we’d like to see in the digital version of the game (fingers crossed).
Getting a Bit of the Local Color
Acererak’s headquarters, the Tomb of Annihilation, is set in the region of Chult, a mysterious island of jungles, monstrous humanoids, and Dinosaurs. We know the adventure is set within the tomb itself, but Chult as a setting doesn’t get enough love and it would be amazing to get to walk the markets and explore the swamps on our way to meet our inevitable end… I mean, to destroy Acererak. We’re not going to die in there. Let’s stay positive!
Seeing as Chult has dinosaurs, it would be megalithically cool to have a side quest where you get to ride one of those terrible thunder lizards. Even better if it is part of some sort of chase scene and to put the cherry on top, let’s just make your character a halfling. We can squeeze this into Eberron right?
Since Acererak has decided to build his evil lair smack dab in the middle of Chult, you’d think he’d hire some local creatures to fill out his roster of baddies. You’ll most likely encounter plenty of undead, demons, and even a gargoyle, but why not add the Yuan-ti into the mix? Yuan-ti are evil snakemen (no not like Cobra Commander…ok maybe a little like Cobra Commander) native to the jungles of Chult who are said to be descendants of cultists that mated serpents with humans (don’t ask how. You don’t want to know). These slithery serpent men could make for an exciting challenge within the depths of the tomb and from the into screen it looks like we’ll be seeing them in the game for sure!
Acererak Calling Out the Uppity Heroes
Here’s the thing with this adventure. As far are the tabletop version is concerned, Acererak built himself this tomb, sealed himself inside, and was content to leave the world alone. So when a group of greedy adventurers decides to break in and loot the place, disturbing his final rest, Acererak has every reason to be angry with them. This is a clean cut case of robbery and yes, Acererak is technically evil to the very core of his rotting bones, but perhaps this one time, the heroes are kinda being jerks.
Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation is being released by BKOM Studios to Steam in October and, if you love roleplaying and video games, make sure to check out next week’s Game Engine! Taliesin Jaffe, of Critical Role, will be hanging out with Erika Ishii and Kate Elliot! Watch Game Engine on Twitch every Tuesday at 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Pacific.
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming Tales from Candlekeep: Tomb of Annihilation? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credits: Wikipedia, Wizards of the Coast