“… Return to the Tomb of Horrors is a broader adventure than the original. It is a campaign, not a single adventure scenario. What a campaign setting it is! Take a measure of Against the Giants, add a pinch of Ravenloft for flavor, mix in mystery and detection, leaven with some of the essence of Dark Shadows, seed with incredibly insidious traps and deadly encounters, and blend with the ingenuity and creativity of its designers.”

Gary Gygax, from the Foreward

Gygax’s Foreward to Return to the Tomb of Horrors (RTH) is a great read. He talks about the original iconic Tomb of Horrors, its intent (to challenge his expert players and their high-level characters), and some of their novel solutions to this legendary death trap of a dungeon. Gygax also gives RTH his full endorsement.

And it’s no wonder why. RTH – written at the tail end of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – has a “plot,” but is very much old school in that Player-skill is required to succeed… or at least survive a little longer.

“Packed with a million unfair death traps, countless 9000xp + undead, journeys into otherworldly realms, confrontations with the ultimate, Return to the Tomb of Horrors is a worthy successor to the ultra-lethal legacy of Tomb of Horrors and manages to expand the mythology of the original in a way akin to the Wrath of Khan or Terminator 2: Judgement Day, adding to the legend of the original.”

Princeofnothingblogs thoroughly reviews RTH with acerbic wit and an OSR perspective. Make sure to read part II as well.

Today I have a nice Return to the Tomb of Horrors set for a photoshoot. Enjoy!

Return to the Tomb of Horrors (Tomes) [BOX SET]

1998 … Bruce Cordell & E. Gary Gygax (foreward) … TSR 1162 … ISBN 0786907320

Contents: Adventure book, Illustration Book, Maps & Monsters Book, Reprint of the original module S1, double-sided cardstock handout, plus a pamphlet “Journal of the Tomb”.

RTH in the shop

Check eBay

Reprint and PDF available at DriveThruRPGThe original box set is long out-of-print of course, and is now a collector item. DTRPG has RTH as a paperback reprint for $16 (as of this writing).

Adventure Book

Adventure Book (160 pages). This book has conflicting TSR codes. 1162XXX1901 on the back cover; 1162xxx1501 on the title page.

The Adventure Book’s interior line drawings – credited to Arnie Swekel and Glen Michael Angus – are eye-catching. They really covey the hazards and horrors of the adventure and remind me of the best of old school D&D art. They weren’t stingy with the art. The pics below are just a small fraction.

Illustration Book

Illustration Book (32 pages, TSR 1162xxx1502).

Like the original Tomb of Horrors, this set boasts a booklet of art to show the players. As with the Adventure Book, the drawings in here are fantastic.

Maps & Monsters Book

Maps & Monsters Book (16 pages, TSR 1162xxx1505)
Return to the Tomb of Horrors is set in the Greyhawk setting, as with the original. Map from RTH (left) compared with the same region on the World of Greyhawk poster map.


Module S1: The Tomb of Horrors

RTH is built around the original Tomb of Horrors. Including a facsimile of the original module was brilliant.

See also:

Our playthrough of another Gygax module – WG4 – beginning with Session 1:

There have been various incarnations of Tomb of Horrors for D&D through the years. Skulls in the Stars goes through all of these in An Ode to the “Tomb of Horrors”.

COUNCIL OF WYRMS: The Old School Dragon Art (1994)

Greyhawk Classics: The early AD&D modules as fantasy fiction

See our recent game group’s playthrough of module S2, starting with: WHITE PLUME MOUNTAIN: Session 1