Then again there is his purposeful desire to kill characters. TOMB OF HORRORS is a master work of role-playing. All of you fans of Greyhawk and AD&D must own a copy. I can remember the day he decided to make that adventure. He was in his office reading fan mail. In the early years Gary read every letter coming into the office because he was always interested in what the fans/consumers were thinking about his game. On that day he was reading a few letters that really irritated him. Several DM writers were whining that their players were taking over the game because they were high level. This was before the time of AD&D. There were other letter writers complaining that some of the monsters were too tough and should be eliminated from the game. These letters really set him off.
So that wondrous module adventure was created with it in mind that it didn’t matter what high level character entered the tomb; they would have a good chance of that character dying. Gary wrote the deadly nature of the adventure on purpose. I find myself extremely jealous even today 30+ years later at the man’s artistry. Over the years I have tried several times to make a deadly/fair dungeon crawl as good as Gary’s. I failed. Finally, I made an effort to make my own METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA science fiction deadly adventure. Goodman Games just turned it into a kickstarter and it is my hope that thirty years from now it will still be in print like Gary’s is right now.
There is one special deadly encounter in the adventure that I really enjoyed. A giant demon mouth is on the wall. The open mouth is perfect for characters to enter. Years later Gary was constantly amazed that whole party groups would just jump into that deadly mouth without checking anything. When I faced that encounter I stuck my staff into the mouth and pulled out a stump. I also tied a rock to some rope and threw that in and pulled out a much shorter rope. That was enough to tell me to walk on by.
I didn’t die in the play testing of that adventure, but mainly because I rode in on a magic carpet and didn’t hit the many pit traps in the adventure. Of course, since I didn’t run into pits I didn’t discover the best of treasures. Only Gary would think to put a secret door in a pit trap.