What are Tucker's Kobolds?


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Hey guys, I fell off of the threads and everything for a while, so I was just wondering if someon could explain the references to "Tucker's Kobolds" on the threads? Thanks!

Grand Lodge

J-Rokka wrote:
Hey guys, I fell off of the threads and everything for a while, so I was just wondering if someon could explain the references to "Tucker's Kobolds" on the threads? Thanks!

me too

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Quote:

Tucker's kobolds

This month's editorial is about Tucker's kobolds. We get letters on occasion asking for advice on creating high-level AD&D® game adventures, and Tucker's kobolds seem to fit the bill.

Many high-level characters have little to do because they're not challenged. They yawn at tarrasques and must be forcibly kept awake when a lich appears. The DMs involved don't know what to do, so they stop dealing with the problem and the characters go into Character Limbo. Getting to high level is hard, but doing anything once you get there is worse.

One of the key problems in adventure design lies in creating opponents who can challenge powerful characters. Singular monsters like tarrasques and liches are easy to gang up on; the party can concentrate its firepower on the target until the target falls down dead and wiggles its little feet in the air. Designing monsters more powerful than a tarrasque is self-defeating; if the group kills your super-monster, what will you do next—send in its mother? That didn't work on Beowulf, and it probably won't work here.

Worse yet, singular supermonsters rarely have to think. They just use their trusty, predictable claw/claw/bite. This shouldn't be the measure of a campaign. These games fall apart because there's no challenge to them, no mental stimulation—no danger.

In all the games that I've seen, the worst, most horrible, most awful beyond-comparison opponents ever seen were often weaker than the characters who fought them. They were simply well-armed and intelligent beings who were played by the DM to be utterly ruthless and clever. Tucker's kobolds were like that.

Tucker ran an incredibly dangerous dungeon in the days I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. This dungeon had corridors that changed all of your donkeys into huge flaming demons or dropped the whole party into acid baths, but the demons were wienies compared to the kobolds on Level One. These kobolds were just regular kobolds, with 1-4 hp and all that, but they were mean. When I say they were mean, I mean they were bad, Jim. They graduated magna cum laude from the Sauron Institute for the Criminally Vicious.

When I joined the gaming group, some of the PCs had already met Tucker's kobolds, and they were not eager to repeat the experience. The party leader went over the penciled map of the dungeon and tried to find ways to avoid the little critters, but it was not possible. The group resigned itself to making a run for it through Level One to get to the elevators, where we could go down to Level Ten and fight "okay" monsters like huge flaming demons.

It didn't work. The kobolds caught us about 60' into the dungeon and locked the door behind us and barred it. Then they set the corridor on fire, while we were still in it.

"NOOOOOO!!!" screamed the party leader. "It's THEM! Run!!!"

Thus encouraged, our party scrambled down a side passage, only to be ambushed by more kobolds firing with light crossbows through murder holes in the walls and ceilings. Kobolds with metal armor and shields flung Molotov cocktails at us from the other sides of huge piles of flaming debris, which other kobolds pushed ahead of their formation using long metal poles like broomsticks. There was no mistake about it. These kobolds were bad.

We turned to our group leader for advice.

"AAAAAAGH!!!" he cried, hands clasped over his face to shut out the tactical situation.

We abandoned most of our carried items and donkeys to speed our flight toward the elevators, but we were cut off by kobold snipers who could split-move and fire, ducking back behind stones and corners after launching steel-tipped bolts and arrows, javelins, hand axes, and more flaming oil bottles. We ran into an unexplored section of Level One, taking damage all the time. It was then we discovered that these kobolds had honeycombed the first level with small tunnels to speed their movements. Kobold commandos were everywhere. All of our hirelings died. Most of our henchmen followed. We were next.

I recall we had a 12th-level magic user with us, and we asked him to throw a spell or something. "Blast 'em!" we yelled as we ran. "Fireball 'em! Get those little @#+$%*&!!"

"What, in these narrow corridors? " he yelled back. "You want I should burn us all up instead of them?"

Our panicked flight suddenly took us to a dead-end corridor, where a giant air shaft dropped straight down into unspeakable darkness, far past Level Ten. Here we hastily pounded spikes into the floors and walls, flung ropes over the ledge, and climbed straight down into that unspeakable darkness, because anything we met down there was sure to be better than those kobolds.

We escaped, met some huge flaming demons on Level Ten, and even managed to kill one after about an hour of combat and the lives of half the group. We felt pretty good — but the group leader could not be cheered up.

"We still have to go out the way we came in," he said as he gloomily prepared to divide up the treasure.

Tucker's kobolds were the worst things we could imagine. They ate all our donkeys and took our treasure and did everything they could to make us miserable, but they had style and brains and tenacity and courage. We respected them and loved them, sort of, because they were never boring.

If kobolds could do this to a group of PCs from 6th to 12th level, picture what a few orcs and some low level NPCs could do to a 12th-16th level group, or a gang of mid-level NPCs and monsters to groups of up to 20th level. Then give it a try. Sometimes, it's the little things—used well—that count.

Roger E. Moore

There used to be a website. She is gone.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

Tucker was the name of a legendary GM in the '80s whose exploits were recounted in an editorial for Dragon Magazine. He used kobolds (ordinary, lame kobolds in the days before monsters with class levels) to terrorize his players due to clever construction and tactics. Wearing down the party with traps, shooting from behind arrow slits and murder holes, dropping venomous vermin on them, herding them around with piles of flaming debris at the end of long metal poles, killing their henchmen and pack animals, etc.

The moral of the story is "any monster can be used well". It is also likely the reason that kobolds are, to this day, the sneaky, crafts-loving, trap-making do-whatever-it-takes-to-win humanoid, rather than just being cannon fodder.

Edit: Missed it by this much.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Blame the Kobold ninjas.

Silver Crusade

They may also be part of the reason why kobolds are pretty high on the list of "monster" races players like to get on their side.

Because really, you want them on your side. That and there's something really moving about those scrappy little underdogs holding the line for you. Or tunneling underneath it and sabotaging the enemy.

Man that kingdom was going to be awesome.


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What are Tucker's Kobolds???

They are what separates the good dungeon crawlers from the rest.

Trapdoors, murder holes, acid pits, falling boulders, crushing walls, burning garbage heaps, boiling oil, hordes of snipers, endless tunnels and secret passages... You name it... AND DIE!

PRAISE KURTULMAK!!!!


You can hardly call these guys kobolds any more given that they're all apparently int 18 strategists with multiple class levels in rogue/ranger and group telepathy to manage pulling off elaborate ambushes constantly in a labyrinth.

If you tried this with actual humans unless you were leading a special ops team chances are it would fail miserably and blow up in your face as your forces were destroyed in seperate chunks.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
gnomersy wrote:

You can hardly call these guys kobolds any more given that they're all apparently int 18 strategists with multiple class levels in rogue/ranger and group telepathy to manage pulling off elaborate ambushes constantly in a labyrinth.

If you tried this with actual humans unless you were leading a special ops team chances are it would fail miserably and blow up in your face as your forces were destroyed in seperate chunks.

Nope,

there's just a LOT of kobolds. It's not that they didn't get killed, it's just that while you were killing 3 of them, 9 others were chopping up your mule and putting it on the barbeque pit.


gnomersy wrote:

You can hardly call these guys kobolds any more given that they're all apparently int 18 strategists with multiple class levels in rogue/ranger and group telepathy to manage pulling off elaborate ambushes constantly in a labyrinth.

Right, and yes, once it can be a challenge, but really, after you have done it once, it’s really really frustrating and “Not Fun” to do it again.


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mdt wrote:
gnomersy wrote:

You can hardly call these guys kobolds any more given that they're all apparently int 18 strategists with multiple class levels in rogue/ranger and group telepathy to manage pulling off elaborate ambushes constantly in a labyrinth.

If you tried this with actual humans unless you were leading a special ops team chances are it would fail miserably and blow up in your face as your forces were destroyed in seperate chunks.

Nope,

there's just a LOT of kobolds. It's not that they didn't get killed, it's just that while you were killing 3 of them, 9 others were chopping up your mule and putting it on the barbeque pit.

Stratagy like this was standard for anyone familiar with defending any artificial structure back in those times. While we worry about tax breaks and bills in the modern world, people of the middle ages worried about getting overrun by bandits or raiders. This was standard issue if you know your history. Murder holes, arrow slits, pitfalls and everything in between.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Quote:

Tucker's kobolds

This month's editorial is about Tucker's kobolds. We get letters on occasion asking for advice on creating high-level AD&D® game adventures, and Tucker's kobolds seem to fit the bill.

Many high-level characters have little to do because they're not challenged. They yawn at tarrasques and must be forcibly kept awake when a lich appears. The DMs involved don't know what to do, so they stop dealing with the problem and the characters go into Character Limbo. Getting to high level is hard, but doing anything once you get there is worse.

One of the key problems in adventure design lies in creating opponents who can challenge powerful characters. Singular monsters like tarrasques and liches are easy to gang up on; the party can concentrate its firepower on the target until the target falls down dead and wiggles its little feet in the air. Designing monsters more powerful than a tarrasque is self-defeating; if the group kills your super-monster, what will you do next—send in its mother? That didn't work on Beowulf, and it probably won't work here.

Worse yet, singular supermonsters rarely have to think. They just use their trusty, predictable claw/claw/bite. This shouldn't be the measure of a campaign. These games fall apart because there's no challenge to them, no mental stimulation—no danger.

In all the games that I've seen, the worst, most horrible, most awful beyond-comparison opponents ever seen were often weaker than the characters who fought them. They were simply well-armed and intelligent beings who were played by the DM to be utterly ruthless and clever. Tucker's kobolds were like that.

Tucker ran an incredibly dangerous dungeon in the days I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. This dungeon had corridors that changed all of your donkeys into huge flaming demons or dropped the whole party into acid baths, but the demons were wienies compared to the kobolds on Level One. These kobolds were just regular kobolds, with 1-4 hp and all that, but they were mean. When I say they

...

Thanks for the explanation, I can feel the PCs horror, and pretty soon my gaming group will too >:) mwhahaha


Writer wrote:
mdt wrote:
gnomersy wrote:

You can hardly call these guys kobolds any more given that they're all apparently int 18 strategists with multiple class levels in rogue/ranger and group telepathy to manage pulling off elaborate ambushes constantly in a labyrinth.

If you tried this with actual humans unless you were leading a special ops team chances are it would fail miserably and blow up in your face as your forces were destroyed in seperate chunks.

Nope,

there's just a LOT of kobolds. It's not that they didn't get killed, it's just that while you were killing 3 of them, 9 others were chopping up your mule and putting it on the barbeque pit.

Stratagy like this was standard for anyone familiar with defending any artificial structure back in those times. While we worry about tax breaks and bills in the modern world, people of the middle ages worried about getting overrun by bandits or raiders. This was standard issue if you know your history. Murder holes, arrow slits, pitfalls and everything in between.

Not really you only had 2 or 3 people at any given castle or the like that had a solid understanding of what had to be done to repel invaders. Your common person didn't even know how to swing a sword and was barely competent as a warrior until after the advent of guns. Sure you could get the common folk or your armsmen to conduct the defense of a structure well but that was primarily defense not guerrilla warfare and once they kicked down the door you were either going to surrender or get massacred in most cases.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, so Tucker's Kobolds probably had 2 or 3 high level kobold experts (or even rogues) to design the traps, and 50 kobolds each as helpers and archery buffs. :)


Demiurge 1138 wrote:
Tucker was the name of a legendary GM in the '80s whose exploits were recounted in an editorial for Dragon Magazine.

Dragon #127 (November 1987).

Grand Lodge

mdt wrote:
Yeah, so Tucker's Kobolds probably had 2 or 3 high level kobold experts (or even rogues) to design the traps, and 50 kobolds each as helpers and archery buffs. :)

Except that these kobolds were 1st edition kobolds, which meant no class, and no level; just 1-4 hit points...


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Cards, Companion Subscriber

And a viscous streak a mile wide. >:D


Digitalelf wrote:
Except that these kobolds were 1st edition kobolds, which meant no class, and no level; just 1-4 hit points...

I don't have the Monster Manual in front of me, but often humanoids would have slightly tougher chiefs, sub-chiefs, sergeants, etc. (E.g. "a bugbear chief uses the same stats as an ogre" or whatever.)


I certainly agree with the above explanations as far as they go but Tucker's Kobold's are much more then just the article. Their advent created was part of the whole paradigm shift in how monsters where presented throughout the game.

We certainly where seeing more interesting 'Boss' Monsters by this point but their lacky's where still generally pretty straight forward creatures. The idea that there where some types of monsters that one found on level one of the dungeon and others, much more powerful, that one found on level 13 of the dungeon was already waning but certianly not dead yet.

The idea that tuckers kobolds could be really nasty also ushered in a whole movement to look more closely at terrian etc. and have the bad guysm kobold or otherwise, try and use its environment to its advantage if it reasonably could.

In effect a movement away from having monsters live in main;y empty rooms with a few pieces of 'dungeon dressing' and a chest and to have them fight it out with the adventurers when they showed up.

Its part of, and an important part, the movement that makes our encounters generally more complex and requires there to usually be some kind of rationalization as to why you and this horrible thing are in a fight to the death - a rational beyond...it lives on level 8 of the dungeon and your down here killing all the monsters on level 8 because you already cleared out levels 1-7 and anyway it might have treasure and is definitely worth XP.


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Demiurge 1138 wrote:
The moral of the story is "any monster can be used well". It is also likely the reason that kobolds are, to this day, the sneaky, crafts-loving, trap-making do-whatever-it-takes-to-win humanoid, rather than just being cannon fodder.

Yeah. I recall a session last year where our party was investigating a mine from which all the human miners who worked it had failed to return at the end of the workday, a week or so before our party came on the scene. At the first intersection, we triggered a cleverly-designed falling-rocks trap -- it didn't crush anyone, thanks to a couple of good Reflex saves, but it did make an ungodly amount of noise, presumably alerting every living thing in the mine of our arrival. My character and the other member of the party with Knowledge:Dungeoneering looked at one another and said, "Kobolds?" "Yup, kobolds." While it didn't approach the level of horror described in the editorial above (the kobolds hadn't been in the mine long enough to turn it into the kind of trap-fest a long-standing lair would be), it was pretty hairy.


Dungeon Issue #51

The Bandits of Bunglewood
by Christopher Perkins
No one will admit who the bandits really are. An AD&D adventure for character levels 1–3; 12 total levels.

A 2ed adventure that almost lead to a tpk.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I remember an adventure called Tallow's deep, from dungeon 18. We were about levels 7-9 then, but the monsters got us running. I think it was goblins, not kobolds, but they were just as nasty. And had lots of small corridors, of the kind in which you could not cast an old-fashioned 1st level fireball...


thread-dotting for fun and profit

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

I always wondered why the mage in the party didn't just cloudkill the bastards. Repeatedly. Or send in an air or fire elemental along all those little corridors to fry them on.

To me, it was an exemplar of pretty poor game play. They simply should have made a priority of killing off all the kobolds by whatever means were needed, filling in their tunnels, and else...instead they just endured the problem.

Meh.

But, it was a great story about incompetent adventurers being defeated by skill and brains back then!

==Aelryinth

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

1st edition wizards weren't packed fulla magic in those days. Especially if their goal was the deeper tunnels.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Sure they were. And you're missing the point.

The party should have wiped the kobolds out. Made it a priority and killed them. LOOK AT WHAT THEY COST THEM.

A 12th level wizard? He was like a god back then. Summon up a fire elemental, let it go...the kobolds are going to need a nat 20 to hit it, and magical weapons, it can go into any of the tunnels, and it eats their flaming oil and brush piles.

Fill the air with fog clouds and stinking clouds and cut off their line of sight and flush them out of their corridors.

Stone Shape their little arrow slits shut. Or open up the stone into the room behind.

Ice Storm for the AoE, or COne of Cold, or, heck, chain lightning. Every magic missile (unrestricted to just 5) is a kill as well.

Toss a fireball into those tight little kobold corridors for minimum damage. It would expand in the area of least resistance...down the tunnels. In 1E, that's 1300' of 5x5 corridors that are doing 17 points of damage...autokill even if they make a save. equip the party with fire resistance ahead of time, be completely protected from non-magical flames.

I'm sorry, mundane martial tactics are not equipped to deal with the variety and power of magical assaults, especially from level 0 creatures.

It's an entertaining story, but a stupid party. I enjoyed reading it. It was not realistic to any game I've ever been in.

And just for follow-up, Dragon Mountain basically brought Tucker's Kobolds into the service of an ancient red dragon, and did the same thing. The second Flame module in Dungeon featured suiciding kobolds all armed with necklace of missile fireball beads. The Axe of the Dwarven Lords introduced area effect missile fire so the goblins (1-7 hp) there could actually do damage to a party, and played the mundane defense game.

against a smart caster, none of this stuff worked all that well.

I played a LOT of 1E. You had to have some very single minded melee-centered parties to have this sort of problem. The story said there was a 12th level wizard along...one fire elemental clears out the whole level and is basically invulnerable.

It's a story with a lesson...don't be as dumb as those adventurers.

==Aelryinth

Liberty's Edge

Aelryinth wrote:

I always wondered why the mage in the party didn't just cloudkill the bastards. Repeatedly. Or send in an air or fire elemental along all those little corridors to fry them on.

To me, it was an exemplar of pretty poor game play. They simply should have made a priority of killing off all the kobolds by whatever means were needed, filling in their tunnels, and else...instead they just endured the problem.

Meh.

But, it was a great story about incompetent adventurers being defeated by skill and brains back then!

==Aelryinth

It was a different game back then. I'm copying this from my Monstrous Manual, and hope I'm not breaking any copyright laws when doing so:

Monstrous Manual wrote:
Fire elementals can be conjured in any area containing a large open flame. To provide a fire elemental with an adequate shell of Prime Material flame, a fire built to house an elemental should have a diameter of at least six feet and reach a minimum of four feet into the air.

Now imagine you're on a dungeon, and kobolds are hitting you left and right. Would you stop to build a bonfire (with what exactly?) to summon an elemental?

Say you go with an air elemental, then. Easier to summon, right? Even if we're in a dungeon we should be able to... oh crud

Monstrous Manual wrote:
Air elementals can be conjured in any area of open air where gusts of wind are present.

"Quick, Galiahan, start puffing, I need a gust of wind ASAP!"

Now cloudkill is a good idea, except that almost impossible to steer in honeycomb tunnels.

Wizards back in the day were awesome. I played one, and I had a lot of fun. But they lacked much of today's options, and they were far more frail (squishy doesn't begin to describe it). Retreat had to be always up in the possibilities list.

Shadow Lodge

Aelryinth wrote:

I always wondered why the mage in the party didn't just cloudkill the bastards. Repeatedly. Or send in an air or fire elemental along all those little corridors to fry them on.

To me, it was an exemplar of pretty poor game play. They simply should have made a priority of killing off all the kobolds by whatever means were needed, filling in their tunnels, and else...instead they just endured the problem.

Meh.

But, it was a great story about incompetent adventurers being defeated by skill and brains back then!

==Aelryinth

You're ignoring the MAJOR paradigm shift of what happens when a pre-d20 spellcaster gets hit while casting a spell.

Scarab Sages

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So you’ve been to school for a year or two
And you’ve memorised the SRD.
But when it comes to kobolds
That don’t mean sh1t to me.

Quoting EL, xp and CR,
On the Paizo message board
Doesn’t help you invade
A defended cave
And steal a real kobold’s hoard!

It’s time to face
What you most fear!
Appeals for help
Won’t help you here!

What you need, my so-o-on,
What.
You need.
My So-o-on!

Is a holiday in Koboldia
Where they make you wade in cack!
A holiday in Koboldia
Dropping scorpions on your back!

(Surf guitar break)

You’re an optimised sneak,
But your Fort is weak,
And your Will is made of fail.
We’ll see how you smile,
Dropped in the dung pile,
Skewered on a rusty nail.

Oh, you’ll sweat harder
With a spear in your back
From a hidden murder-hole!
You’ll regret
Getting out of your bed
Without your ten-foot pole!

It’s time to go
Where they use their brains!
It’s time to go
Where they deal out pain!

It’s a holiday in Koboldia
Where you do what you’re told!
A holiday in Koboldia
Where PCs get pwned and sold!

Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!

Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!
Ko – Bold!

(Koboldkoboldkoboldkoboldkoboldkoboldkoboldkobold)

It’s a holiday in Koboldia
Where you do what you’re told!
A holiday in Koboldia
Where PCs get pwned and sold!


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Snorter wrote:
*good stuff*

My detect win spell is registering an overwhelming aura here. be careful when you look at it, you may be blinded by epicness.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Kthulhu wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

I always wondered why the mage in the party didn't just cloudkill the bastards. Repeatedly. Or send in an air or fire elemental along all those little corridors to fry them on.

To me, it was an exemplar of pretty poor game play. They simply should have made a priority of killing off all the kobolds by whatever means were needed, filling in their tunnels, and else...instead they just endured the problem.

Meh.

But, it was a great story about incompetent adventurers being defeated by skill and brains back then!

==Aelryinth

You're ignoring the MAJOR paradigm shift of what happens when a pre-d20 spellcaster gets hit while casting a spell.

You're ignoring the fact protection from normal missiles and resist fire made you invulnerable to non-magical missiles and non-magical fire, respectively.

As for the elementals, c'mon, look at the duration on those spells...it was a turn a level. You summon the bloody things OUTSIDE, and send 'em in. They are amorphous creatures and can fit into those tiny little halls without a problem.

And if you want to be really mean you just summon an Earth Elemental and crush them from the walls themselves.
==========
Look, the kobolds use traps and tactics, they don't use magic.

They are not equipped to deal with an invisible, flying wizard. They are even LESS equipped to deal with one Wraithformed (although that spell came well after the kobolds). They aren't prepared to deal with fire resistance. They aren't prepared to deal with AoE's in their tight little crawlspaces wiping out thousands of feet of tunnel at a go, and doing nothing to the party.

All the players knew what the kobolds did, and how they did it. What did they do? They let the kobolds DO it, instead of wiping them out with superior magic and counter-tactics that completely neutralized everything the kobolds did.

Oh, yeah. Fighters got 1 att/level against level 0 creatures like kobolds. So, a 7th level fighter could wipe out 7 of those things every single round. A couple decent level fighters could take down hundreds of kobolds without breaking a sweat.

It's a stupid party and a great story. Don't be that party. I guarantee you that if some DM tried that trick without magical backup in the present game, there'd rapidly be some dead kobolds. especially against a level 9-12 party.

===Aelryinth

Shadow Lodge

In other words, you're planning on blowing your load before you get to level 2.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

Exactly. The kobolds are now dead.

TOMORROW, I go to level 2...and no kobolds bug me. No dead mules, hirelings or henchmen, no lost supplies...bliss.
Why they were feeding the kobolds baffles me to this day.

==Aelryinth


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

You blow your load on the kobolds, and as you wipe your sweaty brow, the orcs from level 2, who were only being held in check by the kobolds, bubble up out of the depths and attack.

:)

Grand Lodge

Snorter wrote:
...holiday in Koboldia...

I'm sure Jello would be proud :-)

Shadow Lodge

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That's the thing. If we want to play old-school enough that we're using the old "more dangerous monsters as you go deeper" trouple (not that I dislike that...I love megadungeons)...you can't just kill everything on level 1 and not expect the lower levels to flood onto level 1 to see what all the racket was. And if you go away and come back tomorrow, then sorry friend, there's just gonna be more kobolds.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Kthulhu wrote:
That's the thing. If we want to play old-school enough that we're using the old "more dangerous monsters as you go deeper" trouple (not that I dislike that...I love megadungeons)...you can't just kill everything on level 1 and not expect the lower levels to flood onto level 1 to see what all the racket was. And if you go away and come back tomorrow, then sorry friend, there's just gonna be more kobolds.

That's why you hire a horde of henchmen (... and a partridge in a pear tree) and bring several days worth of supplies for everyone (it's probably a good idea to have a several 1st-3rd level clerics with create water or purify food and drink as well as cure light wounds and hold person among the henchmen, or possibly a few 5th-6th level ones with create food and water): you clear an area, then move in and fortify it (or at least part of it), setting up a strong point/rest area as a base from which to make further forays; the henchmen are there to guard the perimeter and help keep the PCs from being ambushed in their sleep (i.e., they take shifts). Depending on how close the mega-dungeon is to the nearest town and the conditions between the town and the dungeon, setting up overland lines of supply might be feasible. If your party is on the N(E) side, then any cleric of 5th level or above (or magic-user of 9th level or above who learns the spell) can cast animate dead to raise the corpses of the dead monsters (and the henchmen too, if they're really on the E side) as zombies; zombies, after all, don't need food or payment, never need sleep, and always follow orders.

This style of play is old hat for many of us who grew up with 1st Ed or cut their teeth on B2 The Keep on the Borderlands. What amuses me most about Tucker's Kobolds is the lack of strategy and tactics by the players, considering that this was on an Army base. Obviously, Tucker had a much better grasp of them than the players did.


Aelryinth wrote:

Exactly. The kobolds are now dead.

TOMORROW, I go to level 2...and no kobolds bug me. No dead mules, hirelings or henchmen, no lost supplies...bliss.
Why they were feeding the kobolds baffles me to this day.

==Aelryinth

Well if those kobolds are shooting at you from multiple angles, different cells and you can't really see in to cast the cloudkill, and they have stoppers for their murder holes to shut the cloudkill out, keeping it in your area not theirs, simple tech can beat magic.

Targets for a wizard, if they hold actions to flee around corners when a spell is being cast, or they beat on initiative and hold, spells easily get wasted.

Summon! Kobolds flee deeper, bar the way and create obstructions, crawl into small holes with tiny tiny but solid doors, where mighty summons can't follow, spells get wasted.

One I liked was fighting in a closed space, too small for medium, they have to go prone, but large enough for kobolds or the like, and equip small polearms but with reach and keep a poking formation going forward. Good for hurting melee badly. Some extra traps in this area also won't "hurt" the invaders.

Alchemist fire, oils, filth, poisons, good use of ambush, it can take parties out. The real bad news, is if the party is heavy spellcaster, and they get in deep before running out of spells, now they are hounded all the way out, or they can keep going in out of spells.

Sun Tzutucker, general of the kobolds.


The approach of not using the low level monsters as cannon fodder is something that GMs and game designers need to be reminded of.

I've never run across duergar as anything more than road bumps (tabletop and PC). But after I read the Slayers Guide to Duergar, I gained a whole new respect for them as a cunning enemy that can really add to the game.


3.5 Loyalist wrote:


Well if those kobolds are shooting at you from multiple angles, different cells and you can't really see in to cast the cloudkill, and they have stoppers for their murder holes to shut the cloudkill out, keeping it in your area not theirs, simple tech can beat magic.

Targets for a wizard, if they hold actions to flee around corners when a spell is being cast, or they beat on initiative and hold, spells easily get wasted.

Summon! Kobolds flee deeper, bar the way and create obstructions, crawl into small holes with tiny tiny but solid doors, where mighty summons can't follow, spells get wasted.

One I liked was fighting in a closed space, too small for medium, they have to go prone, but large enough for kobolds or the like, and equip small polearms but with reach and keep a poking formation going forward. Good for hurting melee badly. Some extra traps in this area also won't "hurt" the invaders.

Alchemist fire, oils, filth, poisons, good use of ambush, it can take parties out. The real bad news, is if the party is heavy spellcaster, and they get in deep before running out of spells, now they are hounded all the way out, or they can keep going in out of spells.

Sun Tzutucker, general of the kobolds.

+1. tactics are the difference between victory and defeat far more often than pure brute force, and Tucker's kobolds are the very definition of home field advantage. if the PC's have a high ac then either sheer number of shots'll ensure some hits, or some of the spear-wielders will aid another to boost one of their attacks. many will die, but for every one that falls ten more will take their place. this is the nature of weak but numerous monsters.


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Tucker style dungeons and kobolds are also what drove many many people away from D&D.

One tactic from OAD&D that broke Tucker's dungeons was to polymorph a character into a xorn and then have that character use passwall and wall of stone, at will at the time, to bypass and/or seal the kobolds in their own labyrinth nullifying the pesky bastards.


I like a challenge, I like being out-witted and killed. I play dark souls.

Ridiculous stats, that I don't like or approve of. If you can't hit it, can't hurt it (also applies against insane numbers), then perhaps the players should tell the dm, yeah we'll come back when there is a chance.

Good solid tactics, enemies good at defence, yeah, that can make the victory all the more sweeter. And if they die, well perhaps a dm should ask, do you think all adventurers become 20th level? The loot comes from the likes of youuuuuuuu!

Also rust monsters in tight spaces to take away the armour and weapons of heavy ac parties. A rust lord or too (damn they are good).

I'm thinking about some ambush situations with where the players may go next. Orogs that really use the hills and height, poisons, traps. Oh yeah.


Aelryinth wrote:


Look, the kobolds use traps and tactics, they don't use magic.

They are not equipped to deal with an invisible, flying wizard.

Of course they are.

Invisibility does not help vs non-magical traps.
Flying does not do much in 3' high tunnels.
Such a wizard would die, horribly, alone.

Quote:
Oh, yeah. Fighters got 1 att/level against level 0 creatures like kobolds. So, a 7th level fighter could wipe out 7 of those...

Not when on his hands and knees in a 3' high tunnel, fighting kobolds who run away rather than face him in melee.

And smart kobolds would have fire doors in their crawl spaces so they can't all be wiped out at once with a fireball.

Elementals would be immune to just about anything the kobolds could do, but would be unlikely to have the skill to find all the kobolds, especially if they use decoys to lead them away the main areas.

Cloudkill sinks, and we are talking about the highest level of the dungeon, so the odd drain would be enough to stop it clearing the level.


Luna eladrin wrote:
I remember an adventure called Tallow's deep, from dungeon 18. We were about levels 7-9 then, but the monsters got us running. I think it was goblins, not kobolds, but they were just as nasty. And had lots of small corridors, of the kind in which you could not cast an old-fashioned 1st level fireball...

If that is the one I am thinking off, I played it. A bunch of plain goblins were slaughtering our 8th level party until we figure out how to bypass the trapped filled main corridor. Even then it was a tough fight and gave me some respect of weak creatures using good tactics.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber
Zahariel wrote:


Wizards back in the day were awesome. I played one, and I had a lot of fun. But they lacked much of today's options, and they were far more frail (squishy doesn't begin to describe it). Retreat had to be always up in the possibilities list.

It was a bit of a different game, to be sure. You really couldn't expect to have all of the spells you might think you'd need. Blow your roll to learn a spell, and you're wiping that one off your list of potential magic user spells permanently unless your intelligence gets higher or you research an alternative version.

And let's not forget that the elemental turns on the caster when your concentration is broken and may do so anyway (5% chance each round).

It's not for nothing that 3x gets called a "caster edition" of D&D. A lot of complications for spellcasters were removed. Note that the 12th level magic user player was concerned about a fireball in close quarters. It's not much of an issue in 3e, but in 1e, that fireball filled corridors like nobody's business...

Dark Archive

Jit wrote:


Dungeon Issue #51

The Bandits of Bunglewood
by Christopher Perkins
No one will admit who the bandits really are. An AD&D adventure for character levels 1–3; 12 total levels.

A 2ed adventure that almost lead to a tpk.

NEAR tpk? I killed 7 different parties with those guys.

*sniff*, Jekk would be so proud of them.

I miss using that adventure but it just does not convert well to D20.


I am typing this from my phone so please forgive the rambling nature of the post.

I think it was a B Module Horror on the Hill, that had an area where the party had to cross single file three rock bridges over a magma lake and when they reached the end of the bridge they had to scale a 15 foot high cliff. That would be difficult at the best of times but the kobolds had made the bridges slippery and bridges were all well in the range of their javelins in thier conceled positions on the clif top. As the party crossed the kobolds were forcing a saving throw every time they hit somebody. If the party made it across the Kobolds were then levering the boulders that they were hiding behind down on to the party as they scaled the cliff. When the party finally made it to the top the kobolds would them scarper off into a warren of tunnels and start more ambushes. This was ment for 3rd level characters, but use it against higher levels and the carnage would be the same.

My very first character death was in the pit trap in the kobold lair in B2. I have a healthy respect for the cunning little bastards.

I like to make my kobolds like Bond villains with highly elaborate traps. One of my favourites was a pit trap just big enough for a leg. When set off the leg would drop down through the floor and steel spikes traveling at right angles would pierce the leg pinning the character in place.... The the room would start to fill with water, hot sand, cloud kill, rot grubs and/or other fun things. The players then would have to work out how to get the other character out. In one game the magic hating barbarian chopped the wizards pinned leg off before anybody else had a chance to work on a plan.

Another trap I used in a kobold lair was disarming one trap would arm another. The thief would detect traps on a door to the kobold treasure room and if lucky find a scythe trap - the scythe trap would be disarmed if the lock was picked carefully. When they got to the chest in the room the act of disarming the trap on the chest would rearm the trap on the door unless you re-armed the trap on the chest. So as the characters exited the room they got hit by the door trap.

Kobolds are all about playing dirty and contingencies.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

No aid another actions in 1E. Technically, there's no held actions, either, although most DM's allowed it. A wizard prepped for the kobolds with prot/normal missiles could ignore them safely.

The kobolds didn't have magical defenses.

The orcs coming up are going to run into the hundred kobold zombies you made from dead kobolds. And the glyphs of warding and stuff on the stairs up. And the gnomes you brought in to take over the kobold's defenses. If you think kobolds are bad, now add illusions and decent armor!

A flying invisible wizard in the primary corridors can scout the way, see the defenses...and a simple stone shape closes everything up. THEN he fireballs. As for the 3' high corridors, he can Reduce or polymorph himself down small enough to scout them.

A flying, invisible wizard isn't going to TRIGGER any non-magical traps. What's he going to do, trip a pressure switch? Fall down a pit?

The elementals will smash through anything in the way that the kobolds can throw up. None of them are at all stopped or hindered by corridor size.

have a couple fire doors? Why? It would slow the kobolds down. Even if it did, they have to withstand the fireball...which would burn right through a standard door and keep expanding.

Drains? You're not talking plumbing in a dungeon of kobolds in 1e, are you? And you can always follow the cloud, and simply direct it past the drain and in a different direction.

There is no infinite supply of kobolds. Sooner or later, they run out.

the fighter isn't fighting the kobolds in their tunnels. He's fighting them in the main ones, where they are clutching their ridiculous little spears in unison and whining when he plows through their little fire bundles and proceeds to wipe 100 of them in under sixty seconds.

The party was stupid, that's all there was to it, and they didn't use magic to deal with the problem. With a 12th level wizard and supposedly other characters of decent level with them.

==Aelryinth

Liberty's Edge

Aelryinth wrote:

No aid another actions in 1E. Technically, there's no held actions, either, although most DM's allowed it. A wizard prepped for the kobolds with prot/normal missiles could ignore them safely.

The kobolds didn't have magical defenses.

The orcs coming up are going to run into the hundred kobold zombies you made from dead kobolds. And the glyphs of warding and stuff on the stairs up. And the gnomes you brought in to take over the kobold's defenses. If you think kobolds are bad, now add illusions and decent armor!

A flying invisible wizard in the primary corridors can scout the way, see the defenses...and a simple stone shape closes everything up. THEN he fireballs. As for the 3' high corridors, he can Reduce or polymorph himself down small enough to scout them.

A flying, invisible wizard isn't going to TRIGGER any non-magical traps. What's he going to do, trip a pressure switch? Fall down a pit?

The elementals will smash through anything in the way that the kobolds can throw up. None of them are at all stopped or hindered by corridor size.

have a couple fire doors? Why? It would slow the kobolds down. Even if it did, they have to withstand the fireball...which would burn right through a standard door and keep expanding.

Drains? You're not talking plumbing in a dungeon of kobolds in 1e, are you? And you can always follow the cloud, and simply direct it past the drain and in a different direction.

There is no infinite supply of kobolds. Sooner or later, they run out.

the fighter isn't fighting the kobolds in their tunnels. He's fighting them in the main ones, where they are clutching their ridiculous little spears in unison and whining when he plows through their little fire bundles and proceeds to wipe 100 of them in under sixty seconds.

The party was stupid, that's all there was to it, and they didn't use magic to deal with the problem. With a 12th level wizard and supposedly other characters of decent level with them.

==Aelryinth

Guessing y'all house ruled out casting times? Just about anything short of a pole arm was faster than a high level spell, and the magic user's initiative is when he started casting...


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Honestly, I would try to negotiate with the damnable kobolds. I am sure that there is SOMETHING that they want in exchange for safe passage.

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