4e Tucker's Kobolds for 11th level party?

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So the players are soon to be hunting down the lair of a red dragon and I'd like to use kobolds (and their traps) as one of the major dangers in the dragon's mountain.

Naturally, I read up on Tucker's Kobolds and thought that would be a splendid twist. I've scanned two older threads and picked out some useful tidbits: Tuckers Kobolds in 4e - can it work? and Tucker's Kobolds (4e) .

Any suggestions? Brilliant trap ideas? Pitfalls to watch out for? (pun intended Wink )

I'm thinking the kobolds will be minion-ized versions of their lower level selves (i.e. take a standard kobold, increase its level by 8 and make it a minion, so that the XP value remains the same) that travel in large packs of 10-20 (overall there are hundreds in the mountain). Thus, the kobold chieftain (a level 5 standard in Dragon #364) would merely be a level 13 minion!

Their traps will be "low-tech, high design", taking advantage of pre-existing traps in the old dwarven tunnels or else being easily engineered from the underground environment. However, the traps will be nasty, pervasive, and utilized well by the kobolds who defend the dragon's mountain.



Just my usual advice.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Evil DM play I think I'll put my Epic tier players through this some time :D I like most of your ideas, but I'd rather keep the monsters as-is instead of adjusting their levels and what not.  Instead...

1. Average out the damage of the non-minions
There'll be too many creatures at this point,  so reducing the number of rolls will help keep your turns simplified.  Plus, it'll make it a bit more difficult to differentiate between minion and non-minion ;)

2. Take full advantage of the Aid Attack and Aid Defense action
Kobolds take nasty advantage of these due to the Shifty ability: four minion kobolds move in, Aid Attack/Defense their most powerful ally, then shift out to keep them from being wiped out by an area 1 attack (and to frustrate the melee guy).  Due to the fact that Aid Attack
* automatically grants +2 to attack/defenses (no roll)
* grants the bonus to any ally, not just the guy adjacent to the target enemy

You are able to lessen the rolls needed on the table, while instantly adding 8 levels to a single kobold (making the PC-monster gap much smaller).  For example:  Big guy fighter in front, casters and ranged folk at back, being cautious as usual, except corridors are *really* tight here.  Suddenly, 16 kobold tunnelers (lvl 1) appear out of tunnels, and the guy with the highest perception notices arrow slits along the corridor.  All the 16 kobold tunnelers will be doing would be granting +2 to hit to four kobold slingers (lvl 1, ranged attacks average at 8[.5] damage per hit) and once they've done their job they'd shift back into the tunnels (tunnel design will help here).  Even though they're level 1, each tunneler would turn the slinger's to-hit from +8 vs. AC to +16 vs. AC... which assuming they have +3 equipment would still put them at hitting on a 12 or less if we're talking level 11 PCs.  Adding 9 kobold dragonshields per PC, and taking full advantage of Shifty + Dragonshield Tactics, that's easily boosting the kobolds as if they were 8 levels higher, without actually adding anything to their stats (retaining the feel of Tucker's Kobolds, who didn't have any stat adjustments to help them).

3. Destroy without dealing damage
Traps that isolate PCs from each other, items and hazards that bypass defenses and/or drain valuable healing surges -- losing 1 healing surge might not be much, but adventuring with no healing surges left can be a nightmare -- and changing terrain that continuously pushes PCs and players well out of their comfort zone should make even epic tier PCs have difficulty dealing with these kobolds

If you want to pour rust monster pheromone juice on the PCs for good measure, I just have to warn you that the players might not take the gesture so kindly.

EDIT: Again, these are just my opinions on the matter.  Turning the low-level standard kobolds into higher-level minions with the same EXP does help in keeping the kobolds both relevant and deadly, especially if, at higher levels, PCs can easily kill their standard version kobold in one hit anyway.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
Evil DM play I think I'll put my Epic tier players through this some time :D I like most of your ideas, but I'd rather keep the monsters as-is instead of adjusting their levels and what not.  Instead...


Yeah, I like the Aid/shift combo you outlined, very kobold-y!

You make a valid suggestion to just use low-level kobold stats. Personally, that creates a dependence on using Aid (or kobold dragonshield mobs) that I'd prefer to avoid. If I wanted an effective kobold slinger, I would need to include 4 "support staff" to get a +14 to hit...in a 5' wide corridthat that becomes challenging because I think the Aid Ranged Attack rules require you to be adjacent to your ally.

Also, with such a large number of kobolds I like not having to track HP with all minions. And, as you say, static damage is already a feature of the minion stat block.

Some traps that I'm planning on using...

Falling iron portcullis (DMG2) with bars just wide enough for kobolds to squeeze thru
Dropped/smoked out hornets nest
Caltrops!
Natural wind tunnel...kobold murder holes on far side kobolds can skewer wind-tossed PCs thru
Flame Jet (improved from DMG)
Scything blades (improved from DMG, designed to pass over heads of small characters)
Spiked pit trap
Bridge to Nowhere (from R.M.Walker's awesome "It's a Trap" community project)
Skull-Skull gauntlet (improved from DMG)
Cave-in (DMG)
Giant rolling boulder (DMG2)

If you want to pour rust monster pheromone juice on the PCs for good measure, I just have to warn you that the players might not take the gesture so kindly.


I would never stoop so low! *scribbling notes in DM notebook*

Fire and oil, falling rocks, electricity, poison gas, and just about every other environmental hazard the Kobolds can "channel" from the underground would be very handy. 

Other things that aren't usually thought of are diseases (microbes are wonderful things), water hazards, kobolds with glue stuck to them (weapons stick), etc.

Best of luck,

jh

Gamer Chiropractor - Hafner Chiropractic 305 S. Kipling st,Suite C-2, Lakewood, Co 80226 hafnerchiropractic.com

I think the Aid Ranged Attack rules require you to be adjacent to your ally.

No such rule exists, pre or post-Errata.  I triple-checked, and it also makes some sense: remember those movies and TV shows where the guy on camera goes around with the long speeches at the enemy, then at the end he suddenly shouts "Now!" then ducks out of the way as a projectile (arrow/bullet/bolt) flies straight towards the heart of the enemy?  That easily explains how Aid Another can work with ranged attacks.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I think the Aid Ranged Attack rules require you to be adjacent to your ally.

No such rule exists, pre or post-Errata.  I triple-checked, and it also makes some sense: remember those movies and TV shows where the guy on camera goes around with the long speeches at the enemy, then at the end he suddenly shouts "Now!" then ducks out of the way as a projectile (arrow/bullet/bolt) flies straight towards the heart of the enemy?  That easily explains how Aid Another can work with ranged attacks.

Actually, we're both wrong According to Rules Compendium page 238 under Aid an Ally's Attack: "When a creature takes this action, it chooses an enemy adjacent to it...The creature chooses an ally. That ally gains a +2 bonus to it's next attack roll against the chosen enemy..."

Which is why you see some monsters (eg. Dwarf Thug from DMG2) with a Combined Fire trait...because RAW doesn't let you aid attacks from range (though you can aid ranged attacks against an adjacent enemy by, say, knocking them off balance and yelling "Now!").
I ran an encounter like this recently at AL16, and it was awesome. This is what I did: 

- Find 10-15 interesting traps in the Compendium of around the party's level. 
- Combine them into a couple of lethal gauntlets. The traps should generally slow the players down while dealing damage to them. 
- Give the players an impetus to keep moving. In my case there were infinite kobolds with handcrossbows behind the walls. The walls had small arrowslits. 

I ended up with three rooms: 

1. A hallway 30 squares long and 2 squares wide, with a Giant Rolling Boulder trap, flamejets coming from the ceiling and energydraining floortiles that slowed the players down if they stepped on them. The hallway ended in a Warded Door. 

2. A 10x20 room containing Tectuktitlay's Narrows, a very nasty trap. At the far end of the room the walls narrowed into a hallway. The sides were ghoul gates, and the hallway was closed off by an Elemental Transformation Field in the shape of a giant curtain of fire. 

3. A darkened 15x20 room that had Death Strangler Statues and Crawler Nests on one side, and a Crypt Thing on the other side. Behind the Crypt thing was another Warded Door. 

At the end of every round each player was shot twice by a level 16 Kobold minion. 

The whole thing took something like 5-6 rounds, with everyone being instrumental in reaching the end of the gauntlet. 
I think the Aid Ranged Attack rules require you to be adjacent to your ally.

No such rule exists, pre or post-Errata.  I triple-checked, and it also makes some sense: remember those movies and TV shows where the guy on camera goes around with the long speeches at the enemy, then at the end he suddenly shouts "Now!" then ducks out of the way as a projectile (arrow/bullet/bolt) flies straight towards the heart of the enemy?  That easily explains how Aid Another can work with ranged attacks.

Actually, we're both wrong According to Rules Compendium page 238 under Aid an Ally's Attack: "When a creature takes this action, it chooses an enemy adjacent to it...The creature chooses an ally. That ally gains a +2 bonus to it's next attack roll against the chosen enemy..." Which is why you see some monsters (eg. Dwarf Thug from DMG2) with a Combined Fire trait...because RAW doesn't let you aid attacks from range (though you can aid ranged attacks against an adjacent enemy by, say, knocking them off balance and yelling "Now!").


Check it again: you only need to be adjacent to the enemy to grant the Aid Attack.

Where does it say that the ally you choose has to be adjacent to you or the enemy you're aiding against? 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
I ran an encounter like this recently at AL16, and it was awesome. This is what I did: 

- Find 10-15 interesting traps in the Compendium of around the party's level. 
- Combine them into a couple of lethal gauntlets. The traps should generally slow the players down while dealing damage to them. 
- Give the players an impetus to keep moving. In my case there were infinite kobolds with handcrossbows behind the walls. The walls had small arrowslits. 

I ended up with three rooms: 

1. A hallway 30 squares long and 2 squares wide, with a Giant Rolling Boulder trap, flamejets coming from the ceiling and energydraining floortiles that slowed the players down if they stepped on them. The hallway ended in a Warded Door. 

2. A 10x20 room containing Tectuktitlay's Narrows, a very nasty trap. At the far end of the room the walls narrowed into a hallway. The sides were ghoul gates, and the hallway was closed off by an Elemental Transformation Field in the shape of a giant curtain of fire. 

3. A darkened 15x20 room that had Death Strangler Statues and Crawler Nests on one side, and a Crypt Thing on the other side. Behind the Crypt thing was another Warded Door. 

At the end of every round each player was shot twice by a level 16 Kobold minion. 

The whole thing took something like 5-6 rounds, with everyone being instrumental in reaching the end of the gauntlet. 



That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?

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Regarding Dwarf Thug of DMG2 p.205, as there are no rules for combined attacks, apparently the idea is that instead of doing 1d20 + 20 a number of times equal to the number of Dwarf Thugs, you just combine all their attacks so you roll just 1d20 + 20 + 1 per thug (in the given encounter, 1d20 + 25 instead of 5 rolls of 1d20+20).  Faster turn resolving, less fatal for the group, optional and doesn't require the monsters to make Aid Another checks, although a couple of Aid Attacks could certainly help.
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?


The encounter is in your inbox!
awesome TY
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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Regarding Dwarf Thug of DMG2 p.205, as there are no rules for combined attacks, apparently the idea is that instead of doing 1d20 + 20 a number of times equal to the number of Dwarf Thugs, you just combine all their attacks so you roll just 1d20 + 20 + 1 per thug (in the given encounter, 1d20 + 25 instead of 5 rolls of 1d20+20).  Faster turn resolving, less fatal for the group, optional and doesn't require the monsters to make Aid Another checks, although a couple of Aid Attacks could certainly help.


Yeah, the archers aiding melee or archers aiding archers was what I was focusing on.

So I'm giving the baseline kobolds (level9 minions) three traits:
* They can divide up their move before and after attacking
* Mob Tactics or Combined Fire ( depending on if they're melee or archers)
* In addition to Shifty I'm thinking of giving them Narrow Escape as an at-will interrupt for when they're subject to a close or area attack, they shift 3 squares. Basically it makes it very hard to catch a lot of them with a fireball.It's also emphasizes how cowardly and skittish they are and how their warrens are riddled with escape tunnels / sized to the kobolds advantage.
That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?


The encounter is in your inbox!


Me too! Me too! ;) 

What does Tectuktitlay's Narrows do? I take it that's from a Dungeon or Dragon Dark Sun article? 

Regarding Dwarf Thug of DMG2 p.205, as there are no rules for combined attacks, apparently the idea is that instead of doing 1d20 + 20 a number of times equal to the number of Dwarf Thugs, you just combine all their attacks so you roll just 1d20 + 20 + 1 per thug (in the given encounter, 1d20 + 25 instead of 5 rolls of 1d20+20).  Faster turn resolving, less fatal for the group, optional and doesn't require the monsters to make Aid Another checks, although a couple of Aid Attacks could certainly help.


Yeah, the archers aiding melee or archers aiding archers was what I was focusing on.

So I'm giving the baseline kobolds (level9 minions) three traits:
* They can divide up their move before and after attacking
* Mob Tactics or Combined Fire ( depending on if they're melee or archers)
* In addition to Shifty I'm thinking of giving them Narrow Escape as an at-will interrupt for when they're subject to a close or area attack, they shift 3 squares. Basically it makes it very hard to catch a lot of them with a fireball.It's also emphasizes how cowardly and skittish they are and how their warrens are riddled with escape tunnels / sized to the kobolds advantage.


Personally I'd say an immediate reaction on a miss they can shift their speed, because a 1/round ability to completely negate area attacks is... pretty brutal in my opinion.  Your kobolds though, not mine. 
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?


The encounter is in your inbox!


Me too! Me too! ;) 

What does Tectuktitlay's Narrows do? I take it that's from a Dungeon or Dragon Dark Sun article? 

Yup, this was an extremely cool and rather terrifying encounter. Especially since we played it with the usual encounter assumptions, which turned out to be horribly, terribly wrong.

"Changing into a porcupine here! Also, this rock is getting closer!"
"There's a door here! It's locked and very probably trapped! Now what?"
"Phase through it and unlock it from the other side! I'M ON FIRE!"
"Right, I'm through… … … ARGH! I'm being harpooned by a pillar with active circle saws and raked in! AAAAH!"

Guess who didn't unlock the door from the other end. 
Heroic Dungeon Master
That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?


The encounter is in your inbox!


Me too! Me too! ;) 

What does Tectuktitlay's Narrows do? I take it that's from a Dungeon or Dragon Dark Sun article? 



ditto!!!!!!!   plzzzzz  ;)
Tucker's Kobolds never actually worked. Story was fake.

In 4e terms though, it's just an encounter with a bunch of underleveled Effect: line damage hazards and minions. Which works, though it's a horrendous abuse of the XP budget.


Even if the story itself was fake, nothing wrong with trying to challenge PCs with underleveled monsters, although anything below 4 levels of the PC in 4E takes a lot of creativity to be even more mildly threatening than stinging or annoying.  Which is all the more reason why I love the discussions on the matter :P
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
@erachima How are minions and line effects an abuse of the XP system? Heck, the "Ghost Tower of the Witchliget Fens" adventure in dungeon has a room with 30 minions in it.

@Chaosfang Yeah, good point about changing the interrupt to a reaction, thanks. I agree, the fun part about running kobolds (mine are going to be ~9th level minions for math purposes, but realize others may not agree) for a higher level party is that the DM needs to think strategically about how to maximize their surroundings and numbers. 

I do think in awarding XP for encounters where the kobolds have a significant terrain advantage (eg. Murder holes, arrows slits, cramped passages) should account forthe increased challenge somehow. Maybe treat the encounter as 1 or 2 levels higher for XP purposes? 
That sounds awesome !  Any way you could send me more detailed info by PM or something ?


The encounter is in your inbox!


Me too! Me too! ;) 

What does Tectuktitlay's Narrows do? I take it that's from a Dungeon or Dragon Dark Sun article? 



ditto!!!!!!!   plzzzzz  ;)


All right, here it is by popular demand: 

The players find Djerad Kusold, a city that's completely underground. The city was abandoned decades ago, and has been infested by kobolds.

Use your imagination to describe the city. Let the players know that there are kobolds everywhere. Make sure the players eventually reach the Kobold Gauntlet. This is a series of sequential traps. While the players cross the rooms, they are being shot at by kobolds from behind the walls.

Kobolds: behind the walls kobolds with crossbows are shooting the players through arrow slits. At the end of each round, each player is attacked twice unless he somehow disabled one or two kobolds. Kobolds are minions of level = AL (adventure level). This keeps the players moving forward. Otherwise they'll just carefully disassemble every trap. 

The traps were picked at AL 16. They are all in the Compendium. I wrote down my adjustments. If you find better traps, do not hesitate to use them. If you adventure on another AL but do not want to change the traps, adjust them as follows:

Attacks, defenses and damage: +1 / -1 for each higher / lower AL.
DCs: easy / moderate / high DC for the AL.

Stage 1: Giant Rolling Boulder + Necrotized Floor + Field of Everflame + Warded Doors.

In a corridor of 2x30-40 squares, the players are followed by the Boulder. 

Adjustments 
Boulder: speed 10. Hit: bloodied value damage, miss: healing surge value damage.

Necrotized Floor: If a player uses a move action to move on the floor, he rolls a die equal to his movement. Example: move 6 = roll d6.
On the number rolled, the player is attacked by a Necrotized Floor tile. Hit: necrotic damage and the move of the player ends. Consider not doing half damage on a miss.

If a player makes a Perception check, he can recognize the trapped floortiles. Minor Action: moderate DC. Standard Action: Easy DC. Depending on the outcome of the check, the player may add a number to his next roll of the dice when he moves across the floor. If the result of the die roll is greater than the movement speed of the player, he can move his entire speed without triggering a floortile.
Use the following formula to determine what the bonus is that the player gets on his next steps: (result Perception check - DC) / 2.
Example: the player rolls a 28 on a minor action Perception check (DC 22), so he gets (28-22) / 2 = +3 on his next die roll. Round down.

All players within 3 squares of the player who makes the Perception check get half the bonus on their next move, again rounded down. This is due to the player telling nearby allies what floortiles are trapped. 

Field of Everflame: these are just flamethrowers that attack a player when he ends his turn in the corridor.

Warded Doors: at the end of the corridor is a Warded Door with a Yellow Glyph.

Stage 2: Tektuktitlay's Narrows + Ghoul Gate + Elemental Transformation Field.

Adjustments
Tektuktitlay's Narrows: the Warded Doors of stage 1 lead to the northern corner of a room of 10x15 squares. Also in the northern part of the room are the Defiler Stone Spears (in my adventure reflavored to a 2x2 tower of circular sawblades). On their initiative count, the sawblades attack all players that are adjacent to them. 
The Harpoon attacks any player who ends his turn within 10 squares of the sawblades.
Consider not using the Sluggish Movement trait.

Ghoul Gates: 11 squares south of the sawblades, there is a 3x6 corridor. Along the walls (each 6 squares long) are Ghoul Gates that attack each player that ends his turn the 3x6 hallway.

Elemental Transformation Field: at the end of the corridor there is a curtain of fire, the Elemental Transformation Field. It attacks everyone who moves through it. There's no way to prevent this attack.

Stage 3: Crawler Nest + Death Strangler Statues + Crypt Thing + Warded Doors.

On the other side of the Elemental Transformation Field, players enter the northern part of an oval area of about 10x20 squares. The 10x10 area in front of them is littered with Crawler Nests, and along the walls are Death Strangler Statues. In the southern wall, 20 squares away, is a Warded Door, guarded by the Crypt Thing.

Adjustments 
Crawler Nest: if a player enters a square adjacent to a nest or starts his turn there, drop the small Carrion Crawlers on him.

Crypt Thing: in the rear part of the room is a Crypt Thing. I made it look like a big eyeball with arms and legs, floating one meter above the ground in a lotus position. The Crypt Thing teleports players back into the Crawler Nests.

Warded Doors: behind the Crypt Thing is a Warded Door with a Gray Glyph. If the players pass through this door, they survived the Kobold Gauntlet.

Have fun! 
What does Tectuktitlay's Narrows do? I take it that's from a Dungeon or Dragon Dark Sun article? 


Tektuktitlay's Narrows is from Dragon 410. It's a device in a corridor or room that consists of 2 parts. 

1. Defiler Stone Spears. On their initiative, they attack a creature in melee 1 for damage + ongoing poison an necrotic damage (miss: half damage, crit: restrained save ends).  

2. Harpoon. A ranged 10 attack that attacks anyone who ends his turn not adjacent to the Defiler Stone Spears. It attacks for damage and a pull 10, to the center of the trap. 

It also has a Sluggish Movement trait that slows anyone in the area of the trap.  

The different parts of the trap can be taken apart by Thievery checks. The Harpoon can be dodged with an Insight check. 

In 4e terms though, it's just an encounter with a bunch of underleveled Effect: line damage hazards and minions. Which works, though it's a horrendous abuse of the XP budget.


That's why any experienced DM shouldn't be constrained by outdated XP budgets but use his own good judgment instead when designing encounters.
That's why any experienced DM shouldn't be constrained by outdated XP budgets but use his own good judgment instead when designing encounters. 


Outdated?  I actually find 4E's XP budgets and overall maths to be pretty good a baseline for fair encounters.  It's just a matter of asking the question, "who says the DM always has to be fair?"  After all, the sweetest victories can often be found in winning the most unfair of battles (so long as unfair means "extremely difficult but still winnable" and not "rock falls everyone dies").
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
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This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
My view might be a bit skewed by the fact I generally face quite optimized parties. Fair doesn't cut it with them.
yep, like svendj said, optimized parties render usual XP budgets useless.  At least most of the time. 
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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My view might be a bit skewed by the fact I generally face quite optimized parties. Fair doesn't cut it with them.



yep, like svendj said, optimized parties render usual XP budgets useless.  At least most of the time. 


Meh, just shows how developers never really anticipated Killswitch and the like, and had the XP budgets as per-encounter absolutes rather than as encounter averages per campaign (allowing swinging between quick low EXP encounters and DIFFICULT high EXP encounters).  For casual optimization though it still works fine IMHO
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57047238 wrote:
If you're crossing the street and see a city bus barreling straight toward you with 'GIVE ME YOUR WALLET!' painted across its windshield, you probably won't be reaching for your wallet.
I Don't Always Play Strikers...But When I Do, I Prefer Vampire Stay Thirsty, My Friends
This is what I believe is the spirit of D&D 4E, and my deal breaker for D&D Next: equal opportunities, with distinct specializations, in areas where conflict happens the most often, without having to worry about heavy micromanagement or system mastery. What I hope to be my most useful contributions to the D&D Community: DM Idea: Collaborative Mapping, Classless 4E (homebrew system, that hopefully helps in D&D Next development), Gamma World 7E random character generator (by yours truly), and the Concept of Perfect Imbalance (for D&D Next and other TRPGs in development) Pre-3E D&D should be recognized for what they were: simulation wargames where people could tell stories with The Best Answer to "Why 4E?" Fun vs. Engaging
hah, yeah talking about how much the developers did or did not anticipate is something no thread could encompass completely. 

Best thing is to use them as guidelines only, or disregard them completely if you are adept at encounter design.  Having experience with the group you're dming is also very important of course for proper encounter design.  You could have the most optimized group possible, if none of them know the basics of how to play the characters, it won't matter.
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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I’ve run Tuckers kobolds a couple of times; great concept and alot of fun to put together. Just be careful to not get all giddy and excited as the party gets smacked around, they hate that =-) Its been decades since I ran this map but here's what I remember about the games... 


It’s easy to put the party into a position they feel is hopeless, a few traps, locked or fake doors, dead ends, etc. and all the while they are taking damage with no real way to retaliate. Give them a way to retaliate, have them meet up with an old crippled warrior who has been into the kobold territory, have this NPC explain a few different ways to get the kobolds and make available the tools the party need to accomplish this, whether it be potions of tear gas or clay jars full of biting insects that the party can push through the murder holes.


Have a reprieve and a couple of ways out ready to drop into the map. If the party starts to get frustrated give them a break let them get themselves together. If they get to the point of crying then have them turn the corner into a room with a giant air-shaft that drops straight down into unspeakable darkness so that they can go down and fight huge flaming demons in peace and quiet.


If I were to run it again I wouldn’t even bother rolling tohit and damage for the kobolds, just throw handfuls of dice and explain the swarms of poisoned arrows and how the corridor is on fire or being flooded with piranha infested water and hit the PC’s for a few HP’s here and there, as if they are in an environment that is damaging to them. The net effect will be the same as if you honestly roll for all that damage and it’s much easier to do.


Best of luck. Let me see if I can find my old map…


 

thanks !  I'll look this over for when my players end up going through this if ever ^^
"Non nobis Domine Sed nomini tuo da gloriam" "I wish for death not because I want to die, but because I seek the war eternal"

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So my players have decided to tackle Dragon Mountain and that means Tucker's Kobolds are in their near future Here's my first stab at a functional kobold minion stat block. I intend to do several more of these for priests/witch doctors, trappers, archers, etc. What do you think of this rough draft?

EDIT: I realize Tucker's Kobolds are much more than the sum of stat blocks, but still it's a starting place. Later I may post some traps and tactics for them to use, but for now it's a measly kobold stat block.

Kobold
Level 9 Minion Skirmisher
Small natural humanoid (XP 100)

HP 1; missed attacks never damage a minion,
AC 23; FORT 21; REF 22; WILL 21 (+4 defenses vs. traps)
Initiative +10
Speed 6
Perception +5 Darkvision

Traits
Mob Tactics: The kobold gains +1 attack per kobold ally adjacent to the target (max +5)

Skirmish: Kobolds can split move before and after attacking.

Trap Sense: Kobolds get +4 defenses against traps.

Tunnel Savvy: When squeezing, kobolds move at full speed (not half), don't grant combat advantage, and don't suffer -5 attack penalty.

Standard Actions
Javelin (Melee/Ranged Basic), At-Will: +14 vs. AC; 7 damage; if thrown ranged 10/20

Minor Actions
Shifty (At-Will): The kobold shifts 1 square 

Triggered Actions
Narrow Escape (Immediate Reaction, At-Will): When a close/area attack misses the kobold, it shifts 3 squares.

Skills Athletics +8, Stealth +13, Thievery +13
Ability Scores Str 9, Con 12, Dex 18, Int 9, Wis 13, Cha 10
Languages Common, Draconic
Alignment evil
Just remember that part of Tucker's kobolds power also lies in frustrating the players. The running the gauntlet encounter as for example presented by Svendj can be a lot of fun since it challenges the standard assumptions of a fight. Do it a few dozen times in a row and you end up with a boring repetitive and irritating setup that highly validates some builds at the expense of others. For example, controllers are EXTREMELY effect against minions while most defenders suffer a lot (even more so when the minions are ranged attackers), PCs who have a lot of attacks vs. Will are extremely ineffective against traps, and so on. Making such setups work properly also involves a certain gotcha approach, which on occassion is fine (suprise does add to the fun of a game), but if done too much can lead to a rather competitive game between DM and players. Finally, combat in 4e works best when challenging. Regardless of challenge, they always take a lot of time to setup and play through, even when easy, and as such underpowered fights can take more time then they are worth.

As for hostile environments and traps being a poor excuse to warp xp budgets, as others have said, that is a rather simplified statement. The goal is to design a challenging fun encounter for your group, while the xp guidelines are a good tool for that, they are not perfect. You could decide to add a monster or two more, or make the environment more of a challenge, the net effect is the same. Sure, if you use that same budget to grant xp, it could be considered an unfair modification, but since a DM sets the level pacing and xp rewards anyway, that will have little impact beyond perhaps the immediate gratification for the players of that specific encounter. I certainly never have had players at my table calculate the level of an encounter at the table and afterward calculate whether or not they got the right amount of xp for that encounter even when I still used xp ;)
I think I once remember reading something about a suggested trap involving a gelatinous cube in a pit under a large trapdoor, with the explanation going something along the lines of "kobolds dig pit for some purpose, gelatinous cube somehow finds its way into the area, cube falls in pit, kobolds go 'huh.' and keep it fed so it acts as a trap". It also suggested them somehow putting said cube in the ceiling with a trap door under IT.

.....baaaah, now I can't remember where I read that. Not sure if it would make sense in this situation though...
Just remember that part of Tucker's kobolds power also lies in frustrating the players. The running the gauntlet encounter as for example presented by Svendj can be a lot of fun since it challenges the standard assumptions of a fight. Do it a few dozen times in a row and you end up with a boring repetitive and irritating setup that highly validates some builds at the expense of others. For example, controllers are EXTREMELY effect against minions while most defenders suffer a lot (even more so when the minions are ranged attackers), PCs who have a lot of attacks vs. Will are extremely ineffective against traps, and so on. Making such setups work properly also involves a certain gotcha approach, which on occassion is fine (suprise does add to the fun of a game), but if done too much can lead to a rather competitive game between DM and players. Finally, combat in 4e works best when challenging. Regardless of challenge, they always take a lot of time to setup and play through, even when easy, and as such underpowered fights can take more time then they are worth.



My approach to running this dungeon crawl, like most of my DMing, is to provide the players with a real challenge that they can enjoy the rigors of solving, and feel awesome about overcoming. Occasionally they may fail, and that opens up fertile ground for new stories. I am not taking a "DM vs. Player" stance, except in the most playful good-spirited way. I agree with a lot of the Fourthcore design precepts, which is serving as something of a template for my conversion of Dragon Mountain.

I'd say 60-70% of fights will be against kobolds, the rest will be against non-minion enemies or the dragon. So combat-wise the defenders won't be totally screwed. Also I'm planning for many of the fights to have a trick to them, like breaking past a line of kobold pikers to reach the area behind the murder holes kobolds are attacking from, or loosening a triggered boulder trap to repel/crush oncoming kobold hordes.

Btw, the party is...


Human / Barbarian 11 / Nocturnal - A mount-focused build which will have a slight disadvantage while underground. I'm looking for a way to give her a bit of an edge while in Dragon Mountain. The player likes to kill stuff and has cleave/multiattack options good against minions.

Deva / Wizard 11 / Unseen Mage - Took "expanded spellbook" a whole bunch to get an old school caster feel, and makes good use of rituals. Probably the most experienced old school player. The kobolds will probably learn to fear him.

Human / Fighter 11 / Swordmaster - A dual-weapon damage machine with some auto-damage powers good against minions. Story-wise, his old adventuring party died braving Dragon Mountain and he wants to recover their corpses for proper burial. The player is strong with tactics & puzzles.

Half-elf / Bard-Warlord 11 / Captain of Fortune - A strong leader who is best suited to urban or social environments. Dragon Mountain provides ample opportunities to interact with kobolds and leverage competing clans against one another in a cutthroat fashion. 

Human / Paladin 11 / Knight Hospitaler - The player is new to D&D and his character build is in flux, but he's taken to it like a fish to water. Playing a pretty standard/old school Lawful Good paladin. His build is the one I am most concerned about gimping with minions and traps...

As you can see, no rogue in this party. At some point 2 more players will be joining in, and one of them will have Thievery training, but for now the party has no way to detect traps...I think that means that early on the traps should be more to create interesting complications (what Steve Winter dubbed "story traps") rather than inflict lethal harm. Fortunately, that's how the entry area traps of Dragon Mountain are set up.


Any cool stories of creative sadistic tricks your kobolds have used in the past?

There's all the standard stuff from Tucker's Kobolds: guerilla warfare, arrow slits & murder holes, oil-slicked passages & fire, aided attacks/grapples, etc.

One "trick" I thought up is a twist on the sovereign glue-covered kobold... Instead of glue, the kobolds are covered in pheromones/monster gore. When the kobolds retreat, they go through a dangerous subterranean monster's territory. The pheromones/gore mean the monster will ignore the kobolds in favor of any pursuing PCs.
Knocking sounds heard echoing down tunnels. The kobolds use a kind of morse code by hammering certain veins of rock with their picks, reporting on the PCs' movements. The PCs discover this. Later PCs hear more knocking....only this time it's kobolds collapsing a tunnel! Finally, the PCs hear knocking a third time. The source of the knocking was kobolds extracting cobalt (a poisonous gold/silver look-alike), which they abandon but set on fire in retreat when the PCs come investigating. Dungeoneering determines that it's actually cobalt, handling the stuff causes burn damage, and it outgases poisonous fumes.
@bluespruce786 Just realized that your map had a full size version. Awesome! Reminds me of the maps I used to make back in the day Gotta love the albino prirhanas.

I am going to give my random kobold encounter generator a little test here...

(d12=12) Roll once on Kobold Table, once on Trap Table, and once on Special Table

(d12=2) 10 Kobolds
(d12=7) They're making up a story about what to tell the chief regarding their recent bungled mission
(d12=3) Chasm - the room slopes toward a chasm 100-ft deep
(2d12=16) Ejector Plates trap

So I interpret this as: A group of sullen kobolds are returning to their clan's warren after losing half their numbers in a failed venture. They skirt along the edges of a foreboding chasm, casually stepping over the pressure plates concealing traps they installed, as they coordinate the bold face lie they're going to tell their chief. They could be surprised by stealthy PCs.
Here's another sneaky kobold tactic, from my Dragon Mountain conversion...

After the PCs have kicked ass in one clan's territory, a kobold commoner nervously appears around a corner and sets down a bag with a note attached in view of the PCs before running off. The note reads "No more kill kobolds, please take treazure, leave in piece." The bag appears to be a bag of holding. It is actually a bag of devouring. If a PC isn't hit by the bag's attack the first time they reach in, they pull out a small 100 gp gem but feel like they grazed a much larger gem when reaching within...
Hmm, no love for kobolds?

I was thinking of ways my kobolds could use gelatinous cubes in traps besides the classic cube in a pit trap / cube dropped on PC (which probably will also make an appearance). Then it hit me that gelatinous cubes don't dissolve metal or bone, right? Could the kobolds have "fed" the cube some kind of trap held in suspension inside the cube?

I love the idea, but I'm not sure what the trap would be yet... Maybe an alchemical explosive in a thin metal sphere a la hand grenade? Any ideas?
New Year bump!

Any kobold-lovers out there with fiendishly clever kobold tactics or tricks to share?
New Year bump!

Any kobold-lovers out there with fiendishly clever kobold tactics or tricks to share?

Two parallel lines are strung at ground level between two trees. Stepping between them causes them to twist together, trapping the limb in question. The lines continue to twist, which shortens their overall length and causes the lines that had been carefully laid along the trunks of the trees to pull away until the victim is lifted into the air, strung between the upper branches of two trees by the now tightly coiled lines. Meanwhile, the action of setting off the trap has also caused stakes to pop out from the sides of the trees, inhibiting attempts to climb them, and endangering the victim should the trap be disabled in such a way that the victim would swing against one of the trees.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.


Two parallel lines are strung at ground level between two trees. Stepping between them causes them to twist together, trapping the limb in question. The lines continue to twist, which shortens their overall length and causes the lines that had been carefully laid along the trunks of the trees to pull away until the victim is lifted into the air, strung between the upper branches of two trees by the now tightly coiled lines. Meanwhile, the action of setting off the trap has also caused stakes to pop out from the sides of the trees, inhibiting attempts to climb them, and endangering the victim should the trap be disabled in such a way that the victim would swing against one of the trees.


Good one!

I'm contemplating planted "Adventurer's journals" fabricated by the kobolds, describing some awesome treasure or sneaky way to ambush kobolds, but then the imaginary adventurer died before reaching it. Of course, the location described would be trapped to high heaven. On the other hand, there are real "Adventurer's journals" with useful information, so telling the two apart would need to be possible.
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