Tucker's Kobolds in 4e - can it work?

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Hi all,

I'm a big fan of "Tucker's Kobolds" and have been lucky to have some iteration of this concept in my 1st, 2nd, 3rd edition games through the years. As we started playing 4e, my players gained an appreciation for kobolds and goblins - with irontooth from KotS being the name that makes all my players shudder.

However, now that they're higher level, they are facing-off against higher-level foes, and I find myself wondering if a band of kobolds or goblins can still strike fear in the hearts of my PCs.

So, since I'm still separated from my books and gaming-group, I thought I'd pose the question to you. How would you create a "Tucker's Kobolds" scenario [ a type of recurring menace for your PCs ] in your game? I've provided the map from "Kobold Hall" for you to use. Here's the activity:

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Kobold Hall
IMAGE(http://i26.tinypic.com/51disl.jpg)

- Imagine a group of 8-10th lvl PCs of the standard party design [Leader, Controller, Defender, and (2) Strikers or a similar design]
- Populate the map provided [in the SBlock] with encounters comprised of monsters of level 1-4
- Provide a description of how the encounter(s) would run. What tactics do the enemies use, what equipment do they have?
- Provide any other information you think would be beneficial
- "Dress" the rooms in whatever means you deem necessary.

*If want to use a different map, please provide a copy of that map

There's no "winner," this is just an exercise in encounter design using low-level monsters that normally would not provide a threat to a group of PCs and using that angle to design something truly awe-inspiring and terrifying.

Cheers!
The concept doesn't really work in 4e due to the level bonus to defences and attacks.

At the very least you'd need to give the level 1-4 Kobolds level 10 equivilant attack rolls or they'd never be able to hit the PC's, and probably level 10 equivilant defences if you don't want the PC's to hit them on rolls of 2.
PheonixIV brings up a good point, there's no way the Kobolds are going to survive a straight up fight.

I'm wondering *with some map adjustments...decrease the width/height of corridors, etc* how you could turn the tables using modifiers. Missile attacks on PCs that grant every known advantage to the attackers while making it almost impossible for the PCs to attack *total cover for the Kobolds*. Tactics are what made Tucker's Kobolds dangerous so we have to run wild with that as an idea *murder holes, flaming debris, etc*.

More emphasis on trapped areas would help but then why aren't we running Tomb of Horrors?
IMAGE(http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y239/SoulCatcher78/techdevil78.jpg)
At best the Kobolds will get +2 to attack from CA and the PC's will have -5 to attack from Total Cover\Concealment. That's not enough.

Like it said, it would work if you gave the Kobolds level 10 equivilant attacks (which'd be about +13 - +16 i think) and i'd suggest giving them level 10 equivilant defences as well. You'd end up with sort of 'demi-minions', monsters with low HP and damage, but the ability to be dangerous in large numbers and with cunning tactics.


It works in 3.5 because the defences and attack bonuses of level 10 characters aren't actually much higher than the defences and attack bonuses of level 1 characters, so the Kobolds can still hit the level 10 chars within reason. In 4e though the level 10 chars have an innate +5 bonus to all attacks and defences, along with probably another +2 or +3 from magic items, which, if i remember correctly, is significantly more than the difference from level 1 and level 10 chars in 3.5.


The environment would also be vital for this to work, so i'd definitely want to make my own map for it.
Tucker's kobolds don't fight in straight-up fights. That kobold hall should be littered with winding twisty small-sized passageways. The kobolds should have stockpiled gobs of pitch and filled the place with traps. Their tactic should be to stand at the end of hallways where they can set off traps and lob splash alchemical acid, fire, etc. at the players in huge amounts.

All the players here are the scampering of little kobold feet, when the strking of flint and tinder and whoosh, a ball of fire is rolling down at them.

For those of you who don't know Tucker's kobolds, read the article linked in the OP.

Give me 30 minions and a stash of alchemy, and let me dig rat warrens throughout the walls, floor and ceiling.

Some ideas...
The party walks into the room with the green pool. As soon as the last party member is there, the kobolds in the ceiling begin dripping acid into the room (the pool is where the acid collects). The acid drip is set through a sieve, so once it's set, they scamper through their tunnels out of line of sight.

Once the party protects themselves form the acid, they are peppered with darts through tiny holes in the walls. The darts never come from the same hole twice, and the shooter shoots and then scampers out of range, so he can't be attacked. This prevents the party from ever taking a short rest.

In the 5' hallway north of the pool room, the kobolds keep lobbing a ready supply of beastbane, which makes it almost impossible for them to bring any mules or other beasts further in the dungeon. They have to either leave (which is the kobolds' goal) or send the pack animals upstairs alone (where the kobolds can kill and eat them at their leisure) or keep them in the acid room, where they'll be slowly dissolved.

In the sarcophagus room, the kobolds are still nowhere to be seen. The party will notice that the entranceway has been narrowed with thick solid stone to a three-foot width. The entire floor of the room is submerged with four feet of water (which is why there are stairs). Within, they managed to trap a manticore in the room, where they keep it nice and hungry. The ceiling has been raised to a height of 30', and there is a ledge around the side the manticore can perch upon (and gain cover). The manticore sits on his perch in the shadows until the PC enter (signaled by the sound of the portcullis falling in the hallway) and pelts the PCs. Meanwhile, when the party is entirely in the room and standing in the water, the kobolds dump ice crystals from a pouch of frozen passage, thus freezing the water around the PCs, preventing them from moving.

While the PCs work to free themselves from the ice and defend against the manticore's attacks, the kobolds switch from acid to poison. Using their same tactics of never shooting through the same hole twice and always leaving line of sight immediately after a shot, they pelt the party with darts coated in bloodstinger poison.

When the part finally makes it up the stairs switch the damage to fire damage. In another room make it cold damage. The players should never catch more than fleeting glimpses of the little buggers and never have a clear line of sight on any of them.

In other words, the kobolds are a narrative explanation for traps and other monsters appropriate for parties of that level. Give them whatever consumables they need to take on the party. Who cares. The party will never find them. They're just retreat deeper into their warrens and tunnels.

The party's goal should be "Get through this as fast as possible"

Again, eveyrone should read the Moore article, linked in the OP.

Some keys:
  • Lots of traps. Traps will have the appropriate attack bonuses and damages for the party's level.
  • Don't let 'em rest. Force the party to spend encounters and dailies (especially if they don't expect it) and they will be filled with terror when they realize they have to get out of this with at wills and basic attacks.
  • Alchemical items that deal damage on a miss work well for the peltings from the holes. If the kobolds get lucky, they'll deal ongoing damage. Otherwise, they'll whittle the party down in a death of a thousand cuts.
  • Don't let the kobolds be seen. That shifty power is killer in twisty windy passageways that can block line of sight. Add in chutes (so the kobold shifts onto a slide that carries him our of burst and blast radii) and there's little the party can do to them.
  • Not all kobolds attack every round. If you have 30 kobold minions, but only five attack per round, and then spend four rounds getting into position for the next attack, i) the party will never be sure they killed anybody, ii) they'll have no idea how many there are and iii) it will seem like they're everywhere.
  • Describe it with appropriate menace. Have the chambers echo so it's impossible to pinpoint where they are. Describe the walls littered with pinholes and murder holes. Every archway is doused in shadow. Every floor has suspcious cracks. Every ceiling is an iron grate from which some new alchemical monstrosity could be dripped. Nothing is safe. Everything could be a trap. There is no rest. There is no victory. The best you can hope for is escape!
Even better: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cu_Chi_Tunnels

Research what the Viet Cong did with the Cu Chi tunnel systems, which is what Roger Moore's DM back at Fort Bragg may have done for some of his ideas. hidden vents, quick-close blast doors to stop fireballs, spiked pits with poison, booby traps festooned everywhere in non-kobold areas, and a few in the kobold access tunnels that can be easily passed by them -- and then make sure the access tunnels require medium-sized creatures to squeeze at all times, but small characters don't have to.

It could be done by level 1 kobolds or even minion kobolds, because just like those AD&D games, a 20 always hits...
The thing is though, the way Wrecan is suggesting doing it all you actually have is a series of level 10 encounters comprised entirely of traps, along with a bunch of harmless Kobolds who happen to be in the same area and set off some of the traps, but serve no purpose that automatic triggers could not serve.

Seriously wrecan, you might as well just convert Tomb of Horrors to 4e if the Kobolds are never actually going to do anything in combat.


I read through the link and the Kobolds were doing things like shooting at the PC's and wearing platemail and advancing in a combat line, they were actually engaging the PC's and backing themselves up with traps.
I read through the link and the Kobolds were doing things like shooting at the PC's and wearing platemail and advancing in a combat line, they were actually engaging the PC's and backing themselves up with traps.

The only reason Tuckers kobolds could be open was because they were in a tight corridor, knowing that any fireball would backlash on the wizard because of close quarters. However, the map we were given above doesn't have such close quarters, so those tactics don't work and they wouldn't have worked in AD&D if the kobolds had to use the map in the OP.

Since fireball works differently now the tactics have to change. I still have them directly egaging the PCs, bt doing it through murder holes and grates, affording them superior cover, which is an appropriate strategy for creatures outmatched.

And that's a proper translation, imo, of Tucker's kobolds.
The only reason Tuckers kobolds could be open was because they were in a tight corridor, knowing that any fireball would backlash on the wizard because of close quarters. However, the map we were given above doesn't have such close quarters, so those tactics don't work and they wouldn't have worked in AD&D if the kobolds had to use the map in the OP.

Since fireball works differently now the tactics have to change. I still have them directly egaging the PCs, bt doing it through murder holes and grates, affording them superior cover, which is an appropriate strategy for creatures outmatched.

And that's a proper translation, imo, of Tucker's kobolds.

The thing is though, you don't have them engaging the PC's. You have traps engaging the PC's that are pretending to be Kobolds. If they Kobolds were actually engaging the PC's they'd have something like +8 to hit and wouldn't even come close to hitting PC's on anything other than a natural 20.

You said it yourself, the Kobolds are narrative explaination for a bunch of traps. That's all they can serve in 4e without getting an attack and defences upgrade. They can be background flavour, but they can never actually do anything an automatic trap could not.
The thing is though, you don't have them engaging the PC's.

Yes, I do.

Their tactic should be to stand at the end of hallways where they can ... lob splash alchemical acid, fire, etc. at the players in huge amounts.

* * *


Once the party protects themselves form the acid, they are peppered with darts through tiny holes in the walls. The darts never come from the same hole twice, and the shooter shoots and then scampers out of range, so he can't be attacked....

In the 5' hallway north of the pool room, the kobolds keep lobbing a ready supply of beastbane, which makes it almost impossible for them to bring any mules or other beasts further in the dungeon...

...when the party is entirely in the room and standing in the water, the kobolds dump ice crystals from a pouch of frozen passage, thus freezing the water around the PCs, preventing them from moving.

While the PCs work to free themselves from the ice and defend against the manticore's attacks, the kobolds switch from acid to poison. Using their same tactics of never shooting through the same hole twice and always leaving line of sight immediately after a shot, they pelt the party with darts coated in bloodstinger poison.

* * *



  • Alchemical items that deal damage on a miss work well for the peltings from the holes. If the kobolds get lucky, they'll deal ongoing damage. Otherwise, they'll whittle the party down in a death of a thousand cuts.
  • Don't let the kobolds be seen. That shifty power is killer in twisty windy passageways that can block line of sight. Add in chutes (so the kobold shifts onto a slide that carries him our of burst and blast radii) and there's little the party can do to them.
  • Not all kobolds attack every round. If you have 30 kobold minions, but only five attack per round, and then spend four rounds getting into position for the next attack, i) the party will never be sure they killed anybody, ii) they'll have no idea how many there are and iii) it will seem like they're everywhere.

It looks like you took the one sentence about using the kobolds as a narratve justification for encounter appropriate traps and ignored all the stuff I wrote about kobolds shooting the PCs directly.
Yes, I do.



It looks like you took the one sentence about using the kobolds as a narratve justification for encounter appropriate traps and ignored all the stuff I wrote about kobolds shooting the PCs directly.

Hmm, yes i did miss a couple of tactics.

Their tactic should be to stand at the end of hallways where they can ... lob splash alchemical acid, fire, etc. at the players in huge amounts.

Won't work, their to-hit bonuses aren't high enough to actually hit the PC's.

Once the party protects themselves form the acid, they are peppered with darts through tiny holes in the walls. The darts never come from the same hole twice, and the shooter shoots and then scampers out of range, so he can't be attacked....

Again, won't work. Their to-hit bonuses aren't high enough to actually hit the PC's.

In the 5' hallway north of the pool room, the kobolds keep lobbing a ready supply of beastbane, which makes it almost impossible for them to bring any mules or other beasts further in the dungeon...

Doesn't even involve the Kobolds, just a trap that happens to be related to them.

In the 5' hallway north of the pool room, the kobolds keep lobbing a ready supply of beastbane, which makes it almost impossible for them to bring any mules or other beasts further in the dungeon...

...when the party is entirely in the room and standing in the water, the kobolds dump ice crystals from a pouch of frozen passage, thus freezing the water around the PCs, preventing them from moving.

A Manticore and another trap. Again the Kobolds don't actually do anything other than serve as a trigger for the trap and could be removed entirely without changing the encounter in the slightest.

While the PCs work to free themselves from the ice and defend against the manticore's attacks, the kobolds switch from acid to poison. Using their same tactics of never shooting through the same hole twice and always leaving line of sight immediately after a shot, they pelt the party with darts coated in bloodstinger poison.

Again, won't work. The Kobolds can't hit the PC's.



The only part that even slightly works that is directly related to the Kobolds is the fact that alchemical items deal damage on a miss. Which is, not exactly the worlds best design decision.

I still say you'd be better off giving them level 10 attacks and defences so they can actually hit the PC's with their attacks.
Doesn't even involve the Kobolds, just a trap that happens to be related to them.

The kobolds aren't pulling a shoot and scoot to hit, they're getting the PCs moving without looking for traps.

I still say you'd be better off giving them level 10 attacks and defences so they can actually hit the PC's with their attacks.

I'm not familiar enough with 4e to know how to boost up a couple of the kobolds so they can hit, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to boost 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 just so the PCs get the idea that some of the kobolds can hurt them. The first shot that scores a hit will get your PCs franticly searching for a way out of the shooting gallery, so even one boosted kobold should do the trick.
The kobolds aren't pulling a shoot and scoot to hit, they're getting the PCs moving without looking for traps.



I'm not familiar enough with 4e to know how to boost up a couple of the kobolds so they can hit, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to boost 1 in 10 or 1 in 20 just so the PCs get the idea that some of the kobolds can hurt them. The first shot that scores a hit will get your PCs franticly searching for a way out of the shooting gallery, so even one boosted kobold should do the trick.

All you really need to do is give them +8 - +10 to attacks and to all defences. Their damage is sufficently low that it'll whittle the PC's down rather nicely, but only if they can actually hit them.


If only one in twenty shots is actually hitting the PC's they're probably going to turn right around and smack the Kobolds in the face.
All you really need to do is give them +8 - +10 to attacks and to all defences. Their damage is sufficently low that it'll whittle the PC's down rather nicely, but only if they can actually hit them.


If only one in twenty shots is actually hitting the PC's they're probably going to turn right around and smack the Kobolds in the face.

Which they wouldn't beable to do since the kobolds would always be behind cover and moving. Please try to pay attention rather than concentrating on trolling and arguing.
I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri rock! I need scissors! 61! " 'Giving up' kills people. When a person refuses to give up, he earns the right to walk down the road of humanity." - Alucard
Which they wouldn't beable to do since the kobolds would always be behind cover and moving. Please try to pay attention rather than concentrating on trolling and arguing.

The best cover the Kobolds can get is Total Cover, which is still a -5, and with level 2 defences a -5 is still an easy hit.
The best cover the Kobolds can get is Total Cover, which is still a -5, and with level 2 defences a -5 is still an easy hit.

As explained perviously in the thread(you'd know if you had actually bothered to read and weren't just trolling), the Kobolds would attack and move, attack and move, rinse repeat, never staying in the same place and never allowing themselves to be attacked.

Please stop trolling.
I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri rock! I need scissors! 61! " 'Giving up' kills people. When a person refuses to give up, he earns the right to walk down the road of humanity." - Alucard
As explained perviously in the thread(you'd know if you had actually bothered to read and weren't just trolling), the Kobolds would attack and move, attack and move, rinse repeat, never staying in the same place and never allowing themselves to be attacked.

Please stop trolling.

So they move into range, attack, now they've got a minor action left. Best they can do is shift back one.

Next round, PC moves full speed and will probably have the Kobold in sight by now, PC charges.


Kobolds are mobile, but not that mobile, and the PC's have alot of means to increase their speed. An Elf character can cover 14 squares with a double move, or 18 squares with a double run, or 22 squares with a double run and the fast runner feat.
So they move into range, attack, now they've got a minor action left. Best they can do is shift back one.

Next round, PC moves full speed and will probably have the Kobold in sight by now, PC charges.


Kobolds are mobile, but not that mobile, and the PC's have alot of means to increase their speed. An Elf character can cover 14 squares with a double move, or 18 squares with a double run, or 22 squares with a double run and the fast runner feat.

Please go back and actually read the thread.
I hear it's amazing when the famous purple stuffed worm in flap-jaw space with the tuning fork does a raw blink on Hara-Kiri rock! I need scissors! 61! " 'Giving up' kills people. When a person refuses to give up, he earns the right to walk down the road of humanity." - Alucard
Please go back and actually read the thread.

Put the safety back on, Big Gun. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they're a troll. Abusive responses that don't support your point aren't helping you out in the pot/kettle department either....
Just make the kobolds be skirmisher minions of about party level - 2. That gives them enough attack bonus to be able to hit a few times if they attack en masse, but they'll still feel properly weak if they're caught out in the open. You can describe the difference in AC by a combination of their training in the use of cover and their full plate armour.
I thought the "total cover" mentioned by Wrecan was from behind walls with blowholes for the darts. Attack and shift aside so they are no longer exposed in front of the hole. Unless the PC's bust through the wall the Kobolds are no longer in "line of effect". I think that is what Shaddow is asking that Pheonix read;)

As a side note I do acknowledge that Wrecan specifiacally wrote "line of sight" but the rest was fairly clear if you read it.
I thought the "total cover" mentioned by Wrecan was from behind walls with blowholes for the darts. Attack and shift aside so they are no longer exposed in front of the hole. Unless the PC's bust through the wall the Kobolds are no longer in "line of effect". I think that is what Shaddow is asking that Pheonix read;)

As a side note I do acknowledge that Wrecan specifiacally wrote "line of sight" but the rest was fairly clear if you read it.

Which still doesn't get around the problem that the Kobolds attack bonuses are too low to even hit the PC's.
Just throw 30 kobolds and some of them will hit eventually. Doesn't have to be like a normal fight with hits coming all the time.

The Kobolds can whittle the PCs down as long as they don't let the PCs take a short rest to get back their encounter healing. Unless... you know... the PCs have regeneration from anywhere (like maybe a level 2 fighter stance). Even that probably wears off after 5 minutes, so the Kobolds can just attack for 1 minute every 3 minutes or something.

Attack bonuses just aren't important, level 1 monsters can't normally hit level 10 PCs in 3.5 either.
Well, here are some stats for a "typical" party and kobolds. Now, bear with me... I don't have my PH now, just the MM, so there are some chances for a few mistakes here and there. I apologize in advance for the formatting. I don't know how to create a table when in these forums.

The Party
This is a group of 5, 8th level characters. I used the Standard Array in generating their abilties. I only calculated their defenses and listed the items I used in each description. This may or may not be typical, but it might be close.

Fighter
Defenses: AC 25, F 23, R 29, W 17 - Scalemail +2, Neck slot +1 to defenses, Heavy Shield. Abilities: S 20, D 12, Co 16, I 10, W 13 Ch 11

Wizard
Defenses: AC 22, F 17, R 21, W 21 - Cloth Armor +2, Neck slot +2 to defenses, Heavy Shield. Abilities: S 11, D 12, Co 13, I 20, W 16 Ch 10

Cleric
Defenses: AC 22, F 19, R 17, W 23 - Chainmal +2, Neck slot +1 to defenses. Abilities: S 16, D 12, Co 13, I 11, W 20 Ch 10

Rogue
Defenses: AC 24, F 19, R 24, W 17 - Leather Armor +2, Neck slot +1 to defenses, Two Weapon Defense. Abilities: S 16, D 20, Co 12, I 11, W 10 Ch 13

Warlock
Defenses: AC 22, F 17, R 22, W 20 - Leather Armor +2, Neck slot +1 to defenses. Abilities: S 12, D 18, Co 13, I 11, W 10 Ch 18

The Kobolds

Minion
Defenses: AC 15, F 11, R 13, W 11.Attack:To hit 5, Dmg 4, HP:1

Skirmisher
Defenses: AC 15, F 11, R 14, W 13.Attack:To hit 6(7), Dmg 1d8, HP:27

Slinger
Defenses: AC 13, F 12, R 14, W 12.Attack:To hit 5(6), Dmg 1d4, HP:24

Dragonshield
Defenses: AC 18, F 14 R 14, W 13.Attack:To hit 7(8), Dmg 1d6, HP:36

Wyrmpriest
Defenses: AC 17, F 13, R 15, W 15.Attack:To hit 7(6), Dmg 1d8(1d10), HP:36

Slyblade
Defenses: AC 18, F 12, R 16, W 14.Attack:To hit 9, Dmg 1d6, HP:42

* Numbers in () brackest indicate special abilities that modify attacks or different types of attacks (e.g. range vs. melee)

Now, in looking at these numbers, can Kobolds be a threat? The lowest AC for a PC in this example is 22, so a minion would need to roll a 17+ to hit that number and a 20 to hit the highest AC of 25. A Dragonshield would need a 15 or 14+ (if working with mob tactics) to hit the lowest AC and a 18 or 17+repsectively. The lowest reflex defense in the party is 17 and the highest is 29, so the Wyrmpriest could use energy orb and roll an 11 to hit the lowest defense and a natural 20 to hit the highest.

This is, of course, barring any features of the terrain (i.e. difficult terrain, cover for the Kobolds, concealment, etc.) and special actions like aid another.

Does it still seem possible? Perhaps sheer numbers are enough to compensate for the Kobolds' low attack scores? If you dress the kobolds in different armor, or give them better weapons, how significanly does it change the encounter, and does that really hold true to the spirit of "Tucker's Kobolds?"

Cheers
OK....i think the OP was derailed a bit by an arguement that really had little to do with what was asked. If we look at the original "Tuckers kobolds" we find

*the kobolds were still dangerous without building "to hit" stats in them. Wrecans example of acid damage dealt from above meets the original same requirements of the flaming bales pushed down corridors in that it really has an attack value of its own when released(as in a trap)

*kevtar has reminded us that hits are possible outside of the natural 20. The original article had low level kobolds attacking on mass to achieve victory through the stretch of the dungeon. This it seems is possible if the PC's are kept from returning attack as the original article conveyed.

*At 10th level, unless involved in a toe to toe tactical fight, the HP and AC similarities between AD&D and 4ed are not so greatly different for 10th level characters. One hit by a 10th level character will still kill a kobold, well perhaps 2. Remember that the original article was written before the idea of "handbooks" and all the added damage benefits.

My last mention here is this. When the article was written the idea of kobolds was often a cannon fodder between real encounters. The article rekindled the usefulness of such creatures and it would seem the true purpose of it was to inspire the design imagination of DMs to create encounters with humanoids that were more than hack and slash. The new game in 4ed and the tactical nature it conveys makes the humble Kobold so much more already than it ever was then. Do we really need the "Tucker Kobold" to create a tactical encounter now that every encounter is tactical?

I think the original post by Wrecan, be it by design or accident, hit upon the true reason such an encounter would be used in 4ed. Keep the PCs moving. There is little reason to further challenge the PCs when each encounter is a build up to life and death if a DM plays to the suggestions in the DMG. Keep them running and let it be known that if they stop the consequences will be deadly.
in looking at these numbers, can Kobolds be a threat?

Yes. The kobolds are not easily hit, since they attack from concealment and then immediately shift to safety.

They should be give a +2 combat advantage bonus for attacking from a surprising location every round.

So that's +7 vs. AC 22. (Yes, the fighter has a 25, but they can leave him for last,and concentrate other trap-based attacks on him.)

There are five attacks per round from these monsters. Each shot has a 30% chance of hitting AC 22 (and thus a 70% chance of missing). The chance of all 5 shots missing is 16.8%. The likelihood is that of the five attacks, one or two will hit every round. Even the AC 25 fighter -- if all attacks are cocentrated on him -- will be hit at least once more than half the time every round. And these attacks should all be coated in level-appropriate poisons, or fire, or acid so they impose ongoing damage.

Is it devastating? No. but it will whittle them down, force them to us healing surges and convince them to keep moving. The kobolds then set the terrain to slow the party down. That's more rounds in their neighborhood. More attacks. more whitting. All the while, they are shifting out of sight, out of range immediately after the attacks.

Tucker's kobolds did not engage the party directly either. They were mostly traps (light the hallway on fire) and ranged attacks from behind cover.
I agree with most of the posters in that they should mainly attack from range with plenty of hit on miss weapons, along with poison and traps. But i also thinks that throwing 10 or 20 kobolds in plate mail with sheilds and swords to use melee wouldn't hurt as the PC's would be slowed down and finally get to kill some.
Which still doesn't get around the problem that the Kobolds attack bonuses are too low to even hit the PC's.

Aid another.

It works for kobolds too. You just need to create reasonable tactics that can justify the aid another mechanic.

I mean if 6 or 7 kobolds are all firing blowguns at a character's face - not doing damage, but forcing the character to put up an arm or shield to keep the darts away from their eyes, maybe that gives another kobold a clear shot at a significant bonus to hit to actually affect the PC's.

This works within the whole concept of the traps.

In fact, why not rule that the traps themselves are not necessarily created to deal damage but to act as ongoing "aid another" to ALL the kobolds that have trained to take advantage of them.
Aid another.
I mean if 6 or 7 kobolds are all firing blowguns at a character's face - not doing damage, but forcing the character to put up an arm or shield to keep the darts away from their eyes, maybe that gives another kobold a clear shot at a significant bonus to hit to actually affect the PC's.

This is the first thing I thought of, and the main reason I'm hoarding kobold miniatures until my PC's hit higher levels. I see four or five kobolds scampering underfoot, interfering with a PC's movement and adding anywhere up to +10 to the last kobold's attack roll (who drives a dagger into the back of the PC's knee socket).

However, I don't need aid another, because I have...

Mob Attack : The kobold skirmisher gains a +1 bonus to attack rolls per kobold ally adjacent to the target.

So let's try this...

Let's start with a narrow corridor. There's no reason that there has to be more than a 30-inch wide corridor... perfect for kobolds to move through, but a PC has to SQUEEZE through those.

Add concealed corridor entrances, or even just murder holes just large enough to thrust a spear through at both head and waist level in the corridors, stacking them two high... one at head level, one at knee/ankle level. This alone gets Kobold Skirmishers in a position where they can get more than eight kobolds easily surrounding an enemy square. Three head-level and three-knee level holes on either side of a three-foot-wide corridor filled with Kobold Skirmishers (six total on either side, total of 12) attacking a single PC with triggered actions. With Mob Attack, that's 12 kobolds simultaneously triggering attacks as a PC squeezes by their place of concealment... each with +11 to hit... +2 from having combat advantage (SQUEEZE!). If a few decide to "aid another", you can boost the attack roll.. but with 12 rolls at +19 to hit... what more do you need?

Because of the narrow corridor, the PC is "squeezing". - 5 to attack rolls in response to the Kobolds. And another -5 because they all have superior cover. Kinda evens the odds on the return strike.

Oh yeah... I forgot. Because of the combat advantage, Kobold Skirmishers who hit will do additional damage... so...

12 attacks, at +19 to hit (+6 base, +11 for allies, +2 for CA). Each attack that hits deals 1d8 + 1d6 (average 8) damage. That's pretty nasty.

By the way, because the PC can only move forward or back as a squeeze move action, I don't think they can shift... +12 opportunity attacks when the PC tries to move away. Yay!

Kobolds get total concealment from a three-foot high wall, PC's only get partial at best. Have them make constant stealth rolls to drive the PC's nuts... and make the PC's roll opposing perception rolls even when there are no kobolds actively hiding. Very quickly, they're jumping at shadows constantly.

If you outnumber PC's, do everything to isolate them. Close doors ... frustrating when it takes a minor action to re-open them and you have four kobolds kicking them shut every round at varying intervals. Grab to immobilize.

Fill the corridors with hazards that challenge the tall PCs, but not the kobolds. Thick, burning smoke fumes that obscure vision at head level, but only offer partial concealment lower down. Light sources that randomly extinguish, flicker, or otherwise add more chaos than clarity. Throw caltrops on the floor to that mix, and the PC's need higher perception rolls even to see them before they put a few through their feet.

Meh. I've been collecting kobolds for a while now. Just wait till the PC's hit higher levels. I'm ready.
Attacks that do half damage on a miss, and hit multiple squares. Molotov cocktails.
"Oh bother." sighed Pooh as he chambered another round.
I have one question for you all, What about Situational Modifiers.  The PCs are at a SERIOUS disadvantage.  It's dark (if you think when I run Kobolds I don't have them dousing the lights FIRST, you have a MAJOR problem), the floors are covered in flamables (all that straw, spilled beer, etc).  the fact that there is sharp splinters of bone and stone all over for those NOT in metal boots, and CALTROPS for those that are.

People the PCs would be screwed if you actually took into account what those Kobolds could throw at them.  I'm sorry if you have a caltrop sticking through your foot, you ARE at penalties both hit and defense.  I don't care if you are level 1 or level 100.

ALSO read very carefully on when those lovely advatages apply, they don't in all situations.  And I never give a party an even break unless they earned it.

I'm sorry Phoenix, but if the GM is actually impartial and fair, and runs his Kobolds right, you ARE still toast in 4th edition.  Because they would take your "Super powers" into account.
I've mentioned the following in other threads.
If a race is small why don't they make their lair/fortress/whatever with four foot cealings? It's virtually impossible to fight effectively while squatting no matter how high your levels are.
I've mentioned the following in other threads.
If a race is small why don't they make their lair/fortress/whatever with four foot cealings? It's virtually impossible to fight effectively while squatting no matter how high your levels are.



Kobolds are not a particularly industrious race.  They rarely build their own lairs, and instead inhabit and modify pre-existing ones.
Yeah I know but but I'm talking about dwarves and halflings too. Why don't they do it?
For kobolds I'd still expect them to modify every room and passageway to be full of bars, wires, pointy things, and whatnot all at human neck height