View Full Version : Tucker's Kobolds of Dragon Mountain

2013-07-23, 03:05 PM
I read through a thread discussing TK, their role, their relevance, what tactics would be effective etc. It was a good read, but it was closed and I was unable to comment. Many people suggested a lot of creative ideas for what the PCs or Kobolds could do to each other (the guy suggesting sharpened 'grips' in the sides of pit traps to slice off fingers gets a gold star for gritty realism). What was missing from the discussion was a shared point of reference from which people could know the limits of what capabilities the dungeon/Kobolds possessed. As it stood, a lot of discussion could be reduced to "Yes they can/No they can't", each with equal validity given that no context had been reached.

The point of reference I humbly suggest is Dragon Mountain, a box set adventure released by TSR during 2nd edition AD&D. Long story short, 'Dragon Mountain' is a fallen Dwarf Fortress shared between a Red Dragon and a dozen Kobold clans that has been extensively renovated according to the Kobolds preferences. The mountain planeshifts to another world every few months or so at the behest of its resident Red Dragon. The Kobolds then raid the surrounding settlements for food, materiel, and treasure. This point is particularly interstesting, the PC's could potentially emerge from the mountain in an entirely new world (fun!). This is a dungeon with its own ecosystem, even its own political system, in addition to all the usual pitfalls, traps and monsters. It's a living, breathing environment made to challenge high level PCs with average thinking, but well prepared Kobolds.

Each clan had particulars, including its political relationship and ranking with other clans, leaders, the leader's entourage and body guards, its unique customs/traditions/dress and preferred trap. Each clan has a handful of spell casters in the form of Shamans and Witch Doctors and some have magic items (mostly depleted wands, scrolls, some potions or oils etc). Leaving the mountain the way you came in was not an option. You can't tunnel and dig, the mountain is supposed to respond with violent cave-ins etc. You can't teleport in/out. A diplomatic solution is improbable, but not impossible. Some Clans hate each other enough to use the PCs against one another or as kingmakers. Shrinking down and entering the warrens is noted to the DM as a bad idea, for the reason that the irregular warren tunnels would be a surefire way to getting lost then ambushed and captured. The end game is confronting the dragon, but really just surviving and escaping Dragon Mountain is both the goal and reward.

The notes suggest that the DM play the Kobolds as though they were on a learning curve. Tactics that work the first time, the second and the third start to provoke responses from the Kobolds that result in diminishing returns or responses that defeat the tactic utterly.

Rope trick is a spell that came up a lot in discussion, so its a good candidate as an example. It's effectiveness as a spell recovery hut situated in a pocket dimension is determined by which version you're using. For instance, Pathfinder doesn't allow the rope to be pulled up into the pocket, while the 2nd Edition's duration is significantly shorter than others.

In any case, how the Kobolds would react to it depends on their source of information. Direct eyewitnesses mean the incident is communicated to their superiors in short order and to allied clans soon after. Even if the witness(es) don't know what they're describing, someone is going to know what they're dealing with and a response will be issued, (after all the PCs aren't the Kobolds' first dance partners).

If the Kobolds don't directly witness the PC's escape into nothingness, but are actively performing recon to locate the PCs (they are), they'll eventually find some evidence, CSI: Kobold edition. "last night footprints lead to a room we swear we searched top to bottom, but this morning we saw footprints leading out of the room" (or breadcrumbs, a hair, scent, or something) and eventually they'll add it up, and adjust accordingly.

Lastly, 'flooding' and or 'gassing' an entire dungeon aren't acts of heroism, but of genocide through fumigation. PCs are not supposed to be genocidal dungeon fumigators. Besides, there are non-combatants (Kobold women and children) in the warrens. Killing defenseless children, even of evil races, should be a problem for a good aligned character.

2013-07-23, 03:29 PM
I like it, kudos for the idea.