View Full Version : Calculate the CR of these Kobolds..

2008-01-22, 06:06 PM
"They're only kobolds..."

Yes. I did it. And they said it. Famous last words, perhaps, for a doomed party, but who knows? My group of three lvl 6 players are lost in the Underdark, and in their desperate search for a way back to the surface, they walked right thru the heart of a kobold settlement. Or perhaps, hive is a better word.

The hints were all there; small clawed tracks (similiar in shape to the lizardfolk they had met before, but much smaller), a narrow cavern run thru with small, twisting passageways much like a piece of old and forgotten cheese, the slide into the kill room, the openings in the upper walls, the broken crossbow bolts on the ground, the bones of bygone meals...

They even lucked out, and beat the kobolds at their hide and move silently checks, and even at initiative...

And then the druid said it. He said, "They're only kobolds.."

So the fight began, and they were well peppered in the first round, and the cleric, brave dwarf that he is, proposed climbing back out of the kill hole, back the way they came (towards certain danger).

And the druid says, "But they're kobolds. They have like, one hard die!"

So yeah, I tuckered my party. I decided on just ten kobolds, but gave them four levels of fighter and kept them, for the most part, to the murder holes and the little tunnels.

It was going poorly for the party at first as they ran thru from one chamber to the next, the kobolds following in the walls, taking pop shots, especially at the rogue who was always lagging behind.

At the end of a small run of interlocking killzones, the party comes to a large drop off (curiously, nobody has looked over the edge yet) and decide to make a last stand. Luckily for them, there is a room with only one murder hole, so they try to hold out there.

Three kobolds take turns raining bolts at them, taking minimal damage from the rogue. The druid gets wise and casts sleet storm in the room back up the way they came, effectively blinding and stopping most of the little rats for a few turns. The heavy flood water washed two of them out, and he shape changed into a crocodile and ate one. The rogue was nearly swept over the ledge in the stream of icy water.

But the spell ends, and they are back to getting owned by a single murder hole. The cleric casts spritual weapon, and puts some hurt in on some of them, but its just not enough. Then the druid decides to crawl on up there and chase them (he is out of wildshape). As he is getting it in the face, he summons a wolf behind them, and they fight it out in the tunnels until the wolf dies. The rogue gets his magic rope to tie up around the ankle of one of the kobolds fighting the druid, but he drops it when two more come up behind him in the main tunnel for an ambush.

The cleric and the rogue charge them, and nearly kill one of them, but the kobolds eat their AoO's and climb back up to safety.

Now the party is hurting, running out of useful spells (tho they have healing still), and their light source will be running out soon. They have killed one kobold, and heavily wounded 6, and moderately wounded 2, and there is one who is not even scratched.

There were a couple small traps, nothing bad except a couple short pits that stopped the players twice in the middle of a kill zone, but everything had easy DC to avoid or spot.

Thing is, its an overpowering encounter IF they fought them all at the same time, but they dont. Worst they ever deal with is five or six at a time, but the rats keep changing positions, and of course the kobolds are using the terrain to their full advantage.

What kind of CR would you give this encounter?

2008-01-22, 06:18 PM
Last time I ran tuckers I just gave in and leveled the party. Sounds like yours ran through a similar gauntlet. Just justify it by saying they learned a lot. And if that doesn't get through to them run it again, but this time do it with a couple hundred 1st and 2nd levelers with real traps.:smallbiggrin:

2008-01-22, 07:17 PM
Haha... if the druid actually said that, well, ooww...

2008-01-22, 08:00 PM
That's an overpowering encounter. Remember, favorable/unfavorable circumstances modify CR. This should be, if anything, a higher than listed CR.

2008-01-23, 12:42 AM
A level 4 kobold fighter is CR 3. A level 4 Kobold Warrior is CR 1. Sure, you lose some feats, but suddenly those CR 1 kobolds are a little more dangerous

2008-01-23, 01:58 AM
five to six CR 3 creatures is EL 8. Multiple such encounters in quick succession +1 EL. Enemy had favorable conditions +1 EL. I would say the EL was about 10 putting it on the higher end of a very difficult encounter.

2008-01-23, 06:29 AM
I'd say the party is doing very well considering they facing an encounter that is probably EL 10 or better.

4th level kobold fighter is CR 3 I believe.

10th 4th level kobold fighters I believe is EL 9, throw in the favorable conditions and its probably 10 or higher.

Kobolds are tough archers they are + 2 to hit (dex and size bonus) compared to a comparable human and + 3 AC (dex, size and natural armor). They have fewer hps (low con) and don't fare well in melee (big str penalty) but you've set them up in a situation that minimizes these weaknesses.

Based on your description had they been standard 1 hd kobolds, the fight would have been over a long time ago.

2008-01-23, 06:47 AM
Well I didnt want to just annhilate my party, so to be fair, the kobolds home turf had various key points which where more advantageous to the party (as in, less of a kill zone than normally) and the party of course focused on these areas.

Also, I gave the kobolds feats that didnt necessarily make them fighting champions, just harder to kill. Improved Initiative, Toughness, Improved Natural Armor, and Improved Natural Armor.

They made a few mistakes as well, coming out of their burrows on occasion when they thought they had the party once and for all, only to learn the painful lesson that they should really stay safely in the murder holes until their victims were dead.

With their improved BaB from the fighter levels, they were able to pepper the rogue and the druid for a while (until the druid finally cast barkskin), but the cleric requires some pretty high rolls.

As it stands, the party hasn't finished the encounter yet. In all honesty, I think they will try to stand it out and finish them all off, but who knows..

Thanks for the CR advice btw, and heheheh yeah, the druid really said that stuff!! I laughed so hard!

2008-01-23, 07:11 AM
I think a bulk-discount is in order, placing the entire encounter at EL 9. Itīs fair, an puts the party a good chunk of xp forward. The best thing was the druid saying those magical words, anyway.........

Mr. Friendly
2008-01-23, 09:16 AM
Personally, I would have given them all a mid-range poison and had their ammo all be poisoned....

That many rolls.... PCs are bound to fail one or two...

2008-01-23, 11:19 AM
Personally, I would have given them all a mid-range poison and had their ammo all be poisoned....

That many rolls.... PCs are bound to fail one or two...

Yeah but like I said, the point wasnt to annhilate the party, it was to teach them a lesson (especially Mr. Metagamer). Not to mention, it will play into the plotline as well, but I dont want to go into too many details as some of my players may be reading this thread.. (OUt! STAY OUT!!! SHOOOO! MINUS XP! MINUS XP!)

2008-01-23, 01:26 PM
Since your non-metagamers will be happy just to survive this the magic words are...

"It would have been CR 11, but the druid made that crack about their HD."

...and give them whatever will put them just one small fight from the next level.

2008-01-23, 03:06 PM
If your Druid is really that fond of tempting fate (and the DM), remind him that where there are ten Kobolds, there are probably many, many more Kobolds waiting to come out of the stonework. Possibly also remind him that their favored class is Sorcerer, rather than unoptimized Fighter...