View Full Version : [3.5] Need help with designing a Tucker's Kobolds dungeon

2008-10-18, 01:08 PM
I've wanted to run Tucker's Kobolds since I heard of them, and now that my regular DM is away for 6 weeks I'm going to do it. I've told my players that I'm going to run a one-, possibly two-shot (depending on how fast it goes) dungeoncrawl, and I've started planning. I did a search on this board for ideas but couldn't find all that much, so I decided to start my own thread and get some help with this.

This is what I've told them so far:

Crunch: Any non-setting specific book you like, no LA above +1, ECL~8 (this might change depending on how I design the dungeon), standard WBL.

Fluff: A human count has recently found out that a rather young dragon has made it's lair in a cave deep in a mountain inside his domain. Knowing that dragons grow more dangerous as they age, he decided the best course of action is to recruit adventurers to deal with it as soon as possible. Oh, and by the way... The upper caverns above it's lair have long been infested with kobolds, who may or may not be allied to the dragon by now.

The PCs declared mission is therefore to find and kill the dragon, but to do that they'll need to get through the hellish maze of trapped corridors, riddled with murder holes and crawling with vicious rat-lizards. But they don't know that, of course. I don't think any of them are familiar with Tucker's Kobolds. They're expecting traps and stuff, but nothing of this level. I haven't decided the colour of the dragon, but I'll tell them when I have. Red would be most appropriate I think, but the one around the CR I'm thinking is lacking several of the qualities that make dragons dangerous (like SR and DR to begin with).

What I need help with is mainly this: Traps. My group usually doesn't use a lot of them, if any at all. I've sketched a part of the first floor map, and I know I want a standard 20' deep covered spiked pit trap, a pressure plate that sprays a 10x10' square with arrows when stepped on and a corridor floor that gets covered with oil and set alight. I have no idea what mechanics I should use for those, to make them both believable for kobolds to have made and neither trivial nor too hard (as in, kill them too early) for the party. I also could use some further ideas for traps (the more variety, the more interesting it'll be) and scenarios the kobolds would put the party in. Finally, I've never run a dragon encounter either, so just in case they live long enough to fight it, some tips there would be nice.

Thanks in advance :smallsmile:

2008-10-18, 01:53 PM
Well, of course the standards - murder holes in the ceiling that Kobolds can drop things (Tanglefoot bags, Alchemist's fire, acid, oil (followed by torches), smoke bombs, rocks) or fire onto your players from, yet are nigh impossible to fire through, tunnels the kobolds alone can use, kobold snipers firing through arrow slits, huge piles of flaming debris being pushed along, etc.

More ideas - Kobold Commandos have on their persons scrolls. When the party loots them - surprise! Explosive runes!

A shooting gallery - a hallway that contains broad windows for kobold snipers, safe behind some arrow slits, to fire through at the party. For added fun, put a lever that must be pulled to open a door at one end of the hallway, so the PC's have to run through twice.

A room that the kobolds lock behind the PC's, and then start filling with angry bees.

Kobold commandos dropping from the ceiling to ambush the squishy members of the party.

Kobolds are good with traps. Very good. It's their thing, really. So almost any trap is believable. Fun ideas for traps:

The pit trap - could contain a ladder to climb out. The 13th rung will fall when a lot of weight is placed on it, forcing a Ref save to avoid falling again. The sides are greased. With flammable oil. Cue the kobold with Alchemist's fire.

The pressure plate - be sure to show a kobold run across it (preferably after making himself a target). It's set only to trigger on a higher weight creature, after all.

Other traps -

A high, rickety bridge across a gorge. The kobolds set it on fire, of course, when the party is halfway across. The gorge is full of snakes.

A dead end cavern that the kobolds seem not to have infested. The end is even a nice resting spot with a spring (poisoned). When the PC's decide to take a break, the kobolds collapse the tunnel. Watch your party run for the exit, dodging rocks and cursing all the way.

A long inclined tunnel. The kobolds start rolling rocks and barrels of alchemist's fire down as the PC's ascend. When the PC's go down, the kobolds drop a keg of slippery oil from the ceiling.

A huge cavernous room, filled with caltrops. The trap? The wall behind the PC's start rumbling towards them. They have to pick their way across the caltrops and outrun the wall at the same time. For added fun, some caltrops are poisoned!

Doors that open onto dark rooms. After a few of these, make one that has no floor.

2008-10-18, 01:58 PM
I tried this once, but the players got fed up when the kobolds unleashed a rust monster :smallfrown:

2008-10-18, 02:01 PM
I tried this once, but the players got fed up when the kobolds unleashed a rust monster :smallfrown:
Oooh. Evil. I like it. :smallamused:

2008-10-18, 02:04 PM
Oooh. Evil. I like it. :smallamused:

They started complaining about the cage it was in should have had it's nails rusted by now, but it was a wooden cage bound together with vines and such.

EDIT: And thanks for the compliment. :smallamused:

2008-10-18, 02:07 PM
Step one: How many kobolds are we talking about?
A warband of 30 ? Or a whole tribe with dire weasels, females and children ?
This is important, mainly to know the resources available to our deer kobolds.

Step two : Make them mean.
They must not just kill the PC, they must make them suffer.
So, yeah, the oil trap you spoke of is a really good idea.

Other things which will really piss off your PC:
Swarm of insects + honey
Ants are good enough. You just can get away of them when they smell sugar. Honey is expansive but what about rotten fruits? At worst, the kobolds can directly fire a bag with wasps inside it. This will lead the PC to jump in the nearest pool of liquid available.
A simple pool of water, yeah. Well, the kobold tribe is large and they live in a maze. You really think they will go all the way up to take a dump ? No !! Those kobolds got (primitive) toilets. Usually, the cleaning is a punition.
Also, this can be a perfect alternative to the spikes of your pits. The kobolds covered the pits with a light roof, so that THEY can walk over it but not a 80kg human. If you fall in a 6m deep pit filled with 3m of feces, you can't jump and you will eventually drown. + it's smelly...and the kobolds will laugh for a while about the "noisy toilet's squatters".
Sleep/Paralyzing poison
You are 1m tall at best. Your weapons deal ****ty damages. You need this. And because you will eat what you use it on, you need the kind which is not deadly but wear off slowly. The victim cannot move before several hours, forcing her companions to carry her or to let her behind...
Warning signals
A big crude rune painted on the wall which means "Attention, not this way" or "Toilet: turn right" or even "Treasure"...and of course "DEADLY TRAP!!!". We are in their lair and it's huge, right? You can set a lot of those among the maze. All of them have meanings, of course, but unless the PC speaks draconic, they can only guess this meaning. The first one has to be a trap. The second as well. The others? As you wish, paranoia is already working.
Not really wise in close, poorly ventilated tunnels. The kobolds would smoke themselves. But they can still find some use. Large spiked shields with pikes which tips are in flames are in the description of Tucker's kobolds. But what about low level shaman (priest or sorcerer) with Burning Hands ready? In a narrow tunnel, you'll just fry PC.
50cm high tunnel
This is a KOBOLD lair !! Those little buggers dig everywhere but why would they dig a human-sized tunnel? Better: they dug special tunnels, too narrow for humans and just in size for a crawling kobold. They can get away, the PC can't pursue them. In the largest caves, have some "sentry hole" nearly at ceiling level, so that skirmishers can fire at the intruders THEN gain attack of opportunity when said intruders climb to get them.

EDIT : ????:smalleek: So many posts when I was writting ?!! I like the idea of the Rust Monster, by the way.

2008-10-18, 02:54 PM
Thanks for the ideas so far. I like what I see, keep 'em coming.

To answer some of the questions: I'm thinking it's a full tribe, around 100-150 fighting-capable kobolds plus some kids tucked away in the warrens. At least one competent sorcerer and some more kobolds with a few class levels.

I've already put up one 'shooting gallery' style hallway. It's the first corridor they must go through to enter the rest of the lair, and starts by closing the door behind them (2.5' thick stone door). 60' long and 10' wide, on one end is the arrow-spraying trap I mentioned, on the other end a kobold sorcerer and a couple of snipers behind a barricade. Along the walls, murder holes manned by kobold snipers with a readied action to shoot anything passing through their view. I didn't think of putting murder holes in the ceiling too, nice thinking. I'll add that. The sorcerer throws a lightning bolt and maybe a grease to slow them down and then ducks into a tunnel too small for medium creatures. The kobolds know they're coming unless they notice both of the alarm spells that cover the tunnels leading into the lair.

I've already figured out the importance of small sized tunnels and pressure plates that don't trigger for something as light as kobolds. That's the easy bit, coming up with inventive and nasty traps is harder :smalltongue:

2008-10-18, 03:53 PM
| =x
| |
| |

x is a trigger for a cone of cold trap or similar. * is where the party come from. v is where the cone of cold emits from. If the party are hanging around the corner to avoid getting caught in the trap if the rogue sets it off, they get the full brunt of it.

2008-10-18, 04:23 PM
ah man i screwed a level 6 group with kobolds in an abandoned monastery once. it rocked!
basically every fight is a running combat, kobolds never stand and fight to the death. there should always be at least one way out of a room/corridor/whatever that only a kobold can use, other exits should be trapped and these traps will either
only be set off by a medium height/weight creature
or only affect a medium sized creature.

examples are jets of flame, slicing blades or lightning bolts or whatever, all are 4 feet off the floor. kobolds can deliberately set these traps off with impunity!
all covered pit traps are safe for the kobolds to run across, but will catch pcs, kobolds should always have ranged or reach weapons.
falling into a pit is bad, when kobolds appear above with alchemical fire, long spears and crossbows it is much worse!

sorcerers should have spells like alarm, explosive runes, glyph of warding for clerics. incidentally have you got phb 2? if so throw some dragon shaman kobolds too, they do not rock that much for players, but have some nasty stuff for npcs.
also if you happen to play dragons with different alignments to standard, make it a copper dragon. this way your shamans have spider climb and lines of acid as breath weapons...
oh ad kobold scouts, the class, this rocks in a scenario like this, they will always move so getting the bonus damage should be easy. just use obstacles and covered pits to block charge lines and they can move around peppering players with shots.

finally the dragon, decide what colour it is as this may alter the kobolds tactics. and also do you want a brood of half-dragon kobolds as it's kids and bodyguards?:smallbiggrin:

2008-10-18, 05:37 PM
oh and finally check out the shrink item spell, it is only level 2 but can be used in many many nasty ways

2008-10-18, 06:05 PM
If the dragon is young and if it's a male, I don't wanna know how hybrid kobold are made... The dragon don't have the level to transform in kobold yet, I guess ? What's is age category ?

Dr Bwaa
2008-10-18, 06:19 PM
x is a trigger for a cone of cold trap or similar. * is where the party come from. v is where the cone of cold emits from. If the party are hanging around the corner to avoid getting caught in the trap if the rogue sets it off, they get the full brunt of it.


I have a campaign setting in which all the Kobolds are effectively Tucker's Kobolds. My PCs don't know it of course, but woe betide the ones who get on the Kobolds' bad side! Contribution of the moment:

A heavy, fortified door at the end of a tunnel, with one Kobold stationed near it obviously on guard duty. As the PCs almost certainly will chase him off/kill him without trying to talk to him first, they will then turn to the door and know that they have to go through it: it was guarded after all, this must be a boss room! When they get through the door, they'll be surprised to realize that the guard was just an alert in case something was trying to get out: and the door they've presumably just smashed down was what the Kobolds built to seal off whatever they found when they dug too greedily, and too deep.

EDIT: Also, you can always dig up the ToH for some more trap/layout ideas.

2008-10-18, 07:13 PM
there's a fortress in a series of books called the belgariad which is basically a huge trap, the massive doors at the front lead into a labyrinth with no exits, the walls are so thick that the occupants live inside them.

do something like this, provide a suspiciously man-sized dungeon/lair and trap EVERYTHING, have the kobolds live in smaller tunnels behind the scene, above and below the lair, even in the walls
once you get into this facade, the only way out is the way you came in, the real entrance to the lair is a secret door about fifty feet to the side of the obvious one

and obviously, the aforementioned murderholes etc

2008-10-18, 08:07 PM
EDIT : ????:smalleek: So many posts when I was writting ?!! I like the idea of the Rust Monster, by the way.

You forgot the Kobolds should have a big digged out room holding a solitary gazebo.
Lots of shinies/treasure by it as offerings.

It waits till after being attacked or adventurers are gathering treasure before swallowing whole adenturers.
"i attack it with my axe is it hurt?
"No Eric, its a Gazebo"
"I run away..."
"Too late, the gazebo attacks, you die"

2008-10-18, 09:23 PM
a side passage that seems to go no where and ends suddenly, seems like a secret passage areas. There is an single arrow slit. The entire passage is covered with a strange sticky substance that seems to be water from a leak. In fact it is oil the entire passage is a death trap

2008-10-18, 09:53 PM
Does anybody remember DOOM?

Especially the walls that fall away after you pull switches.

Make a maze with several dead ends and switches nearby, pull a switch, the wall drops away and... nothing, good. Pull another... nothing.

Pull the third...

You hear the sound of bolts being placed into several crossbows and small weaponry being drawn. :smallamused:


#### ####
#### ####
#### ####
####L X|O

The X is a pressure plate that lowers wall |, making the rock O roll down at the party. The party will think they're safe if they run around the corner, but the square L has a curved section of the wall, redirecting the rock. Cue Indiana Jones chase scene.

I have no clue what damage the rock does, but imagine something big. :smallwink:

Meat Shield
2008-10-18, 09:55 PM
Lets see, off the top of my head:

1) Passages where spikes protrude down from teh ceiling to just above average kobold height - that way even tall passages have something to them

2) Rockfalls set to go off if something too heavy (like an armored human) steps in the wrong spot

3) Pungi sticks

4) Pungi sticks smeared with rat feces, then get out the old 1st edition disease rules

5) Dead end passages that can easily be cut off from any way out

6) Kobolds are miners, right? What if they were mining phosphorus? Draw your own conclusions on that, but imagine if they painted the walls of certain passages in white phosphorus, then threw a torch down from a murder hole in the ceiling?

7) Coal dust explosions

8) What creatures would a warren of kobolds work with for survival? Otyughs, carrion crawlers, piercers, myconoids, anything of low CR.

9) Caltrops, carved from stone. Thousands of them.

10) Gasses that are lighter than air, so that any passage tall enough for a human to walk through will have hte entire upper half filled with a poisonous gas of your chosen effect.

Remember, the main point of Tucker's kobolds is that they are unrelenting and unending. It is a war of attrition, and they have more bodies than you have spell slots. And they know it.

2008-10-18, 09:58 PM
If they do manage to win the dungeon, mention in the epilogue they all got coal lung and died months after.

2008-10-18, 10:12 PM
The dragon would definitely be too young to make any half-dragon kobolds. I would personally make it a Steel Dragon (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/mm/20040328a) with the Corrupt Creature template (BoVD) applied, and probably make it insane. Note that the CRs for a Steel Dragon contains a typo, CR 4 is given for two age categories. Just move every CR of Juvenile through Great Wyrm down one step, so Young is CR 5, Juvenile CR 7, Young Adult CR 8, etc. A Juvenile Corrupt Steel Dragon would be CR 10, has SR 22 (32 vs arcane spells of 4th level and lower!), Fast Healing 6, and Corrupted DR would probably be updated to 5/magic, 5/good, and 10/good for each category of HD. It would have access to 3rd level spells (also of the Cleric list being a dragon), and a breath weapon that deals 4 Con damage initial and secondary at DC 24 thanks to the Corrupt template. Its attack routine would be Bite +18 2d6+5 +6 vile, 2 Claws +13 1d8+2 +6 vile, 2 Wings +13 1d6+2 +6 vile, but give it Multiattack and Power Attack and it becomes even more dangerous. Leap Attack and Divine Favor would also help, Displacement, Mage Armor, Shield, and Shield of Faith would make it unhitable. Maybe go Young instead of Juvenile, the Steel Dragon CRs are still a bit low even when you correct for the typo.

There's a 40' long hallway with a dead end. The wall at the end has a permanent illusion of the hallway continuing around a corner. At the end of the hallway is a 20' deep 10' x 10' pit trap, which only triggers if three or more creatures are standing on it. Once halfway down the hall a permanencied Gust of Wind spell activates originating at the entry to the hallway and blowing toward the pit trap at the dead end. At the bottom of the pit is a Gelatinous Cube, anyone who falls in lands on it and is automatically engulfed as though they'd wandered into it. If they don't have any magical light sources they'll likely be plunged into pitch darkness. At least three of them could end up engulfed, four if they walk down the hall by twos, and even after the cube they'll probably be trapped at the dead end.

2008-10-18, 10:23 PM
Grimtooth's Traps (http://secure1.white-wolf.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=633)

2008-10-18, 11:10 PM
Aww, c'mon. The entire point of Tucker's Kobolds is that you're getting beaten senseless by a CR 1/2 encounter: We're talking rope, wooden spikes, burning oil, and 10-foot poles, not permanent illusions and level 2 spells. If there are big and elaborate traps, they'll be made of stone and represent months of quarrying and trapsmithing- so they'll all have some sort of reset function.

Tucker's Kobolds traditionally use tunnels designed for Small creatures, but this cavern has to be roomy enough for a Large dragon to comfortably move through. I'd design the dungeon around a long, wide and imposing central tunnel, periodically broken up by giant stone slabs. The stone barriers are designed like hurdles: they can be knocked over, but they only fall in one direction. The kobolds have a system of ropes and pulleys so they can raise or lower them from the 'inside'. The barriers seal off the main passage from floor to ceiling, but they can be bypassed by a series of kobold friendly and PC-hostile tunnels.

On their way in, the PCs have to fight their way through the tunnels working around the first barrier. When they get behind it, it should be visually obvious something's up. When they reach the second, the kobolds drop it on them. After that, the kobolds give them the choice of either pursuing them through the tunnels, or making Disable Device checks while being shot at through arrow slits and lit on fire. The passageway around the final barrier leads to the 'back' of the dragon's lair: They fight for a dramatically appropriate length of time, and then he flees, pushing over the doors and literally flying through obstacles that took the PCs long and bloody hours to work around. PC's pursue, under fire the whole time from the warren, final dramatic confrontation happens outside, nobody goes back into the mines to loot the horde.

2008-10-18, 11:12 PM
have a passage where the ceiling falls open and gelention cubes fall in

2008-10-19, 12:35 AM
If they do manage to win the dungeon, mention in the epilogue they all got coal lung and died months after.

No, they live long lives...
but every once in a while, they hear evil, reptillian laughter. Any attempts to form long term friendship, to settle down, end very badly, often with the new friend filled with crossbow bolts.

And, one day, in your old age, from the shadows, the creatures that have haunted your nightmares close in and drag you into the darkness, as they have every night since you were such a fool as to enter that accursed cave. But this time... this time you never awake.

2008-10-19, 01:08 AM
1) Pit traps. Supported in such a way as to hold 50 pounds of weight, no more. Thus, kobolds are fine, most medium creatures are not.

2) If kobolds need a DC 15 Escape artist to get through a hole, the DC for an orc will approach 80.

3) 2 foot high room. Trapped Constrictor Snakes.

4) Arrow slits in walls.

5) Underground stream. One area of the cavern has slow drainage. Kobolds have rigged the stream to pour into it when triggered. Bonus points if trigger is a pressure plate at the bottom of one of the pits... And water releases uphill of that location, creating a fun waterfall.

6) More bonus points if the kobolds have tamed a few shocker lizards.

7) Caltrops. Kobolds retreat down a hallway, and round a corner. Immediately after getting out of sight, they jump a square littered with caltrops. PC's round the corner, barrel through, and a couple of them are temporarily hobbled.

8) Deadfall. High ground cover for kobold bowyers becomes a tumbling mass of Rocks, Logs, and the like, when kobolds pull a well-positioned support right before fleeing out the door.

9) Weak ladders. pathways up to upper level murderholes uses ladders that only support 50 pounds of weight.

10) Bonus points if a breaking ladder trips a cave in above.

Many of the above take advantage of kobold Trap skills. Several take advantage of Kobold Mining Skills. Diverting an underground stream? Cave ins? Deadfalls? Rooms that are far more defensible to people in them than people entering them? All are simple matters when you carve your entire home out of the rock.

If several of the kobolds have a level or two of ranger, you've got a viable explanation for the rest. Heck, a few ranks of Handle Animal will net that.

2008-10-19, 02:13 AM
Alright, first you have your entrance, which looks like an abandoned cave after a few twists and turns. Heck, you can have some bandit squatters outside to lure the PCs into a false sense of security, or with a journal that notes how the two new recruits that went into the deeper areas of the cave never came back, and were to be avoided at all costs.

There'll be small tunnels hidden well enough so that it would be difficult for the trap monkey to find, but not impossible (We'll say DC 28, so the odds are against them barring particular focus or meticulousness.) The tunnels are tight, a Small character would have to belly crawl to get in. One will be near the entrance on one side of the tunnel, then on the opposite side's convex corner after the first turn.

Two more turns, and there's a pile of rocks across the ten foot wide, twenty high tunnel. A good spot check (and night vision) will reveal a hole in the ceiling. This is the first dead drop that they have a chance of noticing, but nothing gets dropped yet, that one's for a false sense of security and for landing blows on the way out. It'll be 200 lbs. of rock coming down when the drop does occur, and effort made possible since a Small creature only needs Str 6 to push or drag 200 lbs, with an emphasis in this case on the former.

Further down the straightaway tunnel, it widens as it comes to a fork. One path goes straight, the other ramps up and arcs away. Do note, that there are natural stone spikes on the roof and ground this deep in, although the spikes first appear shortly before the rock hurdle. The ramp is a rather sick varient of on of the Tomb of Horrors traps: the ramp's loose dirt covers a sort of seesaw mechanism along its length, the lever being halfway along and with solid ground beneath the downhill half. Perfectly solid halfway up, but things get screwy once they pass the lever. If they progress right, you might catapult a lightweight into the ceiling spikes while those in front take a tumble into some diseased water... where there's a Shrieker.

Getting tired, I'll post more later. My idea for the suggested methods is that the dragon in question is a black dragon, and there's a maze of underwater lakes and rivers that the kobolds built around before the dragon came to nest.

Edit: Also, the third yucky water trap actually splashes them into that one puddle ooze. The deeper parts of the underwater sections with have temple ruins with the aquatic gargoyle varients, to continue with lesser encounters.

2008-10-19, 05:59 AM
Another thing I've wanted to try in another campaign of mine is to expose them to the terrors of an aquatic grappler creature, if you can make some kind of snare trap in a water-filled room...

2008-10-19, 11:40 AM
Another thing I've wanted to try in another campaign of mine is to expose them to the terrors of an aquatic grappler creature, if you can make some kind of snare trap in a water-filled room...Lacedon: These cousins of the ghoul have the aquatic subtype.

If they somehow get past the ramp trap I came up with, it's just a flat run along a cliff about ten feet up from the lower tunnel before bridging over it. Sleeping at the base of the bridge is an illusionary kobold. Since the Shrieker is positioned so that the lower tunnel is within ten feet of it, and the lower tunnel connects to its aside, a whizzing crossbow bolt or other projectile will release the scream.

As for what traps the chamber has to bear, the bridge at the end of the cliff tunnel collapses if the weight on it goes into the tripple digits, there are arrow slits level with the cliff path on the far wall, and murder holes over the lower path. The upper path after the bridge? Assuming they get past the bridge, it's a dead end full of arrow slits. It should be noted that there's a murder hole over the bridge for another 200 lb. drop. The combined rubble won't block the lower path, even if it does kill someone caught in the artificial cave-in, but it'll be a Climb check at least to get through.

2008-10-19, 03:43 PM
Remember, as long as there are multiple entrances, the rock falls don't always need to be infront of, or on the party. And if the mountain is a dead, or dormant volcano, the Dragon can leave the top and never need go through the Kobold den.

Solves size problem. And Mediums squeezing through 5' tunnels are lightning bait. Or for a self reseting spike trap. Swings up from floor, reflex to step back 5'. Rogue might miss it, but if the party is in line...

2008-10-19, 05:42 PM
Use caltrops, and trap the squares that are not covered. If you're really mean, trap the squares that are covered too.

Make a kobold take an extremely fancy path around a room, and the PCs will be sure that those squares AREN'T trapped. Trap them.

Make a room that looks like a logical place to rest, maybe putting in a treasure chest (trapped of course, and either with nothing in it, a cursed item or things that look very valuable, but turn out to be worthless when the PCs try to sell them). Then suddenly, a hatch on the ceiling opens up, and water quickly starts pouring in. The door is both locked, and extremely difficult to open because of the intense water pressure.

2008-10-19, 06:29 PM
Letsee... what has dwarf fortress taught me...

A room with that deadends with a pressure plate and a big, thick wall. Stepping on the plate activates the floodgate behind the party, which releases magma, and smashing the wall releases water.

A lever that causes the floor to drop away into a pit covered in spikes...

A huge cavern with walls upon walls of captured creatures, all of which are released via lever...

2008-10-19, 06:33 PM
You guys are good! I don't have much to add, but one ting - the party might choose to use something like Cloudkill to flush out the dungeon. Use a trick from the Viet Cong. The tunnel dips down like a U-bend and goes through liquid (and I like some of the ideas above!!) so no gas can get through. You can have it as just a short underwater trip, so easily done by any character holding its breath (but once through they can't tell their comrades what they found on the other side - sound doesn't travel well through water). And once they're used to these short water traps, give them a _really_ long one.

The narrow tunnel crawls are essential, and so much fun - especially if combined with some decent-sized tunnels. The PCs will be so glad to be able to stand up straight they won't ask why the kobolds built this big tunnel - or at least, they won't ask the first time!

Murder holes and other ways of making them run a gauntlet are obviously great fun, but set some up so the kobolds don't attack until the party reach the (trapped) dead end - possibly painted with a trompe l'oiel effect to look like it's a longer corridor. Then they have to go all the back under attack (and the kobolds have taken the safety catches off all the pits on the way back as well!)

For real evilness, have plenty of thunderstones thrown around until the whole party is deaf - not only the spell failure chance, but enforce the fact that the players cannot now discuss anything in character. Once the lights go out, you could even make them write down everything their character does, without letting the others know any effect. But you may lose friends this way.

2008-10-19, 06:49 PM
I've learned that with PC's deaf and blind don't always mean dumb. One group I lead through had a Wizard with Blind Sense, and Mage Hand at will. I dumped a rockfall of thunderstones on them specifically to deafen them. Then I blew out the lights. (Literally, Gust of Wind and lots of water to kill the torches.) So the Wizard casts Infravision. I had a Kobold Sorceror use Heat Metal on the iron walls. So he starts using Mage hand to give instructions to the rest of the party. Tap on the chest for enemy in front of you, on the back for behind, and so on.

2008-10-19, 06:52 PM
Letsee... what has dwarf fortress taught me...

A room with that deadends with a pressure plate and a big, thick wall. Stepping on the plate activates the floodgate behind the party, which releases magma, and smashing the wall releases water.

A lever that causes the floor to drop away into a pit covered in spikes...

A huge cavern with walls upon walls of captured creatures, all of which are released via lever...

A level releasing elephants? Too evil.
I've read the stories of Dwarf Fortress ( tried downloading but since I lack certain buttons like numberpad on my laltop couldn't play)

A lever releasing a Carrison Crawler: that way the area can be picked clean after kobolds are through with it.

Return of Lanky
2008-10-19, 09:42 PM
One of my favourite tricks is to leave pools of water all over the place. The PCs usually don't ask any questions the third or fourth time they tromp into a tunnel filled with liquids. That's when you drop a barred gate behind the last PC, light the oil on fire, then release a few beasties which can ignore the fire damage.

Usually. I have the oil burn for 5 rounds. After the second round of combat, there's enough smoke that the whole area is essentially foggy. After the fourth round, for 3 or 4 rounds, everyone has to make a DC 17 Fortitude save or be reduced to one standard action for that round by distracting coughing. These handicaps can make even a few low-level enemies with fire immunity very, very annoying.

Likewise, spreading fine gravel on a marble floor can make for some slippery footing. A DC 15 Reflex save or fall prone if the characters try to move even a five foot step, combined with a few levitating Sorcerers floating archer cohorts behind them (with Tenser's Floating Disc) can make for some really nasty fighting.

Essentially, put the PCs in a lot of situations where the kobolds rob them of some normally assumed advantage, and then eliminate that thing as a disadvantage for the kobolds. A Stinking Cloud with gas-mask (or some magical equivalent) armed kobolds. A room with neck-deep water, with a few kobolds armed with some Rings of Swimming and spears... and a Kobold Sorcerer ready with a Lightning Bolt when the commandos retreat. Tanglefoot bags and boulder traps. Oiled floors and archers.

I could go on and on. Until everyone was so amazed with Tucker's Kobold's, I thought every DM was a bastard like I am.

2008-10-19, 09:42 PM
Have a tunnel that goes at a downward angle and is filled with water. There is apparently no other way to go other than into the tunnel. It is big enough for people. A decent ways into the tunnel (still flooded), it narrows to kobold size. Not human size. If you want to be incredibly sadistic, make it far enough into the tunnel that they don't have enough time to turn around and make it back to the entrance without drowning. To be even more sadistic, make something nasty live inside.