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D&D 3E
::Peeks over her Monster Manual:: 
26th-Oct-2004 07:00 pm
tea
Yyyyyyyep. I'm back again (or here for the first time, in some cases). Miss me?

Just looking for some opinions here. I have reached that *crucial* point in the game I'm running where the situation no longer feels like a weekend errand, a jaunt in the woods or even a playful treasure hunt. Thus, I need to send some monsters'n'stuff at my players. They're 1st level and are either newbies or rusty (haven't played since 2nd ed.). They are entering a maze of caves right now, and there's a silver dragon being held captive that they need to free in order to appease the gods. But, naturally, all those critters with "nasty, sharp, pointy teeth" are in between them and the dragon. I'd kind of like to stay away from the undead, if possible. It's rather overdone in most games.

So, what do you think I should throw at my four 1st level players?

[Posted in: christiangamers, dms_corner, dnd3e, dnd_women, dndfanz, dungeon_masters, dungeonmasters, gamer_chicks, gamersanonymous, ljdnd, and roleplayers.]

~Hellcat~
Comments 
26th-Oct-2004 04:04 pm (UTC)
1st level is kind of tough to start a dungeon crawl. They often need many rest stops and recopperating time.

Go with puzzles and stuff. Best bet if you don't want massive PC death:

Kobolds maybe goblins/Hobgoblins. Orcs are oftne in packs and as such often get too tough for such low level.
26th-Oct-2004 04:12 pm (UTC)
I concur.

Kobolds can be lots of fun, a la grunts in Halo ("They're everywhere!"... heheh). They especially make sense for your goals, being draconic dudes; maybe they kidnapped the dragon to worship it or offer it as a sacrifice or something.
26th-Oct-2004 04:16 pm (UTC)
Would kobolds really be capable of capturing a silver dragon though? Unless it was either very young or still an egg, I don't see that happening. EVen if it was, wouldn't the parents very easily dispatch any kobolds trying to steal its young?
26th-Oct-2004 04:20 pm (UTC)
Shhhhhh! You'll give away my plot! ::was SO totally going to share a summary of the campaign once it was finished::

;-)
26th-Oct-2004 04:33 pm (UTC)
lol
26th-Oct-2004 05:59 pm (UTC)
I can see kobolds capturing a silver dragon, maybe so long as it's younger than Adult. Especially if the kobolds have someone or something intelligent organizing them en masse. And don't forget, it's perfectly plausible to have one take levels in a character class. Maybe a high-level kobold sorcerer was involved in kidnapping this dragon, but has since perished/gotten lost/taken a vacation (so you don't have to worry about him/her hosing down your 1st level party. ;D).
26th-Oct-2004 06:36 pm (UTC)
or perhaps just to whorship it. In a sick twisted sense, they captured a god and are feeding off it powers or something.
26th-Oct-2004 08:22 pm (UTC)
Kobolds are a great idea.

That 1/4th CR is great for throwing a ton of them out there, and you can more or less safely assume that your PC's won't keel over.

You just have to watch out.

More experienced players will have no problems whatsoever if they've optimized their character (some don't. it's a roleplaying thing) and equipment. New or rusty players might have a bit of a harder time.

Throwing a small little horde at the PC's at first level might seem like it's overwheleming, but don't have them just facing off against, say 16 kobolds (theoretically equivalent of 4 1st level PC's). Take it in steps, see how they're doing, and by all means don't have anything set in stone if you really don't want them to die.

If they want to take a rest, by all means let them find a way to rest.

I'm not suggesting that you fudge any die rolls or any such thing, but it's generally a good idea to at least push the players along the path in the begining, and then gradually become more strict and deadly (TPK's aren't a goal of mine, but I won't blanch from them if the party is ready for the challenge, or planned poorly).



My idea of evening the playing field a little bit is to have the PC's come up against a larger group of Kobolds, say about 25 or so, and tossing in a bunch of obstacles in the room that would interfere in the fight, both as a boon (if they play their cards right) and a bane (if they don't) to the party. Things like pits, potential landslides, defensible areas, higher ground, etc. Incorporate all of these things in your 1st level dungeon crawl, and I can almost guarantee that it won't suck and the party won't die.

:] Almost.
26th-Oct-2004 11:33 pm (UTC)
I'd kind of like to stay away from the undead, if possible. It's rather overdone in most games.

What, not even zombie chicken? ;-)

Vermin is always a good idea. It is sufficiently creepy and comes in all sizes - and poison allows you to damage the PCs other than through loosing hit points (of which they haven't that many). It keeps them worried without actually threatening all that much...

You might also wish to introduce some "red herrings" or "side quests" to keep the PCs busy. Perhaps some of the houses in the city has an old, forgotten secret entrance to the caverns that the owner honestly doesn't know about. Let the PCs stumble across it and watch them argue about all the crimes the owner of the house must surely be involved in!

Or maybe he uses it to smuggle alcohol. This only works if the house owner has a way past the monsters...

Such a discovery allows for some role-playing and interaction with NPCs - without putting the PCs into physical danger. And at first level, that's a good thing.


Do you prefer it if the "climatic fight" is versus sapient opponents? Or would some other "guardian creature" be feasible as well?

In any case, just remember that sapient opponents are smart enough to lay some traps and alarms, and know their hideout very well. They should use some clever tactics to become more of a threat to the PCs than their CR would indicate. Having a good map for this fight is crucial for this.
27th-Oct-2004 06:42 am (UTC)
A dire rat here and there could work well, too. You could even use this to introduce a BBEG (Big Bad Evil Guy - or Gal) to your campaign. Just figure out a semi-plausible reason why the BBEG either wouldn't be there, or might choose to escape from the final encounter, rather than letting him or her wipe out your party. That gives you some hooks for later, if you want to give your campaign an overall story arc.
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