View Full Version : [3.5] Kobold colony

2009-06-04, 03:49 PM
I need some ideas for fleshing out a kobold colony. What I've got so far is:

-their leader is a 10th level dragonfire adept
-the colony is about 300 warriors strong
-they selected a small hill to build their cave system in
-they split up from a much larger colony after their red dragon master allowed it(they still have to pay him tribute)

Now from what I read from the Races of Dragon kobolds don't really need to eat if their environment is warm enough, so I suppose their first concern will be setting up some heating. So how should they do that?

The other thing I'm not so sure about is what should a kobold army look like? I mean, this guys are terribly weak in melee(-4 STR, -2 CON). Oh, and this is a relatively high level world(in the sense that lvl 1-2 is weal,3-4 regular 5-7 capable 8-10 strong 11-13 very strong, and above that is heroic and epic, oh and the PCs are lvl7 currently). So what tactics would they use to be useful in combat?

2009-06-04, 03:52 PM
So what tactics would they use to be useful in combat?


Those tactics.

2009-06-04, 03:53 PM
Heating - they picked the hill because of the presence of hot (sulphureous, for example) springs. Or maybe the area has even greater volcanic activity and there are hotter spots around. If there are hot springs, they can be transported in pipes around the hill to warm it up equally.

For tactics, check any thread on "Tucker's kobolds" and enjoy :smallbiggrin: (for a real campaign, where you don't want to drive your group to exasperation, you can play the kobolds a bit dumber than Tucker's Finest).

(Tucker got ninja'd :smalltongue: )

2009-06-04, 04:00 PM
Oh, I am quite familiar with Tucker kobolds, don't worry. But those tactics are only effective in closed places and require heavy preparation. So they are great for defense, but don't do much in the offense sector. And this kobolds will have to raid pretty big piles of gold every month, to avoid making their red dragon master seriously angry..

2009-06-04, 04:01 PM
Another Tucker's kobolds thread from some months ago that might be of help. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101770

Play them like that, but not quite as ruthless. Of the 300 kobolds, 200 are probably 1st or 2nd level experts, trained to dig and use crossbows and make traps. Maybe 10-15 of them are above 5th level (I'd say the spiritual leader, his bodyguards, the head sorcerer, his bodyguards, and hatchery guards are good choices).

If it's a newer cave system, that's reason for it to be less crazy than a more typical kobold cave (that is: the PC's have a chance). Would also explain why it's not as heavily trapped.

EDIT: As for offense, the Tucker's system does not prevent them in any way from raiding. With 300 of they guys, 50 of them go on a raiding party, trap a narrow bit of road to all hell, volley 100 arrows into the caravan. Whatever's left the steal. If something's still alive, they shoot some more arrows and then their sorcerer casts Solid Fog and they flee.

2009-06-04, 04:34 PM
And that sounds like a really fun menance to play up to the PCs when they stumble upon the picked clean wreckage of a caravan, noting that even the iron arrowheads and brass fixtures for the merchant's carriage have been reclaimed/pried off.

Oh, and if there is volcanism to the locale they've picked, a little fight in their magma-powered forge/foundry might make for an interesting engagement and source of their heating with some mighty bellows and fans circulating the hot air away from the room so that the kobolds don't roast that go in there.

Or maybe they actually use the aforementioned hot springs as their incubator (either in the water or along an artificial sandy bank) in addition to using it to provide internal heating to their lair. Could either have some sort of cribbed from the gnomes and their knowledge of trap-works powering the pumps or have the young kobolds basically following an exercise regimen in keeping the heat pumping.

2009-06-04, 04:43 PM
I may or may not have posted in the above linked thread, but I'll give some of my advice here and now anyway...

Kobolds strength is in munbers and not worrying about casualties. They can also fit an extraordinary number of troops in an extraordinarily small space when they have access to the Swarmfighting feat (Complete Warrior). Add Longspears and (for sufficiently powerful warriors) Phalanx Fighting and you have a whole world of hurt for anything gettting even remotely close. Admittedly it's a better defensive formation, but it works on offence too. The sheer number of attacks produced by such a formation, with a stupid bonus to hit from Swarmfighting, equals almost certain death to anyone close enough to be hit. Even if a couple are taken out, that there are that many of them also makes those losses negligible. The only downside is that it is very vulnerable to AoE attacks, but if you give them all 2 levels of Rogue that become less of a problem...

2009-06-04, 06:43 PM
Never fight a foe where they are strongest.

A Kobold's -2 Con means that 'equalizers' like poison and disease are going to be even more deadly for the Kobolds to mess with than for their enemies, so they should generally avoid such things. One mistake with a contagion, and the entire tribe is dead. Even Filth Fever is a very real threat to a creature that has a below average Con and may have a negative Fortitude save. (Of the diseases, Filth Fever is also the one most likely to be used, to coat crossbow bolts, caltrops, bear traps, etc. When using disease, the Kobolds will have to target caravans or communities *days* before they intend to make their main attack, as disease takes time to weaken a fighting force, and the presence of a healer might undo the damage before it even becomes an issue, meaning that the Kobolds will find themselves needing to 'rid themselves of that turbulent priest' before they can successfully weaken the caravan / community via tainting the well or the grain or using missiles or caltrops to deliver Filth Fever payloads. Sneaking something toxic or contagious into the foodstuffs of a caravan isn't easy, even for a sneaky Kobold Rogue, but the little guy is worth his weight in platinum if it works, and the caravan's guards are wracked with sickness, and / or wracked by hunger and thirst, the next night...)

Their one true advantage outside of their lair is Darkvision. Attacking under cover of darkness, using Smokesticks when available, and attacking light sources such as torches and lanterns with clods of mud or similar 'snuffing' attacks would be the best bet to maximize their advantage. Against a foe that can't see them, they get a bonus to hit (and ignore their target's Dex bonus to AC) and benefit from a 50% miss chance from any foe that does successfully target the square they're in.

If they are attacking a caravan, ideal attacks will be to snuff fires, sow discord, prevent communication and cut off routes of retreat, while the kobolds gang up on anyone who stumbles out of the chaos and presents a threat to them. A half-dozen Kobolds with a single level of Rogue, sneaking in by cover of darkness, would be able to set up simple traps (such as bear traps or snares, obviously they won't be digging any pits!), to help punish anyone haring off into the trees to try to attack their archers / slingers. Sneaking in and cutting the ropes holding the horses / camels tied, and then attacking the horses to start a panic, would be a great starting tactic (a flask of lamp oil, doing negligible damage, but setting the horse struck on fire for a round or two, would do this cheaply, as the Kobolds don't want to be wasting gold pieces on Alchemical Fire or Thunderstones, for this sort of thing). The horses go insane, one of them is on fire, they are running in all directions, and arrows and sling bullets are flying out of the darkness from all directions. Any guards who run towards the missile fire risk a snare or beartrap or patch of caltrops, and are then at the mercy of arrow fire, or Kobolds with a level of Rogue, set up in the brush near the traps, waiting to sneak attack someone who is stuck in a trap with a thrown spear.

The Kobolds might even have crossbows set up and ready to fire, in the grip of Experts who have readied an action to hand them off to the first Warrior to run up, and the Warrior 'archers' run from Expert to Expert and fire the crossbows, leaving the Expert to handle the reloading.

The object is to try to spend less money than the raid will potentially net, so using exciting things like Alchemist's Fire or traps built along the DMG guidelines will just end up costing them more than they stand to gain (and put them deeply into the hole on a failed raid!). If the Kobolds can use smoke to 'sedate' a nest of paper wasps, and then hurl them into the camp fire to make an impromptu 'swarm,' that's far cheaper than using a trap. If 'caltrops' can be made by stuffing stolen nails into potatoes, and leaving them in the grass, then that's also a thrifty solution.

As looting is a priority, have some lightly or unarmored Kobolds dash into the camp at speed, grab something and dash back into the darkness. A stolen sword or bow or shield is one that won't be used against the Kobolds. Stolen food can be eaten. Even a stolen bedroll can be used by the tribe. Items should disappear throughout the melee, with characters having an option to ready an action to strike a passing 'snatch-and-grab' specialist, who may only be a 1st level Expert, and not in any way diminish the amount of arrows, sling stones, crossbow bolts and / or torch-snuffing debris being flung into the campsite.

Having Kobolds serving as 'shieldbearers' and using the Aid Other action to give the Kobold in front of them a +2 to AC or attack, would be a good use of the Kobolds advantage of numbers, but try not to go *too* far in this direction. Super advanced tactics like having rank one using large shields and total defense, and rank two using reach weapons, would be counter-productive, IMO. The object is to sow chaos, smash and grab, leaving only confusion in their wake, not march across a battlefield like a Roman cohort.

2009-06-04, 10:28 PM
Ballistas make ranged touch attacks. Handy for those high AC foes. Also, nets.

And check out the rules on grappling. 8 kobolds can really jack up a wizard with grapple attacks.

A good, solid, high stone wall and 20 archers on top is fun. Pick a character and inflict 1d8 dmg per round - out of those 20 dudes, at least one of them is going to roll a nat 20.

An illusion, or just a disguised kobold pretending to be a helpless prisoner in need of rescue might lure people into trapped areas. Nothing says fun like a stone archway, two portcullises, and 500 gallons of boiling oil.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-06-04, 10:33 PM
All kobolds are either Dragonfire Adepts or Warlocks with Eldritch Spear. They lay prone on the ground for the bonus to ranged attacks and cover, camouflage themselves, make the terrain in front of them difficult, and blast the enemy to bits.

Ballistas make ranged touch attacks. Handy for those high AC foes.
You can also sneak attack with Balistas.