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CakeFace
2016-02-13, 12:40 PM
Hi guys, I'm going to start a dungeon for some level 1s and I'm wondering what would be a good choice of monsters for it? Thanks!

Ralcos
2016-02-13, 12:44 PM
Hi guys, I'm going to start a dungeon for some level 1s and I'm wondering what would be a good choice of monsters for it? Thanks!

Kobolds. Lots and lots o' Kobolds. :biggrin::wink:

But, to be serious, you could also use Goblins or Orcs. Look at the Monster Manual and apply this statement to any monster with a CR of up to 2.

I put up to 2 because any good group can work together to beat many odds, in most cases.

Draconium
2016-02-13, 12:46 PM
Generally, I find goblins, kobolds, and orcs tend to be good cannon fodder for low levels if you want intelligent enemies. Maybe throw in a bugbear or something as a boss fight. Otherwise, go with things like (dire) rats, monstrous spiders/scorpions/centipedes, and similar creepy crawlies.

Zumbs
2016-02-13, 12:59 PM
I know you wrote monsters ... but humans are surprisingly versatile adversaries.

Edit: Depending on system, you could also go with the low-level undead e.g. skeletons or zombies.

Draconium
2016-02-13, 01:01 PM
I know you wrote monsters ... but humans are surprisingly versatile adversaries.

We're all in the Monster Manual (or equivalent sourcebook) somewhere. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0640.html) :smalltongue: Except humans aren't in 3.5's, but you get what I mean.

Keltest
2016-02-13, 01:14 PM
Its hard to go wrong with your basic skeletons or zombies. Theyre as intelligent (or not) as you want them to be, can be plausibly wild, can use tools, and nobody can have moral qualms over exterminating them.

Jay R
2016-02-13, 06:48 PM
An entire dungeon for 1st levels? I recommend that it be a long abandoned dungeon, recently re-opened by a rock slide cause by a recent quake.

Rats, bats, and other underground low-level animals.

Traps that don't quite work, or have poisons that have weakened over time, etc.

Stairs and halls that are unstable, and the PCs have to make saving throws or twist an ankle or some such.

Undead could have been trapped in here for centuries, so skeletons and zombies make sense.

Eventually, they may meet some other first levels or low-level monsters that just discovered the same dungeons from another entrance opened by the same quake. (Maybe underground creatures coming up from below.)

The crucial question is this: if even first levels can survive this place and come out richer, why hasn't anybody done it yet? My answer is that it wasn't open.

Grinner
2016-02-13, 07:40 PM
An entire dungeon for 1st levels? I recommend that it be a long abandoned dungeon, recently re-opened by a rock slide cause by a recent quake.

I'm rather fond of "long-buried tomb accidentally unearthed by miners, causing undead to filter out".

cobaltstarfire
2016-02-13, 07:51 PM
Giant insects!

My first near death experience in 5e was because of some giant wasps, but it was also the most memorable fight. There was also those giant mosquito things (stirges?) They were pretty satisfying to smash, but a little horrifying at the same time since you know...giant mosquitos.


There were also some large beetles at the bottom of a pit trap. The druid befriended them though so I can't really remember much about them, other than that they were the size of softballs and that concerned us a bit.

At some point we also broke a coffin partially and many small insects started coming out in what was likely to be a horrible swarm...by then we were done with insects though, so we set the room on fire and ran out the door never to return to it.

Donnadogsoth
2016-02-13, 07:56 PM
Black pudding!

My first dungeon I put in a gelatinous cube--sadly, they never even found it--but if I were doing it over again I'd put a black pudding.

neriractor
2016-02-13, 08:05 PM
We're all in the Monster Manual (or equivalent sourcebook) somewhere. (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0640.html) :smalltongue: Except humans aren't in 3.5's, but you get what I mean.

I was a about to post the strip that said humans donīt appear in the monster manual and then I saw the white text :smalltongue:

damn sneaky white letters...

JusticeZero
2016-02-14, 09:32 AM
I like vegepygmies, personally. Undead or Small humanoids work good though.
Never use orcs. Their damage output is too spiky for new characters to deal with without risking a few accidental one shot PC deaths.

Gallade
2016-02-14, 02:51 PM
If they're savvy enough about RPG tropes (tanking and spanking, kill the mage first) you can have them fight a small party of level 1 bandits/tomb raiders, with a mage shooting cantrips from the rear, a bruiser in leather or studded leather in front absorbing blows, and an archer ambushing from the sidelines. It feels a lot better to win an encounter where you are on more or less equal ground in terms of tactics than to defeat the umpteenth horde of small mammals or undead.

And if you think it's too much for them to handle, you can soften them up a bit by saying they are weary from fighting the other denizens of the dungeons. Or introduce them to the concept of TPK, that's fine too.

Bohandas
2016-02-14, 06:55 PM
Dire rats and Kobolds are traditional

If you prefer something more eclectic, my recommendations are:
Animated objects
Jermlaines
Monodrones
Small Elementals
Shadar-Kai
Stirges
Ash Rats
Grimlocks
Shriekers
Skeletons
Monstrous centipedes
Hyenas

Keltest
2016-02-14, 07:51 PM
Dire rats and Kobolds are traditional

If you prefer something more eclectic, my recommendations are:
Animated objects
Jermlaines
Monodrones
Small Elementals
Shadar-Kai
Stirges
Ash Rats
Grimlocks
Shriekers
Skeletons
Monstrous centipedes
Hyenas

Spiders of various sizes are also always a treat. Any arachnophobic players will hate you forever, of course, but they are a treat.

Jay R
2016-02-14, 10:34 PM
Spiders of various sizes are also always a treat. Any arachnophobic players will hate you forever, of course, but they are a treat.

I once introduced giant spiders, and looking at one player's face, I instantly regretted it. They became the wimpiest spiders in the history of D&D, died to the first hit received, and the miniatures were off the table within thirty seconds.

Koningkrush
2016-02-17, 10:28 AM
Throw in an encounter with a beholder, lich, vampire, dragon, etc. right at the end and have the party get universally wrecked.

Don't let them die, just have them all get knocked out Demon's Souls style. It's a great way to introduce a powerful foe that they will have to deal with later on in the campaign once they become stronger.

Perhaps you could introduce an NPC that rescues the party.

They still get their experience and loot from the rest of the dungeon, but they also get a taste of what's to come. Just make sure you don't give your players a heart attack as they watch their characters get trolled by a arch villain foreshadow.

awa
2016-02-17, 11:58 AM
zombies should be used sparingly they have a lot of hp and decent dr and can be real tough for archers and precision dam focused characters. One or two is fine but don't try and make a whole dungeon out of them.
Also whatever you do don't give skeletons or zombies armor at level 1, I had a dm do that once it's super obnoxious and make already tanky monsters much worse just because the cr is appropriate does not mean the fight will be fun.


I also second orcs as a bad choice for level 1 they can one shot basically any one with a crit and drop squishy players with just a normal hit.

Keltest
2016-02-17, 12:11 PM
zombies should be used sparingly they have a lot of hp and decent dr and can be real tough for archers and precision dam focused characters. One or two is fine but don't try and make a whole dungeon out of them.
Also whatever you do don't give skeletons or zombies armor at level 1, I had a dm do that once it's super obnoxious and make already tanky monsters much worse just because the cr is appropriate does not mean the fight will be fun.


I also second orcs as a bad choice for level 1 they can one shot basically any one with a crit and drop squishy players with just a normal hit.

These are features of being level 1, not the monsters being bad. Pretty much everyone will drop at level 1 if the enemy gets a solid hit in.

awa
2016-02-17, 01:10 PM
I didn't say orcs were bad just that they are bad for level 1
lets look at some level 1 enemies
dire rats do d4
goblins do d6
kobolds do d6-1
Even the wizard will likely be conscious for a hit or two and the fighter can with stand a bunch
now lets look at the orc
2d4+4 minimum 6 dam average 9 and with an 18-20 crit even higher dam is common

so instant death crits are only a feature of being level 1 if you don't plan ahead and just send orcs and similar monsters

Keltest
2016-02-17, 01:12 PM
I didn't say orcs were bad just that they are bad for level 1
lets look at some level 1 enemies
dire rats do d4
goblins do d6
kobolds do d6-1
Even the wizard will likely be conscious for a hit or two and the fighter can with stand a bunch
now lets look at the orc
2d4+4 minimum 6 dam average 9 and with an 18-20 crit even higher dam is common

so instant death crits are only a feature of being level 1 if you don't plan ahead and just send orcs and similar monsters

Which edition are you looking at?

lacco36
2016-02-17, 01:39 PM
Throw in an encounter with a beholder, lich, vampire, dragon, etc. right at the end and have the party get universally wrecked.

Don't let them die, just have them all get knocked out Demon's Souls style. It's a great way to introduce a powerful foe that they will have to deal with later on in the campaign once they become stronger.

Perhaps you could introduce an NPC that rescues the party.

They still get their experience and loot from the rest of the dungeon, but they also get a taste of what's to come. Just make sure you don't give your players a heart attack as they watch their characters get trolled by a arch villain foreshadow.

I would thread carefully with the wrecking - I'm all for wrecking as a good way to introduce the players to possibility of defeat, but it needs to be handled with care. There should be a good reason why they are left alive (e.g. no time to kill them, or weakened by previous activities, or thinks they will provide better sport next time...) - otherwise the players will assume you just wanted to wreck them (and yes, I want to sometimes, but ...).

Best way I have found is to introduce BBEG lieutnant, who will still crush them, but will not have time to finish it due to other issues he needs to handle (i.e. "I got what I wanted and need to get far away as soon as possible, cheerios:).

If an NPC rescues the party, you can face immediate NPC-hatred induced by saving :smallsmile:. It also works if the villain wrecks the NPC and then leaves.

Mith
2016-02-17, 01:59 PM
I used Kua-toa. But my groups first dungeon is a seaside dungeon.

awa
2016-02-17, 02:09 PM
Which edition are you looking at?

3.5 right off the srd

Keltest
2016-02-17, 02:21 PM
3.5 right off the srd

so give them a weapon that isn't a falchion. As with other NPCs that use gear, giving them a big powerful weapon will make them more powerful.

TheTeaMustFlow
2016-02-17, 02:29 PM
This is dependent on which edition this is , but Zombies are normally a good bet. A lot of the other classic low level stuff (Kobolds, Goblins, Skeletons) tend to be either fast or sneaky, which you don't want to throw at level 1s in my opinion. Have the boss be a low level intelligent undead (e.g. Ghoul) or a Necromancer's apprentice, who declares you will be a fine sacrifice for their dread master - aka Adventure Hook #3.

Strigon
2016-02-17, 02:36 PM
For the very first dungeon?
A small amount of goblins or kobolds, with the entrance guarded by non-sentient beasts - nothing tough, maybe a lone wolf, or some snakes, something to that effect. Play them as quite stupid, no more impressive tactics than charging and attacking. This gets the characters acquainted with exactly how much punishment they can take relative to the damage enemies deal, and vice versa. Basic information like that should be effectively conveyed in the first combat, so they don't overestimate themselves and get killed, or underestimate themselves and get a friend killed.

The next fight or two will be against weak, but intelligent foes - perhaps caught off-guard, perhaps not - to acquaint them with more complex thoughts (They're running for the Wizard, and he only has 5 HP! Protect him!), while also introducing them to higher stakes. You might also involve something unique to this fight - a hazard, for example, or enemies across a shallow ravine. These fights should make it clear that using your wits, the environment, and your class abilities are all important to surviving and winning combat.

The last combat should be against a more powerful foe, with unique abilities. Maybe with a bruiser to guard him or her as well. The lesson learned here should be that the PC's aren't the only ones who can do more than just hit stuff. The enemies, too, can think, plan ahead, ambush, and even (if the system has it) use magic. If you're using D&D for this, perhaps a creature with one or two class levels in some magic-using class, backed up by a pair of whatever you populated the dungeon with.


Assuming all goes to plan (one of the worst assumptions you can make as a GM, but in this case it seems fairly likely), by the end of the dungeon all the players should be familiar enough with the mechanics, their roles, and their limitations that they can survive most level-appropriate challenges.

awa
2016-02-17, 02:38 PM
so give them a weapon that isn't a falchion. As with other NPCs that use gear, giving them a big powerful weapon will make them more powerful.

even if you have them use clubs d6+4 (when two handed) that's still well above average orcs are outliers when it comes to damage for there cr pretending its not true will not help your game just use a goblin instead

DisguisedShaman
2016-02-20, 08:30 AM
The mushroomcreatures (I think they're called myconoids or something like that) are low CR, and can make for an unusual experience compared to the normal kobolds and goblins.