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    Default [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    So, I'm having a bit of a party power level problem in my Pathfinder game. The party is level 5, and consists of a Barbarian, a Swordsage, an Oracle, a Sorcerer, and a Wizard. The Oracle is buffing everyone, and has taken the Misfortune ability from one of his class features; he says it allows him to force one reroll per day per creature, and that's the same conclusion I come to. This has been VERY powerful so far. The Sorcerer is specializing in fire evocation, and hasn't been a big concern beyond HP damage as of yet. The Wizard is transmutation focused, and mainly buffs people/throws Glitterdust around. The Swordsage is Shadow Hand focused, and had WF/Shadow Blade; he's not doing a ton of damage, but he's very useful on the combat field. The Barbarian has 20 Strength, a goliath greathammer (he took EWF for it), and does most of his damage by charging. So far, he's been killing most of the opponents, but I recognize that he's probably not the problem. Anyway, here're the situations that lead to this post-

    First off, they haven't had ANY opportunity to buy magic items since level 1. This wasn't intentional; it's just gone that fast and they haven't cared to. They've gotten some from enemies and whatnot, but nothing of any real importance. They're definitely behind on what they should have.

    Secondly, at level four, I ran them up against an ethereal basilisk. This should have been a VERY difficult encounter (at least, I thought so), but they trashed it. I was expecting (and planning on) giving them some help by killing it (as a plot hook, I'm not that DM), but they managed it within 2 rounds, before they'd taken any significant damage.

    Later that day, still at level four, (and out of desparation, they blew through the session I had planned), I threw a Young white dragon at them. At this point, I was actively testing what they could do; I gave it a cloak of fire resistance, a ring of deflection, a custom +2 Str item, and shortened its breath delay by one round. The encounter was set in an abandoned city, and the dragon started out by doing strafing runs. After taking two passes of damage, the Barbarian turned to me and said "I climb the nearest wall and ready an action to jump" I gave him the climb check; he made it. I flew the dragon past again, and the barbarian jumped at it. He made the combat maneuver check against the dragon's cmd, grappled it, and brought it to the ground. It...was over before he got another turn.

    After this, I basically set any remaining pairs of kiddie gloves on fire. They were level 5 at this point, and I sent them into an Aboleth's lair. There were 2 dozen Skum in there, armed with crossbows, longswords, and their natural weapons (which they tended to use in favor of the longswords). I gave them all a class level of Fighter, and a set of Plate armor apiece. I played the Aboleth intelligently, had it spamming its images and whatnot all the time; had the players never really knowing where it was, and generally giving them hell. I targeted the Barbarian with its Dominate, made it, and watched as he promptly made his save to avoid attacking his friends; the other Dominates for the day were...less than successful. Later in the fight (right at the end, when they'd finally pinned the Aboleth down), the Aboleth dropped the Barb in to negatives, and promptly died to the Swordsage.
    ...They still haven't spent much of their WBL.

    So...how do I challenge them? I don't want to nerf them, because that's just straight-up bad DM-ing, and I don't want to murder their characters, because, again, terrible DM-ing, but I do want to challenge them. Tonight's Aboleth encounter was better; they were at least engaged and talking tactics, but as soon as they pinned it down it was over.

    I'm basically down to setting them up against other PCs, and giving out class levels to already over-CRed monsters; I seriously considered using Steve the Aboleth against them, complete with Bard levels.
    Last edited by RFLS; 2012-10-08 at 01:34 AM.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Why didn't the aboleth just swim away when the fight started going sour?


    I don't have any really good advice, except throw 'interesting' situations at them. Like a fight on a sinking boat, or inside a burning building. For extra cruelty, have the enemy be something that can take advantage of the hazards.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    Why didn't the aboleth just swim away when the fight started going sour?
    Because, prior to going in, they collapsed all sewer lines leading into the building it was hiding in, placed an alarm on the roof, boarded the windows, and basically made sure the only way out was through the front door. They had no clue what was in the building prior to entering, either, they just knew that they wanted it dead.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    By the sound of it, your main problem is damage. Which is good, because it's easier to solve than other problems.

    If they're killing stuff too fast, you might want throw stuff they'll have trouble with at them. That might include stuff with high AC (or miss chance) to inconvenience the barbarian and the swordsage to an extent and elemental resistances to inconvenience the sorcerer and the swordsage. Outsiders would work great IMO in this scenario.

    Take a pair of bearded devils with a chain devil commander for example(to keep it simple and core), give them MW studded leather armors (0 check penalty) for an AC of 22 (bearded devils) and 23(chain devil). The bearded devils are immune to fire and all of them have SR, the barbarian will probably hit a bit over 50% of the time (assuming a +10 to hit without rage and charge), the swordsage even less and their DR and HP means they can take a few blows.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Sounds like they're playing smart and know to cover all their bases both tactically and strategically. All you can really do without being dill-hole is use stronger enemies and continue to play them smart. Don't be afraid to customize them either. The default feats on most creatures are rediculously sub-optimal, change them. Add class levels here and there. Use masterminds that send in mooks to scout the party and counter them.

    The party has thrown down the guantlet. Pick it up and slap them with it.

    Mind you, I'm not saying you should try to tpk them at every turn or nerf-via-countering in every combat, but smart players need smart enemies. And for Boccob's sake stop throwing single enemies at them. Action economy is a huge advantage. Five guys against one monster means that monster is screwed unless he's 5X as strong as any one of them.

    I suggest a mind-flayer enclave. You've already established an aberration presence in the campaign. Build on it. Thralls will give you an excuse to use wildly disparate creatures, sometimes together, and illithids are known for being cunning, ruthless bastards. Tsochar (LoM) can make a great secret enemy too. Is that fruit cart vendor really just a dwarf, or is he a puppet to a collective consciousness of worm-things? You know what, just grab lords of madness and never look back. They've shown they've got the stones, and more importantly the brains, for it.

    Edit: oops, got a bit ranty there at the end.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-08 at 04:13 AM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Mind you, I'm not saying you should try to tpk them at every turn or nerf-via-countering in every combat, but smart players need smart enemies. And for Boccob's sake stop throwing single enemies at them. Action economy is a huge advantage. Five guys against one monster means that monster is screwed unless he's 5X as strong as any one of them.
    Hmm...do you have any monsters you've noticed just get amazingly better with retrained feats/some class levels? I always feel as though a level or two of monk would go REALLY well on some of the monstrous humanoids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Edit: oops, got a bit ranty there at the end.
    Doesn't bother me any, you're giving out useful advice.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    Hmm...do you have any monsters you've noticed just get amazingly better with retrained feats/some class levels? I always feel as though a level or two of monk would go REALLY well on some of the monstrous humanoids.



    Doesn't bother me any, you're giving out useful advice.
    Off the top of my head, most dragons become dramatically more dangerous with better feat selection. PA at the very least puts their damage into "get close and you're dead" territory, while metamagics can be nice for the older ones. Both dragons and any other monsters with inherent spellcasting ability benefit greatly by taking levels in the class they already mimic.

    Bruisers always do better with a barbarian dip, and fighter levels can give a small boost to staying power and a couple extra feats just like they can in a PC's build. Even NPC warrior levels can give certain types of creature an unexpected resilience and combat boost.

    Adding class levels mostly depends on how much more complex you want the creature to get, though full-casters don't generally do well except when they're expanding a creatures existing casting ability or when they use spells to modify the battlefield, rather than for direct offense or buffing. Fog cloud is a nuisance at any level of play, for example.

    Pay special attention to certain apparent gish classes that aren't usually very good, like dragon disciple or greenstar adept.

    Imagine for a moment a giant with levels in greenstar adept. Not only is it still a big bruiser, but now it's also a veritable tank thanks to DR X/adamantine and has some minor spells to back up its melee prowess. He's also surprisingly resilient to things that a giant should be vulnerable to or maybe even outright immune. Not something you'd generally expect when you see a giant, right?

    Or how about a doppleganger dragon disciple. His casting is near useless, but his strength is absurd if he's in disguise. The party sees, for example, a halfling that's hitting harder than that troll they faced last session. What's that about?
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-08 at 05:39 AM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    UPDATE: The group has decided that a level 14 caster they came in contact with a few sessions ago is the reason the Aboleth sent an assassin after them (did I mention the assassin? I should have. They took 0 damage). So...I now have a group of level 5 characters poking around, trying to find out how to kill a 12th level wizard. Now I have the opposite question- How do I run this without just trashing the group? Knowing them, they won't be more than level 7 when they attack.

    EDIT: I'm not saying that the kid gloves are going back on; I'm wondering how I should prep them in game for the fact that they're going to tangle with a wizard. When they actually get in the fight, I (or, the wizard) will be out for blood.
    Last edited by RFLS; 2012-10-08 at 11:44 PM.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Weellll.... have everyone say, "Kill him? Seriously? It's completely impossible! He has magic of the seventh circle of magic! He has a bunch of creatures bound to his will, is fantastically wealthy, is absurdly paranoid, and probably already KNOWS you plan on killing him, and when you will make the attempt! Oh god, he's going to kill me and my family, he knows, I can't talk to you!"

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Weellll.... have everyone say, "Kill him? Seriously? It's completely impossible! He has magic of the seventh circle of magic! He has a bunch of creatures bound to his will, is fantastically wealthy, is absurdly paranoid, and probably already KNOWS you plan on killing him, and when you will make the attempt! Oh god, he's going to kill me and my family, he knows, I can't talk to you!"
    Eh, they're not surrounded by a bunch of incompetent ninnies. They'll take their precautions, but they're not going to take their time. They're out for blood.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    Eh, they're not surrounded by a bunch of incompetent ninnies. They'll take their precautions, but they're not going to take their time. They're out for blood.
    Have him debuff them into the ground, and then chuck them out on their butts after having his Cleric minion stick a Mark of Justice forbidding them from entering his castle on their heads?

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Geas AND Mark of Justice...

    but if you want to prep them, stress in character, from other characters, that they will need LOTS of magic -- they need to be immune or highly resistant to any of innumerable things, have access to lots of dispels, to be able to fly, to have lots and lots of spell access, especially powerful spells...

    It isn't just 'magical gear', they will need to go find a checklist of things to be immune to... have a layman scholar of magic (ie, an Expert with crazy high Knowledge Arcana, Spellcraft, and related skills) talk to them...

    "Fight a Wizard with access to the seventh circle of magic? Are you mad? They're demigods! No? This is a serious question? Well, okay... off the top of my head, you will need, uhhh... Flight, Mind Blank, the ability to not be stunned, the ability to not be dazed, immunity to magically induced fear, access to true sight, tactical teleportation, immunity to negative energy and similar things such as Enervation, access to a freedom of movement effect, ability to dispel magic, ability to resist dispel magic and the related effects, several special senses beyond sight or hearing, since you should assume that he will be flying, invisible, and have figured out some way to prevent himself from being heard, resistance to all elements including sonic, the ability to move preternaturally swiftly, the ability to attack someone who is incorporeal and attacking you from inside a wall of stone or whatnot. And that's only the defensive list. Also, you will probably need to be able to entirely incapacitate him --assuming he has the same defenses or better, and he probably won't be particularly bothered by mere physical injuries-- within three seconds or so if you want to have any chance of survival. Wizards don't get to be able to cast the seventh circle of magic by being stupid! Also, you are going to have to be sleeping in a Rope Trick every night from now until you actually attack the wizard, and assume that he could preemptively attack you at any moment. Also, assume that the thing you fight might not actually be him, or if it IS him, that killing him won't necessarily defeat him. You'll need some way to determine if this thing is him or is a double or an astral projection or something more exotic, and if you figure out if it is him, some way to trap his soul on death. Oh! Also assume that if the fight is going badly for him at any point, he will just leave. Or perhaps that if he is caught unawares at any point, he will automatically leave, and come back ready for combat and out for blood. I could go on, I suppose, but I would have to get my books. "
    Last edited by Gavinfoxx; 2012-10-09 at 12:21 AM.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    UPDATE: The group has decided that a level 14 caster they came in contact with a few sessions ago is the reason the Aboleth sent an assassin after them (did I mention the assassin? I should have. They took 0 damage). So...I now have a group of level 5 characters poking around, trying to find out how to kill a 12th level wizard. Now I have the opposite question- How do I run this without just trashing the group? Knowing them, they won't be more than level 7 when they attack.

    EDIT: I'm not saying that the kid gloves are going back on; I'm wondering how I should prep them in game for the fact that they're going to tangle with a wizard. When they actually get in the fight, I (or, the wizard) will be out for blood.
    As an aside, an Aboleth almost certainly should be avoiding any direct confrontations or even being found out easily by PCs. An Aboleth has a million Int and Wis and needs to be played by a creature with those stats. They live for millenia and retain the memories and experiences of anything they eat. These guys are badass. Seriously Badass. An Aboleth should almost certainly never be caught by surprise, and should act at distance via minions and shadowy methods.

    But if we're talking about a Wizard, a lot of the same things apply. This guy is probably powerful and has dealt with attackers before. He has access to magic these guys can only dream of. Worst case scenario, he could have something like a Quickened Invisibility or Teleport memorized and just dip out of there. He almost certainly will NOT do any fighting himself unless they can defeat his massively powerful golems, minions, and of course his level 8 apprentice. I suspect a mighty wizard would just defeat them by trapping them in a Forcecage or if he's feeling mean use a Mass Suggestion and putting a Geas on them to fetch him some magical artifacts. He won't be sloppy-- just not interested in killing so weak a group.

    Make sure his reputation precedes him. Maybe some of his defenses (The Golems and the magically warded tower) are well-known, but some of them (spells he crafts, who works for him, mysterious noises in the night) are only whisperings on the wind, and the last few (the final Wards on his study and his bedroom, his ever-watchful familiar, his escape spells) are unknown to all but him.
    Last edited by blazinghand; 2012-10-09 at 12:22 AM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    UPDATE: The group has decided that a level 14 caster they came in contact with a few sessions ago is the reason the Aboleth sent an assassin after them (did I mention the assassin? I should have. They took 0 damage). So...I now have a group of level 5 characters poking around, trying to find out how to kill a 12th level wizard. Now I have the opposite question- How do I run this without just trashing the group? Knowing them, they won't be more than level 7 when they attack.

    EDIT: I'm not saying that the kid gloves are going back on; I'm wondering how I should prep them in game for the fact that they're going to tangle with a wizard. When they actually get in the fight, I (or, the wizard) will be out for blood.
    Two very important questions:

    You said "they decided" that the wizard in question was responsible for some recent hardship. Are they correct?

    You said 14th level caster, then you said 12th level wizard. Which is it?

    Further advice is dependent on the answers to these questions.
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-10-09 at 12:24 AM.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    You can attempt to convey the wizard's power in a few ways, be it through minion combat, npcs, or him actually showing up. Although in a straight-up fight, it sounds like your party would be a pretty decent threat (if it wasn't for things like Mass suggestion and Dominate, that is) so don't make it seem like they're nothing, just that this guy is in a whole other league, as the expression goes.

    Also, I searched it on the pfsrd, and nothing came up. What's a Swordsage?
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by LordDeathkeeper View Post
    Also, I searched it on the pfsrd, and nothing came up. What's a Swordsage?
    A 3.5e class, not a pathfinder class.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by LordDeathkeeper View Post
    You can attempt to convey the wizard's power in a few ways, be it through minion combat, npcs, or him actually showing up. Although in a straight-up fight, it sounds like your party would be a pretty decent threat (if it wasn't for things like Mass suggestion and Dominate, that is) so don't make it seem like they're nothing, just that this guy is in a whole other league, as the expression goes.

    Also, I searched it on the pfsrd, and nothing came up. What's a Swordsage?
    I believe he is referring to the class from the book Tome of Battle in 3.5.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Sounds like it. I knew I heard about it somewhere.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    A covey of Hags may do the trick. The vast array of SLAs a convoy has means they can send waves of undead at the party, confound them with illusion after illusion, make themselves invisible at will (courtesy of the Green Hag), deal very significant strength damage (courtesy of the Sea Hag), Alter Self and Fog Cloud (courtesy of the Annis) and, in case of the worst, Forcecage to keep them safe (courtesy of their Covey SLAs). Add in some Ogres as bodyguards if you are in need of some meat shields, and you can start an effective war of attrition with the party.
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    1) Action economy

    2) Are you sure your players need or want to fight things that can kill them? I know if I was planning what to do I would be looking to only fight things I am sure I can win against. They mightbe enjoying the storyline, or the setting up of a good strategy, or politics, none of which require a "fair" fight.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Too much damage is a problem?

    One sentence.

    Adamantium Golem with Fighter Levels in full Plate.

    Make him a "Haus"

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Duboris View Post
    Too much damage is a problem?

    One sentence.

    Adamantium Golem with Fighter Levels in full Plate.

    Make him a "Haus"
    Golems can't take levels in a class, as far as I'm aware.

    @LordDeathkeeper- Yeah, I was referring to the 3.5 class. We ported it in to Pathfinder (not hard).

    @TwilightWyrm- Hrm....you may be on to something here. *flips to Hag in MM*

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    Golems can't take levels in a class, as far as I'm aware.
    If they're crafted/summoned no, no they can't.

    However a bunch of adamantium is totally capable of becoming sentient through the methods of the spell:

    "Summon Plot Device"

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Duboris View Post
    If they're crafted/summoned no, no they can't.

    However a bunch of adamantium is totally capable of becoming sentient through the methods of the spell:

    "Summon Plot Device"
    ....Fair enough =P I'll hold off on that one, though; I think it would be a little out of their range for now.

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    A 14th level wizard menaced by a 5th-level party?

    Summon a bunch of Huge Earth Elementals. Have them each grapple a party member, and do 2d8+9 (or more, assuming the right feats) nonlethal damage till they're out. Take their stuff, drop them into an antimagic-field-covered prison cell in another country. Leave a note saying that the wizard likes ambition and that they should work for him.

    Alternately, have the wizard send out a bunch of minions after the party that are lower-level, but well-coordinated. Say, three or four fighter types (perhaps three levels of Lore Warden and a level or two of Maneuver Master), backed by a healer and an arcane caster who can haste everyone. Give the fighter types the Coordinated Maneuvers teamwork feat. Then trip for free, followed by a disarm and an attack. Keep the party pinned down.

    If you're really vicious, include an Inquisitor or two in the mix who can cast Litany of Sloth on a PC caster each turn (no save, and you can't cast defensively). Couple it with the Step Up feat and some readied actions, and the casters are locked down, too.

    In short, don't send them against a single creature. Send them against a bunch of smaller, but organized creatures. And remember that most decent wizards come with a bunch of creatures already.

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Orc in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    On top of what jmelekey said, you need to keep in mind terrain.

    If you go through with the wizard idea, I reccomend a big ol' multi-floored library with big book shelves, that you could potentially knock over and do non-lethal damage with.

    It helps to include the terrain in on fights :3



    (Like for example, no one testing an underground room beforehand, so they walk in and all of a sudden it room explodes violently for 8d6 to everything in the room because it was full of methane gas... all because of a torch. For added hilarity, make it combust in a wizard's face when he casts a fire spell :3)

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by Duboris View Post
    "Summon Plot Device"
    Ways of making constructs sentient:

    -Psionic Mind Switch
    -Haunt Shift spell
    -Embedding a sentient magic item in their workings
    -Rudimentary Intelilgence feat from Dragon Magazine 327

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    1-The Illusion Shell Game
    The Aboleth should, at any time it has the opportunity, be hiding in an illusion covered hiding place, and using his other illusion abilities to deal with the party as much as possible. The Aboleth should almost never directly engage the party, illusions should be enough of a distraction if needed to cover his escape. Typical counter at low level involves using a Wand of Glitterdust to tell which things are illusions and which are not. (The Glitterdust particles pass through the illusion, so people know it is an illusion, giving them a bonus on the save)
    2-Dominate early, Dominate often. It's what makes an Aboleth rather broken for it's CR. This is easily countered with potions or a wand of Protection from Evil.
    3-Aboleth Mucus. When all else fails, it can slow down the party (without hurting them much or at all) and enable the Aboleth to escape if need be, or cast another illusion, etc.
    4-Terrain. It needs to be used and abused to the Aboleth's advantage. Real and Illusory Terrain. Especially if you can stop the Barbarian from charging.

    If the party has access to those two things, fighting an Aboleth becomes much more surviveable.

    If you are going with Pathfinder, and adding Bard Levels to Steve the Aboleth, remember that he can be playing music before the party even walks in. AND depending on how many bard levels you give him, he can take other actions and still maintain that music.
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    If the party wizard can't survive a supersonic dragon made of iron at epic levels it's his own fault really.
    "In soviet dungeon, aboleth farms you!"

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by jmelesky View Post
    A 14th level wizard menaced by a 5th-level party?

    Summon a bunch of Huge Earth Elementals. Have them each grapple a party member, and do 2d8+9 (or more, assuming the right feats) nonlethal damage till they're out. Take their stuff, drop them into an antimagic-field-covered prison cell in another country. Leave a note saying that the wizard likes ambition and that they should work for him.

    Alternately, have the wizard send out a bunch of minions after the party that are lower-level, but well-coordinated. Say, three or four fighter types (perhaps three levels of Lore Warden and a level or two of Maneuver Master), backed by a healer and an arcane caster who can haste everyone. Give the fighter types the Coordinated Maneuvers teamwork feat. Then trip for free, followed by a disarm and an attack. Keep the party pinned down.

    If you're really vicious, include an Inquisitor or two in the mix who can cast Litany of Sloth on a PC caster each turn (no save, and you can't cast defensively). Couple it with the Step Up feat and some readied actions, and the casters are locked down, too.

    In short, don't send them against a single creature. Send them against a bunch of smaller, but organized creatures. And remember that most decent wizards come with a bunch of creatures already.
    I'm liking this idea; the group could definitely stand to be taken down a peg. Next on the list of things to do also includes Tucker's Kobolds (plot twist: they're orcs). I suppose I should dig up some good lockdown classes. Heheh. I bet I could do it with monks.

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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: [PF] Aboleth vs. Party

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    I'm liking this idea; the group could definitely stand to be taken down a peg. Next on the list of things to do also includes Tucker's Kobolds (plot twist: they're orcs). I suppose I should dig up some good lockdown classes. Heheh. I bet I could do it with monks.
    I'd be careful about doing "Tucker's Kobolds" with orcs. Part of the whole deal with Kobolds is that their mental stats have no penalties, just like a human, and they get bonuses to mining, searching, and trapmaking. Being Small and getting a dexterity bonus, Kobolds are actually the perfect creatures to set traps, use group tactics, and generally be untouchable. Orcs, on the other hand, don't get these bonuses, have poor mental stats, and are much stronger and less dexterous than Kobolds. Tucker's Kobolds are just Kobolds being properly played to their strengths. For Orcs, Strength is their strength, not they're not even Lawful and well-organized like Kobolds.

    If you want a slightly tougher version of Kobolds, you could try to get similar things done with Goblins or Hobgoblins, but they'll lack the same level of trapmaking skills, and Hobgoblins, despite being pretty sturdy, are not very small.
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