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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 4:20 pm 
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Three. Conan kills a dragon in Red Nails.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 5:07 pm 
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DCCfan wrote:
Three. Conan kills a dragon in Red Nails.

Wasn't that more a "simple" dinosaur than a dragon?


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 6:12 pm 
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Hamel™ wrote:
DCCfan wrote:
Three. Conan kills a dragon in Red Nails.

Wasn't that more a "simple" dinosaur than a dragon?


Probably, but he does call it a dragon so I was going to count it. I think the people in the covered city called them dragons too.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2011 8:12 pm 
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I think that is a perfect example of unique monsters tho... its not like you should be non-chalant - oh... its a dragon, red, medium-sized, etc... It's a DRAGON!!!

It isn't like people have seen them in the zoo or on tv. If the peasants see a creature they call a Kraken... it is a Kraken... even if it is a large otter. That makes it extra hard for the adventures to prepare to fight a 'Kraken' - who knows what that means exactly?

PS I wouldn't be the one to tell Conan he didn't really kill a dragon!


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 3:45 am 
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Hamel™ wrote:
DCCfan wrote:
Three. Conan kills a dragon in Red Nails.

Wasn't that more a "simple" dinosaur than a dragon?

Definitely. A not very intelligent, dinosaur-like beast, which Conan kills by using the poison of the Apple of Derketo, not feats of arms!


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:05 am 
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I've been away from RPG for 15 years, but have kept my eye on the space. This, THIS, DCC RPG, is going to get me back.

Monsters of the unknown (Cthulhu!), the adversity of chance (Conan!), the fickleness of power (Elric!)... it makes me giddy just thinking about it. I have long sought something to enable me to relive the fun and excitement of playing Basic D&D, fresh from reading Moorcock et al at the age of 8. I still have the first character on the first character sheet I ever created (32 years on) and this makes me want to bring him back again. One interesting thing I would note is that those fun summers of rpg'ing (or the "getoutinthesunyouraspaleasaghost" era) gave me friends for life.

The idea of "monsters unknown" is an interesting one and one that is a mix of the imagination of the creators of the game and the descriptive capabilities of the Ref. I've been bored to tears with "oh look, orcs" and scared to death of "small, spindle legged creatures with eyes that glow". I've fought my way through hordes of giants and yet been defeated by cleverly played goblins. So the re-invention of the mystery of the game should be hand-in-hand with the re-invigoration of the ref's imagination and ability to play the roles. From what I am reading it sounds like your going to hit the mark.

Love the sound of all of this, just got to find me some players, as my old crew (and we are getting old now) are on the other side of planet...


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2011 10:00 am 
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thatelfagain? wrote:
I've been away from RPG for 15 years, but have kept my eye on the space. This, THIS, DCC RPG, is going to get me back.

Love the sound of all of this, just got to find me some players, as my old crew (and we are getting old now) are on the other side of planet...

Glad you're returning back to gaming. I think that the DCC RPG will be exciting to new gamers and old gamers alike, as long as they have some interest in the Appendix N source material fiction.

Get the old gang back together. DCC Beta release is less than a month away... 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 2:34 pm 
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thatelfagain? wrote:
The idea of "monsters unknown" is an interesting one and one that is a mix of the imagination of the creators of the game and the descriptive capabilities of the Ref. I've been bored to tears with "oh look, orcs" and scared to death of "small, spindle legged creatures with eyes that glow". I've fought my way through hordes of giants and yet been defeated by cleverly played goblins.


Back in the day, I ran six 10th-level PCs through a dungeon. I ran it with mystery and attempted to describe, rather than just tell, the players what was going on. All six 10th level PCs died. Most of them at the hands of these small humanoids who had carved out a network of tunnels in this dungeon.

The PCs were terrified of the humanoids. So much so that two of them died running headlong into traps trying to flee them.

The humanoids? Kobolds.

The Dungeon? "B1: Into the Unknown"

Yes. I killed six 10th level PCs with "Into the Unknown". The players played cocky. The monsters didn't. The players never made it to the bottom level.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:05 pm 
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Quote:
Yes. I killed six 10th level PCs with "Into the Unknown". The players played cocky. The monsters didn't. The players never made it to the bottom level.


Exactly! The trend in games (note that I'm not current so this may have changed) has been towards the higher level monsters to defeat higher level characters. However in any situation a simple arrow can down a King in a one-off one-in-a-million shot. The variability discussed in the DCC blog gives us the potential chance of anything happening, which adds an air of suspense to the game, but this is game mechanic (a much needed one) that a Ref can use. You still need the Ref to play those "unknown" like the "unknown" and apply the appropriate level of intelligence to the thing. Unless you are intentionally playing a "cannon fodder" game.

This leads me to a thought about the mechanics here. In Runecraft (did I get the name right?) and other games we saw the fact that our heros don't have huge amounts of hit points and can be killed by a single swipe of a dagger. Providing less of a "I am invincible" and more of a "will I survive this encounter" to a session. How will this be resolved in DCC?


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 4:30 am 
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smathis wrote:
Back in the day, I ran six 10th-level PCs through a dungeon. I ran it with mystery and attempted to describe, rather than just tell, the players what was going on. All six 10th level PCs died. Most of them at the hands of these small humanoids who had carved out a network of tunnels in this dungeon.

The PCs were terrified of the humanoids. So much so that two of them died running headlong into traps trying to flee them.

The humanoids? Kobolds.

The Dungeon? "B1: Into the Unknown"

Yes. I killed six 10th level PCs with "Into the Unknown". The players played cocky. The monsters didn't. The players never made it to the bottom level.
That's an awesome story, and certainly makes me think about some of the old classic modules in a new way.

thatelfagain? wrote:
This leads me to a thought about the mechanics here. In Runecraft (did I get the name right?) and other games we saw the fact that our heros don't have huge amounts of hit points and can be killed by a single swipe of a dagger. Providing less of a "I am invincible" and more of a "will I survive this encounter" to a session.
I think it's RuneQuest you are thinking about, and part of the way they solved that hit point problem was through "hit location" (which OD&D actually did first, in Supplement II Blackmoor). What hit location does is to spread out the hit points into individual body parts. If a character's head only gets 15% of the hit points (I pulled the number out of nowhere and may not match the charts) then a 30 HP character gets only 4-5 HP in the head, so a single sword stroke could clearly kill him.

thatelfagain? wrote:
How will this be resolved in DCC?
Well, I think that part of the original plan was to limit levels -- Joseph had planned on capping characters at 5th level, which would keep the power levels down, but this design move caused such a furror on these boards that he's in the process of trying to add-on levels through 10 now.

Also, the "critical hit" and "fumble" charts can impact a character to help solve this problem.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2011 9:07 am 
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smathis wrote:
...The humanoids? Kobolds....

*rues the lack of a 'bowing down to your superiority' smilie*

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Here Be DCC Monsters...

General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 7:44 pm 
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thatelfagain? wrote:
Quote:
Yes. I killed six 10th level PCs with "Into the Unknown". The players played cocky. The monsters didn't. The players never made it to the bottom level.


Exactly! The trend in games (note that I'm not current so this may have changed) has been towards the higher level monsters to defeat higher level characters. However in any situation a simple arrow can down a King in a one-off one-in-a-million shot.


Actually, the Kobolds didn't so much kill the characters outright as much as lead them into traps. The Kobolds lured a Giant Spider to the party but the party killed the spider outright, without breaking a sweat. A couple of the Kobolds died here too. But there were others who were watching from holes they'd dug in the wall.

Realizing the party way out-powered them, the Kobolds went to guerilla tactics -- ambushing the party by throwing spears at them. Then the Kobolds started trying to lure the party into traps by throwing a spear and running away. A couple of party members died in pursuit. One was caught in a snare and then stuck with a poisoned javelin. A couple of kobolds were killed trying to run away from that one. One of the party members tried to dive into one of the Kobolds' tunnels. He took a javelin to the face. Then the Wizard threw a fireball into the tunnel. That killed a lot of the Kobolds. There was another time when a Kobold had a bow and was shooting at the party. One of the party members charged them and ran right into a deadfall trap. Dead there too.

The worst was the hallway. There was a long hallway and the Kobolds could pop out and bolt the doors shut on either end. The party went in. There weren't many of them left at this point. The ceiling had holes in it, which the party caught on to. But they didn't put two and two together on the open area between the walls and the floor. This was a total killing field. Kobolds swarmed the area stabbing from above and below. And the party had nowhere to go. It was pretty brutal.

But the party killed about 33% of the Kobolds. That's gotta count for something. When I told them the monsters were Kobolds after the adventure was done, they were pretty unhappy.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Thanks, Harley. Can't wait for DCC RPG!

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:37 am 
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smathis wrote:
Actually, the Kobolds didn't so much kill the characters outright as much as lead them into traps. The Kobolds lured a Giant Spider to the party but the party killed the spider outright, without breaking a sweat. A couple of the Kobolds died here too. But there were others who were watching from holes they'd dug in the wall.

<snip>

But the party killed about 33% of the Kobolds. That's gotta count for something. When I told them the monsters were Kobolds after the adventure was done, they were pretty unhappy.
I just can't believe the coolness of this. I think it would be a real beast to pull off, and I tip my hat to you for doing it. Frankly, I can't imagine trying to run a high-level party through B1 in the first place, but now that you've given me the idea I may have to try it just to see if I can.

At the moment, you are my hero! 8)

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
-- Gary Gygax
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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 4:45 am 
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finarvyn wrote:
smathis wrote:
Actually, the Kobolds didn't so much kill the characters outright as much as lead them into traps. The Kobolds lured a Giant Spider to the party but the party killed the spider outright, without breaking a sweat. A couple of the Kobolds died here too. But there were others who were watching from holes they'd dug in the wall.

<snip>

But the party killed about 33% of the Kobolds. That's gotta count for something. When I told them the monsters were Kobolds after the adventure was done, they were pretty unhappy.
I just can't believe the coolness of this. I think it would be a real beast to pull off, and I tip my hat to you for doing it. Frankly, I can't imagine trying to run a high-level party through B1 in the first place, but now that you've given me the idea I may have to try it just to see if I can.

At the moment, you are my hero! 8)


By the gods mine too! Move to Cardiff so you can Dm for me :D

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 8:44 am 
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You guys have heard of Tucker's Kobolds, right? :wink:

Quote:
From Dragon 127, pg. 3
Tucker's kobolds

This month's editorial is about Tucker's kobolds. We get letters on occasion asking for advice on creating high-level AD&D® game adventures, and Tucker's kobolds seem to fit the bill.

Many high-level characters have little to do because they're not challenged. They yawn at tarrasques and must be forcibly kept awake when a lich appears. The DMs involved don't know what to do, so they stop dealing with the problem and the characters go into Character Limbo. Getting to high level is hard, but doing anything once you get there is worse.

One of the key problems in adventure design lies in creating opponents who can challenge powerful characters. Singular monsters like tarrasques and liches are easy to gang up on; the party can concentrate its firepower on the target until the target falls down dead and wiggles its little feet in the air. Designing monsters more powerful than a tarrasque is self-defeating; if the group kills your super-monster, what will you do next—send in its mother? That didn't work on Beowulf, and it probably won't work here.

Worse yet, singular supermonsters rarely have to think. They just use their trusty, predictable claw/claw/bite. This shouldn't be the measure of a campaign. These games fall apart because there's no challenge to them, no mental stimulation - no danger.

In all the games that I've seen, the worst, most horrible, most awful beyond-comparison opponents ever seen were often weaker than the characters who fought them. They were simply well-armed and intelligent beings who were played by the DM to be utterly ruthless and clever. Tucker's kobolds were like that.

Tucker ran an incredibly dangerous dungeon in the days I was stationed at Ft. Bragg, N.C. This dungeon had corridors that changed all of your donkeys into huge flaming demons or dropped the whole party into acid baths, but the demons were wienies compared to the kobolds on Level One. These kobolds were just regular kobolds, with 1-4 hp and all that, but they were mean. When I say they were mean, I mean they were bad, Jim. They graduated magna cum laude from the Sauron Institute for the Criminally Vicious.

When I joined the gaming group, some of the PCs had already met Tucker's kobolds, and they were not eager to repeat the experience. The party leader went over the penciled map of the dungeon and tried to find ways to avoid the little critters, but it was not possible. The group resigned itself to making a run for it through Level One to get to the elevators, where we could go down to Level Ten and fight "okay" monsters like huge flaming demons.

It didn't work. The kobolds caught us about 60' into the dungeon and locked the door behind us and barred it. Then they set the corridor on fire, while we were still in it.

"NOOOOOO!!!" screamed the party leader. "It's THEM! Run!!!"

Thus encouraged, our party scrambled down a side passage, only to be ambushed by more kobolds firing with light crossbows through murder holes in the walls and ceilings. Kobolds with metal armor and shields flung Molotov cocktails at us from the other sides of huge piles of flaming debris, which other kobolds pushed ahead of their formation using long metal poles like broomsticks. There was no mistake about it. These kobolds were bad.

We turned to our group leader for advice.

"AAAAAAGH!!!" he cried, hands clasped over his face to shut out the tactical situation.

We abandoned most of our carried items and donkeys to speed our flight toward the elevators, but we were cut off by kobold snipers who could split-move and fire, ducking back behind stones and corners after launching steel-tipped bolts and arrows, javelins, hand axes, and more flaming oil bottles. We ran into an unexplored section of Level One, taking damage all the time. It was then we discovered that these kobolds had honeycombed the first level with small tunnels to speed their movements. Kobold commandos were everywhere. All of our hirelings died. Most of our henchmen followed. We were next.

I recall we had a 12th-level magic user with us, and we asked him to throw a spell or something. "Blast 'em!" we yelled as we ran. "Fireball 'em! Get those little @#+$%*&!!"

"What, in these narrow corridors? " he yelled back. "You want I should burn us all up instead of them?"

Our panicked flight suddenly took us to a dead-end corridor, where a giant air shaft dropped straight down into unspeakable darkness, far past Level Ten. Here we hastily pounded spikes into the floors and walls, flung ropes over the ledge, and climbed straight down into that unspeakable darkness, because anything we met down there was sure to be better than those kobolds.

We escaped, met some huge flaming demons on Level Ten, and even managed to kill one after about an hour of combat and the lives of half the group. We felt pretty good — but the group leader could not be cheered up.

"We still have to go out the way we came in," he said as he gloomily prepared to divide up the treasure.

Tucker's kobolds were the worst things we could imagine. They ate all our donkeys and took our treasure and did everything they could to make us miserable, but they had style and brains and tenacity and courage. We respected them and loved them, sort of, because they were never boring.

If kobolds could do this to a group of PCs from 6th to 12th level, picture what a few orcs and some low level NPCs could do to a 12th-16th level group, or a gang of mid-level NPCs and monsters to groups of up to 20th level. Then give it a try. Sometimes, it's the little things—used well—that count.

Roger E. Moore


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:01 pm 
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I remember thinking of kobolds as free XP until a friend told me a tale similar to Tucker's Kobolds. He said we were playing them all wrong if we thought they were an easy foe. He explained that kobolds are the Viet Cong of D&D. They should only attack in ambush and with superior numbers. These attacks should draw the PC's into bigger ambush/traps. Their lair should be a tunnel system of death traps with one big community room that they all live in and nothing else. Never ever attack a kobold tunnel system. Instead withdraw and call in an air strike of B-52's to carpet bomb the whole thing. If you can't do that leave and go find a dragon to slay. You'll live longer. I never saw kobolds the same after that little talk.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:03 pm 
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Heh. I love that story every time I read it.

//H

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2011 7:14 pm 
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R I C K wrote:
You guys have heard of Tucker's Kobolds, right? :wink:


Oh wow. I'd never read that. Awesome. Tucker's kobolds sounded better armed than my little buggers. They had one crossbow and a bunch of pointy sticks and javelins. Some of them poisoned or dipped into refuse and kobold sewage to cause infection.

Most of their traps were pretty primitive. Mostly they just knew the dungeon and how to use it to their advantage. They laid the snare trap and had painstakingly chiseled holes into the walls of some rooms so they could see through one and jab their pointy sticks through the other. That's about it though.

I'd always thought Molotov Cocktails were more of a Goblin thing. I may have to upgrade my kobolds... :mrgreen:

If I'm ever at one of these convention things (I just missed NTRPG this year), I'll dust off my notes and bring a copy of B1.


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:28 pm 
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Chello!

Yep, the thing to remember about kobolds is that they are 1/2 HD creatures....but they survive in a world dominated by much bigger humanoids. There has to be a reason that there is a kobold cave in B2 just below the orcs.

The other thing to remember is that normal humans are also 1/2 HD creatures....and they survive as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:31 am 
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Agreed. Hit-and-run commando tactics are by far the best strategy for kobolds. They just don't last long otherwise.

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:51 am 
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May have already been mentioned but does anyone remember Dragon Mountain for 2e? There was some great advice / setup for keeping kobolds relevant at higher levels than usual.

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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:09 am 
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Arawn76 wrote:
May have already been mentioned but does anyone remember Dragon Mountain for 2e? There was some great advice / setup for keeping kobolds relevant at higher levels than usual.

Ah yes, that was a killer dungeon. I had different groups run through it, and every time it ended in a TPK at the claws of kobolds. No one ever met the dragon. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:44 am 
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Arawn76 wrote:
May have already been mentioned but does anyone remember Dragon Mountain for 2e? There was some great advice / setup for keeping kobolds relevant at higher levels than usual.

I'm not familar with that one. What did they do that was special?

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"The worthy GM never purposely kills players' PCs, He presents opportunities for the rash and unthinking players to do that all on their own."
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 Post subject: Re: Designer’s Blog #4: Adventuring in DCC RPG
PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2011 11:19 am 
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Well speaking from patchy memory a lot of whats already been mentioned, clever use of tactics involving environment (especially size), traps, magic and numbers etc. I vaguely remember them using a lot of hit and run tactics.

At some point I'll have to dig it out and read again.

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