Monday, August 13, 2012

Storytelling in Kobold Hall

Kobold Hall has good encounters but can use more role playing. I try to add a decent story, non-suicidal monsters and player choices.

When 4E first came out, the first adventure our group played was Kobold Hall.
I was a player, a Dwarven cleric, and I actually enjoyed the adventure.

Later on, I began to see some flaws in the adventure.
The Dungeon master's Guide in which the adventure is published says
it's just 5 combat encounters, designed to learn the game.

In my opinion that's a wrong way to start playing D&D.
There is little story, all monsters are suicidal, the adventure
could be part of a video game due to the lack of player choices.

A note before I go over the adventure:
The playstyle of pure combat encounters is valid but not
one that I like, at least not for many encounters.

Quest Hooks

Let's stick with the classics and say that PCs meet in a tavern in Fallcrest.
Both Teldorthan and the Lord of Fallcrest are present.
The PCs can talk to both and perform both quests.

To give the kobolds more depth beyond greed, the dragon hide can be used.
They saw the dragon hide lying on the the caravan
and raided it because they worship dragons and Tiamat.

Encounter 1

The kobolds guarding the entrance are lower in the social hierarchy.
They are exposed to the most danger by guarding the entrance,
so why would they be loyal and to fight to the death?

When only one kobold is left he pleads for his life in exchange for information.
He wants the PC to plunge him in the sludge so that can't move nor attack them.
That way other kobolds won't know about his betrayal.
If the PCs agree he'll tell to watch out for the statues in the room, they shoot darts. His name is Malx.

This allows for Intimidate, Diplomacy or Bluff skill checks.
Best is to ask what the PCs want to accomplish
and then map it the appropriate skill.

Encounter 2

The Altar to Tiamat is sacred to the kobolds.
So they shout to the PCs to keep away from their holy Shrine.

This allows for Religion checks.
Tiamat is the evil god of wealth, greed, and envy.
She is the patron of Chromatic dragons.

A kobold (Meepo) asks the PCs whether they killed his brother or not.
This brother is of course Malx, the kobold who wanted to escape.
If Malx was killed he's furious and attacks the PCs more brutally.

Encounter 3

This encounter feels like filler to me.
The skull-skull stone works as a trap and explains the tribe's name.
However, I don't find this encounter that interesting.
In our group, we skipped this encounter, mostly due to time constraints.

Encounter 4

One way to make the encounter more interesting is having the
wyrmpriest shout commands to his troops.
He also condemns the PCs for the dragon hide, that a dragon had to die to make armor is despicable to him.

A Nature check reveals a bonemask is for chieftains of kobolds.
Meaning the wyrmpriest is the chieftain of this tribe.

Encounter 5

The white dragon expects the PCs to be slaves or have come
to pay him tribute.
He will only speak draconic as speaking common is below him.

There also skeletons of kobolds in his room, showing he ate the other
chieftains. The skeletons have a bonemask, just like the chieftain in the previous room. Their remains are showcased like trophies.

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