I recently began running a campaign in the recent 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons. The edition itself plays fine so far ( my party has reached level 5 at this point). We also have two new players with us, who have never played something like D&D outside video games.

The adventure so far has been turning out really great. Everyone seems excited and eager to play, character banter abounds, it’s all just so how it should be. They’ve bartered a peace with a group of nomadic desert orcs, cleared an abandoned mine of undead in search of an important artifact, solved a spree of murders, and fought and slain a wyvern in its lair during a thunderstorm, which caused the sand around their feet to quickly become a deadly trap. There’s been some really good back-and-forth battles, and more than one character has found themselves in a pile on the floor, unconscious. Even one out and out death. But so far, I haven’t really seen my party sweat it out, nervous if this could be the end. Until last night. And it’s all thanks to the little guy pictured above( well, that’s their god, but generally same look).

Kobolds in D&D are the often laughed at monster race that even level one characters can use as a punching bag. They have an entirety of 5hp. A player character could probably sneeze too hard and take one out. They’re rarely taken seriously. That’s probably partially my fault, because as a DM I never took them seriously. Until some time ago, when I read the story of Tucker’s Kobolds. And I was inspired. My long time players have since learned how nasty kobolds can be. But the two newbies had no idea what was about the hit them.

The party of four had come to the area in search of an artifact that had ties to the previously mentioned artifact. When they learned the orb they were tracking was held in an underground temple devoted to Kurturlmak, god of the Kobolds, my two veteran players audibly groaned. But they pressed on, eventually finding a tunnel that was about ten feet wide, but only 5 feet high ( for context, my players’ characters are all over 6ft tall). They squeezed into the tunnel and followed it until they could see a chamber open up ahead of them. On each side of the chamber, a small 5 foot high alcove. 30ft across the chamber, another 5ft high tunnelway. 20ft above, two small-sized holes.

As soon as the first character entered, he set off a trap he failed to spot, and the Summon Monster spell summoned a large Displacer Beast(think a panther, with two tentacles protruding from its back, that shimmers and makes itself hard to hit) in the center of the room.Combat had officially begun. The first character moved to engage the displacer, but failed to hit. Above, two winged kobolds entered from the small holes and began throwing rocks at him, one managing a critical strike and hitting him right in the temple. A second character entered the chamber and also engaged the displacer, managing a small wound. The displacer though did as it had been trained, and moved from their position to cover the exit, blocking the other two in the tunnel. From the alcoves, more kobolds began sneaking into the room and stabbing with tiny daggers the two players that had attacked the panther . Another critical. They all then instantly darted out the opposite alcove they had entered from.

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And so it went. Two players trapped in a tight tunnel, unable to help their friends. A displacer beast, slashing at them with its tentacles. The other two players attempting to move or kill the beast, all while these kobolds darted in and out of the room stabbing them, or rained rocks from on high. The beast finally dropped. But it took quite a bit longer to clear out the kobolds. By the end, all the kobolds were dead, but most of the party was already looking haggard. Room 2, containing a flesh golem who could waltz right through the poison dart traps the players couldn’t, and of course more kobolds and their stabby alcoves, didn’t play out much better.

Saturday, they pick right up where they left off. And the two newbs already hate/love kobolds more than anything else they’ve encountered so far.

I’m sure they’ll enjoy the grated floor room, kobolds darting all around underneath them while a statue above attempts to set them aflame.