Kobold Testing Your Dungeon

This is going to feature some meanspirited conversation that implies kobolds are dorky, nebbish little critters invented to be dungeon fodder and their lives are disposable.

Anyway, have you considered using piles of kobolds to failure-test your dungeon designs? The principle is pretty simple, based on these assumptions:

  • Kobolds will never get something right the first time
  • Kobolds die really easily

For a kobold test, you have an arbitarily large number of kobolds. A number of them comparable to an adventuring party – four or five – proceed into your dungeon, with a line behind them of other kobolds.

When the line of kobolds reach the first point of making a decision, have them make the worst decision, or at least, ensure they don’t commit to the right decision. Kobolds are remarkably inefficient wiith buffs as well, so if there are things in the dungeon that protect or insulate kobolds, the lead kobold will take it, but the kobold can then die going onwards.

Kobolds fall into every trap, and they will kill a kobold.

Kobolds will eat every thing you put in the dungeon, they will mess up on every puzzle, and they will die every time they fail.

Kobolds trade their lives – dearly – for the lives of an enemy. Every five kobolds can defeat an enemy of roughly equal skill to a player, dying in the process. If an enemy can defeat five kobolds at once, with area effects or the like, then the kobolds will pour infinitely to them andyour dungeon is not kobold safe.

Kobolds can learn from one another though: Once something kills a kobold, no other kobold will fall for the same problem. So a trap that kills one kobold and doesn’t change or do something different as a follow-up, will not kill any more kobolds.

What’s the purpose?

Well, you can treat this count of dead kobolds as a measure for how frustrating your dungeon can be. It’s a way to estimate the ‘worst case’ scenario for your dungeon. It’s able to find ways that your dungeon can become a frustrating arrest. And it’s a way of disposing of an arbitarily large number of kobolds.

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