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Old 07-09-2019, 10:29 PM   #1
Rasputin
 
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Default Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

There's an arms race between monsters and delvers, and since so many monsters lose their lives to delvers, the smart ones should be on-guard. What defenses should monsters set up against delvers? About which spells need they worry most? What kinds of environmental hazards are especially handy for changing the landscape in favor of the monsters that intelligent monsters will work to exploit (like Amphibious monsters forcing the fight underwater)?
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

Tucker's Kobolds is the classic approach. I also recommend The Tunnels of Cu Chi for inspiration.
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
What defenses should monsters set up against delvers?
In practice, this isn't an ecology or society, it's a fairy tale. Everyone, including the monsters, follows a predetermined role rather than behaving sensibly.

If you want to break with the convention, the monsters should send representatives to town to hang out in inns and give quests to retrieve the holy relic ... from the temple. Or stop the evil ... Baron ... from raising a terrifying army. In most dungeon-centric games the PC types are the most dangerous weapon - just get them pointed at someone else.
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Old 07-10-2019, 10:16 AM   #4
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

The number one thing monsters can do to avoid being killed by delvers is work together to prevent delvers from using divide and conquer tactics. Don't separate rooms with needlessly winding tunnels, shout "we're under attack!" when you are, and respond to such shouts when you hear them.

It doesn't hurt to build your dungeon like a proper medieval castle with murder holes, arrow slits, and so on, but honestly I think just having the monsters be coordinated at all is the most important thing.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

I read a comic recently where adventurers climb the stairs of a ruin and there's a goblin standing at the doors to welcome them, telling them that they've reached the temple of ultimate evil, former home of Necrothon the Lich, now under Goblin Management with thrilling new traps and hidden passages for them to navigate and hordes of goblins to fight, suitable for levels 1-2. The adventurers ride off and the next panel is the Goblin playing scrabble and talking about how effective the new marketting campaign is.

It's a bit gamey but making a dungeon look like it's more trouble than treasure would be a great defense. Just cast the cave entrance with the cracked eggshells and molting/skin castings of some nasty beast. Chances are a few adventurers would see that and decide there's not enough loot to make it worthwhile.

Short of that a trap that scares the **** out of someone at the front door would be smart. Your party opens the door in and the first two people in line catch a 3d flame jet from nowhere. If they work up the courage to examine the trap it's a magic box with "Defense 3 of 31" printed on it's plaque. There aren't any other traps that expensive in the dungeon but the adventurers don't know that.
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Old 07-10-2019, 02:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

A few random ideas related to the environment:

  • Using simple darkness against adventurers seems sensible since many cannot naturally see in the dark. Perhaps combined with a No Mana field or other ways to inhibit light and/or vision.
  • Messing with the quality of the air might work well for creatures that have wider tolerances. Maybe the dungeon is filled with billowing, potentially toxic (and blinding) smoke from volcanic vents. This doesn't bother the lava lizards, but at a minimum requires delvers to burn FP on air spells. (This also affects vision.) Similarly, perhaps the fungus cavern (every dungeon has one, right?) produces toxins that are bad for surface mammals. Careful cultivation and placement might allow most of the dungeon to be thus infected.
  • Underwater, as mentioned in the OP, can be especially dangerous. Consider, for example, an extended submerged passage that one must swim through. Add a No Mana field in the middle, and it might be a lovely way to collect drowned delvers for dinner.
  • Alchemically inclined monsters should stockpile grenade potions (Adventurers, p. 116) to fire at delvers through murder holes or arrow slits. Even lowly goblins with a few brew masters could mount an impressive defense if they learned to throw waves of multiple potions in concert. Imagine being hit with Death, Magebane, and Sleep simultaneously. (I've seen an entire group of PCs fail their HT -4 rolls against Sleep in one go.)
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:41 PM   #7
evileeyore
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

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Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
I read a comic recently where adventurers climb the stairs of a ruin...
Here. The other one that's good (in this regard) from that webcomic is this one...

The site is generally NSFW, these two comics are a departure from the regular though. The webcomic is called Oglaf.
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

Put a large sign out front mentioning that all valuables have been sold and the money has been spent on traps?
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Old 07-10-2019, 05:42 PM   #9
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Put a large sign out front mentioning that all valuables have been sold and the money has been spent on traps?
Heh. I was thinking just the former would do the trick: "No cash or magical items kept on the premises."
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Old 07-10-2019, 06:32 PM   #10
Michael Thayne
 
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Default Re: Delver-proofing lairs and dungeons

Another option would be to fling open the dungeon gates and station a single goblin armed only with a lute in the doorway.
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