[RPG] 10-100 Troglodytes is too many!


I'm picking on troglodytes as an example. In MMI, the number of troglodytes appearing in their lair(cave system/dungeon) is 10-100. Troglodytes are a nice, not-too-tough, HD2 monster with some interesting abilities that should be good for a party of 2nd and 3rd level characters. But 10-100 is just too many troglodytes. It turns into a hack-n-slash with a good chance of high party mortality. Especially with a smaller party ( 4 or 5 PCs).
Reading the monster description, 10-100 seems like a good realistic number based on their social structure, but it's still too many for my party.

How do you reduce this number and still tell a good story with 'real' troglodytes in it?

Best Answer

There are a few ways to deal with this:

  1. Give the players sufficient warning before stumbling upon the main Trogs encampment. Perhaps a patrol, or guard post, will give the players indications a larger lair is ahead. If they happily skip in then, let the dice fall where they may. Remember, earlier editions of D&D are not as forgiving as later editions....and it's not that hard to roll up another low level party that will (hopefully) be wiser than the first one!

  2. An intelligent group of players, when seeing that a trog lair is ahead, should be smart enough to scout out the lair. They don't have to face it head on; setting traps, ambushes, raiding the lair and then retreating, etc are all viable tactics. Use of fire can be very helpful, as will missile weapons. Hit and run tactics could prevail against a superior yet not very intelligent foe like trogs.

  3. Reduce the amount (obviously). Perhaps this is a splinter tribe off a larger tribe a few miles away, this has the added effect of helping the players prepare and gain experience (and knowledge) before tackling the main tribe. Maybe the tribe has already been attacked by another (now deceased) group of adventurers that did some damage before they perished, knocking the 50 tribe members down to 25 (or whatever number seems sufficient). Add to the atmosphere by having the players find the first adventuring party's bodies and equipment here and there in the lair (perhaps one or two are still alive to assist the party if they can release them from captivity).

  4. Maybe some extras sign on for the assault. The local town council, duke, or priesthood can supply the party with some help because the trog tribe has become a menace. A half dozen men at arms firing flaming arrows, a duo of priests for healing or spell casting (Hold Person does work on Trogs), a mage with Web and/or Stinking Cloud spells, or a combination of all the above. For added intrigue perhaps one of the hired or supplied men has a secret reason for wanting in the Trog lair, be it a treasure he/she has to acquire, or some bit of information they need in the form of a old map or book.

Note: Any group of low level humanoid creatures (like kobolds, orcs, lizardmen, etc) can be substituted for "trogs" here, obviously!