|Detail of Ryder painting, added just because it looks cool.|
The King of Kobolds
OK for today's bit of creativity, something I haven't play tested yet, but is an idea I've been kicking around. It comes out of a low level starter dungeon, an over-sized band of kobolds living in the sewers. Somewhere I have some sketches of goofy things that can be done by PCs or the kobolds to water levels. Just a basic sewer crawl against low level stuff, a shake down cruise.
Here's an idea that could lead to hilarity. The focus of the band is an ugly, heavy crown of beaten red-gold and low grade gem stones, which has the power to exert a charm spell over anyone who is in it's presence, who also happens to be a kobold.
Why? Because this at first glance will seem to be a powerful item. It allows the party to achieve the first goal, that of defeating the kobold band and possibly acquiring their stronghold. It also can likely be parlayed into a defeat of the next goal, a dimly sketched in Sewer Hag. A seemingly powerful item which when acquired by a low level party is a game changer for their tactics.
Why seemingly? If you've ever experimented with hirelings and henchmen, you already know the answer. A band of less than a hit die kobolds are just so much dragon fodder, no, make that so much gelatinous cube fodder. Most PCs will run through their supply of kobolds like disposable tissues. Which will leave them either trying to hunt up more kobolds or with a clunky magic item that they lug around on the off chance they might meet kobolds. A careful band of PCs will use them up sparingly, but is still going to run through them like native porters in a Tarzan movie, a few disappear in the night to set the tone for a werebeast, a few get lost probing a trap ridden dungeon, and then suddenly they're down to one cosmically stupid guy who holds their horses.
What's the point? If you play long enough with veteran players, you already know the ins and outs of the stock magic items. You know what having the ability to fly does. This is your chance to explore what a party leading a mercenary band of wimps is like. It's an odd toy, let them figure out what to use it for.