G is for Goblins!
Yes, this blogging challenge is quickly turning into the monster of the day, but nothing wrong with that because there are so many cool monsters.
I’m actually going to cover a large group of monsters in one fell swoop: Kobolds, Goblins, and Orcs!* The truth is, in my early days, all three of them fell into the category of cannon fodder. Rarely were they brought out for important encounters, they simply occupied large swaths of dungeon in order to give the party something to fight. They were the heart of my hack and slash adventures.
A combination of experience, and Roger Moore’s Tucker’s Kobold editorial in Dragon Magazine issue #127 helped me realize that even cannon fodder could do more than just line up and die.
While an individual member of these races could still be handled quickly, in my game they began using tactics. As with Roger Moore’s article, my kobolds no longer built 10 foot wide corridors, instead they created small tunnels, with lots of traps. My goblins tended to fight in large areas and used lots of ranged weapons so it was dangerous to approach them. My orcs began using weapons with reach, while their lairs were full of choke points designed so 2 or 3 orcs could attack a single character, leaving the remaining characters to look on, or make high risk attacks if they wanted to assist.
While my early hack and slash adventures were fun, it was even more enjoyable to see players getting nervous when I set out a small group of figures that at one time they might have laughed at.
* Hopefully this means there won’t be a K is for Kobolds, or O is for Orcs article in the near future.