So we’re about eight sessions deep into Dwimmermount, and the players have really come into contact with the Kobolds on level one.
So far they’ve been:
Set on fire by half a room filled with oil.
Wandered directly into Guran’s room, and were it not for Neutralize Poison from their Healing Proficiency (and the room that stops time… Handy that) would have lost two PCs.
Now, I like these Kobolds. I like that they give a second door into Dwimmermount as a reward for chewing through them.
What I don’t like is the amount of reward for dealing with them. There’s just not that much down here - especially for the risk of the Crab Spiders. Save v Poison/Death is just really dangerous for them all. Kobolds fight dirty too, they use surprise and throw oil.
Is it reasonable to assume that this is just the miserable portion of the dungeon? Lots of monsters for very little reward, and most of that in copper, a horrid coin barely worth its weight?
Because I don’t think that’s sound design. My players are losing steam in the southern half of level one. They don’t like the idea of it at all. It’s making them miserable - they’re clearly frustrated. It’s a high risk, low reward dungeons segment. So far, it doesn’t make for very exciting or fun crawling.
If they plunge deeper in, they’ll find the other exit, the moon pool, the azoth spring, the dwarven cemetary. But the meanwhile of dealing with the Kobold bulwarks (and surroundings) is taking its toll on them. They’ve had eight hours (two sessions) of un-fun play leading into it. That’s two sessions too many.
I’m unsure how to fix it, either. Make it less dangerous? Make it more of a challenge to be solved? I’m partial to option number two, there, but I’m not sure how to do it.