Every so often, a product description actually manages to undersell the product in question. Such is the case with Iconic Encounters: Kobold Lair, which insists it isn’t an adventure. It could have fooled me! You’ve got a map stocked with monsters, traps and NPCs. You have a few suggested hooks for adventurers entering the location. All of which make it an adventure in my eyes.
Sure, it’s not a big, deep adventure, but there are times when having a location you can plonk down anywhere (with a few suggestions as to where it could be used) and just run is exactly what you need. At that point, all you need to know is this: Is it any good?
The answer is “mostly”. The kobolds live in a relatively large cave system, which has eight caves and quite a number of traps scattered about. The kobolds have pet weasels (and giant weasels), a shaman and a chief. If there’s one flaw with the lair it’s this: I really don’t think there are enough kobolds! Part of this comes from my introduction to D&D, where a kobold lair would have 40-400 kobolds in it! There are only about 20 kobolds here, and it feels a little too few. That might just be me, though.
Personally, I’d prefer it if the kobolds used a few more hit’n’run tactics – the initial group of kobolds are described as standing and fighting, which seems odd to me – it doesn’t help that they’ve got pit traps blocking their exits. The design of the cave system is good, but I think that a little more work could make the lair into something that was a real challenge to clear.
What are really good are the adventure hooks, which can be used to give a reason for why the players visit the lair, and as ideas for detailing it a little more.
I think this will appeal to new players quite a bit. Iconic Encounters: Kobold Lair isn’t perfect, but it has most of the elements needed for a fun session.