I am currently working on an an AD&D adventure and am wondering if the following situation makes any sense:

There's a green dragon that lives in a dungeon (surprise!) that is worshiped by troglodytes and kobolds.

The troglodytes are superior to the kobolds, and they keep the kobolds around as cannon fodder and slaves. Kobolds follow the troglodytes and in general are the lower class in this society, not unlike Germany in the 1920s-50s where Germans were the upper class and Jews were put in ghettos and treated as lower people. The troglodytes worship this dragon in a sprawling underground complex which leads to the dragons cave on top of a mountain where he can come and go as he pleases.

Does this scenario make sense from a environmental and ecosystemic perspective?

I know some monsters absolutely refuse to work, live, and act "civilized" next to each other (like demons and devils). Do any sources state this as the case with kobolds and troglodytes? I thought the dragon could in a way unite them since they're all reptilian.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Hey everyone thanks the great responses. Your comments and answers helped me clarify what it is I was really looking for and inspired a new question that I think is much better rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/22565/… there is the link \$\endgroup\$
    – Antonio
    Mar 1, 2013 at 3:53

3 Answers 3


This specific question might be too localised, but I can easily answer the more general question.

Even if there was a problem with that setup, that's no so much a problem as an opportunity to ask, "why?" Why is Creature X and Creature Y cooperating when normally they wouldn't? Creating unusual situations, then asking yourself how the heck that came about, is a powerful design technique.

If you don't see a problem with your trogs and kobolds, then there isn't in your world. If no "why are they cooperating?" question occurs to you, there's no problem that you need to explain. Go for it!

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. It makes sense to the degree to which you define how these creatures act in your world - there is no absolute answer to "would trogs work with kobolds" you need to bother with. Your game world works how you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Mar 1, 2013 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1: With enough plot magic, you can even overcome the "strict" non-cooperation rules: giantitp.com/comics/oots0632.html \$\endgroup\$
    – deworde
    Mar 1, 2013 at 9:17

While the question is tagged as , my answer is tailored toward AD&D as the OP references that game as the one being played. The basic concept can be applied to any version but the analysis may well be too AD&D specific for all versions.

Justifying why monsters are working together is important to a degree. Sadly, in most cases, players don't question it unless it's an odd coupling. As example, drow and elves working together. That said, it is always a good idea for a GM to have some kind of back-story to cover groups of monsters working together. That just makes things more interesting. Don't be discouraged if the players don't actively seek out the story.

It is reasonable to have a dragon exploiting nearby monsters for its own purposes. A smart, strong monster (like a dragon) will seek every advantage. Allies are an advantage as are plebs. In this case a green dragon being worshiped by a band of troglodytes could happen. I think it more likely that the dragon is intimidating the trogs to do as it commands. Kind of a "bully of the block" scenario. Likewise, that may be the relationship between the trogs and kobolds. The reason I lean toward a bully scenario is the low intelligence of the trogs. It is likely that they don't understand enough to allow for a complex relationship but they get the concept of, "Do it or I'll eat you."

Now, if the dragon is a speaking dragon then a more complex relationship could evolve. Such a dragon, assuming it speaks their language (as GM if you want it to it does), may well act as an oracle of sorts if the wee ones bring it shiny stuff or fresh meat or other things it wants. In that case worship is more likely. Magic use on the dragon's part is good for shock and awe with the trogs but not overly necessary.

The key to any such relationship is, what does each party get out of the arrangement? A smart dragon may want scouting done or lookouts or some other task that is too menial for a great wyrm. The trogs may want help or just not to be looked at as lunch. The kobolds may want the same.

The relationship between the trogs and the kobolds is a bit more problematic. Both are not bright and it is therefore reasonable to say not prone to talking to something not of their tribe. There would need to be some reason for them to get together and form the bond they have. It could be a simple bully relationship but I think the trogs would just eat them. Maybe the kobolds fit in smaller tunnels and fetch things for the trogs from those tunnels. Maybe it is something the trogs need for the dragon, directly or indirectly. As you suggested, the dragon may well be the binding agent. Whatever the reason, it can be as simple or complex as you like but when dealing with the dumber monsters simple is better.


And don't forget, knowing the monsters situation and motivation will help you make quick, consistent decisions during play. Knowing why the kobolds obey the trogs will determine how hard it will be for the players to intimidate, frighten, or bribe the kobolds into a particular action. Maybe they're fanatic followers, or maybe they're slaves waiting for an opportunity to revolt. There may even be a variety of factions in their society, available for you to exploit to drive the story.

They beauty is, you can keep multiple scenarios in your pocket and use them to keep the encounter fluid and manageable. Heroes are overwhelmed in a way you didn't want or expect? That's when the kobolds make their move and turn the tables on the trogs. Heroes are slicing through the trogs more easily than you like? Suicide kobolds with buckets of oil and torches are leaping into the fray and causing havok.

As has been said, they work together in any way that makes sense in your world. As long as you can convey that to your players in a way that they can interact effectively with your game elements, go for it!


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