Kobold

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A Kobold with a spear and his trusty blade

Description of Kobolds

Kobolds are short, reptilian humanoids with cowardly and sadistic tendencies. A kobold's scaly skin ranges from dark rusty brown to a rusty black color. It has glowing red eyes. Its tail is nonprehensile. Kobolds wear ragged clothing, favoring red and orange.

Kobolds are aggressive, xenophobic, yet industrious small humanoid creatures. They are noted for their skill at building traps and preparing ambushes. Kobolds are distantly related to dragons and are often found serving them as minions. Kobolds speak a version of draconic, with a yipping accent. Kobolds are often described as either rat- or dog-like.

Kobolds usually consume plants or animals but are not averse to eating intelligent beings. They spend most of their time fortifying the land around their lairs with traps and warning devices (such as spiked pits, tripwires attached to crossbows, and other mechanical contraptions).

Kobolds hate almost every other sort of humanoid or fey, especially gnomes and sprites.

A kobold is 2 to 2-1/2 feet tall and weighs 35 to 45 pounds. Kobolds speak Draconic with a voice that sounds like that of a yapping dog.


Professions and classes

Kobold miners make up the vast majority of any tribe.

If the biggest hurdle a kobold faces is her lack of strength, then that’s no obstacle at all. The moment a kobold accepts her physical weakness, the more powerful she can become through means other than brute force. Kobolds’ power doesn’t originate in their muscles, but from their hereditary magic—in the heart of every kobold flows the blood of dragons.

For kobolds, awakening the potential of sorcery within themselves is a birthright. Nothing could be more natural. As quick-footed creatures, kobolds can also become talented rogues. With a kobold’s lack of brawn and stamina, the fighting professions might seem less than appealing, but as with any vocation that kobolds embrace with determination, they are still very much possible.


Barbarian: Kobold berserkers are more common than one might think—their bonuses when raging more than negate the kobold’s racial ability score penalties. A kobold barbarian is therefore able to hold her own against most other opponents once her draconic blood starts boiling. Finally, a kobold barbarian is capable of moving 10% faster then most other creatures her size, giving her a significant tactical advantage.


Bard: As natural sorcerers, kobolds intrinsically understand how bards manifest their magical abilities, using performance as a focus. It takes very little for kobolds to pick up this profession on the fly, drawing on their innate aptitude for sorcery. As nimble creatures, kobold bards also make exceptional scouts and acrobats, specializing in tumbling to take advantage of its defensive bonuses.


Cleric: Most kobold clerics worship Kurtulmak, but kobolds are not limited to that deity, especially if they have broken with tradition and embraced an individualized path. Io, a neutral dragon god, is more than willing to accommodate such kobolds. Many other dragon deities also accept kobold worshipers.

Kobold clerics don’t usually weigh themselves down with heavy armor, preferring speed and maneuverability.


Druid: Kobold druids are champions of underground resources and very much at odds with their own culture. They feel that mining without exercising restraint robs the earth of nourishment. As such, kobold druids are usually exiled from their lair for having counterproductive beliefs. These kobolds sometimes attack their own tribe, using natural traps and summoned animals. Kobold druids favor lizards or dire weasels as their animal companions.


Fighter: A kobold fighter favors weapons with reach or light weapons to which the Weapon Finesse feat can be applied, and with good reason. Kobolds prefer fighting styles that reward speed and cleverness, such as Spring Attack to better execute hit-and-run tactics against slower creatures. Kobold fighters traditionally wear light armor and carry crossbows or slings. Strong kobolds esteem bows for the ease with which such weapons can be reloaded.


Monk: The hardworking and introspective nature of kobolds lends itself to the disciplined monk. The inner focus evidenced by the Searching for the Dragon ritual can easily be directed toward the perfection of martial abilities. Kobold monks take full advantage of their Dexterity, applying Weapon Finesse to their unarmed strikes at the earliest opportunity.


Ranger: Kobold rangers are unrelenting when tracking, especially in pursuit of a fleeing gnome. Even after locating her prey, a kobold ranger shadows her quarry until a good ambush position can be found. As Small creatures, kobolds are very good at sniping from hiding, which is only augmented by their Dexterity bonus. Most kobold rangers choose archery as their combat style and attack from cover.


Rogue: As inherently agile creatures, kobolds make skilled rogues and talented trapmakers. Kobold rogues place even more emphasis on agility than kobold fighters do—sneak attacks aren’t about strength. Realizing this, kobold rogues focus on Bluff, Hide, and Move Silently to maximize their chance of catching their opponents flat-footed. A kobold trapmaker is regarded as an artist by her fellow tribe members.


Sorcerer: Kobold sorcerers are preeminent in their society and always regarded with deference. Kobolds can turn to sorcery at any point in their lives with complete confidence that their draconic heritage is always waiting for them. Kobolds with a talent for sorcery are guided through the awakening of their abilities and directed toward specific types of magic. Entering into this calling is a deeply reverential act, surrounded with more ceremony than any other part of kobold culture. A kobold sorcerer is required to make lifetime vows to the craft of sorcery, not unlike swearing into the priesthood.


Wizard: Although kobold wizards are no less capable than sorcerers, a large amount of cultural stigma is attached to pursuing this class, as if doing so goes against every draconic principle for which kobolds stand. It has never been a question of whether kobolds can become powerful wizards, but rather why they would deny their own heritage when the same arcane magic can be so readily accessed from within. Kobold wizards who remain with their tribes endure ridicule and scorn their whole lives.

Society

Kobold society is influenced by their Lawful Evil alignment. They will plan and dig mines industriously, while laying cruel traps for interlopers. If they must confront an enemy, they will mass their troops for an ambush. Among the monstrous humanoids, they are known for cunning plans, unlike many they also share those plans among the tribe. General plans and goals are common knowledge, and detailed plans are shared with all who ask to allow them to work fruitfully for the good of the tribe.


Kobolds have specialized laborers, yet the majority of kobolds are miners. Kobolds prefer exile to execution, and in some disputes, kobolds will split tribes in order to spread their kind over a larger region. Kobolds are also extremely fecund egg-layers, having the highest birth rate among humanoids, and mature quickly, in 6 years. They often lay eggs in a common nest, with specialized foster parents to watch over the eggs and wyrmlings (young under 1 year).


Combat

Kobolds like to attack with overwhelming odds (at least two to one) or trickery; should the odds fall below this threshold, they usually flee. However, they attack gnomes on sight if their numbers are equal. They begin a fight by slinging bullets, closing only when they can see that their foes have been weakened. Whenever they can, kobolds set up ambushes near trapped areas. They aim to drive enemies into the traps, where other kobolds wait to pour flaming oil over them, shoot them, or drop poisonous vermin onto them.


Religion

The patron deity of the kobolds is Kurtulmak, the god of war and mining, who despises all living creatures except kobolds. The other main god worshiped by the kobolds is Gaknulak, the god of protection, stealth, trickery, and traps. A lesser-known Kobold demigod is Dakarnok. Most kobolds pay tithe and homage to different dragon gods, such as Tiamat, Lendys, and Io as well, but their reverence is more often seen in Kobold PCs than otherwise.

Mythic origin

There are many stories and mythos for the origin of koboldkind. None is necessarily more true or certain than the last.


While Kurtulmak is reputed to be a mortal ascended to divinity, kobolds credit Io, the Ninefold Dragon, with their creation. It is told that when Io first created true dragons, they were originally immortal gods, less powerful than Io but much like him. To make each one of his creations distinct, Io gave each a different aspect of his personality. These divine dragons rarely got along, pursuing only one goal in common—the acquisition of material wealth.

The true dragons quickly realized they lacked the power to manipulate creation in all the ways necessary to accomplish their goals, and they petitioned Io for aid. Io, being an impartial god, would not play favorites with his creations and gave each dragon the same choice. He taught them how to create life by giving up a piece of themselves, but he warned that in so doing, they would permanently be rendered mortal and eventually die. The life they created, however, would serve their desires without fail.

Perhaps not yet wise enough to appreciate their divine existence, the dragons accepted the knowledge Io offered and departed for the world below. They took up residence in widely separate lands. There, the true dragons did as Io instructed, each severing a single limb. Not only did each limb start growing back immediately, but the severed part also grew into an adult dragon. The original true dragons thereby gained mates.

Furthermore, wherever the dragons’ blood had spilled, little creatures began to emerge out of the ground with alert, crimson eyes, already looking up at their creators for guidance. Thus were kobolds born, witnesses to the moments during which the immortality of the true dragons slipped away.


Another popular versions of the mythos suggest that they were creations of Tiamat; dragons hatched prematurely with magic to set a defensive field around her lair when she was wounded and weakened, and eventually released into the world as they had served their task, but forever bound to the dragons, as they were created to serve, and until then existed only for such, while other versions say that they are direct product of Io, creator of dragonkind. The lack of clear answer is product of debate for many kobolds, is not uncommon for them to adopt their own view of their origin to know where they are going in life.

Roleplaying tips and technical information

The Only True Advice

Kobolds are not stupid. Don't play them as such.

The communal challenge

Kobolds are communal creatures. It's part of their kobold and their nature to live in close proximity of their kin; surround themselves by as many other kobolds as they can until they are enough to split into different tribes and warrens. That is the kind of habitat that they usually find comfortable to live in.

However, due to the nature of kobolds as PCs, it may be simply impossible to replicate the essence of a kobold community in the game. Therefore, playing a kobold that is true to their culture of xenophobia may be equally impossible. Instead, try to imagine how could they retain their culture and beliefs in the cosmopolitan city of Andunor, having to deal constantly with drow, orogs, gnoll and other more powerful races that they would normally address with a few many crossbows aimed at them.

Voiceset information

Players can use any voiceset that fits with their image of a new character, but since many individuals have had problems with voice sets for kobolds, here are some helpful information about it. This is to provide players with the best in-game kobold that can be.

It is not recommended to use the Deekin voice. Why? It will actually cause the character to be out of character unless of course, they make a kobold by the name of Deekin (which would be likely asked by DMs to remake). After hours of looking and extensive research some players consider the best match for kobolds to be a voice set:

  • "Lizardman, Fanatic Male"

There are some limitations, though:

  • It is not a full voice set. It will not have all the voice features in the game. For example, the running dialogue voice.
  • There is no female version of the voice. A female kobold would have to use the same voice that males use. It is not hard to imagine that both male and female voices would be similar and sound the same though.
  • There is not very many variations on voices for kobolds, so many players use it, since it is by many considered the best choice to be in character in the game, as stated by the rules of the server.

Speech patterns

Please, see the Draconic page to see what are the variation on Kobold's draconic speaking and True Draconic speaking of dragons. Kobolds speak Draconic normally amongst their kin, specially when they don't wish other Underdark races to understand them.

Kobolds tend to speak in third person, using several ways to define themselves such as "this one", "they", "he", or directly speaking their name. Their accent is usually plagued by a heavy hissing when they try to speak other tongues than Draconic. But this doesn't need the case, and every tribe - as well as every kobold PC - can be different and have different speech patterns.

Monstrous guidelines and expectations

A good read to keep in mind before playing a monstrous character can be found in this article.

Creating a new character on Arelith

Abilities

+2 Dex, -2 Str
Craft Trap +2
Listen +2
Spot +2
Darkvision
Bonus Feat: Rapid Reload

Base race: Halfling

Classes

Favored Class: Sorcerer

Kobold leaders are usually sorcerers. Clerics are fairly rare and usually found only with large tribes.

Alignment

Usually Lawful Evil

Appearance

NWN appearance is not influenced by selection of head, skin, hair, or clothing.

There are currently 6 models available to choose at character creation. The selected model may be switched at a later date through the DM maintenance room.

  • Scaly skin ranges from dark rusty brown to a rusty black colour. On top of doglike head are two small light-coloured horns. Tail.
  • Eyes: glowing red

Notes

  • Bonus language:
Draconic
Undercommon
  • Starting city: Andunor
"Subterranean Race, that are just as often found occupying shallow caverns on the surface, and are not considered a race of the Underdark. They are entirely comfortable in daylight, though may shy away from colder temperatures, and, like goblins, are considered hostile by the civilized races."
This is a divergence of the standard kobold lore. If you wish to RP the sensibility to sunlight, by all means feel free to do it, but do not expect other kobolds to suffer the same effects to the same degree, if at all.

External Links

credits to Raland