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Kobolds are aggressive, inward, yet industrious small humanoid creatures. They are noted for their skill at building traps and preparing ambushes, and mining. Kobolds are distantly related to dragons and urds and are often found serving the former as minions.
Kobolds are reptilian humanoids. A kobold stands between 2' and 2'6" (60cm – 75cm) tall, weighing 35 to 45 pounds (16 – 20kg). They have squamous skin between reddish brown and black in color, with burnt orange to red eyes. Their legs are sinewy and digitigrade. They have long, clawed fingers and a jaw like a crocodile. Small white or tan horns protrude from their head, and they have rat-like tails. Kobolds smell of wet dog and stagnant water. They like to wear red or orange garments, which are usually ragged.
Kobolds live in the dark, ideally underground or thick forest, in tribal societies. Their lairs are often overcrowded, although when one tribe becomes too numerous, it splits. The overcrowding has eliminated the concept of privacy, so kobolds sleep in communal areas, and nudity is not regarded as shameful or offensive, even to the opposite sex. Kobolds wear clothing for function or ritual, but not to prevent nudity. The common overcrowding leads to conflict, and two kobolds will fight to settle their differences, although these fights are not usually lethal. This leads to a lack of deep-rooted or severe divisions or grievances in kobold society.
Kobolds hold a hatred for nearly all other humanoid races and enjoy killing and torturing them, in particular brownies, gnomes, pixies and sprites. The ultimate goal of the kobolds is the conquest of as much land as possible. They will plan and dig mines industriously, while laying cruel traps for interlopers, preferring an ambush to direct confrontation. If they must confront an enemy, they will try to overwhelm foes with sheer numbers. 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. Their society is influenced by their lawful evil alignment.
Kobolds are happy to remain separated from the other races, and are a confident race. A kobold saying states:
|“||The dragon scale toughens our skin. The dragon bone adorns our skull. The dragon heart flames our sorcery. We are the dragon, and for the dragon we live. Long live the dragon.||”|
It is unknown how kobolds are of dragon heritage. While each kobold values its own life, the tribe comes first. They consider the success of their tribe to be their own success.
Kobolds often create their lairs by mining them from the rock. Mining is a meticulously planned and conducted process and nothing is left to chance. Divination magic is used to locate ore and mineral deposits. A high proportion of a kobold tribe are miners. Each family group is expected to cut its own room, the walls of which they will adorn with a pictorial history of the family.
The greatest art for kobolds is trapmaking. The use of invention and cunning in traps is the mark of a good trapmaker. The other art form is the pictorial representation of the tribe's history, created on the walls of a specially created room in every lair. Kobolds enjoy making jewellery from the gems and precious metals they encounter while mining. They can be possessive about their personal jewellery collections, and much effort is put into crafting beautiful jewellery, unlike other items, which are functional more than aesthetically pleasing.
At some point in time, kobolds learned to domesticate dire weasels to serve them as guards and hunters. This resulted in lycanthropic kobold dire weasels. Around one in ten thousand kobolds is a natural lycanthrope in this manner. Kobolds also use dire weasels as mounts.
Where other races consider heroes to be those who enact great feats of strength or military prowess, kobold heroes are those kobolds who show great prowess in trap setting, torture and ambush.
Kobolds are resentful of their short stature and hate members of other races who poke fun at them for this. Most feel as though they ought to compensate for their small size in other ways, such as humour or aggression. They will naturally tend to hate larger creatures, and although they will show respect and obedience if required, they will always be looking for ways to display their resentment.
Most kobolds are miners and so dress in sleeveless tunics and breeches, but kobolds enjoy dressing in more elegant clothing for festivities. This includes clothes made from silk or leather, but tailored clothes are only common among leaders. Garments are often made to compliment the wearer's eyes, which involves the use of orange or red dyes. Other garments might be dyed to demonstrate the wearer's affinity to a particular kind of dragon. Kobold garments have conservative lines, not exposing bare scales in a suggestive way. Kobolds require the dexterity in their feet too often to wear footwear, and the soles of their feet are hard enough to cope with most surfaces. Due to the amount of time kobolds spend mining, gemstones are readily available, and they use these to adorn their clothing, and to make jewellery.
The main deity of the kobolds is Kurtulmak, the god of war and mining, who hates all living things besides kobolds. The other main god worshipped by the kobolds is Gaknulak, the god of protection, stealth, trickery, and traps. A lesser-known kobold demigod is Dakarnok. The remainder of the kobold pantheon is comprised of deified kobold heroes.
Kobolds are also known for serving dragons and praise them as gods. A kobold tribe will present a dragon with tributes and sacrifices and whatever they think it may like, and they might even see it as a great honor to be devoured by the creature. If a kobold tribe is not accepted by a dragon they might start working for it in secret. Once a tribe settles to serve a dragon, their entire existence is to serve their god in every way.
Kobolds have specialized laborers, yet the majority of kobolds are miners. They possess darkvision and are particularly sensitive to bright light. Kobolds prefer exile to execution, and in some disputes, kobolds will split tribes in order to spread their kind over a larger region. Kobolds have natural tendencies towards sorcery. They can live up to 135 years, and beyond this if dragonwrought. Kobolds are similar to dragons, but while dragons have warm blood, kobolds are cold-blooded. Due to this, they are susceptible to cold, especially if it is brought on quickly. They enjoy swimming and will gather to bathe together, especially after shedding (see below). Kobolds will take a lot of care maintaining their claws and teeth, using smooth stones to polish claws and chewing roots to clean teeth.
Kobolds do not maintain monogamous relationships, and due to the importance they place on propagation, they choose mates by practical measures rather than love or other emotions. Mating is an impersonal act for kobolds.
Kobolds are extremely fecund egg-layers, having the highest birth rate among humanoids. A pregnant female will lay her egg within two weeks. About one in ten pregnancies leads to two eggs. An egg needs incubation for about two months, but the newly hatched kobold can walk in just hours. The eggs are particularly sturdy, and the young inside can survive even if the egg breaks as much as fifteen days early. Kobold young mature quickly, reaching young adulthood in six years. They often lay eggs in a common nest, with specialized foster parents to watch over the eggs and wyrmlings.
Some kobold children are dragonwrought, and it is possible to tell this because the egg is speckled with flecks of the dragon's colour, which become more numerous throughout the incubation period. These kobolds possess wings like those of a dragon, and some are of enough use to allow flight. Ritual demands that the egg be taken to a sacred hatching place, and dragonwrought kobolds must be raised above ground if they are able to fly, so that they can learn to use their wings.
Kobolds are omnivorous, eating plants and animals, but will not refuse to eat intelligent creatures if the opportunity presents itself. They are able to eat just about anything when the situation becomes desperate, such as bark or bone. Due to their cold-blooded nature, kobolds having spent time in a warm place need not eat for days.
Like other reptiles, kobolds must shed their skin periodically. A growing kobold might do this as frequently as weekly, but a developed one usually sheds once per season. Unlike more common reptiles, such as snakes, kobolds do not shed their entire skin at once; they instead shed portions of it over a period of time. The process is usually accelerated by rubbing. Bitterleaf is often applied after shedding to help the new scales acquire strength and shine.
Kobolds used their cunning and sheer weight of numbers to defeat enemies. They preferred to lay traps or ambushes, and would only engage a foe directly after it was weakened. If their numbers were diminished such that they had less than a two-to-one advantage, the group would usually flee. Kobold traps included spike pits, tripwires, flaming oil, and poisonous vermin. They disliked gnomes to such an extent that they would attack on sight.
Kobolds would usually loot what treasure they could carry from their defeated enemies, who were usually killed. Occasionally, kobolds would enslave their foes, who then might be sold on, unless they were gnomes, which kobolds would always kill, but never eat.
- Deekin Scalesinger is a kobold bard who is a NPC minion found in several of the expansions to Neverwinter Nights. He appears as a shopkeeper in Neverwinter Nights 2, as well as the MMORPG Neverwinter.
Page 57 of the Monster Manual 1st edition states that kobolds can speak goblin and orcish, This is because originally the kobold was considered a goblinoid. Over the past few editions it has gradually taken on more reptilian characteristics until 3.0 MM stated definitively that they are indeed reptilian subtype.
- Urd, a distant relative of the kobold
- Ed Greenwood (April 1995). “Elminster's Notebook: Kobold commotions”. In Kim Mohan ed. Dragon #216 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 100–101.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wizards RPG Team (2014). Monster Manual 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 195. ISBN 978-0786965614.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Wizards RPG Team (2016). Volo's Guide to Monsters. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 165–167. ISBN 978-0786966011.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 161. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 4. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Thomas M. Costa (1999). “Speaking in Tongues”. In Dave Gross ed. Dragon Annual #4 (TSR, Inc), p. 29.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast). ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Doug Stewart (June 1993). Monstrous Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 214. ISBN 1-5607-6619-0.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 39. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 Gary Gygax (1977). Monster Manual. (TSR, Inc), p. 57. ISBN 0-9356-9600-8.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 Roger Moore “The humanoids”. Dragon #63 (TSR, Inc.).
- ↑ Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 162. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 Bill Slavicsek (1993). The Complete Book of Humanoids. (TSR, Inc), p. 39. ISBN 1-5607-6611-5.
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 42. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ Andy Collins (2003-11-09). Kobolds. Elite Opponents. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved on 2007-12-04.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 40. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ex/20120419
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 37. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 37–38. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 39–40. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
- ↑ Neverwinter Nights: NPC Profiles. Bioware. Retrieved on 2007-01-22.