Kobolds (Escarnum)

This is a variant of the kobold race originally published in the Monster Manual.

Although they retain many of the features of their counterparts from standard D&D, the kobolds of Escarnum are far from the skulking lizards found in other settings. These warm-blooded creatures draw their ancestry as much from canine forebears as from draconic, making them a peculiar mix of mammalian and reptile.

It is in their history, however, that they differ most from their counterparts. Once the poorest of the beast-kin races, the downtrodden slaves of their tyrannical "god", kobolds changed the course of history through their ingenuity and courage. Adapting the same mechanical knowledge which created their mining equipment, the kobolds discovered gunpowder - and destroyed their god, revealing him as a mere demonic impostor. This world-shaking event made them the pioneers of the newly-developed phenomenon which would soon become known as "technology".

Personality

While they still carry many of the traits their tyrant bred into them - cunning, predatory instinct, and a strong work ethic - the kobolds of Alm have become a rather proud lot, with good reason. Their great achievement has served to instil a great deal of confidence in what was previously a race given to cowardice; while they still lack for many "heroic" qualities, they have become known as tough, determined survivors whose courage belies their small size.

Physical Description

Kobolds are small, wiry humanoids which bear the traits of both draconic and canine ancestry. They stand approximately 2 to 2 1/2 feet tall, and weight 35 to 45 pounds - slightly more than might be expected, due to their long tails. Sinewy, double-jointed legs, naturally bent and poised for sudden speed, contribute to their height and natural agility. When her legs are outstretched, a kobold can increase her height by a foot or so, but doing so is uncomfortable and generally avoided.

The hide of a kobold is a mixture of hair and scales; most often, they bear a light, coarsely-furred coat which fades into scaly skin along the throat and underbelly. Both hearken back to the individual kobold's particular ancestry; the coat varies in colour and markings depending on canine descent, while the scales' colour and sheen are according to their ancestral dragon's type. Their draconic heritage is also demonstrated by sweeping ridges around the crown and brows, which mirror the crests of their dragon forebears.

Kobolds have a powerful, toothy jaw designed for a carnivorous diet, which usually takes the shape indicated by their draconic blood, but features the nose and whiskers of a canine. Likewise, their fingers and toes bear short, retractable claws which some learn to wield as weapons. Constantly alert and wide, the eyes of a kobold usually match the colour of the dragon with which they identify, and show distinctly reptilian pupils.

Relations

Stubborn and cautious, kobolds are still a somewhat insular race, preferring to accept help only from other kobolds; as time goes on, however, such barriers are being steadily eroded. Most noticeably, the demand for their advanced weaponry has led to many careful business agreements, especially with the inhabitants of the Rogue Isles and Independence. In such cases, kobolds prefer to deal with humans - who still remember their own race's enslavement, and share much of the kobolds' wariness toward those who would control them.

Though the clans are in a state of debate over alliances with other races, they are still unified in their hatred of gods and divine magic - and, as such, have made themselves the permanent enemies of Aurion.

Alignment

Fresh from their grand-scale emancipation, most kobolds are uncomfortable living under the rule of another, and tend away from lawful alignments. This does not, however, mean that they do not have a strong sense of family; their survivalist streak means they are usually fiercely protective of their kin. Their previous reputation for evil was largely the fault of their tyrant's demands, meaning that most are unbiased toward good or evil when left to their own devices.

Lands

Following the destruction of their tyrant, seven kobold adventurers formed a party to seek out new lands and new lives for the people. Taking new names from the draconic tongue to announce their pride in their blood, these "seven seekers" eventually led their people to found various settlements on the surface world, giving rise to the seven clans now found in the lands called Okarthel, "clan home".

Language

Kobolds speak draconic as a matter of heritage, though as they adjust to interacting with other races, many are learning pieces of other languages.

Names

Kobold names are taken from the draconic tongue as a mark of pride, and are of a rustic nature - usually the name of something significant to the individual, such as "warrior" or "earth". While they are given names as children, it is a common practice for a young kobold to choose a new name for himself when he reaches adulthood, as the Seven Seekers did.

Example names

Arytiss, Edar, Leirith, Mejir, Neitl, Tihuirl, Vaess.

Adventurers

As a whole, kobolds are intrepid and fiery creatures who - with training to overcome their size disadvantages, or tactics to work with it - make fine adventurers. Believing that there's no such thing as an unfair advantage, they often look upon "shady" tactics such as stealth and surprise a little too lightly for some folk; however, their alertness means they are always handy to have around, and their surprising tenacity and courage have won them much appreciation amongst like-minded adventurers.

Sub-Races

After the journey of the Seven Seekers, the kobolds of Alm formed seven major settlements under the names of their heroes. In time, these later became seven distinct clans, each carrying their own racial traits. This newly-found diversity proved extremely fortuitous for the kobolds, their racial philosophy of community and interdependence reinforced as they learned to form more effective groups based on their new strengths and weaknesses. Accordingly, the kobold "clans" are not the basis of one's dwelling or social group, but rather the origin of one's distinct bloodline - interbreeding is not so much encouraged as simply expected, as every tribe wants to have at least one or two descendants of each clan. For information on the Seven Clans, please see the Kobold Clans article.

Game Rule Information

Kobold Racial Traits

The traits below are for the "common" kobold, called the Tihuirl kobold. For other kobold clans, please see the Kobold Clans article.

  • +2 Dexterity, -4 Strength,-2 Constitution. Kobolds are small and physically weak, but quick and agile.
  • Small-size: As a Small creature, a kobold gains a +1 size bonus to Armour Class, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a -4 size penalty on grapple checks, trip checks and overrun attempts, and a +4 size bonus on Hide checks. He uses smaller weapons than humans use, and his lifting and carrying limits are three-quarters of those of a Medium character.
  • Speed: Kobold base speed is 30 feet, despite their small size.
  • Humanoid (dragonblood, reptilian): Kobolds are humanoids with the dragonblooded and reptilian subtypes. For all effects related to race, a kobold is considered a dragon.
  • Racial Skills: Kobolds receive a +2 racial bonus on perception checks, but in bright lght (such as daylight) this bonus is lost when trying to detect something by sight. Kobolds have very keen ears and noses, but their over-sensitive eyes are less reliable on the surface world.
  • Darkvision (Ex): Kobolds can see in the dark up to 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but is otherwise just like normal vision. Kobolds can function just fine with no light at all. If the game allows it, a kobold may take Light Sensitivity as a flaw.
  • Natural Armour: A kobold receives a +2 natural armour bonus to AC.
  • Team Tactics: Kobolds learn to compensate for their physical weaknesses by functioning more effectively as a group. When a kobold successfully aids another (or is aided by another) on a skill check or attack roll, or on armour class, the recipient of the aid applies or gains a +3 bonus (instead of the usual +2). When flanking, a kobold gains a +4 bonus on attack rolls (instead of the usual +2), and gains a +2 bonus on damage rolls.
  • Languages: Draconic and Common.
  • Favoured Class: Rogue. Kobolds are good combatants, but need to take advantage of their racial strengths to compensate for their frailty.

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