The Kobold

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. 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.

Kobold as a Monster

Kobold, 1st-Level Warrior
Size/Type: Small Humanoid (Reptilian)
Hit Dice: 1d8 (4 hp)
Initiative: +1
Speed: 30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class: 15 (+1 size, +1 Dex, +1 natural, +2 leather), touch 12, flat-footed 14
Base Attack/Grapple: +1/–4
Attack: Spear +1 melee (1d6–1/x3) or sling +3 ranged (1d3)
Full Attack: Spear +1 melee (1d6–1/x3) or sling +3 ranged (1d3)
Space/Reach: 5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., light sensitivity
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +1, Will –1
Abilities: Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8
Skills: Craft (trapmaking) +2, Hide +6, Listen +2, Move Silently +2, Profession (miner) +2, Search +2, Spot +2
Feats: Alertness
Environment: Temperate forests
Organization: Gang (4–9), band (10–100 plus 100% noncombatants plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults and 1 leader of 4th–6th level), warband (10–24 plus 2–4 dire weasels), tribe (40–400 plus 1 3rd-level sergeant per 20 adults, 1 or 2 lieutenants of 4th or 5th level, 1 leader of 6th–8th level, and 5–8 dire weasels)
Challenge Rating: 1/4
Treasure: Standard
Alignment: Usually lawful evil
Advancement: By character class
Level Adjustment: +0


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.

Light Sensitivity (Ex): Kobolds are dazzled in bright sunlight or within the radius of a daylight spell.

Skills: Kobolds have a +2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Profession (miner), and Search checks.

The kobold warrior presented here had the following ability scores before racial adjustments: Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 8.
Challenge Rating: Kobolds with levels in NPC classes have a CR equal to their character level –3.

Kobold as a PC

Source: (RotD p39) (wRotD2)+ (MM p161)
Ability Modifiers:–4 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Con
Favored Class: Sorcerer
• Small Size
• 30’ Movement
• Darkvision 60’
• +1 Natural Armor bonus to AC
• Craft (trapmaking) always in-class
• Also has the (dragonblood) subtype.
• Natural Weapons – 2 claws (1d3) & 1 bite (1d3).
• Automatic proficiency with Light & Heavy Picks.
• Weapon Familiarity – Greatpick is considered a Martial Weapon.
• +4 Racial bonus on Craft(trapmaking), Profession(miner), & Search checks.
• Light Sensitivity: –1 to Attack rolls, Spot checks, & Search checks in bright light

The Kobolds of Khorvaire

The black-scaled sorcerer barked a harsh Draconic syllable and a wave of invisible force slammed Daine against the wall, pinning him against the rough stone. His captor sneered, needle teeth flashing.

"Thinking to walk the deep tunnels alone and unseen," the kobold sneered. "Khyber whispers and warns, and so you are found. Dead now, by his hand."

Daine gasped in pain as the mystical bonds grew tighter, squeezing the breath from his lungs … .

The kobolds of Khorvaire trace their history to the dawn of Eberron. According to ancient legend, kobolds were formed from the drops of blood shed in the battle between Eberron, Siberys, and Khyber. A new generation of dragons descended from Siberys, Khyber brought forth fiends and horrors, and Eberron gave birth to the creatures of nature — but the kobolds were already there, spawned from the first battle. True or not, this myth is the driving force behind kobold psychology and culture.

Two subraces of kobold exist in Khorvaire: the iredar (Draconic for "ones of earth"), who trace their ancestry to Eberron, and the irvhir (Draconic for "ones below") that descend from Khyber. These two races share a common appearance, but each race has a distinctive body odor that kobolds can instantly detect; in fact, a kobold can automatically identify the subrace of any other kobold within 15 feet. A character with long experience with kobolds can distinguish these scents by making a successful DC 20 Wisdom check; if the creature possesses the scent ability, the DC of this check is reduced to 10. Kobolds find the scent of others of their kind to be soothing, and kobolds that spend long periods of time away from their own kind often become depressed.

Beyond scent, the key distinction between the kobold subraces is supernatural. Kobolds produce a surprising number of sorcerers, which is a phenomenon they attribute to their supposed bond to the progenitor dragons. Irvhir sorcerers typically possess spells tied to corruption and darkness, while iredar sorcerers usually have powers of defense and binding. This is not an absolute rule, and a kobold PC can take any spell that she desires. However, an iredar kobold that makes use of spells such as fear, darkness, or chilling touch may be viewed with suspicion by her companions, who see these as the powers of the Dragon Below.

Stories are told of a third subrace of kobolds: the irsvern (Draconic for "ones above"), children of Siberys. According to legend, these kobolds have wings and live in hidden communities on the peaks of the tallest mountains. In 867 YK, Tolas Koln of the Wayfinder Foundation set out to recover a copy of the Talarash Siberys said to reside in an abandoned draconic temple in the Ironroot Mountains, and the last entry in the expedition journal describes an encounter with winged kobolds with astonishing sorcerous powers. Some say that this is a documented encounter with the irsvern kobolds, while others dismiss it as a hoax perpetrated by Koln himself.

Outsiders often assume that kobolds are primitive and savage since they live in unmodified caverns and rely on oral tradition instead of written records. Also, they live in small tribal communities and have never come together to create cities, nations, or empires. However, kobolds are just as sophisticated as humans or gnomes. While they prefer to live in natural environments instead of creating artificial structures, kobolds have a great gift for mining and stoneworking, and they often fill their lairs with cunning traps. But their culture is driven by tradition, and the kobolds have never sought to change or progress. They are the children of the dragons, vessels of the progenitors' will; change will come when the great dragons mandate it.

Lands: To date, kobold communities have been encountered in Q'barra and in the Seawall Mountains between Darguun and Zilargo. However, kobolds are extremely reclusive, and recent events suggest that kobold communities are hidden across Khorvaire.

Settlements: The kobolds of Eberron prefer to live in natural caverns. The irvhir kobolds make their homes deep beneath the surface, while the iredar kobolds usually live in mountain caves. The kobolds believe that these caverns are the veins of the progenitor dragons, and they often carve elaborate draconic designs on the walls. Kobolds prefer to live in tribes containing approximately 100 adults. The largest communities can have up to 600 adults. Generally, though, a community splits once its population rises too far above 100 adults, with younger kobolds moving away to found a new community.

Kobolds bond with horrid animals. Horrid creatures — especially burrowing animals such as rats, weasels, and badgers — are frequently found in kobold communities.

Power Groups: Kobold culture revolves around three forces. The stonescales (or ternmolik, in Draconic) perform the day-to-day tasks required for the survival of a community: crafts, agriculture, and the gathering of food when agriculture will not suffice. The claws (gix) are soldiers and hunters. And the blood seers (iejirastrix) are mystics who hear the voices of the progenitor dragons — sorcerers, druids, and favored souls whose magical powers are seen as proof of the kobolds' divine ancestry.

Typically the chieftain of a village is an old claw, though in a peaceful region a stonescale can hold the post. The chieftain manages the daily affairs of the community while the blood seers link the communities together. Seers often travel from village to village to meet with other blood seers, discussing their visions and issues affecting the race as a whole.

One other force that has an impact on kobold culture: the Chamber. While most dragons dismiss the kobold's claims of draconic ancestry, kobold blood seers can have strange (though often distorted) insights into the Draconic Prophecy, and the Chamber occasionally makes use of kobold agents. This can result in teams of kobolds equipped with powerful magic weapons and items — an unpleasant surprise for a group of adventurers that underestimates the little reptiles.

Beliefs: Mainstream kobold culture is oriented around the worship of a particular progenitor dragon. The irvhir tradition is one of the oldest cults of the Dragon Below, though it has no connection with the aberration-oriented cults of the Shadow Marches. The iredar kobolds revere Eberron as the source of life and nature; this is a unique druidic tradition with no ties to the sects of the Eldeen Reaches.

The kobolds see themselves as the hands of the progenitors in the modern age. And in the past, visions of the blood seers have often been tied to the Draconic Prophecy. It is a mystery, since the kobolds themselves rarely understand the significance of their actions — but even the Chamber respects this uncanny gift.

Of course, not all kobolds are bound to these beliefs. A few tribes have split off from these traditions, ignoring the words of the blood seers. Irvhir kobolds often turn to the worship of the Shadow or the Mockery, while independent iredar revere Boldrei and Olladra.

Language: Kobolds speak a version of Draconic, inherited directly from true dragons. There is no evidence of the kobolds ever having possessed another language or having been taught by dragons. Most kobolds love to talk, and a meal with a group of kobolds is a deluge of yapping voices. The written form of Draconic was developed long after the spoken version, but not by dragons, who have little need to write. The recorded history of kobolds chronicles their relationship to dragons throughout the ages. This history began with paintings, gave way to pictograms, and gradually developed into the runic script of Draconic still used today.
Gnome scholars have objectively connected the creation of Draconic runes to kobolds rather than dwarves, as was previously thought. These runes have a link to dragons from many millennia ago, when kobolds split off from dragons either through arcane meddling or divine will. Regardless of their true origins, it is widely believed that the earliest kobolds served dragons, learning dragon ways. This education included instruction in a variety of Draconic dialects and accents. When kobolds became independent, forming new tribes and lairs for themselves, they took the Draconic language with them.
As these early, self-sufficient kobolds interacted with each other, either for conquest or survival, their inherited Draconic dialects mingled. These dialects gradually became the amalgamated form of Draconic spoken by many kobolds today. Kobold sorcerers learn how to speak true Draconic, which requires much more exacting pronunciation.

Relations: Most kobolds prefer to avoid contact with the outside world. Irvhir kobolds are especially xenophobic, and the miners of Zilargo have been fighting irvhir kobolds for centuries. Iredar kobolds are more moderate in their views. They have little interest in foreign cultures and fight irvhir kobolds as often as they battle gnomes or humans.

In the wake of the Last War, kobolds have had more active presence on the surface of Khorvaire. Kobold scavengers often rummage through battlefields and ruined villages. Previously unknown irvhir communities have risen from the depths to strike at weakened thorps and hamlets along the borders of the Mournland. Whether these are random attacks of opportunity or driven by the seers of Khyber remains to be seen.

Classes: Kobold soldiers are typically warriors. Kobold combat techniques focus on speed as opposed to strength, and exceptional hunters are often swashbucklers, scouts, or rangers. Clerics and adepts are rare since kobolds favor druids and favored souls. The kobolds have no tradition of wizardry, but they produce a remarkable number of powerful sorcerers. While all blood seers are spellcasters, not all sorcerers become seers. But all kobold sorcerers are considered blessed by the progenitor and usually become the champions of their tribes.

Roleplaying a Khorvaire Kobold

When playing a kobold — either as a PC or NPC — consider a few things first. If you are alone, why have you left your tribe? Have you abandoned the beliefs of your people, or are you on a quest? Perhaps the blood seers believe you have an important destiny to fulfill — but it requires you to live among the warm.

Kobolds recognize that they are physically weaker than most other races, and they rely on cunning to win battles. Treacherous tactics are not shameful: They are a sign of intelligence. This applies to social situations as well as combat. When dealing with non-kobolds, a kobold lies and cheats without a second thought. Your wits are your weapons: Use them!

As a kobold, balance arrogance with caution. Your people have a divine heritage that places you on an equal footing with dragons. On the other hand, divine heritage doesn't do much when you're arguing with an angry bugbear. So flaunt your superiority when you can, but know your limits!


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. The kobold does enjoy a slight advantage when raging because the –2 penalty to Armor Class is offset by her Small size and +1 natural armor bonus. Finally, a kobold barbarian is capable of moving twice the speed of 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: Kobold Clerics in Eberron generally worship whichever of the Progenitor Wyrms they came from. Some of the irvhir kobold clerics, descended from the great dragon Khyber, will worship his greatest spawn like Tiamat. Occasional tribes will revolve around the worship and service of an actual living Dragon, or even a great Dracolich, who protects them.
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.
Paladin: Kobold paladins are exceedingly rare and are almost never the product of a typical kobold tribe. Similar to fighters, kobold paladins avoid medium and heavy armor until they acquire a special mount, which can be a dire weasel. At this point, kobold paladins often resort to wearing heavier armor and wielding lances, using their mount to provide speed. Paladins are more common among those Kobolds of the iredar tribe, those descended from the Progenitor Dragon Eberron. There have been reports of winged Kobolds in mountaintops who wear armor and lances and ride atop Wyverns, but these reports are scattered and unreliable.
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.
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.
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.

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