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Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about kobolds

Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about kobolds

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

There are few places one can travel around or under Midgard without encountering kobolds. These wyrmchildren have adapted to—or adopted—habitats in shade and shadow to account for their inability to adjust to sunlight.

Open plains and deserts are the only places they truly feel uncomfortable due to their inability to adjust to sunlight. Ever canny, kobolds have devised methods to shield their eyes while preserving their visual acuity.

In the weeks coming up, we’ll focus on Midgard monsters. Let us know in the comments and on social media what you think of the new ideas!

Little Bits of Dragons

Once again, it is I, Casimir, bringing you information about another group of Midgard “monsters.” Today, I review the diminutive kobolds, who are well-known throughout the land yet terribly underestimated. Though my travels have taken me to numerous areas inhabited by kobolds whom I interviewed, I conducted most of my research in the Free City of Zobeck, home to a considerable contingent of kobolds. In their ghetto, their numbers swelling with immigrants dissatisfied with their second-class status or dangerous situations in many other Midgard regions.

Debunking Misconceptions

Though kobolds demonstrate considerable expertise with many forms of crafting and tinkering, most people only associate them with traps.

This stereotype derives from adventurers’ stories about trap-laden kobold lairs they explored (or invaded, from the kobolds’ perspective). Many of these stories dwell on the obstacles and monsters the adventurers overcame, so they don’t speak about the kobolds’ practical contraptions they might ignore in their search for obvious treasure.

Kobolds are inquisitive and adept learners. They readily pick up trades, frequently concentrating on specialized disciplines or occasionally dabbling across multiple fields.

Much of their curiosity leads them to mechanical or alchemical item creation. When left to their own devices, these items might seem useless to outsiders, but kobolds regard these inventions as necessary stepping stones to greater innovations. Kobolds with fewer constraints also create flashy items that generate a lot of sound and energy. Dragons appreciate these bombastic effects. but other masters desire subtlety.

Some kobolds enjoy more surreptitious endeavors and replace tinkering and potion creation with skullduggery. Their smaller statures and inherent agility permit them to spy, burgle, and even assassinate in service to their masters or their clutchmates. Kobolds are also quite flexible, and they can change specializations, much to the astonishment of other humanoids who would have trouble dropping their life’s work for other fields of study.

Regarding their traps, kobolds prefer deterrents to lethal contraptions and prefer efficiency over cruelty. It is far less costly to develop machines that hinder or harass intruders with an implied promise of deadlier consequences should the trespassers persist. This also reduces the possibility of extreme retribution since these traps cause discomfort or injury rather than death. Certain kobolds I interviewed described the difficulty of extricating hefty corpses from lethal traps and removing them; this appears to be a form of punishment within their culture.

However, kobolds have no compunctions about increasing their traps’ lethality for those who ignore the warnings. Unless provoked to revenge, they ensure their deadly traps dispatch victims effectively, with little chance for suffering. They tailor their traps to expected foes, which provides them many options against living creatures. But they also know how to exploit weaknesses for undead or other creatures, employing holy water, bright light, or specific energy types depending on the targets.

Pragmatic Yet Desirous of Respect

Keenly aware of their lack of physical prowess, kobolds wind up using their skills to the benefit of more powerful creatures that might provide kobolds significant protection. This is most notable among the large population of kobolds in the Mharoti Empire, where they toil under the shadows of the dragons who rule the empire. In the Underworld, kobolds subjugate themselves to drow, derro, and duergar, applying their abilities to rise above mere slave status. The rise of the Ghoul Imperium changed life for kobolds unable to flee to Lillefor, who were forced to prove their usefulness to their ghoul overlords and avoid becoming meat and marrow to feed the legions.

When kobolds feel they have equal footing with others, they operate from an expectation of respect for their expertise and intelligence. This is evident in Zobeck, where they enjoy autonomy and make themselves integral in the design and upkeep of the city’s many clockwork wonders. Though they enjoy the latitude to choose the beneficiaries of their work, they happily join teams in pursuit of the same end goals. Their lack of fear over repercussions for delayed or failed projects allows them to apply their cunning to sabotage tasks in ways that frame those who have wronged them.

Adaptable Teammates

Their overall survival instinct drives kobolds not only to support mightier masters, but to band together. Young kobolds hatch and grow up together in clutches, and often spend their lives together. This doesn’t mean these clutchmates share the same interests, but their pursuits usually complement each other, granting them self-sufficiency as a group. Even kobolds separated from their clutches through death or calamity find companions among other kobolds, who welcome singular members into their own clutches.

Kobolds prevented from connecting with others of their kind instead form familial ties with non-kobolds who befriend them. These kobolds eagerly learn the best ways to augment their new companions and redirect their intellects to subjects that suit their adopted clutchmates.

New Vehicle: Whirligig

I would be remiss if I merely detailed one of the many clever kobold traps. Instead, I present this fantastic flying machine composed of gears, flywheels, and other intricate mechanisms. A relatively small crew manually propels the vehicle into flight, and the vehicle only requires minimal effort to stay aloft.

A whirligig costs 10,000 gp and has a travel speed of 4 miles per hour.

WHIRLIGIG

Huge Air Vehicle (20 ft. by 15 ft.)

Armor Class 15 (damage threshold 5)  
Hit Points 150       
Speed fly 40 ft. (maneuverable), 4 mph (96 miles per day)   
Immune Vehicle Resilience        
Initiative 12           
Crew 4          Passengers 4         
Cargo Capacity 500 lbs.

STRDEXCONINTWISCHA
+1+2+2+0+0+0

Maneuverable. The whirligig can move up to its speed and make one 90-degree turn.

ACTIONS

Alchemical Barrage (Recharge 5–6). Several alchemical flasks drop from the whirligig, choosing a point below the vehicle and within 20 feet of it. Each creature within 10 feet of that point must make a DC 15 DEX save, taking 7 (2d6) fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Alchemical Barrage can instead deal acid damage, but this choice must be made during the whirligig’s creation.

BONUS ACTIONS

Extra Thrust. The whirligig takes the Dash action.

REACTIONS

Sudden Drop. When the whirligig is targeted by an attack and is at least 20 feet high, the crew can cause the vehicle to plummet up to 30 feet. The triggering attack is made with disadvantage.


Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press.

Want a more focused start? Try the Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! This detailed sourcebook
gives players plenty of room to run, and includes adventures within the Clockwork City itself!


about Mike Welham

Mike Welham started gaming some time in the Mesozoic Era and has played at least one game in each edition of D&D. He has been happily writing for Kobold Press for over ten years and is partially responsible for all the darn drakes flying around Midgard.

3 thoughts on “Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about kobolds”

    1. Cassiopeia Nebula

      *same*! i yearn for a blood kingdoms book, but i know there’s a big fuss for a northlands book. i havent read about the northlands yet, but it’s huge, so i bet it’d be awesome!

  1. Cassiopeia Nebula

    the more of this i read, the more i like kobolds… i like how kp has expanded them far beyond “the trap guys you kill”, im lovin it!

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