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Your Whispering Homunculus—A Time to Think of Those Less Fortunate, Part 3

Your Whispering Homunculus—A Time to Think of Those Less Fortunate, Part 3

Your Whispering Homunculus

A.K.A. Face thy Woe, and Know that thy Woe Has a Name, and that Name Is Kobold . . .

The Mouse Trap – A Kobold Adventure Path

They know only two things about him—his name and his trade.

They call him the Trapmaester, and for good reason. His (or is it hers?) are the greatest, most elaborate and devious traps ever seen in the alpine town of Ulrichshorn. Ever seen anywhere in the world some rightly claim.

The Trapmaester Yiprick Kacklecat (NE female kobold aristocrat 1/rogue 13) has grander designs than just the praise and money of the townsfolk—she wants it all. Yiprick has grown very fond of man-things: their fine cakes, their comfy beds, their full larders and meat lockers, and their powerful port-wine. She wants it. She is slowly bleeding the town from within, replacing civic leaders of the Rotaria Club (the ruling Masonic group in the town), and now has half a dozen agents in hats of disguise working for her. Her latest plan (and masterstroke) has been the removal of the Crown Prince of Ulrichshorn, the foppish Gullwin Vonsteardgg III, and replacing him with another of her agents so she can put the final parts of her plan into operation—the taking over of Ulrichshorn and the establishment of a covert kobold dictatorship ruled by her. Soon her beloved kin will enjoy the fruits of men’s labors in their cozy holes below ground while above, all seems perfectly normal and life can go on, and on, and on.

The adventure path begins with the PCs involved with the Thieves’ Guild of Ulrichshorn, a nasty bunch of overweight wind-blown beer drinkers whose trade is being taken by kobolds, a large number of which have moved into caves below town. The problem is that the kobolds are better thieves than the thieves themselves, although in truth slightly less greedy than their human cousins. The Guild hires dupes to go into the caverns and attack. During the conflict, the PCs learn two things—that the Guild is running the town and extorting money from the poor (and is actually probably worse than the kobolds), and that the kobolds found are merely the tip of the iceberg—there are thousands of them somewhere below.

The Rotaria Club becomes involved, firstly out of a seemingly noble desire to rid the city of thieves, and secondly to learn more about the kobolds and be rid of them too. The PCs begin a series of actions against the naughty Guild members, unmasking various plots and unwittingly working for the Trapmaester as they do, and secondly in unknowingly getting sidetracked away from the main kobold force, which is building beneath the town.

After various adventures and having all but wiped out the Guild, the PCs are lured into a trap by the Trapmaester—a terrible maze of living, thinking automata. As they emerge from the maze, they are assailed by a vast kobold force and learn the truth—the town is actually ruled by kobolds. Only the last-minute intervention of some unexpected allies in the form of the true rulers of Ulrichshorn averts catastrophe.

By now, however, winter has set in and the town is effectively isolated. The PCs spend the long winter engaged in a war against the false kobold rulers of Ulrichshorn and band together with a group of rebels loyal to the true crown, led by a young rogue ranger called Steeilashce (NG female aristocrat 3/ranger 3/rogue 1), the sister of the (now dead) original Crown Prince and the true heir to the town.

But the townsfolk see the PCs as rebels, and the fake rulers hold all the cards as winter begins to bite . . .

Yippee! A Few Other Kobolic Ideas

The hunt is out. Woe and fear to all who cross them!

Use your kobolds imaginatively, give them powerful (perhaps overly powerful) weapons or allies they have no idea how to control, ally them weirdly, or make them overly important to, or rule over, tougher monsters, and you have the seeds of a new way of looking at our scaly little nuisances.

How about kobolds riding upon trolls? The trolls owe a clan debt to the kobolds who use them as mounts and weapons of war. The trolls have raised platforms upon their shoulders, keeping their little masters safe above to toss weapons and boiling oil at their foes.

The appearance of dire rats in a kobold tribe block is an oddity and begs a few questions. Do the rats follow the kobolds for a reason other than food (which, let’s be honest, is more likely to be kobold than anything more dangerous and filling). Are they kept as pets? If so, are other pets around, and what are they? Is lycanthropy present?

A quick flip of random pages of the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary for a couple of random allies can be great fun and challenge you as a GM and writer to come up with a reason. Challenge yourself as I have here by randomly flipping the bestiary pages to find two allies, and give yourself a minute to come up with a reason for the trio of monsters.

Here are two examples done using that exact method, plus the resulting rationale behind the alliances:

  1. Assassin vine, ettin, kobold. The kobolds garden the vines, and the ettins use them as tribute to tougher, scarier ettins. A blight is affecting the vines and the kobolds kidnap a local druid to find a cure. The time for tribute is upon them again and they are desperate.
  2. Dire wolverine, earth elemental, kobold. The wolverines are pets of a powerful kobold ranger, but their pelts are very valuable. Unscrupulous hunters from the local village of Pinekarl hunt the wolverines and have bagged three already. The ranger sends her elemental servants in at night to attack the village, mingling into the countless standing stones that the village is surrounded by. Do the PCs use roleplaying to rid the village of the hunters, or hunt down the kobold ranger and her tough allies?

Use your kobolds wisely.

May 2014 be your year and the year of the kobold—huzzah!

–Rich Pett

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