A.K.A. Face thy Woe, and Know that thy Woe Has a Name, and that Name Is Kobold . . .
“I hate today.”
“The celebration, the winter, the festivals. This one I hate more than the others.”
“But think how happy everyone else is today, lord, think of their happy faces, their full bellies, their family gatherings bursting with joy and pie.”
“Exactly. While I sit here with you and this inflatable pig.”
“But I thought it was what you wanted! Please, Master, put your party fez back on, or perchance the glittery wizard’s hat I also bought for you for this special day—the one with ‘wizard’ written upon it in big sparkly letters.”
“Hmm, today I prefer to think of those less fortunate than myself. On this day, of all days, we should think of those poor unfortunates that cringe in the shadows awaiting slaughter without dialogue™, and offer them succor…”
Kobolds have it tough . . .
Let’s face it—just how many recurring kobold enemies has your campaign seen, ever? How many arch-kobold-villains have sent characters cringing back to their villages and castles shaking with fear? When was the last time your adventure path ended with a kobold BBEG?
Not many times, I suspect.
Shall we take this joyful moment to redress that balance? Let us make this coming year the year of the kobold. Let her stride purposefully from her lair and bellow her ire. Let the kobold be your villain of choice for the next twelve months. Let a darkness fall as a renewed menace in our dungeons—the mighty kobold.
The encounters below and in coming days give you a few suggestions, spices, pointed sticks, and shocks to throw into your kobold toolbox (and what a lovely phrase “kobold toolbox” is). As usual, keep them in your back pocket as ideas to twist an encounter, or use them as detailed for adventures or whole adventure paths. Don’t take them too seriously, or of course use them too much. When the unexpected is the expected it isn’t unexpected anymore.
Goodness Gracious Great (Snow)Balls of Fire!—A Kobold Encounter, Side Trek, or Adventure
It is winter—deep winter—but the tribe of Frostrippers are well-used to their frigid home.
Over the years, they have become adept at moving quickly using sledges, hiding in snowmen, and—particularly—at throwing. The tribe youngsters are trained with snowballs before they can crawl or bite, and the training is brutally efficient. The tribe favor thrown weapons over other more traditional kobold weaponry and are more adept at survival in the cold. The snowballs they toss are generally squashed around sharp stones, caltrops, and other spiky things.
So when the tribe happens upon two barrels of alchemist’s fire, they begin to wreak havoc. Vials make excellent hidden extras in snowballs, and the explosions are a delight to watch, so much so that they become addictive.
The PCs are brought into this adventure or encounter as troubleshooters, to deal with the pesky kobold menace. Do they know about the exploding snowballs? Is their first encounter one of shock and awe as the tribe’s outer warriors sledge toward the PCs tossing exploding snowballs with deadly accuracy?
Consider also the makeup of the stash, does it contain other wonders, acids, or potions?
Substitute these variations into your kobold stat blocks:
Ranged *snowball +4 (1/x2 plus alchemist’s fire)
Feat Point-Blank Shot
Skills Craft (trapmaking) +4, Perception +1, Stealth +6, Survival +1
*snowball counts as a grenade-like weapon.
The idea of magic snowballs (with the cunning addition of magic weapon spells) or snowballs with magic stones in is just silly of course.
Merry Christmas from the homunculus and master, and thank you for all your support, kind words, and cream cakes in 2013.
–Rich Pett Xmas 2013