Parent Pages: Encounters

This page is note for the eyes of players.


The PCs encounter kobolds.

Back Story

Kobolds are the smallest and weakest of the goblinoids, but should never be underestimated. In goblin-kin armies they're often forced into a role as shock troops with very short life expectancies.

When left to their own devices, however, they can be quite dangerous, despite the fact that adventurers tend to think otherwise.

They're cowardly in small numbers, but they lack the standard goblin paranoia, so they work well together. This is their greatest strength. On the other hand, they rarely try to talk out their problems with others, unless cornered. They're simply too afraid of anything bigger than them and anything they fear, they tend to hate.

Always remember, however, that they're as smart as humans! They know they're weak and they take great pains to make sure they're underestimated. They also take great care to attack spell-casters first.

This encounter is for independent kobolds working together.

Scouting Party

Kobolds regularly patrol their borders, using small parties with three to five members. Their main job is to stay hidden and report intruders back at the nest. If they're seen, then they'll lead their pursuers on a merry chase through as many traps (see below) as they can before diving into a safe hiding place. Their watching posts always have a few of these nearby.

Many tribes use a system of crude bells or noise makers attached to pull ropes to give an immediate warning.

Hunting Party

Kobolds catch most of their meals using traps of all kinds. However, they do also hunt by sending out small groups with three to five members.

Sometimes, these groups will be out to check and set traps and at others, they'll be looking for wild game.

Either way, they're likely to run and hide from PCs and then report to the nearest scouting party. This could bring a war party of sufficient size or it might cause all the kobolds in the area to hide until they're gone. This all depends on their estimate of the strength of the intruders.

Trading Party

Kobolds are friendly with each other and trade between tribes. They occasionally trade with other races for weapons and tools when taking things by force is not an option.

These trading parties will be composed of two or three times the number of warriors required to carry the goods, for the sake of security, and will be preceded by three member kobold scouting teams. The scouts always stay within earshot. They'll also have at least one leader with them.

Trading parties are one of the few ways that kobolds will actually talk to other races without first getting cornered, though their initial reaction will still likely be to run and hide, if they aren't expecting visitors.

War Party

War parties are most often encountered in groups of twenty or more warriors along with at least one leader. War parties whose success is important to the entire tribe may be led by the tribe's chief. Their usual targets are Brownies, Pixies, Sprites and Gnomes.

Against brownies and pixies, they will occasionally engage equal numbers, but prefer to ambush, as this will give them the advantage of surprise. These raids tend to fail without surprise, because brownies can teleport and pixies are normally invisible. When facing pixies, they prefer to attack at night, as this allows them to use their Infravision to circumvent pixie Invisibility.

When facing Spirit Sprites, they're careful to hide and watch for them to take on physical form. Then they lay ambush according to the chosen form.

Against gnomes, or advanced goblins, they're extra cautious, waiting until they outnumber them by five to one or more and then they still prefer to ambush, since folks with firearms are a force to be reckoned with. Even so, they normally take heavy losses.

Against other races, they use overwhelming numbers, usually along the lines of three to one odds or better. This is combined with swarm tactics involving mass grappling. Kobolds are small enough that they simply become encumbrance to most larger races, but this can really add up when there's two of them (or more!) on each limb.

Failing all else, they'll hit-and-run, using guerrilla tactics to wear their enemies down.


Traps are the way kobolds prefer to attack everything. This is a list of their most common traps, but this shouldn't be considered a definitive list, since they're always coming up with a new sadistic twist for an old trap:

  • Covered Pit
    • Usually with spikes
    • Defensive pits will get covered with a layer of soil and have grass or other plants transplanted on top of it
    • During the fall, they might be covered with dead leaves
    • Some of these have been known to have venomous snakes inside that are regularly fed mice and other small rodents
  • Dart/knife/spear launchers
    • Triggered by trip wire
  • Bear traps
    • Carefully covered
  • Murder holes
    • In caves or buildings
    • Using rocks, arrows, or even boiling water
  • Dropped boulders/objects
    • From higher ledges or ridges
    • They'll find ways to cause avalanches if possible or collapse tunnels
      • They won't collapse a tunnel that they need.
  • Log traps
    • These roll logs down a hill to squash intruders
    • With some kind of quick-release or trip wire
  • Rigged bridges
    • Easy to cut loose just after crossing
    • They'll usually leave someone hidden on the other side to drop it as an intruder steps on it

Anything intended for defense instead of hunting gets poisoned if at all possible. If at all possible, they'll use a poison that causes a lot of pain or possibly itching.

If they're nearby when someone gets caught in one of their traps, they're likely to laugh. They won't do this if they're hiding for some reason.

Lone Kobold

This is a decoy to lead intruders into a trap.

In essence, a lone kobold allows himself to be seen by the PCs, acts scared and then runs. If the PCs give chase, he'll quickly lead them right into an ambush or through an area full of traps. He'll have practiced this run many times, so he knows just what to avoid.

Surrounding the traps there's usually a well-hidden war party ready to swarm the survivors.

Alternatively, he may lead the PCs into an area occupied by some kind of monster or powerful animal, where the kobolds will have previously engineered some kind of proper hiding place for him where neither the creature nor the PCs can reach him.

The Nest

Kobold nests are extremely dangerous and normally have hundreds of warriors in them. There will also be one leader for every forty warriors and one chief.

They prefer to choose caves that are large enough for humans to enter. Then they modify their home by adding a multitude of side tunnels that are just big enough for a kobold to squeeze though. This allows them to suddenly pop out and surround their foes.

If the battle turns against them, they can easily retreat back into the side tunnels where they can't be easily reached and if someone is stupid enough to reach in after them, they'll have to contend with the chance (40-60%, depending on resources available to them and how long they've occupied the nest) of each hole being trapped in some fashion. At the very least, they'll try to attack the fool reaching in, usually with something long enough that they're out of reach of their victim.

Displaced Tribe

Small tribes are sometimes displaced or sent out to colonize a new area. This will normally be a group between one hundred and two hundred strong. Larger displaced tribes will break into smaller groups and travel in multiple directions. It would take a very charismatic leader to keep a large tribe together.

The main group will be preceded by hunting and scouting parties. They'll be quite nervous, because they don't have any traps set up nearby. These parties will always stay within earshot.

The last thing they want in such an unprotected state is trouble. However, if a scouting party finds a good place to live that's occupied by a small enough group of another race, they may try to take it.

Ideally, they'll search for a cave they can modify to their preferences, but they'll occasionally occupy existing fortifications or buildings and then dig their own tunnels underneath.

Character Sheets


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