Mixing Up Kobolds
Updated: May 31, 2019
Whether they're the first enemy your low-level adventurers encounter while exploring an abandoned mine or the clever guardians of an ancient red dragon's lair, kobolds have a place in every Dungeons and Dragons campaign. To keep these cowardly little tinkerers fresh no matter how many times you use them, the following 3 stat blocks offer new, unique, and exciting types of kobolds to throw at your players!
Beast Tamer Kobold
A beast tamer kobold is entrusted with trapping, training, and handling the tribe’s various wild beasts. Be it giant rats to eat up smaller vermin within a tribe’s tunnels, giant lizard mounts used by the tribe’s warriors, or packs of hyenas to unleash on adventurers while the rest of the tribe flees, a beast tamer is capable of domesticating a creature for every imaginable task. Naturally, such a job comes with inherent risk resulting in most beast tamers missing fingers and toes, having nasty scars across their faces and arms, and the occasional mangled limb hanging limply from their shoulder or hip.
Cruel Trainers. A kobold’s naturally pitiful size and cowardice pose a serious obstacle to beast tamers who must establish themselves as the alpha amongst their many pets. To compensate, these kobolds rely on brutal and inhumane methods of controlling most of their beasts. Iron-spiked collars, verbal abuse, regular lashings, and violent beatings are just a few of the most common forms of “training” used by these merciless kobolds. Their cruel nature and desire to enforce their authority tends to manifest in other parts of the beast tamer's life, resulting in them bullying other kobolds or taking defeated adventurers as prisoners to try and domesticate as new “pets” for the tribe.
A dragon-hatched kobold is unlike any of its kind. Blessed with the strength and fury of their dragon gods even before they burst forth from their large, scalding-hot eggs, these kobolds stand nearly 2 feet above the rest of their race. While every dragon-hatched kobold is covered in thick, rigid scales which deflect blows that would certainly slay a lesser kobold, each inherits the unique physical characteristics of whichever type of dragon they worship or descend from.
Ancestral Blessing. Kobolds believe that the fury and might of a true dragon pumps through the veins of a dragon-hatched kobold, blessing them with powers that no other kobold could ever hope of achieving. A dragon’s strength is not the only thing that a dragon-hatched kobold inherits, however. These kobolds are also born with an insatiable desire for power which results in them rapidly rising in status until they are entrusted to lead and protect their entire tribe. This longing for power often results in a dragon-hatched kobold drawing nearby kobold tribes under their rulership, though whether this is done through diplomacy or violence depends entirely on the dragon-hatched in question.
Mushroom Harvester Kobold
There are few jobs within a kobold tribe less respectable than a mushroom harvester. Tasked with delving down into the hot, muggy, putrid tunnels where the tribe’s patches of mushrooms are grown, these kobolds must grow and handle hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mushrooms on a daily basis to ensure the tribe does not starve. Often times a mushroom harvester does not live more than a few months, not because of exhaustion, but as a result of accidentally ingesting poisonous or magical mushrooms.
Magic Mushrooms. If a kobold tribe is lucky enough to come across a patch of magic mushrooms in the wild, they immediately task their mushroom harvesters with bringing the fungus back to their tunnels. There the magical mushrooms are grown and stored in greater volume to be used in brewing deadly poisons or during religious ceremonies. The harvesters are typically the only ones within the tribe familiar with the mushrooms’ unique properties, but more importantly, they are the ones who most often become addicted to eating them. A harvester who regularly digests these magical mushrooms soon begins to suffer from random surges of wild magic resulting in either their swift death, exile, or placement as living weapons within the tribe’s lair.