The material below is designated as Open Game Content
Many of the concepts listed below are suitable for any small, evil race. Some could be used for any druid or sorcerer, although care would have to be taken to avoid unduly strengthening the character. These character concepts are generally somewhat stronger than those proposed in other Quintessential books to help make up for the weakness of the kobold race template.
Games Masters may want to consider a blanket application of character concepts to specifi c kobold encounters. For example, an entire group of kobold slayers might make an interesting fi ght. This allows the Games Master to spice up an encounter without creating a large amount of additional bookkeeping. Multi-character concept encounters require more work as the Games Master must keep track of more variables.
Each character can only take one character concept at fi rst level. Character concepts that modify spell- casting do not grant spell casting abilities to character classes that cannot cast spells. Similarly, if a concept modifi es an existing class ability it does not grant that ability to a character that does not qualify for it. If the character later qualifi es for the ability he gains the modifi cation.
When a single person becomes down and out they can always look to their peers for help. When an entire nation falls into misery, then individuals must come by other means of support. The solutions that each individual fi nds will vary depending on their background, emotional make-up and innate abilities. For some, the idea of being alone in the night imbues terror. They look around and see the birds in the sky, the rats in the gutter and other crawling creatures. In the plight of such creatures they fi nd a metaphor for their own suffering. In these creatures they fi nd allies who might help them in their own plight.
The beast speaker spends his lifetime learning to communicate with magical beasts. He studies what they hunt, how they live, and why they do the things they do. When he interacts with these creatures his studies give him an edge. Magical beasts stay with him longer, work harder for him and obey his commands with a precision that others cannot match.
The further down the road of the beast-speaker the kobold walks, the less and less adept he becomes at dealing with other intelligent creatures. At the beginning of his career the beast speaker may just seem a little withdrawn and edgy. At the pinnacle of his craft the beast speaker may be almost indistinguishable from a beast himself.
Adventuring: The stereotypical beast speaker is a druid who spends all of his time interacting with the various dangerous beasts the character encounters. However, beast speakers may be of any class. Whatever profession he follows the beast speaker will focus most of his efforts on making friendly relations with local predators. With such allies the beast speaker can defuse potentially dangerous (or nuisance level) encounters, allowing the party to focus on its mission goal.
Roleplaying: Beast speakers generally avoid communicating with other intelligent creatures. This makes them silent, taciturn travelling companions. They are also a very fearful folk, believing that everyone around them is constantly plotting against them. The complex motivations of intelligent races baffle them; they prefer the simplicity of animals and beasts.
Benefits: A beast speaker of any class possesses a limited form of wild empathy. This ability allows the character to improve the attitude of an animal or magical beast. It functions just like a diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. The beast speaker rolls 1d20 and adds his starting class level and his Charisma modifi er to determine the wild empathy check result. The target must be within 30 feet and should be able to see the beast speaker. A wild empathy attempt takes 1 minute, but may take more or less depending on the circumstances. Attempts to infl uence magical beasts with an Intelligence score of 1 or 2 (such as a basilisk or a girallon) suffer from a –4 penalty.
A beast speaker who gains a level in a class with wild empathy as a class skill gains a +2 bonus to his check
to infl uence an animal and a +4 bonus to his check to infl uence magical beasts. His wild empathy checks are rolled on a d20 plus his character level plus his Charisma modifi er.
Penalties: Beast speakers gradually lose their ability to communicate with anything other than animals and beasts. The character suffers a penalty equal to his character level to all Diplomacy checks.
Kobolds often serve as the menial servants of great dragons and other powerful creatures. As such, even their leaders suffer constant abuse. This leads to a cascading effect as negativity steadily fl ows down the chain of command. Eventually, at the very bottom of the kobold roster much of this angst and pain expresses itself as the torment of the weak and helpless.
This betrayed has survived the experience of being at the bottom. His life started out with an endless stream of abuse, practical jokes and petty tyrannies. These steadily progressed into outright malice on the part of his fellow kobolds until he fi nally ran for his life. This torment twisted something deep inside the character. He feels that his own people betrayed him. Everywhere he looks he sees the possibility of danger. Every person he meets holds the potential to harm him. In response he casts off all loyalty and courtesy, hoping only to make it though the day alive.
Adventuring: A betrayed character brings a level of razor-sharp paranoia to any adventuring party. He is always on the look out for the hidden danger, the ambush or the occult agenda. This paranoia can also frustrate his travelling companions as the betrayed constantly wonders why someone would help him, refusing to accept that perhaps they really are his friends.
Roleplaying: The betrayed is constantly on edge. He moves with the energy of a nervous jackrabbit. Staying still for more than a few moments may put him in danger, so he never sits down. Given the choice he walks with his back to the wall, sits in dark corners and never says anything to anyone. When he does speak cruel barbs tend to lace his words as he pre-emptively strikes at those around him.
Benefi ts: The betrayed takes paranoia to an art form. As such, he gains a +2 to Spot and Sense Motive checks. His nervous motion makes him diffi cult to strike as well, granting him an additional +1 dodge bonus to AC.
Penalties: Betrayed characters never really recover from the abuse they suffered in their youth. They receive a –1 penalty to all Will saves and a stacking –2 penalty to resist fear effects. Furthermore betrayed characters cannot be of good alignment.
Toil and misery make up the daily lives of most kobolds. They spend dawn until dusk working like slaves for their tribe. Food is made up of scant morsels and the occasional bit of festering meat.
Somehow the builder sees past the daily toil and grind. He does not think about the backbreaking effort of shifting hundreds of tons of rock. Days spent working in ice-cold mud does not bother him. The only thing he worries about is the fi nished product, the great work he toils for. When other kobolds complain about the work conditions he waxes poetic about the new living quarters or the brightness of the blades the new forge will make.
Builders form the happy core of the kobold people. When other kobolds are off playing politics or stabbing one another in the back, builders steadily work on making sure that the local latrine does not fi ll up. While maniacal sorcerers and deranged diabolists plot world domination, builders put in another underground mushroom farm for the pups.
Adventuring: Builders make unlikely but extremely effective adventurers. Their ability to see past the current travails to the long-term goal makes them effective planners. Builders also fi rmly believe that all problems can be solved by a suffi cient application of hard work. Whatever their profession, builder characters epitomise the positive effects of a constant steady application of effort.
Roleplaying: Although not necessarily stiff, builders are defi nitely on the lawful side of whatever alignment they may be. They believe in working with others to accomplish great goals. Most feel, on a level that they cannot express, that groups of people working in synergy produce a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Builders also constantly tinker with their environment, seeking ways to improve the lives of those around them.
Benefits: At 1st level a builder gains a +2 bonus to any two Crafts or Professions of his choice. The builder has the option to forgo his bonus to double his Craft progress for the week.
Penalties: Builders are methodical to the point of obsession and must be of lawful alignment.
Most kobolds harbour a reverence for dragons. In many this reverence stems from the constant tales they hear around the hearth-fi re. For others, it comes from an emotional connection that they cannot fully comprehend. In some this reverence ignites into fullfledged worship, as though the dragons were gods.
The dedicated have devoted their lives to what they see as the divine birthright of dragons. They freely offer their lives, their property and everything else they may possess as offerings. Many dedicated undergo ritual scarring and horrendous physical trials to prove their loyalty.
Young dragons (especially those barely able to defend themselves) use the dedicated as guards and scouts. They lack the personal resources to defeat most challenges and so must be more cunning. Older dragons regard these pathetic wrenches with amusement. They use the dedicated as spies, servants and playthings. Most dedicated come from Clan Matthias. Their family may have served a particular dragon for generations. Some may even have served a family of dragons, from egg to deathbed for time immemorial.
Adventuring: The dragon worshipping dedicated makes an uncomfortable adventuring companion. His intense focus on fi nding and serving a dragon can easily bring him into confl ict with the rest of the group. On the other hand, his intimate understanding of draconic psychology and power also make him an invaluable ally when dealing with the scaly beasts. If the dedicated transfers his fanatical loyalty to one of the adventuring party he may be a trustworthy companion, at least until the party fi nds itself sword to fang with a draconic foe.
Roleplaying: A dedicated feels that he is not a complete being without a dragon to serve. He constantly longs for a stronger force to bow down to. In a pinch he will serve a stronger humanoid or other intelligent creature rather than be alone. Once he enters service he will do everything in his power to assist and protect his new master. Depending on how independently minded he is, the dedicated may act on his own to ‘serve the master’ without consulting his overlord.
Benefits: The dedicated gains a +2 bonus to all Diplomacy and Sense Motive checks targeting dragons. He also gains a +1 bonus to his saving throws against any spell or special ability used by a dragon. Finally he may ignore fear effects for a number of rounds equal to his character level. This does not negate the effect, but does allow him to function normally while using this ability. Once the ability runs out, the fear effect (if it is still active) will be reasserted.
Penalties: A dedicated can only speak Draconic and can never learn another language. He has a –2 penalty to saving throws against enchantment spells.
The kobold people have a reputation for having magical blood. Even the most derisive tales admit that kobolds seem to wield an unusual amount of native arcane power. Kobold sorcerers even appear in comical tales, attesting to both their prevalence in encounters with kobolds and the general acceptance they have in kobold society.
A diabolist has taken this power to a place where only the most hardened psychopath would find humour.
Recognising the immense power of kobold (and indeed all magical) blood, he chooses to walk a long and dark path, using the untapped magical power of his people as a bargaining chip for even more magical might.
Darkness gathers in the diabolist’s eyes. Shadows cast by monstrosities lost in pre-history chill his heart. He watches and waits, preying on the weak among his own people. When other victims become available he uses them without hesitation. Among his own people he is a secret outcast, hiding his evil behind a façade of normality.
Adventuring: A diabolist makes a powerful if very dangerous companion. His unique knowledge of magic grants him immediate access to some remarkable abilities. However, the price of those abilities is the living souls of other intelligent/magically powerful creatures. If his companions do not mind that, then they may well have a useful ally.
Roleplaying: The constant spilling of blood has hardened the diabolist’s heart. Whatever humanity he possessed has burned in the pyre of his quest for power. There is no limit a diabolist will not exceed, no taboo he will not break in his quest. Most diabolists develop the ability to pass as normal members of society, functioning without too much diffi culty until their lust fi nally overtakes them.
Benefit: When a diabolist kills an intelligent being he may make a Spellcraft check (DC 20). If he succeeds he gains a ‘negative charge’ that may be used to activate one of the blood feats described in the Feats chapter of this book. If he kills a being that has spell-like abilities or favoured class (sorcerer) the DC lowers to 15. This charge lasts for one day. The diabolist can carry a number of charges equal to his character level. Attempting to gather more charges than he can safely carry infl icts a negative level on the diabolist.
Penalties:A diabolist is incapable of empathy with living creatures. As such, he suffers from a –2 penalty to all Charisma based skill checks. He suffers an additional –1 penalty per negative charge to all of his Wisdom based skills. If the diabolist is carrying a charge he radiates a strong aura of evil. Finally, the diabolist must be of evil alignment. Most are chaotic evil.
To some the majesty of the dragons inspires fear. In others it lifts up their spirits with awe and wonder. For many just catching a glimpse of a dragon is a life-changing event, a close brush with primal powers undreamed of in mundane life.
The dragon dreamer had such an experience at some point in his life. But rather than feeling fear or awe, the dragon dreamer felt a curious kinship with the creature. In its effortless power he saw his own dreams and aspirations. In its fearsome appearance he saw a mirror of his own face, or at least the true face of his soul. These feelings lead the dreamer to seek out and unleash his ‘inner dragon’; a lifelong pursuit that leaves many destitute and alone.
Most dragon dreamers engage in esoteric mystical practices intended to bring forth their inner power. Many also practice physical disciplines that serve to prepare their bodies for the ‘great hatching’. These disciplines give them many remarkable abilities.
Unfortunately, the dreamer always compares himself with beings that rival the gods. No matter how he develops he can never feel satisfied with his own progress. Most kobold dragon dreamers come from Clan Sigrun.
Adventuring: A dragon dreamer is a steadfast companion. He unflinchingly faces dangers that would drive others into a screaming panic. The constant training demanded by his calling give him impressive combat prowess as well as useful physical skills. In a party he usually backs up both the fi ghters and the rogues, while occasionally providing a unique contribution of his own.
Roleplaying: The dreamer possesses both unusual levels of creative vision and intellectual discipline. He ignores the barbs and jibes of those who do not understand his path. This deep focus on his own powers also promotes a very detached perspective. The dreamer can seem to ignore the mundane world, deriving all of the strength he needs from his dreams.
Benefi ts: A dreamer’s favoured class is monk. If his favoured class is already monk (or if he can have any class as his favoured class) the dreamer does +1 damage with his unarmed attacks. If the dreamer gains any of the ‘dragon’ feats he uses their abilities with a +1 effective level bonus.
Penalties: The dreamer relies on his body’s natural weapons and armour. He may not be proficient with any type of weapon, armour or shields.
They say that the voice of a dragon carries the wisdom of ages. It can reach into someone’s soul to unlock secrets that person did not even know existed. Some say that to trade words with a dragon is to court disaster of the highest order.
For whatever reason, the dragon speaker embodies these tales. Something about his voice, his eyes, his mannerisms and his way of structuring words gives him an almost unnatural control over others. This seems to be an inborn gift that manifests whenever the speaker needs it. It allows him to hold whole crowds spellbound with his honeyed words.
Unfortunately this gift does not guarantee either empathy or morality on the part of the speaker. A speaker’s innate gift for controlling others often leads him into debauchery and bullying. He can talk anyone into anything and after all, why should he work for himself?
Often a dragon speaker will slowly poison a community until it fi nally falls under his sway. Or he may simply seduce people to his side with promises of wealth and power, discarding them after he fi nally drains them dry.
Adventuring: A dragon speaker is a remarkably charismatic creature, gifted with the magical talent of persuasion. His honeyed voice will win with persuasion what cannot be taken by force. This makes him a valuable addition to any party but that same charm can easily land the party in hot water.
Roleplaying: The dragon speaker long ago learned that he could talk his way out of anything. This leads him to be both reckless and bold. After all, there are no consequences to any of his actions. Most speakers rely on others, which inhibits the development of their own strength. A dragon speaker always seems to know the right way to approach someone, no matter what the situation.
Benefit: A dragon speaker may expend an arcane spell slot to give himself a bonus to any Charisma based skill check. The bonus generated is equal to twice the spell’s level or +1 for zero level spells.
Penalties:The dragon speaker becomes accustomed to hiding behind his magical voice. He has a –2 penalty on checks to resist fear and a –1 penalty to attacks with melee weapons.
Envy is a strange thing. In some it inspires a kind of sickly admiration. In other hearts it turns into bitterness or even self-loathing. Sometimes though envy turns into rage, rage transforms into hate and then in turn into dedicated action.
A dragon taker once felt the same envy that all kobolds feel towards dragons. It festered like a wound in his heart. Eventually that festering burst forth into a blazing inferno of rage. In that moment the dragon taker dedicated himself to an impossible dream; what he could not have he would utterly destroy.
The dragon taker will not rest until he exterminates all of dragon-kind. Every one of the great beasts will fall to his passion. He wants to bathe in an endless stream of draconic blood, to crush their eggs beneath his booted heel.
Pursuing this goal may lead the dragon taker down many paths. He may study the ways of the warrior, hoping that gleaming steel can purge his lust for blood. He may master the arcane arts in the belief that forbidden powers will grant his wish. Many walk into the shadows with the fi rm conviction that the only way they can kill such beasts is if the dragon does not see them coming. A few dedicate themselves to long forgotten gods in the fervent hope that divine power will fi nally strike down their hated foes.
Adventuring: Other than being obsessed with the death of dragons, a dragon taker makes an excellent companion. The scope of his ambition gives him a razor sharp focus. He pursues his path with fanatical devotion, studying and training in every free moment. He can be relied upon to fulfi l his role to the absolute best of his abilities. Of course he can also be relied on to immediately charge into the den of any dragon he hears about.
Roleplaying: A dragon taker is a being with a mission. This mission drives him to excel in his chosen field. He also exhaustively studies dragons and draconic lore. He is not stupid, but he is almost pathologically obsessed with killing dragons. This obsession can lead him into serious trouble, as he regards every wyrm he encounters as his rightful prey.
Benefits: Knowledge (arcana) is a class skill for the dragon taker. He may take 10 on any Knowledge (arcana) check to identify the abilities of a dragon. The dragon taker gains a +2 bonus to his saving throw to resist a dragon’s frightful presence.
Penalties:A dragon taker must attack any dragon he encounters, regardless of the circumstances. If other kobolds know that he is a taker they immediately become hostile. The only exception to this is kobolds from Clan Uwe.
Kobolds stand alone against the mighty forces of the world. No matter what they tell themselves they are badly outnumbered, out equipped and often out fought. Those that bind themselves to dragons fi nd that their patrons find them just as expendable as the rest of the world does.
Somewhere in the past the guardian finally drew a line. He decided that if no one else would stand up for his people he would. He would no longer retreat, no longer snivel before those more powerful than he, no longer just lie down and die. Instead he would develop his own strength, and that of his fellow kobolds, into a razor sharp blade against the hated world. Even if he cannot win the very act of trying blesses his inevitable death with dignity.
The guardian forms the backbone of a kobold army. When everyone else settles down to rest after a day of toil he picks up a spear to practice. He will spend days walking the boundaries of his lands so that he knows every nook and crevice. When attackers come the guardian holds the line, inspiring his weaker cousins by his example and bravery.
Adventuring: A guardian often leaves his clan and tribe for a few years. During this time he travels the world, exploring and learning the tactics of other races. He may serve as a mercenary or a wanderer. As part of his studies he tries to pick up magical tools that will help him when he finally does return. The guardian is a cautious adventurer, always weighing the risk to his own life against the benefit to his people.
Roleplaying: Bravery and dedication form the backbone of a guardian’s conscious awareness and he never willingly backs down. At the same time the guardian realises that he must preserve his own life if he wants to protect his people. Reckless bravery has no place in his tactics.
Benefits: Unlike warriors of other races, a kobold guardian cannot rely on the martial training of his peers to enhance his combat skills. Instead he hones his own knowledge of tactics and strategy to a fine edge. He gains Knowledge (history) as a class skill. Furthermore he gains a +4 competency bonus to his Knowledge (history) checks to use the tactical options presented in the Tricks of the Trade chapter.
Penalties: The guardian is unable to fit into normal kobold society. He cannot be evil and has a –2 circumstance penalty to Diplomacy checks when dealing with evil kobolds.
Wise men claim that the best defence is a good offence. For a small race like kobolds this saying carries special weight. They cannot win pitched battles against larger, stronger foes. Instead they must rely on trickery, deception and strategic strikes against their potential attacker’s ability to make war. Humans may stand four feet taller than the average kobold, but they cannot fight if they have not eaten in a week.
Inflicting damage on the enemy’s ability to make war requires both special training and ruthlessness. Both of these allow the harrier to slip behind enemy lines to poison wells, destroy artisan’s shops, murder farmers in their beds and engage in other such activities. The harrier may work alone or with a small group. He will generally be away from the tribe for months at a time, working deep in hostile territory.
A harrier’s training starts young, when he first demonstrates the remarkable aptitude for stealth required for survival. When the other pups play or work he practices sneaking past guards. As they learn the esoteric rules of the kobold people he masters the use of short-bow and cutting knife. He and his fellows cease to exist in common society, surfacing only when the tribe has need of their special services.
Adventuring: A harrier makes an excellent addition to any adventuring party. He is a highly skilled rogue with excellent ranged combat skills. However, he is also a kobold on a mission. The harrier may be as much a liability as help in any civilised setting. His dedication to weakening the civilised opponents of his race may lead him to acts of sabotage and terror against innocents who accidentally fall in his path.
Roleplaying: The lonely nature of a harrier’s work generally makes him eager for company. His training and background make him wary of other species. If he believes that his companions will not bring harm to his tribe the harrier may eventually come to trust them. However, his habitual distrust of anyone who is not a kobold will eventually lead him to turn his back on his erstwhile companions.
Benefits: The harrier gains a +2 bonus to Craft (trapmaking), Hide, Listen and Move Silently. He gains a +1 attack bonus when using ranged weapons to attack a Medium or greater size target.
Penalties: A harrier’s favoured class is rogue. He cannot take levels in a base class other than rogue or fighter. He may only take levels in prestige classes that require either Hide or Move Silently as prerequisites.
Kobolds live a wretched existence made bearable only by their own pride and love of life. Most kobolds escape from this misery though religious frenzies. Others happily engage in back breaking labour to take their minds off their troubles. Many have learned a truth known by many other intelligent peoples. Money may not be able to buy happiness but it certainly makes misery much more comfortable.
A mercenary firmly believes in comfort. In order to get this comfort he needs gold…lots and lots of gold. To meet his need the mercenary sells his services to the highest bidder. So long as the coins keep fl owing the mercenary remains loyal. The moment the river stops he goes out to find a richer master.
The primary commodity of a mercenary is his personal skills. He may be a powerful magician or a talented thief. Whatever these skills are, he works to keep them as highly developed as possible. If he cannot perform, the stream of gold he depends on will vanish, dumping him back into the squalor he has striven so desperately to rise above.
Beyond this focus on maintaining marketable skills, a mercenary is often remarkably lazy. He does what he is paid to do. After that the mercenary could not care less about what goes on around him.
Adventuring: No mercenary does well at first. It takes a long time to develop a reputation, contacts and a steady line of patrons. In those first years a mercenary will often work with an adventuring group or other such band, hoping that the work will bring in a steady income.
Roleplaying:A mercenary is motivated by greed. Many people will take up the mercenary way occasionally, but only the greediest dedicate their lives to it. His only loyalty is to the golden coins that buy his pleasures. As such, a mercenary can always be trusted to follow the path of least resistance to the greatest profit , but cannot be trusted with trifles like truth or justice.
Benefits: A mercenary gains a +1 competence bonus to checks involving one attribute of his choice. If he chooses Strength he gains a +1 competence bonus to attack but not damage rolls with melee weapons. If he chooses Dexterity he gains a +1 competence bonus to attack rolls with ranged weapons.
Penalties: The mercenary must make a Will save (DC 15) to resist taking a bribe. Once he accepts the bribe he must do his best to live up to the letter of the agreement.
Despite their best intentions and greatest efforts most kobolds cannot master even the most basic of draconic abilities. They lack the inborn talent, native drive and personal ambition required for such mastery. Instead they look at their rare fellows who can in fact do such things and wonder if there might not be an easier way. The great Matthias offered an answer to such people.
He designed a wide variety of gadgets that simulate draconic powers, giving his faithful everything fromgliding flight to fiery breath with a minimum of work and hassle. Anyone who wished too could taste,
however briefl y, what it might be like to wield real power.
At some point in the past the mimic became addicted to this taste of power. Just using one or the other tool could not satisfy his need. He spent every waking moment mastering the nuances of these various devices. Now he can use them easily, as though they were an extension of his own fl esh.
Such training carries with it a heavy price. The kobold now relies on his gadgetry. He will not walk when he can fl y. He does not fight with his hands, but with the lashing dragon-tail whip. His eyes, narrowed from long concentration, cannot guide an arrow although he has mastered the art of using a breath bag.
Adventuring: A mimic makes an odd companion. Much like a gnome gadgeteer or magical artifi cer the mimic relies extensively on his equipment. So long as it is in good working order he has remarkable powers. Unfortunately most of his tools are either delicate or highly situational in their use.
Roleplaying: When faced with a trying situation a mimic looks fi rst to his vast array of gadgets to solve his problem. If his gadgets cannot deal with the situation, then he tries to make the situation fi t a gadget. This can have disastrous results. The mimic is also very proud of how ‘far’ he has come down the road towards ‘dragonhood’. He laughs at those who struggle to acquire scraps of personal power while he walks the easy path with mechanical assistance.
Benefits: The mimic may treat dragon weapons (listed in the Kobold Tools section) as though they were martial weapons. He does not suffer from any penalties when using miscellaneous dragon tools.
Penalties: A mimic has a –2 penalty to attack and damage rolls with non-draconic weapons. He has no idea how to fight with such tools. This penalty does not apply to unarmed attacks.
Sometimes just being from a down and out race is not enough. Considered sword fodder and being laughed at by nearly every other sentient being does not quite seem to be enough to balance out what others call the ‘scale of karmic justice’. Sometimes the great powers of the universe get involved as well by picking a plaything up out of the scrap-heap of life.
A pawn somehow came to the maniacal attention of these higher powers. Primal forces of good and evil use him as a battleground, a moral test case through which to demonstrate their superiority. They have granted the poor pawn amazing powers. Then they throw him to the wolves, tormenting him with personal and ethical quandaries until he either goes mad or dies trying. Once the pawn fi nally expires the primal forces reveal his life to the ‘wise’ of the world as a point of debate for centuries to come.
This constant bullying makes the pawn’s life a living hell. The forces of darkness and light lurk around every corner, waiting to spring yet another nasty surprise on him. About the only compensation is that he has access to both holy and unholy power. Whether this is a blessing or a curse depends on how fast he is on his feet.
Adventuring: Having a pawn in an adventuring party guarantees an interesting ride. Wherever the pawn goes, trouble of some sort or another certainly follows. Ancient artefacts, dire curses and random oddities constantly come to light around him. Many stout parties keep a pawn around just for his value as a fi nder of interesting experiences, although more dedicated groups will throw one out rather than be distracted by his strangeness.
Roleplaying: How a pawn feels about being the most current battleground between darkness and light depends on his own background. Some find it amusing. Others take a very resigned approach. Many hope that they can somehow buy off both sides for a moment’s peace. Most take up a religious vocation just to have some defence against the constant barrage of peculiarities that plague them.
Benefit: The pawn may choose to channel either positive or negative energy (turning or rebuking undead) regardless of his alignment. Each time he switches energy type he accrues a –2 luck penalty to one type of roll or check of the Games Master’s choice. These penalties may be negated by a remove curse spell. Each casting of remove curse negates one –2 penalty.
Penalties: The pawn must be neutral with respect to good and evil. If he ever becomes good or evil he permanently loses the pawn character concept benefi t. A pawn has a –1 luck penalty to resist any spell or effect with either the good or evil descriptor.
Some religious texts say that each individual must take their allocated amount of suffering and bear it with stoicism and silence. The world shows its bleak face to mortals, only occasionally smiling on them with rare moments of good fortune. Only the gods can ever be truly happy; mortals must accept their transient moments of joy.
The rapscallion knows that the writers of such texts just need to loosen up a little bit. Life is about laughter. Humour exists everywhere for those who know how to look for it. If something is not funny, an honest person with fast wits can probably make it so. Should the honest person fail, well, the dishonest person has a few more ticks up his sleeve.
Where the builder responds to the toil of life with work and the slayer with rage, the rapscallion treats the whole world as one big joke. From his point of view people must make a choice. They can either be a part of the joke or be the butt of it. Having asked himself which of the two he would rather be, the rapscallion dedicates his life to making sure he is never the butt.
After all, who wants to be laughed at!
His carefree nature, or potentially his constant practical jokes, marks the rapscallion as radically different from his glum companions. Often he fi nds that he has more in common with the kobold’s natural enemies than with his own littermates. This realisation just leads him further down the path of chaos until eventually he falls into total anarchy.
Adventuring: A rapscallion always has a quip on his lips and a joke ready for the telling. Even in the most dire of situations he can fi nd some kind of humour. Of course, the rapscallion also lacks anything remotely resembling discipline or focus. Although he makes an interesting addition to any party keeping him in check may be more than most intelligent creatures wish to take on.
Roleplaying: Life is a joke, death doubly so. Everything the rapscallion does, thinks, wants, or needs derives from that statement. Nothing truly matters. If his tormentors are gods or the indifferent forces of fate then the rapscallion will just have to fi nd some way to turn the joke around on the whole world.
Benefits: A rapscallion embodies the forces of chaos in the world. He gains +2 to Hide, Sleight of Hand and Move Silently.
Penalties: The rapscallion must be of chaotic alignment. If he ever becomes non-chaotic he permanently loses his bonuses and powers.
Other creatures refer to the kobold as vermin, as an infestation to clear out of an area before they can put it to a profitable use. They often comment on the kobold’s willingness to dwell with real vermin. Kobold lairs seem overrun with centipedes, rats, spiders and worse. Not all of these creatures are the small kind either. Many kobold warrens contain vermin perfectly capable of eating most of the tribe.
What the legions of kobold oppressors do not understand is that kobolds have a deep empathy with such creatures. In fact, the two groups share many of the same problems. Food is scarce, they come under attack from intelligent races all the time and no one gives them anything other than trouble.
A rat brother takes this racial empathy to a whole new level. He not only feels sympathy for vermin; he loves them. Where other kobolds tolerate their presence, he goes out of his way to help them out. In return these vicious creatures respond with an unusual level of empathy in return. They fetch and carry, run and guard for him as though they were intelligent animals rather than fierce killing machines.
This relationship with vermin makes the rat brother a valuable member of any kobold community. He can train spiders and centipedes to guard doors and valuables. He can walk unafraid in the local giant ant colony and convince giant wasps to watch the skies. In return the community usually offers him a place of prestige and power, attending to his basic needs.
Adventuring: The path of the druid offers the most benefi t to a rat brother. The druid’s intense focus on spells and abilities to assist the natural world nicely complement his native abilities. This training in turn makes the rat brother an able adventurer. He can heal, communicate with animals, and maintain a large array of dangerous pets. Of course his presence means that the party must put up with carrying around a vast horde of spiders and rats.
Roleplaying: A rat brother maintains a deep focus on the world of vermin. He sees something beautiful in the slow gnawing of maggots and the rapid scurrying of the scorpion. This focus leaves him unable to relate normally with other creatures. He feels almost no empathy for the plight of others.
Benefits: The rat brother may train vermin as though they were animals with Intelligence 2. This allows each vermin to learn up to 6 tricks. Additionally the rat brother may train a rat swarm as though it was a single animal. A rat brother druid or ranger has vermin rather than an animal companion.
Penalties: If the rat brother has wild empathy he may use it on vermin but not on animals. He receives a –4 penalty to train any animal using the Animal Handling skill. The rat brother also suffers from a –1 penalty to any spell DC or skill check based off of his Charisma attribute.
Although not all kobolds live in warrens deep underground, they are most famous for such habitats. Indeed young adventuring parties cannot be considered blooded until they invade some poor kobold warren and put its residents to the sword. Where exactly all of these warrens come from has never been revealed…until now.
All kobolds like to dig. Many would rather work on a tunnel than face yet another day up on the surface running for their lives. However it takes a special sort of mania to really become a good digger. Such a person must have both a love of labour and a pure enjoyment derived from the feel of stone fracturing under a pick. They also have to be willing to work far into the night, when other kobolds are sleeping off the effects of the night’s storytelling.
A kobold with this unique blend of mania and joy becomes a sapper. He learns the secrets of stone and soil from others of his furtive kind. A handful of sappers can dig faster than an army of other kobolds, cutting miles of passages in the time it would take others to cut furlongs. Occasionally another sapper joins the team, using his flashing pick to communicate everything he has to say.
Adventuring: A sapper rarely takes the time to go out and adventure. His primary interest lies in a well-made tunnel or good packed earth. When he does leave the ground he always seems slightly twitchy. However, a sapper’s unique ability to cut though the earth makes him an invaluable addition to many criminal and military enterprises. A group of kobold sappers can undermine even the strongest fortress in a matter of weeks, or cut into an otherwise inaccessible vault in hours.
Roleplaying: The first and only question that a sapper asks is ‘When can we start digging?’ When not digging the sapper plans what he will dig next, thinks about what mistakes he made on the last dig and plays with new ways to swing his pick to get just a bit more impact. If someone takes his pick away the sapper will dig with whatever improvised tools become available, or with his hands if nothing better presents itself.
Benefits: A sapper gains a +2 bonus to Profession (miner) checks. Additionally he gains the ability to burrow through soil at a rate of 5 feet per minute if he wishes to leave a tunnel or 5 feet per round if he does not wish for others to follow him. He can burrow though soft stone at a much slower rate (5 feet per half hour with a tunnel or 5 feet per 10 minutes without one). The sapper must come up with some way to breathe if he wishes to stay in the ground for an extended period of time.
Penalties: The sapper leaves his tunnel network less than other kobolds. He is blinded by daylight or within the radius of a daylight spell.
Kobolds always go into battle fi rst, always absorb the brunt of every attack and are constantly kicked out of every decent dwelling place, grinding many of them down into misery and despair. Their size and lack of physical strength makes it diffi cult for them to fi ght back against the other folk. They cannot match arms with the orcs, or wits with the gnomes.
In the slayer this crushing despair ignites a deadly anger. He makes up for his physical weakness with ferocious rage rivalling that of a rabid animal. Where other kobolds rely on trickery and stealth, the slayer charges into direct battle. His wild eyes and insane laughter often unsettle intelligent foes. While consumed with rage the slayer can absorb incredible amounts of physical punishment, going so far as to crawl up an
impaling weapon to bite the hand of his killer.
Other kobolds tend to avoid the slayer until battle draws near. The slayer’s unpredictable rages make him an uncomfortable companion in the close-knit world of the clans. That same rage makes him invaluable on the front lines; tactically pinning his opponents while less enraged kobolds ensure the survival of the tribe.
Adventuring: A slayer fills the role of the barbarian in a party: shock trooper. He attacks the largest thing in sight and holds it in place while other folks pour damage into it. The fact that he can inflict impressive damage on his own just adds to his value.
Roleplaying: At the core of a slayer’s heart there burns an ember of pure, insane rage. He can keep that rage in check through force of will if he wants to, but doing so makes him seem fl at and emotionless. In truth he feels everything that happens, and responds to it all with blistering anger. Sometimes a slayer will strap his muzzle shut so that he can keep the invective in his mouth.
Benefits: The slayer has given his life to the cause of mayhem. He gains a +1 bonus to his saves vs. fear. Once per day he may go into a frenzy that grants him +4 Con for a number of rounds equal to his new Con modifier. When this ability fades he becomes exhausted and must rest normally. A barbarian slayer may not use this benefit but may rage one additional time per day.
Penalties: A slayer cannot read or write. He cannot spend skill points on Knowledge skills even if those skills would be class skills for him.
For every kobold that gives up hope or turns to mysticism there is one that tries to assess the world
to see how he can best fi nd advantage. In doing so he faces a wide range of personal challenges including his lack of strength, his physical size, and the relentless toil of his lifestyle.
On the other hand, being small and sneaky carries a few advantages as well. In fact, a fast kobold can turn his opponent’s size to his own advantage.
This skill leads the trapper to learn how to quickly set and disarm a wide variety of simple mechanical traps. Most of these traps use tripwires and small blades to hamstring the opponent. A few carry poison or even magical potions. The trapper spends countless hours learning how to set and disarm his traps, so that he can put them together with blinding speed if necessary.
Adventuring: A trapper typically learns a wide variety of skills in addition to making and setting traps. Thus he can work well with a party that needs a light fighter and scout, much like any other rogue. He particularly excels in set piece battles and night skirmishing.
Roleplaying: The trapper has a mechanical mind. He can identify places to spring out from in ambush and bottlenecks he can use to narrow down the odds in battle. He also loves gadgets of all kinds. Anyone searching through his pouches will find an amazing array of small blades, wires and springs.
Benefits: As a full round action that provokes an attack of opportunity a trapper may make a Craft (trapmaking) check to set up an improvised trap in a 5 feet square. Any creature moving into or through the square must make a Refl ex save (DC 10 + trapper’s Int + ½ trapper’s level) or take 1d6 slashing damage. A trapper that has the sneak attack ability may add that damage to the trap’s base damage. The character may set up to one trap per three character levels. Taking down a trap is a full round action.
Penalties: The trapper’s focus on trap making leaves him little time to learn other skills. He receives two fewer skill points per level.