Saturday, September 20, 2014

I Like Kobolds

Just take a look at those ridiculous little lizard dogs. You just know their language is full of yelps and snarls. They sort of seem like slapstick incarnate, and in some ways I guess they kind of are. They yelp and run and essentially throw marbles and banana peels in your way. They're weak and cowardly but, by necessity, clever.

For instance, their traps take on some damn interesting, innovative, and ill conceived components from time to time. Those are the ones that get remembered (these faulty, Rube-Goldbergian machinations), because somebody walked away from them. Just as often kobold traps are brutally, viciously efficient, but most don't walk away from those. (If some do, the story's not as likely to get passed around at the dives murderous hobos frequent.)

All kobold warrens are heavily trapped. Kobolds are weak, singularly and not that strong in numbers. Kobolds are viscerally aware of this fact. It is ingrained in their culture. It is an inescapable, basic truth. We are weak; we must not be slow. We are not mighty; we must be clever.

Kobolds prize inventiveness and surreptitiousness above all else. (Elsewise the Kobolds likely would no longer exist in a world of humans and ogres and other fearsome things.)

Kobolds do not fight to the death*. They will flee (or try at least). Fleeing is central to their very way of life. They own almost nothing that cannot be worn or tossed into a sack while running.

Typically, their abodes are extemporaneous, utilitarian, and devoid of decoration. They adorn themselves instead. Body modifications, garish clothing, and jewelry (when it can be had) are wildly popular amongst kobolds. It is not unheard of to find that beneath all the filth, a kobold is wearing robes of the finest silk, filched from some wizard's estate. Perhaps the sack carried by another is actually an elaborately stitched tapestry, missing from the priory, oh these many years.

Ya, Kobolds will steal. They'll steal anything not nailed down that might be useful. (Given enough time, the nails won't stop them either.) They don't see it as theft, though, merely survival. If kobolds happen across your  fields, you'll lose 1/3 of your crop at the most, typically less. They don't steal, really; they gather, and they scavenge.

Now, don't get me wrong, they are monsters. When a kobold clan moves into the area and takes 1/4 of your flock and a 1/3 of your garden, you might not make it through the winter. That's monstrous.

But, keep in mind, a human menace would probably take all of both, and your daughters too.


* When they've failed utterly and have no way out, Kobolds will of course fight tooth and nail to live or protect their young. They probably won't be fighting to kill or for vengeance or anything like that, though. They'll probably just be fighting for a chance to run.

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BONUS CLASS

LotFP Kobolds

Exactly as Halflings buuut, the 5/6 to Stealth in the wilderness becomes a 5/6 Tinkering when setting up traps. The 3/6 Bushcraft becomes 3/6 Stealth. Also everybody probably hates you.

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Hey, if you are looking for slapstick monsters, check out Little Devils. It's a one page dungeon I wrote and statted-up for LotFP. It's still on sale because I forgot to un-on-sale it. There's a preview there on Drive-thru that pretty much gives everything away, so check it out, yo.


Lamentations of the Flame Princess & the LotFP abbreviation are totally © James Edward Raggi IV.