I’m not sure what it is about kobolds – those little dragon-dog-people with big toothy smiles who are small and clever and always popping up everywhere doing unexpected things when not carrying off livestock or trying to be noticed by real dragons. In Dungeons and Dragons they’re some of the weakest creatures individually in the game, and yet I’ve had tribes of these little critters give experienced players a really hard time. The secret is that they love to tinker and set traps. In 5th edition particularly they’ve been allowed to grow from something of a joke to a more rounded set of beings that work well together and have an egalitarian approach to overcoming life’s difficulties that is hard to resist.
As player characters, or significant non-player characters, kobolds have a similar charm to me as goblins – there’s perhaps not as much baggage to kobolds though. Kobolds don’t have the weight of Tolkien as a legacy and perhaps that’s why the tales of mine spirits have evolved into terrier-like mischief makers. The DDC has adopted a kobold baby – Odif – and there’s a new kobold in town by the name of Ufot Yloh, but I’ve also been tinkering around in Heroforge to make some new faces that may turn up in a game some time.
I’ve not given them any names other than Kobold Sorcerer and Kobold Artificer as yet. Sorcerers are natural casters of magic empowered by a draconic bloodline, so it made sense that a kobold would occasionally start being able to fling fireballs given their similar lineages and appearances. The Artificer is a natural extension of the kobold love of traps and inventions – so the appearance of a blunderbuss-style weapon in the hands of one seemed to fit their general feel.
I’m not sure how I’ll use them – maybe a one-shot delving into Odif’s lost family at some point. That has a certain appeal as it would be a very different feel from the adventures of the DDC. Maybe an adventure where all the players are Odif’s tribe and they’re hunting down the people who stole him away. That has a nice ring to it…
As ever, feel free to copy and use these tokens in your own games – and I’d love to hear stories of their adventures…
For those who don’t follow the vagaries and peculiarities of our regular Sunday game of Dungeons and Dragons, the wily kobold known as Odif was adopted by the group under highly irregular circumstances. He was discovered as a baby, and all attempts at finding his original parents failed. They took him into their hearts instead; named him, and clothed him, and raised him as best they could – while also fighting to save their little portion of the world. In time, he began to exhibit a tendency and talent for tinkering with objects around him. As he grew older, the group suspected he would move beyond simple toys and amusements and perhaps become an artificer. So, like all devoted parents they made training and tools available, and decided to let him pick his own path.
As the adventures of the DDC became more dangerous, and necessitated longer periods on the road, the Warforged rogue known as Coal volunteered to act step down from active adventuring. He would instead step up as Odif’s guardian. As part of that process he used his portion of the group’s earnings to buy and develop a club house for youngsters in need of shelter, distraction, education and perhaps the odd meal or two. He reckoned that this would also provide peers nearer Odif’s age as well as a more structured and less hazardous life.
Subsequent glimpses back by the DDC, as well as a one-shot adventure recently have shown that Coal’s Clubhouse is thriving. There are many people of all ages who drop in and support or are themselves supported – and it is mere conjecture and rumour-mongering to suggest that Coal has in fact set up a small and thriving Thieves’ Guild that operates out of the establishment. Odif and Coal are well-known in the area – and the one-shot consisted of local young adventurers being set a task of a “reverse heist” to deliver presents around the New Year festival.
In a vibrant and diverse city such as Fairhaven – especially in such close proximity to the University District – there are many strange and unusual individuals, but not many of those known to the wider public are kobolds. As a result Odif’s whereabouts are often remarked on. When another kobold appeared on the scene therefore, there was also intense scrutiny and conjecture as to whether they knew each other. Odif was a young male kobold without a biological family, and this new kobold maiden became known to the wider populace as Ufot Yloh.
Rumours began to fly as each were seen at the Clubhouse at various times, though there was no suggestion of impropriety beyond a shared predilection for pranks and leaving small traps or explosives for each other to find. Will they form a romantic link? Or is that perhaps expecting a little too much of two young kobolds with similar senses of mischief and ability to turn up in unusual places? If Coal has an opinion on the matter, he remains tight-lipped but positive. He has been supportive of both, and has been seen showing each of them around the area and including them in social events and gatherings at the Clubhouse.
A romance, or a friendship? Why not both?
It would be tempting to leave this here and let imaginations wander – but this is the DDC, and they have very strange and queer adventures at the best of times. So time to draw the curtain back a little.
Odif gets his name from the meat provided by Tanglefinger the Boggart who lives in the DDC’s house. He was asked to get ‘an identifiable named meat’ and being a slightly malicious fey creature the meat he provided was certainly identifiable – it had a dog collar and tag labelled “Fido”. The reversed name stuck. During the travels of the group, the spell known as “Create Food and Water” was used to bolster rations – and the resulting bland but filling foodstuff was nicknamed “Holy Tofu” by the DDC
When creating the character sheet for Odif, I took the Faceless background which provides him with an alter ego and disguise that completely differentiates him and protects him. That alter ego, which is becoming better known than Odif in certain circles, is Ufot Yloh. A change of clothes, some greasepaint and fake horn extensions, and some practiced changes in how they move and suddenly there are two kobolds in the neighbourhood. Isn’t it lovely how they’re always talking about each other?
Kobolds are generally non-binary, don’t care about gender norms in the same way as some societies, and can slowly change sex as needed. How this will play out in the campaign is anyone’s guess – but I’ll remind you that the tagline for the campaign is “A Very Queer Adventure”
Last night’s game ran over time, but was great fun, mixing the freeform joys of a festival with a guest player who needed to recruit the DDC. As with last week, I’d drawn up a timetable for events to help keep us on track for the session and by and large it helped us clip along at a brisk pace all the way through.
Our guest character, Zorra, was a warlock from the University library, well known to Kerne. An aarakocra looking like a large humanoid owl in a smart suit, Zorra had been shut out of her home by an invasion of kobolds and needed the DDC’s help getting back in.
Home Alone style hijinks then started before the group managed to break in and fight off the small statured but persistent pack – while Valenia and her wolf fell through into a sub basement which looked to be where the kobolds had come from.
We did overrun, so the story will continue next week with our guest returning – but if you’d like to hear and see what happened then go to www.twitch.tv/princessleah1980 and you can catch up there.