The Future of Kobolds

Posted by Table Titans on March 03, 2013

They've bee with us since the AD&D Monster manual, they're often the first creatures a party encounters, and sometimes even rolled as a player-characters by adventures gamers. We are, of course, talking about the Kobold!

In Germanic mythology, and even surviving into modern day German folklore, the Kobold is a mischievous little sprite known for causing trouble. Traditionally they're known to take residence in homes, mines, or at sea. Sometimes indifferent to humans and sometimes plain mean, these little sprites can take many forms and bring good fortune or despair at their choosing.

Of course the Kobolds of Dungeons and Dragons that we all know and love are more like packs of lizard men, wielding spears and swarming unprepared adventurers. Recently Senior Creative Direct for D&D, Jon Schindehette, took a long hard look at the Kobold. Starting with the first iteration and working his way through the most recent edition Jon wrote a fantastic article about the future of this little devils and how it might be drastically different from what we're used to, in a good way. Below is an excerpt featuring Jon's thoughts of what the Kobold might become. Click here to give the full article a read.

So, if I had my way, I'd make some design changes to the kobolds to make the visual depiction better fit the ecology and culture of the kobold. Try these concepts on for size.
Creature design would be based upon the following:

  • Three-foot-tall humanoid (as in two arms, two legs, upright) form that has been infused with the draconic essence of a god. Slight skeletal frame. More about intelligence and agility than strength or brute force. Furtive and cowardly alone, but ferocious and dangerous in a crowd. This would drive all major design decisions.
  • Hairless, scaly hides that range from dark brown to black.
  • Large intelligent eyes that are suited to life underground.
  • A long tail (prehensile) that integrates with the rest of the body.
  • Hands that are quite deft and capable of intricate actions. This would also indicate an ability to craft and make culturally appropriate clothing and accessories—perhaps draconic in theme?
  • Small white or beige horns.
  • Affinity to, and reverence of, dragons.

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