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Kobold 5e

Dealing with critters en masse is always a problem, even for high-level adventurers. Although you won’t likely see Kobolds once you get past level 5, they live in practically every environment and could be potential threats wherever you go.

They’re typically found in dungeons and are considered the lesser cousins of proud Dragonborn. They’re technically related to dragons, and though they lack intelligence, they’re very fond of making traps. 

Kobold 5e Lore

As the books state, Kobolds are lizardlike humanoids that typically live deep underground. Although you can’t characterize an entire race of creatures, they are listed as lawful evil, meaning they have wicked intentions but are unlikely to act impulsively or outright evilly. Kobolds generally worship stronger creatures, often chromatic dragons, and live in their lairs for protection in return for their devotion.

Kobolds are descendants of dragons and enjoy collecting little trinkets or items for their comparably small hoards. However, they don’t tend to have very long lifespans (often under ten years), so their caches don’t have time to grow. Their stats are pretty weak, and they typically become prey for large predators of the Underdark where they reside. 

Kobolds always live in large packs, trying to compensate for their relative weaknesses by sheer numbers. They enjoy tunneling and making traps throughout the tunnels to deter anyone from traversing them. Since they’re small creatures, the tunnels are rarely large enough for a medium or larger creature to travel comfortably. 

The lore notes that Kobolds traditionally worship a god named Kurtulmak, who served as Tiamet’s vassal in the Nine Hells. Legends say that the god of the Gnomes stole from the dragon queen’s hoard, and when Kurtulmak went to pursue him, the Gnome played a prank and trapped the Kobold underground. Kobolds particularly loathe Gnomes, especially if they worship Kurtulmak.

Some Kobolds, known as urds, are born with leathery wings capable of flight. Although the wings are believed to be gifts from the gods, most Kobolds are jealous and banish urds, not wanting to associate with their winged kin. 

Kobold 5e Stats

  • Armor Class: 12
  • Hit Points: 5 (2d6 – 2)
  • Speed: 30 ft.

Base Stats:

  • STR  7
  • DEX  15
  • CON 9
  • INT   8 
  • WIS  7  
  • CHA 8

Senses: Darkvision 60 ft., Passive Perception 8
Languages: Common, Draconic
Challenge: 1/8 (25 XP)
Sunlight Sensitivity. While in sunlight, the kobold has disadvantage on attack rolls, as well as on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Pack Tactics. The kobold has advantage on an attack roll against a creature if at least one of the kobold’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated. 

Those base stats aren’t much to look at, but there are quite a few different types of Kobolds from the various guides and adventures that have come out over the years. We explore those types below and show how they differ. 

Winged Kobolds

With an AC of 13 and only 7 hit points, winged Kobolds, or urds, aren’t too different from normal ones. They have a CR of ¼ (50 XP) and a flying speed of 30 ft, but they can drop rocks on targets when they soar above. 

Kobold Inventor

These Kobolds have 13 hit points and a fair number of creative attacks based on their inventions, but they still have a CR of ¼ (50 XP), and their stats aren’t much better than standard Kobolds. 

Kobold Dragonshield

This is where things start to get interesting. At Challenge Rating 1 (200 XP), this Kobold is a challenge on its own. These Kobolds channel their inner dragons and have resistance to one type of damage based on its color (acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison).

They also have a feature called Heart of a Dragon that allows a Kobold to repeat its failed saving throw on the frightened or paralyzed condition at the beginning of their subsequent turns, possibly allowing them to act unimpeded. If the Kobold succeeds, they also end the effect on any other Kobolds within 30 feet of them, and anyone who is released has advantage on their next attack rolls.

Dragonshields are chosen as champions of their peoples by seeking out a dragon to empower them to protect the other Kobolds in the area. 

Kobold 5e Actions

The average Kobold will typically fight in melee, but they also have a ranged attack to get you while you’re approaching.

  • Dagger. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
  • Sling. Ranged Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, range 30/120 ft., one target. Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) bludgeoning damage.

How to Fight a Kobold in 5e

If you’re wandering through a dungeon, your best bet is to be vigilant about looking for traps since traps are the Kobolds’ preferred way of fighting. Generally, Kobolds are fearful and will avoid direct fights unless they vastly outnumber their opponents. If they can’t get you through the traps, they may try to overwhelm you with a crowd.

Like all low-level crowd fights, you should resist the temptation to wade in and instead let spellcasters target them with area effects. If area effect spells aren’t an option for some reason, characters who have multiple attacks or attacks that can target multiple opponents should be the front line.

Pack tactics is a surprisingly strong ability and makes kobolds a much more significant threat than they would otherwise be.

However, if someone can use a light spell (that invokes sunlight specifically), you might be able to negate that advantage since Kobolds have disadvantage on attacks when in direct sunlight. If you can’t cast something like that, you can always try to lure the Kobolds outside under the burning sun, but it’s unlikely they’ll follow you there. 

How to Use Kobolds As DM

As we noted, Kobolds would avoid direct confrontation if that’s an option. Kobolds are likely to grovel and whimper, trying to deceive adventurers or lure them into their clever traps. If Kobolds outnumber the party by a significant margin, they may attack, but they’ll probably only do so to provoke the adventurers into carelessly delving deeper into the cavern and, hopefully, forcing them into their prepared traps. 

If you’re playing as a Kobold dragonshield, you should be sure to have them display feats of bravery and try to inspire and protect the other Kobolds. They were chosen as the leaders of their people and are highly respected for the dragon blessings they carry.

However, at heart, they are still Kobolds and may feel insecure about their positions. This could lead to poor decisions tactically or going out of their way to impress others, even at great cost to themselves and anyone else who might be involved. 

Kobolds 5e FAQs

Can a PC Be a Kobold?

Yes, the Kobold is a playable race. As PCs, Kobolds are small humanoids with a 30-foot walking speed and 60 feet of darkvision. They have two racial features: Draconic Cry and Kobold Legacy. Draconic Cry gives you a bonus action against enemies within 10 feet of you, giving you and your party advantage on attack rolls against your targets. You can use it a number of times equal to your proficiency bonus before you need a long rest to refresh it.

Kobold Legacy allows you to choose between starting with a cantrip from the Sorcerer spell list (you choose between Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma as your casting modifier), having advantage on saving throws to avoid or end the frightened condition, or taking proficiency in Intelligence (Arcana), Intelligence (Investigation), Wisdom (Medicine), Dexterity (Sleight of Hand), or Wisdom (Survival). 

Do Players Also Get Pack Tactics?

No, unless you’re using the legacy version of the Kobold race. Volo’s Guide to Monsters had a version of the Kobold race that had access to pack tactics, but the revised edition in Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse now lists player character Kobolds without pack tactics. This was likely because the feature was too strong, and the creators wanted to balance the race. 

Done setting traps? Why not head over to some of our other useful DnD 5e Guides? Monsters by Challenge Rating, War Caster Feat, or DnD 5e Book List are good places to start.

Kobolds 5e DnD

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12/08/2022 05:31 am GMT