Kobolds, got shafted again!


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I dunno maybe i'm a total oddball but i so love and adore kobolds! my favorite race, and i own almost every source book i can get my hands on about the little guys. So really saddend me to, see that they didn't get any real buffs in pathfinder. By buffs i just mean brought in line with other races! while i understand they are a monsterous race, and not a big focus...still i'd have liked to see them get there monsterous disability removed.

Kobolds are about same size as gnomes or halflings and yet seem to get much much much worse stats then the latter. Its a pet peeve because i never considered kobolds physical weakness what made them so depraved and " cannon fodder" material. Sure there small but can you really say there weaker then a halfing? physically speaking? mean consider there ancestry, it seems odd that kobolds get such a crazy strength reduction, and con reduction with NO real buffs to compensate. Will say i love some of the bonus class skills that was a great touch! but certainly doesn't make up for the loss they inherently get in other areas.

Love to see there bonuses reworked is all... honestly be changing it for my own campaigns when players want to use them probably to something along the lines of...

+2 dex, +2 int, -2 con

that puts them in line with the other species, i mean when you compare them to goblins...just weird! i'd say kobolds need a second looking at, in my own humble fanboyish opinion!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Lokai wrote:

I dunno maybe i'm a total oddball but i so love and adore kobolds! my favorite race, and i own almost every source book i can get my hands on about the little guys. So really saddend me to, see that they didn't get any real buffs in pathfinder. By buffs i just mean brought in line with other races! while i understand they are a monsterous race, and not a big focus...still i'd have liked to see them get there monsterous disability removed.

Kobolds are about same size as gnomes or halflings and yet seem to get much much much worse stats then the latter. Its a pet peeve because i never considered kobolds physical weakness what made them so depraved and " cannon fodder" material. Sure there small but can you really say there weaker then a halfing? physically speaking? mean consider there ancestry, it seems odd that kobolds get such a crazy strength reduction, and con reduction with NO real buffs to compensate. Will say i love some of the bonus class skills that was a great touch! but certainly doesn't make up for the loss they inherently get in other areas.

Love to see there bonuses reworked is all... honestly be changing it for my own campaigns when players want to use them probably to something along the lines of...

+2 dex, +2 int, -2 con

that puts them in line with the other species, i mean when you compare them to goblins...just weird! i'd say kobolds need a second looking at, in my own humble fanboyish opinion!

I am not a Kobold fan.

But reviewing their entry in the Bestiary, I see your point. They are being being excessivly penalized.

If the designers want to "emphasize" the small size of kobolds, perhaps a -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, & +2 Intellignece might have been better.

Spoiler:
Or even -2 Strength & +2 Dexterity if they want to keep them "zero sum" like Goblins.

This would also be consistent with the way they have emphasized the trapbuilding skills of Kobolds (and general talents with handcrafts) in the Classic Monsters Revisited


Lokai wrote:

Love to see there bonuses reworked is all... honestly be changing it for my own campaigns when players want to use them probably to something along the lines of...

+2 dex, +2 int, -2 con

You gonna drop their speed to 20' so they match gnomes and halflings too? Don't forgot to drop goblins' speed to 20' as well, so we can stop the stereo-type that is small PCs move slower than the small monsters.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

Daniel Moyer wrote:
Lokai wrote:

Love to see there bonuses reworked is all... honestly be changing it for my own campaigns when players want to use them probably to something along the lines of...

+2 dex, +2 int, -2 con

You gonna drop their speed to 20' so they match gnomes and halflings too? Don't forgot to drop goblins' speed to 20' as well, so we can stop the stereo-type that is small PCs move slower than the small monsters.

Actually, Goblins should keep their Move Speed of 30'. It appears to be intended as one of their "racial special abilities"

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I prefer giving dragon-descended 3.X style Kobolds (which I call Wyrmkin, to differentiate them from the dog-men of 1st edition) -2 Str, +2 Dex, and no other stat bonuses or penalties (compensated for by 30 ft. land speed, darkvision and +1 natural armor, over halflings and gnomes).

I then give each of them a 'color package' based off of what type of dragon they are descended from, and a +2 bonus to saves vs. sleep and paralysis;

Black - Acid Resistance 1 / HD. Hold breath for Con x4 rounds. +4 racial bonus to Swim checks.

Blue - Electrical Resistance 1 / HD. 1/2 water requirements, +4 Con checks to avoid nonlethal damage from dehydration. +4 Stealth checks in sandy terrain.

Green - Acid Resistance 1 / HD. Hold breath for Con x4 rounds. +4 racial bonus to Swim checks.

Red - Fire Resistance 1 / HD. +1 damage / die from Cold attacks. +4 Fort saves to avoid nonlethal damage from environmental heat, -4 Fort saves to avoid nonlethal damage from environmental cold.

White - Cold Resistance 1 / HD. Move unpenalized over ice and snow. +4 Acrobatics/balance checks to move over icy surfaces without slipping. +4 Fort checks to avoid nonlethal damage from extreme environmental cold. -4 Fort checks to avoid nonlethal damage from extreme environmental Heat. +1 damage / die from Fire attacks.

While they breed true now, Wyrmkin originate in clusters of 2 to 5 from unfertilized eggs lain every year by female dragons. Some female dragons devour these eggs, rather than deal with another crop of annoying critters. Others let them hatch and enslave these 'children.' Others abandon them to hatch and become free-range nuisances to local humanoid neighbors.

The Kobolds from earlier editions retain the name Kobold, and the same stats (with bonuses to Appraise & Craft skills similar to a Dwarf), but no draconic ties, and are not even a little bit reptilian (although they have animalistic facial features reminiscent of a dog or ape, kinda/sorta). They live underground and like to think that they rival dwarves for craftsmanship, being the primary source of weapons and armor for hobgoblin and orcish groups advanced enough to trade for their goods. The fact that hobgoblins and orcs never seem to have masterwork weapons indicates that they aren't quite as awesome as they think.

In either case, these Kobolds better fit the LA +0 standing of humans, dwarves, etc.

Still, not every race needs to be up to snuff. If someone wants to play a Goblin or a bog-standard unimproved Kobold, I'd be inclined to let them start with some other advantage for being a sub-par race. (Free feat from a preselected list? NPC class level? Faster XP progression? A lucky cache of starting gold? No hard and fast rules to exploit, just some negotiated perk that wouldn't bug the rest of the players.)


Lokai wrote:
I dunno maybe i'm a total oddball but i so love and adore kobolds! my favorite race, and i own almost every source book i can get my hands on about the little guys.

Do you, by chance, have this little number?

Sovereign Court

Nice to see some kobold loving on the boards. Too bad they probably still got hit so hard with negative modifiers. They're CR is probably super low to reflect it of course.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I understand that folks like kobolds... but as with pretty much EVERY MONSTER IN THE BOOK, they're built to be monsters. Not Player Character races. I can't say this enough, it seems.

In the kobold's case, it's meant to be a very fragile and wimpy monster, something that 1st level characters can fight several of at once. That means that in order to fill that niche and requirement, it HAS to be a pushover. That's what being a kobold means, really.

If you want tougher kobolds, fortunately, you can just stack class levels on them until they're wherever you want them to be. And if you want to play a kobold as a PC, well, you might be able to talk your GM into letting you take a bonus feat or something to offset the fact that your baseline racial abilities aren't as good as a core class, I guess... but until we officially do the Kobold Heroes Handbook, there's not really an official "patch" to make kobolds viable PC races. Because that's not what we need them to do in the core game.

Dark Archive

Midnight on a Thursday, you still at the office James? Man, if I knew keeping late hours on the board was required, I might have moved up to Seattle to try and get an internship at the very LEAST.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
...they're built to be monsters. Not Player Character races. I can't say this enough, it seems

We're just a bunch of brick walls :)

James Jacobs wrote:
...but until we officially do the Kobold Heroes Handbook...

I would definately pick is up!


If the monsters were designed to be variant player races, then the odd campaign or adventure where the players play monstrous PCs wouldn't be as much fun.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Wow that gives me a great idea for a game. The entire party is kobolds and goblins. The first adventure goal is to try to get 50 chickens!


Goblin Witchlord wrote:
If the monsters were designed to be variant player races, then the odd campaign or adventure where the players play monstrous PCs wouldn't be as much fun.

If they were designed to be played, then if they were played it wouldn't be much fun. Huh? I guess the standard PC races are an absolute bore to play?


I like playing Kobolds too, but personally I've always seen as their deficiencies and penalties to be challenges to overcome. First level is definitely a struggle, but once you gain a level or two the difference is negligible. Its definitely not for everyone, but if you want a challenge go for it. Personally I never play a gnome or halfling unless its a caster because of the slow movement. Between the small size and reduced damage the penalties are too much.

I DO like the idea of separatating standard kobolds and "wyrmkin" which I might incorporate into my games (and see if the other DM who runs games is kosher with it) and the addition of a bonus feat or NPC class isn't a bad idea either.


I may have to steal that 'wyrmkin' idea as well. Now I need to find my old old Monster Manual.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

My wife tells a story about a game she played in where the PCs were all kobolds. Their goal was to find a human baby and bring it back to their chief for dinner. My favorite part that she tells is when they came across a baptism occurring in a church and concluded that humans couldn't be all bad since they were making baby tea.

Sczarni

That my friend is called Kobolds Ate my Baby (great game). Last time I played it the final encounter was a big rooster. Sufice to say we all nded up rolling on the horrible death chart


Wow alot to reply to...

start by saying no i don't have that book, now i want! also lack the quintessential kobold book from 2e really want that book!

gnomes and halflings have 20 foot movement do to other racials, such as +1 to all saves, and bonus to illusions kobolds lack anything truly game changing like that, hence 10 extra movement speed. Or this is what i've always assumed, will say i do like kobolds gaining stealth and trape making as class skills inherently.

Wyrmkin idea is an awesome idea, may just start using that or a modification there of for my own campaigns in the near future.

Kobold heroes book you say? yes please! ^,^! me love you long time! As to those stats being npc stats, if those are intended for a kobold npc villian i have to say thats just as bad. What kind of evil villian can you possibly create with such low stats? besides something you intend to die instantly! anyway just a small thing i saw i had to mention over all love the bestiary great book! just think when add stats for npcs like that, should be in line with PC stats or greater but never sub-par like kobolds and even goblins are but thats jut my own opinion of course!

P.S. Kobold Heroes book would make my day! please make it happen!


I may be in the minority here, but isn't the brilliance of the kobold precisely that it is underpowered?

They rely on cunning to make up for their shortcomings. They excel at traps not because they have insane trap bonuses, but because DMs often put them in adventures with awesome traps. They use ambushes and superior numbers. They don't have special ambush abilities, but DMs design cool ambush encounters with kobolds in them. They run, they come back, they get you when you sleep.

Adventurers foolishly underestimate the little guys at their peril - it's a tradition!

Plus, they give you a reason to enjoy Cleave or Combat Reflexes.

When you play a kobold, you relish the challenge of playing an underdog. You expect to have it rough. But you'll succeed anyway, because you're that awesome a player dammit.

-Ask

P.S. Bree-Yark!! (Did I get that right? It's been a while. . .)

P.P.S. Those wyrmkin are pretty cool.


Ask a Shoanti wrote:
I may be in the minority here, but isn't the brilliance of the kobold precisely that it is underpowered?

Indeed. And the point of Pathfinder isn't "just like 3.5, but everyone is 5% tougher" as far as I know.

Ask a Shoanti wrote:
P.S. Bree-Yark!! (Did I get that right? It's been a while. . .)

"Hey, Rube!!"

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Kobolds wimpy? Only until you read the "giant" template.

The following kobold is built using only the Bestiary, with no house rules required:

Giant Kobold
This dwarf-sized humanoid is a kobold with the giant simple template. It has grown large with food, and towers over its kin at the amazing height of 4 feet.
+2 Constitution: Giant kobolds are happily overfed, making them both stout and sturdy.
Medium size: Giant kobolds have no size-related bonuses or penalties.
Normal Speed: Giant kobolds have a base speed of 30 feet.
Darkvision: Giant kobolds can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
Armor: Giant kobolds have a +4 natural armor bonus.
Crafty: Giant kobolds gain a +2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Perception, and Profession (miner) checks. Craft (trapmaking) and Stealth are always class skills for a giant kobold.
Weakness: Light sensitivity.

Given the fact that kobold NPCs actually take a -1 penalty to CR, adding the CR +1 "giant" template puts the modified kobold about on par with the core PC races. (Though adding the CR +1 "advanced" template doesn't work out to nicely; the "advanced" template doesn't seem to be intended for use with fractional-CR monsters.)

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

You realize that the "BLOOD OF DRAGONS" thing is meant to be ironic, right?

Kobolds are supposed to be scrawny and weak. I would have been quite disappointed if they hadn't been.


I'm a big fan of Kobolds and tend to buy every book about them I can find (including the one Lillith posted, which I rather enjoyed). Having said that I've got no problem with the PRPG Kobold. I might have given them +2 Stealth and considered a bonus to charisma, but I'm happy with the little critters as they are.

I've got no desire for the standard members of the race to be balanced against current PC classes. Half the fun of the Kobold race is their racial arrogance combined with the realisation that they're actually very weak. And of course, if someone wants to play a Kobold they could always play an advanced variant with a breath weapon or something like that.


Set wrote:
Pretty much all that needs to be said.

Good stuffs, +1

I don't really think Kobolds fit into a normal campaign but if I were trying to bring a kobold into the same realm as the PCs I think I would adopt pretty much all of what you suggested.

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Epic Meepo wrote:
Giant Kobold

That's... arguably viable. :)

Name him "Goliath."


Ask a Shoanti wrote:
I may be in the minority here, but isn't the brilliance of the kobold precisely that it is underpowered?

Yep, it's also the reason that players like playing them. It's fun to RP the underdog and better when he succeeds.

Charlie Bell wrote:


My wife tells a story ... Their goal was to find a human baby... they came across a baptism occurring in a church and concluded that humans couldn't be all bad since they were making baby tea.

Lol, that's pretty good.

My most recent kobold moments I enjoyed...

  • My DM bribed me into not speaking common at 1st level and the party had assumed that I didn't speak it well up to around 3rd level.(had to get tanslations through our Orc or our Bard via Draconic) I answered one of the party members by nodding my head, the human cleric did a double-take and said "Wait, so you understand common?!". I replied "Nope." and went back to doing what I was doing. A few players laughed, but I'm pretty sure some of the characters were mad.

  • I have traditionally made 2 kobolds now with pig/boar mounts. The story is that he calls the boar and underdeveloped orc and generally consideres it his best friend. (Good natured kobold in an very abused and ignored kobold world)

    I decided to steal a bit of script from Southpark... Orcs = Pigs, Ogre = Man-Bear-Pigs. It worked on a very simple level, which is how I played both kobolds.

  • Also, him treating the pig/boar like a best friend typically involves one of it's Ranger/Druid tricks being devoted to 'Table Eating'. Usually not condoned in bar/taverns, but when questioned he proceeds to explain how its actually an underdeveloped orc and how they shouldn't discriminate against him. So far this has caused frustration and confusion EVERY time, followed by acceptance... it rocks! :D


  • BWAHAH

    I get it!

    "Shafted!"

    ... cuz they live in mines.

    awesome

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber

    Nice.. I can make a kobold paladin that doesn't have a -1 BAB now. :)


    Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    YOU NO TAKE CANDLE!!!


    LOL

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Companion, Pawns, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber
    Ernest Mueller wrote:
    YOU NO TAKE CANDLE!!!

    ^win

    RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

    The funny part is, WoW kobolds bear far more resemblance to AD&D kobolds than the "modern" version.

    Also: I think we all know the real winner here is Evil Lincoln.


    Frerezar wrote:
    the final encounter was a big rooster

    If I know what you mean! :)


    I've allowed my players to play kobolds since 2nd edition. Matter of fact I still have my AD&D Complete Book of Humanoids for that very reason. I've found that the sole motivation for playing a kobold is because they are weak.

    Which is why I find it curious that people have the overwhelming desire to 'buff' them up. My solution which has worked for about 10 years now is to simply allow the player to play TWO kobolds.


    Fadingstar wrote:

    I've allowed my players to play kobolds since 2nd edition. Matter of fact I still have my AD&D Complete Book of Humanoids for that very reason. I've found that the sole motivation for playing a kobold is because they are weak.

    Which is why I find it curious that people have the overwhelming desire to 'buff' them up. My solution which has worked for about 10 years now is to simply allow the player to play TWO kobolds.

    So limiting kobolds to only being able to play commoners would increase the level of fun for them? Because being weak is what makes them fun right?

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

    pres man wrote:
    So limiting kobolds to only being able to play commoners would increase the level of fun for them? Because being weak is what makes them fun right?

    You haven't truly lived until you've played a straight commoner for at least half-a-dozen levels.


    If the kobolds got shafted then there's only one thing left to do. Build a bonfire, and put the shaft on a crank and slow roast them for six hours and serve with assorted veggies. YUM!

    Silver Crusade

    Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    I like that kobolds are weak little push-overs, and if any of my players wants to run them then I allow them to play TWO kobolds (it's always good to have a spare).

    Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

    Epic Meepo wrote:
    You haven't truly lived until you've played a straight commoner for at least half-a-dozen levels.

    Says "Epic Meepo."

    RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

    Charlie Bell wrote:
    Epic Meepo wrote:
    You haven't truly lived until you've played a straight commoner for at least half-a-dozen levels.
    Says "Epic Meepo."

    Commoners can be epic.

    Liberty's Edge

    A lot of people like kobolds. Myself and many of my players included. We also agree that they *should* be at least a little underpowered compared to the core races because, as some have said *that's pretty much the entire point of being a kobold*.

    However, as they are written in 3.5 and 3.P, their mechanics can make them frustrating to play even when factoring the above in. As such, I usually work with my group to give them some small perk appropriate to the campaign world I'd designed (or, occasionally, the one we're using from a sourcebook) to offset things a little bit. The idea is to generally give them a small bump that makes them more attractive to play, but still keeps them a bit weaker than anyone else.

    An example of this is a campaign world I created where kobolds actually *were* a long degenerated, highly diluted offshoots of dragons (dragons in the world had a huge embarrassment complex about this that was fun to play with) and as a result kobold PC's automatically fulfilled the spellcasting requirement of the Dragon Desciple PRC (bonus spellcasting levels granted by the class were simply ignored by players who didn't posess one). The general idea being that a kobold PC (being an exceptional example of his race) discovered connection with his heritage much stronger than other members of his race and began manifesting it physically.

    Just some food for thought.


    Comparing the 3.5 kobold to the PF kobold, I don't see much difference. A few more possible languages, that is about it. Ok, so no big change right, so no big deal. Except the core race all got boosted, so in effect by the kobold not being boosted as well it has actually been weakened even more than it was before. Before you had to actually spit a lougie to kill them. Now you just need someone who sprays when he talks to kill them.


    Don't even try to say that in my games, or you get sprayed with boulders and pisoned crossbow bolts... heavens forbid if they had sorceres or dragon shamans.

    Liberty's Edge

    If you want to bring the kobold up to the same power level as a Core race, I have the following suggestions:

    1) Add the Draconic Creature template from Draconomicon/RotC
    2) Give the PC 4 extra points to invest (only works for a point build character)
    3) Give them a free level of warrior.

    Although the giant template makes a lot of sense too. :)

    I play a kobold with a slightly modified racial profile that I worked out with my DM when Beta was still in playtest. Basically it was:

    -4 str
    +2 Dex
    +2 Cha

    +1 Nat arm
    +2 perception, trapmaking, miner
    light sensitive
    darkvision 60
    no penalty for picks as improvised weapons
    treat bola and net as martial weapons (they don't fight fair)
    bloodline variants from Classic Monsters, the common kobold gets skill focus as a bonus feat instead of the neat stuff


    I like that wyrmkin post, and the giant kobold is intriguing, too. Interesting that applying the giant template increases the size of a small creature to medium .... it's logical, but I never noticed it before.


    James Jacobs wrote:
    ... Kobold Heroes Handbook...

    Right so when is this coming out? Cause you have to do it now, it has a title and everything.

    Liberty's Edge

    Abraham spalding wrote:
    James Jacobs wrote:
    ... Kobold Heroes Handbook...
    Right so when is this coming out? Cause you have to do it now, it has a title and everything.

    More baby squids for the tank. :)


    I played in a game at Origins where all the PCs were kobolds trying to find a new home for their clan. I got to play the Kobold Barbarian with the whopping strength of 14 (18 when raging) and a battle axe.

    We massacred a gnome enclave at the end of it. It was brutal. And a lot of fun. I was pretty impressed, overall, with how they played. But I don't really love the race that much.

    I did run one game with hoards of kobolds in it - the PCs found themselves trying to get through a kobold warren to a goal. At one point, Kobolds on a bridge over a deep cavernous waterhole were pelting them with arrows, and the melee bruiser charged an unarmed kobold who used his Setting Sun maneuvers from Swordsage to throw the guy over the edge. Hilarity. ^-^


    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    BWAHAH

    I get it!

    "Shafted!"

    ... cuz they live in mines.

    awesome

    This is no mine... It's a TOMB!


    Evil Monkey wrote:
    If the kobolds got shafted then there's only one thing left to do. Build a bonfire, and put the shaft on a crank and slow roast them for six hours and serve with assorted veggies. YUM!

    "I have this seven spice sauce that just makes em pop...and scream a little, but it's soooooo good"

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