Kobolds: The Goblins of 2e?


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder burst onto the scene with an iconic new spin on tired old Goblin tropes, making them into vicious horse-fearing pyromaniacs beloved enough to earn a softer treatment as the edition went on and a place in the new edition’s core.

We come into 2e and get a visual redesign on Kobolds, a greater focus on them as buddies to other Ancestries (joining the Pathfinder Society in Absalom, living openly among the Mbe’ke dwarves). It’s anecdotal, but I feel like I see a dozen Kobold PCs for every one Goblin.

So I have to ask: are the Kobolds the next big Pathfinder success story? Should we expect to see them in the PF3 corebook, if such a thing comes to pass? How do you feel about the little dragons and their increased spotlight as 2e continues?


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Of course Kobolds — the greatest spawn of dragons — will become the dominant ancestry in PF2. It is our destiny!

Silver Crusade

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PLUSHIES FTW!!!


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I'm satisfied with Pathfinder kobolds. They have carved out a niche similar to goblins in that they are kinda assumed to be evil little gremlins but it's always more of a nurture over nature thing for them. Only reason you see evil kobold dragon cults is because they're easy to manipulate by evil dragons from their genuine love of dragonkind. A kobold dragon cult born from a metallic dragon will likely create kind and righteous kobolds. I've played one kobold PC and it was great.


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I'm not sure I'd call the kobold thing a specifically Pathfinder success story. I was seeing (and running) sympathetic kobolds over a decade ago. DriblisQuest (the one that popularized cutebolds) started in 2009. I'm really very fond of the sympathetic kobolds, especially with the stories of draconic devotion that they generate. I'm glad that Paizo is on that bandwagon, now... but it's not like they were the ones that got it rolling.

At the same time... well, kobolds are already a freely available option in PFS. Heck - they're the symbol of the Union. I'm pretty sure that if the call were being made today, they'd be common. So inside of Pathfinder, yeah, I'd say that they're a success story.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Kobolds have always been the best. PF2 is just finally getting with the program.

Also my plushie is in the mail but there haven't been any tracking updates since the 8th :(


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I mean I see similar parallels, particularly in the visual tweaks in PF2 that make them more distinct from kobolds in popular culture. They seem reasonably popular (albeit with some contentions and arguments over said redesign).

But I think unlike goblins, Kobolds still suffer from a comparative lack of cultural hooks. We saw with goblins an establisment of some societal norms in mainstream goblin culture, about horses and dogs and books and pickles and singing, while also working in some nuance as time went on to emphasize these are traditions, not universal stereotypes. Some of these traditions can read a little silly, but they still add to the idea of goblin identity.

Kobolds meanwhile I feel like are still often stuck with basically the same three beats: good with traps, craven (or a strong sense of self preservation if you're being more charitable), and worshipping dragons. I feel like a lot of kobolds in adventures are pretty much written to present those traits and there's not a lot of exploration of the ancestry outside that.

What we're missing is both a deeper exploration of 'mainstream' culture, but also characters within the fiction that explicitly violate those norms. We haven't seen anything like the goblin hellknight, we haven't seen a council republic formed after a bunch of kobolds rose up to ovethrow their tyranical draconic overlord. We're still missing a lot, imo.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I mean we have seen technically something "like" goblin hellknights: a goblin wearing fullplate who believes they are a hellkngiht and hellknight let him believe it because he is guarding sewer near their base xD


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Yeah that's what I mean, I feel like we're lacking that dimension with kobolds rn.


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Squiggit wrote:
Yeah that's what I mean, I feel like we're lacking that dimension with kobolds rn.

I think that might be the sort of thing that just takes a while to accumulate.


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Back in the very early 1980s we ran an all kobold campaign. There were 4 kobold PCs, Huey, Duey, Luey, and Puey. Huey was a fighter, Luey was a cleric, Duey was thief, and Puey was an assassin. Most of those kobolds died, but Puey, aka 'Puey the bold', went on to join the regular adventuring party and eventually became a 15th level grandfather of assassins. He was like a kobold James Bond. These were kobolds from the 1st edition monster manual, which looked like cute little reptilian devil puppy people, and they were technically members of the 'giant class', and so somehow related to ogres, trolls, fire giants, orcs and goblins.

Liberty's Edge

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Squiggit wrote:
What we're missing is both a deeper exploration of 'mainstream' culture, but also characters within the fiction that explicitly violate those norms. We haven't seen anything like the goblin hellknight, we haven't seen a council republic formed after a bunch of kobolds rose up to ovethrow their tyranical draconic overlord. We're still missing a lot, imo.

There's definitely a lot of room for this, I fully agree. There was a season 8 PFS scenario that featured some 'Eagle Knight' kobolds which have gone down a treat every time I ran it:

Honor's Echo veeeeery slight spoilers:
Honor's Echo wrote:
A band of kobolds clad in ill-fitting cloaks and helmets stolen from an Eagle Knight outpost ... This group became disillusioned with tribal life in the mountains and hatched a plan to form their own free society in southern Andoran. When the kobolds notice the PCs, they take a whispered vote about how to handle the intruders. Even PCs who do not understand Draconic recognize mispronounced Common words among the babbling, such as “liberty,” and “democratic.”

I think it's a fun example of kobolds that violate the expected norms of kobold society, and would love to see more of that!


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Arcaian wrote:
Squiggit wrote:
What we're missing is both a deeper exploration of 'mainstream' culture, but also characters within the fiction that explicitly violate those norms. We haven't seen anything like the goblin hellknight, we haven't seen a council republic formed after a bunch of kobolds rose up to ovethrow their tyranical draconic overlord. We're still missing a lot, imo.

There's definitely a lot of room for this, I fully agree. There was a season 8 PFS scenario that featured some 'Eagle Knight' kobolds which have gone down a treat every time I ran it:

** spoiler omitted **

I think it's a fun example of kobolds that violate the expected norms of kobold society, and would love to see more of that!

I mention them in the OP, but the Mwangi Expanse book notes that Kobolds are full and equal citizens among the Mbe'ke Dwarves in their city of Cloudspire, joining in the Mbe'ke guild-union-family units called fellowships. There's even cute art of one in some very nice clothes! You still have the draconic element, as the Mbe'ke society is a partnership with a number of Cloud Dragons (who defend their merchant ships).

Given that poor Cloudspire didn't even get an official spot on the map, some Society love involving some scaly locals could go a long way towards shining a spotlight on a really unique culture.

EDIT: There's also the Kobold "author" of the upcoming Treasure Vault, who may offer some insights into the lives of Tian Kobolds. Considering the prominence of Imperial Dragons, Nagas, Nagaji, and Vishkanya, I can't help but wonder if Kobolds are seen as significantly more sympathetic than the usual "pests to be crushed" Avistani assessment.


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I had sympathetic (yet still LE) kobolds back in the early days of 3.0 (as the core books were hitting the market) and one player enjoyed them enough he made one to play. And yes, they were grubby, dragon-worshiping scamps in a world with some key dragon bosses. So I agree the potential's always been there, it's just takes a while for each monster to get the limelight.
And I have to wonder if I had an impact on one of my DnD 1.0 players who went on to write Sewer Dragons decades later, which is why kobolds are playable in PFS. :-)

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's honestly mostly just case of writers being like "B-but I meant them to be bad guys!" and then taking while to get around them having role beyond their original design.

But yeah, I think idea of sympathetic kobolds has been around for very long since D&D kobolds have had the "cute in the same way as pug"(I'd say pathfinder 2e kobolds are definitely actually cute) quality for quite long time around


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I'm a big fan of kobolds. As antagonists, petty LE is fun, and their motivations are understandable and flexible. If it would be good for the game to push towards fighting them, it's as simple as giving them something perceived as a better avenue to power and security than what the PCs can offer. Otherwise, it's not hard to make negotiation an option.

As non-antagonists, it's not difficult to fit their motivations to different methods.

Also, while I was writing this up, I had a thought. A fun house maze or haunted house attraction designed by a team of kobolds would make for a very entertaining Halloween one-shot. (Adventurers probably have to put down a security deposit for magical repairs, just in case.)


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Possibly a case of misunderstanding? Like, the players think that the traps are designed to kill or maim, while the kobolds are seriously just trying to assemble a haunted house attraction but have terrible messaging? Possibly complicate it by having them pick a house with a spooky reputation where the reputation is deserved and has resulted in an actual haunt that the kobolds are entirely unaware of, since they've been working during the day. The kobolds leave for the day, the party sneaks in (egged on by someone who doesn't want kobolds in their town and who is trying to blacken their name) and gets to deal with traps that are designed to be fun but nonlethal, complicated by immaterial undead who are under no such compunction.For the undead, there should be ways to destroy them, to help them move on more gently, or even to help stabilize them a bit and return them to sanity enough to treat with them. Then the kobolds come back in the morning, and how they react depends heavily on how much damage the party did along the way, and on how they handled the spectral undead aspect.

Possibly have a single hapless kobold who just fell asleep in a closet somewhere and who is in terrible danger. If the party ignores him, there's a decent chance that a spirit of some sort ganks him (he's not particularly high level) but if they keep him alive, he can verify their stories of ghosts and spirits to the other kobolds, thus gaining their gratitude for rescuing them from trying to put on a haunted house attraction that kills people.

...and of course there's all sorts of story hooks that can come off of this, too, with the little kobold tribe trying to find ways to survive in the community, and whatever was making the restless undead restless and the person who sent them in in the first place who was trying to either drive the kobolds out or frame them for something and... well, a lot of thing, really.


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Sanityfaerie wrote:
Heck - they're the symbol of the Union.

Are you certain that's not a goblin fist? It would be strange for the union to use kobolds rather than goblins as their symbol.


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Dancing Wind wrote:
Sanityfaerie wrote:
Heck - they're the symbol of the Union.
Are you certain that's not a goblin fist? It would be strange for the union to use kobolds rather than goblins as their symbol.

Given that the fist is red and scaly, two things Golarion goblins are not…

I believe it’s a reference to a Kobold union from Agents of Edgewatch that a quick Google suggests the player character police are expected to brutalize.


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keftiu wrote:
I believe it’s a reference to a Kobold union from Agents of Edgewatch that a quick Google suggests the player character police are expected to brutalize.

Fact-check before you make that mischaracterization.


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Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I believe it’s a reference to a Kobold union from Agents of Edgewatch that a quick Google suggests the player character police are expected to brutalize.
Fact-check before you make that mischaracterization.

Reading the book makes it clear that that is what's expected, there's no mischaracterization here. I'm fairly certain that an early post by the Union even name-dropped the leader of the union.


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Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I believe it’s a reference to a Kobold union from Agents of Edgewatch that a quick Google suggests the player character police are expected to brutalize.
Fact-check before you make that mischaracterization.

Alright, I took a peek at a friend's PDF for you. One of the laborers, their "champion," is Lawful Evil and presented as a bloodthirsty killer with no interest in negotiation; the text notes that if arrested, she is executed by the state. The other Union kobolds use Bestiary statblocks (also Lawful Evil), have taken civilian hostages at knife-point and brutally kill them if confronted with violence, and a good number of them are noted to fight to the death.

Devil at the Dreaming Palace, page 29 wrote:
Treasure: If the Edgewatch agents successfully rescue the hostages — either through negotiation or by wiping out the kobold threat — Ama and the other architects are extremely grateful. They’re also aware that their illegal treatment of their contracted laborers led to this problem in the first place, and thus eagerly reward the agents with a 100 gp “donation” in an attempt to remain on their good side and avoid any punishment from the law.

So not only are you probably brutalizing this violent caricature of striking workers of a marginalized Ancestry, you're bribed by their oppressors for your help breaking the strike and refusing to prosecute the illegal practices of their bosses. Thank you for having me look this up - it's worse than I imagined!

A token note that resolving the situation without violence grants extra XP hardly makes up for what a mess everything else is. If memory serves, this is the volume where the author announced they were donating all their profits from it to charity due to its depiction of 'violence against protestors,' which seems to refer to this very encounter.


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Pathfinder Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Charau-Ka are the "goblins" of PF2.

Kobolds have been cool at least since Neverwinter Nights. Deekin lives!


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Wheldrake wrote:

Charau-Ka are the "goblins" of PF2.

Kobolds have been cool at least since Neverwinter Nights. Deekin lives!

...have there been sympathetic Charau-Ka? Other than a fleeting sidebar note about exiles in Kibwe, they still seem to primarily be evil little demon monkeys.


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Wheldrake wrote:
Kobolds have been cool at least since Neverwinter Nights. Deekin lives!

Specifically, that would have been the Shadows of Undrentide expansion, which sets the flag back at 2003... though in that case it looks like he was being set aside as an exception to the rule, rather than having kobolds in general be sympathetic.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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For all of these types—be they goblins or kobolds or drow, I suspect that a big part of the allure, at least at the start, is the complling element for a player to play a character who's either an anti-hero, or play a character who has a built in strong unique element to them. Playing a good version of a traditionally evil ancestry is a really strong bit of flavor that's been used to bolster so many exceptionally popular characters in literature for ages that it's a trope that a lot of players are really inspired by. It's a very easy way to build into your character an element that sets them apart, makes them unique, and justifies their position as a main character in any story.

And that sort of play works very well as a "gateway" to bring more diversity to those ancestries, as we've seen with drow and goblins. Kobolds are well on their way here, and I have a feeling gnolls might be on the cusp of breaking out as well (although that one is kind of tricky, considering that anthro-hyena gnolls are a D&D creation and that makes it more complicated to expand upon them in non-OGL products).

It does mean that we do need to continue to introduce new villains into the world so we can continue to tell stories about heroes fighting against evil, but also to bring future opportunities for breakout characters to become popular as well. This is in part why I've been so hesitant about bringing forward ancestries for serpentfolk and a few others.

All that said, it's really the community that ends up making these decisions as to what tropes become popular enough for us to move forward. D&D struck a gold mine with Drizzt and the drow. We did the same with goblins. We've tried a few times to trigger kobold upswings with products like "The Dragon's Demand", and leaned into it a bit more in the new version of Kingmaker. Certainly Wayne's new kobold design pushed them up a tier though, and having played a kobold character ages ago in a long-lost Planescape campaign, I for sure look forward to a kobold-infused future! MEK MEK!


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James Jacobs wrote:
[...]and I have a feeling gnolls might be on the cusp of breaking out as well (although that one is kind of tricky, considering that anthro-hyena gnolls are a D&D creation and that makes it more complicated to expand upon them in non-OGL products).

Are things really fraught there? HEART: The City Beneath has done very well for itself with hyena Gnolls while being nowhere near the d20 space, and World of Warcraft has had them for decades now.


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...and at the same time, you get pushback from people who see any sort of differences of that variety as, in effect, thinly coded racism and thus want to eliminate that in-between space: anything that might be perceived as potentially sympathetic and intelligent immediately codes as human, and therefore must not have any differences in mentality that go beyond the cultural, or significant gender dimorphism.

...and this is a bit frustrating, because it seems like it carves away huge blocks of legitimately interesting story-space that we can't actually explore meaningfully in the real world, and at the same time, they're not entirely wrong. Like, having a species that is struggling to adapt to polite society while being inherently evil, or fundamentally less intelligent, or literally having been created as a servant race and feeling drawn to serve while also having to struggle against their own tendencies in order to be able to meaningfully advocate for themselves and protect themselves from being really badly exploited... those are all really interesting ideas to explore. At the same time, as soon as you start talking about stories like that, you're going to immediately have people who start trying to use them to reinforce racist narratives in the real world.... or even just people who identify with one of those them, and accordingly feel like they're being denigrated. So I can understand why there are people who want to eliminate the spaces that those stories can be told in, but I also can't bring myself to agree with them entirely

Heck - even just look at the Darklands. "This is what society looks like when literally everyone is evil and everyone knows it." There's some really interesting stuff to explore there... but when you bring it into contact with the real world (like, say, having real people play in a game in that space) it's possible for it to get seriously problematic... so do we just never tell stories about places where evil is the only game in town?

I really have no good answers here. I'm mostly just sharing my frustration with the situation that generates the questions.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
[...]and I have a feeling gnolls might be on the cusp of breaking out as well (although that one is kind of tricky, considering that anthro-hyena gnolls are a D&D creation and that makes it more complicated to expand upon them in non-OGL products).
Are things really fraught there? HEART: The City Beneath has done very well for itself with hyena Gnolls while being nowhere near the d20 space, and World of Warcraft has had them for decades now.

I don't think anthropomorphic animals in general have strong product identity to single product by itself, but I am still kinda weirded out how many non D&D games actually use term "gnoll" to refer to hyena people as if it was common term :'D At least with drow dark elf is usually term non D&D products use


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Kobold PCs are great. Little zealots with big personality. My favorite PC I made was a kobold flame oracle that started out as pretty much just a maniac that bordered on arsonist but throughout their journey, they learned the true power of fire. It is not to simply burn things. It has purpose. Went from LN to LG. Learning to wield fire for greater reasons and worship of righteous gods of flame like Angradd and Ragathiel. Went all in with the naming conventions suggested in their ancestry page too. Started with Divi, then Divigni, then Divigniri by the end.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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keftiu wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
[...]and I have a feeling gnolls might be on the cusp of breaking out as well (although that one is kind of tricky, considering that anthro-hyena gnolls are a D&D creation and that makes it more complicated to expand upon them in non-OGL products).
Are things really fraught there? HEART: The City Beneath has done very well for itself with hyena Gnolls while being nowhere near the d20 space, and World of Warcraft has had them for decades now.

They are for Paizo.

Spoiler:
There was some legal stuff that happened between Wizards and Blizzard about the gnolls and some of the "beholder-adjacent" creatuers in Warcraft around the time the first expansion hit. I believe that part of the agreement there was that Blizzard would ease back on gnolls and floating round eyeball monsters. That's obviously a LONG time ago, but as a result of Paizo's position in the tabletop RPG industry and Pathfinder's strong "genetic ties" to D&D's history and lore through the OGL, we need to be more careful than most when it comes to this sort of content. It's why we renamed so many creatures like the stirge and ankheg and kyton.

And beyond that, I have a lot of admiration and respect for WotC, and I really don't want to try to eat their lunch all the time. I'm more interested at this point in exploring new content for creatures we've created or that have been inspired by mythology or literature than doing much with creatures that are what they are mostly through D&D's work.

(Side note—I'm relatively sure Gygax got the word "gnoll" from a Lord Dunsany story, in the same way he picked up ghasts being a type of tougher ghoul from Lovecraft, or the displacer beast from A. E. Van Vogt's short story "Black Destroyer," or the remorhaz from a Conan story, but in this case I believe that the gnolls being spelled like that and being hyena humanoids is 100% invented by D&D.)

It all falls under a "Better safe and respectful than sorry and sued" umbrella.


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Makes sense.


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James Jacobs wrote:
keftiu wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
[...]and I have a feeling gnolls might be on the cusp of breaking out as well (although that one is kind of tricky, considering that anthro-hyena gnolls are a D&D creation and that makes it more complicated to expand upon them in non-OGL products).
Are things really fraught there? HEART: The City Beneath has done very well for itself with hyena Gnolls while being nowhere near the d20 space, and World of Warcraft has had them for decades now.

They are for Paizo.

** spoiler omitted **

It all falls under a "Better safe and respectful than sorry and sued" umbrella.

Perhaps it’s time to hear what the hyena-folk call themselves other than Kholo, then :)

Appreciate the informative reply!

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Corporate ownership of ideas is tiresome to me, mostly because of how hypocritical it can sometimes be. Like D&D and lot of other fantasy writers are allowed to steal Tolkien's lunch money, but they are protective of their own ideas(even if the idea is something other people have already thought of). Though granted, while lot of fantasy would be fresher to read if it was from completely original standpoint, the appeal of trpgs is use of popular fantasy tropes


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There are no new ideas, just new ways to combine what already existed.

Copyright of ideas is just preventing people from copying that specific set, which means they have to be more creative than just copy pasting the same thing. Its one of those necessary annoyances that doesn't always work as intended, but its fine most of the time.


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I think the commonality between Goblins and Kobolds is that they're both kinda cute if you look at them the right way. So I think the project should be to identify what is the next ancestry to be potentially adorable.

(FWIW, I think "Leshies being one of the first four ancestries added to PF2" is tied directly to their adorableness. I mean, just look at this guy.)


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Leshies in general feel like they have a good analog to goblins, in that they were things that have gotten very much taken in by Paizo and pushed pretty hard. They're 'cute' and quirky and something that doesn't have obvious counterparts in other games per se.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I mean, yeah, leshies are the first ones after goblins who got a Free RPG Day adventure in the form of the adorable A Fistful of Flowers! I'd argue the We Be Goblins series went a long way to helping goblins' image.

Also yes, I'd always had a soft spot for kobolds since Neverwinter Nights thanks to Deekin! I'd go so far as to call him the REAL star of the Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark storyline.

Again, as one of my all-time favorite Pathfinder writers, Isabelle Thorne once so eloquently tweeted...

Isabelle Thorne wrote:

RPG books: kobolds are evil and cowardly and love to set traps

RPG Twitter: kobolds are smol dragon friends who are doing their best!!


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People complain about there not being any definitely evil stuff to use, so I'd like to propose we solve this by doing the reverse as well. Take the current cutest and most wholesome ancestry options and start making them irredeemably bloodthirsty.

Next campaign, town under siege by vicious shoony.


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I've honestly never come across a player who wants more evil stuff. I guess it takes all kinds.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:
I've honestly never come across a player who wants more evil stuff. I guess it takes all kinds.

My post was tongue-in-cheek, but mostly I've seen it as occasional players or GMs who want simple "if you see it, you should kill it" enemies. I've definitely seen a lot more people who just want to play kobolds and gnolls, though.

Radiant Oath

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Also, I feel like this video illustrates the ideal working relationship between kobolds and goblins!


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
QuidEst wrote:
PossibleCabbage wrote:
I've honestly never come across a player who wants more evil stuff. I guess it takes all kinds.
My post was tongue-in-cheek, but mostly I've seen it as occasional players or GMs who want simple "if you see it, you should kill it" enemies. I've definitely seen a lot more people who just want to play kobolds and gnolls, though.

Those folks definitely exist. We had a lot of them complaining about goblins during the edition change. It is kind of silly though because it isn't hard to create a justification for killing any species of bandit. Just have them do bad things or attack the party.


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There will need to be some monsters left to fight. I was kinda annoyed with the sudden acceptance of goblins, and the frequency of casual tieflings everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE playing monstrous races, but I feel to take away the struggle for acceptance in the civilized world robs them of an important character-building experience (and one that many players can relate to). I certainly don't love racism or xenophobia, but the struggle (and victory) over such forces for the monsters who overcome their circumstances of birth is something I prefer to put in the hands of players rather than cannon.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
keftiu wrote:
Vardoc Bloodstone wrote:
keftiu wrote:
I believe it’s a reference to a Kobold union from Agents of Edgewatch that a quick Google suggests the player character police are expected to brutalize.
Fact-check before you make that mischaracterization.

Alright, I took a peek at a friend's PDF for you. One of the laborers, their "champion," is Lawful Evil and presented as a bloodthirsty killer with no interest in negotiation; the text notes that if arrested, she is executed by the state. The other Union kobolds use Bestiary statblocks (also Lawful Evil), have taken civilian hostages at knife-point and brutally kill them if confronted with violence, and a good number of them are noted to fight to the death.

Devil at the Dreaming Palace, page 29 wrote:
Treasure: If the Edgewatch agents successfully rescue the hostages — either through negotiation or by wiping out the kobold threat — Ama and the other architects are extremely grateful. They’re also aware that their illegal treatment of their contracted laborers led to this problem in the first place, and thus eagerly reward the agents with a 100 gp “donation” in an attempt to remain on their good side and avoid any punishment from the law.

So not only are you probably brutalizing this violent caricature of striking workers of a marginalized Ancestry, you're bribed by their oppressors for your help breaking the strike and refusing to prosecute the illegal practices of their bosses. Thank you for having me look this up - it's worse than I imagined!

A token note that resolving the situation without violence grants extra XP hardly makes up for what a mess everything else is. If memory serves, this is the volume where the author announced they were donating all their profits from it to charity due to its depiction of 'violence against protestors,' which seems to refer to this very encounter.

Yep, that whole section of the adventure is BAD.


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Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
There will need to be some monsters left to fight. I was kinda annoyed with the sudden acceptance of goblins, and the frequency of casual tieflings everywhere. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE playing monstrous races, but I feel to take away the struggle for acceptance in the civilized world robs them of an important character-building experience (and one that many players can relate to). I certainly don't love racism or xenophobia, but the struggle (and victory) over such forces for the monsters who overcome their circumstances of birth is something I prefer to put in the hands of players rather than cannon.

How many times can you do that story, though? The first Drizzt novel came out in 1988 - the singular good guy Drow in a world that hates and fears his kind has been a fantasy genre mainstay for coming up on 40 years.

Sometimes, you just want to play a Gnoll because you think hyenas are cute, or you reach for a Hobgoblin because you like the sound of being a military-trained alchemist - demanding those characters all have suspicion baked into their stories is frustrating and limiting. All of these published Ancestries are meant to be used! It’s a big, fantastical world out there in Golarion, and there’s places for damn near anything to find a home.

Silver Crusade

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Also we have thousands of monsters from Bestiaries in multiple editions and games, losing one or two as Kill on Sight changes pretty much nothing.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
There will need to be some monsters left to fight.

You say this like things like humans and dragons aren't stock bad guys in RPGs.

If you want an evil kobold dragon cult in an adventure, that there might be non-evil kobolds somewhere else doesn't really matter at all.

Baron Ulfhamr wrote:
I certainly don't love racism or xenophobia, but the struggle (and victory) over such forces for the monsters who overcome their circumstances of birth is something I prefer to put in the hands of players rather than cannon.

Isn't institutionalizing that xenophobia within the setting as hard rule exactly putting it in the hands of the canon?


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I really don't understand the crowd who think it's absurd that the bad guys deserve their bloody fate for reasons other than "what they were born as." How hard is it to say "this specific bunch are violent bandits/servants of a destructive cult/cruel individuals?"

It's not like the inverse is true - there's no riots when an Elf or Halfling winds up Evil.

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