Races of the Dragon, Part 1
Kobolds: Of Traps and Perfection
by Kolja Raven Liquette and Jason H. Haley

The following web enhancement adds to material found in this month's Races of the Dragon -- highlighting more features for the kobolds. Kobold traps, originally scheduled to appear in this sourcebook, are now offered here to help stock your kobold infested (or infused) dungeons. The kobold paragon is a new racial paragon class option, designed to make the most out of playing a character strictly kobold in nature. For more information on racial paragons, refer to pg. 32 of Unearthed Arcana:

"In most D&D campaigns, the ideas of class and race are separate concepts. But with racial paragon classes, the line between the two becomes blurred. Racial paragons are, as their name suggests, nearly ideal examples of the strengths and abilities of the character's race. Unlike members of other classes, however, racial paragons are more than merely powerful individuals. They are strong in all the ways that their race is strong, while still vulnerable in the ways their race is vulnerable. Beyond that, they possess powers and capabilities that supersede those of normal members of their race. While any elf might rise in power, prestige, and (in D&D terms) level, most do so by gaining levels in the character classes described in the Player's Handbook -- only a few are so much in tune with their heritage and racial abilities that they become racial paragons."

Kobold Traps (CR 1 to CR 10)

Trapmaking is an obsession for kobolds, who regard their racial craft as an art form. Kobolds realized long ago that for every trap installed around their lair, another kobold life is spared... or more importantly, kept out of melee combat. Consequently, a dedicated and proven trapsmith is the closest equivalent that kobolds come to a celebrity in their society. For this reason, all kobolds aspire to protect their homes with especially devious traps, wanting to be respected as a trapsmith on some level. It is not uncommon to find entire kobold communities participating in the construction of a particularly complicated trap (not unlike a barn raising). Protecting the tribal lair from invaders, and gnomes in particular, is the highest priority of kobold lairs.

Below are ten kobold traps, one for each Challenge Rating from 1 to 10. Most of these traps still have default Search saves, Disable Device saves, Reflex saves, attack bonuses, and damage bonuses (except for the bated fusillade trap). Raising or lowering these values is left for individual trapmakers to modify as they see fit (see the rules for "Designing a Trap" on page 74 of the Dungeon Master's Guide).

Two of the mechanical traps (below) incorporate a new miscellaneous feature developed by kobold trapsmiths: tracking.

Tracking: Traps with this feature adjust to follow a target that activates their trigger and continues to apply its effect. Such traps usually incorporate the automatic reset type. Traps with the multiple target feature adjust to follow the target area that their trigger indicates is the most occupied. Equally occupied target areas are chosen at random. This feature adds a +1 CR modifier to mechanical traps.

CR 1: Choke Point Trap

Kobolds strategically design choke points traps into the tunnels of their lairs to slow down pursuers and trap would-be invaders in dead-end rooms (where other traps are usually located). If you have 5 or more ranks of Knowledge (architecture and engineering) you gain a +2 bonus on Disable Device and Search checks with regards to this trap.

Choke Point Trap: CR 1 mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Escape Artist DC 15 (see note); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 1,500 gp.

Note: 5 ft. of tunnel is narrow and low* for Medium creatures (2 1/2 ft. high by 2 1/2 ft. wide) but narrow* for kobolds. Reverse direction is an awkward space* for Medium creatures (Escape Artist DC 15) but narrow and low* for kobolds.

* See page 55 of the Dungeon Master's Guide II.

CR 2: Automatic Phalanx

Kobolds design automatic phalanxes into the floors and walls of their lairs, set to activate when a creature of 50 pounds of more passes over the trigger area. Kobolds will flee from an invading enemy and lure them towards these traps. Magical versions of this trap might be proximity activated, using a detect good spell to sense targets.

Automatic Phalanx: CR 2; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Atk +10 melee (1d8/x3, 1d4 spears); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 3,000 gp.

Note: Charging or running over location trigger doubles damage.

CR 3: Topsy-Turvy Bridge

Kobolds will sometimes construct a few stable rope bridges over existing chasms, hoping to foster a false sense of security, and then one topsy-turvy bridge when least expected. These 5-feet wide bridges flip over when a creature of 50 pounds of more passes over the trigger area.

Topsy-Turvy Bridge: CR 3; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 40-ft. deep (4d6, fall); multiple targets (all targets within 10 ft. of target); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 4,500 gp.

Note: Trap activates on the middle 5-ft. square of bridge.

CR 4: High and Low Trap

The high and low trap is a perfect example of how kobolds try to induce panic in their targets. When a trap deals damage on two fronts simultaneously, most targets cannot think calmly enough to weigh their options, and run blindly from both dangers instead. High and low traps are excellent tools for corralling adventurers in particular directions.

High and Low Trap: CR 4; mechanical; automatic reset; proximity trigger; multiple traps (arrow fusillade and fixed caltrops); arrow fusillade (Atk +10 ranged [1d6/x3, shortbow arrow]; tracking; multiple targets [1d4 arrows at each target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area]; Search 20; Disable Device DC 20), fixed caltrops (special bypass [half Speed]; multiple targets [1 caltrop attack per 5-ft square]; Search 20; Disable Device 20). Market Price: 10,500 gp.

Note: Using Dexterity to avoid arrow fusillade prompts caltrop attack.

CR 5: Trap Door Locust Swarm

Nothing pleases a kobold more than putting insects into a trap from which the target cannot easily escape. For the purposes of this trap, locust swarm is considered a 3rd-level spell, based on the 2nd-level summon swarm spell, but summons a locust swarm* instead. As an upgrade, a centipede swarm would be considered a 4th-level spell.

* See page 239 of the Monster Manual.

Trap Door Locust Swarm: CR 5; mechanical and magical device; location trigger; automatic reset; multiple traps (trap door and locust swarm); trap door (DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 20-ft. deep [2d6, fall]; Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20), spell effect (locust swarm, 6th level sorcerer; Search DC 28; Disable Device DC 28). Market Price/Cost: 12,000 gp, 720 XP.

Note: This trap is really a CR 2 pit trap and a CR 4 locust swarm trap. These effects are dependant on each other. The trap door swings shut after being triggered, creating natural darkness. The locust swarm lasts until defeated or the spell effect is disabled.

CR 6: Hold Person Hidden Catapult

A favorite among kobolds, hold person hidden catapults are sometimes attended by nearby kobolds hoping to watch hapless adventurers spring this trap. More dramatic versions of this trap are constructed for multiple targets. They activate when a creature of 50 pounds of more passes over the trigger area.

Hold Person Hidden Catapult: CR 6; magical and mechanical device; location trigger; automatic reset; multiple traps (hold person and hidden catapult); spell effect (hold person, 3rd level cleric, DC 13 Will save negates; Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 27), hidden catapult (DC 20 Reflex save avoids; target hurled 50-ft against stone wall [5d6, bludgeoning] and 50-ft. high [5d6, fall]; Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20); Market Price/Cost: 10,500 gp, 240 XP.

Note: This trap is really a CR 3 hold person trap and a CR 5 hidden catapult trap. These effects are complimentary to each other. Targets automatically fail the Reflex save if the Will save was failed. Subtract 1d6 from bludgeoning damage and 10-ft. from fall damage for every extra 200 lbs. of target weight above 200 lbs..

CR 7: Collapsing Edge Mining Shaft

Collapsing edges are installed overlooking chasms, pits, and precipices. A collapsing edge above flowing lava is always popular. Despite needing regular maintenance, collapsing edges are unsuspicious enough to be routinely successful. They are designed to activate when creatures of 50 pounds of more pass over the trigger area.

Collapsing Edge Mining Shaft (15 ft. x 15 ft.): CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; repair reset; multiple traps (two collapsing edge traps); DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 60-ft. deep (6d6, fall); sharp rocks (Atk +10 melee, 1d4 sharp rocks per target for 1d4+6 each); multiple targets (first target in each of three adjacent 5-ft. squares); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 8,000 gp.

Note: This trap is really two CR 5 collapsing edge traps that use the same mining shaft. There is one collapsing edge trap on the far and near side of the mining shaft. Standing on either edge of the shaft activates the trap. Characters who perform a running Jump across the mining shaft automatically fail their Reflex save if they leap from either edge.

CR 8: Blown Away Trap

A work of art like the blown away trap is usually reserved for safeguarding the most coveted locations in a kobold lair, like a temple of Kurtulmak where valuable magical treasures are hidden. The attack and damage values of the floor spikes will almost certainly be upgraded.

Blown Away Trap: CR 8; mechanical and magical devices; automatic reset; proximity trigger (alarm); multiple traps (mass reduce person, gust of wind, and extending floor spikes); spell effect (mass reduce person, 8th level sorcerer, DC 16 Fortitude negates; multiple targets [up to 8 humanoid targets]; Search DC 29; Disable Device DC 29), spell effect (gust of wind, 4th level sorcerer, DC 13, Fortitude negates; Tiny targets blown back 1d4 x 10 feet, 1d4 non-lethal damage per 10 feet; multiple targets [12 squares in a line]; Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 27), extending floor spikes (multiple targets [all targets blown prone in 60 ft. line]; Atk +10 melee, 1d4 spikes per target for 1d4 each; Search 20; Disable Device 20). Cost/Market Price: 27,500 gp, 1,600 XP.

Note: This trap is really a CR 5 mass reduce person trap, a CR 3 gust of wind trap, and a CR 6 extending floor spikes trap. These effects are dependent on each other. Medium targets reduced to Small size are knocked prone by gust of wind onto extending floor spikes. Small targets (gnomes in particular) reduced to Tiny size are knocked prone onto extending floor spikes and blown 1d4 x 10 feet back, taking additional floor spike damage per 5 feet. The gust of wind continues blowing until there are no targets in the trigger area, at which point the trap resets. The blown away trap works best in narrow hallways.

CR 9: Pinning Water Cage

Pinning water cages are one of the most callous kobold traps. They waste no time with onset delay features, quickly immobilizing targets underwater. These cages are usually incorporated into subterranean rivers that kobold mining crews redirect from underground springs, making them deep enough to fully submerge the cage.

Pinning Water Cage: CR 9; mechanical device; proximity trigger; manual reset; metal cage (Atk +10 melee touch), cage spears (Atk +10 melee, 1d8/x3, spears); multiple targets (1d4 spears at each target within a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area; targets damaged by spears are pinned inside cage and must make a Strength check against DC 10 + 2 per additional damage-dealing spear to break free); liquid; Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 36,000 gp.

Note: In addition to being pinned, targets must break through cage bars to escape. A DC 24 Strength check is needed to bend iron bars.

CR 10: Bated Fusillade Trap

The bated trap (in this case a fusillade) is a guilty pleasure among kobold trapsmiths who enjoy outsmarting rogues rather than simply killing them. Bated traps were designed by trapmakers more accustomed to dealing with intelligent prey. Generally speaking, the poison is the most lethal part of such traps.

Bated Fusillade Trap: CR 10; mechanical; touch trigger/proximity trigger (disabling activates proximity trigger); automatic reset; Atk +10 ranged (1d8/19-20, light crossbow bolt); tracking; multiple targets (1d4 bolts at each target in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); poison (deathblade poison, DC 20, Fortitude save resists, 1d6 Con/2d6 Con); Search 10/30; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 76,000 gp.

Note: A Search check (DC 10) finds the trap. A successful Disable Device check triggers the trap. A Search check (DC 30) of the trap reveals its true nature which can then be disabled.

Bonus Kobold Trap

Races of the Dragon introduced a new kobold-created alchemical device called a ditherbomb, which is made in three intensities; weak, strong, and wyrm. Adding ditherbombs to a trap increases the CR modifier by +1, +2, and +3 respectively.

Kobolds know how to manipulate gnomish curiosity with ditherbomb disguises, juxtaposing valuable items with worthless junk, in this instance a well-polished sword in the hands of a skeleton. Removing the weapon causes a ditherbomb to dislodge from the ribcage and detonate. Kobolds often invest in making these traps harder to find.

Ditherbomb Disguise: CR 1/2/3 mechanical; touch trigger; no reset; alchemical device (weak/strong/wyrm ditherbomb, 1d6/1d4 x 1d6/1d6 x 1d8, DC 10/12/15 Reflex half damage); multiple targets (all targets within a 5 ft./10 ft./15 ft. radius); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20. Market Price: 600 gp/1,300 gp/2,500 gp.

Note: Removing the well-polished sword from skeleton activates trap.

Kobold Paragon

Kobolds are reptilian humanoids that embrace hard work as the inescapable standard of their daily lives. They exist to facilitate the mining operations that inevitably sustain their lair without devoting a thought to personal ambition or desire. Workers that challenge this time-honored fate rebel by excelling in all aspects of kobold life rather than simply specializing in one profession. These are the kobold paragons of a tribe, willfully motivated athletes of productivity.

Adventures: Kobold paragons are not unlike dragons in their pursuit of treasure. Kobold paragons are a little more discerning, however, in that they value singular items of power more than hordes of gold. They will even travel farther away from their lair than most other kobolds, seeking magical jewelry above all else. As natural sorcerers, kobold paragons are more than equipped to handle monstrous encounters, shoring up their physical weaknesses with arcane might.

Characteristics: Kobold paragons are equal part creative intuition and strategic warrior. When kobold paragons spearhead a plan, they do so with remarkable forethought, whether designing a trap, laying out a mine, or looking for the weaknesses of a hated opponent. When there is no time to prepare for a fight, kobold paragons will maneuver themselves into a narrow space and unleash their ferocity on larger opponents without backing down.

Alignment: Kobold paragons constantly wrestle with their tribal instincts of loyalty in order to more clearly make decisions as individuals (a concept largely foreign to kobold culture). As such, while kobolds are normally lawful evil, kobold paragons are not bound by this cultural disposition. Still, despite their best efforts at morality, even good-aligned kobold paragons cannot stop themselves from devising painfully sadistic traps in their spare time.

Religion: Kobold paragons generally rationalize their actions in the name of Kurtulmak, who suffered greatly at the hands of Garl Glittergold, or embrace Io, who follows a more open-minded and less racially charged path. With Kurtulmak, kobold paragons are polarized against every other race. With Io, kobolds seek objectivity as an ideal, allowing them to socialize more with other races. A kobold paragon can also express their piety through devoted service to their lair.

Background: A kobold paragon attains their position by excelling in every field of kobold expertise. Where most lair-bound kobolds are directed into one profession, kobold paragons must become equally skilled at sorcery, trapfinding, and trapmaking. This kind of behavior is usually discouraged, as tribal leaders prefer the kobolds of their lair to be obedient, specialized workers. A kobold paragon must therefore work four times as hard to attain their distinction.

Races: Kobolds despise gnomes, distrust dwarves and fey, and generally hold every other race in contempt. Kobold paragons are different in that they can suspend their racial antipathy to gather information about enemies, rather than automatically attacking their foes. Feeling isolated in the world, kobolds are outwardly defensive towards other creatures. These feelings can diminish as kobold paragons spend more time with other humanoids.

Other Classes: Kobold paragons relate to rogues and sorcerers more readily than any other classes, as they share the most in common with their trapmaking and spellcasting abilities. Kobold paragons tend to be more alert and productive around clerics, being accustomed to such figures in positions of authority. Kobold paragons regard the melee classes with due respect because they usually lack the strength to become effective fighters.

Game Rule Information

Kobold paragons have the following game statistics.

Abilities: Charisma determines the effectiveness of a kobold paragon's spellcasting ability and is useful when attempting deceptions and collecting information. Dexterity is always an asset to kobold paragons, increasing their accuracy when making ranged attacks and aiding them in melee combat (after taking the Weapon Finesse feat). Constitution makes kobold paragons better able to withstand the physical dangers of adventuring.

Alignment: Any, although predominantly lawful and evil.

Hit Die: d6.

Class Skills

The kobold paragon's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Bluff (Cha), Climb (Str), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Escape Artist (Dex), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Jump (Str), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (dungeoneering) (Int), Listen (Wis), Move Silently (Dex), Profession (Wis), Search (Int), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Swim (Str). See Chapter 4: Skills in the Player's Handbook for skill descriptions.

Skill Points at 1st Level: (4 + Int modifier) x 4.

Skill Points at Each Additional Hit Dice: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Kobold Paragon
Level Base
Attack
Bonus
Fort
Save
Ref
Save
Will
Save
Special Spells per Day
1st +0 +0 +2 +2 Manual expertise, tunnel defense --
2nd +1 +0 +3 +3 Improved darkvision (+30 ft.), no light sensitivity +1 level of sorcerer
3rd +2 +1 +3 +3 Ability boost (Cha +2) +1 level of sorcerer

Class Features

The following are class features of the kobold paragon class.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: The kobold paragon is proficient with all simple weapons, plus the heavy pick and light pick. Kobold paragons are also proficient with light armor. Kobold paragons treat the dire pick (1) as a martial weapon that can be wielded two-handed as a simple weapon and may treat greatpicks (see Kobolds: Playing to Their Strengths) as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.

Spells per Day: At 2nd and 3rd-level, a kobold paragon gains new spells per day and spells known as if the character had also gained a level in sorcerer. The kobold paragon does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained (familiar abilities, and so on). This essentially means that the character adds the level of kobold paragon to their level in sorcerer, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

If a kobold paragon has no levels in sorcerer, this class feature has no effect.

Manual Expertise (Ex): A kobold paragon may add their class level as a racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Profession (mining), and Search checks.

Tunnel Defense (Ex): At 1st level, a kobold paragon uses confined spaces to their advantage in melee combat. A kobold paragon is treated as a Medium opponent when using or resisting any special attack (for example, bull rush, disarm, grapple) but only when fighting in a location no wider than their combat space (5-ft. wide). In addition, a kobold paragon retains their Dexterity bonus to AC even if caught flat-footed or struck by an invisible attacker in these confined conditions.

If a kobold paragon has uncanny dodge from a different class, the character automatically gains the benefits of improved uncanny dodge, but only when fighting in confined conditions (as above).

Improved Darkvision (Ex): At 2nd level, a kobold paragon’s darkvision range increases by 30 feet.

No Light Sensitivity: At 2nd level, a kobold paragon loses their race's light sensitivity.

Ability Boost (Ex): At 3rd level, a kobold paragon's Charisma score increases by 2 points.


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