Author Topic: D&D 3.5: The (Mini) Kobold Handbook  (Read 20179 times)

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D&D 3.5: The (Mini) Kobold Handbook
« on: December 20, 2020, 01:52:02 AM »
The (Mini) Kobold Handbook

Gold = Excellent
Blue = Good
Green = Average
Brown = Below Average
Red = Terrible

Standard Kobolds
(Also known as Generic Kobolds, as found in the SRD and 3.5 Monster Manual)

Ability Modifiers: -4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution.
Size: Small
Base Land Speed: 30'
Vision: Darkvision out to 60 feet.
Skill Bonuses: A kobold character has a +2 racial bonus on Craft (Trapmaking), Profession (Miner), and Search checks.
Natural Armor Bonus: +1
Special Qualities: Light sensitivity.
Automatic Languages: Draconic.
Bonus Languages: Common, Undercommon.
Favored Class: Sorcerer.
Level Adjustment: +0.

Web Enhanced Kobolds
(Via the WotC Web Enhancement)

Enhanced Kobolds get everything from the SRD/Standard Kobold, plus the following:

Natural Weapons: 2 x Primary Claws (1d3), & Secondary Bite (1d3)
Slight Build: When subject of a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (Hide, for example), kobolds are treated as one size smaller if doing so is advantageous to them. They are also considered to be one size smaller when "squeezing" through a restrictive space. Kobolds can make use of weapons designed for a creature one size smaller without a penalty, though the space and reach do not change. These effects stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the kobold's size category.
Weapon Proficiency: Bonus proficiencies with Heavy Pick & Light Pick.
Weapon Familiarity: Greatpicks (see below) as considered martial weapons, rather than exotic ones.

Note: When playing with Races of the Dragon (you totally should), all varieties of the Kobold race gain the 'Dragonblood' subtype, qualifying them for feats designed for Dragonblood subtype races in the same book. Those feats are not covered here as they are not solely restricted to just Kobolds.

Because of the added features of the kobolds via the web enhancement, it is highly recommended that you take that version any time you decide to make a kobold character, assuming that your DM allows for Open-Source WotC Web Ehnacement materials. If you're not sure if they do - ask! It's more than worth it! Even at 1d3 damage, the Natural Attacks you gain do as much as half the light simple and light martial weapons for a small character, so you're always considered armed for the purposes of attacks of opportunity, and don't have to waste an action drawing a weapon when starting a surprise round of combat! My recommendation is to take the web-enhanced variant, and, if desired, add whatever flavor variant suits your build from the Variant Section below.

Either option, you decided to play a kobold, so your stats are going to suck at lvl 1 (though this can be mitigated via variants, classes, and substitution levels somewhat), you won't even speak common unless you have at least a 12 Int after Modifiers or pick up a 600gp Pearl of Speech (Common), and (depending on variants and class choices), you're going to be sensitive to light. All of these facts suck. However, it doesn't matter - kobolds are awesome. Don't believe me? Keep reading!

Kobold Racial Exotic Weapons
(Via the WotC Web Enhancement)

Code: [Select]

Greatpick----------------15gp-----1d8-------1d10--------x4----------N/A------15 lb.------Piercing

Heavy Double Crossbow---100gp-----1d8------1d10------19-20/x2-----120 ft.----12 lb.------Piercing
Light Double Crossbow----70gp-----1d6-------1d8------19-20/x2------80 ft.-----6 lb.------Piercing
Hand Double Crossbow----200gp-----1d3-------1d4------19-20/x2------30 ft.-----3 lb.------Piercing
---------Bolts (10)-------1gp-------------------------------------------------1 lb.--------------

1 = Weight figures are for Medium weapons. A Small weapon weighs half as much, and a Large weapon weighs twice as much.

Kobold Variants

Aquatic Kobolds
(Same as the Standard Kobold, but with the following additional traits)

Subtype: Aquatic (Breathes water instead of air, this becomes Gold in an all aquatic campaign, otherwise is a solid Brown as it requires you to sacrifice -2 Dex to adding the +0 LA Amphibius template just to also breathe air.)
Swim Speed: 40' - Note: It can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks.
Skill Bonuses: +8 racial bonus on Swim checks to perform actions or avoid hazards. Can always 'take 10' on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. Can use the run action while swimming, if it swims in a straight line.

Arctic Kobolds
(Same as the Standard Kobold, but with the following additional traits)

Ability Modifiers: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution, -2 Wisdom (These replace that of the Standard Kobold)
Cold Endurance: +4 racial bonus on Fort saves made to resist the effects of cold weather or exposure.

Desert Kobolds
(Same as the Standard Kobold, but with the following changes that replace the entries of the Standard Kobold)

Ability Modifiers: -4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom (These replace that of the Standard Kobold)
Light Sensitivity Change: None (Blue because it completely removes a detrimental penalty of the base race)
Skill Bonuses Change: +2 racial bonus on Craft (trapmaking), Search, and Survival checks.
Favored Class: Rogue
Heat Endurance:+4 racial bonus on Fort saves made to resist the effects of hot weather.

Jungle Kobolds
(Same as the Standard Kobold, but with the following changes that replace the entries of the Standard Kobold)

Ability Modifiers: -4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, -2 Intelligence (These replace that of the Standard Kobold)
Altitude Adaptation: Adapted to life at high altitudes, they don't suffer altitude sickness. They are always considered acclimated to high altitudes.
Skill Bonuses: +2 racial bonus on Climb checks (Jungle kobolds add their Dexterity modifier to Climb checks instead of their Strength modifier) and +2 on Search checks.

Earth Kobolds
(Same as the Standard Kobold, but with the following changes that replace the entries of the Standard Kobold)

Ability Modifiers: -2 Strength, -2 Constitution (These replace that of the Standard Kobold)
Additional Skill Bonus: +4 Craft (Trapmaking) to checks related to stonework traps, specifically.

Unique Kobold Features
These features are unique to kobolds, meaning that only kobolds get access to them.


Kobold Paragon
(from the WotC Web Enhancement of the same name)[/CENTER]

Code: [Select]
Level-----BAB-----Fort----Ref----Will----Special----------------------------------------------Spells Per Day

1st-------+0-------+0-----+2------+2-----Manual Expertise, Tunnel Defense---------------------------None
2nd-------+1-------+0-----+3------+3-----Improved Darkviiosn (+30'), No Light Sensitivity---+1 Level of Sorcerer
3rd-------+2-------+1-----+3------+3-----Ability Boost (+2 Cha)-----------------------------+1 Level of Sorcerer

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Proficient with all simple weapons, plus Heavy Pick & Light Pick. (You already get this if you're using the Web Enhanced Kobold variant) Kobold paragons are also proficient with light armor. (Always nice to get an armor proficiency when you might not otherwise have it) Kobold paragons treat the Dire Pick as a martial weapon that can be wielded two-handed as a simple weapon and may treat Greatpicks (See Kobold Racial Weapons table above) as martial weapons, rather than exotic (Also something you get from the Web Enhanced Kobold Variant, but the Dire Pick proficiency is a nice bonus!).

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. (To make up the lost caster level at lvl 1, see the Rituals section below!)

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. (Now, this is something you'll have to discuss with your DM. By RAI, it should be 'adding' your class level to take your racial bonus from +2 to a +5. However, they worded it poorly, so by RAW, it would replace your +2 bonus with a +3 bonus, which is...a waste of a class feature, honestly. That drops this feature down by a full category of 'goodness' if your DM rolls with pure RAW.)

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). (This ability isn't a terrible freebie bonus if you're dungeon diving.)

Improved Darkvision (Ex): At 2nd level, a kobold paragon’s darkvision range increases by 30 feet. (Increasing Darkvision's range is a HUGE bonus for scouting types, and you get it for free while advancing Sorcerer Casting Progression? Um...yes please!)

No Light Sensitivity: At 2nd level, a kobold paragon loses their race's light sensitivity. (Eliminates a detriment of the kobold race so that you don't have to take the Desert Kobold variant that you may not prefer.)

Ability Boost (Ex): At 3rd level, a kobold paragon's Charisma score increases by 2 points. (This is a must if you're playing a sorcerer. Not taking all three levels of this as a sorcerer is just a huge waste! Bonus spells are bonus spells - gem 'em while they're hot!)

If you're going to play a Kobold Sorcerer, Kobold Paragon isn't a terrible way to progress it. Yes, you lose one caster level, but you can gain that back at the cost of a permanent loss of 4hp, 1,100gp, and a 3rd level Feat (see the Kobold Rituals section further below). The +2 to Cha, the loss of the Light Sensitivity trait, the bonus to Darkvision range can be worth the loss of a caster level, even if you don't want to make it up with rituals - for the right build, so definitely something to consider.


(Races of the Dragon, p. 100)
Prerequisite: 1st level only, Kobold
Benefit: You are a dragon wrought kobold. Your type is dragon rather than humanoid, and you lose the dragonblood subtype. You retain all your other subtypes and your kobold racial traits. Your scales become tinted with a color that matches that of your draconic heritage. As a dragon, you are immune to magic sleep and paralysis effects. You have darkvision out to 60 feet and low-light vision. You gain a +2 racial bonus on the skill indicated for your draconic heritage on the table on page 103.
Special: Unlike most feats, this feat must be taken at 1st level, during character creation. Having this feat allows you to take the Dragon Wings feat at 3rd level.

This feat is usually taken for one reason - it makes kobolds 'dragons', and 'dragons' are not subject to physical ability score penalties of aging. So instead of getting -6 Str, -6 Dex, -6 Con, +3 Int, +3 Wis, +3 Cha for being in the 'Venerable' age category, you only get the +3 Int, +3 Wis, and +3 Cha. Be warned, some DMs consider this 'cheese'. On one hand, it makes up for the natural sum total -4 stat modifier and leaves you with a +5 does cost a feat, and those are precious as well. Some DMs see it as a fair trade, some rule it cheese. Doesn't hurt to ask though!

There is a lot of cheese that can be had when you are technically a 'dragon'. The age category cheese is just the prime example. Sovereign Archetypes from Dragons of Ebberon, Dragon Psychosis from Dragon Magazine #313, Dragon-only feats (Draconomicon comes to mind) that were obviously never intended for anything but true dragons...but by RAW this would technically qualify your character for anyway like Improved Speed, Endure Blows, Embed Spell Focus, Awaken Frightful Presence, Awaken Spell Resistance, etc, etc. This cheese is stinky, but if your DM happens to be a real stickler for RAW over RAI.... (^_^)

Kobold Endurance (Races of the Dragon, p. 101)
Prerequisite: Kobold
Benefit: You gain a +4 bonus on all Strength and Constitution ability checks, but not on Strength- or Constitution-based skill checks. You also gain a +4 bonus on the following checks and saves: Swim checks made to resist nonlethal damage, Fortitude saves made to avoid nonlethal damage from hot or cold environments, Fortitude saves made to resist damage from suffocation, and grapple checks made to escape a grapple or pin. Also, you can sleep in medium armor without becoming fatigued.
Special: A kobold who would gain Endurance as a bonus feat can choose Kobold Endurance in its place. Kobold Endurance counts as the Endurance feat for the purpose of meeting a prerequisite for a feat, prestige class, or special ability.
Normal: A character without this feat who sleeps in medium armor is automatically fatigued the next day.

The Special is marked blue for situations where you would get Endurance from another source, and can sub this in. Free bonus is free bonus!

Kobold Foe Strike (Races of the Dragon, p. 101)
Prerequisite: Kobold
Benefit: When you hit a dwarf, fey, or gnome with a melee attack, you deal an extra 1d6 points of damage if you flank the creature, or if it is flat-footed. Creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits or sneak attacks are not subject to this extra damage. Any creature with concealment is immune to this extra damage.
Special: A kobold fighter can select Kobold Foe Strike as one of his fighter bonus feats

If this were not so racially specific, it would be a decent feat - especially as fighter bonus feat. Gnomes, Swarves, and Fey are not your typical enemies in most campaigns. Though it might shoot up to green, or even blue if the campaign was heavily focused around such enemies.

Draconic Reservoir (WotC Web Enhancement)
Prerequisite: Kobold, must have completed the Draconic Rite of Passage, 3 HD.
Benefit: You can cast your 1st-level sorcerer spell-like ability gained from Draconic Rite of Passage 3/day. A kobold must complete the Searching for the Dragon meditation in order to recharge their spell-like ability but does not have to increase the 15-minute duration for the additional castings.
Normal: The spell-like ability gained from Draconic Rite of Passage can only be cast 1/day.

This feat is damn near MANDATORY if you go the Sorcerer route since it's a prerequisite for a ritual you can perform at 6HD that grants you +1 level of Sorcerer Casting Progression. This can let you make up the caster level loss of the Kobold Paragon Class, or just straight up let a lvl 6 Kobold Sorcerer cast like a 7th level Sorcerer.

Substitution Levels

Kobold Fighter Substitution Levels (Races of the Dragon, p. 108)
Gain Profession (Miner) and Search as class skills, if you somehow didn't have them before.
1st level: Spear focus (+1 attack with spears), Dodge. Lose bonus feat, medium, and heavy armor proficiency
2nd level: Constitution Boost (+2 Con), lose feat
4th level: Strength Boost (+2 Str), lose feat

Fighter bonus feats are nice, but the Constitution and Strength bonuses go a long way to eliminate your kobold's racial ability penalties. Losing a penalty on HP and melee attack/damage can definitely be worth the 2 bonus feats if they keep you alive and let you hit and do damage something you otherwise might not.

Kobold Ranger Substitution Levels (Races of the Dragon, p. 109)
1st level: Kobold Favored Enemy (favored enemy works with different skills)
4th level: Dire Weasel Companion, Kobold Ranger Spells (different spells)
7th level: Subterranean Stride (underground stride instead of woodland stride)

Normal Favored Enemy bonuses apply to Bluff, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival checks when using these skills against creatures of the Favored Enemy's type. This makes your Favored Enemy bonus apply to Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Spot, and Survival instead. If you're going for a sneaky ranger, this is arguably a much better option. And as a bonus, if a Kobold Ranger selects Fey, Humanoid (Dwarf), or Humanoid (Gnome) as their favored enemy, they gain a +3 bonus against the chosen creature type instead of the standard +2, and bonuses against such creatures also increase by 3 every time the kobold ranger gains a new favored enemy, instead of the standard +2 increase. As I've said before - free bonuses are free bonuses!

Yes, you are restricted to a Dire Weasel animal companion...but Dire Weasels are actually pretty awesome. If they hit with a bite, They latch on and start draining 1d4 Con every round. Train that bad-boy for war, buff it with any animal-buffing spells you can get your grubby little claws on, and ride that furry snake into battle! As a bonus, you're treated as a Druid of 1/2 your level instead of the normal Ranger, who is treated as a Druid 1/2 their Ranger level -3.

Some of the Replacement Kobold Ranger spells are actually pretty neat as well. Sorange Size (Replaces Entangle) is a simultaneous Reduce Person on your target and an Enlarge Person on you (Calling ME short? Ha! *stomp*).

Losing Woodland Stride is a drag when in the wilderness, but if you needed better movement, an argument could be made that having them in dungeons is slightly more important than in a forest where you have other options (various means of flight, climbing a tree, etc).

Kobold Rogue (Races of the Dragon, p. 109)
You only get d4 for your HD, and add Knowledge (Dungeoneering) to your class list.
1st level: Rapid Retreat (+5' while withdrawing), Shrewd Trapfinding (+2 bonus to find/disable traps)
3rd level: Improved Trap Sense (bonus to saves vs. traps), Shrewd Trapfinding
8th level: Evasive Skitter (can move out of the area of effects), Shrewd Trapfinding

I've literally never seen anyone use the Withdraw action, so Rapid Retreat is definitely not worth the reduction of your HD. But, Shrewd Trapfinding is a straight-up bonus to Search & Disable checks on Traps...assuming you have the Skill Points to burn on an equal number of Craft (Trapmaking) to get that bonus.

Improved Trap Sense is also a straight-up bonus...but again, only if you have the skill points to burn on an equal number of Craft (Trapmaking) to get that bonus. Craft (Trapmaking) is an utterly worthless skill that can't actually be used unless you have a bunch of NPCs with the skill assisting so it doesn't take weeks/months to complete even the most simple of traps. But, if you've got the skill points to burn...bonuses are bonuses!

Evasive Skitter is a straight-up bonus, though you'd be hard-pressed to ever be in a situation where it was actually useful. Again...not really worth the hit to HD.

However, all these turn green/blue if you're playing in a Gestalt game and are getting better HP from your other class(es).

Dragonblood Subtype Substitution Levels & Alternate Class Features
If you are using Races of the Dragon as a sourcebook, kobolds gain the subtype "Dragonblood", qualifying them for even more options.

Dragonblood Cleric (Races of the Dragon, p. 106)
1st level: Turn Energy (energy resistance instead of turn undead)
5th level: Energy Barrier (make walls of energy; lose 3rd level slot)
9th level: Energy Sustenance (use turns to heal); lose a 5th level slot

Giving all allies within 30 feet of you Energy Resistance for a few minutes is a decent trade-off for turning undead.

Creating 10x10 walls that only last 1d4 rounds really is not worth a 3rd level spell slot, as it is too hyper-specific in its viable usage scenarios. 

However, being able to burn a Turn Undead usage for the day to willingly fail a save vs  energy damage to heal 33% of the amount of damage you would have taken is actually pretty damn cool, and arguably worth a 5th level spell slot, especially if you have a way to get more uses of Turn Undead.

Dragonblood* Sorcerer (Races of the Dragon, p. 107): lose Craft and profession; gain UMD
1st level: Arcane Insight (+2 Knowledge [arcana]), Dragon Heritage (the feat); lose familiar
4th level: Arcane Insight (+2 Knowledge [arcana]), Spell-Like Ability (turn spell slots into SLA)
7th level: Arcane Insight (+2 Knowledge [arcana]), Bonus Spells Known

Losing your familiar with the first level really sucks. You are essentially halving your action economy.

Losing two spell slots really sucks, especially at 4th level! But if you are smart about it, the benefit can be more than worth it! Spell-like abilities only require a standard action to use. Geas/quest, Hallucinatory Terrain, Major Creation, and Nightmare are spells that would normally require 10 minutes to cast, and Probe Thoughts and Quick Potion are examples of spells that take a full minute to cast. If you can't think of how to capitalize on being able to use one of these as a standard action 3 times a have no business playing a caster in the first place! At high levels when you can swap out your SLA for higher level spells, this option could become Gold with the right spell choice!

Bonus spells known are bonus spells known. Do not look back!

Dragonscale Husk (DrM 12): lose armor proficiency from base class which grants heavy armor proficiency; gain scaly hide @1 (or the level which grants heavy armor proficiency, if later).

This is objectively bad when you consider silly things like...armor enchantments. Maybe appropriate in super low-magic campaigns or survival campaigns where you know you'll never have the cash to spend on such things... but that is about it. Pick it up if you get Heavy Armor proficiency from more than one class (whichever class you'll be taking more levels in for better AC values later on), as an option in case someone ever sunders your fancy magic armor, I suppose. At low levels it would let you free up coinage not being spent on budget armor, at least. Free Options are Free Options.

Kobold Rituals

Draconic Rite of Passage (Races of the Dragon, p. 43)
The Draconic Rite of Passage awakens the sorcerous power within the blood of kobolds.
Prerequisites: Only kobolds can undergo the Draconic Rite of Passage. A kobold requires no one else to perform the rite; it is a solitary activity.
Benefit: Upon completing this rite, a kobold chooses any 1st-level sorcerer spell. He can now use that spell once per day as a spell-like ability, using his character level as his caster level. Each day, a kobold must complete the Searching for the Dragon meditation (see above) in order to recharge this spell-like ability for the day. No kobold can benefit from this rite more than once.
Draconic Rite of Passage
Time: A kobold who undergoes this rite must first endure nine days of fasting. Immediately thereafter, the kobold must succeed on a DC 10 Concentration check to enter a deep trance that lasts for 24 hours. If the check fails, the rite must begin anew.
Cost: This rite requires sacrificing a gem of at least 100gp in value. The kobold also permanently loses 1 hit point upon completion of the rite.

For the low low price of 100gp and the sacrifice of 1HP permanently, you get a 1/Day SLA of any one 1st level Sorcerer spell. Hell yes! You need it for the greater ritual (below) anyway, and the cost cannot be beat. If you can't think of a good 1st level spell to whip out once a day every day, you've got no business playing a sorcerer. Endure Elements, Mage Armor, Create Trap, Comprehend Languages, Charm Person, Grease, etc, etc.


Greater Draconic Rite of Passage (WotC Web Enhancement)
Prerequisites: Only kobolds of 6 Hit Dice or more, sorcerer level 1st, who have successfully completed the Draconic Rite of Passage, and taken Draconic Reservoir (See Feat Section Above) can undergo the Greater Draconic Rite of Passage. A kobold requires no one else to perform the rite; it is a solitary activity.
Benefit: Upon completing this rite, a kobold gains new spells per day and an increase in caster level (and spells known) as if also gaining one level in the sorcerer class. The kobold does not, however, gain any other benefit a sorcerer would have gained (familiar abilities, and so on). The benefit of this ritual is automatically factored into the 15 minutes that a kobold sorcerer spends concentrating to ready their daily allotment of spells. No kobold can benefit from this rite more than once.
Time: A kobold who undergoes this rite must first endure nine days of fasting (the equivalent of three days for a kobold in a region above 40 degrees F). Immediately thereafter, the kobold must succeed on a DC 20 Concentration check to enter a deep trance that lasts for 24 hours. If the check fails, the rite must begin a new.
Cost: This rite requires sacrificing a gem of at least 1,000 gp in value. The kobold also permanently loses 3 hit points upon completion of the rite, the price of unlocking latent draconic energy within their soul.

Does your Kobold Sorcerer need to make up a lost Caster Level? Does your Kobold non-caster want to cast a few arcane cantrips and 1st level spells? Does your Kobold Sorcerer want to cast spells as if he were a full level higher than he really is? Because this ritual is how you can do any of those things. Do it, and don't look back!
« Last Edit: June 24, 2022, 02:35:54 AM by GeeksTheNewSexy »