10 Kobold Encounters

A distant skittering echoes through the cave. Small, clawed footsteps guide the travelers as they move deeper, huddled in the temperamental light of a single torch. The creatures they were pursuing were encouragingly small and nonthreatening. Their confidence dropped like stones in their stomachs when the skittering turned to chuckles. The snap of a breaking rope rang through the tunnel. A grinding preceded the swift descent of a log, swinging into and carrying away the adventurer’s armored leader. The rest began to panic, searching the ground and walls for other traps. They had made their way deep into a kobold den and were about to pay the price.

That’s right, it’s time for kobolds! With our 10 goblin encounters and ‘How to Run Goblins’ done, it’s time we shifted focus to their reptilian cousins. They are often treated as being very similar and even interchangeable, so we want to cover what sets the two apart and how to highlight that in your own games. These encounters will follow our usual structure, with a focus on the race’s unique quirks and behavior.

We have also released our ‘How to Run Kobolds‘, with all the base knowledge you could need before creating your encounters. Learn how to design their dens and run their combat tactics, and then apply the flavor of each encounter!

Dwarven Hermitage Dungeon Map, Banner

1 – Kobolds have created a toll gate within a cave, demanding payment in a booming echo.

The road cuts through the mountains, weaving around their bases and through various tunnels. It can be a dangerous journey for even experienced parties. Despite efforts to protect the roads and traveling caravans, landslides, trolls, and even goats of extraordinary size still stalk the area. But it is not any of these that the group found. Making their way into a tunnel, they come to a point where a large gate blocks access. Moments after they began investigating, a booming voice echoes through the chamber. It hisses and laughs, menacingly demanding a toll. Yet its origin is anything but menacing. The voice actually comes from a group of kobolds, hidden just out of view and making skillful use of the cave’s acoustics.

For the very first of our kobold encounters, we begin with a rather basic idea. The toll gate is designed to be useable any time the players are in a tunnel road and helps to highlight the difference between a roadside goblin encounter and that of kobolds. While the former would lay bait and then attack, the kobolds have created a sneaky situation in which they can triumph without direct engagement. Travelers, rarely of the party’s strength, come to the gate and are threatened to provide something of worth or be killed. Regular merchants and caravans would not risk engagement. And so, the kobolds have built a small hoard for themselves.

Running the encounter is as simple as the party reaching the gate and the voice booming out. The gate itself will likely be of sturdy construction, assembled from what they could gather from abandoned carts and other tools. It can simply include a bucket to the side, where the players are commanded to leave their offering. A number of previous offerings might still be in it. The voice itself should sound confident and threatening, speaking like an archetypical fantasy villain. Part of the fun of the encounter is having players tipped off by the theatricality. Likewise, it should not be too hard to find the kobolds past the gate. A small group will be hidden in a side tunnel behind a fake or illusory rock, holding a wand of thaumaturgy and terrified of being caught.

Try to account for different actions your party might try, in your planning. Damaging the gate or taking gold from the bucket will enrage the voice, causing it to threaten them with curses or straightforward death. Make use of thaumaturgy’s possible effects, such as creating whispers or the sounds of a cave-in. If you wish to lean into kobolds’ ability to create traps, they may have laid some for groups that attempt to escape. These could include dropping nets, swinging logs or blades, or even grease jars that shatter before lighting on fire, casting terrifying shadows along the cave wall. These would wait beyond the gate for anyone that bypasses it. There could also be others in and before the gate’s area, for victims that turn around or require more convincing.

While some kobolds would, this group is not meant to fight the party. There should only be up to five of them and they would all be relying on the cunning trap they have set. They will bargain if the party finds them, offering a portion of their loot. Allow your party to take control of the conversation and have the kobolds emphasize the reversal of power. This encounter is meant for humor, not to end with five dead kobolds.

You can use one of our battle maps or easily construct one using some of our tiles and tokens…

2 – A local woman tasks the party with ridding her basement of the kobolds that are claiming it as their new den.

Bounties are a regular source of income for traveling adventurers, so it was not surprising when the party met with an old woman seeking exterminators. It sounded like a simple job that could pay for a few nights in a comfortable inn. They were even delighted to hear the woman describe kobolds. Confidently descending her stairs into the basement, they now quickly see a group of kobold scouts; those that would prepare a den before others would join. The party shares a chuckle and proceeded towards them. Click. A pressure plate activates beneath the leader’s foot. Before he can question how and why, a bookshelf swings from the ceiling and sends him crashing into the stone wall.

Our Delightful Dwelling map comes with a fitting basement. The basement door may even be locked, with the key across the room. You can find the map here.

The purpose of this kobold encounter is to take the regular den setup and condense it into a tiny space. We are again aiming for a humorous approach, though balancing this with the absurd density and danger of traps. Players will not be privy to this heading in, as we want them to be confident until they reach the encounter. You can lure them in with a posting on a bounty board or by having the woman approach them directly, recognizing them as adventurers. If you wish to use it as a roadside encounter, position her house as a lone cabin. She can see them passing and rush out, offering payment of gold, food, and a place to rest.

Planning the encounter space should start with the basement sans-traps. It should be large enough to accommodate the encounter while still toeing the line of realism. It can also help to divide it into two or three rooms to give the kobolds space to retreat and provide yourself with additional trap triggers. Fill the area with regular storage items, spare furniture, as well as tools and even a weapon belonging to the woman’s husband or son. These are meant to make it seem like a realistic space initially before becoming possible threats as soon as the players realize what is happening.

Speaking of possible threats, you also get the joy of selecting traps. A good starting point is to use classic traps that incorporate the items available in the basement. The swinging bookshelf is only one example. Be creative and remember that we are aiming for the encounter to be funny because of a lack of total realism. A section of the roof could swing down at head-height, a pouch of flash powder could be emptied over a lit torch, or a fuse could burn a sack of moldy fruit and release rancid gas. Cram in as many as you can, aiming for a variety of traps that require different saves to avoid. It may only be 40 feet to the door but that 40 feet should be a harrowing gauntlet.

As soon as the players enter, the kobolds will retreat beyond a door and lock it behind them. This door will also be trapped with a falling alchemist’s fire or a poisoned needle poked under it, of course. Once players are through, they simply need to scare or negotiate the kobolds back into the hole they burrowed through the wall. This will play out similar to the last encounter, only with a more insistent group of kobolds. They have laid claim to the basement as their den, therefore it belongs to them. Ultimately, if the party attacks or adequately threatens the kobolds, they will leave. But not before warning the players that their transgression against the den will come with dire consequences!

3 – The party meets a lone kobold who fled his den with one of their god’s eggs. He needs their help to escape pursuit.

It is common for adventurers to meet all sorts of other travelers on the road. It is less common for one to slam right into their leg. The kobold, panicked and frantically searching for words, scrambles back. His claws wrap around an egg with an iron grip and his eyes and ears flick between the party and the forest behind him. He can only struggle out, “please, help,” before taking cover behind them. Soon after, a band of kobolds appears from the same point as the escapee. They share a look of confused determination, pointing their spears and circling to find their mark. Will the party help the lone kobold? What is it he has done and what does he intend to do?

This kobold encounter centers around the singular thief, making it important to understand who he is and what he has done. Some time ago, his den worshipped and congregated around a giant snake (or dragon!). They shared its burrow and it helped provide for them. This snake died, but not before leaving behind a clutch of eggs. The den’s leader, a shaman with a modicum of magical power, took this opportunity to wrest control of the den. They spoke of a ritual in which the kobolds could be empowered. All they had to do was eat the eggs. But one of them saw through this, absconding with one of the eggs and intending to nurture and raise it. After a night of outrunning his former den-mates, the kobold finds the party.

Your players will need to make a snap decision about whether they will help the fugitive kobold. Fortunately, curiosity and the lack of reward for turning him in means it is relatively likely that they will play long. In this case, hiding him and deceiving the pursuers should be quite easy. Once they leave, the players can speak with him. This is where the kobold can explain his story and beg for their help. His goal will be to reach a safe location, whether that be another den or a town in which he might be safe. It is a good idea for the destination to involve a character or group that the kobold knows and vice versa so that they can reward the players for his safe delivery. You also want it to be close to the party’s destination to avoid them saying no due to having to detour.

Kobolds, unlike goblins, are unlikely to send hunters after him. The group that the party meets will be the extent of it, as they will quickly leave the den’s territory. Rather, the challenge of the encounter comes from protecting the kobold and egg from any OTHER encounters. He will be present for any other dangers they encounter along the way. This also means you want the trip to take at least a few (eventful) days. Players will have time to engage and converse with the kobold, learning about him and his race. Ideally, they will become friends and feel motivated to protect him. You can even have him demonstrate the strengths of kobolds by using an encounter with players on the defensive. He can speak up to instruct them, displaying an affinity for traps and cautious combat tactics.

If your players simply rat out the kobold and leave, have the consequences appear soon after. Perhaps the shaman was right and the den now possesses supernatural strength? Nearby roads could become increasingly hazardous or towns may even be attacked. These are simple ways to make your players’ choices matter while giving the option of a future encounter to undo the damage.

Snake Den RPG Battle Map - Featured Image
Our Snake Den battle map is perfect for many kobold encounters and was the direct inspiration for this one! You can find the map here, with an expanded pack here. Be sure to also read the attached story of Nurt and his egg theft, found here!

4 – A den worships a dragonborn who is using them to aid his bandit group.

Giant, golden kobold? Small, golden man-dragon? The specific details of the misconception remain unclear, though the larger problem does not. A group of highwaymen, ineffectual until now, have found themselves the object of kobold worship. Rather, one of them has. The small den has chosen the golden dragonborn as their prophesied leader and he has used their help to take command and lead the combined groups in surprisingly effective attacks on passing traders. This threat is only growing worse and must be dealt with soon.

This kobold encounter adds a twist to regular kobold tactics by combining them with more brazen bandits. The highwaymen allow their allies to act more confidently and proactively, transferring the kobolds’ skills into their own ambushes. This allows you to use them in new ways and differentiate them from the regular dens. Depending on your timing and setting, players might be the targets of an ambush or the town guard might hire them to attack the bandits’ camp. Both cases should show the combined races. Bandits will attack aggressively and in close quarters while the kobolds will support them with traps, debilitating effects and gadgets, and the occasional ranged attack. A camp should look like a bandit camp, but be outfitted with all manner of kobold ingenuity.

Checkpoint RPG battle map
The Checkpoint battle map can act as a defendable bandit camp. Download the map here, then attach traps to the bridge, gate, and walls.

A quick note is the handling of the kobolds’ motivations. They are not normally stupid enough to see a dragonborn and suddenly worship him (though they can be, if you wish!). This is why we include a basic prophecy trope as a way to explain and deepen their fanatical belief. You can keep it simple, such as a previous shaman teaching them that, “The dragon of gold will lead to riches untold.” If you need to, you can expand on it later. The secondary purpose of this is for injecting humor into the encounter. The kobolds will obey the dragonborn and only the dragonborn. Other bandits might attempt to command them, only to be completely ignored. Naturally, the dragonborn will also have a resultingly enormous ego, something the others will likely resent. Play into this dynamic as much as possible.

Finally, consider how this kobold encounter might end. It should not take too long, as the groups will not be particularly large, though added traps will make it more deadly. Your players will hopefully understand the situation by the time combat concludes and the positioning of bandits and kobolds means that some of the latter might remain alive. The kobolds will stop fighting if the dragonborn dies. Once the bandits are dead, you have two options. The kobolds may see this as the fulfillment of the prophecy, believing all the camp’s loot to be the prophesied riches. They may even thank the players. Alternatively, you can have them excitedly follow the prophecy’s second line: “And when the dragon does fall, follow his killers, one and all.”

5 – Kobold thieves have stolen an unstable magical artifact. The party must retrieve it before it’s too late.

The caravan was to covertly deliver the artifact to the mage’s guild. They were traveling with little protection in order to move unnoticed and unaccosted. They did not account for kobolds. Embarrassingly, a small group of thieves was able to trap and loot the cart, making off with the artifact in question. A powerful item of unstable magic is now in the den’s possession and the guild is desperate to get it back; desperate enough to hire the party. They beg the adventurers to recover the object so that it can be contained before it is too late. But have the kobolds already harnessed its power?

As with any den, the kobolds will most likely reside in a system of caves or a ruin. They will have their tunnels to move freely and safely, while areas the players are likely to move through will be filled with traps. Designing a den without the influence of the artifact is a good start and can help show its growing influence. Speaking of the item, the kobolds will have placed it either in their hoard or in its own, special room, if they recognize that it holds power. This should be towards the very end of the den, both for realistic security and so that players must venture through to find it. Any environmental or other effects of the artifact will grow denser as they get closer to it.

Dwarven Hermitage Dungeon Map, Color
Having the kobolds retrofit our Dwarevn Hermitage is a great way to show their ingenuity. You can find it here.

But what is the artifact and what does it do? Perhaps the simplest answer is to use an Orb of Dragonkind. It is valuable, powerful, and thematically fitting. The problem with the orb is that it does not confer the kobolds any power beyond utility spells unless they are able to call upon a dragon. We can get around this by selecting a number of kobold warriors, balanced around what your party can face (after all the traps, remember). Roll a d10 for each of them, giving a Draconic Ancestry (from the Dragonborn race) and connected Damage Resistance and rechargeable Breath Weapon depending on the result. Want to go further? Roll a d20 for each. Give them the result in Sorcerer levels but only granting Draconic Bloodline features. They will all be tougher, some will have wings, and a few might be able to invoke fear.

There are many other possibilities for the object and effects. The Orb of Dragonkind could be reskinned as an artifact of Tiamat, granting the mentioned powers in exchange for offerings or loyalty. It might be a planar rift generator, granting the same boons as in our Goblin Encounter 9. If you fancy yourself some extra randomness, have the kobolds in possession of a damaged magical battery. Roll a d100 for each affected kobold, taking the result from the Wild Magic table. Give that effect to the kobold as an ability, requiring an action unless otherwise stated. Just remember to have the mages hiring the party make some mention of this. Players should know not to directly touch the item in many of these cases, which should hopefully also dissuade them from stealing it.

Luminescent Cave battle map, banner
If you’re wondering how to plan and run an effective kobold den, worry not! Just check in with our ‘How to Run Kobolds‘, for everything from the kobolds themselves to all their rooms and traps.

6 – The party finds a bounty for clearing out a kobold den, posted by the dragon that the den worships.

Seeking another odd job for money, spare time, or simply training, the party stumbles across a posting asking for adventurers to clear a cave of kobolds. The traps inside could be a problem but kobolds themselves rarely pose much threat. Hopefully, the adventurers can simply scare them off. And all appears to be going well as they make their way in, dodging blades, spikes, and snake pits. It is only when they reach the central hoard that the situation grows more complicated. A gold dragon sits atop piles of gold and relics, perking up when the party enters. “Ah, welcome,” it smiles. “Have you chased the kobolds out of my caves, then?”

Similar to the last, this kobold encounter builds upon the regular kobold den setup with an added twist. This means that the den itself will follow a similar structure of traps and tunnels. You can put more focus on them in this instance, as there is no climactic combat encounter beyond them. The danger will come from the journey. Try to place an emphasis on what the kobolds have been doing, as well. This den primarily consists of thieves who have been stealing shiny and valuable treasures. They have grown more brazen as of late, hunting even greater prizes but drawing more attention. This will play into the dragon’s motivation.

Dungeon Trap Tokens, page 1
Every good den needs a variety of traps and our Dungeon Trap Tokens have just that. Download all 51 of them here!

Try to place clues throughout the stages of the encounter. If done well, your players should be able to look back on different details and realize what they were pointing to. In the town that they find the bounty, throw in some traders or nobles who have experienced robberies. Townsfolk might mention that it used to be small things going missing but has recently increased, with some victims threatening to hire external guards or investigators. The bounty itself should be worded in a way that is frustrated and tired, but not with the anger of one of these victims. Finally, the den should include items of worship towards a dragon. These could range from murals and collected loot to drawings and carvings made by kobold children.

The actual reveal of the dragon should only come when the party reaches the final chamber. By that point, they will have faced and defeated much of den. They may also be expecting a final conflict with a dragon if they picked up on your clues. But the dragon will be appreciative. It can explain that, while well-meaning and usually harmless, the kobolds had grown too confident in their thefts. This risks drawing attention to his cave, the view from which he is very fond of. The kobolds do not ultimately need to be killed to ‘complete’ the encounter, as long as the dragon believes they will remain in check. As a reward, he can offer each player a handful from his hoard.

7 – A dangerous beast is headed towards a small village and the party must help a band of kobolds stop it.

Hooves charge and smash through trees somewhere in the forest. The party hears the commotion approach and pass in the same direction they travel, not a minute before an exasperated group of kobold trappers finds them. The hunters yell over each other, warning about the beast and eventually managing to ask for the party’s help. This monster is headed for a small village and is likely to trample it in its rage. They must get ahead of it if they hope to stop it. But with the party’s speed and kobold traps, they might just be able to succeed.

As we have mentioned in past encounters, a great way for players to learn about a race or faction is to work with them. Doing this forces them to understand the other group’s abilities in order to coordinate and use them. In this case, it is a matter of getting ahead of the beast and setting up traps. The kobolds have the knowledge of how to create these traps but cannot do it alone. This means that your players will be in control. It’s up to them if they want to try and investigate the creature or rely on what the kobolds know, how far ahead of it to set up, as well as how to set up. They will need to judge the situation and resources available and make quick, important decisions.

The kobolds will be in a group of no more than four and carrying what they need for basic traps (ropes, pitons, etc.). Their objective, though the party may disagree, is to capture the beast alive. This acts as a way to force players into using the traps rather than bombarding it with spells and weapons. They must slow and restrain it, or render it unconscious. What the kobolds do not mention is the reason the beast is in a frenzy: their efforts to capture and tame it went awry. They still intend to tame it, of course, though their embarrassment means they will first prevent it from harming the village. Your players should be able to discover this by recognizing the kobolds’ guilt or the damage already done to equipment that seems specialized for huge beasts.

Of course, we need to know what the beast actually is. While you’re free to use something more exotic, a larger version of a giant boar is a perfectly fine choice. Scale its size up to huge, using other huge beasts as guidelines. Its hit dice can change from d10s to d12s, giving it five extra total hit points. You can also give it a resistance to non-magical weapons, similar to the enlarge spell. While the spell would normally give it advantage on strength checks/saves, you can simplify this by increasing its strength score by 2 (+1 to its modifier and charge DC). This makes it appropriately stronger without making it too difficult for players to stop.

8 – A kobold tamer has managed to breed a surprising new pet: oozes. His hubris has become a problem for the den.

Snakes, scorpions, freakishly large swarms of insects; kobold dens breed all sorts of pets for themselves. On top of that, many regular people wouldn’t even realize that oozes could be ‘bred’. But none of that stopped this kobold. What could be considered the kobold equivalent of a mad scientist, this rogue reptile wielded his new pets in a coup, overtaking his den. There are some left who oppose him, and they now seek out help for winning their people back. But the time they have been away has given the mad tamer opportunity to push his power further. He may even be powerful enough to face the party alone.

This is another kobold encounter that uses the influence of a single unit to change the den around him. The tamer’s control of the den has changed it and also turned him into something players would never expect from regular kobolds: a threat in direct combat. This context should be visible throughout the encounter, just as in some of the previous.

The kobolds that approach the party will do so in the hope that the players might help them. This could take place in a town or on the road. These friendly kobolds give you an easy way to introduce the encounter, inform players, as well as promise a reward for success. They may even be convinced to help the party’s attack, aiding in avoiding traps.

The real character of this encounter comes from the combination of kobolds and oozes. Ultimately, you can forgo our encounter structure and simply use the tactics and units in another way. Perhaps the kobolds are confident enough, with their new pets, to target a town? Or maybe they just use them in their ambushes? They could even have infiltrated or taken over an ooze research lab, the owner of which tasks the party with reclaiming them.

As your players move through the den, be sure to show the situation the kobolds are in. Take any animals, swarms, or animal-based traps and replace them with oozes. Gray oozes are a good choice for minor foes and you can remove their corrosive abilities for weaker parties or to minimize stacking effects. Trapdoors could open to pits housing a gelatinous cube, or ochre jellies could be added to blade traps that swing on initiative 20, slicing players and splitting oozes. Any kobolds the party encounters should be even less confrontational than normal, as they are acting on orders they may not agree with. All of this will lead to the final confrontation in the tamer’s laboratory.

The tamer, dubbing himself the ‘Oozelord’, is a kobold in an ooze suit. Or, rather, a black pudding with a kobold commanding it from the inside. He will wear an airtight leather suit and a small tube for breathing, while the ooze itself is enhanced with metal plates (raise its AC to 13 or adjust for your own party). The kobold should only be visible to greet the party, before disappearing into the ooze. This is so that he can hide as the ooze uses its Split ability. Just keep track of the kobold behind the scenes, as players will be trying to find them amidst the combat. Reducing his ooze to below 10 hit points will expose him. If his ooze is killed or he is ripped out (a shove action against the ooze), he will simply act as a kobold.

9 – Kobolds have constructed a monster costume that they use to demand offerings from a town.

The party is camping not a day’s travel from the town when they see lights in the distance. Flashes of fire and booms of thunder ring out, silhouetting an enormous form moving through the farmlands. It is too far for them to help, though they learn more the next day. People within the town tell them of the demon that terrorizes the area. It burns fields, summons plagues, and demands various offerings from those that wish to avoid its wrath. They would pay the party handsomely for its removal. But are the adventurers prepared to face this infernal monster and the kobolds that puppeteer it?

In many ways, this kobold encounter shows a key difference between goblins and kobolds. While a goblinoid clan might threaten or attack the town, these kobolds use theatricality to trick the people into donating to them. A combination of gadgets, magic, and the cover of night lets them create the realistic illusion of a monster. Their den has also come to rely on what they receive but also developed a genuine skill for it.

You want the encounter to start with players seeing it (or evidence of it) from a distance. Burned patches of farmland and shattered trees are a good start. This should prompt players to ask about it in town, to which the people will describe the beast and its demands. All the townspeople will believe it, of course. It should not take long for them to offer the party the job, leading to them being present when the creature appears.

Greybanner City Map
We have a number of fantastic town maps. Have a look at the arena-centered Greybanner, Poacher’s Crest, our Coastal Town, or the larger Woodside.

The ‘creature’ itself can be whatever you wish. A balor or a dragon is a good choice to strike fear and apprehension into your group. Your main concern is explaining the powers it shows. Smokes bombs can cover its movement and hide it from darkvision. Throwing alchemist’s fire can appear to be the monster summoning flames while releasing caged snakes and insects swarms would appear like plagues. Be as creative as you wish, but be sure to have each ability make sense. We would recommend limiting magic to the enhancement of other tricks as you also want players to be able to discover the truth. A high perception check could spot the fire bombs being thrown or cages of insects being emptied. Investigating the area could also show that few trees are broken, as the creature is then dismantled when returning to the den.

This kobold encounter can be as long or as deep as you wish. You are welcome to allow players to discover the truth in their first meeting with the beast. Alternatively, the kobolds could be targeting multiple towns in different ways, and players must investigate each. They might begin to notice odd discrepancies that eventually lead to them tracking the monster to its lair. Just be sure to keep them nervous if it extends longer. They should believe that it might be real all the way up until it’s revealed that it’s not. Finally, there are a number of ways to make the encounter even funnier. The town’s reclusive mayor might be organizing their offerings and also vehemently opposed to outside help. The party could visit his office, finding several kobolds under the illusion of a human.

10 – Five kobolds are stacked inside a set of beaten, black, plate armor. This knight now stands before the party and demands their fealty.

The clanking of metal armor alerts the party as they travel through the forest, the sun setting beyond the canopy. They listen, preparing for what might appear. Their horses stop a few moments later as a black knight steps onto the road before them, brandishing a shield and longsword. He raises the blade in their direction, demanding their obedience in a task most dire. The party must seek a valuable relic, held by a trader in the next town, and return it to him. His quest depends on it. Should they refuse, the knight has no option but to challenge them in combat. The loser must carry out one request from the victor. If all goes to plan, the kobolds comprising the knight’s form will walk away much richer than they were that morning.

We always keep the most absurd encounter for last. This kobold encounter is a combination of Critical Role’s Madame Musk and, more obviously, the Black Knight from ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail‘. It functions as a relatively quick, interesting encounter that requires surprisingly little planning or explanation. Where did the kobolds find the armor? On a random body in the forest. Why do they want the relic from the trader? They saw it on his cart as he passed and it. Was. So. Shiny. These easy explanations simplify your job while making it funnier as the kobolds improvise their act as the knight. They will give a riveting, rehearsed speech about ‘his’ quest but the story will quickly fall apart when the party questions further.

There are two basic outcomes of this encounter: they accept the task or they fight the knight. The former should be a fairly easy detour. They can find the trader in question in the next town and quickly realize that there is little special about him. He buys, travels with, and then resells items and will quickly advertise to the party. His cart can contain any interesting items you might want to include, as well as valuables like jewelry, carvings, and paintings. The item itself can likewise be anything shiny and clearly valuable. If you want to lean into the reference, make it a golden, jewel-encrusted goblet. Alternatively, and more likely, the players can simply steal from his cart once he retires to his room in the local inn.

Should your players actually choose NOT to fight and do what is asked of them, reveal the knight’s true nature once he has the item. He can accept it, lift his helmet to reveal a kobold face, and then disassemble into the individual kobolds to marvel at it. Alternatively, he might simply stumble back into the forest with it. Players can follow him can find the group of kobolds. If the reveal creates hostility or the players demand payment at any point, the ‘knight’ can offer to repay them with a favor of their choosing. This will transfer to the kobolds and can lead to the party receiving a resource that begs to be used creatively.

The possibility of combat is one of the highlights of this encounter. You can treat him as a regular knight at first, only with a longsword and shield. Give him a shield bash attack as part of a multiattack, dealing 1d6 bludgeoning damage with a shove. Every ten damage will then ‘sever’ a ‘limb’, sending it clattering to the floor. You can roll a d4 for which leg or arm falls off, then roll initiative for the kobold inside. It will reveal itself on its turn, its arms, legs, and head popping out as it wears the section of armor. They will each have their own abilities but should still follow general kobold tactics. This will continue until the party chooses to stop or all of the kobolds have been injured and retreated out of harm. Beaten, they will yield and the party can ask an offer.

Monster Lair RPG Battle Map, Banner
We have plenty of other great den maps, including the Monster Lair. You can find it here, and be sure to check through the rest of the gallery!

What’s Next

That concludes our encounters for our goblins and kobolds coverage. Hopefully, they helped show the different strengths and weaknesses of both and how distinct they really are. But don’t worry, because there is still one article to go! A mirror of our ‘How to Run Goblins‘ is coming shortly to cover kobold dens and all their behaviors, traps, and eccentricities. Until then, feel free to leave any feedback you have on the encounters! We love hearing what you think and how you’ve used kobolds in your own games!

Have an extra buck and wouldn’t mind supporting the author in exchange for early releases, PDFs, and extras like custom statblocks? Head on over to my Patreon and have a look. Any and all support is appreciated!

Out scavenging for your own den? We have some shiny maps, assets, and articles you might like…

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