Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Kobolds from Dimension Zed

My final request comes from bygrinstow, whose Kobold write-up can be found here. There is, of course, a kobold in the Dungeon Crawl Classics core rulebook. In addition, Sean Ellis did an excellent kobold write-up in Crawl #3. So, we do have a trio of kobolds already. Well, a quartet, because the Pellas Troth in my own The Black Goat are really kobolds reskinned using the excellent guides in the Dungeon Crawl Classics rulebook.

Of course, I didn’t do the tarrasque because it had effectively “been done” for DCC…in Harley Stroh’s Colossus, Arise! and in Michael Curtis’ The Making of the Ghost Ring, if nowhere else. The “monster you can’t effectively fight” also appears in Joseph Goodman’s The Emerald Enchanter and The Balance Blade. You could also just jump over to the Crawler’s Companion and make yourself a godlike immortal dragon. Take away its flight, and you have a pretty good tarrasque.

Things like goblins and kobolds are, in some ways, more interesting than the tarrasque because they actually show up in games. Repeatedly. You can alter them in all sorts of ways to keep them interesting, but, ultimately, games need more low-level fodder than high-level fodder. Even higher-level games need low-level fodder to demonstrate just how cool the higher-level PCs have become.

So then, here are three kobolds for your home games, one of which is, as requested, “out there”.

Blood Diggers: Init +1; Atk claw -2 melee (1d4-1); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’ or dig 10’; Act 2d20; SP infravision 100’; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL N.

These small humanoid creatures are bright red in colour, with enormous claws on hands and feet, like those of a mole. Their faces resemble those of shrews, save they have fleshy “feelers” growing in a crown around their heads, allowing them to feel their way while tunnelling. Blood diggers are not normally dangerous, although they can attack with two claws if pressed. They often will trade with nearby human settlements, but sometimes become warlike, raiding afar mounted on giant forest pigs. There seems to be no purpose to these periodic outbursts, for the blood diggers use them neither to pillage or to expand their territory. Some sages speculate that the blood diggers worship strange gods, or have made deals with eldritch patrons, that require occasional bloodbaths.

Giant Forest Pig: Init +2; Atk bite +0 melee (1d3); AC 12; HD 2d6; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +1, Will -4; AL N.

This version of the humble kobold was devised by using the Variety in Humanoids section (pp. 379-380 in the core rulebook), along with a little bit of imagination. For those who are curious, the rolls were 9 on Table 9-1, 3 on Table 9-2, 19 on Table 9-3, and 4 on Table 9-4. You will note that the actual stat block is changed very little – an extra Action Die for the extra attack, a dig speed, and claws replace tiny swords as weapons (but the damage is the same).

This is an easy way to add sparkle to the various humanoids in your campaign world. You can still allow them to be called by the generic race name (i.e., “green orcs”) or obscure their origins even farther (“the Foresters of Qoy”).

Sometimes, though, you are creating a specific adventure, and you have a niche to fill. Say, for example, that you want rooster-men to attack the PCs in a 0-level funnel adventure. You could stat them up from scratch (pun!) or you could build them out of the existing creatures (in this case, the kobold), thusly:

Rooster-men: Init +1; Atk peck or spur -2 melee (1d4-1); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP short flight, difficult to surprise, crow; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will -2; AL C.

These creatures are humanoid roosters, with clumsy “hands” growing from the joint halfway along their wings. They attack with beaks or leg spurs, both augmented by sharp metal blades supplied by the green dwarves and their un-dead master.

Rooster-men can fly up to 20’ in a given round, but must use their Action Die as well as their move to do so. They can only fly for 1 round before landing, but can move at up to a 45 degree angle when flying (thus attaining heights of up to 10’ without a rest). A rooster-man who is injured, but not slain, if 50% likely to be unable to fly.

Because their eyes are not forward-facing, rooster-men are difficult to surprise. If a rooster-man would otherwise be surprised, he is allowed a 1 in 5 chance to negate that surprise.

Finally, every rooster-man can crow once per day. Unlike the crowing of a real rooster, which is harmful to the un-dead and other night spirits, the crowing of a rooster-man actually bolsters the un-dead, healing each un-dead creature within 100’ to a maximum of 1d5 hit points.

Finally, we turn to an “out there” concept:

Kobold from Dimension Zed: Init +1; Atk probing instrument -2 melee (1d3 or more) or paralysis ray +1 ranged (paralysis); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’; Act 1d20; SP infravision 100’, walk through walls, probe weapon, paralysis, telepathy 100’; SV Fort -2, Ref +0, Will +6; AL N.

These kobolds come from another dimension, where their silvery skin and bulbous black eyes are the norm. They carry probing instruments which do 1d3 damage initially, but move up the dice chain to a maximum of 1d12 each round during which a given character is hit. The weapons effectively probe the weaknesses of characters, and then exploit them for increased damage. All the weapons of a group are linked; if one increases damage, all do. This does not transfer to other characters, but only to the character hit. The probing weapons lose information after 1 hour, and must start from 1d3 damage again. Although they can be used by non-kobolds, each time such a weapon is used, telepathic feedback forces the wielder to make a DC 10 + damage done Will save or take Prs damage equal to the damage done by the weapon.

These kobolds can also fire a psionic beam that paralyzes an opponent for 1d5 minutes unless a DC 12 Fort save is successful. A creature that makes the saving throw is immune to the beam for 24 hours, and each successful save allows future saves against this effect to be made at a cumulative +2 bonus.

Through mental discipline, kobolds from Dimension Zed are able to walk through mundane walls. It takes 1d3 rounds to walk through a typical wooden wall, or 1d7 rounds to walk through a foot of stone. While a kobold is walking through walls, it is out of phase with this dimension, and is immune to all attacks except magic missiles and force attacks (such as from force manipulation).

Strange flashing and/or moving lights are often seen in the sky, heralding the arrival of these kobolds from Dimension Zed to our own world. While they communicate telepathically to each other with a range of 100’, they must physically touch non-kobolds to communicate with them in this way. Kobolds from Dimension Zed do not speak aloud. They have been known to kidnap creatures, bringing them to Dimension Zed in order to dissect or otherwise experiment upon them.


  1. I love all of these.

    And look at that! "Rooster Men" — and me having just finally scored a copy of GW2 Famine in Far-Go...

    The Probing Instrument: the Dice Chain continues to prove it's usefulness and ability to put fear into players...

    1. Pleased that you approve. In the words of the Tick, "Let the probing begin!"