How To Host A Dungeon: Kobold Civilisation.

Posted by: Jason Silverain / Category: , , , ,

For this article on Tony Dowler's How To Host A Dungeon I will be highlighting one more civilisation which I actually created in 2012, I released this ruleset onto the Giant in the Playground forums at the time and had the good fortune for Mr Dowler himself to try them. Considering the positive feedback I had at the time I am proud to rerelease them here.

The following rules are written in a style that requires reference to the either the avaliable free version of the rules or the full ruleset for use.

How To Host A Dungeon

Kobold Civilisation

Kobolds are cunning, dragon worshiping, industrious  and somewhat spiteful race of creatures whose constant violent encounters with adventurers of the surface races has left them with a xenophobic paranoia and a simmering lust for revenge.
Draw caves of the Kobold civilization in brown. Kobolds prefer to make square or rectangular rooms and tunnel in straight direct segments.
If you don’t have a gold vein or a good sized mithral deposit, create a gold vein right now as described in the Primordial Age rules. In addition in the bottom 4 inches of the page draw two bead sized natural caverns within a thumb of each other connected by a passage, treat these two caverns as Gemstone caverns as described in the Primordial Age rules.

There are two methods for setting up a Kobold Tribe:
1. If there is an empty cavern within 1 inch of the surface the Kobold Tribe begins here and treats it as a warren, if there are several caverns available place the tribe in the largest.
2. If there are no caverns pick a spot on the surface above a gold vein or mithral deposit to create a small village.

Draw a Kobold shaft vertically or horizontally from the Warren (or vertically from the village) until you hit the mithral or gold. Draw a mine 1 bead in size and put a  in it. If starting from the village draw a Kobold warren 1 bead in size connected to the shaft, place 2  in it or the starting warren.

Each  in a Warren represents 1 unit of Kobold population, with each warren holding up to 3. Each  represents some form of treasure.
Make up a name for your Kobold tribe and write it somewhere on the map in pencil.
It is now year zero in the Kobold Era.

Kobolds are lawful creatures but are always hostile towards adventurers and should they ever encounter an Ancient Wyrm on the map they ignores the standard rules and it becomes a Dragon Patron (see Kobold Construction table). Should they obtain a Dragon Patron this way before gaining a Dragon Patron through population size they do not gain a further one when reaching the population size required.
Should there ever be no Kobolds left the Kobold age ends and the Great Disaster occurs.

The Kobold Year 

Spring: In the spring Kobolds gather, mate, and lay their eggs while the leaders plan the year ahead. Gather up all  that are connected to Kobold tunnels and are not Kobold Treasures. Draw a new room to store each  gathered, or place them in existing rooms where there is space.
For each  gathered place a new  in a warren, drawing additional warrens as needed. (remember a warren can hold 3 ) Kobolds don’t like to be too near to the surface or dangerous tunnels, so try putting them as central as possible in the network of tunnels. 

Summer: In the summer Kobolds mine. If possible, draw a tunnel a half finger long that connects to a source of ore or gems. Draw a mine chamber 1 bead in size and put 1  in it. If there’s no ore or gems in reach, draw a tunnel 1 finger long towards the nearest source of ore or gems. If there’s no un-mined ore left on the map, 1  immediately emigrates off the map looking for a new home for the tribe 

Fall: In the fall, Kobold build their defences. Tally the current Kobold population. Find the entry matching this population on the Kobold Construction table. If that construction hasn’t been added yet, the Kobolds build it now. 

Winter: In winter, the Kobold rest, celebrate and offer tribute to their patrons while their crafters compete making the deadliest traps. If any Kobolds died this year the Kobolds spend 1  to add a trap to the room (or the nearest room under their control) where the Kobold died. This trap deals 1 to any non kobold passing through it before the trap is disarmed or destroyed.
A Kobold tribe with a Dragon Patron offers 1 as personal servants to the dragon, building a warren connected to the dragon's cavern for these servants.
The Kobold Servants no longer count towards the tribes population and during the Age of Monsters these Kobold Servants act as breeder monsters but with some key differences (See below)
If a tribe has multiple Dragon Patron’s servants are offered to each of them in the order they were obtained.
If any Dragon Patron ever gains 9 of servants (3 full warrens) then the tribe move on having firmly secured their Dragon Patrons position in the the area, likewise if the offering of servants reduces the kobold numbers to zero then the dragon(s) have completely subjugated the tribe and the Kobold Era ends.

In the case of multiple Kobold tribes they can share the same Dragon Patron and each tribe gives an offering to the dragon patron. (the dragon not been picky)

When the Kobold Era ends remove all kobolds (except Kobold servants) and treasures that are not Kobold Treasures, however leave all remaining traps.

Kobold Construction
Workshops: Draw a collection of rooms filling a thumb sized area connected to Mine
Personal Chambers: Draw a narrow bead sized room connected to a warren, give it the name of the kobold it belongs to and write it on the map. Place 1 inside this is a kobold treasure.
Hall of Traps: Draw a tunnel or room one finger long, this room is the pinnacle of the trap smithing arts. This room is permanently trapped dealing 1 to any non kobold entering. Place 1  inside this is a kobold treasure and bait.
Temple of the Wyrm: Draw a rounded chamber half a finger long and a bead high, connected to the Personal Chambers, warrens or Hall of Traps. The Temple contains 2 kobold treasure and a one use 2 trap.   
Great Hall of History: Draw a hall 2 beads long and a bead high connected to the main Kobold shaft. This hall is carved with the history of the tribe and the contains 1  kobold treasure
Dragon Patron: Create a Ancient Wyrm as described in the Primordial Age rules however take the 1  required from the kobold tribe, connect this chamber to the Temple of the Wyrm or Hall of Traps.
Sorcerous Chambers: Draw a Bead sized room connected to the Great Hall of History. Place 1  inside this is a kobold treasure and most likely a magical item
The Grand Defence: Select an entrance to a kobold warren, draw a defensive work at this location. Any creature defending a warren as its lair gains a +1 its encounter roll however the defense is destroyed. This may be built multiple times.

Kobold Civilisation Conflict

Kobold Supremacy: If one of the civilisation is kobold it kills 1 and traps the location causing the non kobolds to automatically lose an additional 1 regardless of the result during the next encounter roll in that location. If both sides are kobolds, the kobold tribe whose turn it currently is loots 2 from the other. If neither side are kobolds then both lose 1

New Monsters 

Kobold Servants:
These are breeder monsters under the rule of a dragon and follow these additional rules:
1. They use their Dragon Patron’s ZOC (Zone of Control) rather than their own.
2. They may mine unmined ore within this ZOC however they can not keep more than 1 for themselves, any additional   is given to the Dragon.
3. If their Dragon Patron becomes an Alpha Villain it may spend 1 to have the Kobolds add a single use 1 trap to any defensive works, this uses the Kobolds activity for that year.

I hope these rules are clear enough to understand for all you would be Dungeon Masters but I welcome any feedback as always and will be providing a downloadable version of these rules in the future. 

For further posts on How To Dungeon here are links to:
The Original Game Review
Dsyon Logos Muck Dweller Civilisation 
The Great Spider Civilisation


  1. Anonymous Says:

    This is very detailed. Im definitely going to try this out, thanks for the ruleset.

  1. Jason Silverain Says:

    Your more than welcome.
    I hope you find it fun and if you have any feedback on how it plays or possible room for improvement I would love to hear it.

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