Kobolds are small, hairy humanoid creatures found in caves and mines.  
Kobold, made with Artbreeder and Photoshop
Kobold by Steve Johnson

Basic Information


A kobold's hind legs are hooked like a dog's and end in paws. Its front limbs are long and ape-like and end in wickedly-clawed hands with four fingers and an opposable thumb. They tend to travel on all fours, especially for long distances when unencumbered, but are equally comfortable walking upright on their hind legs.

Growth Rate & Stages

Kobolds reach maturity about five or six years old, reach their prime between eight and ten, and begin to noticeably suffer the effects of aging by around 15. They rarely live more than 20 years.

Ecology and Habitats

While they are well-adapted to living in any underground environment with access to a sufficient food supply, Kobolds have very specific preferences. Namely, caves with veins of metallic ore or gemstones that contain an area with a light source that is strong enough to reflect off the metal or gems but not strong enough to cause discomfort: Heavily-filtered sunlight, more direct moonlight, or phosphorescent cave growths are most common, though a few instances of kobold relying on fire, lava, or even the predictable movements of light-emitting creatures as a light source have been reported.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Kobolds who don't spend much of their time "mining," hunting, or fending off predators can easily survive off the bugs, vermin, and edible fungi found in a typical cave system. Most, however, are more active and must occasionally supplement their food supply with meat and plants found on the surface. In addition to gathering fruits, nuts, and edible plants, kobolds hunt in packs and are very adept at corralling their prey until it is completely surrounded. While some packs use rocks or sticks as weapons, most rely on their teeth and claws. Kobold hunting parties generally focus on small game like squirrels and rabbits, but have been known to take down animals as large as deer.

Biological Cycle

Most kobolds structure their activities around what miners have named "The Shiny Time"--the part of the day (or night) when the light refracts most brilliantly off the pack's treasures without being painful to the kobolds' eyes. If this period is brief, the entire pack will stop all activities in order to witness it an all other activities are structured around it. If the Shiny Time is longer and steadier, kobolds will have more varied schedules according to the demands of their location. For example, those who have to leave the caves to hunt or forage will become nocturnal to avoid the bright sunlight, while those who live in caves with natural predators, prey, or environmental fluctuations will adapt to whatever schedule allows the greatest balance of safety, bounty, and comfort.   Kobolds who are forced out of their caves due to predators, disasters, or human activity will search for a new cave system to inhabit. During these migrations, kobolds travel at night and spend the day in the shadiest spot available. If faced with bad weather or extreme temperatures (especially extreme heat), they temporarily encamp at the first suitable spot they find and wait until the weather becomes more hospitable. If the weather remains inhospitable for more than a few days, they will start moving in a different direction in hopes of finding a more suitable climate.


Beyond basic survival drives, kobolds seem to be motivated only by their desire to bask in the glimmer of the pack's collective treasures. Its unclear exactly what this activity does for the creatures, but they clearly get something out it. Kobolds are generally lazy and uninterested in any activity not directly related to survival, but will work tirelessly to "mine" ore or gems from unlit sections of their caves so they can be brought into the light.

Additional Information


The only humans who have had any real ongoing contact with kobolds are coal miners in mines where fool's gold and similar worthless but shiny materials are also present. As long as such miners steer clear of the kobolds' "treasure" and don't threaten the kobolds, they are allowed to go about their business. Miners who have offered kobolds food or shiny things (usually glass beads, damaged metal goods, and other worthless junk) have reported that they've often had kobolds appear just in time to keep them from stumbling into areas with unstable tunnels, bad air, or dangerous creatures or to lead them to more lucrative coal deposits than the ones they were working. In some of cases of extended friendly contact, kobolds have taken to following the miners around as they work. These kobolds can often be trained to perform simple tasks like fetching tools, carrying away debris, or holding lanterns.

Facial characteristics

Kobolds have narrow eyes, dog-like noses, and large mouths full of small pointy teeth. Small, pointed horns sprout from their heads just above the eyes and both males and females have bearded lower jaws. Despite their apparently keen sense of hearing, kobolds have no visible ears.

Average Intelligence

Kobolds  seem to be at least as intelligent as monkeys and apes, though there is considerable variation from one pack to another. Nearly all kobolds use tools to some extent, most commonly to chip away at the stone in order to remove gems or chunks of ore from an unlit vein. They also sometimes construct structures out of rocks and other materials in order to position their treasures so they'll catch the best light. Some also use rocks and sticks as weapons.    At least two packs of kobolds have learned to keep a fire burning in order to light their troves, but there's no indication that they know how to actually make fire. In one instance, the fire was known to have been started with a stolen miner's lantern.     Kobolds communicate with one other through dog-like yips, barks, and growls that appear to be only slightly more complex than the sounds used by most animals.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Kobolds have poor eyesight but well-developed senses of smell and hearing.
15-20 years
Average Height
Average Weight
65 pounds
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Kobold fur runs the full gamut of colors found in other animals, with various shades of brown being the most common. As kobolds age, they begin to develop gray or white patches, usually on the head and chest.
Geographic Distribution

Cover image: Main Header Banner City of Ten Thousand Daggers by Steve Johnson


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