Kobolds are insanely popular D&D monsters. So much so that players want to adopt them as henchmen and followers. Others want to play them as player character races. They’ve gone under bit of a transformation from the kobold from Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. In 3.5 D&D they went from being a combination of rat, dog, and lizard to little dragonmen claiming to be the descendants of dragons. Not too long ago we did a video pairing up D&D monsters. Kobolds mounted on other monsters seemed like a lot of fun. We even put together a pay what you want product over on the Dungeon Masters Guild — Kobold Cavalry Encounter. Grab it here.
D&D monsters — unleash the kobold cavalry
Kobold concerns & considerations
Be Kobold Kareful
One well-placed fireball and kiss all of your kobolds and their mounts goodbye. Making a kobold cavalry work requires some special considerations, like how kobold tactics would mesh with being mounted. Cavalries tend to operate in large units, the opposite of the way kobolds should operate. Personally I believe kobolds should work in a lot of small groups, such as strike squads of 3-5 individuals attacking their opponents from multiple directions with hit-and-run tactics. A cavalry of kobolds should work in similar fashion. Almost like a wolf pack.
One Kobold, Two Kobolds, One Million Kobolds
Kobold encounters should have one thing in common — lots and lots of the little beasties. There should also always be more than you see. Now this is the tricky part with the mounts. One way would be to use really sneaky creatures for mounts so they synergize with their riders. Another way would to openly use the mounted kobolds to distract unwary adventurers from the hidden threat of the unmounted enemies. Lastly, consider how the kobolds penchant for using traps and hazards in their attacks. Specialized mounts might lend themselves to these tactics.
D&D Monsters Riding Monsters
In the encounter we built in the video, and in our encounter guide, we used rust monsters and a carrion crawler. Some the other ideas we kicked around were giant bats, gricks, giant badgers, giant crabs, drakes, mastiffs, and giant lizards. The trick is finding monsters that can be matched up with a kobold’s brand of mayhem. Lets take a look at each of these for some quick ideas.
Various drakes have different abilities including resistances and different speeds, and movement types like burrow, climb, and swim. While the ambush drake has the lowest challenge it has several aspects that make it an ideal mount for the kobold. It’s the only drake proficient with the Stealth skill, it has pack tactics, and does bonus damage on a Sneak Attack. For a brutal attack, use kobolds to distract and lure your adventurers into the ambush where the mounted warriors await them.
These two monsters share a habitat for starters. Grick are savage creatures and I imagine more than a few kobolds losing their lives to taming the creatures. Grick have Stone Camouflage giving advantage on Stealth checks in rocky terrain, and resistance to non-magical bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage makes them super tough. Finally there is the fact they have a climb speed. I envision them training the grick to hang from stalagmites while kobolds perform death from above tactics. Maybe they drop alchemist fire from above first, followed by warriors rushing in with long spears from hiding and falling back, and finally the kobolds and their grick mounts drop among the adventurers.
While these make for weaker mounts they do have other uses. Giant badgers have burrow speed of 10 ft.. This is great as they could be trained excavate for their masters. They’re also very appropriate for lower level adventuring parties.
This mount gives kobolds a tactical advantage through flight. It allows them to range further on raids. They do lose the advantage of pack tactics but attacking from afar and staying out of harm’s way more than makes up for it.
Okay, this is a fun one. I’m envisioning our kobolds making air bladders they use to breathe from so they can launch attacks from beneath the waves. Blindsight, proficient in the Stealth skill, and a swim speed gives some interesting options for an industrious kobold tribe.
The giant lizard can function like the grick, but they are weaker and larger. The fact that it is Large means it can carry even more kobolds. I’d say at least four kobolds could easily get onto the back of a giant lizard. They may even use them as mobile platforms.
On our list of possible mounts, this one is the most straightforward. Even under the mastiff entry it mentions halflings and other small humanoids use them as mounts.
If we need to beef up our kobolds there are 5 different options including the base kobold from Wizards of the Coast. They range from Challenge 1/8 to 1. There are even more options from third party companies like Kobold Press with Tome of Beasts and Creature Codex.
Or you can add kobold traits to any NPC as well. In the fifth edition D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide, Chapter 9’s Creating a Monster section has easy-to-add templates you can apply to any existing NPC stat block.
Feel free drop your favorite combinations D&D monsters in the comments.
My name is Dave Friant I’ve been gaming off and on for over 27 years. But here is the thing it’s always been a part of my life I’ve kept secret and hidden away. I’ve always been ashamed of the stigma that gaming and my other nerdy and geeky pursuits summon forth.
Recently I decided screw it! This is who I am the world be damned. From now on I’m gonna be a geek, nerd, or however folks want to judge me and just enjoy life.
Currently one of my greatest joys is introducing my 13 yr old son to table top RPG’s.