Templore Campaign Setting
Kobolds are mysterious creatures. Originating from The Reverie, they are a small folk, human-like in appearance, though with exaggerated features and seemingly too-thin bodies (qualities that are common in fey). Some sources claim they have some shape-changing abilities, and may become completely invisible, in order to disguise themselves as they roam about. They are believed by some to be cousins of the gnomes and the dwarves, though most dwarves are outright hostile towards kobolds, and gnomes seldom trust them.
Peculiarly, kobolds are known as a type of “house spirit.” They are fond of dwellings both natural and constructed, and seek to claim territory even in houses already occupied by mortals. It is a common belief that in some human societies, a kobold may move into a cottage or castle and take up residence alongside the human inhabitants, where they may perform chores or other favors in exchange for offerings of food or clothing. As expected, however, not every kobold is good-natured, and many will seek to cause strife and mischief upon the occupants of any homes they wish to claim. They do so with mean-spirited pranks or illusions, and some fouler kobolds may even set a home ablaze. Kobolds are known to haunt abandoned buildings, especially structures like castles which can remain standing much longer than simple houses.
Aside from mortal homes, kobolds also love inhabiting caverns and mines. Miners are quick to blame unfortunate accidents or circumstances on the misdeeds of kobolds, but are also just as likely to pay homage to them, in hopes that the kobolds will lead them to rich seams of ore. Kobolds often feud with dwarves, gnomes, goblins, and other folk who also live near or under the surface.
Kobolds are even known to inhabit boats and ships, though according to legend, these types of kobolds are almost always benevolent, and will do anything they can to assist the ship’s crew as long as they are treated with respect. These kobolds will never leave their ship unless it is inevitably sinking, and for this reason it is said that seeing a kobold in its true form on a ship is an ill omen.
Appearance: Legends of a kobold’s true appearance varies wildly from time to time and place to place, but there are some common threads from every legend. They are known to be short, no greater than two-and-a-half feet tall, with human-like faces that resemble both young and old simultaneously. Their ears are said to be long and tapered, their eyes large and wide, their chins and cheeks. Males often have beards and other body hair. Their bodies are unnaturally thin, and their fingers and toes are elongated, almost like those of a frog. In some legends they wear specific types of clothing, in others they wear none at all. It is unknown for how long a kobold lives, or how they reproduce.
Society: Very little is known about kobold society, save for these basic facts: kobolds that take up residence in mortal dwellings rarely number more than a few. In small cottages, no more than two kobolds will ever reside together. In a townhouse or manor, perhaps two to three kobolds might share the space. In a castle or similarly large structure, five or six kobolds seems to be the agreed-upon maximum. Contrary to this, in abandoned buildings or caverns of great size, kobolds will often create their own communities numbering in the dozens if left to their own devices. These communities are often hidden, and a passerby would have no inkling as to their existence, if the kobolds chose not to reveal themselves.