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5E New Statblocks for D&D's Kobolds

The weekend's streaming events at WotC revealed two Kobold-related things! First, they get a new alignment-free stat block; and second, there's a fan-made stablock for Three Kobolds In A Trenchcoat illustration.

The stat block is an unofficial one from Reddit user TamLin123.

3koboldstrenchcoat.jpg


On the official front, the site Venturebeat heard from WotC about races other than orcs, and recent discussions about changes to orcs and other previously evil races, and got the following reply:

“Orcs are not prevalent in the adventure, but Rime of the Frostmaiden does feature other creatures that are currently defined in the game as humanoids. Some cleave to a particular alignment, while others defy expectation. We’re of a mind that humanoid creatures, going forward, shouldn’t have prescribed alignments; alignment belongs to each individual. To that end, there’s a new kobold stat block in Rime of the Frostmaiden that identifies the creature as a humanoid of any alignment, which is a departure from the kobolds in the Monster Manual”.
 
Russ Morrissey

Comments

Orcslayer78

Explorer
Even setting aside the parallels to horrible real world views of race, that’s just lazy writing. Whether it is early D&D copying Tolkien or it’s Star Trek with “Klingons are the warrior race, Vulcans are the logic race, and humans are the... uh... varied race” or the countless other times in Fantasy & SciFi where other races are defined as one trick ponies and humans are just “varied”, it is cliche, massively overdone, and honestly booooooring. (yawn) The races in Eberron and Wildemount, for example, are actually interesting without being either monolithic “all one thing” races or just “humans that look different.”

If someone wants to treat the races that way in their own games, fine, they can. There’s decade after decade of D&D lore to support it and nearly a century of fiction as well! But I’d expect professional writers 46 years into the game to be more creative than just reheating ideas Tolkien wrote back in 1937. Anyone could do that!

Thankfully, the current D&D writers at WotC as well as various freelance/independent writers in the industry are extremely talented. If I’m paying good money for a book, I expect them to know there are entire fascinating worlds of difference between fantasy races “focused on one thing and one thing only” vs “making everything the same.” My basement is filled with boxes of book after book of those same repurposed ideas, and I know in 2020 that writers can do so much better.
Yes please, let's set aside this new thread about fantasy creatures inspiring real world racism while it makes sense like flat Earth and 5G causing pandemics.

For me is exactly the contrary, if I'm paying good money I expect them to know at least the basics and the fundamentals of Fantasy, to know the difference between humans, orcs and elves and not making them all humans with different shapes.

Current D&D writers at WotC are nothing more than dwarfs on the shoulder of giants, who can't respect the work of people who came before them.
Your basemement is filled with that repurposed idea because that's what fantasy is about, instead modern D&D lore and settings are not fatansy at all, but sci-fi with magic instead than laser guns.
 
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Kobold Avenger

Adventurer
Even setting aside the parallels to horrible real world views of race, that’s just lazy writing. Whether it is early D&D copying Tolkien or it’s Star Trek with “Klingons are the warrior race, Vulcans are the logic race, and humans are the... uh... varied race” or the countless other times in Fantasy & SciFi where other races are defined as one trick ponies and humans are just “varied”, it is cliche, massively overdone, and honestly booooooring. (yawn) The races in Eberron and Wildemount, for example, are actually interesting without being either monolithic “all one thing” races or just “humans that look different.”
Much like how D&D is moving away from monolithic races, so is Star Trek. As recent Star Trek has shown a little more about Romulans and that there's some differences in their culture.

I think it's become too cliched monolithic races, it might serve a purpose in early world-building, but when a universe expands in details such as D&D or Star Trek, fleshing out the differences among their races is certainly the way to go. Even if it's something like "here's 2 extremes in how this race could be".
 




You know, of all D&D sacred cows, alignment might be my least favorite.
Still surprised, though. I thought the concept was overall extremely popular with the fans.
Taking a page from Eberron. Characters are more complex. Objective alignment is worrisome.
 


plisnithus8

Explorer
I disagree with him on that. Granted, horror and comedy go together like chocolate and peanut butter. But sometimes you just want a big ol’ bar of 80% cocoa dark chocolate. There’s room for Happy Death Day and Hereditary.
But including the lighter things in the book, they are available tools to use or not. If not included, you can only have one type of horror.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I find absolutely nothing wrong with the stat block, nor with the statement from WotC. This is good stuff.

And I just put Three Kobolds in a Trenchcoat on my random encounter table in Sharn. This is going to be amazing.
 


Olrox17

Hero
"Some creatures can be of any alignment" doesn't sound anything like "stop using alignment" to me. Maybe I'm missing something?
Yes, I believe you're missing a detail. Compare this stat block to the human NPC blocks in the MM. Many of them say "any alignment". This one has no mention of alignment existing at all. Subtle difference, but it's there.
 



kenmarable

Adventurer
Yes please, let's set aside this new thread about fantasy creatures inspiring real world racism while it makes sense like flat Earth and 5G causing pandemics.

For me is exactly the contrary, if I'm paying good money I expect them to know at least the basics and the fundamentals of Fantasy, to know the difference between humans, orcs and elves and not making them all humans with different shapes.

Current D&D writers at WotC are nothing more than dwarfs on the shoulder of giants, who can't respect the work of people who came before them.
Your basemement is filled with that repurposed idea because that's what fantasy is about, instead modern D&D lore and settings are not fatansy at all, but sci-fi with magic instead than laser guns.
You and I apparently have very different definitions of fantasy! "sci-fi with magic instead than laser guns"???!??? :ROFLMAO:

(There's a reason those books are boxed up in my basement, rather than out on my shelves next to N.K. Jemisin and Nnedi Okorafor and Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novels or that the only non-5e D&D books not in storage are Planescape and Eberron!)

I prefer my fantasy to progress and grow rather than stagnate. There are a ton of other writers out there over the past century with ideas as good as Tolkien's. Thankfully, there's plenty of room for them as well as Tolkien-inspired, and recent decades have been exploding with a new golden age of amazing original views of fantasy! I'm glad to see D&D following the market and even slightly opening up to those new ideas.

Either way, there's a massive difference in tastes and arguing won't change that. Thankfully there's a free market to see which way(s) fantasy can succeed!
 

Sacrosanct

Legend
"Some creatures can be of any alignment" doesn't sound anything like "stop using alignment" to me. Maybe I'm missing something?
It doesn't, but it can be a big first step. We could see going forward that only a handful of creatures would be clearly identified as evil or good (like demons, etc), with the rest not really mattering. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
But including the lighter things in the book, they are available tools to use or not. If not included, you can only have one type of horror.
Yeah, I’m not arguing against including elements of levity in Frostmaiden. Just against Perkins’ assertion that all horror media needs that element of levity. I D&D I think it’s generally well-advised.
 

BB Shockwave

Explorer
This is just beyond amazing.
I do hope we get a mini for this, because it is hilarious and cute.
I wonder if they just wanted to get into the tavern for a drink, hence all the disguise. "You must be this tall to enter" :D

Sometimes you need a Scooby-Doo kind of scary to break you out of the "Ima all gonna die" spiral.
"ZOINKS Scoob! The Mad Wizard of the Arcane Brotherhood was actually.... just three Kobolds in a trenchcoat!"
Of course in a D&D setting, Scooby would be a Blink Dog, who always teleports away when scared. :p

Soooo, all of this was meant to kill alignment? Huh. Didn’t see that coming.
I hope not. 4E did that, and well, we all know how 4E ended.
(Very quickly, compared to other editions)

I can't believe it!

Vincent Adultman has finally made it to D&D!

For multiple seasons, everyone failed their saving throws against his clever disguise... except for BoJack. :D
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Sir Fang's Dentist
For multiple seasons, everyone failed their saving throws against his clever disguise... except for BoJack. :D
For some reason, Three Kobolds and Vincent Adultman remind me of the classic ....



Chicken Boo, what's the matter with you?
You don't act like the other chickens do.
You wear a disguise to look like human guys,
But you're not a man, you're a Chicken Boo.
 

Parmandur

Legend
It doesn't, but it can be a big first step. We could see going forward that only a handful of creatures would be clearly identified as evil or good (like demons, etc), with the rest not really mattering. Honestly, I wouldn't have a problem with that.
It doesn't seem they are moving away from Alignment as a tool, just not defining Material Prime rational creatures an Alignment according to their Race, bit rather as individuals. This Orc Between may be Chaotic Evil, but that Orc Druid may be True Neutral.
 

MechaTarrasque

Adventurer
As long as Bob, the Kobold warlord who is going to sacrifice 20 widows and orphans to unleash the demon lord of bed bugs on the world, still gets an alignment, I don't care so much if a generic kobold has one.

If they are going to do this, I would like some more blatantly evil NPC classes, like cult fanatic, in future books. I would be good with something like a marauder that I can stick an orc, gnome, dwarf, or human in.

For that matter, it wouldn't hurt to have some blatantly good NPC classes too....
 

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