Garballington Games

Kobold Miniatures

Kobolds Miniatures and Mythology

kobold archer
Kobold Archer at the ready

Kobolds, diminutive reptilian creatures often found scurrying in the shadows of fantasy worlds, have become iconic in tabletop role-playing games. Known for their industrious nature and cunning traps, kobolds are both resourceful builders and tenacious defenders of their subterranean lairs. These creatures, resembling humanoid dragons with scaled bodies and distinctive snouts, are characterized by their collective mindset, often working together in tribes led by powerful leaders. Despite their small stature, kobolds can pose a significant threat when utilizing their sheer numbers and clever tactics. In some game settings, kobolds are portrayed as both adversaries and potential allies, offering players the opportunity to navigate complex interactions with these enigmatic reptilian beings. The lore of kobolds adds a touch of whimsy and challenge to tabletop adventures, making them a beloved and versatile element in the tapestry of fantasy role-playing games.

Kobolds in Mythology

Kobolds do not have a direct equivalent in classical mythology, but similar creatures with mischievous or helpful attributes can be found in various cultural folklore. The term “kobold” itself has Germanic origins, with its earliest recorded uses dating back to the 13th century.

  1. Germanic Folklore:

    • In Germanic folklore, kobolds are often depicted as small, impish beings associated with the household. While some kobolds are considered benevolent and helpful, others are mischievous or even malevolent. They are believed to live in mines or underground, guarding precious minerals and occasionally playing pranks on miners.
  2. Brownies and House Spirits:

    • Similar entities, such as brownies in English folklore or house spirits in various cultures, share some characteristics with kobolds. These creatures are often tied to domestic settings, assisting with chores or bringing good fortune to those who treat them well.
  3. Norse Mythology:

    • The Norse equivalent might be the “Nisse” or “Tomte,” small supernatural beings associated with farms and households. They could bring either good fortune or mischief, depending on how they were treated by the residents.

While the specific attributes of kobolds in tabletop gaming have been shaped by modern fantasy literature and games, the roots of the concept can be traced to these folklore traditions. The depiction of kobolds as industrious miners and guardians of underground treasures draws inspiration from the folkloric elements of small, housebound entities that inhabit the unseen corners of everyday life.

Kobolds in Mythology

Kobolds are a staple in tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs), particularly in fantasy settings. These diminutive, reptilian creatures have carved out a significant niche in various game systems, contributing both as adversaries and sometimes even as player character options. Here’s how kobolds are typically portrayed in TTRPGs:

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D):

  1. Adversaries and Traps:

    • In D&D, kobolds are often presented as low-level adversaries inhabiting dungeons and caves. Known for their cunning traps and clever tactics, they pose challenges to adventuring parties. Kobold tribes are frequently led by powerful figures like the Winged Kobold Sorcerer or Dragonshield.
  2. Dragon Affiliation:

    • Kobolds in D&D have a cultural affinity for dragons and often serve them as minions or worshippers. This affiliation influences their behavior and tactics, and it adds a layer of complexity to encounters with these reptilian creatures.
  3. Playable Race:

    • Some editions of D&D, including 5th Edition, offer kobolds as a playable race. Players can create kobold characters with unique racial traits, reflecting their agility, darkvision, and the ability to craft small traps.


  1. Trapmasters and Minions:

    • In the Pathfinder system, kobolds are known for their expertise in traps and mechanical devices. They often serve as loyal minions to more powerful creatures and can be encountered in various roles, from skirmishers to spellcasters.
  2. Cultural Traits:

    • Pathfinder explores the cultural aspects of kobolds in greater detail, portraying them as creatures with a strong sense of community and a unique perspective on the world. Kobold Alchemists, for example, might feature prominently in certain settings.

Other TTRPGs:

  1. Varied Interpretations:
    • Kobolds appear in a variety of TTRPGs, each with its own interpretation. Some games lean into the mischievous and tricky side of kobolds, while others emphasize their prowess as miners and trap builders.

Role-Playing Opportunities:

  1. Complex Characters:

    • Game masters often use kobolds to introduce complexity to encounters. They may showcase kobolds as more than simple adversaries, providing opportunities for negotiation, alliances, or even exploring the cultural intricacies of kobold society.
  2. Cultural Diversity:

    • Kobold tribes, even within the same TTRPG system, can vary widely. Some may be traditional foes, while others might have unique characteristics or alliances that set them apart, allowing for diverse encounters.

Kobolds in TTRPGs offer a mix of challenging encounters, opportunities for creative problem-solving, and potential for nuanced storytelling. Whether they’re seen as dungeon pests, clever trapmasters, or even unlikely allies, kobolds add a layer of depth to the fantasy worlds adventurers explore.

Kobold Miniatures in Gaming

Kobold miniatures in tabletop gaming capture the essence of these diminutive and cunning reptilian creatures, offering players and game masters alike a visual representation of these iconic fantasy beings. Crafted with attention to detail, these miniatures bring the following aspects to gaming tables:

1. Distinctive Features:

  • Kobold miniatures showcase the distinctive features of these creatures, including their scaly bodies, snouted faces, and small stature. The attention to detail ensures that players can easily recognize and differentiate kobolds from other miniature figures on the gaming table.

2. Variety of Poses:

  • Miniatures often come in a variety of poses, reflecting the agile and adaptive nature of kobolds. Whether brandishing weapons, setting traps, or adopting stealthy stances, these poses contribute to the dynamic and immersive nature of tabletop encounters.

3. Cultural Diversity:

  • Kobold miniatures can represent the cultural diversity of these creatures within a gaming world. Different tribes or clans may have unique characteristics, and miniatures may reflect these distinctions through varied clothing, accessories, or even tribal markings.

4. Trap-Building Elements:

  • Some miniatures may incorporate elements related to the kobolds’ expertise in trap-building. This could include miniature representations of small traps, tools, or other objects that highlight their craftiness and cunning nature.

5. Leaders and Spellcasters:

  • Kobold miniatures may include leaders or spellcasters, such as shaman or sorcerer figures. These miniatures often have distinctive features, such as elaborate headdresses or magical symbols, indicating their higher status within kobold tribes.

6. Playable Race Options:

  • Miniature lines catering to player characters may offer kobold options for players who choose these reptilian beings as their characters. These miniatures can be customized to represent various classes, from rogues and warriors to spellcasters.

7. Encounter-Specific Miniatures:

  • For game masters, specific kobold miniatures may represent unique encounters or important figures within a kobold tribe. This could include a chieftain, a particularly skilled trapmaker, or a diplomatic kobold envoy.

8. Campaign-Specific Miniatures:

  • Game masters can utilize custom or campaign-specific kobold miniatures to introduce variations or thematic elements aligned with the storyline. These miniatures become memorable focal points in specific gaming sessions.

Kobold miniatures enhance the visual storytelling aspect of tabletop gaming, allowing players to engage more deeply with encounters featuring these iconic fantasy creatures. Whether serving as formidable adversaries, integral components of intricate traps, or even player characters, kobold miniatures contribute to the overall richness and enjoyment of the gaming experience.