An awesome Dungeons and Dragons At launch, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse features 33 playable races, more than any other fifth edition book. While these races have seen print in some capacity in previous D&D books, 28 of the 33 races have been updated, receiving a buff or nerf.
While many of these changes are beneficial or subtle, no race has received as complete an overhaul as the kobold. Throughout the lifespan of D&D 5th Edition, there hasn’t been a fundamental overhaul of a playable option like the Monsters of the Multiverse Kobold update. That’s why this guide will examine the changes to the Kobold race and what they mean for Dungeons & Dragons.
the original kobold
Appearing as a playable race in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, Kobolds were a race that offered several powerful abilities at the cost of some glaring drawbacks. Kobolds had access to one of the strongest racial characteristics in the game in the form of Tactics Pack, an ability that allowed them to make their attack roll with advantage when an ally was within five feet of the target. However, while this ability was stellar, her other key beneficial ability was self-critical, literally being called “Creep, Cower and Beg”,. This ability allowed a Kobold to spend an action to give its allies an advantage on attack rolls against creatures within ten feet of the Kobold.
To balance out the above-average combination of these abilities, in addition to Sunlight Sensitivity, the Kobold had a disadvantage in the form of -2 to his Strength ability score. However, in 2020, along with the Orc race’s negative Intelligence modifier, the -2 to Kobold Strength was removed from the race. This led to a unique dynamic between Pack Tactics and Sunlight Sensitivity in which a Kobold player needed to manage several factors to determine if their attacks were being performed to their advantage or disadvantage.
What’s New: Draconic Scream, Kobold Legacy
With the release of Monsters of the Multiverse, Kobold has received several new abilities. First of all, although it is not a new ability, Grovel, Cower and Beg have been renamed as Draconic Shout. While Grovel, Cower, and Beg can be used once per short rest, Draconic Cry can be used a number of times per long rest equal to the Kobold’s proficiency bonus. Also, even though Grovel, Cower, and Beg was an action, Draconic cry can now be activated as a bonus actionso it’s much less of a commitment to activate.
Additionally, all Koblods now have access to a brand new ability called kobold legacy. With this skill, a Kobold can choose one of three traits: cunning, defiance, or draconic sorcery. While Cunning provides a Proficiency and Defiance provides a save advantage against the frightened condition, Draconic Sorcery provides access to a cantrip from the Sorcerer’s spell list.
What’s Gone — Pack Tactics
While this updated version of Kobold retains the race’s -2 Strength removal, it has lost several abilities. While kobolds no longer have the drawback of sunlight sensitivity, in a highly controversial move, they have also lost what was once their defining ability: Tactics Pack. As one of Kobold’s main abilities, the removal of Pack Tactics fundamentally alters how such a character functions in combat: Kobolds can’t handle both an advantage and a disadvantage.
What this means for the future of D&D
It’s safe to say that you might agree with the reassessment of how Kobolds are represented in D&D, with the race no longer be portrayed as cowardly and self-critical. This change in rendering feels like it’s in much better taste than what’s been featured before. It opens up more possibilities for the types of Kobold characters you can build and play, without pigeonholing yourself into playing the type of character that would use an ability called Grovel, Cower, and Beg. This kind of skill refresh is exactly what Kobolds needed.
However, there is definitely something to be said for the way the Kobolds have been mechanically altered. While the replacement of Grovel, Cower, and Beg with nearly identical ability in the form of Draconic Cry is more than justified, the removal of what was once the defining characteristic of the race in the form of Pack Tactics feels much less so. Although Pack Tactics and Sunlight Sensitivity have been removed and replaced with Kobold Legacy, these abilities offer entirely different utility, fundamentally altering the way a Kobold character functions in combat.
As this new version of Kobold is now the standard for what Kobold players are expected to use in games like Adventure League, it seems questionable that a playable race was effectively replaced by something with a completely different utility without providing a playable proxy for it. what was lost. it is likely that many more career balances will be on the way in upcoming releases, so this sets a precedent that significantly altering how a race works in combat is not off the table.
Fortunately, as the final word within a D&D campaign is that of a DM, if a player is unsatisfied with how the mechanics of a run as Kobold have been changed, they can simply ask their DM to use the rules previously. printed for that race
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