Introduced in the Advanced Player’s Guide, the Kobold is a small, reptilian humanoid somewhat related to dragons. They are known for their incredible cowardice, but also for their amazing skill with traps and snares.
Mechanically, the Kobold is the unmatched master of Snares, and a Snare-focused ranger is an obvious choice. But that’s not the only option, of course. A Charisma Boost and access to a breath weapon make for a great spellcaster, and between a Dexterity increase and Grovel, the Kobold can make an effective front-line martial character despite their low hit points and a Constitution flaw.
When creating a kobold, don’t forget to choose your Dragon Exemplar. Unless you take certain Ancestry Feats it won’t have a mechanical effect, but if nothing else it’s an interesting story detail for your character.
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
Kobold Ancestry Traits
- : Bare minimum hit points, which is hard with a Constitution Flaw. Front-line martial builds will be challenging, especially at low level.
- : Small. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
- : 25 ft. is standard.
- : Dexterity and Charisma is a great combination for several classes, but a Constitution Flaw is hard.
- : Racial language plus Common is standard.
- : Darkvision is really good, and since it’s part of the base race you don’t need to spend your Heritage or a feat to get it.
- Caveclimber KoboldAG: Caveclimber Kobold competes for space with Cavern Kobold, and I’m not sure which is a better option. The ability to climb without using your hands makes climbing in combat much safer because you can still use your hands to fight with. Unfortunately, you do still need to make Athletics checks to climb, and you don’t climb any faster than anyone else.
- Cavern KoboldAPG: It’s not quite a climb speed, but it’s close. Unfortunately, you still need your hands to climb, so climbing in combat is still risky.
- Dragonscaled KoboldAPG: Scaling damage resistance is great, and since you get to pick your exemplar you can choose from a variety of damage types. If you’re not sure, go for fire or poison because those are common damage types.
- Spellscale KoboldAPG: Cantrips are fantastic, but unless you’re a Charisma-based spellcaster, you want to avoid anything that requires an attack or a saving throw. Utility options and defensive options are ideal for most spellcasters.
- Strongjaw KoboldAPG: Basically a short sword attached to your face. You can bite with your hands full, but I can’t think of a kobold build where this is especially useful. Dragonblood Paragon adds Deadly d6.
- Tunnelflood KoboldAG: Only situationally useful. Most games rarely involve swimming.
- Venomtail KoboldAPG: It only works once per day and you get one turn and one attempt to apply the damage, so it’s risky unless you have something like the Investigator’s Devise Stratagem which allows you to predict the outcome of the roll. But if it works, it’s a big pile of persistent damage. Dragonblood Paragon gets you a second use, but that’s likely still not enough.
- CringeAPG: This will expand your ability to endure damage, but remember that it’s only on critical hits. If you want a way to mitigate damage more consistently, consider Shield Block.
- Draconic SychophantAG: Very situational. Dragons are typically rare.
- Dragon’s PresenceAPG: Hilarious, but I don’t know if the risk of Critical Failure is worth the benefits. You take this feat because it’s a fun gamble, not because it’s a safe one.
- Kobold BreathAPG: As much damage as a cantrip, but it’s an AOE rather than single-target damage. The DC will scale automatically as you gain levels. If you need a way to handle crowds, this is really great. Add Dragonblood Paragon and you can add a big pile of persistent damage for any creature that critically fails their save.
- Kobold LoreAPG: Two great skills for a high-Dexterity character, and also Kobold Lore.
- Kobold Weapon FamiliarityAG: Not a great list of weapons; the only martial options are picks. If you’re already proficient with martial weapons, the Tricky Pick is a pick that adds Backstabber and Modular (B, P, S), which is a decent weapon.
- ScamperAPG: Situational. If your AC is decent, you might use this to preemptively trigger Reactions to protect allies following behind you, but otherwise I wouldn’t risk using this frequently.
- Snare SetterAPG: Kobolds are the best at using Snares, and getting this without resorting to Adopted Ancestry like other ancestries makes it very easy to get into snares. See our Practical Guide to Snares.
- Ally’s ShelterAPG: This could be very beneficial, but it depends on your allies having better saves than you and on your allies being comfortable with you constantly standing beside them.
- GrovelAPG: If you depend on attacks, this can be an easy way to make your target Flat-Footed and therefore vulnerable to things like the Rogue’s Sneak Attack. It’s also excellent for Fencer Swashbucklers because you can Feint (and thereby gain Panache) at range.
- Kobold Weapon InnovatorAG: Critical specialization effects are great, and not all martial classes get them.
- Snare GeniusAPG: A great addition to any snare build. See our Practical Guide to Snares.
- WingletsAG: With decent Athletics, this makes leaping a better way to get around than Striding, potentially allowing you to bypass difficult terrain in many situations. But you’re here to the rest of the feat chain, which gives you flight.
- Between the ScalesAPG: 1 to 2 extra damage isn’t enough to make a big difference.
- DracomancerAPG: There are some great 1st-level and 2nd-level spells to choose from on the list of available options. Look for utility options and defensive options since they’ll remain useful into high levels. Strongly consider adding Dragonblood Paragon so that you can cast these spells twice per day.
- Dragon’s BreathAPG: Nearly double damage from your breath weapon and double the size, but you can’t use it for another hour. If you’re using your breath weapon less than you did at early levels, this can make it a great option to use occasionally rather than as a go-to offensive option. You do still have the option to use it at the lower damage die and the 1d4 round recharge time, but by this level you likely have enough options that you’re not desperate to have your breath weapon available.
- Dragonblood Paragon: This feat is
better as you add more of the feats that benefit from it.
- : Two more spells per day.
- : A big improvement to your damage output.
- : Kobolds just aren’t a great option for unarmed combat builds.
- : Twice per day still isn’t a lot.
- Snare CommandoAG: Using an Action as a Reaction is nearly always helpful, and both Create a Diversion and Demoralize can be very impactful.
- Elite DracomancerAPG: There are great options available.
- Hatchling FlightAG: A great motivation to buff your land speed. Grab the Cat Fall skill feat so that you don’t need to worry about falling quite as much.
- Kobold Weapon ExpertiseAG: Helpful, but you’re more likely to use a Kobold weapon which was reduced to a proficiency tier that you already get from your class or you’re accustomed to using a weapon that’s a better fit for whatever class you’re playing. It’s still good if you want one of the listed martial weapons and you’re stuck with simple weapons (rogues, etc.), but rarely essential.