Tag Archives: Wrath of the Kobolds

Adapting WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS to Popular Settings

The WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series puts a band of low-level characters directly into the path of a kobold warlord bent on recovering his race’s lost glory. The modules are out and available for D&D 5th Edition, Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry, Savage Worlds, and Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, and I hope you’ve got your copies, either digital or physical.

In each module I include a section about adapting the adventure to an existing campaign setting, as I’ve tried to make them as generic as possible in order to fit into as many settings as possible. This is both a blessing and a curse – sure, it would be nice to actually tie the adventure into a setting specifically, but then I’m locked into that setting! I’d rather keep things as generic as possible and provide advice on how and where to stick it in the many published settings available.

Hence this blog post! It’s a long time coming, so I apologize for that, but it’s also a bit of a bear to write. I’m going to look at several of the more popular settings, both classic and currently in print. This includes: Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Mystara, Eberron, Golarion, and Garweeze Wurld. Before diving into each one, let’s take a quick look at the key aspects of the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS setting that need to be adapted into an existing setting.

  • City of Cresthill (gnomish city). Featured in WK0 Night of the Mad Kobold, Cresthill was built as a gnome city because kobolds hate gnomes, and I honestly think gnomes get a bit of the shaft when it comes to published material.
  • Town of Ormkirk. A small isolated community that is featured in both WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen and WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold. Out of the way, relatively small, located along a little-used trade route are the elements I’m looking for here.
  • Talon Hills. These are the hills featured in WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen. Rocky hills where kobolds live, seems pretty straightforward.
  • Liverswood. This is a forest with a gnome librarian in it, but ideally it would be a bit away from civilization. Introduced in WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye but also fits in with WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold.
  • Ruins of Silvergaeral. Featured in WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye this is a gnomish city lost in the mountains.
  • Wild Mountains. A generic mountain range that is featured in both WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye and WK3 Revenge of the Over-Kobold. Ideally would already have tribes of kobolds living in them.

Those are the big elements in the series that need to have analogs of some kind for the modules to work as best as possible. Let’s look at each setting and see what we can connect!

Forgotten Realms

Ed Greenwood’s brainchild from before D&D was a thing, Faerun has seen a lot of love from the official channels for many years, and for 5th Edition is the default setting for the Wizards of the Coast produced adventure modules. There are a lot of places to choose, but for me I would look at the Sunset Mountains and the Far Hills. (Note: I’m using the map from the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting hardcover book.) I know the Realms underwent a lot of changes in 4E and that a lot of those changes were then reversed for 5E, so ultimately I think this area probably still works. The town of Hluthvar, north of Iriaebor, could stand in for Ormkirk nicely. Honestly, I would use Cresthill as a trade city on the River Chionthar between Iriaebor and Scornubel exactly as is!


Published as a new setting for 3rd Edition after an exhaustive public search, Eberron is the work of Keith Baker, and in it he blends sword, sorcery, and steampunk into a wonderful mashup of fantasy pulp. Lightning trains, living spells, intrigue, and more adventure than you can shake a stick at can be found across the continent of Khorvaire, and certainly the machinations of a kobold warlord fit right in with the setting’s sensibilities. I would look to Zilargo as a broad setting, and then choose either the northern or southern end of the Howling Peaks (the northern end sits in Breland with the southern end exists in Zilargo). Zilargo is the kingdom of the gnomes in Khorvaire, so it makes thematic sense to choose that area. Ormkirk can be placed as is in the hills leading to the Howling Peaks easily enough, and the history of the gnomes of Silvergaeral can be worked into House Sivis’ own backstory. Liverswood can be placed in the forest south of Reven as well, and I think you can use Tzanthus for Cresthill without any problems. (Note: I’m using the Eberron Campaign Setting hardcover book for 3rd Edition as my source and map.)


Ahh, the classic. The stomping grounds of Gary Gygax and the original band of gamers in the Lake Geneva area. For me, it’s always held a special place – many of my own home games have been set on Oerth. For the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series, there are a few good options, but the one I would personally choose would be the region of the Cairn Hills and Abb0r Alz mountains, east of Woollly Bay. The area has long been the haunt of monsters and dangerous sites, so Ormkirk can be placed as is on the eastern edge of the Plain of Greyhawk without missing a beat. Likewise, Cresthill can be placed along the Selintan River south of Greyhawk City, or on one of the tributaries that join from the east. Silvergaeral fits nicely into the Abbor Alz mountains themselves, perhaps tracing routes back to the founding of Urnst on its eastern slopes. (Note: I’m using the Greyhawk regional map from the From the Ashes boxed set for my map with updates and references from the Living Greyhawk Gazetteer.)


The Known World of Mystara came about from the Basic D&D boxed set as a generic setting to place all of the adventures in. Eventually, it was supported with a series of fantastic setting gazetteers (13 of them as I recall) each detailing one of the major nations of the core setting. I myself adapted the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series for own home game, so I have first-hand knowledge here! For my game I placed Cresthill on the Windrush River between Verge and Rifflian in Karameikos, and then established a little-used trade route that went west from Rifflian to Luln, skirting between the Cruth Lowlands to the north and the Radlebb Woods to the south. Ormkirk was placed on this route, so the caves were located in the Cruth Lowlands, and I placed Silvergaeral in the Black Peak Mountains. The Lost Library of Liverswood became the Lost Library of Riverfork to the west, just to the north of Black Eagle Barony. It all worked very well! (Note: I’m using the maps and details from GAZ1: Grandy Duchy of Karameikos for the setting.)


The base setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Golarion has enjoyed a great deal of support from Paizo since its release. The Inner Sea Reigon (oops, the Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting hardcover book had a map and the map is misspelled!) is rich, vast, and varied, and there are near countless placed to set the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS series. If it were me, I would look to Varisia, which was not incidentally the region focused on by the first adventure path (Rise of the Runelords). It’s wild enough to have all the elements, so I would look to the Red Mountains (east of Brinewall) as the foundation. You can use Brinewall instead of Cresthill easily enough, or add in Cresthill as a sister trade city on the Steam River, and then place Ormkirk south, east of the Velashu River. The nearby Lurkwood could hold a gnome librarian, and the Red Mountains themselves could hide Silvergaeral. In this case, I would move the Over-Kobold’s Castle Kragtooth to the Stony Mountains just to get some breathing room.

Garweeze Wurld

If you know me or have read my blog for a bit, you should already know that I love Knights of the Dinner Table. I think it is the best RPG-related comic on the market, and perhaps the best RPG-related product (certainly in the top 5!). The Knights play a fictionalized version of D&D called HackMaster, which incidentally was actually released as a wacky licensed version of AD&D 2nd Edition by Kenzer & Company, and then updated to be it’s own game a few years ago. Garweeze Wurld is the official setting of the Knights’ version of HackMaster, and Kenzer & Co released a fantastic PDF product detailing the core setting. I loved it, and I actually wrote WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen to fit into that setting first. Where did I put it? In the Shadlurian Kingdom, north and east of the Fangaerian City States! Ormkirk was originally the town of Talert, and the Talon Hills were originally the Galon Hills. I would keep it the same place Cresthill south of Talert on one of the small rivers. The Galon Hills would also hold Silvergaeral and the forces of the Over-Kobold, so it becomes less mountains and more rocky hills, but that’s fine! (Note: I used the Wurld of Aldrazar PDF for reference and maps.)

WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye RELEASED!

Hot on the heels of WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen, the second adventure in the WRATH OF THE KOBOLDS trilogy has been released onto the world. WK2 Curse of the Kobold Eye begins with the characters laboring under a curse, a result of their encounter with the Kobold Queen in the previous scenario (or some other factor if you plan on using the module without WK1). The investigation into the curse brings the characters to a library in a dark forest which has also come under the effects of the kobold eye. From there the ruins of a gnomish city and its undead-haunted mausoleum await the characters.

Check it out on DriveThruRPG at the below links and let us know what you think!

5th Edition
Swords & Wizardry
Savage Worlds

A Bit of History on WK1

With WK1 Caves of the Kobold Queen out in the wild, I wanted to look back a bit at the history of this module, as it goes back quite a ways for me. I’ve been writing my homebrew adventures as “module” documents for almost as long as I’ve been playing roleplaying games (over 20 years now!). I still have a lot of my old docs and I cringe every time I go through them – the writing and layout are quite atrocious, though nuggets of good ideas can be gleaned through the unrefined, unwanted, bloated prose. I like to think I’ve been getting better through the years!

For as long as I’ve been playing D&D I’ve been reading Dragon Magazine, and the editorial was always one of my favorite things to devour. It offered a glimpse into the life of a professional publishing materials for a game I loved – sometimes poignant, sometimes poetic, sometimes inspiring, but always interesting. I don’t recall the issue, but one of the editorials in Dragon Magazine written *I think* by Dave Gross referred to a game being run with people in the TSR offices. They were fighting kobolds, and one player couldn’t make it during a climactic session. The next day, the players who were there left a note on the absent player’s desk that said simply: “Love Slave of the Kobold Queen.”

I couldn’t stop laughing, and the idea simply cemented itself in my imagination. A villainous Kobold Queen capturing men to turn them into love slaves? I loved the idea and kept in the back of my brain for later use. When HackMaster 4th Edition came out I picked up all the books and loved the gonzo feel to it, and especially since it was rooted in 2nd Edition’s rules the game felt familiar and fun. I wanted to play, but honestly I felt that the modules they were putting out were too “jokey.” They were all parodies/homages to the classics, starting with Little Keep on the Borderland and moving on to Smackdown the Slavers and Against the Giants.

I decided to try my hand at putting together a professional module on my own for HackMaster 4th Edition. I thought immediately about enemies to use, and settled on kobolds pretty quickly. Low level? Yup. Interesting encounters? Double yup. Main villain? Why, the Kobold Queen herself of course! After some thinking the idea for Caves of the Kobold Queen was born and I sketched out a plot involving captured men and a desperate mayor.

I ran that module for HackMaster 4th Edition roughly in 2004 (2005? 2006?) or so and it lasted only a single session. We didn’t even get to the kobolds – I rolled on the random encounter table twice, with the first result being giant fleas (easily defeated) and the second result being flesh-eating weasels. It was the weasels that killed the party, and though I had a lot of fun we moved on to other games.

But the idea for the module persisted, and so I worked on it off-again-on-again for several years. Something about the adventure didn’t feel right to me with D&D 3rd Edition – it needed a simpler rule set to really call up the feel of those old modules, which is what I was going for. I decided I was going to publish it myself, but before I did anything I needed to finish writing it and the rest of the modules in the series (I love trilogies, and settled on Curse of the Kobold Eye and Revenge of the Over-Kobold as the follow-up modules in the series). It took me longer than I wanted, but I got them all written by the end of 2012.

Originally I wanted to try them with HackMaster 5th Edition, and I playtested them with my group using that system. It was fun, but I like the idea of hordes of kobolds, something HM5E doesn’t do very well (the initiative system is really cool and intuitive but can be a NIGHTMARE for a GM to handle with more than a handful of opponents). We did it, and it resulted in some really fun times, but ultimately it didn’t have the right “feel” for me.

The playtest for D&D Next had me intrigued, though, and once those rules came along enough I decided to convert it over to that. That felt right, and I ran games of it at GaryCon VI (2014) using the D&D Next playtest rules. It was fun, it was quick, and it was memorable, everything I wanted. I eagerly awaited the release of the full ruleset and (hopefully!) a corresponding 3rd party license to publish stuff.

D&D 5th Edition was released in summer 2014 to much applause, and I convert the modules over to it, along with Pathfinder, Swords & Wizardry (as my go-to retro clone), and Savage Worlds. GaryCon VII (2015) sees me running the full trilogy of modules for both 5th Edition and Swords & Wizardry while my personal playtests work through Pathfinder and Savage Worlds. I waited for the third party license and prepared the Kickstarter.

A third party license didn’t appear, however, but the OGL covers most of the material, so I took a gamble and launched the Kickstarter in August 2015. We succeeded (overly!) to get the Wrath of the Kobolds trilogy released along with a special Tower of Skulls module (I’ll talk about the history of that one when we get closer to release). I wanted to get WK1 up sooner but getting the list of backers to thank took longer than anticipated. Interesting enough, I should have WK2 released in the next two weeks or so as the art assets for that one are in and looking fantastic. WK3 is definitely going to be a December release.

For me personally, I think all of the modules work the best using the 5th Edition rules, followed closely by Swords & Wizard (or your favorite flavor of retro-clone, such as OSRIC or Labyrinth Lord). Pathfinder is fine and it works, but I find myself moving away from the crunch of that system. Savage Worlds is always great, and if you’re looking to just throw down on some quick fun that’s a good one to get on with.