Ask Dr. Evil

He's not a real Doctor. He's got a Master's Degree. In Evil!

Dear Dr. Evil,
I just picked up SpirosBlaak and boy is it full of great new crunch. I'm definitely going to steal stuff from that book for my regular game. One thing in particular that caught my attention is the Technologist class; it seems perfect for kobolds. How about giving us some neat examples for adapting this class for other campaigns, especially for kobolds?

Hi Emmanuel!

SpirosBlaakI'm glad you picked this book up; it was a long time in the making. SpirosBlaak is an interesting setting, very much an amalgamation of ideas and possibilities. Featuring extensive black powder rules, technology, lycanthropes, fallen gods, and much more, there really is something for everyone. Better still, the setting details are broad enough to let you adapt the mechanics and setting conceits into any campaign.

In SpirosBlaak, the technology gurus are the Witch Hill Goblins, peerless artisans and craftsman who create a wide variety of odd and unusual devices. They closely guard their knowledge, and it has only been recently that their techniques have slipped beyond their tight grasp and spread to other lands. The technologist class is designed to reflect the talents of these unusual goblins, to provide a mechanical framework for creating new and interesting pseudo-technological devices.

This class resonates in the default setting of the d20 system with the kobolds. And so the technologist base class would be a perfect addition to make kobolds an interesting opponent. Add to this their skill at constructing traps and you could turn an otherwise mundane encounter into a deadly one.

I feel like flexing my d20 muscles a bit, so let's build a cool encounter. I want to emphasize the trap aspects of kobolds, so we'll start by putting together a new prestige class that builds on the technologist base class. Then we'll put the whole thing together for a ready-to-use encounter to add to an ongoing adventure or to use as a random encounter.


Traps are integral to the survival of the kobold race. From the egg, kobolds learn the virtues of trapmaking and how this craft helps the more experienced kobolds design nefarious and deadly traps to capture and kill prey. As a result, every kobold has some practical knowledge of making and setting traps.

A few kobolds, though, take this important function of their society, and master it. These "trapcrafters" specialize in dismantling traps and putting them back together again, better than before. Traps constructed by these kobolds are often deadly and surprising in their viciousness. Hence, these characters occupy an important place in kobold society.

Hit Die: d6.


To qualify to become a trapcrafter, a character must fulfill all of the following criteria.

Race: Kobold.

Skills: Craft (trapmaking) 9 ranks, Disable Device 4 ranks, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) 4 ranks, Search 4 ranks, Use Magic Device 4 ranks.

If you use the Knowledge (technology) skill from SpirosBlaak, you can require 4 ranks in that skill instead of Search.

Feats: Nimble Fingers, Skill Focus (Craft: trapmaking)

Special: Trapfinding class feature.

Class Skills

The trapcrafter's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Appraise (Int), Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Disable Device (Int), Knowledge (architecture and engineering) (Int), Knowledge (technology) (Int)*, Open Lock (Dex), Search (Int), Use Magic Device (Cha).

*Remove if you do not use this skill.

Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modifier.

Table: The Trapcrafter


Base Attack Bonus

Fort Save

Ref Save

Will Save







Conceal trap, trap sense +1






Improve mechanical trap






Empower trap, expert trapcrafter, trap sense +2






Craft magical trap






Maximize trap, trap sense +3

Class Features

All of the following are class features of the trapcrafter.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency

The trapcrafter gains no new proficiency with weapons or armor.

Conceal Trap (Ex)

At 1st level, the trapcrafter can use his understanding of traps and tricks to better conceal the trap's trigger mechanism. To do so, he must first locate the trap through a normal Search check. Once achieved, he may make a special DC 15 Craft (trapmaking) check to temporarily increase the Search DC to locate the trap. For every 5 by which he beats the DC, the Search DC increases by +2. This benefit lasts until the trap is triggered at which point it resumes its normal Search DC. To use this ability, the trapcrafter must have a set of masterwork artisan tools.

Trap Sense (Ex)

At 1st level, a trapcrafter gains an intuitive sense that alerts him to danger from traps, giving him a +1 bonus on Reflex saves made to avoid traps and a +1 dodge bonus to AC against attacks made by traps. These bonuses rise to +2 when the trapcrafter reaches 3rd level, to +3 when he reaches 5th level. Trap sense bonuses gained from multiple classes stack.

Improve Mechanical Trap (Ex)

Ordinarily, once a trap is constructed, its features are generally fixed until triggered (if there's no reset) or disabled. A 2nd-level kobold trapcrafter can improve elements of an existing mechanical trap. The GM secretly makes a special Craft (trapmaking) check against a base DC 15 plus modifiers depending on which aspects the trapcrafter wishes to modify. The modifications last until the trap is triggered, at which point it regains its normal properties.


DC Modifier

Disable Device DC

+1 for each +1 added to the Disable Device DC

Reflex Save DC

+2 for each +1 added to the Reflex save DC

Attack Bonus

+2 for each +1 added to the attack bonus

Average Damage/Effect

+2/7 points*

Onset delay

+2 for each additional round

* Round to the nearest multiple of 7.

Empower Trap (Ex)

By 3rd level, the trapcrafter has learned how to modify an existing mechanical trap's trigger mechanism to increase the amount of damage it deals (usually this means tightening the springs for fired darts or adding broken glass to the bottom of a pit and so on). The trapcrafter must first successfully locate the trap with a Search check. Then the GM secretly makes a special Craft (trapmaking) check to improve the trap's damage. If the check succeeds, the next time the trap is sprung all damage dealt is increased by +50%. Once triggered, the trap regains its normal properties.

At 4th level, he can empower any of the trap's spell effects as well.

Expert Trapcrafter (Ex)

At 3rd level, the trapcrafter reduces the cost modifiers when building a trap by 20%. For example, adding a proximity trigger type ordinarily increases the cost of the trap by +1,000 gp. For this character, it would only increase the cost by 800 gp.

Craft Magical Trap (Ex)

Beginning at 4th level, the trapcrafter can build magical traps without having to have the knowledge of the spell to be imbued in the trap. To do so, the kobold must have a scroll with the desired spell and succeed on a Use Magic Device check (DC 10 + twice the spell level). If the kobold fails the Use Magic Device check by 5 or more, he suffers a scroll mishap. (See Scroll Mishaps in Chapter Seven: Magic Items of the DMG.) Otherwise, the successfully embeds the spell into the trap. All cost parameters related to caster level are determined by the scroll's caster level.

Maximize Trap (Ex)

At 5th level, the trapcrafter can modify an existing mechanical trap's trigger mechanism to maximize the amount of damage it deals much in the same way that he modifies a trap to empower it. The trapcrafter must first successfully locate the trap with a Search check. Then the GM secretly makes a special Craft (trapmaking) check to improve the trap's damage. If he succeeds, the next time the trap is sprung all damage dealt is maximized. The kobold may both empower and maximize a trap, though it requires separate checks. Once triggered, the trap regains its normal properties.

Kobold Encounter (EL 11)

You can use this encounter by itself, as a starting point to a larger dungeon of your own making, or as part of an existing adventure. A challenging encounter, few of the individual creatures are significant in their own right, but when prepared and fighting together, they should serve as a significant challenge. The idea here is that the kobolds were recently forced out of their lair and these are the only survivors. They claimed this cave as their base, filled it with traps and are holding out until they can return to their ruined city.

Advanced Player's ManualAll of the mechanics here source from the core rulebooks, except for the technologist (SpirosBlaak), the scout (Advanced Player's Manual), and the trapcrafter (this article), though everything needed to run this encounter is included in the statblocks.



Guarding this cave are a number of kobolds and their nefarious traps. Traps are represented on the map with T#. Kobold scouts use "K," the technologist uses "Te," the trapcrafter uses "Kt," and the sorcerer uses "S."

Kobold Scouts (4) CR 3
Male kobold scout 3
LE Small humanoid (reptilian)
Init +1; Senses Spot +7, Listen +7; darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Draconic

AC 18, touch 12, flat-footed 18; Dodge, Mobility
hp 10 (3 HD)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +1
Weakness light sensitivity

Spd 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee mwk Small spear +4 (1d6–1/x3)
Ranged mwk Small light crossbow +4 (1d6/19–20)
Base Atk +2; Grp –3
Special Actions cunning stealth
Combat Gear potion of blur, 2 potions of cure light wounds, 1 dose of sassone leaf residue

Abilities Str 9, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 8
SQ cunning stealth, favored weapon (spear) +1
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Stealthy
Skills Craft (trapmaking) +2, Hide +11, Listen +7, Move Silently +7, Search +8, Spot +7, Survival +0 (+2 follow tracks)
Possessions combat gear plus +1 chain shirt, masterwork Small spear, masterwork Small light crossbow with 10 bolts.

Cunning Stealth (Sp): Once per day, the kobold scouts may cast alter self or invisibility as a 1st level caster.

Kobold Sorcerer CR 6
Female kobold sorcerer 6
LE Small humanoid (reptilian)
Init +7; Senses Spot –1, Listen –1; Darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Draconic

AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 14
hp 15 (6 HD)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4
Weakness light sensitivity

Spd 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Small spear +3 (1d6–1/x3)
Ranged mwk Small light crossbow +8 (1d6/19–20)
Base Atk +3; Grp –2
Combat Gear tanglefoot bag, wand of magic missiles (CL 5th, 25 charges), wand of mirror image (5 charges)
Spells Known (CL 6th):
      3rd (4/day)—displacement
      2nd (6/day)—false life, scorching ray (ranged touch +6)
      1st (7/day)—alarm, shield, silent image (DC 14), true strike
      0 (6/day)—acid splash (ranged touch +6), daze (DC 13), detect magic, mage hand, open/close, read magic, resistance

Abilities Str 9, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 16
SQ summon familiar (none)
Feats Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Spell Focus (Concentration)
Skills Craft (trapmaking) +2, Hide +7, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Search +2, Spellcraft +11
Possessions combat gear plus Small spear, masterwork Small light crossbow with 10 bolts, amulet of natural armor +1, bracers of armor +1

Kobold Technologist CR 6
Male kobold technologist 6
LE Small humanoid (reptilian)
Init +2; Senses Spot +1, Listen +1; darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Draconic, Common, Gnome, Undercommon

AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 16; Dodge, Mobility
hp 15 (6 HD)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +6
Weakness light sensitivity

Spd 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee Small light mace +2 (1d4–2)
Ranged mwk Small light crossbow +6 (1d6/19–20)
Base Atk +3; Grp –3
Special Actions dismantling strike +1d6
Combat Gear wand of inflict moderate wounds (20 charges)
Gadgets (CL 6th):
      2nd—acid projector (3/day, as acid arrow, ranged touch +5; hardness 6; hp 10), battle harness (3/day, as bull's strength; hardness 9; hp 10)
      1st—force gun (3/day, as magic missile; hardness 6; hp 5), force shield (3/day, as shield; hardness 5; hp 5), grease cannon (3/day, as grease, DC 14; hardness 4; hp 5)
      0—communicator (3/day, as message; hardness 4; hp 2); corrosive globe thrower (3/day, as acid splash, ranged touch +5; hardness 4; hp 2), flashlight (3/day, as light; hardness 8; hp 2), scintillator (3/day, as flare, DC 13; hardness 9; hp 2)

Abilities Str 6, Dex 14, Con 9, Int 17, Wis 13, Cha 9
SQ control firearm misfire, jury rig, natural alchemist
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Skill Focus (Craft: technology)
Skills Appraise +8 (+10 technology and traps), Craft (alchemy) +9, Craft (technology) +19, Craft (trapmaking) +7, Disable Device +14, Hide +6, Knowledge (architecture & engineering) +12, Knowledge (technology) +12, Search +14 (+16 secret doors and hidden compartments), Survival +1 (+3 follow tracks), Use Magic Device +8
Possessions combat gear plus +1 leather armor, Small light mace, masterwork Small light crossbow with 10 bolts, cloak of resistance +1

Control Firearm Misfire (Ex): When the technologist misfires a black powder weapon, he may roll twice and take the better result.

Dismantling Strike (Ex): If the technologist studies a construct or object for 1 round and then immediately makes a successful melee attack, the technologist deals +1d6 points of extra damage.

Jury Rig (Ex): The technologist may make an aid another action to assist another character using Climb, Craft, Disable Device, Escape Artist, Forgery, Open Lock, Search, Use Magical Device, or Use Rope by succeeding on a Craft (technology) check.

Natural Alchemist (Ex): This character may use Craft (alchemy) though he lacks levels in a spellcasting class.

Kobold Trapcrafter CR 9
Female kobold rogue 3, technologist 3, trapcrafter 3
NE Small humanoid (reptilian)
Init +2; Senses Spot +6, Listen +6; darkvision 60 ft.
Languages Draconic, Common, Undercommon

AC 19, touch 14, flat-footed 17
hp 28 (9 HD)
Resist evasion
Fort +3, Ref +11, Will +5
Weakness light sensitivity

Spd 30 ft. (6 squares)
Melee +1 Small shortspear +3 (1d6–2)
Ranged +1 Small light crossbow +8 (1d6+1/19–20)
Base Atk +4; Grp –3
Atk Options sneak attack +2d6
Special Actions conceal trap, dismantling strike +1d6, empower trap, improve mechanical trap
Combat Gear wand of levitate (25 charges), wand of magic missile (CL 7th, 10 charges)
Gadgets (CL 3rd):
      1st—force shield (3/day, as shield; hardness 5, hp 5), force shooter (3/day, as magic missile; hardness 6, hp 5)
      0—protection suit (3/day, as resistance; hardness 4; hp 2), sensory pulse cannon (3/day, as daze; hardness 4, hp 2)

Abilities Str 4, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 14
SQ expert crafter, expert trapcrafter, natural alchemist, trap sense +3, trapfinding
Feats Nimble Fingers, Skill Focus (Craft: technology), Skill Focus (Craft: trapmaking), Stealthy
Skills Appraise +2 (+4 technology and traps), Concentration +3, Craft (technology) +14, Craft (trapmaking) +16, Disable Device +13, Escape Artist +8, Hide +14, Knowledge (architecture & engineering) +11, Knowledge (technology) +5, Listen +6, Move Silently +10, Open Lock +10, Search +13 (+15 secret doors and hidden compartments), Spot +6, Survival +0 (+2 follow tracks), Use Magic Device +14, Use Rope +2 (+4 bindings)
Possessions combat gear plus +1 studded leather, +1 Small shortspear, +1 Small light crossbow with 10 bolts, ring of protection +1


The kobolds set a number of vicious traps in readiness for an attack.

Trap 1

Pit Trap: CR4; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; DC 20 Reflex save avoids; 80 ft. deep (8d6, fall); Search DC 24 (concealed); Disable Device DC 24 (improved).

Trap 2

Falling Block Trap: CR 5; mechanical, location trigger; manual reset; Atk +17 (improved) melee (6d6+50%); multiple targets (can strikes all targets in square and the left adjacent square); Search DC 24 (concealed); Disable Device DC 25.

Trap 3

Built-to-Collapse Wall: CR 6; mechanical, proximity trigger; automatic reset; Atk +20 melee (8d6+50%, stone blocks); multiple targets (all targets in a 10-ft.-by-10-ft. area); Search DC 18 (concealed); Disable Device DC 20 (improved).

Trap 4

Magic Missile Trap: CR 1; magic, proximity trigger; automatic reset; spell effect (magic missile, 7th level wizard); Search DC 26; Disable Device DC 26.


When the PCs approach, they pass through an area protected by an alarm spell cast by the kobold sorcerer, so the entire group lies in wait, hiding. The kobolds expect the adventurers to detect and disable the pit trap (Trap 1), hoping to lure their attackers into the chamber, though if the PCs spring the trap all the better. Meanwhile, the kobold scouts drink their potions of blur, the sorcerer casts displacement, and the technologists activate their shield gadgets.

The kobolds are patient and wait until the characters trigger or search for Trap 2. While contending with this trap, the kobolds emerge from their hiding places. The scouts unleash a barrage of poisoned crossbow bolts against the flat-footed PCs, while the sorcerer provides artillery in the form of a scorching ray. The technologist uses his acid projector (acid arrow) and the trapcrafter uses the wand of magic missile (Use Magic Device) to lob a few magic missiles into the midst of the characters.

For the remainder of the combat, the technologists and sorcerer hang back using spells and gadgets, while the scouts move forward to engage characters in melee. The entire group makes use of healing magic (potions) to keep on their feet and lure the characters into Traps 3 and 4. No fools, the kobolds do not fight to the death and flee if half their numbers fall.