This is part 7 in a multi-part series developing the city of Akorros in Darokin from the skeleton outline in GAZ11 The Republic of Darokin to a full-fledged city which I can use as a campaign base. In this series of blog posts you will be able to follow along my research and thinking as I develop it into a rich adventure environment. This post is also part of WorldAnvil Summer Camp 2020 as part of my Melestrua’s Mystara campaign world. Subscribe to this blog to follow along.
There are consistent rumours of ghostly figures flitting through the poorer areas of Akorros at night, too large to be rats, too small to be humans. Sightings are particularly common on misty nights and down in the eternal gloom of the sewer network beneath the city, but seldom does anyone get a clear view, and the rumours remain as pub tales, good for an argument over a pint.
There are also tales of unseen benefactors – a family on the verge of starvation may suddenly find a parcel of food sitting on their kitchen table in the morning, or an artisan on the breadline whose tools had been broken or stolen might find them replaced (or even in some cases their original tools returned). There are even tales of missing horses being found tied up outside the house in the morning, and doorbells being rung in the middle of the night which, when answered, reveal children missing for days returned home with tales of “funny dragons brought me home”. Tellingly, all such children are too young to be able to distinguish between fact and fantasy, and in all cases the thankful recipients are hardworking honest people who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own.
While the good folk of Akorros publicly scoff at such stories as fairy tales and overwrought imagination, it is noticeable that they will still leave out occasional saucers of milk or parcels of food for the unseen benefactors (many of which end up on the tables of the needy), and even the hardened smugglers and underground couriers who wouldn’t give their grandmother the time of day will leave parcels in specific locations in the sewers to bring them luck on their travels underground – and there are sufficient stories of such largesse being rewarded by ghostly shapes leading such benefactors around perils or back to known areas when lost to encourage the generosity to continue.
The reality behind the rumours
Living in the sewers under Akorros and in tunnels bored into the rock surrounding them is a race of albino kobolds, the ghost kobolds. Originally outcasts from other kobold tribes frightened of their colouration and afraid of contagion, these have been taken in over the years by Myrrliath, the silver dragon of The Place of the Silver Dragon (yes, she really exists), and brought together in the sewers under Akorros.
These ghost kobolds now breed true – all their offspring are albino as well, with milky, almost translucent skin and pink eyes – and they have thrived under Myrrliath’s protection and guidance. In return, Myrrliath has taught the ghost kobolds to respect the worth in everyone, and shaped them into a miniature army looking out for the honest folk in the city. While not strong enough to challenge the malefactors face to face, the kobolds do their best to repair or mitigate the damage done to others, and to reduce the impact of harsher laws and more recently the general diversion of funds and investment into the coffers of those already richer than they need to be.
Ghost Kobolds are secretive reptilian humanoids that worship the silver dragon Myrrliath and serve as her minions and servants. They inhabit the sewers and tunnels beneath Akorros, gathering resources donated by the populace of Akorros and redistributing them to those in greatest need.
The Ghost Kobold has the same stats as the normal Kobold, with the following exceptions:
- they are lawful good
- they have proficiency in Dexterity (Stealth) and advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks when underground or at night
- they do not have Pack Tactics
Secretive and numerous. Ghost Kobolds, like normal Kobolds, are egg-laying creatures. They mature quickly and can live to be more than a century old. However, although more Ghost Kobolds survive their first decade than normal Kobolds, many still perish before the age of 20, succumbing to the dangers beneath the city. Physically weak, they are easy prey to predators, and unlike normal Kobolds, they are not aggressive and do not try to overwhelm enemies with numbers. Instead they use their exceptional hiding abilities to avoid conflict, preferring to lead aggressors out of their territory and away.
Public Servants. Ghost Kobolds are aware they owe both their lives and their livelihoods to the generosity and care of Myrrliath, and so they dedicate themselves to her mission of looking after the poor and deprived of Akorros. The Ghost Kobolds roam the city and the sewers secretly by night, collecting the packages left out by the populace and bringing them to their local district lair. Myrrliath hears about struggling citizens through the gossip of the patrons who come to drink in The Silver Dragon, and through other connections throughout the city, and she directs the Ghost Kobolds in the redistribution of the packages. She also hears about items and individuals which have gone missing, and directs the Ghost Kobolds in finding and returning them.
Tunnellers and Builders. Like their more normal brethren, Ghost Kobolds make up for their physical ineptitude with a cleverness for trap making and tunnelling. They have burrowed into the rock beside and beneath the sewers, creating an extensive network of low tunnels through which they can move easily but which hinder larger humanoids and other creatures of the tunnels. Their lairs and passages are also riddled with traps, although they have a preference for traps which are disabling or distracting and take advantage of their small stature and light weight rather than causing harm – pit traps which collapse if something larger than a Kobold crosses them but have an easy way out on the side away from the lair, spring loaded traps which hurl pots of grease which cause attackers to slide away from the lair, even food “traps” which entice the would-be attacker away from the lair and towards the free meal. They are also expert in disguising the traps as just normal unpleasant terrain – a lair of giant centipedes which can be freed into the path of attackers, noisome sewer waters whose repulsive odour masks other scents and inflict disadvantage on creatures which track via smell.
Family Feud. The Ghost Kobolds have never forgotten their rejection by the normal Kobold tribes, and view their self-serving hoarding and worship of the Chromatic Dragons as abhorrent to the Ghost Kobolds’ precepts of support and veneration of all life particularly the underdog. They also fear that the Kobolds’ petty thievery would turn the citizens of Akorros against them and trigger hunts of the tunnels looking to exterminate them (with good reason – this has indeed happened on multiple occasions in the past). As a result, the one creature the Ghost Kobolds cannot stand and will attack on sight are their cousins the normal Kobold, not resting until they have been killed or driven from Akorros again.