Friday, December 20, 2013

NPCs for Fun and Adventuring: The Kobold Mariachi Band


A new feature at Don't Split the Partyis NPCs for Fun and Adventuring where I will introduce new NPCs that you can fit in your campaign. We will start with a light-hearted idea I developed with my kids - the kobold mariachi band! Please note: I alone am responsible for any lame jokes. Please hold my family blameless.

Backstory: Decades ago an unscrupulous bard used his songs, magic, and some items to rule a remote kobold band as a demi-god. The bard, named Jalascience, son of Huasteca, had the kobolds play music as part of their worship of him. Over a number of (kobold) generations they became very proficient and eventually the Jalascience would pick the best 10 kobold musicians each year to perform with him. These ten kobolds, the Sons of Jalascience, were a vital part of the kobold community.
  After many years Jalascience (realizing he was dying) told the band that he was returning to his celestial hall and would continue to watch over them from there. He left some of his personal items with the Sons of Jalascience and vanished, never to be seen again.
  After this the best singer of the Sons, called Little Black because of his small black horns, began to lead the kobold band. Over the next decade they gained wealth and influence by becoming mercenaries to other humanoids. Now the Sons of Jalascience are highly sought after by other tribes of humanoids for their help on the battlefield.

Appearance: the Sons of Jalascience dress in tight trousers with flared legs, tunics, and short jackets with wide-brimmed hats. Their clothing is highly decorated with embroidery and buckles. Four of the Sons play violin, two play guitar, one a rather large 'rhythm' guitar, and three play trumpets. All can, and do, sing.

Abilities: The Sons are all 'kobold bosses' with maximum hit points and fight as 1+1 HD monsters. When singing and playing together they have the following abilities, usable one at a time:
  - +3 on morale on all allies within 60 yards
  - -2 on morale on all foes within 60 yards (only foes who speak kobold, goblin, orcish, or giantish)
  - negate all sound-based attacks (harpy song, dragonne roar, etc.) within 60 yards
  - drown out all sounds within 40 yards, making it impossible to hear orders, yell alarms, etc. Spellcaster trying to cast a spell within this effect are 20% likely to fail to cast any spell with a verbal component (the spell vanishes from memory but is not cast)
  - +1 to hit and damage for all allies and -1 to hit and damage for all foes within 30 yards

Using them in your campaign: While largely for fun, the Sons of Jalascience can make a big difference on a battlefield and could be introduced as the 'secret weapon' behind the sudden battlefield success of a humanoid force. Also, perhaps some of the things left behind by Jalascience are important! They could be anything from a map to a lost treasure to the command words for a folding boat. Or simply a few magic items.

Changing the NPC: Simply avoid the mariachi  symbols and make them a group of kobolds with bard powers. Maybe throw in some magic left behind by Jalascience, such as: one of the trumpets is a Horn of Blasting and one of the guitars acts as Pipes of the Sewers