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This article is about the race. For the group of kobolds with the same name, see Elwynn Kobolds.
Fool's Gold TCG.jpg
Character classes

Underground, Caves

Primary language(s)
Secondary language(s)

Kobolds are a race of rat-like subterranean humanoids. Despite living underground, kobolds do not have keen nocturnal sight, and rely on candles to traverse the mines they call home. Fearful of other races, kobolds are usually found inside a mine, or on the surface near one. Incredibly, kobold clans have successfully forged ties with two races not known for their peaceful relations with others: the vicious harpies, and the magnataurs found in Northrend.[2]

They live in caves and tunnels throughout Azeroth, but primarily in the Eastern Kingdoms. Most kobolds are easy prey, appearing in Elwynn Forest, Westfall, Loch Modan, Stonetalon Mountains, Thousand Needles, and Arathi Highlands. There was also a population that lived in the area known as Tirisfal Glades today around the year -2,700, but were eradicated by the native humans.[3] The strongest kobolds yet in-game can be found in Alterac Valley.

The largest kobold known was Noggrin Onetooth who resided in Durotar, near the Barrens, until he was killed by Rexxar, Champion of the Horde.

Brann Bronzebeard theorizes that they evolved from Troggs.[4]


Bestiary Thumb Kobold.gif

The grimy, vermin-like kobolds dwell deep within the crags and rocky caves of the Redridge Mountains. These slovenly creatures are best known for their penchant for digging and their underground excavations. Most recently, the Kobolds have found themselves falling prey to the merciless Riverpaw Pack of Gnolls. These cunning Gnolls have proven themselves to be merciless taskmasters, forcing the Kobolds into an existence of neverending drudgery. Since their enslavement, the historically meek Kobolds have grown bitter and aggressive toward any creature that meddles with their ceaseless labor.[5]

Kobolds are not particularly bright and are considered more an annoyance than a true danger, but they also breed like rabbits and are always found in large numbers wherever they dwell. They are only four feet tall at best, and though they have excellent vision in low-light conditions, in the darkest recesses of mines and caves they still need a source of light in order to be able to see, hence their reliance on candles. When a group of kobolds are agitated, their tails whip back and forth, and they stink horribly, regardless of whether they are alive or dead.[6]

The kobolds of Highmountain offer stolen and scavenged trinkets, oftentimes items that would be broken and worthless to anyone else, to the local harpies, and the harpies provide protection for their offerings of obedience.[7]


Kobolds employ simple earth magic, including fire bolts[8] and ice shields, though most of their number are warriors, skilled with their mining picks. Their style of fighting involves attacking with as many allies as possible, and beating the offending person(s) to death with the aforementioned mining picks.

Following the Cataclysm, the geomancers of the Tunnel Rat group, a colony loyal to the Axis of Awful, managed to figure out some kind of parlor trick which allowed them to enslave a large amount of troggs. They were able to do this because the troggs are ultimately considered creatures of the earth.[9]


Some common kobold utterances include:

  • You no take candle!
  • Yip, me kill!
  • Me no run from <class/minion type> like you!
  • Aieee me run!




WotLK This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.

Main article: Snobold

A type of arctic kobold, called snobolds, can be found in Northrend. They follow herds of magnataur for safety and mutual benefit on long hunts.[10]

Warcraft III

A kobold as seen in Warcraft III.

Kobolds are a race of sniveling, rat-like humanoids who infest the deep tunnels of the Alterac and Redridge Mountains. Cowardly and pathetic by nature, they can be riled to action when backed into a corner. Kobolds have limited intelligence and usually try to stay away from populated areas where other, larger races dwell.[11]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.


Kobolds are little humanoids afraid to venture into the light for fear of their own shadows. Still, they fight ferociously to the death once backed into a corner.[12]

Kobolds are rat-like humanoids that dwell in underground tunnels and spend their lives mining, primarily for gold. They are cowardly, cringing folk who live in fear of larger races and rarely venture outside their tunnels. However, while not powerful individually, they congregate in large numbers and can prove a nuisance and occasionally a danger.

Kobolds live in tunnels going deep into the Alterac and Redridge Mountains. Kobolds are most at home in the dark underground, as bright light causes them discomfort. As they cannot, however, see perfectly in the dark, kobolds also have a great affinity for candles.[13]

Kobolds are cowardly and flee from most combat. Nonetheless, they are tenacious and fierce when cornered, so when their lairs (or candles) are threatened, they attack with abandon. Unfortunately for them, they are not particularly intelligent and their tactics leave much to be desired: though they are naturally stealthy, they use this ability for escape more than ambush, and they usually try to overwhelm opponents with large numbers rather than defeat them using strategic cunning. Further, kobolds are sometimes so cowardly that they refuse to help their friends when they fall under attack nearby – these craven creatures will simply go about their business (sweating in fear all the while) and hope that the troublesome adventurers will leave them alone.[14]

Kobolds trade the gold and other minerals they unearth to goblins and other patrons for all the goods they need to survive; occasionally they purchase protection as well. They will take over abandoned mines and scavenge equipment whenever they can do so safely.[15]


Kobolds stand between three and four feet in height and weighing between 70 to 100 pounds. The wiry creatures bear as much of a resemblance to a rat as it does to a humanoid and move with a rapid, hunched gait. Its nervousness is evident in its large, rodent-like eyes. This small, rat-like humanoid has a long snout. White hair pokes from beneath a ragged cap, on which perches a dribbling white candle. It hoists a leather pack over its left shoulder and a mining pick over its right. Its eyes glitter with wariness.[13]




Kobolds form loose clan lineages based on bloodline. There is nothing like marriage. Young individuals migrate between nests or between larger warrens. Kobolds of all ages prefer to sleep in large groups. While there is no overt structure of government, kobolds organize in loose groups to plan out digs and scavenging. While not particularly bright, kobolds have keen senses and a good ability to read situations.

One of their significant accomplishments is their alliance with the harpies. Kobolds offer equipment they scavenge in return for information. The two races protect one another by proximity. Kobolds first try to avoid combat if at all possible. Traps are used to gather small food animals and protect their warrens. When pressed, kobolds will flood over a target, looking to bite at vulnerable points. When facing a significant threat, they will abandon their nests and young. The race's knack with stealth and comfort in underground environments makes it well suited to the rogue and scout classes.[15]

Many kobolds wear helmets that sport lit candles. These serve as more than just light sources, for kobolds develop an attachment to their candles and the light they shed. When a kobold wears or holds a lit candle, it gains morale. However, it doesn’t take much to extinguish one of these candles.[16]


Kobolds speak Low Common and Common. Kobolds occasionally learn the languages of their big, scary neighbors.[16]


Kobolds prefer to remain among their own kind. Many have a fear of the world above ground and of the races that live there. They are comfortable with their existence in the mines, chipping away with their picks and admiring each other’s candles. Kobolds must deal with a frightening number of enemies, being generally weak, and gifted kobold fighters who are able to protect their people rise quickly to the fore. These leaders are usually rogues, warriors, or healers. Rarer are the exceptional kobolds that leave their tunnels behind, striking out on a life of adventure. Most of these have a wanderlust they cannot otherwise sate; others feel the pull of riches more keenly than their brethren, and realize that adventure may be the best way to get what they need.[16] Friendly kobolds are possibly raised by night elves or some other race. Though ruled by fear, heroic kobolds emerge from time to time.[15]


This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

One would think a race that evolved in the dark of tunnels would have developed some sort of dark vision or been completely blind, but this is not the case. Kobolds rely on the light of their candles to see. Kobolds are extremely protective of their candles and will attack anyone who comes near them, yelling something in Common, such as You no take candle!

There is evidence that the kobolds have a possible primordial connection to the beginnings of Azeroth, evidenced by their involvement in the imprisonment of the elemental princess Myzrael in the Arathi Highlands. Though kobolds usually show little intelligence, there are some cases where they exhibit greater then normal intelligence.



The word Kobold comes from the German language, in which it means "sprite". One particular type of kobold was said to dwell in mines, where they caused accidents such as cave-ins and rockslides.