Tuesday 8 February 2011

An Adventure for Every Monster - Axe Beak

Axe Beak

Frequency Uncommon
No appearing 1-6
AC 6
Move 18”
HD 3
% in lair Nil
Treasure type Nil
No of attacks 3
Damage per attack 1-3/1-3/2-8
Special attacks Nil
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Intelligence Animal
Alignment Neutral
Size L (7’+ tall)
THAC0 16
XP value 35 + 3/hp

This adventure takes place in an area of wilderness that is sparsely inhabited. It should be rocky, forested and with few if any roads. Human hunters, explorers and prospectors have been moving into the area and have reported fleeting encounters with kobolds. The kobolds are hard to engage, fleeing when humans approach and only observing from a distance.

The little menaces are, however, plotting something which is to lure humans further and further into their territory and launch a mass attack using their latest weapon – axe beak cavalry. As axe beaks are faster than anything other than a light riding horse, the kobolds have the advantage of speed and manoeuvrability.

The kobold tactics are to use the axe beaks to close with the enemy, fire their missile weapons, ride out of range, harass and try to break up enemy formations and draw off any stray enemies so that their hidden foot soldiers can then launch surprise attacks. The kobolds ride two to a mount and one will jump off to engage on foot if need be while the other controls his axe beak. If both need to dismount, the axe beak is set loose to cause havoc in the ranks of the enemy with its three attacks.

Unless the humans have trained war-horses (unlikely in this area) their mounts will be spooked by the axe beaks 90% of the time as they will not have encountered them before.

The kobold band has 12 axe beaks as mounts, with 24 kobolds trained to ride them, armed with the weapons mix listed below. Another 24 kobolds are on foot, with a more traditional mix of weapons. They will work in four squads of six kobolds each whose job it is to finish off fallen enemies, ambush those who break away from the main group and cover any retreat.

The DM needs to ensure that the kobolds are played as skilled warriors – they may be small but in this setting, they are fast and they have worked on their tactics. They should be operating as would guerrilla cavalry. With luck, they will give complacent parties a run for their money. If in doubt, read up on Tucker’s Kobolds.

In the kobold lair, there are special chambers where the breeding, raising and training of axe beaks is carried out. A special group of kobolds (20) carry out these tasks; if they are killed on a raid of the lair, there is no real chance that the kobold survivors can rebuild the axe beak cavalry as the expertise will have been lost.

The hatchery will have 3d12 eggs at any one time. The raising area will have 2d12 chicks and the training area 1d12 juvenile axe beaks who are being fed on a mix of carrion which includes human and horse flesh so as to get them used to the taste and encourage them to attack these targets.
There is also a kobold group who work on harness and saddles for the axe beaks. These are mostly females and juveniles (30 and 8 respectively). They will flee if any attack is made on the lair. The saddles they make will have pouches, scabbards and quivers sewn in to the design to hold the weapons that the axe-beak riders need on their attacks.

Because the kobolds are pretty clued up on the subject of breeding, they will use only the males for cavalry attacks, retaining one or two in the lair. An interesting twist on this adventure would be for a group of wild axe beaks to scent out the females and perhaps mount an attack on the kobold lair in order to gain the breedstock, at the same time as the party mounts a raid.


Frequency Uncommon
No appearing 40-400
AC 7
Move 6”
HD 1-4 hit points
% in lair 40%
Treasure type Individuals J, O, Qx5 in lair
No of attacks 1
Damage per attack 1-4 or by weapon
Special attacks Nil
Special defences Nil
Magic resistance Standard
Intelligence Average (low)
Alignment Lawful Evil
Size S (3’ tall)
THAC0 20
XP value 5 + 1/hp

Instead of the weapons distribution found in the MM, these kobolds are armed with bows, spears, daggers and primitive bolas, which if it scores a 19 or 20 on the hit die, will entangle its victim, causing them to need to save vs. DEX or fall to the ground. They will need to cut through the thongs and cannot engage in any combat activity until this is done. It should take them two combat rounds to complete this task.

Check this Axe Beak mini out - gotta love that bird!


  1. Mount up!

    Did the season finale of Primeval have any role in this post? ;)

  2. @biopunk - oddly enough, no. I lost interest in that show thanks to the interminable Helen Cutter plotline and haven't got round to rekindling my interest. I think what might have some influence is Walking with Beasts, a big favourite of Junior Grognard and thereby, due to a process of cultural osmosis, firmly embedded in my subconscious.

    That mini really is kick-ass, though.

  3. I didn't think so. The storyline has been spotty, but last season's was quite good and the creature fx are still great.

    As is the SkullCracker Bird mini!

    I hope more of those Dragonblood Miniatures castings get back into production soon!

  4. AWESOME !
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