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Game background
Title(s) The Horned Sorcerer, Steelscale, Stingtail, Watcher
Home plane Nine Hells of Baator
Power level Intermediate
Alignment Lawful Evil
Portfolio Kobolds, trapmaking, mining, war
Domains Evil, Law, Luck, Trickery, Kobold
Design details

In the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game, Kurtulmak is the chief deity worshipped by the kobold race. He is a member of the default pantheon.

Kurtulmak is the god of War and Mining. The other main god worshipped by the kobolds is Gaknulak the god of Protection, Stealth, Trickery, and Traps. A lesser-known kobold demigod is Dakarnok.

Kurtulmak lives in the underground realm of "Draukari" on Avernus, the first layer of the plane of Baator.

Publication history[edit]

Kurtulmak was first fully detailed in Deities and Demigods (1980).[1]

Kurtulmak was detailed in the book Monster Mythology (1992), including details about his priesthood.[2] His role in the cosmology of the Planescape campaign setting was described in On Hallowed Ground (1996).[3]

Kurtulmak was described briefly in Defenders of the Faith (2000).[4] Kurtulmak is detailed in Deities and Demigods (2002).[5] His priesthood is detailed for 3rd edition in Complete Divine (2004),[6] and in Races of the Dragon (2006).[7]


Kurtulmak appears as a 5-foot-tall (1.5 m) kobold with steel scales. His tail has a poisoned stinger on its tip, and he also wields a spear. He exudes an aura of fear, causing foes to flee in panic.


Kurtulmak tirelessly drives kobolds to make war upon gnomes, in retaliation for a prank the gnomish deity Garl Glittergold pulled on him. Kurtulmak is known to have neither compassion nor a sense of humour.




Kurtulmak's priests wear orange scale mail and iron helms. His sacred animal is the rook.


Kurtulmak is worshipped at the crescent moon in cave temples. His temples are carved out of earth and used to house adepts, clerics, and the tribes's most valuable treasures. These temples are protected with small, twisting tunnels and a staggering array of deadly traps.


The enemies of kobolds are sacrificed to Kurtulmak monthly (under the crescent moon) in a gory ceremony.

Prayers to Kurtulmak have a rhythmic quality to them that can easily be recited while swinging a pickaxe. Prayers can also take the form of battle cries and promises of revenge. "By the point of Kurtulmak's spear and the tip of his poisonous tail, I will see every member of your family perish."

Myths and legends[edit]

The Violation of Tiamat's Lair[edit]

In the kobold creation myth, Kurtulmak—and all kobolds by extension—owes his existence to an assault launched on Tiamat by an army of thieves shortly after she had laid a clutch of eggs. Badly injured and with her lair heavily damaged, she caused one of her eggs to hatch, thus creating Kurtulmak. The newly hatched godling quickly began creating a defensive perimeter of traps and restoring the caverns. During the process, Kurtulmak found an egg of Tiamat's that had fallen away from the nest and, deeming it had been away for too long to ever hatch naturally, used his magic to cause it to hatch, thus producing miniature versions of himself - the first Kobolds.[citation needed]

The Collapse of Kurtulmak's Hall[edit]

Several versions of this myth exist. In the first, Garl Glittergold is said to have collapsed Kurtulmak's Hall while the kobold deity was hosting Asmodeus.

In a second version of the myth, featured in Dragon magazine's "Ecology of the Kobold",[8] Kurtulmak decided to carve out a great cavern and rig it to collapse, whereupon he would then play a great jest; he would invite all of the other racial deities to the cavern for a feast, whereupon he would tell them the tale of "The Violation of Tiamat's Lair." At the tale's end, he would pull out an ornate stone trigger and bury the assembled deities alive. The subsequent turn of events differs on whether the myth's teller is a kobold or a gnome, but either way Garl Glittergold stumbled across Kurtulmak's cavern and pulled the trigger, burying the God of the Kobolds in his own trap. The kobold version insists that Garl Glittergold did so because he was jealous of Kurtulmak's creation, whilst the gnomish version claims that Garl admired Kurtulmak's work and pulled the keystone out simply to see if it worked, soon forgetting all about the event.

A third version of this story is found in the book Races of the Dragon. When Io gave the secret of creation to the first true dragons, the first dragon to use that secret was Caesinsjach, a green dragon. The first kobold was Kurtulmak. Because he was the first, he was much larger than any of his kin. Because of this Caesinsjach commanded her kobolds though Kurtulmak. Naturally he ascended to a position of leadership.

When Caesinsjach told the kobolds to mine for precious metal, Kurtulmak invented the pickaxe. When she ordered them to tile her lair with gold, Kurtulmak minted the first draconic coin. And when she told them to mine precious stones, Kurtulmak taught himself sorcery to divine where minerals were located.

When Caesinsjach's lair was finished and she had become the wealthiest dragon in creation she let the kobolds go free.

In emulation of his former mistress. Kurtulmak immediately began mining a lair for himself. Although he never asked for help he nonetheless received it. Every kobold he ever worked with came to his aid.

Kurtulmak found a spot with a near limitless supply of metal ore and precious stones. With Kurtulmak commanding the operation, it quickly became the most structurally sound and resourcefully designed mine the world had ever seen. Kurtulmak called it Darastrixhurthi, a fortress fit for dragons. Nothing rivaled it.

Garl Glittergold was not pleased. While his gnomes were playing useless games, the kobolds were busy working and were ready to emerge as a dominant race. And so with a wave of his hand, Garl collapsed Kurtulmak's mine, crushing all the kobolds inside. The other gods demanded an explanation but no deity came forward to reverse the damage done. Io, realising that no god would help, searched the souls of those who died to find Kurtulmak still clinging to life. Even buried under the mountain he would not give up on his people. Io gave Kurtulmak a choice. He would empower Kurtulmak with the strength to rebuild the mine, or he would make the mighty kobold a champion of his people for all eternity. In this latter case, the loss of Darastrixhurthi would remain, but the memory of what happened would never be forgotten.

Campaign settings[edit]


In the Basic D&D setting, Kurtulmak was known as the Shining One.[9]


  1. ^ Ward, James and Robert Kuntz. Deities and Demigods (TSR, 1980)
  2. ^ Sargent, Carl. Monster Mythology (TSR, 1992)
  3. ^ McComb, Colin. On Hallowed Ground (TSR, 1996)
  4. ^ Redman, Rich and James Wyatt. Defenders of the Faith (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  5. ^ Redman, Rich, Skip Williams, and James Wyatt. Deities and Demigods (Wizards of the Coast, 2002)
  6. ^ Noonan, David. Complete Divine (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  7. ^ Kestrel, Gwendolyn FM, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, and Kolja Raven Liquette. Races of the Dragon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2006
  8. ^ Smith, Mat (2005). "The Ecology of the Kobold". Dragon. Paizo Publishing. #332. 
  9. ^ Heard, Bruce. The Orcs of Thar (1988, TSR)

Additional reading[edit]

  • Conforti, Steven, ed. Living Greyhawk Official Listing of Deities for Use in the Campaign, version 2.0. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2005. Available online: [1]
  • Moore, Roger E. "The Humanoids." Dragon #63 (TSR, 1982).