Most Dungeon crawlers (Dungeons and Dragons players) remember the Kobold as the lowliest of monsters, not even a full hit die worth of hit points. In combat, the mage could best a kobold or three with his staff, while the warrior could defeat them with his off hand, sword sheathed. Generally played out as the little brothers of goblins, just as the goblins were the little brothers of orcs. You know what rolls downhill, as the expression goes.
I was captivated by a single word, Koboldwerk, in reference to kobold crafted chainmail. it was excellently made and black iron, a far cry from the ultra-light magic friendly mithril elven chainmail. All of a sudden they became something different to me, not just the first layer of sword fodder in the dungeon.
They were delvers, and makers, smithies and builders. They naturally compete with the dwarves, and perhaps instead of being a diminutive dog-faced mini-goblin they are more potent rivals. They craft steel and black iron weapons, sheath their bodies in chain armor, and though lacking the stubborn courage of the dwarves compensate with a cunning that makes them seem more animalistic than the stoic dwarves. Its all a matter of PR