The origin of the goblin could aptly be described as The Mishap of Fenodryn. Fenodryn was an advanced city of humans and elves. It held the esteemed honor of being an Aedrathic, a major epicenter of Eluen-cuthpar research. Many sentient plants such as treants and shambling mounds were created in this very city, and it was here that the first goblin took breath.
Fenodryn’s people were known for their progressive exploration of arcane magic. At the pinnacle of their arrogant research, this grand city’s wizards faltered. Their failure can only be described as an Atlantean tragedy. A massive blast of arcane energy erupted when a considerably potent experiment was accidentally triggered. The release of magical energy surged through the surrounding countryside and immediately altered its flora and fauna.
Goblins were one of the creatures affected by this accident. The discharged energies distilled the essences of the nearby elves, purifying their nature. The desire of the forest, self-expressionism, and freedom overwhelmed their minds causing every goblin to leave what was once Fenodryn. The allure of Ergorn Forest drew them away; and with their departure, the desire for higher learning. The vocation of the sorcerer was replaced by the path of the barbarian.
Thousands of years later contemporary goblins have flourished and are found throughout Thepa. But as prosperous as they have become, these humanoids still struggle. They have a grave impact on the resources that surround them. While goblins do not steal or trespass, they do influencing the lands near them with an uncontrollable ability to develop their surroundings. The Rise wrecks otherwise stable ecosystems by making everything more feral. Few races are able to harmonize with this anomaly so conflicts normally ensue.
Goblins are freaks of nature. They possess abnormal traits that set them far apart from the rest of humanity, even their own race in some instances. For the most part, these traits have a purpose, which generally boils down to survivability.
Goblins have chameleon like skin. They use it with great effectiveness to hide within their natural habitats for both protection and aggression. Their skin is barren of hair aside from the top of their heads, which resembles the pelts of wild animals, typically great cats. Unlike their skin, goblin hair does not change color, however it does not affect the goblins’ innate ability to be furtive.
Goblin eyes, on the other hand, do have the ability to change color and quite often will. This shift in eye color is normally governed by a goblin’s emotions. A fortunate few have been known to master control over their eye variations. These goblins wind up ruling very large tribes due to their unusual ability to keep others guessing.
Goblins weigh 35 to 45 pounds. Their height ranges between 3 to 4 feet tall, though a steady norm of 3.5 feet holds true for most of their race. The lifespan of a goblin is somewhat sporadic, 50 to 150 years. It is believed that the magical nature of these creatures causes significant health problems. But even without this magical hindrance, the threat from dire animals and war-like conflicts would still loom over them, accelerating their demise.
Personality (chaotic neutral)
Goblins are a curious race. They love to tinker with anything they can get their hands on and are quite good at determining how something works. This aptitude gives them a distinct advantage in trap building, but it can also get them into a great deal of trouble. Goblin curiosity regularly overrides their basic fears and common sense, one of the many reasons why goblins live such short lives.
To one degree or another, every goblin is manic. Their mood swings are determined by a variety of factors: time of the day, moon cycles, weather patterns, etc. It is near impossible to judge what will set these little critters off. Each goblin is different. In addition, they possess a crippling lack of refinement. Goblins are very direct and will often speak their thoughts without considering the consequences or the audience, which adds to their list of debilities.
But fear not, all is not grim for these woodland creatures. They do have a strange sense of stability while fenodyree are present. Some believe that their close kinship in the past is what helps calm the wildlings. Others believe it to be fenodyrean optimism that always keeps a goblin upbeat. Whatever the reason, the presence of just one halfling causes an entire tribe of goblins to exhibit a calm temperament – something to consider if you ever need to do business with these quirky humanoids.
Another boon for this race is with business dealings. Goblins are open-minded and willing to consider options that may seem absurd to others. Many agreements have actually boiled down to requests that the general public would consider bizarre and insignificant, yet goblins seem to thrive on such things.
In any case, it is important to note that the initial contact with this race will dictate future relations. Negative associations typically result in violence. Goblins are known to express their disappointment through anger and physical actions. They also can hold a grudge for a very long time, though they are not blind to a person willing to rectify a situation. Goblins are quite capable of forgiveness.
Goblin social structure is similar to the arden. They work as a group for survival in a harsh world, but the races are not the same. Goblins believe in personal belongings, and are willing to give items of importance to the group if the need arises. Arden do not see the benefit of helping his family, other than warning them of an impending threat. The arden help one another on an instinctual level, while goblins live as a truer family, caring and protecting it for the sake of loved ones.
Above all else, goblins are protective of nature. Others must be moderate when interacting with Thepa, otherwise goblins will become irate and express their emotions fervently through violent outbursts. Goblins, not being blessed with a high amount of common sense, do not consider the ramifications of immediate violence. Their own safety is never regarded as important, only the safety of the forest.
Goblins exist everywhere – and The Rise is to blame.
It creates habitats that are suitable for goblin survival, thus granting them success down otherwise inaccessible avenues. Forests, grasslands, arctic and sand deserts, even the subterranean dominated lands of the duergar and drow have known goblin territories. The only place goblins are not found is under the seas. The Rise has diminished effects below the water’s surface. And of course, goblins cannot breathe water.
Goblins are never without. They have learned to exploit their peculiar trait in a variety of useful ways. Goblins do not plant food, rather they harvest what the flora produces, berries, nuts, roots, and legumes. The occasional vegetable and fruit are gathered as well, though most of their diet comes from the flesh of animals.
Goblins hunt and trap game, taking both small and large animals. Fauna become robust around goblin tribes. Fish and fowl populations explode, while the larger mammals develop dire characteristics. Food is plentiful and easy to acquire, and the plant-life that sprouts up provides a wealth of building materials.
It would seem that The Rise would be a boon to everyone not just the goblin, but this is simply not true. Many of altered plants and animals become inedible to other races. Their digestive system cannot process the newly transformed cuisine. Also, numerous crops and native animals are simply obliterated, unable to exist within the presence of this “devil” magic, which forces goblins to live in smaller bands that are dispersed over a massive landscape.
Goblins live in small villages. These hamlets are either built within the trees or as a complex tunneling system beneath the earth. Each village is unique, lacking an overall structure like so many other races, though their homes do have one thing in common. All goblins exercise the usage of protective devices. Goblins love traps!
Every goblin village will contain hundreds of traps, ranging from simply pitfalls to elaborate mechanized devices designed to skewer living creatures. The reason for the traps is twofold. Though the goblins are able to tame some of the dire animals that mutate, not all are so easily controlled. Traps are necessary to stop the major beasts from devouring a village.
The second reason is for protection from other races. Goblins have no way to control their “gift”; and even if they did, the other races would probably not care. Goblins are systematically attacked and destroyed by nearly every other race, thus they have learned how to quell most invasions. It requires a significant army to enter and destroy a well-defended goblin establishment, something few competitors are willing to pay.
A final note on the effects of The Rise, if a village is destroyed and the goblins scattered, the forest does not revert to its original state. It remains, forced to die off through its natural lifespan. New creatures and plants to the area are unaffected by the remnants of the former civilization.
Everything goblins need is provided to them through their altered selves and commodities outside of their community are not typically sought out, therefore a monetary system is useless to them. Goblins utilize bartering as their system of trade. Unfortunately, few races barter as completely as the goblins. And even those that do will still use coin to supplement their commerce.
From time-to-time, especially in times of war, goblins will need outside resources. They acquire these products through their friends, the fenodyree. The halflings have long-reaching trade routes, which never seem to disappear. They also have a knack for finding lost tribes of goblins, but the goblins do not seem to mind. They are communal after all.
Goblins are family-oriented, yet it is important to understand that they do not get along very well with other tribes. Goblins have a distinct way of living and each tribe reacts differently with nature. Inevitably, when a tribe infringes upon another tribe’s area, the balance of their environment becomes wacky. Most races can sense this uneasiness, but for the goblins involved, the experience is downright horrifying. Their distress causes the goblins to either war or separate. In either case, the process is quick.
Goblins are misunderstood. They have made a lousy name for themselves and cannot seem to clear the negative connotations that go along with it. In an adventuring party, a goblin (possibly two) is welcome; but when a group larger than eight get together, problems occur. The Rise causes havoc for all races and most of them view this surging abnormality as destructive, a blight to be purified. Goblin tribes are lucky if they are shooed away, since their brethren are rather purged from Thepa than tolerated.
Shortened lives tend to exacerbate the goblins’ worldly predicament. Goblins have a knack for aptitude but when it comes to common sense, they fall short. Goblin tribes that figure out how to coexist with another race tend to enjoy that peace for only a limited time. Goblins do not record history on paper. They pass it down through word of mouth. Rarely will the importance of this harmonic knowledge be accepted or even fully understood by the younger generation, which starts the cycle of hatred all over again.
Another issue for goblins is their disinterest for money, preferring to barter than trade coinage. The exclusion of a monetary system within their society creates difficulty for this race’s foreign relationships. Most races, aside from the fenodyree, feel that they are robbed in bartering schemes and will only attempt the mechanism once.
Lastly, and quite frankly most importantly, goblin tribes do not interact with one another. Any knowledge gained toward peaceful coexistence does not filter into the other tribes. And without learning, the foreign affairs of the goblin race is doomed to fail. Perhaps someday this young race will evolve, but until that day the goblin is considered an enemy by near all.
Amoraq: Goblins think amoraq are friendly teddy bears, yet find it strange that they never see the “squishes” at large gatherings. Though goblins speculate as to why amoraq avoid larger groups, it really doesn’t matter. Goblins are just happy to be in the company of one of their cousins.
Arden: Goblins are friendly with arden. They even trade with one another, but the process is always quick. Goblins are unsure why their exchanges are so fast, and for that matter, why the arden always seem so nervous, as if every “ratfolk” is jacked up on two pots of fenodyrean java.
Drow: Goblins steer clear of drow for fear of enslavement and murder. They know very well that the drow have no compassion toward their race. As such, goblins have an extremely hard time trusting a drow party member.
Duergar: Goblins and duergar trade as long as the distance between their two homelands is acceptable to the duergar. Duergar typically trade minor magical items for food and darkland creatures, though this relationship is tentative, ending at a moment’s notice. Goblins are tense during these negotiations since they are never really sure if the duergar are happy with the current arrangements.
Dwarves: Goblins and dwarves do not interact very often. The unending rules of the dwarves definitely put stress on their relationship, but it is the dwarves’ disregard of nature that truly keeps these two races apart. The mining machine is an abomination to what goblins hold dear. Goblins choose one of two avenues when dealing with this race. They either avoid them altogether, or they try to disable the machine. If nature is given a second chance, it normally comes back strong, especially with a tribe of goblins around.
Elves: Goblins are confused when it comes to the race of elves. Elves are their distant cousins. Why do they exterminate the goblin race? The elves won’t even speak with a tribe. Goblins have learned to live far away from elven settlements. For their side, goblins embrace elven party members. They want to be accepted by the elven community, and a goblin will jump at any chance to bridge the gap.
Fenodyree: Fenodyree and elfen (the self-proclaimed name of the goblin race) have shared a kinship from the day their races were created. Both were children of Fenodryn, and neither race has forgotten their birthplace. Fenodyree freely enter goblin territories, not even batting an eye at the dire animals cared for by the tribes. Fenodyree are treated as lifelong friends.
Humans: Aside from fenodyrean markets, goblin commerce comes from human settlements. Goblin tribes are not allowed to settle too closely to major human cities, but the goblins do not mind. They blindly accept this restriction as so few other races will speak with the woodland people. Goblins sense a tolerance within humans and they grip tightly to it.
Kel: Goblins are afraid of kel. At times, the races can coexist; yet at others, the kel will gather up the smaller humanoids for a feast in which the goblins becomes the main dish. Both races roam so they inevitably wind up bumping into one another. When these occasions occur, goblins never go outside of their tribal communities without a partner. It is safer for them in pairs.
Kobolds: There is little to say about the interaction of these two races. They simply do not connect. They typically meet inside human settlements near kobold markets, which is unfortunate. Kobolds will only accept coinage for their products. And since goblins seldom possess this standard, their conversations generally end abruptly. On a brighter note, goblins do get along with kobolds in adventuring parties, though the reasons are never quite clear to the goblins.
Nalu: Again, another race that rarely interacts with the goblin. The smaller humanoids pass by nalu inside of human settlements with little to say. Goblins do not like the seas nor do they know how to swim. They, also, have no interest in learning how to wade through water, especially through a body as vast as the sea. The two races have nothing in common.
Sobekites: Goblins are terrified of sobekites. Sobekites are definitely larger and stronger than goblins, and they are impressive in battle, too. Goblins do not wish to test the patience of the “crocs” for fear of being eaten. Curiously though, sobekites do not attack goblins. They parley. And since goblins favor appeasing the larger humanoids, the two races get along.
As wide spread as this race has become, it would seem natural to have an abundance of goblins populating the adventuring world, but this is simply not the case. Goblins are home bodies that do not experience the pull of the wanderer. But there are reasons why a goblin might become an adventurer, and they are fairly specific.
The most common of reasons for the wanderlust is security. A destroyed goblin community without enough members to maintain The Rise becomes destitute. The surviving goblins depart seeking a new family. Many times, the remaining faction will split, each taking their survival into their own hands. Most will die, but a few eventually do find their way into adventuring parties. These few adopt the party, considering the new people their family.
While smaller groups accept goblins as part of their bands, the larger groups do not. Goblins are unsure why “everyone” hates them. Often, a goblin tribe will send a scout out to determine why these feelings exist and how to mitigate the negative perceptions. Unfortunately, goblins cling to their immediate families. Those observers that do venture forth, inevitably, become too close to their adventuring parties and forgo their relationships with their previous tribes.
Lastly, all goblins believe in revenge. If they have been wronged, they will spend a lifetime seeking vengeance, and many times it may take more than one to accomplish such a feat. Goblins have great ambition when it comes to atrocities against them, yet they do not always have the same amount of motivation. Their revenges become secondary to more meaningful tasks and, of course, time is spent away from their families, which can only mean one thing to their alliances.
Class Preferences: barbarian, druid, ranger
Religious Preferences: Adaska, Baris, Lugial, Rai, Vazuet, Xurialu
Racial Traits (PF)
When creating a goblin character, a player uses all the base traits presented below; these traits are inherent to the goblin and cannot be altered. A player then selects alternate traits to flesh out his goblin character. The total number of alternative traits may not exceed 4 racial points (RP). Each alternative trait has its RP cost listed after its name.
+2 Constitution, +2 Intelligence, -2 Wisdom: A goblin is both tough and educated, but lacks insight.
Small: A goblin is a Small creature and gains a +1 size bonus to his AC, a +1 size bonus on attack rolls, a -1 penalty to his Combat Maneuver Bonus and Combat Maneuver Defense, and a +4 size bonus on Stealth checks.
Normal Speed: A goblin has a base speed of 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision: A goblin can see twice as far as a human in conditions of dim light.
Fertile Soil: A goblin sorcerer with the verdant bloodline treats his Charisma score as 2 points higher for all sorcerer spells and class abilities. A goblin cleric with the Plant domain uses his domain powers and spells at +1 caster level. This trait does not give a goblin early access to level-based powers; it only affects powers that he could already use without this trait.
- or -
Skill Bonus: A goblin gains a +2 racial bonus on Ride skill checks.
Homeland: Select one of the following terrains for your homeland: forests, jungles, plains, or swamps.
Camouflage: A goblin gains a +4 racial bonus on Stealth checks within forests, jungles, plains, or swamps (determined by Homeland).
Plagueborn: A goblin gains a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against disease, ingested poisons, and becoming nauseated or sickened.
Unnatural: A goblin unnerves normal animals and trains to defend himself against the inevitable attacks from such creatures. A goblin takes a –4 penalty on all Charisma-based skill checks to affect creatures of the animal type, and receive a +4 dodge bonus to AC against animals. Animals’ starting attitude toward a goblin is one step worse than normal.
Weather Savvy: A goblin is so in tune with the air and sky that he can sense the slightest change in atmospheric conditions. He can spend a full-round action to predict the weather in an area for the next 24 hours. This prediction is always accurate, but cannot account for spells or supernatural effects that might alter the forecast.
Languages: A goblin begins play speaking Common and Goblin. A goblin with a high Intelligence score can choose from the following: Dwarven, Elven, Fenodryean, Giant, Kelian, and Sylvan.
Hatred (1 RP): A goblin receives a +1 bonus on attack rolls against treants due to special training against this hated foe.
Skill Training (1 RP): Knowledge (nature) and Survival are always considered class skills for a goblin.
Bond to the Land (2 RP): A goblin gains a +2 dodge bonus to AC when in a forest, jungle, plains, or swamp (determined by Homeland).
Treespeech (2 RP): A goblin has the ability to converse with plants as if he was subject to a continual Speak with Plants spell.
Weapon Familiarity (2 RP): A goblin is proficient with flails and shortbows, and treats any weapon with the word “goblin” in its name as a marital weapon.
Spell-Like Ability, Lesser (3 RP): A goblin can use Entangle and Wood Shape once per day. The caster level of this spell is equal to the user’s character level.
Racial Traits (DD)
Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 2.
Size: Your size is Small.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Darkvision: Because of your magical nature, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Unnatural: Animals are unnerved when around you. They tend to shy away from you. Animals have disadvantage on melee attacks against goblins.
Weather Savvy: A goblin is so in tune with the air and sky that he can sense the slightest change in atmospheric conditions. As an action he can predict the weather in an area for the next 24 hours. This prediction is always accurate, but cannot account for spells or supernatural effects that might alter the forecast.
Ability Score Increase: Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Nimble Escape: A goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
Ability Score Increase: Your Wisdom score increases by 1.
Expert Rider: You have spent a lifetime on a mount and feel at home when riding. You have advantage on all ride checks.
First Artwork Provided by Alejandro H. (Jan-ilu)
Second Artwork Provided by Samuel Kambey
Return to Races