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View Full Version : Goblins/Hobgoblins as player races (Critique please!) [3.5]



Savannah
2011-04-16, 01:30 AM
Background: These races are intended for a game in which all the Player's Handbook races except half-orcs are available to players. Half elves get bonus skill points as a human, but otherwise the races are the same as normal.
I'm not including favored classes, as they are irrelevant due to no multiclassing penalties in my games.

Goblins:
Goblins are sneaky folk living in the forests. When they fight, they prefer either ambushes or hit-and-run tactics with their mounts (either giant lizards or war dogs; I haven't decided yet). They are the most numerous of the goblinoids, and a tribe of goblins is usually lead by the one or two hobgoblins that live with them.

Goblin racial traits:
+2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma. Goblins are agile, but not cut out to be leaders.
Small size: +1 bonus to Armor Class, +1 bonus on attack rolls, +4 bonus on Hide checks, -4 penalty on grapple checks, lifting and carrying limits those of Medium characters.
Base land speed 30'.
Low-light vision.
+2 racial bonus on Move Silently, Handle animal, and Ride checks. (Previously +4)
+1 racial bonus on attack rolls against gnomes and dwarves.
Automatic Languages: Common, Goblin. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Giant.
LA 0.

Hobgoblins:
Hobgoblins are larger, more warlike relatives of goblins. They are the leaders of a goblinoid clan, and are rather uncommon.

Hobgoblin racial traits:
+2 Strength, -2 Wisdom. Hobgoblins are physically strong, but hot-headed.
Medium size.
Base land speed 30'.
Low-light vision.
1 extra feat at first level. (Proposed change here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=10793603&postcount=17).)
Automatic Languages: Common, Goblin. Bonus Languages: Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Gnome, Giant.
LA 0.

Critique needed: Are these races balanced when compared to the Player's Handbook races? I'm really only interested in the mechanics of the races at the moment, as the fluff included is only a fraction of the planned fluff.

Thanks in advance!

Mayhem
2011-04-16, 02:15 AM
They certainly aren't gamebreakers. :smallwink:

Goblins: It would be better for the skill points to be +2s instead of +4s, other than that solid.

Hobgoblins: Most strength based classes find will saves their achilles' heel, so the wisdom penalty seems fairly balanced. The extra feat rides on the human's schtick though, consider changing it to some specific feat maybe and giving them some skill bonuses?

So yeah, pretty decent :smallsmile:

Sarco_Phage
2011-04-16, 02:21 AM
Well, I actually like the fact that the Hobgoblin has the human-like bonus feat, although you might want to restrict it to martial feats, for example, depending on how you're fluffing your hobgoblins.

Lappy9000
2011-04-16, 02:30 AM
They're nothing fancy, but they're sound mechanically. The hobgoblin could probably afford a +2 skill bonus or something of the like.

I would very much like to see the fluff when the time comes.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 02:49 AM
They certainly aren't gamebreakers. :smallwink:

Well, that's always good :smallwink:


Goblins: It would be better for the skill points to be +2s instead of +4s, other than that solid.

The +4 bonuses actually came from the standard goblin (although I added Handle animal, as who has Ride without Handle animal?), so I opted to leave them. I'm not adverse to taking the bonuses down, but I kinda feel like they don't have much compared to the standard races.


Hobgoblins: Most strength based classes find will saves their achilles' heel, so the wisdom penalty seems fairly balanced. The extra feat rides on the human's schtick though, consider changing it to some specific feat maybe and giving them some skill bonuses?

I don't really like human's schtick as being the only flexible race. I'm seeing hobs as the goblinoid equivalent of humans - they're supposed to be adaptable, although they're obviously less adaptable than humans. I am considering limiting them to fighter bonus feats, and giving them skill bonus or two, but I'm not sure what skills they'd get.


They're nothing fancy, but they're sound mechanically. The hobgoblin could probably afford a +2 skill bonus or something of the like.

On top of having a bonus feat? Or if I'm limiting them to fighter bonus feats?


I would very much like to see the fluff when the time comes.

I'm planning on putting up the entire world in the worldbuilding section when I get it done enough, so the fluff will be there. Major points include hobgoblinism and bugbearism being recessive traits in goblins and an ancient, now fallen, goblin empire that is the root of the goblinoid/dwarf and goblinoid/gnome hatred.

Mayhem
2011-04-16, 04:18 AM
The +4 bonuses actually came from the standard goblin (although I added Handle animal, as who has Ride without Handle animal?)
The goblins there only have darkvision and normal land speed. They also took a strength penalty, and only had 2 skill bonuses instead of 3 like the PHB races. The halfling also gets very little in comparison to these guys, that's the only reason I pointed this out actually since it's not a huge deal.
Heh, no handle animal is because worgs aren't animals :smallwink:. As for preferred mount, I suggest lizards, because lizards are awesome.


I don't really like human's schtick as being the only flexible race. I'm seeing hobs as the goblinoid equivalent of humans - they're supposed to be adaptable, although they're obviously less adaptable than humans. I am considering limiting them to fighter bonus feats, and giving them skill bonus or two, but I'm not sure what skills they'd get.
Fair enough. Though a fighter bonus feat sounds good to go along with some skill points. Not sure what skill points though, but maybe move silently, intimidate, and listen?


I would very much like to see the fluff when the time comes.+1 :smallsmile:

Volthawk
2011-04-16, 07:24 AM
For the Hobgoblin skill bonus, perhaps Intimidate, or maybe Diplomacy with goblinoids (as you've put them as the leaders).

Amnestic
2011-04-16, 08:14 AM
I'd consider adding Orc(ish) to both lists of Bonus Languages too, though that's likely more dependent on the exact fluff you're going for. Other than that, I see no issues with these, seem pretty balanced, and having another race with a bonus feat is nice to see.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 12:27 PM
The goblins there only have darkvision and normal land speed. They also took a strength penalty, and only had 2 skill bonuses instead of 3 like the PHB races. The halfling also gets very little in comparison to these guys, that's the only reason I pointed this out actually since it's not a huge deal.

{table=head]My Goblin|SRD Halfling
+2 Dex, -2 Cha|+2 Dex, -2 Str
Small|Small
Speed 30'|Speed 20'
Low-light vision|Normal vision
+4 Move silently, Handle animal, Ride|+2 Climb, Jump, Move silently, Listen
+1 attack vs gnomes and dwarves|+1 attack with slings and thrown weapons
|+1 all saves
|+2 saves vs fear (stacks)[/table]

Hmm....I don't think that the halfling has "very little" relative to the goblins, but it is slightly favoring the goblin. I'll lower the bonuses.


I'd consider adding Orc(ish) to both lists of Bonus Languages too, though that's likely more dependent on the exact fluff you're going for. Other than that, I see no issues with these, seem pretty balanced, and having another race with a bonus feat is nice to see.

Actually, the reason there are no half-orcs in the game is because there are no orcs around. So I deliberately took it off their bonus languages :smalltongue: (And plan on letting players know not to bother taking it.)

Andre
2011-04-16, 01:25 PM
How about favored classes?

Y'know, I'm not convinced by the bonuses to Ride and Handle Animal given to Goblins, even if just +2. True, they oft ride unusual and dangerous creatures, but certainly a limited part of them, no? For example, in pratically all fantasy settings Humans tipically are masters at governing horses and can field devastating cavalry, but that doesn't automatically nets them bonuses on Ride as the majority are commoners...
Since it's racial traits, I'd keep them limited to something that is inherent to the average specimen; for example, Goblins strike as a race that due to the condition they live under could very well have a +2 bonus vs saving throws against poison instead of those two skill bonuses. Hardly gamebreaking, just fancy flavour.

As for Hobgoblins, it would make sense to give them a bonus feat since they do have a somewhat more organized and militaristic society.
Also, you could give them a +1 attack bonus or a +1 save against compulsion effects against elves due to their natural enmity.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 01:55 PM
How about favored classes?

As stated in the OP:

I'm not including favored classes, as they are irrelevant due to no multiclassing penalties in my games.

If you really want them....rogue and fighter.


Y'know, I'm not convinced by the bonuses to Ride and Handle Animal given to Goblins, even if just +2. True, they oft ride unusual and dangerous creatures, but certainly a limited part of them, no? For example, in pratically all fantasy settings Humans tipically are masters at governing horses and can field devastating cavalry, but that doesn't automatically nets them bonuses on Ride as the majority are commoners...
Since it's racial traits, I'd keep them limited to something that is inherent to the average specimen; for example, Goblins strike as a race that due to the condition they live under could very well have a +2 bonus vs saving throws against poison instead of those two skill bonuses. Hardly gamebreaking, just fancy flavour.

I was hoping to keep my private rant on races out of this thread, but since you brought it up....
Races should have RACIAL features, not CULTURAL features! I'm looking at you dwarves and gnomes with your CULTURAL hatred of other races leading to RACIAL bonuses to attack/AC (and half elves' diplomacy/gather information bonuses are in the same boat). Is an orphaned dwarf raised by humans going to practice fighting goblinoids so he gets his +1 attack? No! Is a dwarf from a location where goblinoids don't live going to have have a +1 attack against them? No! It only works if every single dwarf on the face of the planet is raised by identical dwarves in an identical culture that universally hates goblinoids! *rants*

That being said, these races are actually intended for a game for beginners to D&D, so I'm trying not to change things too much. Therefore I won't be removing the cultural bonuses to the core races, and I'm fine with giving cultural bonuses to my goblins. Even though it's painful for me to do so.

Also, I don't think I've ever had humans as horsemen in any of my settings. And, yeah, goblins and mounts (definitely leaning towards lizard here) are essentially raised together in this setting.


As for Hobgoblins, it would make sense to give them a bonus feat since they do have a somewhat more organized and militaristic society.
Also, you could give them a +1 attack bonus or a +1 save against compulsion effects against elves due to their natural enmity.

Not that it really matters for judging mechanical balance, but in this world, hobs are a recessive genetic trait in goblins, and make up about 10% of the goblinoid population. So "default" D&D assumptions about hobgoblin society really don't matter :smallwink:

Andre
2011-04-16, 02:20 PM
Races should have RACIAL features, not CULTURAL features!


You hit the mark. :smallwink: Notice - I do notice now (eh) I was dull enough to suggest a cultural bonus to hobgoblins myself.


[B][I]Not that it really matters for judging mechanical balance, but in this world, hobs are a recessive genetic trait in goblins, and make up about 10% of the goblinoid population. So "default" D&D assumptions about hobgoblin society really don't matter :smallwink:

How was I supposed to know? :smallwink: It said relatives, so I imagined hobgoblins to be leading goblins via the usual bullying them around while being a different people. Damn, more cultural bonuses, eh? Bonuses to Intimidate, Diplomacy and Gather Information vs goblins?

Savannah
2011-04-16, 02:29 PM
How was I supposed to know? :smallwink: It said relatives, so I imagined hobgoblins to be leading goblins via the usual bullying them around while being a different people. Damn, more cultural bonuses, eh? Bonuses to Intimidate, Diplomacy and Gather Information vs goblins?

Fair enough. I was trying to not need to explain the complicated genetics of goblinoids, but apparently I should have :smallwink:

I'm thinking of limiting the hobgoblins to fighter bonus feats and giving them +2 Intimidate and ....something else. Maybe Spot and/or Listen to keep them alert leaders despite their Wisdom penalty? I'd rather not give + Diplomacy with goblins, as it's a bit limited for a PC.

Andre
2011-04-16, 02:40 PM
It's okay. Balancement will be fine, the only suggestion I can offer is to avoid overlappings and get inside the new player's head who nails the big question - "Why would I play this race?"
In this case you might actually knock humans off their golden pedestal in choosing the race if Hobs get good skill bonuses. Spoooky. :smallsmile:Who plays a lightfoot when there's a strongheart in town? :smalltongue:
Apologies if you thought in that terms already.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 02:50 PM
That is something I've been considering, too. However, goblins and hobgoblins are definitely going to have some major roleplaying drawbacks (individuals are very, very tentatively accepted into the "civilized" areas, but most people are distrustful of them). So, my guess would be that players who want to get along easily are going to prefer halflings and humans to goblins and hobs, but the ones who want to be rebels will be the other way around. Man, I need to just start posting the world, don't I? :smalltongue:

Shyftir
2011-04-16, 03:13 PM
As a 'Uge Fan! of LA 0 Hobs, I gotta say that I like it, I like it a lot.

Now as far as the Hobs go. How about granting them free Martial Weapon Proficiency? While at first it sounds very nice, in practice most true melee classes get it anyway and it's not really that much of an advantage to other classes.

It's somewhat flavorful (though perhaps a bit too cultural) and not game breaking. It actually makes Hobs favor the "uses a fighter weapon but isn't really a fighter" kind of character.

You could also create a few Hob/Goblin Racial weapons. I'd actually declare spiked chain to be one retroactively. Maybe make 3.5 rules for the kopesh.

Just some thoughts to make these seem like better/more desirable player races.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 03:41 PM
Now as far as the Hobs go. How about granting them free Martial Weapon Proficiency? While at first it sounds very nice, in practice most true melee classes get it anyway and it's not really that much of an advantage to other classes.

Ooh, I like that! Hmm....how about flails? They're nice and spiky and hobgoblin-y.

So instead of:
1 extra feat at first level.

They'd get:
1 extra feat at first level, which must come from the fighter bonus feats list.
Weapon proficiency: Hobgoblins receive Martial Weapon Proficiency with the flail and the heavy flail as bonus feats.
Weapon familiarity: Hobgoblins treat the dire flail as a martial, rather than exotic, weapon.

erictheredd
2011-04-16, 05:22 PM
That proposal makes an interesting build available ... the barbarian with the dire flail at first level -- any hobgoblin with martial weapon proficency in their class can get two-weapon fighting and ambidexterity at first level without the bonus fighter feat. fighters might also pick up something like improved trip or disarm --- with a bonus to strength.

Do you want that combo as an option?

Savannah
2011-04-16, 05:32 PM
Ambidexterity? :smallconfused: That's not a 3.5 feat....

I don't really mind it, I guess. Sure it's powerful for 1st level, but I don't see it as being amazingly awesome for terribly long (someone correct me if I'm wrong). But that is something to keep an eye on (and the reason I'm posting it here before using it, so thanks! :smallwink:).

Andre
2011-04-16, 06:36 PM
Ambidexterity? :smallconfused: That's not a 3.5 feat....

I don't really mind it, I guess. Sure it's powerful for 1st level, but I don't see it as being amazingly awesome for terribly long (someone correct me if I'm wrong). But that is something to keep an eye on (and the reason I'm posting it here before using it, so thanks! :smallwink:).

It's a feat used in good, ole NWN, where getting to the -2/-2 penalty for dual wielding was a steeper process. Good times.

As for the weapon proficiencies, they are a useful boon at the first levels to any class who would run around with a mace or a dagger instead. The bonus feat doesn't have to necessarily come from the fighter bonus feats list - you could actually create an hobgoblin list comprising basic fighting talents (i.e. no Improved Feint/Trip) and attuned background feats.

Zombimode
2011-04-16, 06:48 PM
+2 Strength, -2 Wisdom. Hobgoblins are physically strong, but hot-headed.


Just a quick question here: Hobgoblins in D&D are typically described as disciplined. The amount varies between "can keep the battle order better then orc rabble" to "goblinoid Nazi Spartans".
The Wis penalty and your comment indicates that you are ditching this aspekt of fluff. Is this correct? If yes, what else do you have in mind for the Hobs?

ForzaFiori
2011-04-16, 07:15 PM
It's a feat used in good, ole NWN, where getting to the -2/-2 penalty for dual wielding was a steeper process. Good times.


I think it was also in a 3.0 splatbook, and took away the last -2/-2 to two weapon fighting.

Zaydos
2011-04-16, 07:40 PM
I think it was also in a 3.0 splatbook, and took away the last -2/-2 to two weapon fighting.

It was in the 3.0 PHB and took away the additional -4 for using your off-hand. They bundled Ambidexterity into Two-Weapon Fighting altogether in 3.5.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 07:46 PM
The bonus feat doesn't have to necessarily come from the fighter bonus feats list - you could actually create an hobgoblin list comprising basic fighting talents (i.e. no Improved Feint/Trip) and attuned background feats.

I don't necessarily want to make an entirely new feat list, though.... I suppose I could, although I'd need to think about what to include.


Just a quick question here: Hobgoblins in D&D are typically described as disciplined. The amount varies between "can keep the battle order better then orc rabble" to "goblinoid Nazi Spartans".
The Wis penalty and your comment indicates that you are ditching this aspekt of fluff. Is this correct? If yes, what else do you have in mind for the Hobs?

Yes, I'm severely changing the goblin/hobgoblin/bugbear fluff. For everyone who wants fluff, watch this thread (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=195479). I'll get to it....sometime *looks shifty* But that's where it will go when I do get to it.

Mayhem
2011-04-16, 07:50 PM
Zaydos +1, I'm looking at it right now. I should also mention flails can trip as if you have the improved trip feat, so it's not neccessary to take that feat at first level. So the combo is already available to all races.

Have you changed the bugbear at all? I'd like to see your take on it.

Savannah
2011-04-16, 08:15 PM
Zaydos +1, I'm looking at it right now. I should also mention flails can trip as if you have the improved trip feat, so it's not neccessary to take that feat at first level. So the combo is already available to all races.

Looking at what? Ambidexterity? If so, I think you have the 3.0, not 3.5 rulebook.

And now that I look at them, flails give +2 to opposed rolls to disarm an opponent and allow you to make a trip attack, although if your attack fails, you have to drop the flail or risk being tripped yourself. I, uh, kinda hadn't looked at the text descriptions (as they're usually not terribly important) when I proposed the flails :smallredface: I'm considering falchion and scimitar proficiency instead, as I'd like to give a 1- and 2-handed option, and as far as I know they're not part of a racial proficiency for anyone else.


Have you changed the bugbear at all? I'd like to see your take on it.

I have not. I'm not planning them to be PC races, so I'm fine with their standard stats. They will be heavily reflavored, however.

Mayhem
2011-04-16, 11:13 PM
Huh, you ninja'd me apparently. And yeah I was saying I was looking at 3.0 instead of 3.5, not that I needed to say that. Just ignore it.

Alright, I'll keep an eye out for those bugbears then. :smallsmile:

Omeganaut
2011-04-21, 10:09 PM
Another option is making hobgoblins even more like humans by having no stat bonuses or penalties. I can't really see a good stat for Hob's to have a penalty too, unless you really want to take away their skill ability and give a -2 to int, but even that is questionable if they are leaders. I could also see possible bluff, intimidate, and or diplomacy bonuses due to their leadership.