View Full Version : Goblins (reworked)

2011-09-20, 09:10 PM
So I love goblins. They are great enemies & I love to DM them, but I always have to say goodbye to them after the party gets stronger because they can't realistically hold up (They are dumb & shouldn't have too many class levels, they are physically weak)

So I had an epiphany. Let's rework Goblins. (This is not intended for any specific RPG system)

I imagined goblins that were no smarter than apes & monkeys, with copper-based blood (hence green blood & greenish/grey skin). But they had a secret advantage. A low level hive-mind that when in proximity to other goblins their brains would function faster & better. They could become intelligent when in groups & start using more sophisticated tactics.

Also when a sizable enough goblin population gathered in one place, one of the goblins would mutate. The goblin would become a "Valrog". Standing six foot tall, with above human strength, the speed of an elf, resilience akin to a dwarf, & possessing a human-like intelligence independent to the groups hive-mind. They could still connect to the hive-mind to influence the goblin masses & to co-ordinate schemes, but their sense of identity & knowledge is their own.

While most goblins encountered won't be huge masses of intelligent greenskins, lorded over by a mutant mastermind, you could always hear rumors of a secret army of goblins underground slowly plotting the downfall of man...

What are your opinions, thoughts, critics & out & out disdain?:smallyuk:

2011-09-20, 09:20 PM
I think it's an awesome idea! I just also think you're no longer thinking about goblins, though.
Then again: What is a goblin, really? It's a small fae, usually malignant, cowardly and selfish.
In some settings, they are stupid as muck. In other settings, they are brilliant (albeit severely reckless) engineers and mages. So that's a bit difficult to say, really.

2011-09-20, 09:30 PM
Small, green & mean. It's a goblin. ;)

2011-09-20, 10:29 PM
New races are usually easier to incorporate as homebrew into a campaign than reworking existing races, so it might be better to go that route if possible. What exactly is it about goblins that you like?

Also, there is no reason that the occasional goblin can't have class levels like the occasional human does. And while they tend to have a poor grasp of strategy, they are not naturally stupid, so the occasional strategizing goblin is quite feasible.

2011-09-20, 11:28 PM
(...) Standing six foot tall, with above human strength, the speed of an elf, resilience akin to a dwarf, & possessing a human-like intelligence (...)
I love Bugbears. :smallbiggrin:

Not sure about the mutating and about the hive mind thing. Not really Goblinish for me.

Draconi Redfir
2011-09-20, 11:36 PM
Yeah i think Iím with the general group here that a hive-mind group doesnít really seem much like goblins. Traditional goblins are pretty diverse however, so it's always possible some group got cut off from the others and evolved/magically gained a hive mind somehow. (Perhaps they got trapped into the underdark, started zerg-rushing the locals to survive, and i donít know... got the hive-mind bit from eating mind-flayers or something?)

if you REALLY want to have tougher goblins, you could always try and stat out these (http://www.goblinscomic.com/06102011/) Badboys (http://www.goblinscomic.com/06142011/):smallcool:

2011-09-21, 01:25 AM
Hive-mind is a bad way of putting it. It's more like 10 goblins running around with 1/10th of a brain. They cannot communicate telepathically or anything like that, they can only think better.

Here is an example of how their numbers might effect intelligence

10>1 = Monkey
100>10 = (What most people think is Goblin intelligence)
1000>100 = Human-ish
10000>1000 = Above Average human

2011-09-21, 01:14 PM
One option might be to have Goblins be like sharks. They don't get weaker as they get older, they get bigger and meaner.

Goblins only very rarely make it out of this stage of their life-cycle, which lasts for a mere 20 years, but when they do, they become Hobgoblins. Bigger. Meaner. Smarter.

Hobgoblins themselves are yet another stage in their life-cycle, and those who survive the harsh life of the hobgoblin for another 20 years become Bugbears.

Bugbears and Hobgoblins always produce Goblin offspring, and generally throw them out to either thrive or fail, just as their own parents did to them. The truly fortunate will return, now also grown, but by the time this happens, their own parents will likely be long dead...

Hobgoblins have been known to try to cheat the system, and imprison goblins for a decade or more, or to attempt brutal experiments to 'age them prematurely' into Hobgoblins, but are far more likely to produce mindless brutes that they herd before them when they go into battle, using them as disposable fodder (much as they would have used the Goblins they once were).

Other Goblins survive, but never undergo the physical transformation, instead maturing only 'on the inside' and becoming tougher, and notably more clever, like a Hobgoblin in personality, but retaining Goblin size and appearance. Hobgoblins regard such freaks as a threat to their own dominion of the lesser Goblins, and slay them when they find them. The cleverness of these advanced Goblins is such that they often escape detection, rarely living in hiding among Hobgoblin-led tribes, but far more likely to escape and take some Goblins with them, becoming the leaders of more-successful-than-expected Goblin tribes (thanks to their cunning leadership), and taking special care to kill any Goblin that appears to be undergoing the painful growth spurts that mark the transition from 'Gob' to 'Hob,' lest they find their primacy threatened...

Draconi Redfir
2011-09-21, 03:24 PM
If that were to happen though then i think there would be very few hobgoblins, and maybe only one or two bugbears. Especially considering so many goblin deaths via adventurers, not to mention other factors such as predators, bombs set by other humanoid races, and overall goblin foolishness.

2011-09-21, 03:45 PM
That would depend on how fast they reproduce.

2011-09-22, 10:38 AM
Hivemind makes me think of Voidminds, which are Illithid Thralls that have been lobotomised and given a new brain by the Mind Flayers that they control, which I do believe includes a Hivemind.

Alternatively, I'd pursue the Blues, naturally psionic goblins whose heredity is so dominant that in any breeding between blues and regular goblins, they'll produce just new blues. I'd recommend either going by the 3.5 stats (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/monsters/blue.htm) and chopping off the LA, b/c SERIOUSLY, changing their stat boost from Dex to Int, giving them 1 bonus PP and changing their favored class to psion does not +1 LA make. Alternatively, go for the PF version (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/psionics-unleashed/races/blues-psionics-unleashed), which has some actual thought put into it beyond what WotC thought was good for a subrace.

2011-09-22, 12:41 PM
I propose a goblin life-cycle wherein goblins grow into hobgoblins, which grow into bugbears.
You know, I rather like this idea. Would you mind if I borrowed it?

I imagine that these transformations occur when the goblinoid reaches a certain age group. For example, goblins would remain goblins for the majority of their lives, until they pass through Adulthood and reach Middle Age, only turning into hobgoblins if they manage to survive that long. Hobgoblins would then turn into bugbears when they become Venerable, a state that lasts until death. Using the half-orc as a template (because it is the shortest-lived race among the core races and I can't seem to find the lifespan rules of the goblin in any of my books), a goblin becomes an Adult at around age fourteen, transitions into a hobgoblin at around age thirty (Middle Age), and then eventually metamorphoses into a bugbear at around age sixty (Venerable). If we're including blues as a possible option for goblin development, perhaps certain goblins will transform into blues when they reach Middle Age, staying in that form for the rest of their natural lives so as to give them ample time to develop their mental powers. Please note that the above would likely supersede the effects that aging has on ability scores.