View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Hobgoblin race: A Brainstorm

The Jack
2018-03-20, 03:52 PM
Volo's guide to monsters had great fluff for hobgoblins. But when I saw what the monster race was, I was anything but impressed. be a wizard it cried, I was made for wizard it lambasted. No, No. It was not that I was looking forward to the incredibly powerful martial advantage of the monster manual, nor that I had fond memories of an older edition's entry, I was not influenced by some ancient bit of fluff suggesting the race hates the arcane, for I am a young spring child who never read the first hand source that said such... I Just think it pigeonholes wizard too much. Sure, it doesn't help that Int is a near universal dump for anyone but a wizard, and the light armour'd be nice for a sorcerer.

So I came up with a dozen ideas for the hobgoblin race (and slaughtered some of them). The only thing mandatory is darkvision, and the race is of a similar size/build/aging to humans.

Simple (human based)
Gain +1 in four different abilities of your choice, darkvision 60ft, Goblin language.
(since all fluff points towards hobgoblins being the most human-non human race, skin ears and nose notwithstanding)

Simple (V human based)
Gain +1 in two different abilities of your choice, a feat, and darkvision. Having the extra skill proficiency is something worth toying with, since darkvision might not be worth the racism that comes with being from such a tyranical race, though there's still some advantages to that racism...

If we're not going to grab humans and slap on the darkvision, the next best race to look at seems to be the dwarves; Remove the stonecunning, the movement speed and then prepare a debate about why the hobs could have poison resistance, and there you go. The hobgoblins are noted for potentially having either a blue nose or a red nose, and they could be indicative of subrace.
If we just listed all the features hobs could potentially have (other than darkvision) we'd have at least the following.

Attribute modifiers- The only obvious modifier is Con. With long stretches of life on the march or in warcamps, being a hardy folk is absolutely necessary to the lifestyle.
Armour training- C'mon, you were probably born in mail. You can do this the dwarven way, though I think a potentially interesting way to do this would be to add the next class of armour to proficiency; A sorcerer would get light armour, a rogue would get medium, the hexblade could get heavy, and a fighter could get an unarmoured defence... It's a bit weird with rangers'n barbarians, who don't necessarily want heavy, but there's no redundancy there. Either way, Hobs in armour's a solid thematic pick.
Weapon training- Handaxes, Longswords (religious choices, also very suitable to the lifestyle). Potentially flails (religious choice) a polarm (rational choice) and a ranged weapon (rational choice).
Artisan's tools- Ideally One item that'd be very useful in a warband (yes to cooks and the carpenters who'll be ever valuable in the creation of siege equipment, no to jewelers or painters, you could argue paint as a strategic tool or woodcarving as a morale tool, but you don't really need to be -skilled- for that kind of thing.) Dwarves only get a choice of brewers,smiths and masons, so if we need to restrict it to three; Carpenter, Cartographer... maybe smith? I don't really see anything other than Carp/Cart that'd be good to have soldiers learn en mass.
Resilience I'm not going to push this one because it came more from the dwarf idea, but poison resilience would be ever so appropriate considering the health hazards of warbands. Disease and poisonous sabatage is rife in war, and the Hobs would be so much better off with this attribute.

Martial advantageDistancing the hobgoblin from dwarves; the thing from the monster manual is absolutely diabolical at even lower levels, and would be ruthlessly ruined by players. Three ideas could take it's place
-add a d4 to attack/damage rolls against opponents adjacent to allies.
-Get the martial adept feat, with three moves and two d6, which is totally what that feat should be.
-Give one ally a reaction attack when you attack a person in range of them.

Diplomacy, or the benefits of being stereotypically lawful evil
Known for handling Worgs,ravens, axebeaks, apes and more, Ogres,Giant Vultures, Manticores, carrion crawlers and so much more have been known to join them in service, and they have pledged services to dragons, beholders, giants and kingdoms. Hobgoblins are second only to mankind in enlisting the aid of other beasts and races, and usually have them beat when it comes to exotics.
I had a few ideas on how this could effect mechanics, but I'd either over generalise or this'd be very longwinded. I'm very interested in this idea that Hobgoblins view themselves as fair, and practice high standards of civility to each other and all races because they just can't stand being insulted. Perhaps they all aught to have persuasion..

But.. for the most part, pretty similar to a dwarf makes a good hobgoblin. Maybe people prefer humans.

Now as far as NPCs go, most of the "any humanoid" races work in augmenting a hobgoblin army (Thug, Knight,Veteran,cultist, Archmage, Warlord (the better volo version), Gladiator, guard... though I suspect they don't care for druids given how much they'd deforest. Their god selection restricts means plenty of clerics of war and paladins of conquest. Most warlocks would want to avoid chaotic patrons.

Now, for "new" monster stat blocks.
War Ogre (half Ogre)
Probably Cr5
Large giant, NE for Hobgoblin breeds, CE otherwise
AC 15 (half plate)
HP 112 (15d8+45)
Str 19, dex 12,con 16, int 7, wis 9, Cha 10
Profeciencies; athletics +7, intimidation +3
Multi attack
Halberd, +7 2d10+5
Sling, +4 2d8.
"If it's good for war, you should breed it"

Vulture rider- coming soon

Alchemist- coming soon.

Morphic tide
2018-03-21, 05:40 PM
Okay, Martial Advantage is weird. However, implementing it as a PC option is shockingly easy. It deals 2d6 damage and literally has Advantage in the name. And Hobgoblins have 2d8+2 HP. I can see it as part of a non-magical Int-based (possibly Superiority Dice using) Rogue subclass quite easily, with the mechanic just being Advantage against enemies with an active ally adjacent to them, possibly attached to a Superiority Die being used.

Giving Hobgoblins a racial Superiority Die use could help out with this, particularly if it scales somewhat like the Tiefling's racial casting. Though that runs the risk of overshadowing actual subclasses, it gives them a decent thing to do. The central resource causes some issues, particularly given the proliferation of shenanigans.

After the Superiority Dice, there's not much room, but "bumping up" armor proficiencies would work as a sub or variant race focused on durability over damage (maybe a lesser Superiority Die progression and locked to defenses), as the weapon proficiency is too important to properly using the Superiority Dice for Wizardly people. And permitting Wizardly people post-overhaul is also important.

In regards to buffing Martial Adept, I'd go with having it be two dice and two maneuvers, one die and three maneuvers, or three dice and one maneuver, as any farther results in being better than the magical equivalent, especially with moderate esoterics like Advantage granting, AoEs or knocking prone. AC bonuses are also an issue when you're getting them every round. My preference is three dice and one Maneuver, as it gives a trick to use each round for many combat encounters and gives a good boost to endurance and output in single fights for those who already have the feat.

To actually write out the Hobgoblin, here's an example (at this rate, I'll be able to make my own thread! I... Also wrote up a Revenant race, with a subrace plugin with Baelnorns as the example, to correct a badly-done one):

Your Hobgoblin character has several ingrained skills, a result of the relentless traditions of Hobgoblin society.

Ability Score increase: Your Constitution and Intelligence each increase by one.
Age: Hobgoblins mature at much the same rate as the humanoid standard and live about as long as humans.
Alignment: The strict codes of most Hobgoblin societies and abnormal tendency towards punitive punishments means that nearly all Hobgoblins are Lawful, and most are Evil.
Size: Hobgoblins are typically range from 5 to 6 feet tall and weigh 150 to 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 ft.
Darkvision: 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 canít discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
Martial Training: You gain proficiency with two weapons of your choice, one ranged or with the Thrown property and one melee. Additionally, you gain one d6 Superiority die and the Distracting Strike maneuver. The Superiority dice from this feature refresh when you complete a short or long rest. When you reach 3rd level, you gain an additional d6 Superiority Die and learn the Feint maneuver. When you reach 5th level, you learn the Rally maneuver and your Superiority Dice become d8s.


...In summary, I'll put my "vote" behind a Tiefling basis, I guess, as that's more or less what came out of it. Feint comes in right on time for the martial subclasses, so Rogues don't feel too bad for snagging damage focused subclasses with no Advantage generator.

The Jack
2018-03-22, 04:48 AM
But that's only slightly better than what's in volo's
And somehow more boring.

Morphic tide
2018-03-22, 12:56 PM
But that's only slightly better than what's in volo's
And somehow more boring.

What's in Volo's is perfectly balanced, so I'm not sure what you're getting at. Tieflings get just as much Intelligence, in fact, they're pushed away from Wizard by +2 Charisma. And it's at least doing something at least partially new now (taking Tiefling-style racial casting, then applying it to Superiority Dice), instead of just taking an existing race and slapping a feature or two on it. If anything, Volo's Hobgoblins are make for Eldritch Knights, with their +2 Con.

The Jack
2018-03-23, 10:40 AM
Volo's monster races aren't balanced. Most would agree that bugbear and goblin are very much better than their lawful counterpart, and let's not look at the gap between orc'n Yuan-ti. Every single PHB race is better than volo's hobgoblin for almost everything, and an EK doesn't need intelligence so you might as well pick a different race. It's only the nice con modifier that keeps the hobgoblin something to consider in every comparison.

Morphic tide
2018-03-23, 11:18 AM
>EK doesn't need Intelligence

Spellcasting Ability

Intelligence is your spellcasting ability for your wizard spells, since you learn your spells through study and memorization. You use your Intelligence whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability.

Spell save DC = 8 + proficiency bonus + Intelligence mod

Spell attack mod = proficiency bonus + Intelligence mod
Maybe not need, but it's sure as heck useful! And if the race gives martial bonuses like Maneuvers that recharge on a short rest, then it's going to see a lot more use for classes that get stuff to use weapons. And subclasses with Superiority Dice looking to eek out a bit more endurance, much like a Tiefling Warlock does for a small number of bonus spell "slots".

brian 333
2018-03-23, 01:17 PM
I have to admit a fondness for hobgoblins. They are the most human of the humanoid races.

In my primary campaign world, hobgoblins form the leadership cadre of combined humanoid forces. Goblins are skirmishers, orcs and bugbears are shock troops, and gnolls are heavy infantry. I've treated them as Roman Legions from time to time, utilizing discipline and battle plans to increase their efficiency.

For example, while orcs will swarm a fortification attempting to overwhelm its defenses, hobgoblins will begin building siege equipment and sending goblins in to undermine walls and towers.

If I were building new hobgoblins, that's where I'd begin. Give them some access to Leadership, Siege Warfare and Engineering, and Discipline.

I don't see why a hobgoblin Wizard wouldn't be as strong as any human, elf, or dwarf. They should not have an Int handicap. I am unfamiliar with the 5ed ruleset, but if the standard hobgoblin is dumber than the standard human I'd fix that fast.

2018-03-23, 07:12 PM
Every single PHB race is better than volo's hobgoblin for almost everything...

I'm gonna disagree with you, there. While I don't think hobgoblins are the absolute best race in Volo's or anything, I actually think they're quite fine. Some races are arguably weaker (dragonborn, for example, which has the redeeming factor of maybe a good damage resistance and nothing else) than the hobgob. They fit a decent niche of int-based gishing, which can be nice, although I do admit they could use some buffing up.

2018-03-28, 03:38 PM
I have recently written a Hobgoblin variant taking account different editions and realms.

Since i'm new to the forums i cannot post links, my thread is started at 2018-03-17 :D