Sunday, January 6, 2013

Goblins Aren’t Green

In fact the Basic Rules set describes them this way: "Their skin is a pale earthy color, such as chalky tan or livid gray."  I realize that anyone who’s grown up in the era since the introduction of Warhammer or with WoW as their only exposure to fantasy might have a problem with this, but there’s nothing for it.  To help you adapt to the cold, hard truth here’s a Goblin Player Character class that presents the thievin’ little wretches as they are perceived in my campaign setting:
Goblins are smaller than humans, being about 6o pounds and only attaining a height of around 4 feet.   They are as diverse in appearance as humans, but have twisted and exaggerated features.  Goblins have a strongly covetous nature, and are prone to steal pretty much anything that seems to be of value; livestock, laundry, villagers or unminded children, even wagon wheels.  A goblin's wardrobe is generally made of scavenged cloth, scraps of leather and bits of chain mail, as well as stolen trinkets, charms, and whatever else may be handy.  Goblins also tend to be voracious eaters and will, if not minded when food is plentiful, over-eat until they regurgitate and then start all over again.

The prime requisites for a Goblin are Strength and Dexterity.  If a Goblin has a score of 13 or greater in both Strength and Dexterity, the character will gain a 5% bonus on earned experience points.  If the Goblin's Strength is 13 or greater and his or her Dexterity is 16 or greater, that character will gain a 10% bonus on earned experience.

RESTRICTIONS: Goblins use six-sided dice (d6) to determine their hit points.  They may advance to a maximum of 10th level of experience.  Goblins have the advantages of both fighters and thieves.  They may fight with any kind of weapon, except two-handed or polearms other than spears, and while they can wear any type of armor they can only use their thief skills when wearing leather armor or lighter and may not use shields.  Goblins advance in combat ability as a Cleric.  Due to their infravision Goblins suffer a -1 to attack rolls made while in full daylight.  Goblins must have a 9 in both Strength and Constitution.

SPECIAL ABILITIES: Goblins have infravision and can see up to 90 feet in total darkness.  When striking unnoticed from behind, a Goblin gains a bonus of + 4 on "to hit" rolls and inflicts twice the normal amount of damage.  A Goblin's training includes learning how to pick pockets, climb steep surfaces, move silently, hide in shadows, open locks (with a set of lock picks or burglar's tools), remove small traps (such as poisoned needles), and how to hear noises better than most humans.  As a Goblin progresses in level, he or she becomes more proficient in these "thiefly" skills.  Use the same table as thieves for determining a Goblin's success in each category (depending on his or her level of experience).  Goblins save as Fighters of the same level.



 Goblin Apprentice
 Goblin Footpad
 Goblin Robber
 Goblin Burglar
 Goblin Cutpurse
 Goblin Sharper
 Goblin Pilferer
 Goblin Thief
 Goblin Master Thief
 10th level Goblin Master Thief

In addition to their normal thieving abilities, a Goblin who reaches 5th level can read languages (including simple codes, dead languages, treasure maps, and so on, but not magical writings) with an 80% chances of success.  If the attempt to read a given piece of writing fails, the Goblin must advance at least one level before another attempt to read it is allowed.  Goblins never gain the ability to read magic-user or elf scrolls.

Goblins do not establish domains or build castles or strongholds like other characters.  However, upon reaching 9th level (Goblin Master Thief), a Goblin may construct a hideout (a cave network, take over a dungeon level or fortify a house in a city and so forth).  A Goblin that has constructed a hideout will attract 1-6 1st level thieves who have come to learn under a master.  Additionally, a bodyguard like that of a Goblin King's of 1-6 Goblins will be made available to the character as well.  This bodyguard will also act as muscle for the character's underlings as well.

Wait a minute!  Didn’t you say last time that Race as Class characters are always portrayed as Fighting Men?  Actually I said through the prejudice of Race as Class is that those character were equivalent to Fighting Men and this is still largely true of the Goblin as, like any other thief PC, a goblin can forego its thieving skills to use better armor.  But I wanted a class to represent goblins as viewed in my campaign, as the thievin’, larcenous, take-it-if-it’s-not-nailed-down buggers that they are (sort of like kenders, but more honest about it).


  1. By my reckoning your first goblin is actually a kobold. Looks like the Tony DiTerlizzi illustration of the kobolds in "Dragon Mountain".

    Having said that, he does look like this guy's little cousin so maybe it's a multi-purpose image: