My Labyrinth Lord take on the Goblin

I’ve been running a Dwimmermount campaign as a PbP and one of the things I wanted to include was the Goblin PC class as it was cut from the Dwimmermount release. At any rate, here is my take on Goblins. The idea is that they sort of combine a thief and a magic user (more specifically an illusionist) rather like how the Elf combines fighter/magic user. They advance quite slowly using the magic user XP table and are relatively mediocre combatants, being somewhat weaker than thieves due to a more limited weapon selection. Their spells, drawn from the illusionist list are mostly utilitarian in nature, but they have more flexibility in their use since they don’t need to memorize anything. They have thief abilities, but a true thief will remain superior due to the XP requirement gap, and they also need to deal with the pervasive racism that exists against them.

Goblins in Dwimmermount:

Goblins are short humanoid beings standing between 3 and 3½ feet tall. They possess skin ranging in color from yellow to orange to red (and everything in between), while their eyes are usually reddish in hue and are visible even in the dark. They have long pointed ears that continue to grow as they age, and long dexterous fingers. Though many goblins live underground, not all do so, especially those most likely to interact with Men and join adventuring parties. Those that do live underground possess infravision to 90 feet but suffer a —1 penalty to attack rolls in full sunlight. Goblins who lives on the surface only have infravision to 60 feet but suffer no attack penalties in sunlight.

Most Men see goblins as inherently Chaotic beings, enemies of human civilization who delight in theft and destruction. While it’s true that many goblins fit that description, not all of them do, particularly the surface-dwelling variety who often establish settlements near those of Men. For their part, goblins see Men as interlopers and invaders. Goblins believe — largely without evidence, it should be noted — that they are the only intelligent race native to Telluria, all others being either from “somewhere else” or artificial beings magically created from beasts or from themselves.

Consequently, goblins can be somewhat surly and resentful when interacting with Men, dwarves, elves, or even their own kin, like bugbears and hobgoblins. These attitudes are only heightened by the fact that the lot of goblins in the world are not aligned with Law (let alone Goodness). Except underground, where they often lead miserable existences, goblins rule no realms of their own, instead traveling in small family clans of a few dozen to a couple hundred individuals. Where their presence is tolerated they will often set up small “gobbo towns” on the fringes of human settlements outside the walls, (and often downriver) from the other races. For most goblins, the only avenue of work open to them is manual labour, which they must often accept far less coin for than a human or other demihuman would. That said, some goblins make a successful living as tinkerers, artisans, and craftsmen, particularly when concerning small detailed delicate crafts such as etching, embossing, and painting. One notable exception regarding metalworking and goblins is the discomfort they feel when in direct contact with iron, so they rarely work with it. Others make a living by collecting and trading curios and other mysterious objects. They have an innate ability to sense magic, and as they gain experience, an equally innate ability to duplicate some magic user spells, though any goblin would claim that it is the magic users duplicating their own abilities.

Like all other nonhumans, goblins, as a rule, have no belief in the gods. They do not, however, deny the supernatural, being animists who believe that all living things are possessed of imperishable spirits. They also believe in metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls after the death of the body. Perhaps for this reason they cannot be raised from the dead by means of any magic.

Goblin Level Progression
Requirements, Dex 9
Prime Requisites, Dex and Int.
XP as Magic user, Max level 11.
d4 HP/level 2/level after level 9
Attack matrix as Thief
Saving throws as Thief

Weapons and armour:
Goblins are limited to wearing leather or padded armour, as they find the touch of iron to be discomforting. Like dwarves, their size limits their ability to wield large two handed weapons, and they tend to gravitate towards weapons with wooden hafts such as hammers and axes, as a regular steel sword or other weapon made primarily of metal will impose a -1 to hit penalty due to the iron content. If such weapons are crafted out of metal other than iron then they can be wielded without penalty, which has actually made bronze swords, knives, and daggers quite popular among goblinkind.

Goblins also have the backstab ability of thieves and the ability to Pick Locks, Find/Remove Traps, Move Silently, and Hide in Shadows as a thief of the same level.

Their small stature also makes them more difficult to hit. Any attacks against them by creatures larger than man sized have a -2 penalty to hit.

Last but not least, Goblins can sense the presence of magic. This is very imprecise manifesting as a sort of ‘tingling’ or ‘tickle’ in the back of the Goblin’s head. It cannot be used to identify the source, or type of magic, only that something in the vicinity is indeed magical.

Goblins and Magic:
Unlike any other race on Telluria Goblins have an innate ability with magic. Beginning at 3rd level goblins have access to spells from the illusionist list from the Advanced Edition Compendium.

Goblin Spell Progression
Lvl 1: No spellcasting
Lvl 2: No spellcasting
Lvl 3: One 1st Level
Lvl 4: One 1st Level
Lvl 5: One 1st, One 2nd Level
Lvl 6: Two 1st, One 2nd Level
Lvl 7: Two 1st, One 2nd, One 3rd Level
Lvl 8: Two 1st, Two 2nd, One 3rd Level
Lvl 9: Three 1st, Two 2nd, One 3rd Level
Lvl 10: Three 1st, Two 2nd, One 3rd, One 4th Level
Lvl 11: Three 1st, Three 2nd, One 3rd, One 4th Level

Unlike Magic Users and Elves Goblins have no need to ‘memorize’ spells. They simply will a given effect into being and it happens. The above table shows the limited number of times a goblin may cast any spell from the list of illusionist spells of a given level.

Goblins in Adamas
There is a large goblin ghetto of several hundred inhabitants outside the walls of Adamas. The despot tolerates its existence, largely because previous pogroms and attempts to drive them off have been unsuccessful. That said, any Goblin caught within the walls of Adamas after dark is subject to having his hand cut off as he is assumed to be a thief, and no Goblin has ever been granted citizenship within the city.

Goblins enjoy bright colours and often will paint their homes or wagons and dye their cloths with bright, contrasting colours, blues and yellows being the most popular. The wealthy among them, who enjoy a more sedentary lifestyle of crafting or trading will often dress in outlandish garb with pointed hoods or caps, shoes with curled toes, and shirts, doublets and hose with puffed and slashed sleeves. More common Goblins will still try and incorporate colour into their dress though with much less extravagance, and of course those of the adventuring, or larcenous sort will often dress with greater practicality in mind. Still though, the Gobbo Town of Adamas is a riot of colour that makes it almost appear cheerful in spite of the crushing poverty endured by most of its residents.

Gobbo Town itself rivals the thieves quarter for being a place where nearly anything can be bought for the right price. Fences, petty crooks, and dealers of shady curios are everywhere. It is nearly impossible for the uninitiated to navigate since goblins will generally just set up camp wherever they happen to stop. The core of the town is ringed by a low wooden palisade and guarded by a militia of sorts though its numbers fluctuate wildly depending largely on the attitude of the citizens of Adamas towards the town. Gobbo Town has a permanent population of about 600, though transients, and other temporary inhabitants will occasionally nearly double that number. Most the inhabitants of Gobbo town are indeed goblins, though other humanoids such as Orcs, Hobgoblins, Bugbears and even the occasional Ogre make up about 10% of the population, and humans or demihumans who are down on their luck or trying to hide from the justice of Adamas make up an additional 10-15%.

Gobbo Town is ruled by the “Goblin King” Grazzak the Longear. His palace is a ramshackle collection of wagons and outbuildings surrounding an old, and stone watchtower in the center of town painted in a swirling pattern of red and blue. Within its walls he serves as an arbiter of disputes among his people, collects taxes, organizes the defense of the ghetto, upholds its laws (such as they are) and mediates relations with the city which for the most part means that he ensures the Despot, city guard, and various temples are bribed well enough so as to leave Gobbo Town alone. He is so old, his ears nearly touch the ground and his wisdom among the goblins is unquestioned. King Grazzak has a bodyguard of a half dozen Orc mercenaries at any given time as well as a pair of twin Ogres named Wargeld and Domgeld who serve as his most loyal guardians.

During the day most of the Goblins will make the 2 mile trek up river to Adamas. Most of them work as manual labour in the most demeaning of jobs, ratcatchers, (who also provide an important source of food), gong farmers, street cleaners, and chimney sweeps are all common occupations. Some lucky ones have jobs working in the craftsman’s district doing detailed engravings and etchings on everything from armour to silverware. There are even a few Goblins who have achieved some level of independence and even prosperity as craftsmen in their own right, though their lives are more difficult than a normal merchant due to the fact that they must still leave town each night at dusk and leave the safety of their shops in the hands of hired human mercenaries. Still others make a living as jesters, acrobats or illusionists, though often these are found in traveling troupes who will only remain in the vicinity of Adamas for a few weeks at a time.

Of course given that their very existence is on the fringes of the law many Goblins take to more larcenous means of support, and they are very, very good at it. There is a reason that any Goblin found within the city after dark is assumed to be a thief. The thieves guild and gangs of Adamas have a significant number of Goblins in their ranks and there is a Goblin run guild known as the Redcaps who have an established network of safehouses, sewer tunnels, secret passages, contacts, and well bribed guardsmen that allow them to live permanently within the city in relative safety. Indeed should anyone need to infiltrate the city and move about in secrecy then he would do well to seek out the Redcaps.

Great stuff! Thanks for sharing your version of Goblins. These seem like they’d be really fun to play.