Goblin (Dungeons & Dragons)

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Goblin
D&DGoblin.JPG
Characteristics
Alignment Evil
Type Humanoid (Goblinoid)
Image Wizards.com image
Publication history
Mythological origins Goblin

In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, goblins are a very common and fairly weak race of evil humanoid monsters. Goblins and kobolds are commonly non-human monsters that low-level player characters will face in combat. In D&D, goblins aren't smaller cousins of orcs, but are a part of the related species collectively referred to as goblinoids. Goblinoids include hobgoblins, bugbears, and others.

Publication history[edit]

The goblin first appeared in the fantasy supplement to the original "Chainmail" set before appearing in the original Dungeons & Dragons game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)[edit]

The goblin was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described simply as small monsters.[1]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)[edit]

The goblin appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977),[2] where it is described as having a tribal society and dwelling in dismal surroundings.

The mythology and attitudes of the goblins are described in detail in Dragon #63 (July 1982), in Roger E. Moore's article, "The Humanoids."[3]

In the article "Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold?" by Joseph Clay in Dragon #141 (January 1989), kobolds, xvarts, goblins, and orcs were presented as player character races along with two new character classes the "Shaman" and the "Witch Doctor".[4]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)[edit]

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the goblin, in the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (1977, 1981, 1983).[5][6][7] The goblin was featured as a player character race in the gazetteer The Orcs of Thar (1989). Goblins were also later featured in the Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1991), the Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991),[8] the Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game set (1994), and the Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game set (1999).[9]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)[edit]

The goblin appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989),[10] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993).[11]

The goblin is detailed as a playable character race in The Complete Book of Humanoids (1993).[12] The book notes that goblins cannot be wizards.[13] The goblin is later presented as a playable character race again in Player's Option: Skills & Powers (1995),[14] and in the module Reverse Dungeon (2000).[15]

The goblyn, a related creature in the Ravenloft campaign setting, appeared in the module Feast of Goblyns (1990), and the Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix (1991).

The Cerilian goblin for the Birthright campaign setting appeared in the Birthright Campaign Setting set (1995), and was reprinted in Monstrous Compendium Annual Three (1996).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)[edit]

The goblin appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000).[16]

Tactics for fighting goblins were described in "Vs. Goblins", by Bruce Cordell, in Dragon #275 (2000).[17]

The Dekanter goblin was introduced in Monsters of Faerun (2000). Races of Faerûn (2003) presented the goblin and Dekanter goblin as player character races for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting.[18]

The blue, a psionic relative of the goblin, appeared in the Psionics Handbook (2001).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)[edit]

The goblin appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The blue appeared in the Expanded Psionics Handbook (2004).[19]

The air goblin, the aquatic goblin, the arctic goblin, the desert goblin, and the jungle goblin were all introduced in Unearthed Arcana (2004).[20] Monster Manual III (2004) introduced the forestkith goblin.[21] The snow goblin appeared in Frostburn: Mastering the Perils of Ice and Snow (2004).[22] The dark goblin appeared in Tome of Magic (2006).[23] The goblin flesh-herder appeared in Drow of the Underdark (2007).

The goblyn of Ravenloft appeared again in the Campaign Classics feature in Dragon #339 (January 2006).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)[edit]

The goblin appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the goblin cutter, the goblin blackblade, the goblin warrior, the goblin sharpshooter, the goblin hexer, the goblin skullcleaver, and the goblin underboss. The bugbear and the hobgoblin also appear under the goblin entry in this edition's Monster Manual.[24]

Description[edit]

In Dungeons & Dragons, goblins are small humanoid monsters. They vary in height from about 3 to 3 ½ feet (91 – 106 cm) and weigh 40 to 45 pounds (21 – 24 kg). They walk upright even though their arms nearly reach their knees. Their eyes vary from red to yellow and are usually dull and glazed. They have a broad nose that sits on a flat face with pointed ears and a wide mouth. Their mouth contains small, but sharp fangs. Their skin pigment ranges from a deep red through nearly any shade of orange to yellow. Members of the same tribe tend to have the same skin color. Based on their ability scores and the encumbrance rules the average goblin would be able to lift about 60 pounds over his head.

Society[edit]

Goblins usually live in tribes which are ruled by the strongest goblin in the group. These tribes vary in size from gangs of 4-9 to tribes of up to 400.[25] Most larger tribes have wolves or dire wolves as mounts, or ally themselves with worgs, which also carry them into battle. Goblin tribes usually settle near civilized areas to raid for food, livestock, tools, weapons, and supplies. It is common for the leaders of goblin clans to be non-goblin (either other goblinoids or a different species entirely); such leaders are exploiting the goblins as disposable soldiers to further their purpose.

In most campaign settings, Maglubiyet, the god of war and rulership, is the chief deity of goblins. Other gods worshipped by the goblins include Khurgorbaeyag, the god of slavery, oppression, and morale, and Bargrivyek, the god of co-operation and territory.

Goblin Sub-races[edit]

Nilbog[edit]

Nilbogs are, according to the game description, a type of naturally-born but magical goblins that are healed by receiving damage and are damaged by healing spells.[26] Furthermore, they project a paradox area effect in whose radius every intended action is twisted so that the exact opposite is carried out (i.e.: instead of hitting a nilbog with a weapon, one might end up attacking a companion; or instead of plundering a treasure hoard, an adventuring party under the influence of "nilbogism" might actually end up adding their own wealth to it). The name of this sub-species is "goblin" spelled backward, a reference to this reversal of effects.

Other publishers[edit]

The goblin is fully detailed in Paizo Publishing's book Classic Monsters Revisited (2008), on pages 16–21.[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)
  2. ^ Gygax, Gary. Monster Manual (TSR, 1977)
  3. ^ Moore, Roger E. "The Humanoids." Dragon #63 (TSR, 1982)
  4. ^ Clay, Joseph (1989). "Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold?". Dragon (TSR) #141. 
  5. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by J. Eric Holmes. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1977)
  6. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Tom Moldvay. Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set (TSR, 1981)
  7. ^ Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974], edited by Frank Mentzer. Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules (TSR, 1983)
  8. ^ Allston, Aaron, Steven E. Schend, Jon Pickens, and Dori Watry. Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (TSR, 1991)
  9. ^ Slavicsek, Bill. Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (TSR, 1999)
  10. ^ Cook, David, et al. Monstrous Compendium Volume One (TSR, 1989)
  11. ^ Stewart, Doug, ed. Monstrous Manual (TSR, 1993)
  12. ^ Slavicsek, Bill. The Complete Book of Humanoids (TSR, 1993)
  13. ^ Swan, Rick (May 1994). "Role-playing Reviews". Dragon (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin: TSR) (#205): 102. 
  14. ^ Niles, Douglas and Dale Donovan. Player's Option: Skills & Powers (TSR, 1995)
  15. ^ Rateliff, John D., and Bruce R. Cordell. Reverse Dungeon. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2000
  16. ^ Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)
  17. ^ Cordell, Bruce R. "Vs. Goblins." Dragon #275 (Paizo Publishing, 2000)
  18. ^ Reynolds, Sean K., Forbeck, Matt, Jacobs, James, Boyd, Erik L. Races of Faerûn (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)
  19. ^ Cordell, Bruce R. Expanded Psionics Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  20. ^ Collins, Andy, Jesse Decker, David Noonan, and Rich Redman. Unearthed Arcana (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  21. ^ Burlew, Rich, et al. Monster Manual III (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  22. ^ Baur, Wolfgang, James Jacobs, and George Strayton. Frostburn (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)
  23. ^ Sernett, Matthew, Dave Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J. Schwalb. Tome of Magic: Pact, Shadow, and Truename Magic (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)
  24. ^ Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)
  25. ^ Carton, Jans. "The Hypertext d20 SRD". Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  26. ^ White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (6): 6–8. April 1978. 
  27. ^ Baur, Wolfgang, Jason Bulmahn, Joshua J. Frost, James Jacobs, Nicolas Logue, Mike McArtor, James L. Sutter, Greg A. Vaughan, Jeremy Walker. Classic Monsters Revisited (Paizo, 2008)