Reinventing The Wheel
Friday, April 20, 2007
Originally, the main menace in "Burnt Offerings," the first Rise of the Runelords adventure, was going to be a tribe of kobolds, because let's face it—everyone loves kobolds. So much so, in fact, that they ended up being the bad guys for the first GameMastery Module, which hits the shelves two months before "Burnt Offerings." Which is cool for Crown of the Kobold King, but left "Burnt Offerings" without a pint-sized menace.
Enter Wayne Reynolds.
The decision to have Wayne paint the first dozen covers for Pathfinder had the exciting side effect of making Wayne the one to design the look for our goblins. "Make our goblins look almost as cute as they are scary," we told him, and he more than accomplished that goal with a swarm of flat-headed, toothy, red-eyed monsters wielding crazy jagged swords (which Editor-in-Chief James Jacobs immediately named "dog-slicers" because, as you'll see below, goblins hate dogs!). Based entirely on their look, Jacobs—who's also the author of "Burnt Offerings"—was able to come up with all manner of weird goblin affectations (the current staff favorite being the song they sing while marauding). Based on what Wayne did with goblins, we're all understandably excited to see his designs for our stone giants, ogres, and dragons... which you'll of course find sneak previews of right here.
Ten Fun Facts About Goblins
1: Horse Hate: Goblins excel at riding animals, but they don't quite get horses. In fact, their hatred of all things horse is matched only by their fear of horses, who tend to step on goblins who get too close.
2: Dog Hate: Although goblins raise horrible rat-faced doglike creatures to use as mounts (and ride wolves or worgs if they can get them—goblins are quick to explain that wolves are NOT dogs), their hatred of ordinary dogs nearly matches their hatred of horses. The feeling is mutual, so if your dog's barking at the woodpile for no reason, chances are good he smells a frightened goblin hiding in there somewhere.
3: Goblins Raid Junkyards: Garbage pits, gutters, sewers… anywhere there's garbage, you can bet goblins are nearby. They're weirdly adept at crafting weapons and armor from refuse, and are fond of killing people with what they throw away.
4: Goblins Love to Sing: Unfortunately, as catchy as their lyrics can be, goblin songs tend to be a bit too creepy and disturbing to catch on in mainstream society.
5: They're Sneaky: An excited or angry goblin is a noisy, chattering, toothy menace, but even then, they can drop into an unsettling silence in a heartbeat. This, matched with their diminutive size, makes them unnervingly adept at hiding in places you'd never expect… stacks of firewood, rain barrels, under logs, under chicken coops, in ovens, etc.
6: They're A Little Crazy: The fact that goblins think of things like ovens as good hiding places reveals much about their inability to think plans through to the most likely outcome. That, and they tend to be easily distracted, particularly by shiny things and animals smaller than them that might make good eating.
7: They're Voracious: Given enough supplies, a goblin generally takes nearly a dozen meals a day. Most goblin tribes don't have enough supplies to accommodate such ravenous appetites, which is why the little menaces are so prone to going on raids.
8: They Like Fire: Burning things is one of the great goblin pastimes, although they're generally pretty careful about lighting fires in their own lairs, especially since goblins tend to live in large tangled thistle patches and sleep in beds of dried leaves and grass. But give a goblin a torch and someone else's home and you've got trouble.
9: They Get Stuck Easily: Goblins have wiry frames but wide heads, and live in cramped warrens. Sometimes too cramped.
10: Goblins Believe Paintings and Writing Steal Your Soul: The walls of goblin lairs and ruins of towns goblins have raided are littered with pictures of their enemies. They never draw pictures of goblins, though—that's mean. Writing steals words out of your head. You can't get them back.
The Goblin Song
Goblins chew and goblins bite,
Goblins cut and goblins fight,
Stab the dog and cut the horse,
Goblins eat and take by force!
Goblins race and goblins jump,
Goblins slash and goblins bump,
Burn the skin and mash the head,
Goblins here and you be dead!
Chase the baby, catch the pup,
Bonk the head to shut it up!
Bones be cracked, flesh be stewed,
We the goblins—you the food!
-The Pathfinder Staff