Goblins!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Ever since the goblin song from page 12 of 2007's Pathfinder Adventure Path #1: Burnt Offerings, goblins have been a key part of what makes Pathfinder recognizable as Pathfinder. When we first started looking at what would become the ancestries in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook, we knew that we wanted to add something to the mix, to broaden the horizon of what it meant to be a hero in Pathfinder. That naturally brought us to goblins.

The trick was finding a way to let you play a goblin who has the feel of a Pathfinder goblin, but who is also a little bit softer around the edges—a character who has a reason to work with a group of "longshanks," as opposed to trying to light them on fire at the first opportunity. Let's look at an excerpt from the goblin ancestry to find out a bit more.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

As a people, goblins have spent millennia feared, maligned, and even hunted—and sometimes for understandable reasons, as some rural goblin tribes still often direct cruelty, raiding, and mayhem toward wandering or vulnerable creatures. In recent decades, however, a new sort of hero has emerged from among these rough-and-tumble tribes. Such goblins bear the same oversized heads, pointed ears, red eyes, and jagged teeth of their crueler kin, but they have a noble or savvy streak that other goblins can't even imagine, let alone understand. These erstwhile heroes roam Golarion, often maintaining their distinctive cultural habits while spreading the enthusiasm, inscrutable quirkiness, love of puns and song, and unique mirth that mark goblin adventurers.

Despite breaking from their destructive past, goblin adventurers often subtly perpetuate some of the qualities that have been characteristics of the creatures for millennia. They tend to flock to strong leaders, and fiercely protect those companions who have protected them from physical harm or who offer a sympathetic ear and sage advice when they learn of the goblins' woes. Some goblins remain deeply fascinated with fire, or fearlessly devour meals that might turn others' stomachs. Others are inveterate tinkerers and view their companions' trash as components of gadgets yet to be made. Occasionally, fellow adventurers find these proclivities unsettling or odd, but more often than not goblins' friends consider these qualities endearing.

The entry in the Pathfinder Playtest Rulebook has plenty more to say on the topic, but that should give you a sense of where we are taking Pathfinder's favorite troublemakers.

In addition to the story behind the goblin, its ancestry entry has a lot of other information as well to help you make a goblin player character. It includes the base goblin ability boosts (Dexterity and Charisma), ability flaw (Wisdom), bonus Hit Points (6), base speed (25 feet), and starting languages (Common and Goblin), as well as the rules for darkvision (an ability that lets goblins see in the dark just as well as they can see in normal light). Those are just the basics—the rules shared by all goblins. Beyond that, your goblin's unique ancestry allows you to choose one ability score other than Dexterity or Charisma to receive a boost. Perhaps you have some hobgoblin blood and have an additional boost to Constitution, or you descend from a long line of goblin alchemists and have a boost to Intelligence. You could even gain a boost in Wisdom to negate your flaw!

Then you get into the goblin ancestry feats, which allow you to decide what type of goblin you want to play. Starting off, let's look at Burn It. This feat gives you a bonus to damage whenever you cast a fire spell or deal fire damage with an alchemical item. On top of that, it also increases any persistent fire damage you deal by 1. Goblins still love watching things burn.

Next up is one of my favorites, Junk Tinkerer. A goblin with this feat can craft ordinary items and weapons out of junk and scrap they can find almost anywhere. Sure, the items are of poor quality and break easily, but you will never be without a weapon if you have this feat.

We could not have goblins in the game without adding the Razor Teeth feat. This grants you an attack with your mouthful of razor-sharp teeth that deals 1d6 piercing damage. To be honest, the target of your attack should probably also attempt a Fortitude save against whatever you ate last night that is still stuck between your teeth, but we'll leave that for the GM to decide.

Finally, there is the appropriately named feat Very Sneaky. This lets you move 5 feet farther when you take an action to sneak (which normally lets you move at only half your normal speed) and potentially renders your target flat-footed against a follow-up strike!

There are plenty of other goblin feats for you to choose from, but that's all we have time for today. Come back on Friday when we'll look at some of the feats from the other ancestries in the game!

Jason Bulmahn
Director of Game Design

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Goblins have historically been described as gifted singers, natural bards, and total loudmouths. "Charismatic" doesn't mean pretty, it doesn't mean clever or sensible, and it doesn't even mean pleasant. Goblins have needed to have the Charisma penalty flipped for years. It never made any sense whatsoever.

Moreover, the idea that a large swath of sapient species (usually those in tribal or nomadic societies) are just Pure Evil Uncivilized Brutes has always been pretty unpleasant. It was the product of a pulpy ideal that we needed a number of "savage" races, often coded around old stereotypes for tribal societies and non-European races*, that PCs could have fun killing without any sense of guilt. Moving away from it can only be an improvement.

Frankly, that we're fretting about "Drizz't Kender Goblins" in a game where "anime gnomes literally have to be zany or they die" already exist and thrive and are arguably one of the most popular and successful innovations to a race that Paizo has ever made is totally absurd to me. Goblins will be fine. Goblin PCs have been around for years without issue, even without official endorsement. If we can't trust our players to handle the option of playing "Drizz't as a goofy Smeagol minstrel", why are we playing with them to begin with?

*Citations:

Monster Codex on Orcs wrote:

Orcs are brutish humanoids, typically only slightly larger than humans but with much more muscle mass. They are base, squabbling creatures, living in squalor and fighting among themselves as much as with the civilized races. Orcs live by a simple code: the strong take from the weak—by force if possible. The surly savages delight in their own raw, animalistic natures, brutalizing everything they can, including themselves. They breed like vermin, so life is cheap.

...

Orcs are fond of war paint and ritual scarification, and frequently mark themselves with both before battle. They love to claim trophies, particularly the heads of enemies, which they use to adorn their camps or villages.

...

Most orcs care little for the mysteries of magic or unworldly questions of religion, with the exception of orc mystics and witch doctors.

Witch doctor orgin.

"War paint: a pigment or paint traditionally used in some societies, especially those of North American Indians, to decorate the face and body before battle."

Shrunken heads can be compared to the practice of scalping: A religious practice originally largely reserved for when you've already killed someone that Westerners turned into a literal industry.

This sort of thing is pervasive throughout D&D's history, and Paizo didn't create it. More likely, they've just followed the leader. But let's not pretend that the vast majority of evil races—duergar and drow notwithstanding—aren't based around these caricatures, because that's always been how we came up with "monstrous" qualities—all the way back to Tolkien describing orcs as "squat, broad, flat-nosed, sallow-skinned, with wide mouths and slant eyes; in fact degraded and repulsive versions of the (to Europeans) least lovely Mongol-types".

There's a reason kobolds wear nose rings and fight with spears. There's a reason lizardfolk were originally called "lizardmen" and have always—ALWAYS—been used as blatant stand-ins for hostile indigenous peoples. And at least lizardfolk got off with just an Int penalty and a Neutral alignment!

This is old news, and I shouldn't even have to defend that it's a thing, but I'm sure someone will try to claim it's not, because partisan bickering about obvious problems is just a part of gaming now, here to stay. So here're my citations. Cheers.


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By the way, a swearword that is only either used against a particular group of people or used to compare someone else to that group is usually called a "slur". Always been weird to me how we used to pretend that words about women didn't count for that rule.


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Ectar wrote:

I also don't like the idea of Goblins being a core race. It is mostly a lore reason for me. Goblins on the whole are evil and commit atrocious acts against other races.

I hear the argument that PCs are always exceptions by virtue of being PCs, but that sounds like a cop out when you're deviating that far from the race's culture. It's tantamount to making a stat block for a race tree people afixed to the ground, but also printing PC rules and giving them a racial trait that let's only the PCs move around.
Now, if something were to happen in the world where there's a tribe of not evil goblins trying to strike out in the world, that'd be something. So far there's not.

From a different standpoint: The description sounds like it steps a lot on the toes of halflings and goblins already. "Mirthful pranksters" is in the wheelhouse of both the smaller races already, and halflings and gnomes already got too little time in the limelight. Especially halflings. At least gnomes got their cool fey ancestry and bleaching lore. Halflings got next to no cool lore.

Let's be honest, if they think it will smooth over the change, Paizo will retcon a tribe of friendly functional Goblins with the snap of a finger (no offence to setting devs). But doing that in service to this change doesn't address the advisability of the decision in the first place. They justify the choice of Goblins as Core Race on the basis of the dysfunctional-gremlin trope's popularity, yet the first thing they do is morally rehabilitate them, reducing the trope to just a choice some Goblins happen to make. If implementing them as Core Race necessitates this treatment (indicating Paizo thinks there will be gameplay problems if they DON'T do this) then it's reasonable to ask if maybe another race might be a better choice, and allow Paizo to maintain the popular trope as it is, while Goblins remain just as "playable" as they are in P1E/B1. If Paizo wants to play with setting and some Goblins deviating from trope, they don't need to do this with Core PC races to justify that.

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thflame I can get into the inside baseball reasons why this isn't just a taste thing for me, but I doubt that you'll really care.

Suffice it to say I will suffer through if they are allowed, but why would I let something I see as being bad for the game and the community continue when I have a perfectly good forum here to voice those concerns?

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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Goblins have historically been described as gifted singers, natural bards, and total loudmouths. "Charismatic" doesn't mean pretty, it doesn't mean clever or sensible, and it doesn't even mean pleasant. Goblins have needed to have the Charisma penalty flipped for years. It never made any sense whatsoever.

Moreover, the idea that a large swath of sapient species (usually those in tribal or nomadic societies) are just Pure Evil Uncivilized Brutes has always been pretty unpleasant. It was the product of a pulpy ideal that we needed a number of "savage" races, often coded around old stereotypes for tribal societies and non-European races*, that PCs could have fun killing without any sense of guilt. Moving away from it can only be an improvement.

Frankly, that we're fretting about "Drizz't Kender Goblins" in a game where "anime gnomes literally have to be zany or they die" already exist and thrive and are arguably one of the most popular and successful innovations to a race that Paizo has ever made is totally absurd to me. Goblins will be fine. Goblin PCs have been around for years without issue, even without official endorsement. If we can't trust our players to handle the option of playing "Drizz't as a goofy Smeagol minstrel", why are we playing with them to begin with?

** spoiler omitted **

I have literally nothing against the anthropology here and have been advocating to drop the half from half-orc.

But that except describing the new goblins is really doofy. It just is. It does nothing to address anything from your anthropology here. It seems even Jason realizes that there would be issues with people playing goblins as goblins and they instead need to play this slightly different thing.

But the appeal of playing a goblin is to...play an actual goblin isn't it?


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
It was the product of a pulpy ideal that we needed a number of "savage" races, often coded around old stereotypes for tribal societies and non-European races*, that PCs could have fun killing without any sense of guilt. Moving away from it can only be an improvement.

Of course that is valid background context of D&D-isms, but Paizo's new treatment is IMHO apallingly patronizing when viewed from that perspective:

Quote:

As a people, goblins have spent millennia feared, maligned, and even hunted—and sometimes for understandable reasons, as some rural goblin tribes still often direct cruelty, raiding, and mayhem toward wandering or vulnerable creatures. In recent decades, however, a new sort of hero has emerged from among these rough-and-tumble tribes. Such goblins bear the same oversized heads, pointed ears, red eyes, and jagged teeth of their crueler kin, but they have a noble or savvy streak that other goblins can't even imagine, let alone understand. These erstwhile heroes roam Golarion, often maintaining their distinctive cultural habits while spreading the enthusiasm, inscrutable quirkiness, love of puns and song, and unique mirth that mark goblin adventurers.

Despite breaking from their destructive past, goblin adventurers often subtly perpetuate some of the qualities that have been characteristics of the creatures for millennia. They tend to flock to strong leaders, and fiercely protect those companions who have protected them from physical harm or who offer a sympathetic ear and sage advice when they learn of the goblins' woes.

I'm not going to bother "translating" that to real-world references for sake of any children who may be reading this.

Paizo was clearly not motivated by desire to go against existing trope, they were motivated by exploiting it's popularity. But apparently upgrading them to "Core Race" means they needed moral exculpation distinguishing these individual "heroes" from their "origins" as it were. Seriously, I don't see the productive value here on any level, and simultaneously trading off the bad stereotype while liberating a "new breed of Goblins" from that stereotype doesn't sound like a solid rationale over other strong candidates.

I take as a given that Pathfinder already has enough near-Human appearance Core Races, and a new one should be overtly 'monstrous' in some way, so Goblin is nothing unique in that regard vs. the competition.

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thflame wrote:

I gotta admit, I am more okay with Goblins as a core race than Gunslingers as a core class, but it is more to do with the implications of those.

A goblin becoming a hero isn't that far fetched. There are probably millions of goblins in Golarion. Someone's really going to look me in the eye and tell me that none of them have turned their back on the murderous ways of their race, or been raised by someone who isn't a goblin and turned out okay?

Guns, on the other hand, have very logical ramifications to existing in a fantasy setting. Given magic having the plausible possibility of completely nullifying any downsides of guns (and the fact that I have seen official artwork of semi-auto guns in PF1), EVERYONE would use guns.

Wait no that doesn't make any sense, your argument for allowing goblins is that they exist on Golarion and it's a choice to play them versus your argument against gunslingers is that their existence would cause everyone to be them?

That only works as an argument if guns didn't already exist in Golarion.

If anything I'd argue that guns and goblins would go hand-in-hand, with the chance of the gun exploding on a miss.

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Quandary wrote:


Paizo was clearly not motivated by desire to go against existing trope, they were motivated by exploiting it's popularity. But apparently upgrading them to "Core Race" means they needed moral exculpation distinguishing these individual "heroes" from their "origins" as it were. Seriously, I don't see the productive value here on any level, and simultaneously trading off the bad stereotype while liberating a "new breed of Goblins"...

This is more or less the exact reason I think the "half" NEEDS to be dropped from half-orcs. The idea that they are only civilized enough to be PCs when they have a little human in them is pretty "whoa" when you devote any level of thought to it.


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eddv wrote:
But I share your concerns with this and as I tried commenting earlier I am pretty disappointed that stat adjustments (to include vision, speed and hp) and these fairly underwhelming feats are all ancestry gets in terms of mechanics. I feel as though a PC could have all 4 of those feats at level 1 and be just about in line with what a normal race gets in 1e which is a resounding meh. I really do hope there ends up being more to it.

Exactly. It's almost like saying "you can play an Elf, but you don't get low-light vision, magic resistance, or ancestral weapon proficiencies unless you spend these ancestry feats to get those things". So basically you're a generic being chassis with no defining features until you take the ancestry feats to turn you into an average member of your chosen species.


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D&D 5e has just claimed the 'Goblins as PC races' crown due to Sam Reigel's Nott character being a goblin in season 2.

Although existing Pathfinder fans know about Paizo goblins, the rest of the world will not see it this way. So if it's a marketing plan to gain new players ... I don't see that working unfortunately.

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Childeric, The Shatterer wrote:
eddv wrote:
But I share your concerns with this and as I tried commenting earlier I am pretty disappointed that stat adjustments (to include vision, speed and hp) and these fairly underwhelming feats are all ancestry gets in terms of mechanics. I feel as though a PC could have all 4 of those feats at level 1 and be just about in line with what a normal race gets in 1e which is a resounding meh. I really do hope there ends up being more to it.
Exactly. It's almost like saying "you can play an Elf, but you don't get low-light vision, magic resistance, or ancestral weapon proficiencies unless you spend these ancestry feats to get those things". So basically you're a generic being chassis with no defining features until you take the ancestry feats to turn you into an average member of your chosen species.

Elves will probably get low light vision as part of their generic being chassis, but other than that yeah that seems to be the case unless they have more to reveal to us/Jason's run down being a bit misleading because he isn't actually talking about ancestry in general here. If not I only hope that you begin with multiple ancestry feats to kind of round yourself out with.


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Quandary wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
It was the product of a pulpy ideal that we needed a number of "savage" races, often coded around old stereotypes for tribal societies and non-European races*, that PCs could have fun killing without any sense of guilt. Moving away from it can only be an improvement.

Of course that is valid background context of D&D-isms, but Paizo's new treatment is IMHO apallingly patronizing when viewed from that perspective:

Quote:

As a people, goblins have spent millennia feared, maligned, and even hunted—and sometimes for understandable reasons, as some rural goblin tribes still often direct cruelty, raiding, and mayhem toward wandering or vulnerable creatures. In recent decades, however, a new sort of hero has emerged from among these rough-and-tumble tribes. Such goblins bear the same oversized heads, pointed ears, red eyes, and jagged teeth of their crueler kin, but they have a noble or savvy streak that other goblins can't even imagine, let alone understand. These erstwhile heroes roam Golarion, often maintaining their distinctive cultural habits while spreading the enthusiasm, inscrutable quirkiness, love of puns and song, and unique mirth that mark goblin adventurers.

Despite breaking from their destructive past, goblin adventurers often subtly perpetuate some of the qualities that have been characteristics of the creatures for millennia. They tend to flock to strong leaders, and fiercely protect those companions who have protected them from physical harm or who offer a sympathetic ear and sage advice when they learn of the goblins' woes.

Paizo was clearly not motivated by desire to go against existing trope, they were motivated by exploiting it's popularity. But apparently upgrading them to "Core Race" means they needed moral exculpation distinguishing these individual "heroes" from their "origins" as it were. Seriously, I don't see the productive value here on any level, and simultaneously trading off the bad stereotype while liberating a "new breed of Goblins"...

I didn't really say Paizo is doing much to move away from it. In fact, I think my post was pretty "eh" on that angle. My days of stanning for Paizo are long behind me. I'm just pointing out that fighting to keep goblins as a Pure Evil race is not a great reason to oppose this change. "Pure evil races" is a dumb trope, and I'm glad to be graduating to the slightly less dumb "lizardfolk-tier" of "some are savage and bad, but some are cool and fun".

Personally, I think the idea of introducing the idea that some goblins embrace the wacky, destructive elements of "goblin culture" without killing and murdering is a fairly fun idea for a PC race. They're like creepy garbage gnomes at that point.


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Yossarian wrote:

D&D 5e has just claimed the 'Goblins as PC races' crown due to Sam Reigel's Nott character being a goblin in season 2.

Although existing Pathfinder fans know about Paizo goblins, the rest of the world will not see it this way. So if it's a marketing plan to gain new players ... I don't see that working unfortunately.

I doubt it. This is probably more an effort to get veteran gamers excited by giving them something they've long asked for—greater support for monstrous races. I'm not saying it's going to be successful, but the idea that using an iconic Pathfinder fan favorite is a way to get non-fans interested just... doesn't make much sense to me.

"Clearly Peter Jackson had Gandalf mention the Blue Wizards as a ploy to get people who'd never read the books excited. Everybody loves those Blue Wizards!"

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They haven’t announced how many racial feats you get at 1st level.

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My thing is just that if they're going to be an always evil race and given just how beloved they are in that role I think that's going to remain, that the thirst to play as one is going to be for a member of that always evil race. And as long as that's the case then as a generic player option they're going to require some extra care in comparison to everything else in the rulebook, which is probably a good indicator that they just don't fit alongside the others.

If they're going to go the "there's the Garbage Gnome Tribe that accidentally grew some impulse control" route that's kind of better? It waters down the goblin brand a bit but that's still better than "there a number of supergoblins who wander because they're special." My feeling is just that whatever the justification is that the goblins who show up to the table are going to be more closely related to Poog and Reta Bigbad than the Iconic-Alchemist-To-Be-Named-Later.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I didn't really say Paizo is doing much to move away from it. In fact, I think my post was pretty "eh" on that angle.

Fair, I just didn't think the implications to Paizo's own material from yesterday could be ignored when you brought up that context.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
They're like creepy garbage gnomes at that point.

Yeah, the gnome-adjacency has been noted more than few times :-)

Liberty's Edge

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I'm on board with this as long as it's justified in-setting.

That said, with 12 years between 2E's starting timeline and that of RotRL (which includes a 'goblin orphan' issue), the APs officially having occurred, and goblin lifespans (they come of age at 13 to 18, mostly), a very specific solution immediately occurs:

There's a whole tribe's worth of better socialized goblins just coming of age somewhere in the vicinity of Sandpoint in Varisia.

That's actually enough of a justification for me all on its own, as long as its made explicit.

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Gorbacz wrote:
Fargoth's Hiding Place wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Correct.
You realize how absolutely asinine that makes you sound right?

Paizo's decision to include Goblins was, as far as I can tell, the result of how overwhelmingly well-selling was every their goblin-focused product to date.

I'm sorry. Goblins are just super-popular. They sell. Like hot cupcakes.

Mmm, goblincakes


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I think I get why they'd get a Charisma bonus. Their design goal for PF2 ancestries is to give each one 2 buffed stats, and a floating buff that players can put into a 3rd stat.

If past PF race design has been any indication, the designers heavily disfavor buffing two stats of one type (i.e., physical or mental). They generally buff one physical and mental stat.

And so if they are buffing Dexterity for goblins, they can't really give a bonus to Constitution (as was suggested several pages ago). First of all, that would lead to a slew of goblin martial characters, which would be pretty ridiculous. The buff would need to be a mental stat. Given the parameters they've set out for themselves, they would need to buff Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma. Charisma seems to be the most passable mental stat to boost for goblins.

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I mean for goblins to behave the way they are generally scripted to behave they would need to be eating a pretty severe penalty in both intelligence and wisdom while being given a heavy bonus to dexterity.

The issue is that that's completely unsuitable for PCs especially if Dex to damage for rogues is staying.

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MidsouthGuy wrote:
Because the people who want to play goblins want to play them as destructive arsonists garnished with baby eating habits roughly 97% of the time.

My experience runs entirely counter to this, for the record. (Excepting players who are like that regardless of character, of course.) One of my best players loved playing goblins, from the highly literate Pyromancer to the chaotic neutral wild and crazy (but not disruptively so) goblin.

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Laird IceCubez wrote:
Didn't Paizo say they didn't want to include Gunslinger as a core class due to some people not liking gun rules even though they are an offiical part of Golarion lore.

My understanding was that it was due to wanting to take their time and get the firearm rules right. But I could be misremembering.

Dark Archive

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Quandary wrote:
There was something else about dancing dwarves that killed you in your dreams.
Gods, to be so lucky.

Hey, I like to dance... nekkid! There's nothing more, erm, *invigorating* than being clad only in your glorious beard and letting your little fello... feet flap in the breeze! ;P

That's how we dwarves do it in Cheliax!


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Deadmanwalking wrote:

There's a whole tribe's worth of better socialized goblins just coming of age somewhere in the vicinity of Sandpoint in Varisia.

That's actually enough of a justification for me all on its own, as long as its made explicit.

Paizo doesn't need to make Goblins a Core PC race to do that with the setting (or to continue prominently featuring Goblins).

THEIR OWN stated justification for the choice of Goblins as Core PC race was popularity of the existing (psycho-gremlin) trope.
If they actually want to diverge from that trope, then their new-school enlightened Goblins don't really have anything over the competition.
There are plenty of other worthy candidates who can equally fulfill the monstrous/non-human appearance with dubious background niche.
Take away the psycho-gremlin trope and there isn't much unique about Pathfinder Goblins, "OMG they're green!" doesn't mean much these days.

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I mean, I agree Quandary but if they're hellbent on making this happen then that's by far my preferred method.

That said, evidently there's a sizable number of people who like to play goblins and then teach them how to read and behave like civilized beings and just like for the round bulbous heads and propensity for puns and bad plans and if I as a GM can go and point to something that says "PC Goblins do not engage in We Be Goblins type behavior" then that's at least something I suppose.

I think that's really wing and prayer kinds of hopes for it all working out the way its intended, but it is something.

As others have said, if these weren't GOLARION goblins, but instead the more generic goblin or even better Eberron goblins I wouldn't even have any objection at all to their inclusion as a core race. The very fix to goblins they came up with that makes them so popular is the very thing that makes them so hard to use as PCs but apparently a lot of people ignore most of those aspects.

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Quandary wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:

There's a whole tribe's worth of better socialized goblins just coming of age somewhere in the vicinity of Sandpoint in Varisia.

That's actually enough of a justification for me all on its own, as long as its made explicit.
Paizo doesn't need to make Goblins a Core PC race to do that with the setting (or to continue prominently featuring Goblins).

Well sure, but if they're gonna do it, that explanation justifies it pretty well.

Quandary wrote:
THEIR OWN stated justification for the choice of Goblins as Core PC race was popularity of the existing (psycho-gremlin) trope.

That's not quite what they said. They said it was due to goblin popularity, which is at least as related to their idiosyncrasies as it is to their antisocial behavior.

Also, I honestly don't care why they're making Goblins a Core PC race. That could not matter less to me. I care that it make sense in the world that's been created, about verisimilitude. If they justify it, their motivation for the change matters to me not at all.

Quandary wrote:

If they actually want to diverge from that trope, then their new-school enlightened Goblins don't really have anything over the competition.

There are plenty of other worthy candidates who can equally fulfill the monstrous/non-human appearance with dubious background niche.
Take away the psycho-gremlin trope and there isn't much unique about Pathfinder Goblins, "OMG they're green!" doesn't mean much these days.

Most of the cultural idiosyncrasies of goblins (which, as noted, are what people seem to enjoy) transfer over to less awful goblins pretty well.

There's absolutely nothing morally wrong with being scared of horses or disliking dogs, for example. Or having a fondness for somewhat creepy rhyming songs and building things from junk. And while liking fire is a tad more antisocial, it's hardly beyond the pale for a PC. Really, the biggest change (aside from being less murder-y) is likely to be their attitude towards literacy. And I'm pretty okay with all that.


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Having thought about it more:

All good with the race being playable. It was already if you wanted it to be.

My worry is more of how much this changes APs and Golarion. Having a couple of goblin NPCs that are allies not enemies is one thing, but if we start to see lots of goblins living in human settlements that's going to get weird, fast. Given goblin's are a core race this could happen. Especially for the GMs that don't want too much friendly goblin action (such as myself).

The tricky part will be how the writers respond to this when it comes to AP and lore creation.


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Ohmygod it's true! NO STR penalty!
My prayers have been answered!


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I mean, we already have a race with similar amounts of idiosyncratic tendencies living within human settlements.

They’re called gnomes. Those guys are WEIRD. There are a few example gnomes in the early content talking about gnomes stealing stuff from people and them being NG because they slipped the item into the persons possession in the first place. That kind of invasion of personal space would really not fly very well by most and yet it’s some a gnome potentially might do. In their quest to experience new and strange things and experiences they get up to some real wacky stuff, and the fact that they die if they don’t is basically all the justification they need.

Goblins are pretty reasonable in comparison if you take a gnome to its most logical extreme.

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Yossarian wrote:

Having thought about it more:

All good with the race being playable. It was already if you wanted it to be.

My worry is more of how much this changes APs and Golarion. Having a couple of goblin NPCs that are allies not enemies is one thing, but if we start to see lots of goblins living in human settlements that's going to get weird, fast. Given goblin's are a core race this could happen. Especially for the GMs that don't want too much friendly goblin action (such as myself).

The tricky part will be how the writers respond to this when it comes to AP and lore creation.

That's more or less my biggest non-PFS related concern is that once goblins become part of the cosmopolitan setting they sort of lose their goblinness. Its difficult to imagine goblins living in Absalom y while maintaining say Illiteracy, fear of dogs and horses or even much in the way of pyromania. Those things are just anathema to the idea of living in a metropolis and not ending up dead.

If goblins become tinker gnomes then they aren't really goblins anymore and that sort of seems like the trajectory theyre on. I guess we will just have to see what the lore-team does with them.


Gnomes in Pathfinder aren't smart tinker gnomes, they're the short tricksy fey race. Goblins have space even if you remove the ridiculousness from them.


As I mentioned in another thread I am fine with their inclusion. If a player wants to play a goblin in our group it wouldn't be a problem, the focus would not be on the homicidal side .


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I am fine with having goblins as a player race. But they always came with the stigma that they were outsiders to be wary of and it was great to roleplay with. I just don't understand the Cha boost. Before they were -2 Str, +4 Dex, and -2 Cha. That thematically made sense. The were small creatures so they were quick and agile but on the scrawny side. They were also ugly and socially..not really nice. So these stats made sense. I just don't understand how they have a +Dex, +Cha, and -Wis with a floating mod. Dex and Wis make sense. They are quick and not really the wisest creatures but cha? The floating mod makes sense based on different heritages/bloodlines. Kind of like Humans are so flexible or how there are so many different types of tieflings with varying ability mods. Has it been explained how this ugly mug of a race suddenly got more charismatic? While stat wise this is a buff, thematically it just does not make sense to me. It almost makes me want to play with the old stat block if I were to ever play a Goblin in PF2.


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Their just what half-orc were back in the day.


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Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Goblins have historically been described as gifted singers, natural bards, and total loudmouths. "Charismatic" doesn't mean pretty, it doesn't mean clever or sensible, and it doesn't even mean pleasant. Goblins have needed to have the Charisma penalty flipped for years. It never made any sense whatsoever.

But it does mean a bonus to diplomacy. Which is 100% what goblins are known to do after burning down a village and eating all the babies.


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Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Their just what half-orc were back in the day.

An obvious attempt at having goblins me mindless murder fodder but still somehow also be people?


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Corrik wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Their just what half-orc were back in the day.
An obvious attempt at having goblins me mindless murder fodder but still somehow also be people?

What?


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Yossarian wrote:

Having thought about it more:

All good with the race being playable. It was already if you wanted it to be.

My worry is more of how much this changes APs and Golarion. Having a couple of goblin NPCs that are allies not enemies is one thing, but if we start to see lots of goblins living in human settlements that's going to get weird, fast. Given goblin's are a core race this could happen. Especially for the GMs that don't want too much friendly goblin action (such as myself).

The tricky part will be how the writers respond to this when it comes to AP and lore creation.

Yeah I can't wait to hear about all of goblin civilization that's apparently been happening for thousands of years but wasn't worth mentioning until 2e. Or maybe someone made a wish for the mascots to act cuter?


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I don't see why a Goblin can't be a PC. Maybe the setting is just a little more progressive than racist, judging people as individuals for their actions and the content of their characters. Or at least progressive enough not to just kill the person immediately, which is hilariously ironic btw. "Agh! He's acting civil and poilite! Slaughter him for the monster that HE is! Unlike us!! We're civilized humans! When have we ever done evil acts!!?" Plenty of societies and cultures integrate peoples despite a tumultuous history or (Understandable) fear and resentment. Goblins don't have to be loved, just tolerated, with a few proving themselves as adventurers.

Besides, Goblins are iconic in most fantasy. When I think of Goblin, I think of some quirky little bastard who lives every moment to the fullest, whether they're fighting, eating, or playing a slapped together guitar built with some string and sticks.

Then again, my biggest exposure to Goblins wasn't DnD. I always think of the Goblins from Radiata Stories, which were just a different kind of people that live in shanty towns or toadstool forests, speaking in broken English and being hilarious in general, with kids, elders, jerks, lovers and all that. It definitely wasn't my first time seeing a Goblin, but it stuck with me since they were so zany, fun and an actual people. They're like really straightforward gnomes. Speaking of gnomes, they're Fey descendants, right? Fairly certain the Fey aren't that loved. Don't see why a few chill Goblin tribes (High on some toadstools, perhaps) just decided to make peace and not war.

Them being a core race that's just chaotic??? is more fun and interesting than, "Oh. They're green with teeth. They must be evil." Which is... kind of dumb, honestly. Sacred cow levels of dumb. Imo anyway.


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At this point I think Paizo could give everyone 20 bucks and people would complain about it. Why isn't it in euros! My 20 was crinkled! I don't like Andrew Jackson!

Liberty's Edge

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Corrik wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Goblins have historically been described as gifted singers, natural bards, and total loudmouths. "Charismatic" doesn't mean pretty, it doesn't mean clever or sensible, and it doesn't even mean pleasant. Goblins have needed to have the Charisma penalty flipped for years. It never made any sense whatsoever.

But it does mean a bonus to diplomacy. Which is 100% what goblins are known to do after burning down a village and eating all the babies.

Because Qlippoth, Drow, and Ghouls are known for their Diplomacy with races other than their own?

Charisma has more to do with force of personality than anything else. A +1 bonus to Diplomacy is a side effect, but not one everybody with above average charisma actually makes use of, especially outside their own communities.


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Mudfoot wrote:


+1, except that to my mind Ratfolk are really WFRP Skaven, and pretty clearly associated with Games Workshop...

Really have to disagree with you there. The main similarity is they're rat-men and have some tech-affinity. But Skaven are malevolent, plague-spreading, monsters out for world domination. To me, Ratfolk are interesting because they're /not/ Skaven. They're primarily wandering traders who bend over backwards to not discomfort the locals and have a strong community focus.

I'd say they're much more like the Nezumi from Legend of the Five Rings (and also the 3.0 Oriental Adventures book which is where I was introduced to them). But they're less technologically primitive and more integrated with the wider society.

The trope that rats are evil and spread plague is overdone. Some are charming. Some detect landmines.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Corrik wrote:
Kobold Cleaver wrote:

Goblins have historically been described as gifted singers, natural bards, and total loudmouths. "Charismatic" doesn't mean pretty, it doesn't mean clever or sensible, and it doesn't even mean pleasant. Goblins have needed to have the Charisma penalty flipped for years. It never made any sense whatsoever.

But it does mean a bonus to diplomacy. Which is 100% what goblins are known to do after burning down a village and eating all the babies.

Because Qlippoth, Drow, and Ghouls are known for their Diplomacy with races other than their own?

Charisma has more to do with force of personality than anything else. A +1 bonus to Diplomacy is a side effect, but not one everybody with above average charisma actually makes use of, especially outside their own communities.

Yeah whoever heard of a Drow using words to further their ends? You've convinced me, it is a good idea for Paizo to shove their mascot in to core. I absolutely can't wait to hear about Sandpoint mayor Gobbo McGoblin, the most literate goblin who ever brought peace and law. Because of his levelheadedness and fear of fire, we shall forever be accepting of the creatures who only ever mindlessly slaughtered us before. And the tales, OH, the tales he brings. Tales of vast goblin cities, peaceful and full of books. Truly has there never been a bastion of civilization and worthiness more pure than goblins.

On a side note, I love how Paizo isn't going to make any changes to the lore of Pathfinder for 2e.


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Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Corrik wrote:
Vidmaster 1st edition wrote:
Their just what half-orc were back in the day.
An obvious attempt at having goblins me mindless murder fodder but still somehow also be people?
What?

Half-orcs are just a way to have Tolkien style orcs while also having orcs that are people for use as PCs. Extremely dated concept. But apparently just having goblins, one of the few races depicted as less civilized than orcs, is cool beans.


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I am very happy that pathfinder has decided to embrace what makes its world unique in designing its new game system.


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Frosty Ace wrote:


Them being a core race that's just chaotic??? is more fun and interesting than, "Oh. They're green with teeth. They must be evil." Which is... kind of dumb, honestly. Sacred cow levels of dumb. Imo anyway.

They don't read, educate themselves, or conduct any other real activity of civilization. They are depicted as near mindless monsters who do nothing but revel in chaos and violence. Whose greatest cultural achievement is coming up with a song to chant while they raid villages. With two exceptions, PCs who want to play a goblin who isn't a goblin, which is apparently the new lore for goblins, and PCs who want to burn down whatever they want while claiming "it's what my character would do".

Meanwhile, treating Orcs as people instead of Tolkien monsters has been the norm for years upon years but we are still dealing with Half-Orcs.


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Unicore wrote:
I am very happy that pathfinder has decided to embrace what makes its world unique in designing its new game system.

Core race, literate, and with a Cha bonus. Seems more akin to what makes the world of Warcraft unique.

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