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

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Pathfinder Playtest Wayne Reynolds
1,701 to 1,750 of 1,765 << first < prev | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | next > last >>

6 people marked this as a favorite.

I would furthermore observe that no one is under any obligation to suppress their personal interests or areas of expertise when it comes to roleplaying in a fantasy world. So if you have people who are interested in things like moral philosophy and anthropology then making "Otyughs are people, of a sort, too" a recurring theme because "my players like talking to the Otyughs" is a sensible thing to do.

A game world is not a real place, and if it's a choice between making it more engaging and interesting or more realistic and plausible, I will always err for the former.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

Honestly, my interpretation is that "magic exists, and is a force we can harness" allows for people in Pathfinder to very easily solve a great number of problems that we struggle with even in the 21st century. Like a single 13th level Kinetic Chirugeon can, at zero personal cost, cure the blindness of anybody who comes to them in a single action and has been able to do the same with diseases for 6 levels now (the recipient of the kinetic healing accepts the burn and is told to go sleep it off, they will be 100% after a good rest.) Places that get organized can wipe out a hunger, disease, and poverty given sufficient will to do so.

Of course, since this is supposed to be a heroic setting we can't have all the problems already solved before the PCs get there, but the potential to solve them is a lot more accessible in fantasy land than in the real world.

Flip side, "Hey I have the power to make fire appear basically anywhere I want. And that old slob Banner keeps letting his sheep graze on my fields. Hmmm..., DEAR! I'm just going to ...go for a short walk. I'll be back for dinner"

Humanity has proven time and again to use things for good and evil. Or "Our good" or "My own reasons". I see no reason to think a fantasy setting will have everyone working for the betterment of everyone with magic when you can also just as easily bend others to your will due to the same spell list.

Outside of adventurer dangers of course but there's not much of a game or story if there's not some sort of threat over the players.


I would say though that a person in the game world who is aware of magic, and what it can do, who then considers both the positive and negative potential when put to use would quickly come to the realization that the most effective problems to solve in terms of "accomplishing desired outcomes" are philosophical or sociological problems.

Since you can't stop the neighborhood 5th level wizard from hurling fireballs at all of the various annoying neighbors, but you can make him not want to do so, perhaps by trying to forge more harmonious relationships with neighbors.

Because magic exists means that most of the solutions to problems are not technological ones- they are problems whose solutions begin with thoughts and words.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JakBlitz wrote:
Is this the actual case or are you purposely being fecicous?

1. *Facetious

2. I'm merely pointing out that having taken a given species off of Paizo's baseline (as the post I was responding to pointedly claimed to have done) doesn't modify that baseline at its source. If you've made your goblins less comedic and more malevolent than Paizo has been doing, cool, good for you (sincerely- they can be DELIGHTFULLY creepy).

But that doesn't impact the basic direction the people who write them have been steering them in- nor where they may continue to take them in the next year or two.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
PossibleCabbage wrote:

I would say though that a person in the game world who is aware of magic, and what it can do, who then considers both the positive and negative potential when put to use would quickly come to the realization that the most effective problems to solve in terms of "accomplishing desired outcomes" are philosophical or sociological problems.

Since you can't stop the neighborhood 5th level wizard from hurling fireballs at all of the various annoying neighbors, but you can make him not want to do so, perhaps by trying to forge more harmonious relationships with neighbors.

Because magic exists means that most of the solutions to problems are not technological ones- they are problems whose solutions begin with thoughts and words.

Spellcraft is trained and Knowledge arcana is trained so DC 10 or lower. Seems people dramatically overestimate what the average person knows about magic in pathfinder.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I am very glad that goblins have been made a core race. It's not the in-character racism that bothers me, however. (Though, the idea that everybody, everywhere, no matter what would be irrationally compelled to kill a goblin character on sight and chase adventuring parties out of town seems way too over the top.)

No, it's the out-of-character stuff that bothers me. Because those who say that all goblins (or drow, or orcs, or whatever else) have to be evil (or one-of-a-kind rarities) are saying that the stereotypes are an all-encompassing reality. Though this is about fictional characters, this thought process never leads to a good place.

At the very least, you're limiting yourself as a storyteller. Because, if you resist stereotyping real people, but let yourself stereotype these characters, you're basically saying they are one-dimensional characters who are little more than robots. Doing this is cutting yourself off from so many potential story threads. They don't even have to be big ones, just a bit of variety and individual personality in enemies can go a long way.

Worse, though rarer, I've seen players who believe real people fall into stereotypes, as well. I've actually had people argue with me saying 'All drow are evil just like all...' <racist stereotype cut because I refuse to dictate it>.

I'm cool with goblins having an evil culture, I'm just happy there's more room for interesting characters that break the mould. Because there should, by the nature of them being sapient beings, be many of them.

I have always believed this, and it's the reason it took me until late last year to get into Pathfinder heavily. I didn't like the stereotypes in Dungeons & Dragons, and an initial peek into Pathfinder seemed to have the same problem. I still played it, but more for the tactical side of things than the story. As a result, I hadn't bought a lot of books or really invested in it. However, when I found the Redeemer archetype on the SRD late last year I realized that this world is far more interesting than I gave it credit for. (Once I gave it a chance, as well, this was evident in so much more than that as well.)

I may never play a goblin, but the idea that the game doesn't treat them as a homogenous whole makes me happy.


I feel like the poison M+M analogy fits in instances where the majority of the species fits the goblin stereotype but there happens to be some "civilized" ones.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Wow, there are a lot of responses to this thread, which is...not that surprising, honestly. Admittedly it's a trivial issue on the surface, especially in comparison to all the other substantive reasons why people might be leery of PF2. There are a lot of issues that bulk larger in the whole conception of the game, certainly. But this does have the potential to become a a synecdoche for what a lot of people don't like about PF2, so on that level it's an instructive debate.

One of the things people seem to be objecting to is that the devs are removing the "Pathfinderyness" of the game and moving it dramatically and obviously toward 5e (to name a single competitor), but in a larger sense that's a debate about changing toward other things already on the market instead of standing its ground.

Paizo's goblins were always just about the last humanoid race you could imagine being core because they were completely insane, bloodthirsty, sociopathic pyromaniacs. Now they're just Kender (like Kender weren't annoying enough the first time around). It's taking a point of distinction away and deliberately regressing toward the mean.

It's not like it's surprising though, as this process has been going on since the first publication of Golarion. They already took out the two aspects of Golarion that were the most interesting to me personally. 1) Erastil being a LG chauvinist pig -- that's an awesome idea, a LG god whose views are so retrograde that he actually makes you angry, but he's still a lawful good deity, and 2) the Cult of the Dawnflower and Taldor, which is another great idea -- an aggressive cult of a good deity who does horrific things in the name of spreading the faith. There's a vast amount of story potential around that; in fact, I'd say that was the most interesting point about Golarion. There are many more examples I could cite, but to be honest I stopped paying much attention to Golarion a few years ago. It's useful to remember that Golarion really is a generic fantasy world of the kind we've been seeing since Forgotten Realms at least. At the beginning there were a lot of interesting bits attached to it that differentiated it from the ordinary (paladins of Asmodeus, anyone?), but since publication Paizo has been busily retconning those points out of existence.

Many years ago I read an observation that is really salient to this conversation. My own personal knowledge of this specific topic is limited, far more so than the writer I'm citing (sadly I can't recall his name -- pretty sure it was a man...does that narrow it down?) but it scanned right as confirming things I'd already observed. In essence, a study of the history of RPG publishing shows that the first edition of any game system or game world has a lot of weird, funny angles that mark it out as something unique, something that's very much an idiosyncratic vision. The second edition removes most of those aspects in favor of more generic and common mechanics or flavor. Each succeeding edition goes further down that road. New editions are a relentless march toward the mediocre mean until everything's just an indistinguishable mass with every other game out there. This isn't universal, of course; some games and settings stubbornly maintain their uniqueness. But it's the case with a lot of things, and I think we're receiving a lot of indications that PF2 will be walking that same road. "People like goblins, therefore goblins are core and have an iconic and everything" is highly emblematic of that march to the mean, and I think people are sensing it and rebelling against it.

It is, of course, possible to say that GMs can make any modifications they desire in their individual games, but that ignores the dominant role Golarion plays in the game (development and play alike). Many, many aspects of Pathfinder are explicitly tied to that world, Society on down to APs, and it sounds like Golarion is getting baked in even further going forward. That does limit the game's flexibility and ease of use, especially when the GM has to be eternally vigilant about whether a new feat, trait, spell, class, or whatever is going to blatantly clash with their established world by virtue of being inextricably tied to the default setting. IOW, the more work you need to do to turn the default game into a game you want to play, the less reason there is to pick that game in the first place.

My $0.02. I'll fade back into the woodwork now.


Derailing Tangent:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
I mean, only the poorest of the poor are gonna die from cancer, since Remove Disease just fixes that-

Cancer being a disease is a bit of a misnomer (more of a condition, really). In reality, it's the result of cells reproducing incorrectly, resulting in cells that are defective and/or malignant. While radiation and other similar factors increase the likelihood of having cancerous cells, the fact of the matter is that cancer is neither a bacterial or viral infection of anything, which is often (if not always) how diseases are depicted.

So I don't think Remove Disease would fix that. At least in my games, it wouldn't, if just for that simple fact.

Heck, even Mummy Rot isn't "just a disease," if you don't have a Remove Curse to go with it, that Remove Disease spell does nothing.

Liberty's Edge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Derailing Response:
I'm aware of what cancer is, thanks. But Remove Disease also explicitly gets rid of most parasites. It's not as simple as 'Is this technically a disease by this specific definition?' and I think cancer probably qualifies for the parasite removal portion of the spell if not the disease portion.

And mummy rot is a special case, as it's magical, which is why you need more than remove disease (it's also a curse, necessitating remove curse).

Still, even if cancer is an exception, heart disease (for example) can definitely be fixed one way or another with relatively low level magic, as can almost all other medical problems. Which was sorta the whole point I was making.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I just avoid things in my games that I don't consider fun or interesting, things that either I or my players would find upsetting to an unfun degree, and things that nobody is particularly interested in exploring.

I don't see how "there's no racism" is more implausible than "dragons exist" and selective realism is a real pitfall in this game.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

Spoiler:
I recommend learning the actual definition of "disease" before declaring that cancer is not one.
Shadow Lodge

CrystalSeas wrote:
While you're entitled to your own opinion and to running your own games any way you like, drilling in on other people for not agreeing with your playstyle is not appropriate for these boards.

Especially in a completely unrelated blog discussion!


6 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Pawns, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

In keeping with the discussion and trying to pull it back closer to topic:

Racism exists in my games—in the bad guys. People who aren't bad people are not inherently racist in my campaigns. They are open to people being good or bad and not judging them. Why? Because that's how my players and I like it.

So are goblins evil in my campaigns? Most, yes. They are culturally evil and always have been. But there has been over the past ten years more and more non-evil goblins showing up here and there. Very few to be sure, but they do make the occasional appearance. And goblin PCs have been around for quite some time. So I see the people of Golarion treating goblins the way they treat orcs and half-orcs: with suspicion and on guard, but not "slay immediately." And that I find works well with Pathfinder lore and my personal gaming tastes.

This is a fantasy world; it can be whatever we want it to be.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

No, I mean this seriously- what reasons are there to justify "kill all the human bandits, it's fine" could not be reused with minimal alteration for "kill all these orcs, it's fine"?

Like sure you could make an argument whether lethal force is justifiable in a self-defense situation if you *could* have dealt with the problem otherwise, but we don't do that when the party is beset by bandits, to say nothing of all those "evil cult" meetings that PCs are fond of breaking up with swords and arrows and fire and that sort of thing. At no point does the skin color or parentage of the bandits or cultists actually matter.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Kalindlara wrote:
Seems like a lotta people here are really dedicated to making sure racism is a part of both the official game

Not really, we just understand that the official setting already HAS it. It's not about inclusion but its current existence [and since no major changes are happening between the new game] and the new one.

Fobok wrote:
Though, the idea that everybody, everywhere, no matter what would be irrationally compelled to kill a goblin character on sight and chase adventuring parties out of town seems way too over the top.

Not irrational when every bit of lore paints them in a light that makes it a rational expectation.

Fobok wrote:
Because those who say that all goblins (or drow, or orcs, or whatever else) have to be evil (or one-of-a-kind rarities) are saying that the stereotypes are an all-encompassing reality. Though this is about fictional characters, this thought process never leads to a good place.

No one's saying all goblins are evil: we're saying most people have no idea that a non-evil goblin is possible and nothing they have ever known would lead them to think otherwise.

Fobok wrote:
I'm cool with goblins having an evil culture, I'm just happy there's more room for interesting characters that break the mould. Because there should, by the nature of them being sapient beings, be many of them.

It's the setting that has painted the race in a single way, not the players or the storytellers. I for one have no issue with a goblin 'bucking the trend'. My issue is with people assuming people in the world would have some idea it's possible without something that changes the narrative.

1,701 to 1,750 of 1,765 << first < prev | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Archive / Pathfinder / Playtests & Prerelease Discussions / Pathfinder Playtest / Pathfinder Playtest Prerelease Discussion / Paizo Blog: Goblins! All Messageboards