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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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Personally I'm excited to have goblins in core. Not sure what the fuss is about. Goblin PCs have been available in 1e for quite some time. Have you guys really run into many problematic goblin PCs in your games? I haven't.

Silver Crusade

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Friendly Rogue wrote:
ENHenry wrote:

I’m fine with it. It’s not like there aren’t real-world examples of ethnic groups of people who were considered “vermin” before public opinion realized how ****ed up that is. On one hand the PRG purist in me doesn’t like expanding the old list of humans/elves/dwarves/halfling/gnomes, etc. but on the other hand I know how popular the little buggers are, and it’s not like Paizo aren’t going to make sure they’re balanced with other choices.

I know my group had some of the most fun playing the first We Be Goblins, and I suspect the popularity of the WBG series had a good bit of influence in this decision.

The problem with the sentiment of comparing Goblins to racism in the real world (don't get me wrong, though, I 100% agree with you in regards to that sentiment) is that Golarion as a setting has an extremely... odd way of treating alignment. A lot of fluff and elements in adventure paths will try to emphasize the general aspect of how all [insert monstrous race here] aren't inherently evil, but then other aspects will flat out contradict that, IE Goblins in Rise of the Runelords, Drow in Second Darkness, Orcs in Giantslayer, even Hobgoblins in the recent Ironfang Invasion.

It's reached a point where there's a really wishy-washy tone, where the writers seem to want to break free from the "always chaotic evil" trope and emphasize that it's entirely possible for [insert monstrous race here] to be good, but due to the way the setting is structured, every single example winds up becoming an exception to the norm. It's actually one of the few reasons why I wouldn't mind a retcon of Golarion (not even with an in-world event justifying it, just a flat retcon) just so that the writers can make up their mind and decide whether or not they want loose racial definitions of alignments. That way, Goblins can be a core race and nobody will have any qualms with it on grounds of Goblins always being Chaotic Evil.

Here's the thing, I don't have a huge problems with orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls etc having evil cultures (many of these races are influenced/created by evil deities).

However, there's this idea of genetic determinism that bothers me. Because you are a goblin you must be evil. I'm of the opinion that if all you've known is evil then it's likely but not inevitable that you'll be evil.


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PCScipio wrote:

Some more food for thought: Goblins of Purity.

** spoiler omitted **

"...all while maintaining the rip-roaring fun that being an arsonist or a baby-eater brings."

"- An exciting reworking of the alignment system that allows you to play arsonists and baby-eaters while still being good-aligned"

This is my point exactly. This is the reason why people have problems with the concept of Goblins being a core race in the perspective of Golarion.

It's so heavily ingrained into Golarion that Goblins, as a culture, are undeniably evil, that it's now starting to cause conflict now that Paizo wants to move on from that and elevate Goblins to core status. Unless Paizo can fully remove the concept of any monstrous races being innately evil from Golarion for good, they're still going to be plagued by that distinction, even if they include one of the perpetrators as a core race. This is without mentioning that the inclusion of an "always chaotic evil" core race is just going to result in the Drizzt paradox, where the culture is known for being evil but there are hundreds of thousands of exceptions.

Dark Archive

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I really don't like goblins included as a core race. The second edition of Pathfinder is really about smoothing out some of the mechanics of the game while keeping the underlying feel of the game. Goblins are just evil creatures...playing them as PCs feels more like a niche thing (like We Be Goblins) and not a part of the core rules.

If I'm playing PFS, then having a goblin in the same party just doesn't seem like a normal thing. I mean, for the past 10 years goblins have not been part of adventuring parties and now we are just going to discover that there are "good" goblins?? I just don't like it.

You should consider moving this to a later release. "Goblins of Golarion" or something like that. Give groups the option of playing goblins, but don't make a part of the core rules.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
TheFinish wrote:
Tangent101 wrote:

Okay. First, I'm not personally for Paizo having Goblins be a Core Race. I, much like a number of people, feel it is not a decent choice for a PC race, especially given the background of the Goblins when compared to the half-orc, which is their closest equivalence race.

That said? We are not in the Playtest yet. Claiming that this bodes poorly for the Playtest that they are not listening to people several hours after they released the blog entry on Goblins with about half of the people posting that they approve of the thought of Goblin PCs.

Hell, I ran a campaign with an insane Goblin who thought he was a gnome and who was raised by gnomes who couldn't bring themselves to slaughtering an infant (and seeing the goblin thinks of himself as a gnome with a skin condition...) and there was nothing really wrong with the concept. It was run for roleplaying purposes. For fun.

There is less problem with having a Goblin PC in my eyes than a good-aligned Drow in a Golarion setting (what with the revelations about the Drow in "Second Darkness"). And hell, Paizo had a "Risen" Succubus running around. Good-aligned Goblins are nothing compared to that. ;)

As someone else pointed out, having Goblins as a Core Race helps distinguish Pathfinder 2 from pretty much most other fantasy roleplaying games out there. You don't have Gobbos as PCs in D&D5 or any of the other FRPGs out there. so this helps Pathfinder 2 stand out and not just be a D&D clone at first glance - especially as it is different no matter what the 4th edition naysayers are claiming.

I mean, the succubus needed a deity (Desna) to step in and help her, so there's a pretty big explanation for that.

I can't speak for other people, but for myself, I dislike the the idea of Goblins as a Core race because to me, a Core race signifies that adventurers from that race are pretty common (with the caveat that adventurers overall are uncommon). Which, for the most part, stems from the fact that those...

What makes half-elves that common then? I mean, basically half-elves are either human-elf pairings or elf-half elf pairings, with maybe one or two half-elf/half-elf pairings being out there. The number of half-elves in Golarion are likely less than the number of half-orcs, and I don't exactly see half-orcs as being that common in the majority of places of Golarion.

(Though I did have one RotRL game where the character's orcish mom was still alive and happily married to the character's dad in Sandpoint.)

In fact, when you look at the write-ups for towns and cities (and countries), you often find that half-elves, half-orcs, and most PC races are such a minority that a significant percentage of that race ends up being an adventurer. (Obviously most humans are the stay-at-home race, moreso than halflings even.) That also holds true for more esoteric races like Aasimar, Tieflings, Changelings, Kitsune, and the like. It would be nice to see write-ups in which other races like Ratfolk, Catfolk, and the like are wandering tribes and merchants and the like to help explain why we don't have a lot of them in cities or towns... or even possessing their own towns.

Who knows. Maybe Paizo will change how they run the Golarion Census so that less known races are included in the write-up. But I doubt they will. So most non-human races will have the lion share of adventurers percentage-wise.


DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Seems very... out there i guess.

Well i have nothing against goblins in general, i certanly never played one in PF 1.0 and this doesnt make me at all want to play one in 2.0, but i guess if they are very popular.

On a side note, im not a big fan of "every goblin PC" is a hero that left his tribe cause they are different. Actually what happens if i want a CE goblin?

Then you should probably discuss it with your GM and party first, since choosing to play a chaotic evil character is usually more disruptive than playing a monstrous PC.

That isnt really the point, even more because personally i think you should dicuss with your GM before making any PC at all. The issue is it took me 2 seconds to already think of something outside of that description.

This in turn makes me wonder if all ancestry entries are so limited in what you can create with them, like these goblins.

Well, guess we will see with time, im hoping the system for the original core races is more broad.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The "hundreds of thousands of exceptions" thing is nonsense though. At each individual table there might by a half dozen heroic PCs. There might be one or two adventuring goblins.

The problem is when people treat the options in the CRB as what is average or normal. By the virtue of being Player Character options they are not normal. They are the exception. Your typical human is a dirt farmer. Your adventuring human is a wizard, or fighter.

Your typical goblin is a murderous little arsonist. Your Adventuring Goblin is a murderous little arsonist who is pointed at the threats against your typical town.

Shadow Lodge

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Quandary wrote:
And that is literally the entire rationale given for the move, that it is "recognizable brand image", yet what they're doing with it in Core is watering down that image.

I would like to think that after a decade, Pathfinder is more than 'b*+~#$% crazy goblin pyros'.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nox Aeterna wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Nox Aeterna wrote:

Seems very... out there i guess.

Well i have nothing against goblins in general, i certanly never played one in PF 1.0 and this doesnt make me at all want to play one in 2.0, but i guess if they are very popular.

On a side note, im not a big fan of "every goblin PC" is a hero that left his tribe cause they are different. Actually what happens if i want a CE goblin?

Then you should probably discuss it with your GM and party first, since choosing to play a chaotic evil character is usually more disruptive than playing a monstrous PC.

That isnt really the point, even more because personally i think you should dicuss with your GM before making any PC at all. The issue is it took me 2 seconds to already think of something outside of that description.

This in turn makes me wonder if all ancestry entries are so limited in what you can create with them, like these goblins.

Well, guess we will see with time, im hoping the system for the original core races is more broad.

If you can play a Chaotic Evil elf then you can play a Chaotic Evil goblin.

I don't really understand what point you're trying to make.


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"...we're going with the normal gang (plus goblin) for the Core Rulebook." Other races will follow in other books -- "...tengu will not be too far behind, but we're keeping the core of our game similar in terms of classes and races, partly because people would literally murder us if we did otherwise." - Erik Mona

I'm thinking they might want to include 1 or 2 other races in the core or people will literally murder them.

At least, that's the impression I'm getting from this thread.

Also, have your players ever encountered LE or CE humans?

Were they considered exceptions to the rule? Was this considered at all?


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Here's the thing, I don't have a huge problems with orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, gnolls etc having evil cultures (many of these races are influenced/created by evil deities).

My question is whether "Goblins were created by an evil deity" is an actual capital-T Truth or whether this is just a thing that everyone believes, including possibly goblins who want to ensure that goblin culture emulates the evil values that whatever deity embodies.

I don't think it's generally a good idea for people in the diagesis to know, for a fact, how their kind of person was created. Sure, there will be stories but they need not correspond to anything that actually happened.

I personally view all the sourcebooks "omniscience" as unreliable beyond "this is what everybody believes."


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Having spent several years running with the overall theme in Golarion that goblins are baby-killing, dog-slaying, horse-fearing, pyromaniac little evil creeps who hide in dark places and eat people I find it a very odd choice to make them a core race. In games where I have seen someone play a goblin, it was to deliberately cash in on the goblin characteristics mentioned above and generally ended badly.

The problem with introducing them as a core race is pretty simple. The core races are supposed to be able to be used anywhere. Some might have a little bit of stigma or prejudice attached (like half-orcs and half-elves, or halflings being dismissed as 'slips'), but it's rare that they will be driven out of town or filled with arrows.

The reputation of the goblin has been established in Golarion lore as something to be feared. Burnt Offerings in particular drives this home. I appreciate that there was that one goblin in Westcrown who wanted to join the Hellknights, but there was also a good chance that the PCs would have been earlier sent to wipe out nests of sewer goblins as a side mission. So that little goblin has to hide in a basement and the Hellknights don't let people see him.

In the end, this is like putting up the drow as a core race just because people really want to be That Drizzt Guy. Except that drow are probably more approachable and definitely more mysterious than goblins, whom everyone in Golarion seems to know as 'baby-killing, dog-slaying, horse-fearing, pyromaniac little evil creeps who hide in dark places and eat people'.

Sure, players should be able to play goblins if they want to. That's what posting their playable stats in the Bestiary is for. I just disagree that they should be a core race - not when the core races are typically the campaign setting's baseline for what is considered 'normal folk' in the greatest majority of regions.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:

The "hundreds of thousands of exceptions" thing is nonsense though. At each individual table there might by a half dozen heroic PCs. There might be one or two adventuring goblins.

The problem is when people treat the options in the CRB as what is average or normal. By the virtue of being Player Character options they are not normal. They are the exception. Your typical human is a dirt farmer. Your adventuring human is a wizard, or fighter.

Your typical goblin is a murderous little arsonist. Your Adventuring Goblin is a murderous little arsonist who is pointed at the threats against your typical town.

But none of the other core races have the reputation of being always chaotic evil.

Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

I'm not against Goblins being in the core rulebook - hell, I'm all for it on a conceptual level, but the problem lies in that Golarion likes to put all of their eggs in one basket in regards to how non-human cultures work. Goblins being a core race will only truly work when Golarion divorces itself from the "always chaotic evil" trope, which is one of the few things that holds it back as a setting.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Some caveats:
1) I only play with my actual, real-life friends, so PFS and/or randos who ruin games by using in-game excuses to act like jerks aren't an issue for me.
2) I'm perpetual GM for Pathfinder with my friends.
3) I don't take the Golarion setting details very seriously beyond whatever the adventure is.
4) I don't take alignment very seriously. Unless you're high level, alignment has almost no mechanical effect in my games. Unless it's an extraplanar race (as in, literally from a heaven/hell plane kind of outsider), everyone exists on a sliding scale where alignment represents a strong tendency that doesn't somehow negate the subjectivity of experience.
5) I've run evil campaigns, and they've been as delightful as good campaigns, because my friends aren't actually horrible people.
6) One of my favorite things about Pathfinder 1.0 and D&D 3.x races was the varying mechanical benefits and the flavor they implied, so I've tended to have a lot of monstrous races anyway.
7) PCs/high level NPCs are not representative of general society. They are outliers by significance, if nothing else.

So I'm all for goblins as PCs. They're fine. They offer interesting story hooks out of the gate, or you can largely handwave it without worry. One of my friends is playing a goblin rogue (unchained) in my current campaign, and he wears a cap of human guise, and that's basically the only nod to the "uncivilized" nature of goblins in the campaign because it's not a central issue of the party. The half-orc alchemist (with Derro blood, a third eye, four monstrous graft arms, wings, and a tentacle) is far more concerning anyway.

I've never really liked the approach that all members of any given race act in accordance to someone's perception of what alignment means, rather than in their own rational (to their cultural experience and education) self-interest. Goblins, by their sheer implicit numbers as adversaries, make sense to produce a number of adventurers that break from the mold of their society to respect the power of those PC parties that seem to slaughter goblins at the beginning of so many campaigns.

An interesting side effect of all of these combinations is when I ran Kingmaker (when it was new, although, sadly, due to time commitments of some players we only made it through half of the APs). The players opted to do an "evil" campaign, albeit with core races, and they ended up recruiting a lot of unexpected characters that would otherwise be adversaries. Some (the main antagonists to the plot) had utterly incompatible agendas, and could not be convinced to join, but others found themselves intrigued by the offer to participate in the creation of a kingdom where its citizens were judged by their work, not their race. Random encounters became interesting puzzles of diplomacy and specific motivations any time the being was sapient, instead of just battles against irredeemable monsters. Also, the king had optimized for diplomacy and had maxed Charisma as a spellcasting stat, plus good rolls helped there too.

It was kind of like a weird, twisted version of the American colonial melting pot, except that instead of freeing religious persecution they fled alignment persecution, and instead of killing the wolves they recruited the worg and later made him their royal assassin.

I get why people don't like goblins as PCs, but if you're playing with cool people it shouldn't be an issue. If every goblin is irredeemable in your universe, I'm honestly a little sad. History has produced enough evil when people have insisted that the "other" side is just a bunch of savages. Why would a fantasy world that is so obviously dependent on those old societal stereotypes need to also make them uniformly correct? What's interesting about that?


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Friendly Rogue wrote:


Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

Actually, Half-Orcs do have that reputation. Its why their stat bonuses are the way they are. Osirian half-orcs don't which is why their stat bonuses aren't anti-social in the least.


Dragon78 wrote:

I was hoping for another class reveal.

Still doesn't make sense to add goblins as core. Plus their movement is only 25 not 30.

Ancestry feats sound a little weak, hopefully they scale by level.

Humans also now have 25 foot movement (according to Glass Cannon)


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Not sure how much my voice will be heard as I've already been pretty vocal in my disinterest of PF2E, but as someone that always digs really deep into the lore of the campaign settings that I play, I want to add my voice to the din that disapproves of adding goblins as a Core race. I even played a goblin PC in our Iron Gods campaign, and he was a fantastic addition to the party! But Golarion goblins, by and large, are so nasty, evil, and vicious, that this is a MASSIVE retcon to attempt to push onto people. Even your newer gamers, who we've all heartily pointed towards Rise of the Runelords as the "gold standard" of Adventure Paths, are aware that this is just not a good fit.

I really hope that you'll listen to what your passionate gamers are saying and reconsider putting goblins in the CRB as a core race. Absolutely introduce them as a playable race in future material, but leave them out of Core.


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I don't see what all the fuss is all about. 4e didn't include gnomes. With PF2, you at least get all the traditional core races.

Better to have one too many races than you want as core, than to have one missing.

I see this as a marketing strategy, to be honest. All the young people I show this game to WANT TO BE A GOBLIN. The Free RPG Day modules had what, 4 or 5 goblin modules? Must be because they're so popular. And it highlights the ability to make "anything you want" in Pathfinder, while D&D has hewn to many of the usual fantasy tropes.


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TOZ wrote:
I would like to think that after a decade, Pathfinder is more than 'b*%$%*$ crazy goblin pyros'.

No doubt there is many other options they could use instead. But in their own words they are emphasizing "popularity of existing trope" while then spending word count to water down that trope. Sounds like goblin logic to me. ;-)

As somebody touched upon, take away what makes a goblin a goblin, and why not just say your Gnome PC has green skin? Obviously anybody can play against trope, but the Core Rules dwelling on it is simply under-mining and watering down the trope. Because now players will have as much or more experience with functional socialized Goblin PCs or NPCs as traditional Paizo Goblins. That is reality of including them as Core Race, I assume they would receive Ancestry stats in P2E B1 regardless.


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Lily Moore wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

Actually, Half-Orcs do have that reputation. Its why their stat bonuses are the way they are.

Half-orcs have a reputation of being intimidating and brutish because they have heritage to an always chaotic evil race, but even then that reputation is only seen in Avistan, while in Gerund half-orcs are more respected. Even in Avistan, their reputation isn't so heavily ingrained in evil that they're tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on sight unless a human or elf is able to vouch for them. Besides, there's a difference between being seen as intimidating and being seen as a baby murderer who likes to burn down orphanages.

Listen, not all of us are trying to say that Goblin PCs are a bad idea, and we all have examples to attest for that. Their inclusion as a core race is where people are having issues, because its implications are extremely antithetical to how Goblins are and have been portrayed ever since Pathfinder's beginnings. Unless Paizo made a sweeping retcon of Golarion that got rid of not only Goblins being always chaotic evil, but virtually every monstrous race being chaotic evil, their inclusion as a core race sticks out like a sore thumb.

Shadow Lodge

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Quandary wrote:
Because now players will have as much or more experience with functional socialized Goblin PCs or NPCs as traditional Paizo Goblins. That is reality of including them as Core Race, I assume they would receive Ancestry stats in P2E B1 regardless.

Good.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

So is anybody else planning on playing a Goblin PC in Return of the Runelords, or in the heretofore unnanounced AP that follows it (which is reportedly "a doozy") to establish a Goblin as one of the great heroes of Golarion, at least in your particular version thereof?

I mean "a particular goblin saves the world in a particularly showy way" is going to change a lot of people's minds, both in terms of how people think of goblins and in terms of how goblins see themselves.

Funny thing. In our RotR campaign, we actually had something like that. Our group saved Chief Ripnugget instead of killing him, dunno why, maybe we found it hilarious when he begged for mercy or whatever. In any case, our GM went on with it, and made it so that he wanted to be an adventurer like us. He started following Shalelu Andosana, to learn the ways of the Ranger!!! Several adventurers later, there he was, a level 11 Ranger with his lizard companion! He even formed a rival adventuring party with Shelalu and another NPC (a Pathfinder bard). His adventuring group helped us a lot during Sins of the Saviours!

Needless to say, he quickly became one the most memorable NPCs in our group history. Gotta thank my GM for that!

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
quillblade wrote:


Sure, players should be able to play goblins if they want to. That's what posting their playable stats in the Bestiary is for. I just disagree that they should be a core race - not when the core races are typically the campaign setting's baseline for what is considered 'normal folk' in the greatest majority of regions.

There aren't any orcs in Garund, but Half-Orcs are playable in Serpent's Skull.

There are goblins though, actually goblins are found all over Golarion. Goblins are more prevalent than half-orcs. Yet Half-Orcs are a core race. This argument does not hold water.


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Blog wrote:
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.

I foresee goblins becoming Golarion's kender. Annoying. Conflicting with the potential feel and seriousness of a campaign, and an undying question as to why on earth any civilised society would allow these creatures to live amongst them.

I'm not as worried about goblins losing their distinctive feeling. I continue to remain skeptical as to how as a GM I'm meant to portray the world in a way where goblins as a race continue to act like goblins and yet the "special exception" PCs are permitted to stay in the town inn, shop at the local blacksmith and walk the streets within arm reach of women and children.

At this point I'd have an easier time integrating dragonborn into Golarion then I would PC goblins.

Blog wrote:
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
Blog wrote:
fearlessly devour meals that might turn others' stomachs

I do not look forward to the goblin trying to eat intelligent creatures that have been killed on the battlefield. I would also be extremely surprised if we reached level 3 without it happening at least once.

I don't anticipate me voluntarily gaming at the table with another goblin PC also at the table. I was hoping I could use goblins for other campaign settings, but the Golarion flavour seems way too infused into the race to make that easy.

John Ryan 783 wrote:
I have only ever seen [goblins] played as Kender light.

Good to see I'm not the only one seeing this similarity.

Fuzzypaws wrote:
From a marketing standpoint I understand why you are adding goblins, they are associated with Paizo far more than that golem is. But from an in setting standpoint, there is way too much handwave.

Did hell freeze over? Me and Fuzzypaws actually agree on something.

Kate Baker wrote:
Will goblin PCs be able to read? I’m really hoping to make a goblin wizard!

Of course. Your a PC. Racial restrictions or behaviours don't apply to you. Grab whatever mechanics you want and just slap some flavour onto it and call it a day. [/s]

PossibleCabbage wrote:
For all the people saying "no goblins in my games" did y'all not have players itching to play some of the weirdest stuff in PF1?

Sure. And in campaigns where it made sense based on how that race behaves and exists in the setting I allowed them.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
If you can handle PCs who are Androids, Tieflings, Gathlains, Ghorans, Ratfolk, Wyvarans, Nagaji, Tengu, Hobgoblins, Astomoi, Cecaelias, Merfolk, Strix, etc. then you can handle PC goblins.

I can handle androids, tieflings (in some campaigns), ghoran, ratfolk, nagaji, tengu. No idea what gathlains, wyvarans, astomoi and cecaelias are. Dunno how merfolk integrate into the setting while hobgoblins and strix are not permitted as PCs.

PossibleCabbage wrote:
Frankly "everybody freaks out at the monster in the party" gets tedious fast so you stop doing it if you even bothered to start.

That's easily done: Don't play a monster if you don't want the world reacting to you as if you were a monster.

Crayon wrote:
I'm confused by the concept of flexible stat boosts. If the intent is to eliminate the consequences of choosing particular Class/Ancestry combinations, surely it could be achieved more easily by omitting stat adjustments in the first place...

Agreed. Give everyone an extra 8 points for ability scores and call it a day.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
By the by, any intelligent creature being considered a pest fit only for extermination is racism on the part societies unable to consider that intelligent creatures are able to make free-willed choices.

Remember this everytime you see a group of orcs in the wilderness. If your presumption is they'll attack you (and yet you wouldn't have that presumption if you saw a group of dwarves up ahead) than you are playing a racist.

Leyren wrote:
But will they be part of the final Core Rulebook?

100% guaranteed goblins are in the final core rulebook as a PC race. We are getting zero language that this is up for debate. I do hope the rest of the choices Paizo have made about the new edition aren't as set in stone. But to be honest I'm getting pretty doubtful at this point.

TheFinish wrote:
Can I ask why the opinions in setting have changed?

Marketing. Just as Dragonborn were pushed for marketing reasons in D&D 4e so will goblins for Pathfinder 2nd edition.

cartmanbeck wrote:
I personally have no real issue with this decision. It's their game, after all.

My issue is coming from the perspective of someone who would like to play the new edition of a game they've enjoyed for quite some time now.

knightnday wrote:
otherwise [goblins as a PC race] falls pretty low on my list of "Things that bother me about 2E"

Agreed. My biggest red flag is the whole "they're now in the game. Get over it" attitude coming from players as well as the "this is happening. We hope you like it" attitude from the developers. That's the most concerning thing about this blog post and the follow up comments.

Mogo the Goblin wrote:
Not Goblins fault if Longshanks don't like to share food, and will chase goblins over bridges to get their sheepies and piggos back.

This is exactly the sort of roleplay I expect goblins as PCs to encourage and is exactly the sort of thing I don't enjoy at my table.

Dragon78 wrote:

Well if goblins can be core, why not let orcs be core instead of half-orcs?

You can always have half-orcs through ancestry feats with humans or orcs;)

Marketing potential is nowhere near as strong with orcs.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
there's this idea of genetic determinism that bothers me. Because you are a goblin you must be evil.

Most people don't have a problem with some goblins not being evil. The problem is how the rest of the world acts towards goblins based on how goblins typically act towards them. But you're tired with NPCs treating monstrous races as monsters so it makes sense you wouldn't see that as a problem.


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Oh man, i really didn’t think that anything else to come out leading up to the play test would lead to anything as hilarious as the backlash to resonance that some people had, but wow this level of personal affront that some of you are feeling from this post is next level. The fact that the creators of the game you are arguing over saying that Goblins being more common and acceptable as a PC race is not enough justification is just... Wow.

It is literally not going to have any negative impact on the game, if a player in your group creates one it is literally not going to have any negative impact on you personally. This waving pitchforks and torches and DEMANDING Paizo give an explanation that meets your satisfaction is the height of bad fandom. Thank Gygax none of the source books have ever mentioned a limited edition Chicken nugget sauce...

Grand Lodge

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2.0 is going to be so cool!!! Can't wait for the Playtest to get here!


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I imagine that any person in the Inner Sea is more likely to be killed by a human than any other creature. Humans like Nex and Geb have permanently scarred a part of the world. Cheliax, a human nation, worships devil's and is a major source of slavery in the region.

So what? It is in pretty bad taste to have sentient beings be viewed as 'always evil', and having goblins as core most certainly helps shed that unneeded vestige. Half-orc was a slight step in the right direction, but was ultimately dragged down by the 'as long as they are part human' implication.

I say this is a good idea for setting certain assumptions in the setting.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
quillblade wrote:


Sure, players should be able to play goblins if they want to. That's what posting their playable stats in the Bestiary is for. I just disagree that they should be a core race - not when the core races are typically the campaign setting's baseline for what is considered 'normal folk' in the greatest majority of regions.

There aren't any orcs in Garund, but Half-Orcs are playable in Serpent's Skull.

There are goblins though, actually goblins are found all over Golarion. Goblins are more prevalent than half-orcs. Yet Half-Orcs are a core race. This argument does not hold water.

There's plenty of Orcs in Garund man. The fact they're not seen as one of main threats to other people there is why Half-Orcs from the area (Sandkin) aren't treated with as much distrust as in other places.


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The "We Be Goblins" series are so popular that this really should come as no surprise to anyone. I'm more concerned that Damiel got booted out of his iconic role.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
My biggest red flag is the whole "they're now in the game. Get over it" attitude coming from players as well as the "this is happening. We hope you like it" attitude from the developers. That's the most concerning thing about this blog post and the follow up comments.

It is DEFINITELY an interesting experience to be on the other side this time around.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
John Lynch 106 wrote:
DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


By the by, any intelligent creature being considered a pest fit only for extermination is racism on the part societies unable to consider that intelligent creatures are able to make free-willed choices.
Remember this everytime you see a group of orcs in the wilderness. If your presumption is they'll attack you (and yet you wouldn't have that presumption if you saw a group of dwarves up ahead) than you are playing a racist.

Jokes on you, my players assume anyone they see in the wilderness is going to try to kill them. They are adventurers after all.

In my Jade Regent campaign the tiefling paladin nearly got eaten by a pair of dwarf cannibals living near the Crown of the World.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

This should be cool. I've had plenty of players whose characters were pyromaniacs who saw fire as the easiest solution any to (every) problem that some of them might be goblins wouldn't make the tiniest difference.


Friendly Rogue wrote:
Lily Moore wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

Actually, Half-Orcs do have that reputation. Its why their stat bonuses are the way they are.

Half-orcs have a reputation of being intimidating and brutish because they have heritage to an always chaotic evil race, but even then that reputation is only seen in Avistan, while in Gerund half-orcs are more respected. Even in Avistan, their reputation isn't so heavily ingrained in evil that they're tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on sight unless a human or elf is able to vouch for them. Besides, there's a difference between being seen as intimidating and being seen as a baby murderer who likes to burn down orphanages.

Not really no. Half Orc fluff is so much worst because Paizo in their infinite wisdom decided to be edgy in a serious way that makes half-orcs so much more worst.


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Cuttlefist wrote:

Oh man, i really didn’t think that anything else to come out leading up to the play test would lead to anything as hilarious as the backlash to resonance that some people had, but wow this level of personal affront that some of you are feeling from this post is next level. The fact that the creators of the game you are arguing over saying that Goblins being more common and acceptable as a PC race is not enough justification is just... Wow.

It is literally not going to have any negative impact on the game, if a player in your group creates one it is literally not going to have any negative impact on you personally. This waving pitchforks and torches and DEMANDING Paizo give an explanation that meets your satisfaction is the height of bad fandom. Thank Gygax none of the source books have ever mentioned a limited edition Chicken nugget sauce...

You're missing the point, and frankly are being insulting. Most, if not all of the people that are being vocal about their concerns didn't mind, if not flat out enjoyed Goblin PCs in P1e. Their inclusion as a core race (as in common enough all around the inner sea so that their presence in the general populous won't be immediately met with aggression) does not fit the same image of Goblins that Players and GMs alike have been given by countless adventure paths and inner sea guides, where they literally eat babies.

Trying to hand wave their inclusion as a core race as "oh they're good now" despite their chaotic evil reputation makes no sense in world, and it does have a negative impact on Golarion-set games, as core races have very distinct implications as to how common and generally socially accepted they are, and throughout Pathfinder's entire run, even before P1e was even released, the image of the Goblin goes against the implications of what classifies as a core race in Golarion.

Also, you trying to frame this as everyone who has issues with this is taking it as a personal affront is extremely inflammatory, and doesn't do anything but make vitriol regarding the subject worse than it already is.

EDIT: I would like to clarify; I don't mind the idea of Goblins being a core race (I don't use Golarion in my home games so Golarion's depiction of them isn't a personal problem for me) if, before P2e comes out, there's a justification as to how their depiction in Golarion has changed. I don't want it to go from "goblins are the most hated thing on the planet" to "goblins, while distrusted, are becoming more and more common in everyday society" without an explanation as to why this happened in such a short amount of time.

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Dire Ursus wrote:
Personally I'm excited to have goblins in core. Not sure what the fuss is about. Goblin PCs have been available in 1e for quite some time. Have you guys really run into many problematic goblin PCs in your games? I haven't.

The problem is two-fold:

1) There's tons of exotic races that are way more common and accepted as adventurers. If goblins will appear as a core race, then other such races should be core, too, like kobolds, catfolk, Tian Xia races, etc.

2) Making goblins a core race undermines the novelty of goblin PCs, which is supposed to be unusual as they're usually monsters.

Making goblins a core race only makes sense from a marketing perspective.


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Have to say, I like this.

Goblin Heroic PCs have been ingame for a long time; it makes SENSE they'd inspire others of their race to try it, too.

This is our own legacy. It's to all the goblin PCs who inspired them and showed them a different way. It isn't Drizzt.

It also throws open the door for more story, and development, in future APs as to where this goes!


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

Mmmm.

I can't help but thinking this does two things:
1} dilutes the intrinsic value of PF goblins as psychotic evil balls of fun.
2} enables players to play a race that fundamentally isn't the race they want to play (psychotic evil balls of fun).

Where's the win? As described, these aren't PF goblins. That's not what players are being provided.

I'm sorry, but this isn't going to be usable as-written at my table. And the lore enhancement that codifies pseudo-civilized goblins as anything more than a statistical anomaly also won't be used by us, leaving us with goblins=awesomesauce.

TL;DR... diminishes NPC goblins, adds goblin-skinned non-goblins PCs. I see no benefit here.


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MadScientistWorking wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Lily Moore wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

Actually, Half-Orcs do have that reputation. Its why their stat bonuses are the way they are.

Half-orcs have a reputation of being intimidating and brutish because they have heritage to an always chaotic evil race, but even then that reputation is only seen in Avistan, while in Gerund half-orcs are more respected. Even in Avistan, their reputation isn't so heavily ingrained in evil that they're tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on sight unless a human or elf is able to vouch for them. Besides, there's a difference between being seen as intimidating and being seen as a baby murderer who likes to burn down orphanages.

Not really no. Half Orc fluff is so much worst because Paizo in their infinite wisdom decided to be edgy in a serious way that makes half-orcs so much more worst.

And that, my friend, is precisely why the concept of Goblins being a core race is so controversial right now. The early desire to make Golarion edgy and gritty is now backfiring, as the attempt to make big movements beyond that is starting to result in serious conflicts in the setting's canonical depictions of "always chaotic evil" races.


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TOZ wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Because now players will have as much or more experience with functional socialized Goblin PCs or NPCs as traditional Paizo Goblins. That is reality of including them as Core Race, I assume they would receive Ancestry stats in P2E B1 regardless.
Good.

Sure, you can think that is good. But that is watering down the existing trope. Whose existing popularity/recognizability was sole reason for making them Core. If the popularly recognized trope is to be watered down, then the rationale for inclusion is watered down. Leaving the case for other races stronger.

Unless your goal is to water-down recognizable features of Pathfinder/Golarion. Which doesn't seem like a goal people with engagement with Pathfinder/Golarion would have, considering other games/systems can pull off fantasy RPG without recognizable Golarion tropes just fine. Which is why I previously wrote, to the extent this strategy works for Paizo, it indicates Golarion is not actually strong brand, despite them positing it as central to their company.


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Actually the best thing I've seen so far for 2e. The ancestry feats are cool (like making junk versions of objects) and the fluff is fun.

Idc that "it's different". Different that yields neat things is something I can work with.


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Some GMs don't like the Leadership feat and don't allow it in their campaigns.
Some GMs don't like Goblins as a playable core race and don't allow it in their campaigns, because they prefer to keep them as antagonists instead.
It really isn't harder than that. If you can't move past that hurdle I dont' think PF2 is going to be for you and I see no reason why you would keep harping on about it. It's not going to mechanically affect the rest of the game.
Can we move on and look at the actual rules aspects revealed in the blog?


Both sides of this little spat are quite silly.
I'm going to go make popcorn. No, wait! Lasagna...

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PossibleCabbage wrote:

For all the people saying "no goblins in my games" did y'all not have players itching to play some of the weirdest stuff in PF1?

If you can handle PCs who are Androids, Tieflings, Gathlains, Ghorans, Ratfolk, Wyvarans, Nagaji, Tengu, Hobgoblins, Astomoi, Cecaelias, Merfolk, Strix, etc. then you can handle PC goblins.

Frankly "everybody freaks out at the monster in the party" gets tedious fast so you stop doing it if you even bothered to start.

See, part of the problem is that we can't play any of those races because they won't be core.

Yet goblins will be.

Despite the other races being infinitely more commonplace as adventurers and residents of major cities.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Never realized Goblins were such a hot-button issue.

Since I don't use the Golarion setting, I've moved almost all the "always evil" races into the "complicated" category in my home games, as we tend to find fantasy's moral absolutism a bit boring.

I'll say that I find the charisma bonus a little odd, as well as the 25 foot speed. Maybe most races have a base speed of 20 feet now though, so Goblins are still faster. As for the mental score, I would have honestly gone with intelligence. I'm not a fan of all the small races having a charisma bonus (unless of course that's changed in PF2). Goblins are definitely a clever bunch, even if they reject writing and standard academia. It would be neat to have a race that challenges what an intelligence bonus actually means.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Goblins rule! And they can read, but according to the lore, it is taboo. It put words in brain.


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Friendly Rogue wrote:
MadScientistWorking wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:
Lily Moore wrote:
Friendly Rogue wrote:


Dwarves aren't known for eating babies. Elves don't have a reputation for despising dogs. Half-orcs, despite being discriminated against in most human cultures, do not hold the reputation of being disruptively anti-social.

Actually, Half-Orcs do have that reputation. Its why their stat bonuses are the way they are.

Half-orcs have a reputation of being intimidating and brutish because they have heritage to an always chaotic evil race, but even then that reputation is only seen in Avistan, while in Gerund half-orcs are more respected. Even in Avistan, their reputation isn't so heavily ingrained in evil that they're tarred and feathered and ridden out of town on sight unless a human or elf is able to vouch for them. Besides, there's a difference between being seen as intimidating and being seen as a baby murderer who likes to burn down orphanages.

Not really no. Half Orc fluff is so much worst because Paizo in their infinite wisdom decided to be edgy in a serious way that makes half-orcs so much more worst.
And that, my friend, is precisely why the concept of Goblins being a core race is so controversial right now. The early desire to make Golarion edgy and gritty is now backfiring, as the attempt to make big movements beyond that is starting to result in serious conflicts in the setting's canonical depictions of "always chaotic evil" races.

I see these few goblins are those inspired by heroic, adventuring PCs. That is, they're the result of you or I striding forward and adventuring. That SUCCESS fills their eyes with WOW, I could do that!

Their cousins aren't ready for this, not yet. But, they're the trend setters. The vanguard. APs will explore this further, and the heroic actions of more goblin PCs are now in a position to drive it.

Does that help?

Shadow Lodge

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As a player race they lose a lot of the clear cut, black and white evil that makes for low level iconic villains. Shades of gray, while increasingly popular in our ever more politically correct world, are best used sparingly in rpgs. A clearly defined villain with clear goals is simply a better story to tell, a shades of gray villain with justifiable but debatable motivation is fun on occasion but becomes tedious or loses its impact when recycled 1000 times. Races like goblins, kobolds, mites are seen as evil for a reason - it provides a clear, defined opponent for the GAME, to allow you to tell a story of heroic adventure. Race has little meaning in the real world because humans are one race, artificially segregated by skin tone, belief etc. in a fantasy game race is a very real, significant divide.

As for kill on sight - isn’t that the fate many, many dnd races; red dragons are a race of dragons who are inherently evil because they’re chromatic not metallic? Gnolls are a race, should every adventurer negotiate on the off chance these will be the “playable” exceptions, perhaps just misunderstood? Surely all the tales of gnolls are just stories and we should look beyond them to impose our own belief systems on gnolls.

I think adding new core is nice to spice it up but goblins probably belong in a section of the new monster manual dedicated to playable races.

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