Meet the Iconics: Fumbus

Friday, March 1, 2019

Born in Isger's Chitterwood, Fumbus's early life was practically idyllic, at least by goblin standards. The Chitterwood has been largely left to the goblins since the end of the Goblinblood Wars nearly twenty years ago, its goblin inhabitants now free of the militant influence of their hobgoblin cousins, most of whom were eradicated or driven out of Isger at the closing of the war.

Fumbus had the honor of serving as apprentice to the Fire-Eater goblin clan's chief pickle-maker, a position which gave him a fair amount of standing amongst his kin. Unfortunately, Fumbus had a particular penchant for experimentation that led to spectacular failures as often as it led to new delicacies. When a particularly unstable batch of "spicy pickle brine" exploded in the middle of the Fire-Eater encampment, Fumbus fled the Chitterwood, fearing that the reprisal from his fellow goblins for destroying both the clan's precious pickle barrel and a significant supply of cucumbers would be swift and violent.

Illustration by Wayne Reynolds

Fumbus's initial forays into the wider world were truly terrifying. Scavenging from human farms usually ended poorly, as vicious dogs and horrifying horses would bite, chase, or stomp the poor goblin if they caught wind of his presence. The humans themselves were often even more terrifying, and Fumbus found himself fleeing pitchfork-wielding mobs with stolen, smelly shoes (easiest to find without a light and useful as either food or clothing) tucked under one arm far more often than he found a safe place to fill his belly and sleep. Fumbus's life likely would have ended at the hands of one of these mobs had he not encountered a passing half-orc Pathfinder named Droven whose initial reaction to the little goblin was humor, rather than fear or violence. Used to dealing with a certain amount of prejudice and distrust himself, Droven dissuaded the mob from pursuing their vendetta against the goblin and allowed Fumbus to accompany him on his mission.

Droven's heroics entranced young Fumbus, particularly the alchemical fire and other concoctions the half-orc used to defeat his opponents. When Droven completed his mission for the Pathfinder Society, he brought Fumbus back with him to Absalom. Droven helped secure a home for the little goblin in the Puddles district, where Fumbus's presence would be less likely to cause a stir, and shared what he knew of alchemy with the eager goblin. While Fumbus was terrified at the thought of needing to write down formulas, his mind was sharp and he quickly mastered the art of reading; to Fumbus, collecting these foolishly discarded thoughts was no different than surviving off the trash and scraps left on the outskirts of towns and cities. Fumbus came up with his own system for creating and remembering formulas using small tokens engraved with pictographic runes and a series of leather cords, which he would use to bind certain ingredients in specific orders. Together these implements allowed him to practice alchemy without risking his goblin soul or precious thoughts by performing the obscene act of writing anything down. Of further benefit to Fumbus, his new home's location in the Puddles allows the little goblin to experiment with all manner of inflammable and unstable concoctions with little fear of wreaking destruction beyond the building's water-logged rooms.

Droven offered to sponsor Fumbus into the Pathfinder Society, but the goblin was so impressed by Droven that he truly believed he would not be able to pass the Society's rigorous entry exams. Determined to prove himself, Fumbus busily applied his time and energy to creating new alchemical formulas and perfecting his system for recording his discoveries. As Fumbus's confidence grew, he began to believe that perhaps he might find a place in the Pathfinder Society after all. Skulking through the alleys of Absalom, Fumbus made his way to the Grand Lodge. Upon his arrival, Fumbus learned that Droven had left on a mission several weeks ago and was overdue to report in; his ship was believed lost at sea. Droven had left a letter of sponsorship as well as some funds to secure the goblin a chance to learn at the Society's institutions but Fumbus was unwilling to begin his training without the half-orc present.

Months have passed and Droven has still not returned. Fumbus spends his time perfecting his alchemy, seeking news of his lost friend, and looking for opportunities to ingratiate himself to the Pathfinder Society, despite multiple assurances from the Society's members and leadership that Fumbus's welcome was already secured by his half-orc friend. Something in Fumbus's mind refuses to let go of the idea that he must prove himself to be a worthy explorer of the same caliber as Droven, whose heroics and skill are unmatched in Fumbus's view. The little goblin has made a decision that he holds sacrosanct: he will earn his entrance to the Society by either finding his friend Droven and bringing the half-orc home, or by performing a truly heroic act worthy of the reputation Droven holds in Fumbus's own eyes.

Michael Sayre
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Anguish wrote:

Can we stop sullying Mr. Sayre nice canon fiction thread with yet another going-nowhere debate about the wisdom of the decision that enabled said fiction to exist?

Mkaythanx.

My only regret is that I have but one + to give.


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Frankly, all this bile over a fictional intelligent species creeps me out like hell. And the 10 year old me thought the 21st century would be a more welcoming era than the one before...


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Still not probably going to allow goblin PCs in standard games. Only for things like Skull & Shackles, where off-the-wall races are okay.
But not where the party is spending a lot of time in, say, Magnimar. Where either the goblin is going to be killed or arrested. Or, I have to pretend goblins are suddenly accepted in society because there was an edition change.

Liberty's Edge

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Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
Still not probably going to allow goblin PCs in standard games. Only for things like Skull & Shackles, where off-the-wall races are okay.

That's a reasonable position depending on circumstances.

Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
But not where the party is spending a lot of time in, say, Magnimar. Where either the goblin is going to be killed or arrested.

Uh...Magnimar has goblins as unofficial sewer cleaners. They are disliked but tolerated for the most part. A PC group having one as a 'pet' is perfectly plausible.

Barnabas Eckleworth III wrote:
Or, I have to pretend goblins are suddenly accepted in society because there was an edition change.

The first PF2 AP has its first chapter in Isger. In-universe changes seem quite plausible.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Cole Deschain wrote:
I suppose, then, that it's good thing the iconic goblin is presented as a guy who... ISN'T a toxic party-wrecker, then.

Which will matter for the minority of players who ever actually see that character description.

Cole Deschain wrote:
"but the rulebook says" requires the rulebook to actually say things, after all.

Which is why I premised my position on "as presented in the playtest rules". If the PF2 CRB presents goblins the way they were in the playtest, they are going to be solidly in GM permission territory at my table.

If they are presented differently, then things are likely going to be different.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Gnomes are already pretty easy to play as kender/the most annoying and disruptive PC possible. If Goblins are not available peeople inclined to do this will just play a Gnome.

There is a difference between "if you want to be a dick, this fits," and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Really, having something not be core because 'some players will use this as an excuse to be a dick' is a profoundly dumb idea.

It's also a strawman.

Liberty's Edge

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Chakat Firepaw wrote:
There is a difference between "if you want to be a dick, this fits," and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.

Goblins are not written that way, though. Not in the PF2 playtest, and presumably not in the final version.

Chakat Firepaw wrote:
It's also a strawman.

It is not. People have directly said some people will use goblins as an excuse to be disruptive. Stating that I disagree with real opinions people have is not a strawman.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:
There is a difference between "if you want to be a dick, this fits," and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.
Goblins are not written that way, though. Not in the PF2 playtest, and presumably not in the final version.

Yeah, I just went and reread the Playtest goblin writeup, and frankly there isn't really anything there that I can see as encouraging party disrupting behavior. They mention things that might be seen as odd or gross, but nothing on the level of the "Steal your party member's stuff and then get all pissy when they call you on stealing, because that's suposedly adorable." thing for Kender. They eat gross stuff and make things out of garbage. Those are quirks, not really disruptive. "They like fire" is something that could probably be said about many PCs, particularly arcane casters and alchemists. There's nothing in there about cruelty, theft, cannibalism or any of the other anti-social behavior that could be problematic in a party. In fact it states that many goblins have given up on the problematic stuff because working well with others gives a better chance of survival, and the implication is that PC goblins will most likely be one of these. The worst I can see is a line about them often pulling pranks on friends, but these being done out of actual affection and not malice.

The bit about goblins following strong personalities and showing strong loyalties to those that helped them, are the kind of behaviors that actually encourage playing well with a party. They'll follow the leader, possibly try to emulate them and be protective of their friends.

I wasn't sold on core goblins when it was announced, but I've been finding it to be less and less of an issue. The one thing I'd probably change in the playtest writeup is the mention at the end that goblin adventurers typical worship Cayden Cailean. That just seems a bit sweeping for such a chaotic group. And because I figured a lot of good goblins will probably like Sarenrae. She's got fire, and the redemption angle would probably encourage her church to take them in.


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Doktor Weasel wrote:
The one thing I'd probably change in the playtest writeup is the mention at the end that goblin adventurers typical worship Cayden Cailean.

Speaking of long-term Core options that never show up at my table... <_<

And things that a griefing player could cheerfully abuse.

Silver Crusade

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Chakat Firepaw wrote:
Which will matter for the minority of players who ever actually see that character description.
The same could be said for the "minority" of people who look into other Golarion Goblin lore. And since he's an Iconic he's probably gonna be seen by more than a few.
Quote:
and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.

It most likely won't and even if it did that's a player issue that you as a GM have the full ability to resolve.

It's also a common sense thing. I can spend all my starting gold buying pizza ingredients and make pizza rather than adventure with everyone else trying to play, but that doesn't mean I should.


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Darrell Impey UK wrote:
Michael Sayre wrote:
SigmaBunny wrote:
So is Damiel still around or...?
I believe there will be a hint as to Damiel's new occupation in the back-matter of the very last book in the Tyrant's Grasp AP....
Zombie is an occupation now? (The new edition is changing more than I thougt...)

It's a living.


"WHY AM BUS-FUME HEAD SO SMALL!? BUS-FUME EARS NOT EVEN GO PASS ELBOWS! SMALL HEAD! SMALL HEAD! GOOD THING ICONIC FIGHTER RETA HERE! HOW YOU BLOCK MACE WITH HEAD SO SMALL!?"


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Cole Deschain wrote:
Doktor Weasel wrote:
The one thing I'd probably change in the playtest writeup is the mention at the end that goblin adventurers typical worship Cayden Cailean.

Speaking of long-term Core options that never show up at my table... <_<

And things that a griefing player could cheerfully abuse.

Ah Cayden Cailean. In Skull and Shackles, one of the PCs had been cursed, so they brought her to the temple the cleric worshipped at. Which was also a bar. Which led me to the npc saying my favorite line so far in an RPG. "So uh, what Ales you?"

Some things might be disruptive-or maybe it's just fun you weren't expecting


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:
There is a difference between "if you want to be a dick, this fits," and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.
Goblins are not written that way, though. Not in the PF2 playtest, and presumably not in the final version.

You've obviously never dealt with a character who has a prankster complex.

Rysky wrote:
Chakat Firepaw wrote:
Which will matter for the minority of players who ever actually see that character description.
The same could be said for the "minority" of people who look into other Golarion Goblin lore. And since he's an Iconic he's probably gonna be seen by more than a few.

No, he'll just be seen by the few that read the blog. Most players aren't going to see anything that isn't in the actual rule and setting books.

Rysky wrote:
Quote:
and "this is written in a way that some players will read it as being told to be a dick." The worry on some of out parts is that goblins are going to be the latter, the same way that kender were.
It most likely won't and even if it did that's a player issue that you as a GM have the full ability to resolve.

That it was possible for a GM to deal with the results did not change the fact that the way kender were described caused problems.

Rysky wrote:
It's also a common sense thing. I can spend all my starting gold buying pizza ingredients and make pizza rather than adventure with everyone else trying to play, but that doesn't mean I should.

You clearly didn't understand the distinction I was making there. For the analogy to work, it would have to involve something that implies (character type) has a constant desire for fresh pizza.

Liberty's Edge

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Chakat Firepaw wrote:
You've obviously never dealt with a character who has a prankster complex.

I assure you I have. People who want to play that kind of character will just do Gnomes if Goblins are unavailable. It isn't hard to justify if you're looking for justifications.

Chakat Firepaw wrote:
No, he'll just be seen by the few that read the blog. Most players aren't going to see anything that isn't in the actual rule and setting books.

Indeed. Rysky's point was that most people won't look at anything beyond the Corebook and possibly Bestiary...which as mentioned do not seem likely to include much in the way of problematic stuff for goblin players.

Chakat Firepaw wrote:
That it was possible for a GM to deal with the results did not change the fact that the way kender were described caused problems.

The point is that goblins are not described that way.

Chakat Firepaw wrote:
You clearly didn't understand the distinction I was making there. For the analogy to work, it would have to involve something that implies (character type) has a constant desire for fresh pizza.

No, I think that rather was the point. Since none of the things you seem concerned about are actually in the goblin write up people doing them would be almost as out of nowhere as the pizza thing.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Seriously, please take it somewhere else. Both sides of the fruitless argument.

Fumbus: cool.
Merits of goblins-in-core: not relevant here.
Disruptive players: not relevant here.


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Good to see at least one goblinoid/stereotypical evil bipedal humanoid race as a core race, although now I'm shipping for orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, lizardfolk, ratfolk and kobolds too -- perhaps in the first World Guide.

Moar options is betters!


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Fact is us Goblinz's iz er to stay so get used to it!


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Vexies wrote:
Fact is us Goblinz's iz er to stay so get used to it!

*waves hands in the air*

Testify!!!


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I didn't have strong feelings about goblins in core (other than it making it easier for We Be Goblin adventures) but my pathfinders will defend Fumbus with their lives.

Paizo Employee Franchise Manager

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AnimatedPaper wrote:
I didn't have strong feelings about goblins in core (other than it making it easier for We Be Goblin adventures) but my pathfinders will defend Fumbus with their lives.

And he will defend theirs!

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Mark Moreland wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I didn't have strong feelings about goblins in core (other than it making it easier for We Be Goblin adventures) but my pathfinders will defend Fumbus with their lives.
And he will defend theirs!

It's what Droven would do.


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Better if no one dies if it can be done?


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There's always that player that's going to be a nuisance no matter what. A prankster paladin (sorry, they're called champions now) is something interesting to see.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Albatoonoe wrote:
Besides the iconography of the Pathfinder goblin, it also firmly sets in people minds that "Evil races aren't always evil" which is a convention that Paizo has been trying to get away from the whole time.

With respect, Albatoone, which "whole time"?

The idea of "evil races aren't always evil" filled D&D 3rd Edition, from Eberron, where evil gods weren't always evil, and alignment was kept in the background, to products like "Ghostwalk" and "Savage Species" that allowed players to run all sorts of wicked monsters as party members.

Paizo reset the bar on evil races. Undead in Golarion were always evil. Drow were always evil. Chromatic dragons, hill giants, and, yes, goblins. Evil. Perverse. Nasty. "We be goblins; you be dead."

There are plenty of campaign worlds out there with shades of moral gray, where paladins can get away with breaking their vows and vampires are sometimes good guys. Where morally pure characters have to think twice when ogres and a manticore raid their supply train -- maybe the monsters are just defending their own territory, and isn't the term "monster" a little prejudicial, to be honest?

I appreciated that Golarion was a little simpler.

Liberty's Edge

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That's every bit as much a false narrative as the opposite.

Golarion focused on the typical rather than the atypical, in regards to traditionally Evil races, but it also always had exceptions to those rules, with a non-Evil Drow in Second Darkness itself, a LN vampire in City of Strangers, which came out in 2010, and =a host of other examples and options.

It was never as progressive in this regard as Eberron (which was more about moral relativism, anyway), but it was never a pure black or white situation like you're making it out to be either, and has been becoming progressively less so over time.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:

That's every bit as much a false narrative as the opposite.

Golarion focused on the typical rather than the atypical, in regards to traditionally Evil races, but it also always had exceptions to those rules, with a non-Evil Drow in Second Darkness itself, a LN vampire in City of Strangers, which came out in 2010, and =a host of other examples and options.

It was never as progressive in this regard as Eberron (which was more about moral relativism, anyway), but it was never a pure black or white situation like you're making it out to be either, and has been becoming progressively less so over time.

Also: Neutral undead in RotR... the first adventure. (Ok ok, they're on the verge of becoming evil, and pretty much act evil, but still)

And there have been citations of neutral or good goblins numerous times.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Elfteiroh wrote:


Also: Neutral undead in RotR... the first adventure. (Ok ok, they're on the verge of becoming evil, and pretty much act evil, but still)
And there have been citations of neutral or good goblins numerous times.

Krebble-Jeggle is a non-evil goblin who appeared in Pathfinder Chronicles: Dark Markets 11 years ago. The Bestiary notes on page 5 in the "Alignment, Size, and Type" entry that: "[...]alignment is far more fluid. [...] Only in the case of relatively unintelligent monsters [...] and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind) is the listed alignment relatively unchangeable."

Even in the "here's what's true about alignments for the creatures presented" section of the very first Bestiary, it establishes alignment variance across all types of creatures. Even outsiders get the "alignment isn't likely to change but it's still totally possible" line.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
Elfteiroh wrote:


Also: Neutral undead in RotR... the first adventure. (Ok ok, they're on the verge of becoming evil, and pretty much act evil, but still)
And there have been citations of neutral or good goblins numerous times.

Krebble-Jeggle is a non-evil goblin who appeared in Pathfinder Chronicles: Dark Markets 11 years ago. The Bestiary notes on page 5 in the "Alignment, Size, and Type" entry that: "[...]alignment is far more fluid. [...] Only in the case of relatively unintelligent monsters [...] and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind) is the listed alignment relatively unchangeable."

Even in the "here's what's true about alignments for the creatures presented" section of the very first Bestiary, it establishes alignment variance across all types of creatures. Even outsiders get the "alignment isn't likely to change but it's still totally possible" line.

Basrakal!

The city in the maelstrom that is mainly populated by Outsiders with divergent alignments is awesome. (And mainly founded by a CN Jinushigami [usually N])
The place where you could (theoretically) find a LG demon. :P


Wayne Reynolds wrote:
Great backstory Michael.

Great art Wayne! Is that a pickle barrel the little dude is lugging, or an overcomplicated bit of alchemical gear?


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thefreakachu wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:
Great backstory Michael.
Great art Wayne! Is that a pickle barrel the little dude is lugging, or an overcomplicated bit of alchemical gear?

In my mind, that's the same thing. Pickles are alchemy, delicious alchemy.


Doktor Weasel wrote:
thefreakachu wrote:
Wayne Reynolds wrote:
Great backstory Michael.
Great art Wayne! Is that a pickle barrel the little dude is lugging, or an overcomplicated bit of alchemical gear?
In my mind, that's the same thing. Pickles are alchemy, delicious alchemy.

I need the "delicious alchemy" thing in his goblin song. Which on that note...what is his goblin song?

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Peachbottom wrote:

I just can't get into a goblin as an iconic.

Goblins should have stayed in the bestiary with the other monsters. Fantasy worlds have long portrayed goblins are too irremediably evil to be trusted in a party and Pathfinder 1st edition was no exception. I'd find it very hard to accept one no matter what changes Paizo says happens between 1st and 2nd editions.

There is nothing wrong with the backstory article though, and I love Wayne Reynolds' art.

there have been goblin heroes in pathfinder for what 9 years now?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's a GobGob!!!!!
I am so happy to see that the goblins are getting core ancestry, hopfully that means the Orcs are not to far behind.

And as for the story of Fumbus.... it is so cute OMG I JUST WANNA HUG HIM AND HELP HIM FIND HIS FRIEND.


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Michael Sayre wrote:

Krebble-Jeggle is a non-evil goblin who appeared in Pathfinder Chronicles: Dark Markets 11 years ago. The Bestiary notes on page 5 in the "Alignment, Size, and Type" entry that: "[...]alignment is far more fluid. [...] Only in the case of relatively unintelligent monsters [...] and planar monsters (outsiders with alignments other than those listed are unusual and typically outcasts from their kind) is the listed alignment relatively unchangeable."

Even in the "here's what's true about alignments for the creatures presented" section of the very first Bestiary, it establishes alignment variance across all types of creatures. Even outsiders get the "alignment isn't likely to change but it's still totally possible" line.

THIS

IS

AWESOME!!


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If anyone has any doubt that goblins can be a civilized core race in PF2E, I gave up sugar last Friday and as of today I swing from simmering grouchy to murderously angry with little provocation. I haven't even given up all carbs, just sugar, and I'm still eating balanced meals regularly.

So I can clearly sympathize with those poor PF1E goblins whose stomachs are perpetually clamoring for food. Yes paladin orphanages and good role models are important, but I suspect that a large factor may be they all just needed to get access to regular non-garbage-y meals.

Silver Crusade

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

If anyone has any doubt that goblins can be a civilized core race in PF2E, I gave up sugar last Friday and as of today I swing from simmering grouchy to murderously angry with little provocation. I haven't even given up all carbs, just sugar, and I'm still eating balanced meals regularly.

So I can clearly sympathize with those poor PF1E goblins whose stomachs are perpetually clamoring for food. Yes paladin orphanages and good role models are important, but I suspect that a large factor may be they all just needed to get access to regular non-garbage-y meals.

*nod*

My irritability and hostility also drastically increase the hungrier I get.


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I worship coffee and coke and am usually considered civilized, so why not a goblin who thinks that strange geode is worthy of religious veneration?

Edit: also, fire is objectively awesome. Nothing to laugh at the poor goblins here.

Liberty's Edge

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Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

If anyone has any doubt that goblins can be a civilized core race in PF2E, I gave up sugar last Friday and as of today I swing from simmering grouchy to murderously angry with little provocation. I haven't even given up all carbs, just sugar, and I'm still eating balanced meals regularly.

So I can clearly sympathize with those poor PF1E goblins whose stomachs are perpetually clamoring for food. Yes paladin orphanages and good role models are important, but I suspect that a large factor may be they all just needed to get access to regular non-garbage-y meals.

I experienced exactly the same symptoms (and also gorging myself on fruits) and it took me some time to recognize them as withdrawal.

They subsided after a few weeks, but I really did not expect anything like this just from stopping sugar

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