Pathfinder: Goblins!

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Cover: Carlos Gomez
Writers: Adam Warren, Erik Mona, Carlos Soule, James L. Sutter, Ron Marz, Ray Fawkes, Jeremy Holt, F. Wesley Schneider, Oaul Allor, Eric Trautmann, Larry White
Art: Carlos Gomes, Shane White, Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque, Sean Izaakse, Lee Moder, Craig Rousseau, Jennifer Meyer, Christian Meesey, Jainai Jeffries, Adam Moore, Kevin Stokes

The goblins from Paizo's Pathfinder Roleplaying Game are pint-sized psychopaths, wreaking havoc across the land. Infamous for their unpredictable attacks, catchy raiding songs, hatred of dogs, and fear of horses, goblins blend mischief and murderousness like no other monsters. Collecting the entire Goblins comic book series, this fantastic collection includes an exclusive, eight-page bonus short story, as well as an extensive gallery of all cover illustrations and more than 20-pages of official Pathfinder Chronicles with world and character details (roleplaying game content, including gaming adventures and a fold-out map, perfect for miniatures)!

Pages: 168
ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-507-4

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Bad Art, Bad Stories



The hardcover edition of Pathfinder: Goblins! collects the complete limited series of the title (issues # 1-5) along with some bonus content such as variant covers, bonus entries of RPG content (such as new magic items and stat blocks for some of the characters in the comic), a new 8-page bookend story, and a removable poster map.

The comic has grown on me *slightly*. The first time I read it, I thought it was insipid drivel, the worst stuff that Paizo staff had ever been involved with. The second time I read it, for the purposes of this review, I found a couple of the stories (there are twelve spread across the five issues) mildly amusing. Still overall, the issues contain poor artwork, lazy plots, and feeble jokes. It's definitely the worst of the Pathfinder comics, and hasn't convinced me at all that goblins make good story protagonists or should be a core race. I would recommend skipping this one unless you're a completist like me.

A short, four-page prologue of goblins sitting around a campfire telling stories serves as a framing sequence for the tales that follow. The goblins in the prologue are entertaining, brutal, and perfect examples of why goblins should not be player characters! Apparently this framing sequence was added exclusively for the collection edition.

"The One-Eyed Goblin is King": The collection starts off well, with this tale about a group of beat-up, worn-down adventurers leaving a dungeon after an exhausting delve to recover an artifact: a lich's eye (in the shape of a d20!). The poor adventurers are set upon by goblins led by Mighty Warchief Guchkk, murdered, and eaten. The rest of the tale is about how the victorious goblins then turned on each other, one by one, for the power that the eye brings. There's an almost cartoonish level of violence here (popping out eyes, lopping off heads, and other gruesome displays) before the lich returns to get his eye back! It's funny, albeit on the silly side, and the artwork is solid.

"Prize Pupil": An interesting, albeit weird story set in Korvosa. A goblin named Gribbet has been taken on as a servant at a noble's house in Korvosa because it's the trendy thing to do. Alas, after biting the nobleman's daughter's hand off, Gribbet is imprisoned. But the nobleman was desirous of launching on a new business venture with his "reformarium" plan to train goblin servants. The rest of the tale is about how Gribbet steals a magical monocle that makes him more intelligent and able to read, and how he gets his fellow goblin trainees to join him in stealing intelligence-boosting elixirs so they all become smart. Gribbet ends up making a deal with the nobleman to work together to place goblin servants for theft and blackmail in various other noble houses in the city. It's a clever concept, though I don't really buy the premise that a single magic item and some elixirs are going to dramatically change goblin behavior. The cover to the first issue precedes this story, and it's awful.

"The Glorious Demise of Gurgle and Deep": Here we're introduced to members of the Longlungs tribe, pirate goblins who can hold their breath for a long time in order to dive deep in search of sunken treasure. The Longlungs make a deal with the Squidwhistlers to attack a passing ship, knowing that it'll actually end up sunk and they can recover it later. The plan seems to work, but the Longlungs don't realize the ship is carrying crates of alchemist supplies, and it explodes just when they reach it. It's a lot of work for one feeble joke.

"Magic Pig" A dumb story about a goblin chieftan who captures a huge pig that's pretty tough, so they consider it magical. The goblins kill a passing bard, and one takes his cloak of invisibility and begins doing hijinks with it. But when he tries to steal the "magic pig", it escapes and the goblin gets captured and penned in instead.

"To Read or Not to Read": A goblin finds a book and teaches himself to read and write! (if only it were so easy in real life). The goblin gets better and better at it, gradually improving until he can produce what are effectively spoofs of Shakespeare. But his stage production goes awry when a fire breaks out that burns him to death (and destroys his book). It's a cheap, dumb story that also features more people-eating! Really, there's a reason goblins have the reputation they have.

"The Way of the Goblin": Kupmuk, the smartest goblin of his tribe, tries to teach his fellows some basic combat strategy such as flanking. But when they attack a band of adventurers, the goblins all get slaughtered, with only Kupmuk lives to try again with another goblin horde. It's short and forgettable.

"The Gobbling Goblin": The legend of Kronkshaft, a fat goblin who eats anything and everything. There's a little twist at the end of the story, but my notes sum up the tale with "bad art, few words, hurried and lazy."

"Horsechopper": The cover art to issue # 4 precedes this story, and it's pretty cool, I have to admit. The story itself is one of the better ones in the collection, as a goblin tells his tribe about an epic battle against the Sandpoint Devil. The classic trick of mixing the goblin's words with pictures about what really happened (fleeing in terror from an ordinary horse) worked well. It's dumb-funny, but I'm okay with that.

"Ballad of Ak": Ak, a goblin who doesn't seem to be good at anything, ends up as his chief's errand-boy and punching bag. When the chief dies accidentally, Ak seizes control for about 10 seconds before the other goblins of the tribe try to kill him. The theme of the story is that Ak actually does have one talent: surviving. He escapes the tribe and several other dangers with his unerring skill to avoid getting himself killed. It's a pretty good little story. FYI, there's another people-eating scene: this time, the chieftan chomping down on a human infant!

"Legendary": The final tale is about an old goblin named Muttonchomp telling about his time in the Goblinblood Wars. Again, his narration of bravery and success is belied by images of what really happened.

The framing sequence ends with Valeros interrupting the campfire tales and driving the goblins off.


Variant covers are included, featuring a mix of pretty good and really bad art. There's nothing particularly remarkable or memorable.

Several two-page entries are included:

* "Gribbet's Guide to Getting Smarter": A description of the reformarium (from "Prize Pupil" above) and several new magic items. All of the items would be far too pricey to imagine goblins actually using.

* "Gribbet": Description and stat block. I think he'd make a good NPC informant in a campaign like Curse of the Crimson Throne.

* "What's in a Goblin Hoard and "Traveling Ted's Pack of Wonders": Two d100 tables of random crap or random magic items.

* "Chief Korgamorg": Description and stat block of a goblin chief (CR 4). His origin is pretty cute.

* "Goblin Stories": Three goblin fairy tales.

* "Flork Fumblepot": Description and stat block for a goblin who developed a taste for literature and eventually becomes a secret playwright. It's not a bad model for how a goblin could become a PC and (eventually) accepted into polite society.

* "Wormbelly Manor, a Goblin Haunting": A weird but interesting structure in Mosswood, with stat blocks for a couple of haunts. This would make a good side encounter for someone running one of the We Be Goblins modules.

* "Xoff, Sandpoint Devil Hunter": Description and stat block for a goblin ranger (CR 2) who has become his tribe's accepted expert on spooky things after his (fabricated) tales of encountering the Sandpoint Devil. Could make a good NPC. The writing in the entry is really funny (better than the comics themselves!).

* "The Art of War": Discussion of tactics that hobgoblins or bugbears use with their goblin troops in wartime. Mildly interesting.

* "Chief Ak": Stat block and description for Ak, the protagonist of the "Ballad of Ak" story (above).

Last, the collection edition comes with a pull out map of the location of goblin tribes around the Inner Sea. The map is the same one that appears in the Goblins of Golarion Player Companion, and having it as a pull-out doesn't add much value as it's not the sort of map that needs to be passed around the table or consulted frequently.

To sum up, there's a mildly amusing bit here and an interesting piece of back-matter there, but overall this a collection of badly written, badly drawn comics. There are a lot better options to spend your comics or Pathfinder money on.

The hardcover is using the Carlos Gomez cover from Issue #1. I think that's a great cover, and thematically appropriate for a hardcover compilation in that the book tends to be Goblins telling their stories, and that's what we see on the cover.

I like that the cover shows us goblins from the stories themselves. I'm going to have to think a bit to decide which cover I like more.

Edit: Sudden realization: The Carlos Gomez cover will be INSIDE the book too, I'm not sure that the exclusive hardcover image will be inside the book as well. That may make the decision for me...

Can't help but wait that they add some goodies for Goblin PCs.

What's the minimum age of the intended audience for this? On a scale of 1-4 how violent, sexy, vulgar is it? Would a 10 year old enjoy it?

Adventure Card Game Designer

Bucket wrote:
What's the minimum age of the intended audience for this? On a scale of 1-4 how violent, sexy, vulgar is it? Would a 10 year old enjoy it?

I'd say 10 is on the low end of appropriate. There's a lot of cartoony violence--goblins are known for their abundance and their ability to die in spectacular ways. Not particularly sexy or vulgar.

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