How do we civilize a tribe of goblins?


Advice


My party has found a tribe of friendly goblins. How do we civilize them? The goblins can make basic wooden/metal objects but do not know much more than that.

The goblins pretty much acknowledge my character as their ruler and are willing to do almost anything he says. They live in a cave complex under an old but still largely intact fort.

They have ready access to wood but not much else. My plan so far is to bring them up to the level of a standard human civilisation so that we can use the fort as a base of operations. That means teaching them how to cut down trees for lumber, carpentry, etc, etc...but i have no idea how to do any of that.

Dark Archive

Per the rules, they are just as smart as humans or dwarves, and, barring fluff stuff about terminal ADD, which has no actual mechanical effects, *should* be able to learn anything that doesn't require written instructions, as well as a human or dwarf.

Ideally, you should find out what they like, and steer them towards the least objectionable and most useful and productive of those activities. They like hoarding? Let them hoard stuff that isn't terribly important or destructive to others in the area, like shiny rocks or dried flowers or interesting bugs-pinned-to-a-board or whatever. They like singing? Teach them some songs that have less stuff about bashing babies on the head or killing dogs or making people soup, and more stuff about building forts and sharpening sticks and making big trees fall down and go boom. They like destroying stuff? Find stuff you want destroyed, like land that needs clearing, or an old ruin that needs to be dismantled so that you can use it's stones to fortify your own keep. They like fire with much burning? Teach them to forge steel, or fire bricks, or make charcoal, or smoke meats, or brew alchemist's fire or something.

A goblin generation is not a terribly long time (even barring 'accidents'), and getting their kids away from them is probably a great way to prevent the goblin children from picking up undesirable traits like rampant dog and horse hate, a taste for succulent babies, a habit of burning down everything in sight, superstitious illiteracy and using the salad fork (instead of the dinner fork) to stab the person next to them in the eye at a fancy dinner party, while laughing maniacally.

Still, that's based on the mechanics, where goblins have the same Int and Wis scores as most other 'civilized' races. If they are being portrayed according to the *flavor* of the race (closer to Wis 6 and with an Int score less than that of a mindless vermin, which at least knows enough not to poke itself in the eye with a burning stick *for fun*), my recommendation changes to 'kill them all, let Lamashtu sort them out.'


This in a custom setting, so the goblins probably arent exactly the same as golarion goblins...

But so far the goblins have been struggling to just survive, doing subsitence farming and domesticating giant ants. They are not warlike at all and the party has had to save them twice. DM says they are the descendants of some goblins that were used as slave labour and they are still pretty docile apparently.


If this is in Golarion you are in for a whole load of trouble.

Goblins are extremely curious and not very smart. Combine this with a love of fire and you get a very dangerous combination.

expect multiple dead goblins and a lot of damaged/broken equipment when trying to teach goblins to use any kind of new technology

in general working with goblins is applying murphy's law with extreme prejudice:

ANYTHING that CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong

I don't know how to go about it excatly, but you had better prepare for a lot of role-playing that is both very funny and very frustrating at the same time

grtz

Bart


Let me clarify, this isnt set in golarion.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Goblins have no penalty to intelligence or wisdom.


Make groups of goblins responsible for different tasks, preferably with some relevant skilled (cooking, farming, hunting, fighting, crafting) goblins in those groups (any ranks in profession etc). Make sure you get the basic needs covered and use the rest of the goblins for tasks you'd like to see done. Find out which ones you can use as groupleaders (but you're the boss, them being slave descendants) to ensure cooperation.

Train train train and make sure their lives improve both on the short term (reward them if needed) and the long term.


They actually do have a king.

The part im stuck on is how to teach them technology...things like how to make basic iron tools.

Party is currently comprised of a bard, a monk, a cleric and a cavalier. We also have a NPC dwarf fighter who can help to teach them things like masonry and oresmithing...but we need access to a iron deposit.


classic education, if they did good, give them chocolate, or a book to burn, if they did bad hit them over the head with a sap or kill them.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Are these goblins anything like golarion goblins at all? Without knowing their history, or culture,or anything, it is hard to give advice.


Im not sure how to describe culture...

Its basically a small tribe of goblins. The DM described them as having very basic chitin armor and spears with sharpened metal heads. They've just been trying to survive mainly, and they farm mushrooms and domesticated giant ants.

They seem pretty cowardly actually, and seems eager to hand decision making over to the party.


What a great roleplaying opportunity. You'll need the skills you want to impart, and plenty of diplomacy, perhaps some perform oratory. Push them towards good and not towards direction. Explain how the community can be made stronger and better protected.


Having attempted to do training as a part of my actual RL job, teaching people who have a working understanding of the basic concepts and moving them to the 'mid-range' concepts is pretty hard at times depending on what your trying to teach. It took my son 3 days to work out that the light in our car came on when the door opened, and that was with me almost constantly asking whenever it came on or off what changed or what did I just do before it went on/off. He still forgets that he's not allowed to touch the hot water tap when he's in the bath. I think I was in about grade 4 before I was allowed to write in pen not pencil.

So.... Question. How many ranks do you have in Profession (Teacher) or (Scholar)?

Cause I'd be calling for skill checks here and it's also probably not something that you can do overnight and then say 'Away you go. Complete your reading of Blacksmithing 101 by the end of the month.' because you may need to actually teach them how to read first. How I get knowledge out of book and in me? I eat? Me try that. That how I get food in me. Maybe this work same way. Or maybe me sit on it on ledge on cliff and that why it Know-Ledge? Me try that. Ok... so now me falling off ledge. AHH... me got wrong. Him not say Knowledge, him say NO LEDGE.

<splat>

To bring in new technology into a civilization, you need people who understand the subject matter well, a receptive audience (preferably also a smart one) and time. You don't need weaponized hobos (as our group sometimes refers to adventurers), working on a tight schedule to smite the dragon in the next valley over. Think about also how much of a cultural impact trying to bring in tech would do and how long that will take to be accepted.

I'd subcontract the whole thing out to a 3rd party so you can (nothing personal) have fun instead and be an adventurer. Being stuck in a classroom saying "A is for Apple" to a bunch of goblin kids isn't necessarily the skill set that a Cavalier is cut out for. Find someone who would be willing to work with the gobos to teach them. If your using Golarian deities, I'd actually suggest a priest of Abadar. Who better to teach them up on how to build a city, than a god who includes cities in their portfolio? POSSIBLE at an outside stretch you could try Sheyln with the 'beauty comes from within' side of things and that even though they might be thought of as evil, these guys are fighting their evil natures to be something more. Assuming your not looking at Golarian Deities, then look at your gods of mercy and redemption

Failing that, also remember that Civilisation, Technology and 'Usefulness' DON'T go hand in hand always... especially in D&D where you have Shamans in the form of Oracles, Druids, Sorcs and alike. Given that they are such low tech, it may be worth directing them down the more nature-y or primitive (depending on how you want to phrase it) path and be content with a bunch of tents with awesome furs instead of a manor with silk sheets. You may find that there are those among them that are already that way inclined and just don't know it yet. If you went down that path, Druids or priests of Erastil (or other nature-y god) would work fine.


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Two words.... top hats.


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Make them fight to the death in the arena — the Romans were the height of civilization at the time.

And when you get down to the last survivor, fireball his humanoid butt. Entire tribe = civilized.


Ecaterina Ducaird wrote:

Having attempted to do training as a part of my actual RL job, teaching people who have a working understanding of the basic concepts and moving them to the 'mid-range' concepts is pretty hard at times depending on what your trying to teach. It took my son 3 days to work out that the light in our car came on when the door opened, and that was with me almost constantly asking whenever it came on or off what changed or what did I just do before it went on/off. He still forgets that he's not allowed to touch the hot water tap when he's in the bath. I think I was in about grade 4 before I was allowed to write in pen not pencil.

So.... Question. How many ranks do you have in Profession (Teacher) or (Scholar)?

Cause I'd be calling for skill checks here and it's also probably not something that you can do overnight and then say 'Away you go. Complete your reading of Blacksmithing 101 by the end of the month.' because you may need to actually teach them how to read first. How I get knowledge out of book and in me? I eat? Me try that. That how I get food in me. Maybe this work same way. Or maybe me sit on it on ledge on cliff and that why it Know-Ledge? Me try that. Ok... so now me falling off ledge. AHH... me got wrong. Him not say Knowledge, him say NO LEDGE.

<splat>

To bring in new technology into a civilization, you need people who understand the subject matter well, a receptive audience (preferably also a smart one) and time. You don't need weaponized hobos (as our group sometimes refers to adventurers), working on a tight schedule to smite the dragon in the next valley over. Think about also how much of a cultural impact trying to bring in tech would do and how long that will take to be accepted.

I'd subcontract the whole thing out to a 3rd party so you can (nothing personal) have fun instead and be an adventurer. Being stuck in a classroom saying "A is for Apple" to a bunch of goblin kids isn't necessarily the skill set that a Cavalier is cut out for. Find someone who would be...

Okay good point, but even if the party subcontracts it out, they would have to :

-Convince someone to travel to the fort

-Pay them to do it

And they would have to find a wide variety of people to do it, to teach them how to build houses, hunt, mine ore, etc...


Sounds like a quest to me


To extend a little on what Ecaterina said:

I don't think this is an easy task. Just because your heroes were raised in civilization and are used to taking advantage of its perks doesn't mean that they actually understand how it works; the fact that they are adventurers suggests that being productive cogs in the machinery of society isn't really their thing.

For instance, you said you want to teach the goblins how to make basic iron tools. Does anyone in your party know how to make basic iron tools? Starting from scratch, that would take, at a minimum, Profession (miner) and Craft (blacksmith*). It sounds like your dwarf NPC might have that covered, but that's just one skill. To replicate "civilization," given that they already seem friendly and willing, would basically mean training the goblins in the majority of the Craft and Profession skills. If your PCs don't have those skills, then I don't see how they can train someone else. Bringing in NPC experts seems like the only feasible way.

I say that... But that would be in a world where I was GM. Your GM may have other ideas.

*There isn't actually a "standard" craft skill for iron tools. Craft (baskets) is listed, but apparently, in Pathfinder all "standard" blacksmiths make weapons, armor, or locks.

Liberty's Edge

Soap.


Using an altered clone spell and a magic device based on the Magic Jar spell to temporarily inhabit the body of a cloned goblin, then use your "personification" to infiltrate the goblin tribe to convince them to move so you can mine the rich veins of plot devicium under their village.

That or devil chills infested blankets.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

You don't want to teach them civilization over night.

What you want to do is teach them the immediate knowledge they need to go from subsistence to average productivity.

That's a lot easier than 'civilizing' them.

Start with simple things. They know how to sharpen metal, and they can harvest mushrooms and tame ants. That's a good start. Get in a farmer to teach them how to grow the mushrooms more effectively. Teach them how to farm above ground too, simple easy to grow stuff, like carrots, potatoes, cucumbers. All of these will grow relatively easily. Teach them to use the ants for hunting and plowing.

Then get someone to teach them to tan leather, and make thread from sinew if they don't already know how. Once they're to the point where they can feed and clothe themselves, you'll have them started on the way. After that, just provide discipline, and slowly add other things when someone shows some interest and talent.


I'll ask- why do they need to be civilized? Do they need to arm themselves against some imminent threat? If so, see Seven Samurai for inspiration.

You said that they needed saving more than once. From what? Will it come back?

If not, probably it's time to move on. Sounds like a western to me. Adventurers are generally comparable to the bounty hunter/gunfighter types in a Western. When the gunfighter decides it's time to stop and teach the pilgrims how to farm, he's not really a gunfighter anymore. Same goes with adventurers, don't ya think?

The Seven Samurai hung out with the peasants for an entire story arc AND managed to keep their adventurer/heroeness (except for the kid who fell in love), but it's because their entire story builds up to an epic battle where many of them get wiped out. The survivors are either ready to move on or ready to retire being Samurai.


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Don't get me wrong - if there is an imminent threat from bandits, dragon, tougher goblins, zombies, whatever, then you really are roleplaying Seven Samurai.

And that would be awesome.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Lol. I came in here fully expecting to say "use a helm of opposite alignment," but it seems this thread isn't what I thought it was going to be. They are already good, and you are looking to civilize them, not necessarily make them amiable.

My mistake. Carry on.


Well the first question to answer is what direction do the Goblins themselves want to take. Is there a life or death need for them to civilize as in the forces arrayed against them will wipe them out or their current lifestyle is unsustainable. Are they expressing a strong desire to be different than they are now? It would help to know if the battle is completely uphill or if there is a clear openess on their part. All this is to say do you need to win hearts and minds or just minds.

Another question that is going to really effect your efforts is the size of the tribe. Strategies for a small group verses 100 are going to be different.

Sorry to start with questions but how large is the pary or are you alone as the new potentate of the tribe?

It sounds like they have a fort, caves, and a forest. My assumption is they at the moment have a little farming going and a lot of hunting and gathering. Given that you have been made their protectors defense is going to be job one. I do not know who is in the party but any of the melee types (fighters, rangers, paladins, barbarians and cavaliers) are going to be instramental in helping them come up with defenses particularly if any of them have a backstory with any military training. The GM may want to make you roll a few dungennering, craft/profession engineer, seige enginer and so forth. The movie 13th Warrior has some great inspiration here.

Next you will want to supplement the food supply. Time to have the GM pull somethings from his butt. Likely the GM will know what the general climate is but what about the available fuana other than giant ants. Trapping might be something that not only brings in food but brings in enough animal hide that they can start to establish trade. Trade will be a major factor for them as it will continue to teach them long after you are gone.

If timber is something that is viable then that is a great way to go. The biggest hurdle to timber is away to get it to market. A river that can send it down stream or ants to pull them.

Long term you want to build/reinforce a culture within the tribe. They are former slaves so freedom is going to be an ideal. If your character is religious establishing your faith among them is likely to be a goal. What is there indigenous language? Do you or anyone in the party speak it? If not you will want to get a tutor (preferably with a good libarary of the campaign world classics) who can work teach in their language. Another question for the GM is the language the goblins speak written. If not it might be worthwhile to either develop or have the tutor develop an alphabet and get scripture and the other iportant texts into the language of the people.

A few other things spring to mind. If they have a lot of spare room. Like the fort is empty but the tribe lives in the caves you might want to consider inviting a cloister of monks or nuns to take up residence in the fort. If the region is suitable. Such groups not only likely to help with education but if the climate is appropriate they might want to establish a winery,or some other farming venture.


Theres no immediate threat at the moment. The party saved them from a group of lizardmen, then a bunch of sauhaugin.

The DM gave us an empty fort(after we cleared out the creatures inhabitating it) with a pretty impressive cave complex (that contains a plot device, a magical gate that may eventually destroy the world), and semes to want us to do something with it. My idea so far is to get the goblins to build up a settlement in the fort since they are already there. The goblin king pretty much wants to hand my character the crown, so getting them to do stuff isn't going to be hard.

The cave complex contains mushrooms, giant ants and fungus. Outside of the fort is a large jungle, but i dont think the goblins have tried to go there before.

I dont think the party wants to get anyone else to go to the fort though. For one thing its going to cost money. For another thing, the fort has a magical vault full of treasure we are still in the process of looting.

I dont think we can do much at the moment either because the party wants to leave with a NPC to investigate the magical gate.

Not sure how large the goblin tribe is exactly...gonna have to ask the DM that.

Party at the moment consists of a bard (me), a cavalier, a monk and a cleric. The goblin tribe is only familiar with me and the monk because our party members have changed dramatically since the campaign got started. The monk doesnt want to do anything except get money though.

The cavalier isnt interested in the goblins at all, and the human cleric is a new player, for some reason he wanted to worship the elven goddess of magic, and i dont know whether he wants to try to convert the goblins...


Then there is always the nice helm of opposition alignment, headbands of bonuses to IQ, teach them to read, then give them manuals of gainful intelligence (or whatever they go by now'adays...) and you have something you can work with... But that takes time and money...

Lizarfolk are usually neutral and can be worked with as well, Sahaugin on the other hand can be worked with but are very nasty evil and will corrupt you and bring you down when you are not looking...

Convert a Lizardfolk from Neutral to Lawful Neutral and train it to be a monk, or train one to be a Druid ;) A Goblin Wizard would be interesting, so to a Goblin Rogue... Now a Goblin Bard would be a riot!


Wow that changes things a little.

The cave complex might not be safe once the gate opens (usually somthing bad comes from gates).

Building up the fort is cool. Is there any strategic or economic value to the location?

If the party really doesn't care you can go over theire head or leave it be. You have friendly group of goblins living in the jungle.

If you are dead set against helping to change the goblins. Hire tutors and or sponsor a monestary to be set up at the location with the caveaut that they need to do everything they can to better the tribe.


Why isnt the cleric asking his church for resourses? Acolytes are cheap, literate labour that can teach and convert the pagan goblins! Goblin converts can be missionaries and convert other tribes...


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I would focus on the important things like drinking tea with their pinkies out, smoking cigars, wearing monocles, riding unicycles and sporting top hats... Oh wait that's monkeys.


The fort is a couple of days travel from the nearest town (which recently got burned by a lizardman attack). So strategic value...pretty much nil, except for the whole gate thing. Economic would depend on how valuable that vein of blue ore is.

The cleric is new, i guess the idea hasnt gotten to him yet. Like i said, hes a human cleric worshipping an elven goddess...and i dont think he has a RP reason for that.


Question wrote:
Ecaterina Ducaird wrote:
<Stuff>

Okay good point, but even if the party subcontracts it out, they would have to :

-Convince someone to travel to the fort

-Pay them to do it

And they would have to find a wide variety of people to do it, to teach them how to build houses, hunt, mine ore, etc...

Yes. In a word, Yes.

Cost should be your last concern. Assuming that you hire a master craftsman for what he'd normally make on that profession check that's not even 400 Gp for 6 months of him averaging a 30 (Yes, that's 10 ranks + 4 wis + 6 skill focus + 10 on the dice, so I mean MASTER... this is about 7 times more than the standard 'trained hireling' rate) on his profession check. If you can't make that back as and adventurer over 6 months, you forgot to get out of bed. Even double that number for having to work with Goblins and in poor conditions and it's still barely more than a single Potion of Cure Serious. Grab 2 of them as leads, and 4 'Double standard wage' apprentices to help them out and you'll come in at under 2K for 6 months. That's less than half the cost of a Wand of Cure Light.

Now... the skills side again... Even ignoring the whole Teaching aspect of it for a second, do you have the relevant skill sets to teach these guys the underpinnings of what you want them to do?

Craft (Blacksmith)
Knowledge (Engineering)
Profession (Miner)
Profession (Farming)
Profession (Lumberjack)

Now, some of those above skills (Eg. Farming) most likely exist already in the tribe, which is great. But unless you can bring them the ones that don't (either by you guys learning them or shipping in NPCs)... Well... you CAN learn profession mining the hard way, but it will be very expensive in terms of lost material AND number of people crushed to death in cave ins. At the very least, you'll need Blacksmithing, Engineering and Lumberjack for the fort (assuming you want it wood... add mining and craft Stonework if you need stone components), and Blacksmithing / Mining and probably lumberjack for the vein of ore. Engineering also would be good for the mining depending on how close it is to the fort and gate. You don't really want to structurally compromise the gate room I take it?

If you have those skill sets and are willing to invest the time in teaching them for 3-6 months, great.

If you don't have those skills, you need to get people with those skills in to either take over, supervise or educate. There's no real avoiding it unless your happy to have them learn Engineering the hard way. Wanna be careful though of the fort if you do that... floors might be strong enough to support a gobbo, but maybe not a cavalier in full plate.

Finally, you know that there is a plot point here in the form of the gate. True, opening this up to other parties does mean that more people know about it and increases potential risk there. Doing a half baked job on any defenses you want in play (and the resources to come out of the ore) is most likely going to weaken your position even more. Take the risk. Screen your candidates. Only tell them what they need to know and keep them away from the places they shouldn't be. Mitigate the damage that they can do... But unless your Iron Man or Batman "Protection from the end of the world" is probably not a DIY job and something you want to invest the money in professionals to do.

Silver Crusade

I think the first thing to do is to see what settlements in the area need. If you want to jump start their civilization level you have to plug them into the trade web of existing civilization.

To do that they need to provide something that local settlements need. I assume the surrounding settlements do a lot of farming. They can train their giant ants to be pest control and kill any other vermin infesting the fields. This may be difficult as giant ants are technically vermin. But since they are domesticated I assume they can be trained. In exchange they get gold or a share of the crops.

Maybe the settlements need something else. Find out and then teach the goblins to make or do that. The money or commodities they get in return can be used to buy stuff they need from the local settlements.

Basically teach them how to trade with humans.


Depends on your DM. Run some ideas by them. What do you want from 'civilizing' them? Guards? Merchants? Satisfaction of enforcing the dominance of your culture?

Find a bunch of the most charasmatic and popular, teach them to read, make them your teaching staff. Sally forth and spend parts of your wealth on How To books.

Use their docility. Find out if they have any sacred writings or art or any non-oral history.
Subvert their history, if necessary convincing/bribing/replacing their leaders to go along with you, convincing them of your own divinity, and of the importance of using violence to defend you and yours.

Bring them 'modern' weapons and armors, give them to your favorites. Why bother teaching them how to make it, as long as they can maintain it. Find or create music that glorifies violence and lawful service, play it every chance you get. Convince them to let you teach their youths how to read, also teach them patriotism and xenophobia. The ones that want to fight to defend their families from outside dangers get extra food and gifts, and elite training.

Take some campaigning with you as squires. Let them live the good life in inns and taverns with you. Let them want good stuff, let them ask around and find out how to make it happen, bring them back and support them as they spreacd the word. Repeat.


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I think the goblins' alignment is less important than your own. Specifically, you should be some kind of Evil alignment in order to make this work.

Look at the examples of "civilizing" other peoples in our own world. Africans "civilized" by being taken as slaves. Native Americans "civilized" by being pushed out of the way, to say the least. Aztecs "civilized" by being executed if they didn't bring enough gold. Australian Aboriginies "civilized" by being taken from their families and raised exclusively by whites, and treated as second class citizens. And on and on and on. Even the movie Avatar had outsiders trying to "civilize" natives, and look at how that worked out. Look at Guns, Germs, and Steel for one easy reference, or maybe a People's History of the United States.

I'm not saying it's not possible to "civilize" Goblins, just that it might make it easier if your home address was Hell, the Abyss, or Abaddon. I'm also saying that it's pretty unrealistic to assume that there is a way to change everything about a culture, while keeping everyone happy, when it has never worked that way in our own world.

But we do have magic, hey? Maybe there is a way around the morass of genocidal colonialism. A wish spell maybe?

Silver Crusade

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Guang wrote:

I think the goblins' alignment is less important than your own. Specifically, you should be some kind of Evil alignment in order to make this work.

Look at the examples of "civilizing" other peoples in our own world. Africans "civilized" by being taken as slaves. Native Americans "civilized" by being pushed out of the way, to say the least. Aztecs "civilized" by being executed if they didn't bring enough gold. Australian Aboriginies "civilized" by being taken from their families and raised exclusively by whites, and treated as second class citizens. And on and on and on. Even the movie Avatar had outsiders trying to "civilize" natives, and look at how that worked out. Look at Guns, Germs, and Steel for one easy reference, or maybe a People's History of the United States.

I'm not saying it's not possible to "civilize" Goblins, just that it might make it easier if your home address was Hell, the Abyss, or Abaddon. I'm also saying that it's pretty unrealistic to assume that there is a way to change everything about a culture, while keeping everyone happy, when it has never worked that way in our own world.

But we do have magic, hey? Maybe there is a way around the morass of genocidal colonialism. A wish spell maybe?

yes, yes, yes the white man must pay for his sins with eternal guilt. Can we get back on topic now?


TLDR = This isn't the real world. The heroes are actually heroes, not villians (or abyssal for that matter).

Guang, you missed a very important point: the group (or at least the bard) wants to help these goblins. When he said they were going to civilize them, it wasn't some sort of shady language game. He actually wants to improve the lives of the goblins (who are cooperative, as it seems).

In the real world examples you provided, each culture which was subverted/enslaved or otherwise taken advantage of was done so by another culture which was motivated by self-interest.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Crawl, walk, run. Start with small improvements the goblins can manage with your help. Other deficiencies will make themselves known; you can cross those bridges when you get there. Build on previous learning for the next steps. Introduce new things slowly and make sure they are grasped completely before moving on.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Beer and prostitutes worked for Enkidu....


since they were slaves i would start by teaching them to defend them selves against the lizard folk and set up proper defenses so that they can survive to see a more civilized world. Then i would start with the whole agriculture thing. Personally i would appeal to there goblinoid side but in a good way if thats possible.


You could teach through demonstration. Let them sit in while you craft items or while you mine. Hand them the pick and let them take a swing at the wall.

Do it as their leader, and they will most likely naturally want to emulate it.

I would imagine allowing an unskilled, relatively stupid creature take part in your crafting would hinder it, so I would throw some hefty penalties onto the craft check. Therefore, the results would likely be a ruined item, but it would show them some kind of results but, if your DM is working with you on this, show the goblins that they are capable of doing this sort of thing with practice.

Allow them to make their own written language- Though you probably wouldn't be able to undestand it. Have them all get together and scribble symbols for words they use verbally- Pictographs and all that. Then have them unify it into a standard written language.

Then again, given how pictographs work, you could possibly figure out the meaning of the scribbles based on guesswork. It's a picture of a horse with a bird over it- Maybe they mean a pegasus, or just a fast horse they saw?


A civilized goblin in a top hat.

The Exchange

Rather than classic colonialism (which was already brought up), use Americanization: show them a bunch of the benefits they'll get. Better food! More booze! Fancier clothes! Fewer fleas! A significant reduction of that parking-garage smell in the tunnels! Of course, if they want to keep receiving those benefits, they'll have to obey a few simple rules. No setting your own hair on fire, for starters...


Yeah, start small. Basic hygenie, latrines, washing, spoap was mentioned, get infections and diseases down. Maybe the cleric could heal some. The dwarf could show them how to dig fortifications, stay in formation. You can inspire them and maybe the cavalier could train some as mounted patrols, as so you´ll not be bothered annanounced, while looting.


Hmm, are you heroes somewhere else? This idea will spin along a bit on the Master Crafstman one presented by Ecaterina and would work the best if you have some sort of fame. I would assume that someone in your party has a good sense motive check, and as said, screen them. Mention something along the lines of needing their help as you've found something that could be dangerous but that in order for you guys to try and make it not so you will need someone to watch your back. Mention that you already have people who could help you with that but that these people need expertise in order to do a good job. Like how to build fortifications, how to harvest the resources required for that, and so on and so forth.

Hmm, this is giving me ideas for the current campaign I'm in, and the one I will be in soon, Kingmaker.


Detect Magic wrote:
TLDR = This isn't the real world. The heroes are actually heroes, not villians (or abyssal for that matter).

Very good point. They are special and can do things that are tough for anyone else to do.

Detect Magic wrote:


Guang, you missed a very important point: the group (or at least the bard) wants to help these goblins. When he said they were going to civilize them, it wasn't some sort of shady language game. He actually wants to improve the lives of the goblins (who are cooperative, as it seems).

That kinda was part of my point, although I didn't express it well. In many of the historical examples I know of, many people did what they did with the best of intentions. Even the first farmers were spreading civilization when they got rid of neighboring wandering peoples.

Detect Magic wrote:


In the real world examples you provided, each culture which was subverted/enslaved or otherwise taken advantage of was done so by another culture which was motivated by self-interest.

Some had the best interest of the receiving culture in mind, and long-term, many benifitted. Short term, not so much

White guilt? Nah. This white man is too old for that, and lives too far from the US for that. Stuff like this has happened everywhere, not just from whites. Bantu herdsmen spreading civilization to Africa by wiping out pygmy peoples. China....well, I live in China, so not going to be so stupid as to give lots of China examples. Kosovo, where each side is trying to remake civilization in their own image. Crusades, where the same thing was happening.


Set wrote:

Per the rules, they are just as smart as humans or dwarves, and, barring fluff stuff about terminal ADD, which has no actual mechanical effects, *should* be able to learn anything that doesn't require written instructions, as well as a human or dwarf.

Goblins love to read!


The best way to civilize them is to teach their leaders, or their leader's kids. Then just make their leaders establish a policy of education=good.

From there on, go get some books from somewhere and bring them over; start up their library.

From education comes civilization.


Has everyone forgotten...there's a magical gate right in the goblins own lair? A gate I might add that as Question says could spell doom for all?

Step one: have the arcanist and clerical-types in your party train some spellcasters - in the pocy pocyclypse that's surely on its way they'll come in handy.

Step two: work with the goblins natural proclivity for stealth and either have an outside force of monks join forces with your rogue and make them ninjas or just have the fighter and rogue in your own group turn them into those classes.

I just feel like, instead of "civilize" them your goal should be to "educate" them. Lessons like: don't fall for every lizardman and sahuagin trap in the book; maybe living next door to the Apocolypse Gate isn't worth the perk of cool special effects it gives off on its birthday; and finally that jungles are one of the most deadly but also most life-sustaining environments on the planet: one ounce of tree sap may either kill you or cure cancer.

and then as Mike Schneider said: soap. Bam! Civilization!


Well the party's only claim to fame is that we CLAIMED to have driven off the lizardmen that burned the nearby town...(we didn't actually do it, we had a rogue just b%$@#+%+ted to the survivors).

Looks like we gotta start small with the basics...leave the dwarf behind to guard the fort and help the goblins learn to use the left over tools and stuff, while we go investigate the gate.

The gate isn't a problem now. We actually entered it, and found ourselves transported to a magically created replica of our homes. Only special thing about it is that we can take objects back through the gate with us (which wasn't anything valuable). A NPC mage we met claims the gate is the physical manifestation of some world eating creature which is currently asleep, so the party is on their way to meet with his master and get more info.

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