Goblins in PF2nd


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So goblins are officially part of the core races now. I've had goblin characters before. So that in itself isn't a huge deal. But I'm wondering, Pathfinder goblins have a pretty big setback as player characters, their fear of words and books. Is that going to be removed in PF2nd? That would be a bit sad, because the goblins' absurd ideas about words are endearingly silly.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I totally don't understand the whole Pathfinder goblin fetish. If goblins were to utterly totally disappear from the world of Pathfinder, that would be wonderful.

I know that's never going to happen, and that's fine too. I just really had to get this off my chest.


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(I've commented about goblins as a core race here too.)

My current two off-the-top-of-my-head theories are:

1) A new goblin leader/folk hero/deity (Mi'kaz?) demonstrates that goblins no longer have to fear written words. After all, goblins use words to speak, they gesticulate & point; why fear words on the page?

b) Goblins will still fear written words, but they'll invent (many) new (bizarre/ridiculous/outlandish) superstitions to ward off the danger, similar to real-world humans throwing a pinch of salt over their shoulder or not walking under ladders.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, Golarion goblins have that setback. I've never included that in my own homebrew settings so it's never been an issue for me.

For my part, I just hope that goblins retain their mechanically distinct niche as the uber-stealth race. Small-size bonus, extra-large dex bonus, and generous racial bonus = stealth goodness. The goblins are the only super-specialized race that I like, because of how well a high dexterity score and stealth skill can fit on any type of character. This gives goblins a very unique flavor while still not being over-specialized.


pjrogers wrote:
I totally don't understand the whole Pathfinder goblin fetish.

I get where you're coming from here. I don't quite understand it either, but I figure it's a branding thing.

I was just contemplating if the aforementioned fear of writing would be removed to make it a more viable race option (playing a goblin wizard by the book is almost impossible). But then you'd lose one of the most Pathfinder-y things in the game.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
LuZeke wrote:
(playing a goblin wizard by the book is almost impossible)

I've seen goblin wizards before. As far as races without intelligence bonuses go, it actually works pretty well. It'd be a real shame if there were an artificial limitation there.


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Or option π: Goblins can read written text normally, but they protect themselves by mentally converting it into a language game. Goblin spellcasters may also scribe scrolls and speak the vocal components of spells backwards, Zatanna-style.


How did they prepare their spells? Or add new ones to their spellbook? Did they have to roll Will saves every morning?

I don't use Golarion for my games, but I find the hatred of writing amusing, so goblins in my setting also behave that way.


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Maybe that fear of the written word is a racial disadvantage that goblin wizards (or, for that matter, iconic goblin alchemists) need to buy off? Or maybe the "book" classes have non-book options? Or maybe both possibilities exist?


Goblin spellcasters who ward away the danger (by translate-converting spells on the fly or adding an extra somatic component) may be better at obscuring what spell they are casting. It may also increase the chance they'll accidentally create a wild magic effect.

Edit: Goblin spellcasters may also use a variant of the Cypher Script feat to scribe their spells, which alters the words enough to protect them from the danger.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Consider that Goblins have read in the past- it's just that they're often shunned by others because of it. Think of non-Evil Drow or Tieflings!


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Option 4) Goblins will doodle fearsome beasts to defend their goblin souls in the margins of their (spell)books, notebooks, and scrolls. While some may depict goblin heros fighting flailsnails, many literate goblins will prefer deadly wolpertingers, savage butt monsters, and other vulgarities as equally effective (and more entertaining) wards.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Or option π: Goblins can read written text normally, but they protect themselves by mentally converting it into a language game. Goblin spellcasters may also scribe scrolls and speak the vocal components of spells backwards, Zatanna-style.

Speaking a spell backwards is a counterspell, it wouldn't work in most cases, and in the cases it would, it would cause the opposite effect. Instead of casting a prepared haste, they'd cast a slow. That's how the lore describes a counterspell working, by literally casting the spell backwards and why a counterspell always works unless you're 'cheating' and using dispel to counter which requires a caster level check.


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Myrryr wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Or option π: Goblins can read written text normally, but they protect themselves by mentally converting it into a language game. Goblin spellcasters may also scribe scrolls and speak the vocal components of spells backwards, Zatanna-style.
Speaking a spell backwards is a counterspell, it wouldn't work in most cases, and in the cases it would, it would cause the opposite effect. Instead of casting a prepared haste, they'd cast a slow. That's how the lore describes a counterspell working, by literally casting the spell backwards and why a counterspell always works unless you're 'cheating' and using dispel to counter which requires a caster level check.

Wait, what? Unless I'm forgetting something from a book (or don't have that book), counterspelling doesn't mention anything about reciting a spell backwards. And although they counter or negate the effects of each other, haste and slow are two different spells and aren't simply reversed versions of each other.

Anyway, I was looking for flavor/fluff reasons why goblins could work around their fear of soul-stealing writing and not so much new mechanics.

Scarab Sages

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I'm really not a fan of goblins, and I feel there are about a dozen other races that I would prefer to be core. However, it's not going to effect me much since no one I play with really enjoys goblins either.


I rolled a goblin alchemist. His formula book just had smears of goop and squashed bugs and stuff. Used like a disgusting scratch-n-sniff.

The changes to the character creation system may provide a work around, though I'm guessing goblins won't loose their existing personality.


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It's not like a race can't be played against type. You can always easily justify a goblin wizard as an indiviudal goblin who overcame some of their superstitions.


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Once you get your stomach to shut up, it's surprising how much oxygenated blood gets to your brain. Ya gets a whole lotta thinky thinky going on.


Goblins are really iconic part of Pathfinder. It's a great race with crazy RP potential. They're hard to fit into most "heroic" groups, tho.. Since everyone hates them in towns.


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I really have to figure something about Goblin Culture changing to be slightly easier to see them as PCs is going to be a part of the unannounced final AP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

One of the problems I've always had with the idea of "goblin culture" is that they're fragmented and short-lived. The idea that goblins across the entire continent of Golarion have consistently the same cultural superstitions is kinda weird.


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I really dislike the idea of goblins as a playable race. My logic is this.

D&D / PF is at its heart a game of 'kill the monsters and nick their stuff'. In order to make that fun you need monsters that players can kill without having to suffer angst or worry that their god will punish them.

Goblins fit the role of 'monsters that can be cheerfully killed' perfectly. They are humanoids so have 'stuff' that the party can use, but they are evil, destructive and basically vermin.

Make them a PC race and suddenly that nasty little monster you can happily fight becomes a potential hero that the ref can use to trap the party paladin into falling.

What is going to replace them as a go-to humanoid opponent for low level parties?

Dark Archive

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Human bandits?


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Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Halfling bandits

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Kobolds, mites, goblins who want to be evil


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Goblin playable race is so far the only thing I don't really like from what I've heard of the new edition.

I love the Pathfinder goblins but I love them as the wacky evil enemies they are, but making them a player race in the core book means they're now something which has to be considered normal citizens in the world. There are enough not evil goblins to be considered a common race for heroes.

I feel these civilised goblins will have to have a lot of changes to be something players can actually make heroes with.

I'll have to wait until I see the information in the book for final judgement, hoping with it being at UK Games Expo I can get a sneak peak (like they did with Starfinder) at the ancestry pages.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

There's always the chance that Goblins, for the most part, haven't changed- their alignment may well still gravitate to chaotic neutral or even evil, and they may well still relish in fire and destruction. Why the particular goblins working with the Adventurers is there is up to the player. Rejects, human raised, working because of the situation- there are options, they just need to be developed upon.


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I’m sure the notion of Goblins as a playable race is in response to the success of the We Be Goblins series and the number of times the “how to I get a goblin race boon” question has been asked on these forums.

Our current goblins are known as filthy cannon fodder that occasionally provide comic relief. These may not be the goblins of 2e.

Dark Archive

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Goblin Player Characters is pandering of the worst kind. Unless you are fundementally changing world canon they just aren't suitable.It is the whole emo drow all over again.

NPC: "Hmmmm...There sure are a lot of lone wolf renegades trying to fight against their upbringing."


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Yeah, making Goblins a Core Player Race actually works against the established whacky Goblins some of us love. And we love them beacuase they can act like Paranoia characters in your Pathfinder campaign. The We Be Goblins Series are a great One Shots, same as True Dragons of Absolom, but as a day to day part of Golarions culture?
There was never a problem if someone wanted to have the occasional Monster race as a character, but I am with Eindridi - this is the Drizzt phenomenon at its worst.
And it necessitates them either going away from the way they have been depicted in the past, which would be sad. Or they stay as described, which makes them the new Kender: "I will wreck your campaign because the race description says I am a Psycho pyromaniac, ha ha!"

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I like playable goblins, and so do my players. I think there’s good story and adventure hooks for goblins and it’s about time we got another small race in core.

Silver Crusade

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Eindridi wrote:
NPC: "Hmmmm...There sure are a lot of lone wolf renegades trying to fight against their upbringing."

The Iconic Goblin is an Alchemist that is literally making bombs that go boom.

Dark Archive

Rysky wrote:
Eindridi wrote:
NPC: "Hmmmm...There sure are a lot of lone wolf renegades trying to fight against their upbringing."
The Iconic Goblin is an Alchemist that is literally making bombs that go boom.

And yet I'm pretty sure he isn't also a dog killing, baby eating, Neutral Evil psychopath.

Silver Crusade

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Eindridi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Eindridi wrote:
NPC: "Hmmmm...There sure are a lot of lone wolf renegades trying to fight against their upbringing."
The Iconic Goblin is an Alchemist that is literally making bombs that go boom.
And yet I'm pretty sure he isn't also a dog killing, baby eating, Neutral Evil psychopath.

Sorry, you're thinking of the Stumproot tribe, the Powderkeg tribe subsists solely on dragon meat.


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Goblins as a playable race is one of the few things I may not want to see in the core book. Not because I hate the class. It's the way they are portrayed in Golarion. As a race they are nutter than all the peanut butter produce on our planet combined. As well they are really hated by most races and they equally hate most if not all races combined. With their taboo about literacy and the written word. I'm not sure if it makes remotely sense to make a playable race at least in the core.

Comparisons to Drow can be made except they had less in game reason for it not to work. People will tolerate a Drow even if he has to watch his back constantly. Goblins when no one is looking are fit only to be clubbed to death for most people. Short of a rewrite of the overall goblin population it's a weird decision imo. It seems more "would it be cool" as opposed to "it's cool yet should we do this"


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I've played plenty of games with goblins, kobolds, orcs, and a few even wierder things in the party. They work. Yes they generally get into trouble if they don't watch themselves in a majority human town, but that's will only disrupt play if either the player or the GM makes it disrupt play.

I think a big reason why goblins are becoming a player race is because they are an iconic part of Pathfinder's identity and make the roster stand out and differentiate itself from the roots it came from.

Dark Archive

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Threeshades wrote:

I've played plenty of games with goblins, kobolds, orcs, and a few even wierder things in the party. They work. Yes they generally get into trouble if they don't watch themselves in a majority human town, but that's will only disrupt play if either the player or the GM makes it disrupt play.

I think a big reason why goblins are becoming a player race is because they are an iconic part of Pathfinder's identity and make the roster stand out and differentiate itself from the roots it came from.

However with them as monster races then any PC examples of these become the exception to the rule. Making Goblin a Core player race fundamentally changes the assumption of how the race interacts with others.


Eindridi wrote:


However with them as monster races then any PC examples of these become the exception to the rule. Making Goblin a Core player race fundamentally changes the assumption of how the race interacts with others.

Exactly how I feel. It's not allowing a goblin as a core class. It's how the fluff in Golarion make it close to impossible. It's one thing if the race was not Jack Nicholson from the Shining cranked up to a factor of 20 on steroids. Then it could work as it stands it's very hard and the goblin pc would be very very rare like lightning striking the same place rare imo.

It's like Drow in the Forgotten Realms. Even with Drizzt exploits fairly well known. Drow are still meet with fear, anger and hate.


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Either Paizo is normalizing evil partues, or they are throwing out alignment. I do not believe they have ever included a non-evil goblin in their setting or adventures.


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

Yeah...I'm not really sure how you reconcile the "Golarion-infused" vison of a Goblin -- crazed, simple-minded pyromaniac vandals who fear written words and horses -- into a "core" population that fits into (and is not just exterminated from) your standard human-dominated societies.

I'll be interested to see how this will be explained.


Threeshades wrote:

...

I think a big reason why goblins are becoming a player race is because they are an iconic part of Pathfinder's identity and make the roster stand out and differentiate itself from the roots it came from.

They are?

I did not know this.

I am slowly warming to the idea of Goblins as a core race.

I don't know what other surprise races are in store in the Core Rulebook. I'm not expecting much more though.

I do expect, almost demand, that several other races become core races in the first expansion book that is produced after the core books. I may not be the only one who feels this way.

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The Pathfinder: Goblins comic was a five-issue series that does a pretty good job, albeit in a humorous way, of showing how diverse Golarion goblins can be.

The comic showed off the typically goblin psychopaths, but also clever goblin pirate-thieves, a smarmy crime boss in Korvosa, and even an ill-fated goblin playwright. As such, there is already precedent to suggest that there are numerous exceptional goblins around Golarion that could potentially be PCs.


scary harpy wrote:
Threeshades wrote:

...

I think a big reason why goblins are becoming a player race is because they are an iconic part of Pathfinder's identity

They are?

Well, the Pathfinder wide-mouthed goblin is pictured on the front of the Bestiary. It's certainly up there.

And there's no adventure called "We Be Orcs". (Or maybe there is and I don't know about it?)


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Goblins as a core race is weird. Especially, considering they’re not separating Lore from core rules.
Tieflings, Aasimar and Changling turn up quite a bit in APs and Modules, so they probably should have gone with those. Not the most interesting choices admittedly.

Silver Crusade

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Not a fan of them being core.


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Eindridi wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Eindridi wrote:
NPC: "Hmmmm...There sure are a lot of lone wolf renegades trying to fight against their upbringing."
The Iconic Goblin is an Alchemist that is literally making bombs that go boom.
And yet I'm pretty sure he isn't also a dog killing, baby eating, Neutral Evil psychopath.

Still a more likeable iconic than Alain.

Silver Crusade

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Knight_Hammer wrote:
Either Paizo is normalizing evil partues, or they are throwing out alignment. I do not believe they have ever included a non-evil goblin in their setting or adventures.

There is a non-Evil Goblin (who will f#*@ing drop you) in Pezzack who helps a nice lady run a noodle cart.


Black Jimmy wrote:

Goblins as a core race is weird. Especially, considering they’re not separating Lore from core rules.

Tieflings, Aasimar and Changling turn up quite a bit in APs and Modules, so they probably should have gone with those. Not the most interesting choices admittedly.

I think demographics matter here for who gets inclusion as a core race. Like there aren't many Changelings period, but most of them end up as at least important on a local scale (Hags are important on a local scale). With Goblins their fecundity is basically their defining feature.

So you can use the "there's lots of goblins, they reproduce quickly and are not organized" to your advantage. Perhaps there are isolated Goblin enclaves that have gotten their act together but were keeping a low profile and only became known to the wider world as part of a diplomatic initiative launched in 4219. Because goblin generations are so short, you can enact a large cultural shift in a short period of time.

So if you want to play an illiterate pyromaniac who doesn't know how to act, go ahead, but you can also play a member of a tribe for which decorum and literacy is emphasized.


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I love goblins. The goblinoid races, their not-quite-humanness, and the uncertain, unexplained links between them are collectively one of my favorite bits of AD&D metalore.

That being said, I've always felt like Pathfinder goblins are a complete waste of potential. "Willfully ignorant burning buzzsaws on legs played for comic relief" doesn't describe any humanoid race I would bother including in my campaign.

THAT being said, I am actually hopeful that their inclusion as a core PC race in PF2 is a step on the path toward making them a more interesting and constructive setting aspect. They have a long road to travel.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm completely okay with inclusion of goblins in PF2.

And while we're revisiting races, that makes it time to remove gnomes. The one think DnD4e got right. <Grin>

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