Theories about Goblin Inclusion


Prerelease Discussion

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"A thing only exists to be an evil thing that we can kill without feeling bad" is a really bad waste of words in a game book. Absolutely everything should have more depth than that, or simply not exist. Like there are even devils and demons who are happier to converse with you than attack you (Phistophili and Succubi, notably). Sure, they are up to something but that doesn't mean PCs can't encounter them without resorting to violence.


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1of1 wrote:
Malachandra wrote:


I'm all for classifications of creature that can be killed on sight (undead, evil outsiders, constructs).
Hey, those constructs might not have souls, but they've got hearts! Do you know how hard it is to find dire baboon organs that are fresh enough to translate positive energy through a bioconstruct's flesh to stone transmutation arrays?

Well, your bioconstruct can keep it's dire baboon heart as long as it's not guarding something shiny in a dungeon I'm invading ;) Besides, harvesting fresh dire baboon hearts might be enough reason to... stop... your operation even without something shiny :)


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
As reiterated countless times, Goblins are a monster race specifically created with the intention that they could be killed without qualms.
Where in a book is this stated?

Very strongly implied in Rise of the Runelords, among other places.

Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
As a whole, they're evil creatures,
Where in the Humanoid type (which is what Goblins are) or Goblinoid subtype does it state this?

"Goblin" entry in Bestiary clearly states the typical goblin alignment is Neutral Evil.

That said, regarding the alignment listing in Bestiaries, "The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign."

Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
and the world's better off the fewer there are as they're a tangible danger to everyone around them. Killing a Goblin on sight is not only a justifiable reaction, but usually the right reaction.
This is flat out false.

Tell that to the people of Sandpoint...


Quote:
As reiterated countless times, Goblins are a monster race specifically created with the intention that they could be killed without qualms. As a whole, they're evil creatures, and the world's better off the fewer there are as they're a tangible danger to everyone around them. Killing a Goblin on sight is not only a justifiable reaction, but usually the right reaction.

In terms of metaphysical Good of Golarion universe killing ANY sentient being on sight is EVIL. Period.

There is no qualm is ancient relics of Gygaxian times.

Even orcs which are probably worst of humanoid "evil" races around - cannot be killed on sight.

Sure people will sometimes do it. In Lastwall I suppose quite often.
Still - not justified.


Malachandra wrote:
1of1 wrote:
Malachandra wrote:


I'm all for classifications of creature that can be killed on sight (undead, evil outsiders, constructs).
Hey, those constructs might not have souls, but they've got hearts! Do you know how hard it is to find dire baboon organs that are fresh enough to translate positive energy through a bioconstruct's flesh to stone transmutation arrays?
Well, your bioconstruct can keep it's dire baboon heart as long as it's not guarding something shiny in a dungeon I'm invading ;) Besides, harvesting fresh dire baboon hearts might be enough reason to... stop... your operation even without something shiny :)

I'll have you know that these dire baboons hearts were legally purchased from adventurer's who humanely slaughtered the beasts in "self defense."

Wait, if a homunculus isn't technically alive, you really can't kill it.
And yet, the way they shake and plead when being disassembled is so very life like. Strange... I will require more subjects for this research.

Back to the topic at hand, though. When is it ok to kill a goblin? Where's the contrast in the grey? Same as other people, I suppose. It's simultaneously never alright, but always fine. Alignment and philosophy are lenses that are pretty darn personal. Evil exists in Golarion, and people can be it. Does that make killing them right, or simply not wrong? Says who? You, me, the gods, or those who wrote the gods? Why does that matter?
What am I babbling about again?


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Haladir wrote:

"Goblin" entry in Bestiary clearly states the typical goblin alignment is Neutral Evil.

That said, regarding the alignment listing in Bestiaries, "The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign."

The advanced race guide, which brought us goblin PC's also states that the vast majority of goblins are either neutral or chaotic evil. It goes on to comment on how their instincts and very nature are that kind of sociopathic.

Its a bad play on Paizo's part.


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Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
and the world's better off the fewer there are as they're a tangible danger to everyone around them. Killing a Goblin on sight is not only a justifiable reaction, but usually the right reaction.
This is flat out false.

No, it's pretty true. Goblins don't add anything to anything good to the setting at all. The best any book has to say about them as a whole is that they've kept Thornkeep rat-free for a while. That's it.

Golarion suddenly being goblin free would mean it's a much better place to live in. Same for Drow, Duergar, Gnolls, Hobgoblins, Orcs, Aboleths, Skum, and a whole other bunch of things.

Wicked Woodpecker of the West wrote:
Quote:
As reiterated countless times, Goblins are a monster race specifically created with the intention that they could be killed without qualms. As a whole, they're evil creatures, and the world's better off the fewer there are as they're a tangible danger to everyone around them. Killing a Goblin on sight is not only a justifiable reaction, but usually the right reaction.

In terms of metaphysical Good of Golarion universe killing ANY sentient being on sight is EVIL. Period.

There is no qualm is ancient relics of Gygaxian times.

Even orcs which are probably worst of humanoid "evil" races around - cannot be killed on sight.

Sure people will sometimes do it. In Lastwall I suppose quite often.
Still - not justified.

And?

Seriously, it doesn't matter. Most humans in Golarion are Neutral. They'll feel entirely justified in killing a goblin or an orc, whether they're actually justified or not. And given the setting, 99% of the time they'll be actually justified, so your point is basically moot.

Just because something is Evil doesn't mean people won't do it.


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Ssalarn wrote:
There's actually quite a bit of established lore backing this premise up spread across the product lines.

There ARE isolated incidents goblins not being totally awful, I've Already admitted that. It seems a drop in the bucket though, as for every one of those you have dozens of 'goblins are bad at the core' ones.

Wicked Woodpecker of the West wrote:
I would say anyone exterminating indiscriminately or hunting for sport sentient beings, even if usually evil, cannot count as Good in Alignment terms...

It depends if you think they ARE sentient beings. There are PLENTY of places in the LORE that paint them as born psychotic pyro's that eat babies for fun. If you see them as irredeemable as your average demon/devil, is it bad to make the world a better place by getting rid of them? How does the average person on the world KNOW a goblin has free will and chooses 99.9% of the time to be awful?

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Really? Three or four? I've only found one reference each to extermination and hunting for sport and the extermination was historical while the hunting for sport was Dwarf specific.

I know at least 3 specific references to extermination. Now I didn't mean explicitly using the word "extermination" but expressing the kill/get rid of goblins = good. there are plenty of places that make it clear people are ready, willing and able to kill them. For instance, I count things such as "Humans and other races have made repeated, concentrated efforts to wipe out goblins" as extermination quotes.

Secondly, it states "Most races consider them pests to be driven off or hunted." Dwarves hunt them for sport, but others hunt them.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
I've argued they were viewed as too pathetic to be a threat and thus seldom killed on sight.

I think you overplay the 'cowardly part. They are said to be dangerous when focused and change to almost unworried about their own safety. They also burn fields and bring plagues, so even is you discount their physical prowess, they are far from safe.

Deadmanwalking wrote:
Also one I've got quite a lot of textual support for.

Not a page from one of those support quotes you have states that "While goblins rarely pose a threat to large nations, the jabbering hordes may strip entire towns and even small cities from the face of Golarion during these population explosions."

graystone wrote:
People disliking them? Absolutely. People killing them on sight? Not so much.

people, not just dwarves, hunt them. the make concerted efforts to eradicate them... I think on the other thread I had about 30 quotes to illustrate just how much the hate them. They go FAR past dislike.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm not actually having this debate again going point by point. I have better things to do with my life than have arguments over and over again with the same people who clearly won't change their minds. We've done that, and neither of us are changing our minds.

So I'm just gonna clarify my position here:

I read over the same stuff you did. And I came to the overwhelming conclusion that for most people most of the time, goblins were a pest, something you killed or hunted only when it was a problem, and only occasionally went out of your way to do anything about (including occasional extermination efforts when they got too numerous). They were seen as closer to rats or other pests than anything actually dangerous.

In my opinion, the text also makes it clear that this was sometimes a false sense of security and goblins could be more dangerous than that (which is where a lot of your quotes come from...mentions of goblins occasionally taking people by surprise and actually being dangerous), but whether that's true is irrelevant when talking about how people react to them. All that's relevant to how people will react to goblins is what they think of them, not whether it's true. And all evidence suggests to me that, in modern Golarion, even after things like the Goblinblood Wars, outside of Isger goblins remain seen as a joke. A pest. Not really a threat.

None of this means anyone in most civilized areas has any affection for goblins. They clearly do not. But it does mean that, as something seen as non-threatening, if some goblins suddenly demonstrated that they were different and could be useful members of society, there'd be no 'they're dangerous, kill them all' pushback to not give them a chance. There'd be suspicion, sure, but the attitude would be 'What's the worst that could happen?' Few would even consider that the goblin could do much real damage even if they were lying about being perfectly nice. Which creates somewhat greater acceptance...at least to the extent of not killing them on sight.

Now, you clearly read the same stuff and came to a wildly different conclusion. But the mere fact I read all of it and came to this conclusion, and am far from alone in doing so means that the text itself is ambiguous, since different people came to wildly different conclusions after reading it. That's what ambiguous text means.

And that means that if Paizo canonizes my interpretation explicitly, it's not a retcon, just a clarification of an ambiguous selection of texts. Which is all I was saying.


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Without going point by point, can you summarize or link how your assessment incorporates the content of Goblins of Golarion?

And, I'll provide a pithy resummary of my position: Goblins as one-off PCs is an awesome idea. Goblins as a core race immediately brings all kinds of implications about their "fair" representation in adventures and splatbooks. Putting them in the Bestiary on Day One as a playable option would remove 100% of my concerns. But putting them in core right beside Gnomes is a significant stress-point on my attraction.

Liberty's Edge

BryonD wrote:
Without going point by point, can you summarize or link how your assessment incorporates the content of Goblins of Golarion?

Goblins of Golarion actually says almost nothing about how goblins are viewed by humans. Which is the core point of disagreement.

I mean I could cherry pick quotes like 'rarely posing enough of a threat to make exterminating them worth the trouble' (p.19) that back my point up, but really, it's mostly inward facing and talks about the awful way goblins treat each other rather than the issue under dispute (which is how humans see them).

BryonD wrote:
And, I'll provide a pithy resummary of my position: Goblins as one-off PCs is an awesome idea. Goblins as a core race immediately brings all kinds of implications about their "fair" representation in adventures and splatbooks. Putting them in the Bestiary on Day One as a playable option would remove 100% of my concerns. But putting them in core right beside Gnomes is a significant stress-point on my attraction.

Gnomes are an interesting example given how few adventures include gnome NPCs of any note. There's already a vast gulf between the more common 'core' races and the less common ones. I don't imagine showing as many goblins as there have been gnomes would actually be that big a deal.


I feel like all "core" means in terms of races/ancestries in a diagetic sense is "these things are common enough and widely distributed enough, that there is plausibly at least one of them no matter where on the planet you're going to set your game".

So Gnomes rarely appear in adventures, and there may not be very many period, but gnomes by nature get up to stuff, explore, and are curious that it's not a hard sell to work a gnome into any adventure.

After all, all adventurers are one-offs.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Representative

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Deadmanwalking wrote:
Goblins of Golarion actually says almost nothing about how goblins are viewed by humans. Which is the core point of disagreement.

That is a pretty weak dodge of an answer. GoG goes on and on with matter-of-fact statements about what Goblins *are*. The lack of "and humans think this" as a persistent waste of ink in no way fails to make it fully understood that "humans don't just think this, they bloody well know it".

Quote:
I mean I could cherry pick quotes like 'rarely posing enough of a threat to make exterminating them worth the trouble' (p.19) that back my point up, but really, it's mostly inward facing and talks about the awful way goblins treat each other rather than the issue under dispute (which is how humans see them).

Yes, you could cherry pick to get your conclusion. Or you could read the whole text and get my conclusion.

Quote:
Gnomes are an interesting example given how few adventures include gnome NPCs of any note. There's already a vast gulf between the more common 'core' races and the less common ones. I don't imagine showing as many goblins as there have been gnomes would actually be that big a deal.

I've already faced this challenge by looking at the NPC codex. If the number of goblins significant NPCs as a proportion comes anywhere close to the least of them it will be a major disconnect. So that will suck.

And, if they are core and then get snubbed, that will still suck.
There is no win there.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like all "core" means in terms of races/ancestries in a diagetic sense is "these things are common enough and widely distributed enough, that there is plausibly at least one of them no matter where on the planet you're going to set your game".

So Gnomes rarely appear in adventures, and there may not be very many period, but gnomes by nature get up to stuff, explore, and are curious that it's not a hard sell to work a gnome into any adventure.

After all, all adventurers are one-offs.

But the game is ABOUT adventurers and their interactions with significant characters.

Hand waving doesn't resolve the lose-lose scenario.

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
NielsenE wrote:
If SF's Space Goblins weren't just a continuation of the insanely delightful pyromaniac chaotic agents of mayhem we're used to I'd have an easier time accepting that Goblins could change. Instead we seem to have some redemption event and then the Gap undoing it all.

?? there not, the ones in the 1st ap module are quite wiling to talk and work with you

Liberty's Edge

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BryonD wrote:
That is a pretty weak dodge of an answer. GoG goes on and on with matter-of-fact statements about what Goblins *are*. The lack of "and humans think this" as a persistent waste of ink in no way fails to make it fully understood that "humans don't just think this, they bloody well know it".

What a group is actually like and what they're perceived as often have basically nothing to do with each other. It's not a dodge of any sort to go with what humans are actually said to think of goblins rather than what you the reader may think after getting a more intimate look at them than most people in-setting ever do.

I've never argued for a second that goblins aren't awful. All I've ever argued is that people in the setting mostly see them as pathetic rather than dangerous.

I will also say that a lot of the real awfulness in Goblins of Golarion is directed at other goblins, something most humans seem unlikely to care about.

BryonD wrote:
Yes, you could cherry pick to get your conclusion. Or you could read the whole text and get my conclusion.

I have read the whole text and did not get that conclusion, thanks just the same.

BryonD wrote:

I've already faced this challenge by looking at the NPC codex. If the number of goblins significant NPCs as a proportion comes anywhere close to the least of them it will be a major disconnect. So that will suck.

And, if they are core and then get snubbed, that will still suck.
There is no win there.

The NPC Codex is actually weirdly off base for Golarion given its overreach of numbers for just about every race other than human. Which is probably an artifact of it being setting neutral, and thus an issue that is likely to no longer exist in the new Golarion infused edition.


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Except the advanced race guide also says exactly what they are like, and is a core book rather than one of the player companion splats. They are "like"psychotic little sociopaths with very few redeeming qualites.

ARG commentary:
1. A voracious and destructive *nature* that makes them almost universally despised

2. Feed on the weaker members of more civilized races

3. Other races view them as virulent parasites that have proved impossible to exterminate

4. Can eat nearly everything but pconsider the flesh of humans and gnomes a rare and difficult to obtain delicacy.

5. Both goblin men and women are ugly and vicious

6. View other beings as sources of food.

7. Greedy capricious and destructive by nature, most are neutral or chaotic evil.

8. Adventuring goblins are often killed by their own misdeeds or hunted down for their random acts of destruction.

9. Their pernicious *nature* makes interacting with civilized races almost impossible.

This is the race guide, with a more current interpretation of goblins as a playable race as it came a year after the goblins of golarion book.

Liberty's Edge

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I've never said goblins were pleasant, or indeed disputed the fact that most goblins are horrible creatures. Beyond that we're getting into the kind of point by point arguing I'm not gonna engage in, as it has basically no purpose.


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Ryan Freire wrote:

Except the advanced race guide also says exactly what they are like, and is a core book rather than one of the player companion splats. They are "like"psychotic little sociopaths with very few redeeming qualites.

ARG commentary:
1. A voracious and destructive *nature* that makes them almost universally despised

2. Feed on the weaker members of more civilized races

3. Other races view them as virulent parasites that have proved impossible to exterminate

4. Can eat nearly everything but pconsider the flesh of humans and gnomes a rare and difficult to obtain delicacy.

5. Both goblin men and women are ugly and vicious

6. View other beings as sources of food.

7. Greedy capricious and destructive by nature, most are neutral or chaotic evil.

8. Adventuring goblins are often killed by their own misdeeds or hunted down for their random acts of destruction.

9. Their pernicious *nature* makes interacting with civilized races almost impossible.

This is the race guide, with a more current interpretation of goblins as a playable race as it came a year after the goblins of golarion book.

Well said with this point by point breakdown.


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Ssalarn wrote:
Malachandra wrote:
I think a simple clause in the CRB is enough, something like: "Goblins exist on the fringes of society. Attitudes towards them range from mild annoyance to outright violence, but most of the Inner Sea sees them as pests to be carefully watched, lest their pyromaniacal tendencies get out of hand". No lore change (this can be interpreted as true already for most people on Golarion) and no divine intervention necessary.

(The following post is entirely personal observations)

There's actually quite a bit of established lore backing this premise up spread across the product lines. Goblins of Golarion has Jurdan's Volunteers, a tribe of goblins working with a Chelaxian nobleman relatively peacefully and willingly (even if said nobleman is performing horrific experiments on them), Pathfinder Society scenarios going back as early as season 3 (I believe) have the Frostfur goblins who first worked with the Shadow Lodge and were then taken into safekeeping as witnesses by the Society proper, the Reefrunner goblin pirates of the Shackles are well known to be less aggressive and allow passengers and crew of ships they raid to take the lifeboats and flee (which is more merciful than many of the human and other core race pirate groups), and Magnimar is a major city whose sewers are known to be packed with goblins, which sets a pretty clear precedent that even cities with the resources to eliminate goblins living all around them find it easier not to do so as long as the goblins generally behave themselves. There's smatterings of other examples scattered throughout the various sourcebooks, which I believe also include a goblin merchant and a goblin ratcatcher, but I'd have to do a little digging on those.

As a GM, one of the other things I take particular note of is that some of the most violent and/or well-known goblin tribes, like the Licktoad and Thistletop goblins near Sandpoint, are victims of violent human expansion and...

I dunno why people aren't acknowledging this post, beyond the fact that it shoots the "goblins are killed on sight" theory full of holes. Good digging Ssalarn!


I don't see Goblins being Neutral Evil psychos makes them unplayable and undeserving of being in Core. Not all campaigns are Good-aligned or even take place in Golarion.

Just because they're in the book doesn't mean you have to use them. Besides, I think having an "Evil" race in Core will help out tables that just want to play murderhobos. They deserve attention too after all.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
I dunno why people aren't acknowledging this post, beyond the fact that it shoots the "goblins are killed on sight" theory full of holes.

For myself, each is relatively isolated and unknown to the general populous. Does the average farmer KNOW any of those?

Secondly, these aren't exactly ringing endorsements of friendly interaction:
Sewer goblins aren't ignored because people like or tolerate them but because they live in the SEWER and live in small groups, making any kind of extermination next to impossible. I'd be surprised to see one of those goblins walking around in the street and not dealt with.

'good' pirates isn't much of an improvement. Less awful is still awful.

Who knows what happened at the Shadow Lodge other than the Shadow Lodge?

Pathfinder Society scenarios: *shrug* seems like something only PFS PC's would know. I sure don't.

Now I AGREE there is a "smatterings of other examples" but it's just that to most people. MAYBE an off rumour of some far off place about goblins that aren't QUITE as bad as normal... So noting his post and agreeing that a smattering of examples creates a sea change in the general attitude of of people in general that have direct personal experience with awful goblins [or know people that have]. the importance of some 'mythical' non-evil goblin doesn't mean much when your fields where burned or the local gnome family has a missing child and goblin tracks are all that's found...


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Captain Morgan wrote:


(The following post is entirely personal observations)
There's actually quite a bit of established lore backing this premise up spread across the product lines. Goblins of Golarion has Jurdan's Volunteers, a tribe of goblins working with a Chelaxian nobleman relatively peacefully and willingly (even if said nobleman is performing horrific experiments on them), Pathfinder Society scenarios going back as early as season 3 (I believe) have the Frostfur goblins who first worked with the Shadow Lodge and were then taken into safekeeping as witnesses by the Society proper, the Reefrunner goblin pirates of the Shackles are well known to be less aggressive and allow passengers and crew of ships they raid to take the lifeboats and flee (which is more merciful than many of the human and other core race pirate groups), and Magnimar is a major city whose sewers are known to be packed with goblins, which sets a pretty clear precedent that even cities with the resources to eliminate goblins living all around them find it easier not to do so as long as the goblins generally behave themselves. There's smatterings of other examples scattered throughout the various sourcebooks, which I believe also include a goblin merchant and a goblin ratcatcher, but I'd have to do a little digging on those.

As a GM, one of the other things I take particular note of is that some of the most violent and/or well-known goblin tribes, like the Licktoad and Thistletop goblins near Sandpoint, are victims of violent

...

Uh, Jurdan's volunteers are working with that nobleman in the hopes that they'll eventually be experimented on enough to gain the power to drive out and kill the runaway slaves tha took over the foothills they used to live in. So maybe its more that people aren't acknowledging it because it misrepresents the fact that they're still working with an evil organization, the church of asmodeus in the hopes of murdering a bunch of escaped slaves as though they've somehow become socialized and society has accepted them.

Also the Frostfur goblins cause all the disruptive problems they can, and their fate post interrogation is left vague. Very little indicates that they're being saved for their own good.

The sidebar regarding these goblins in module wrote:
In this adventure, the PCs are tasked with escorting a small band of goblins, which may be a difficult task for characters of some classes, alignments, and backgrounds. While goblins are often portrayed as comical miscreants, those in this adventure are wholly evil and more insane than simply funny. They have a mortal fear and hatred of dogs and horses, and an uncontrollable urge to light things on fire. They are sadistic and selfish and want only to eat and destroy whatever they can get their hands on. These character traits should cement them firmly in the role of monsters, rather than friendly or cute NPCs. But PCs must nevertheless keep them safe both from external threats and from one another.

The reefrunners are just a single tribe, that emphasizes the cowardly aspect of the species, the very paragraph that calls them less aggressive also states that all bets are off if they're hungry or in a bad mood.

So that paragraph basically gets ignored because its a blatant misrepresentation of what was written about each of these tribes.


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Ssalarn wrote:

As a GM, one of the other things I take particular note of is that some of the most violent and/or well-known goblin tribes, like the Licktoad and Thistletop goblins near Sandpoint, are victims of violent human expansion and colonization. The goblin tribes were the original inhabitants of the lands around Sandpoint and several areas of western Varisia, and their elders and warriors were all killed by humans who thought it was perfectly acceptable to kill goblins for the crime of living in lands the humans wanted to occupy. So while the goblin song about turning babies into jam and such is certainly appalling, the context surrounding it is that these goblins in particular are the result of several successive generations who all grew up without the benefit of wisdom or guidance from elder generations due to human aggressions. Assuming that the canon of your particular play-through of Rise of the Runelords included the party

minor RotRL spoiler::
saving the goblin babies after defeating the goblin army at Thistletop

that might be the first time that any goblin in that region has had a non-violent interaction, or seen any empathy from, a human. It's also worth noting that canonically that particular event is about 10 years prior to the current time in-world, which would mean that in the living canon of Golarion those goblins have had enough time to grow up, reproduce, and raise a new generation who themselves are now full-fledged adults.

This is an extremely good point, and helps change my opinion even more. This crap has happened countless times in the real world. Colonists moved in and proceeded to butcher and drive out the people who used to live there, which sometimes led to the righteously and rightfully angry displaced peoples leading violent raids on the colony for revenge and to try to get their homes back. The colonists then went on to paint the marauding displaced peoples as godless evil savages who deserved what was coming to them.

I'm very much not a fan of Golarion, and I use Pathfinder as a framework to run games in my own settings and like monster races being statted out and included because it helps to that end. But from what I have absorbed about the setting from the books and adventures, it does look and feel that you're likely right - the goblins that actually do cause problems are the ones abutting the spread of (demi/)human civilization. Whereas goblins in the middle of nowhere, or near ancient well-established civilizations, don't seem to actually be as much of a problem.

This is probably a good angle for Paizo to tackle when they present goblins in the playtest book.


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graystone wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
I dunno why people aren't acknowledging this post, beyond the fact that it shoots the "goblins are killed on sight" theory full of holes.

For myself, each is relatively isolated and unknown to the general populous. Does the average farmer KNOW any of those?

Secondly, these aren't exactly ringing endorsements of friendly interaction:
Sewer goblins aren't ignored because people like or tolerate them but because they live in the SEWER and live in small groups, making any kind of extermination next to impossible. I'd be surprised to see one of those goblins walking around in the street and not dealt with.

'good' pirates isn't much of an improvement. Less awful is still awful.

Who knows what happened at the Shadow Lodge other than the Shadow Lodge?

Pathfinder Society scenarios: *shrug* seems like something only PFS PC's would know. I sure don't.

Now I AGREE there is a "smatterings of other examples" but it's just that to most people. MAYBE an off rumour of some far off place about goblins that aren't QUITE as bad as normal... So noting his post and agreeing that a smattering of examples creates a sea change in the general attitude of of people in general that have direct personal experience with awful goblins [or know people that have]. the importance of some 'mythical' non-evil goblin doesn't mean much when your fields where burned or the local gnome family has a missing child and goblin tracks are all that's found...

Again, there's a world of difference between thinking goblins are evil and actually murdering all goblins on sight. The point Ssalarn was making wasn't that goblins are good, but that they are more tolerated than you suggest they are. Lots of awful people are tolerated.


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Captain Morgan wrote:
The point Ssalarn was making wasn't that goblins are good, but that they are more tolerated than you suggest they are.

Yes, but it's a point I can't agree with. As I pointed out, MOST of the examples are 'it's too much trouble to go kill them' as opposed to 'don't want to':

Sewer goblins? too much trouble to sewer dive.
'nice pirates'? people aren't really against killing pirates.
goblin experiments? This is an improvement over killing them?

Not everyone tracks/hunts them down and kills them. Not killing and/or driving them off when they show up in your town? Super rare IMO from the available text. Even in the 'best light' they are seen as a coward/pest/joke and push away with force. They bring sickness/plague, burn/destroy things, want to eat people, ect... THAT'S the common knowledge of them. Are people REALLY going 'but wait, THIS one might not be a totally insane jerk. Lets let him into our town, even though every other goblin ever met by anyone thats ever lived in the town has been one of conflict, destruction and just awfulness.'

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Haladir wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
As reiterated countless times, Goblins are a monster race specifically created with the intention that they could be killed without qualms.
Where in a book is this stated?

Very strongly implied in Rise of the Runelords, among other places.

Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
As a whole, they're evil creatures,
Where in the Humanoid type (which is what Goblins are) or Goblinoid subtype does it state this?

"Goblin" entry in Bestiary clearly states the typical goblin alignment is Neutral Evil.

That said, regarding the alignment listing in Bestiaries, "The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign."

Rysky wrote:
Daniel Yeatman wrote:
and the world's better off the fewer there are as they're a tangible danger to everyone around them. Killing a Goblin on sight is not only a justifiable reaction, but usually the right reaction.
This is flat out false.
Tell that to the people of Sandpoint...

1) So it doesn't state that.

2) Typical yes, but where in the Humanoid type or Goblinoid subtype does it state that they are innately Evil?

3) Killing a Goblin that is currently attacking? Justifiable. Killing a random Goblin walking down the road trying to catch fireflies? Absolutely not.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
Haladir wrote:

"Goblin" entry in Bestiary clearly states the typical goblin alignment is Neutral Evil.

That said, regarding the alignment listing in Bestiaries, "The alignments listed for each monster in this book represent the norm for those monsters—they can vary as you require them to in order to serve the needs of your campaign."

The advanced race guide, which brought us goblin PC's also states that the vast majority of goblins are either neutral or chaotic evil. It goes on to comment on how their instincts and very nature are that kind of sociopathic.

Its a bad play on Paizo's part.

The world neutral ARG also posits that Dhampirs aren’t a real race but simply infected humans. There’s probably more nonsense in that book if you go around digging.


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Rysky wrote:
There’s probably more nonsense in that book if you go around digging.

But it's the kind of nonsense that some common folk think might think is true. It really doesn't matter if what's in the book is the truth or is only thought of/believed as the truth. Just what DC on a know check is it to know that goblins aren't always evil? Now what's the gather info DC that they are thought of as evil?

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ARG is setting-neutral, what is stated there might or might not apply to Golarion. If people can't tell apart a setting-specific book from a setting-netural one, well, it's on them.


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Gorbacz wrote:
ARG is setting-neutral, what is stated there might or might not apply to Golarion. If people can't tell apart a setting-specific book from a setting-netural one, well, it's on them.

Its funny cause it isnt as though goblins of golarion paints any kind of a different picture of them, nor does the not setting neutral module paint a different picture of the tribe mentioned. The best you have is that the pirate goblins mentioned often let people escape because its easier to loot an abandoned ship...unless they're hungry...or in a bad mood.

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Ryan Freire wrote:
Gorbacz wrote:
ARG is setting-neutral, what is stated there might or might not apply to Golarion. If people can't tell apart a setting-specific book from a setting-netural one, well, it's on them.
Its funny cause it isnt as though goblins of golarion paints any kind of a different picture of them,

It does. GoG paints plenty of different pictures of Goblins (mostly using finger-painting).


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graystone wrote:
Rysky wrote:
There’s probably more nonsense in that book if you go around digging.
But it's the kind of nonsense that some common folk think might think is true. It really doesn't matter if what's in the book is the truth or is only thought of/believed as the truth. Just what DC on a know check is it to know that goblins aren't always evil? Now what's the gather info DC that they are thought of as evil?

Very few people would ever have actually encountered a goblin. In fact, with the whole mess of different sentient creatures and monsters out there, I don't really believe people in most of Golarion would be able to identify a goblin if they saw them. Remember, the average person wouldn't have access to a "book full of stereotypes of the different races". Tales of goblin violence might spread, but when you compare them to orcs, dragons, demons, undead wizard kings, and even human pirates, it wouldn't be anything noteworthy. We are stuck on the classical interpretation of goblins, but that doesn't mean Golarionites know about how "goblins are the stereotypical bad guy race, so we should probably kill them on sight".


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It is a Dc 5.5 knowledge local check to identify a goblin, roughly 75% of the populace will recognize one on sight.

Edit: Also like to add "setting neutrality" doesn't mean what paizo put out for their setting neutral books is different than how it is in golarion. It just means all the golarion names got scrubbed off. Even then it isn't so "setting neutral" that it doesn't mention that they tend to worship Lamashtu, a golarion setting god. Pointing to the ARG as a setting neutral book to discredit the way it presents goblins is a weak argument, given that even the non setting neutral books present them the same way and the ARG still manages to reference setting based points in their description.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
It is a Dc 5.5 knowledge local check to identify a goblin, roughly 75% of the populace will recognize one on sight.

Actually couldn't the populace just take 10 and automatically identify the goblin? Assuming average intelligence.


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TheFinish wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
It is a Dc 5.5 knowledge local check to identify a goblin, roughly 75% of the populace will recognize one on sight.
Actually couldn't the populace just take 10 and automatically identify the goblin? Assuming average intelligence.

If you take 10 you also know a pertinent fact about them, like they're arsonists/cannibals/afraid of dogs/horses

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RumpinRufus wrote:
ThePuppyTurtle wrote:
RumpinRufus wrote:
We've had goblin PCs since 2010. Nothing is changing!!

The changes that we go from Goblin Adventures existing, to realistically having to Encompass something like 10% of all adventures in order for the picture we're going to see across games to make any sense.

I'm willing to bet that there will be more Goblin PCS amongst registered Pathfinder Society characters then there will be gnomes. That implies that there are now more Goblin Pathfinder agents than there are gnomish ones. You may well say that that's not supposed to be true in universe and that we just happen to be following all of the ones that exist, but that is going to break down, because if every Goblin PC that is introduced is supposed to be in the same Canon, we're going to have to deal with the fact that there are thousands of them, when the realistic number would be well under a dozen.

3.2% of PCs are gnomes, compared to 1.4% of PCs that are goblins. It won't be that big of a change if goblins become more common.

This is a pretty good point. Why is Paizo Shafting the Tieflings (5.3%) and Aasimar (4.7%) which are already accepted and played way more in favour for Goblins which are barely played and were designed as monsters primarily.


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Malachandra wrote:
graystone wrote:
Rysky wrote:
There’s probably more nonsense in that book if you go around digging.
But it's the kind of nonsense that some common folk think might think is true. It really doesn't matter if what's in the book is the truth or is only thought of/believed as the truth. Just what DC on a know check is it to know that goblins aren't always evil? Now what's the gather info DC that they are thought of as evil?
Very few people would ever have actually encountered a goblin. In fact, with the whole mess of different sentient creatures and monsters out there, I don't really believe people in most of Golarion would be able to identify a goblin if they saw them. Remember, the average person wouldn't have access to a "book full of stereotypes of the different races". Tales of goblin violence might spread, but when you compare them to orcs, dragons, demons, undead wizard kings, and even human pirates, it wouldn't be anything noteworthy. We are stuck on the classical interpretation of goblins, but that doesn't mean Golarionites know about how "goblins are the stereotypical bad guy race, so we should probably kill them on sight".

Also goblins are SPECIFICALLY called out as the example of a monster so common their monster lore dc is 5+cr rather than 10+cr.

So....None of this post is particularly accurate as a descriptor of how many people would know about goblins or their behavior.


Ryan Freire wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
It is a Dc 5.5 knowledge local check to identify a goblin, roughly 75% of the populace will recognize one on sight.
Actually couldn't the populace just take 10 and automatically identify the goblin? Assuming average intelligence.
If you take 10 you also know a pertinent fact about them, like they're arsonists/cannibals/afraid of dogs/horses

In game rules, sure. But in this case game rules don't accurately model reality. Someone from Absolom would have trouble identifying a goblin in the crowd of species, regardless of how intelligent they are. Unless of course they've studied something that specifically informs them on the subject.

Because people in Golarion don't actually go around making Knowledge checks, they just know something or don't as the circumstances demand.

"Hey Bill, do you know what that thing over there is"
"Well, let me just make a quick knowledge check to find out... Yup, that's a goblin, and it has an AC of 16, so you should be able to hit it with your sword"

The rules might call out a goblin as common, but the rules are written with the game in mind, from an adventuring standpoint. They are not intended to model reality, and should not be taken as such. A description of goblins in the ARG is much more useful in determining how known a race is than their knowledge check, and even that is from a single point of view, again with an adventuring standpoint.


Probably because Tiefling and Aasimar won't be ancestries on their own, but sort of additional templates that could be added to many ancestries of mortals.

I hope they do it this way with all planar elements.

So you could add beastspawn template to your dwarf...


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Malachandra wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
TheFinish wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
It is a Dc 5.5 knowledge local check to identify a goblin, roughly 75% of the populace will recognize one on sight.
Actually couldn't the populace just take 10 and automatically identify the goblin? Assuming average intelligence.
If you take 10 you also know a pertinent fact about them, like they're arsonists/cannibals/afraid of dogs/horses

In game rules, sure. But in this case game rules don't accurately model reality. Someone from Absolom would have trouble identifying a goblin in the crowd of species, regardless of how intelligent they are. Unless of course they've studied something that specifically informs them on the subject.

Yes, like whether or not they can make a dc5 knowledge local check, as its under dc 10 whether they've studied it or not is irrelevant, that low dc is the bar for whether or not you can know something without studying (investing skill ranks)

Malachandra wrote:


Because people in Golarion don't actually go around making Knowledge checks, they just know something or don't as the circumstances demand.

"Hey Bill, do you know what that thing over there is"
"Well, let me just make a quick knowledge check to find out... Yup, that's a goblin, and it has an AC of 16, so you should be able to hit it with your sword"

yes the first person is someone who failed the dc5, the second person is someone who managed a dc of 10, granting them an extra piece of information about it, though the information the gm is more likely to give out is "they're scared of dogs and horses" or "they're prone to arson"

Malachandra wrote:


The rules might call out a goblin as common, but the rules are written with the game in mind, from an adventuring standpoint. They are not intended to model reality, and should not be taken as such. A description of goblins in the ARG is much more useful in determining how known a race is than their knowledge check, and even that is from a single point of view, again with an adventuring standpoint.

The great thing about pathfinder is that other than stat arrays, npc's and pc's use the same rules to interact with the world. A blacksmith has ranks in craft (and probably a skill focus feat). Nothing says the rules represent an adventuring standpoint and the fact that literally every npc that doesn't use a monstrous statline uses the same level/feat/skill system as a player character indicates that they use knowledge skills exactly the same way. AP's are full of historian/sage npc's who use skill ranks to feed the pc's information, or help them decipher a lost language, just like they were player characters.


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graystone wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:
The point Ssalarn was making wasn't that goblins are good, but that they are more tolerated than you suggest they are.
Yes, but it's a point I can't agree with. As I pointed out, MOST of the examples are 'it's too much trouble to go kill them' as opposed to 'don't want to':

"It's too much trouble to actually kill them" is perfectly sufficient to explain goblins as adventurers though, or frankly in a variety of other contexts. Again, the average citizen doesn't want the risk and hassle of attacking a goblin.

Basically, your interpretation requires a very narrow range of public perception. A goblin needs to be so dangerous that a citizen would want to kill one on sight, but not so dangerous that starting a fight with one would put themselves at risk. What happens if that goblin gets away and remembers your face? What if that goblin has friends who hear what you did?

The basic framework that makes the concept of the adventurer work is that most people DON'T engage with dangerous creatures. Are there exceptions? Sure. Town guards might be braver. A mob of people might be braver. A drunk might be. But "wait and see" is a very human response to things that look dangerous.

And this assumes people don't treat goblins as a mere nuisance, not actually worth the effort to attack.


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People treating them as a mere nuisance, like rats or roaches requires a hell of a reach and overly generous interpretation of human psychology tbqh. These are things that will eat your livestock, children, and elderly given the opportunity, and burn your town out of boredom.

Faced with that kind of "nuisance" mobs of people and extermination squads aren't a reach.

Frankly the comic relief/annoyance interpretation seems rooted in ignoring the hell out of most of the lore. Places where they're accepted by other races are usually run by equally or more evil beings (Irrisen, cheliax, belkzen) so its not like they're somehow better socialized, its just conditions in that area are so bad that goblins live freely there.


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Years ago I got into an argument on these forums about whether or not goblins were inherently evil. I said they were, and I was being called a racist and worse before James Jacobs posted to say, "Yes goblins are inherently evil. It says so right in the Bestiatry." He went on to explain that goblins are creatures created by evil supernatural entities with the specific purpose of being evil; that it's not racist because fantasy games need enemies and the idea of inherently evil NONHUMAN races is a core foundational principle of RPGs; and that what was printed in bestiaries were, in fact, RULES like any others. If the description of a creature says it's evil, it's evil.

Funny how unconditional and emphatic statements like that get forgotten when there's money to be made.

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