I for one, welcome our Core Goblin Overlords...


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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Goblins of Golarion also notes that there's a group of pirate goblins in the Shackles who are less likely to kill you than most of the non-goblin pirates. And that there's a group of goblins working for a Chelaxian nobleman. There's also the aforementioned CN Katapeshi goblin from 11 years ago in Dark Markets, as well as the goblins slaves who were revisited in PFS #10-06.

No one's saying you're crazy, just that it isn't a retcon and it's not unprecedented. There are still lots of places where people don't like goblins, and lots of places where goblins aren't nice. There's just also places where goblins are a bit more willing to work with people, and various events that have occurred or will occur which expand those areas of acceptance.

Liberty's Edge

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Jhaeman wrote:
I've read and reviewed Goblins of Golarion. As far as I can tell, the homicidal, pyromaniac goblins we got from Burnt Offerings are pretty widespread across the world. So while I can accept people defending the ret-con, saying it's not a ret-con at all seems dubious, along the lines of saying "Greedo always shot first--you were all just too dim to realize that!" In other words, there's a reason, well-grounded in ten years of setting, for many Pathfinder gamers to view this as a ret-con. We're not crazy :)

Widespread, yes, but not universal. The only regions dealt with in detail in that book are Varisia, Isger, Mediogalti Island, and The Shackles...and the Goblins of the Shackles are even mentioned as less murderous. And Varisia and Isger are exactly the regions Michael Sayre mentions as having the most feral goblins.

The "X of Golarion" books are also almost always purely about the 'dominant' (ie: numerically largest) population of the Race in question in the Inner Sea region, and tend to leave out any that deviate from cultural norms. Compare Orcs of Golarion and it's picture of all Orcs as murderous Rovagug worshipers living in Belkzen with the population maps of where Orcs actually live and the CG Warpriest of Sarenrae who rules a tribe in the Belkzen book, and see that this is not an issue unique to goblins. Or, for a PC race, take a look at Dwarves of Golarion and realize it doesn't mention anything about the Dwarves of Garund at all, while Elves of Golarion mentions the nation of Jinin in Tian Xia precisely zero times, and barely mentions those elven cultural centers outside Kyonin.

So no, people who thought all goblins were crazed monsters weren't crazy or imagining things per se, but they were putting way too much emphasis on the relatively limited sources available. Which people will tend to do given limited information sources. I very much ran into the same thing when talking about orcs prior to the Belkzen book coming out, but it was just as premature then as now.


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gnoams wrote:
I like goblins. Many different authors have made interesting different versions of them. However, the Golorion version are homicidal pyromaniacs. They were obviously intended as "evil monsters" for PCs to kill indiscriminately and not feel bad about, because they so evil. So... I don't mind this retcon, I think it is a good direction to go, but it is a retcon. It's going to take time to get used to.

I don't think they were created to be ok to indiscriminately kill on sight. That's not really Paizo's style (at least as far as I can tell). It brings a lot of unfortunate implications, and Paizo likes to avoid those in favor of more nuance. It seems to me that the main idea behind Golarion Goblins was simply to be interesting and memorable. That manifested itself in horrible ways, because monsters are normally intended as antagonists, but even from the beginning they were also supposed to be humorous (I think there was a lot of inspiration from the movie Gremlins). And we've seen non-evil goblins occasionally for quite a while. Non-evil ones might be outliers, but with so many goblins, there are a lot of potential for outliers, including entire tribes.

Jhaeman wrote:
I've read and reviewed Goblins of Golarion. As far as I can tell, the homicidal, pyromaniac goblins we got from Burnt Offerings are pretty widespread across the world. So while I can accept people defending the ret-con, saying it's not a ret-con at all seems dubious, along the lines of saying "Greedo always shot first--you were all just too dim to realize that!" In other words, there's a reason, well-grounded in ten years of setting, for many Pathfinder gamers to view this as a ret-con. We're not crazy :)

Saying there are also non-evil goblins isn't anything like the Greedo nonsense. It really isn't a retcon at all, it's an expansion. There is nothing saying that anything in those earlier books is wrong or doesn't exist in the setting. They're just saying that there are also non evil goblins. The homicidal pyromaniacs are still widespread. It's just that there is more than them out there as well.


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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

To me, it's no different than saying "undead don't have to be evil." Yes, I guess I could find somewhere someplace in the vast lore of Golarion for an example of non-evil undead (example: Ordellia's ghost in Magnimar).

That wouldn't mean it wouldn't be a ret-con to suddenly introduce wraiths or ghouls or shadows as a common ("core") race in the setting (and I would then feel sad for the last decade of Lawful Good clerics and paladins who destroyed undead on sight!).

Ret-cons happen--it's part of any fictional continuity that goes on long enough (as fans of soap operas and comics can testify!). I think it's better to just own it rather than pretend Golarion has had 100% consistency all the way along :)


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Jhaeman wrote:

To me, it's no different than saying "undead don't have to be evil." Yes, I guess I could find somewhere someplace in the vast lore of Golarion for an example of non-evil undead (example: Ordellia's ghost in Magnimar).

That wouldn't mean it wouldn't be a ret-con to suddenly introduce wraiths or ghouls or shadows as a common ("core") race in the setting (and I would then feel sad for the last decade of Lawful Good clerics and paladins who destroyed undead on sight!).

Ret-cons happen--it's part of any fictional continuity that goes on long enough (as fans of soap operas and comics can testify!). I think it's better to just own it rather than pretend Golarion has had 100% consistency all the way along :)

I still think that's quite a different thing. Undead are a special case of supernatural alignment, along with things like Outsiders, where the alignment is an intrinsic part of them. Goblins are just a humanoid, with free will. Most of the ones we see are raised to be jerkbags, but it's cultural, not a fundamental force. It was never stated to be a universal thing. Plus there is a nice long tradition of non-evil undead, mostly ghosts. Ghosts are very often the exception to the 'undead are always evil' rule, and have been since even before Pathfinder. I was just rereading an old Dungeon from the early 90s that I remembered with non-evil ghosts (and the same issue has an adventure from some random guy named James Jacobs). Also ghosts and other undead don't make for good PCs regardless of alignment due to power level and being incorporeal etc.

I do agree with one thing, the idea that Core implies being commonly a part of society, and I'm still rather skeptical about that for goblins. They might be becoming a bit more so, but historically they haven't been. But again, I don't see this as a retcon, because it's not changing anything in the past (the whole ret part meaning retroactive). It's all about the world moving forward.

I'm under no illusions that Paizo doesn't do retcons, they most certainly do. The main one that comes to mind at the moment is the old Campaign Setting book having guns having existed for millennia as opposed to being more recently developed. Worldbreaker was a bombard and is now an unspecified seige engine. Those are retcons. Those change things that were already established. They've done a lot more, but they're usually done by tossing something down the memory hole and never mentioning them again instead of saying something has changed (which I find annoying, because it's hard to tell if something was gotten rid of, or just hasn't been mentioned again for page count or whatever. The one that keeps coming up in our game is "Do elves sleep?" Old source says no, then it's not mentioned again, except as an aside in a feat in the playtest. Aging rates for dhampirs, aasimars and tieflings seems to change with every book, same with maturation rates for elves). Bringing in non-evil goblins is more like the introduction of a new monster, class, piece of equipment etc. Adding those isn't a retcon, It's new info, but making an existing character a member of a new class when they were previously something else, is.


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I've no horsechopper in this race, but to quote from the bestiary:

The Nature of Goblinoid Evil wrote:
Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, despite having superficial similarities, each represent a different face of evil. Hobgoblins are ordered and methodical in their evil, forming vast armies, warbands, and despotic nations. Goblins are the primal evil, seeking only cruelty and petty victimization as they can find it, be that among their own kind or against their neighbors. Yet the evil personified by the bugbear may be the most terrifying, for they actively seek to inflict pain and suffering in the most destructive ways possible. When a hobgoblin kills, it’s because of tradition and order. When a goblin kills, it’s for fun. But when a bugbear holds its blade, it kills only when it can be assured that the murder will cause maximum pain and suffering to those its weapon does not touch; to a bugbear, the true goal of murder is to strike not at the victim, but at those who held the victim dear.

Online source.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Goblins were definitely initially presented as inherently evil murder machines.

However, PF2e is far, far from the first source to suggest that the truth is more complicated than that. I don't see "there are heroic goblins" as a ret-con so much as an evolution. We have been getting a more and more nuanced look at goblins with each source that talks about them.

Also, just in general, the Bestiary is far from the best place to get a comprehensive look at a humanoid race, since it presents the most common alignment and typically says little to nothing about outliers.

I do think that if you look at Golarion as a whole, good goblins will be by far the least common good-aligned members of a core race. However, adventurers are naturally atypical, so "goodly goblin adventurers are somewhat common by adventurer standards" is not the same statement as "goodly goblins are common".


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Artificial 20 wrote:

I've no horsechopper in this race, but to quote from the bestiary:

The Nature of Goblinoid Evil wrote:
Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, despite having superficial similarities, each represent a different face of evil. Hobgoblins are ordered and methodical in their evil, forming vast armies, warbands, and despotic nations. Goblins are the primal evil, seeking only cruelty and petty victimization as they can find it, be that among their own kind or against their neighbors. Yet the evil personified by the bugbear may be the most terrifying, for they actively seek to inflict pain and suffering in the most destructive ways possible. When a hobgoblin kills, it’s because of tradition and order. When a goblin kills, it’s for fun. But when a bugbear holds its blade, it kills only when it can be assured that the murder will cause maximum pain and suffering to those its weapon does not touch; to a bugbear, the true goal of murder is to strike not at the victim, but at those who held the victim dear.
Online source.

Bugbear race confirmed for next supplement.

Seriously though, MaxAstro is right. Paizo Goblins have obviously evolved as expedient to the needs of Paizo's writing and marketing teams. Anyone who has written more than a couple pages of fiction knows that you have to find inspiration wherever you can, and entire populations painted with broad strokes are lazy and boring.

From a hack and slash standpoint, goblins were fine as inherently evil, killable mooks. From a compelling storytelling standpoint, that's a bunch of wasted potential.

Furthermore, as a mascot, leaving goblins as one dimensional, evil chaff is also a waste.

I'm slightly miffed because personally I thought kobolds were a better low-tier inherently evil mook to sacrifice as such for storytelling needs. I'm also miffed because some stories still need monsters that can be slain guilt-free. I'm also certain Orcs would have served to make a more balanced core race roster.

But it is what it is. I hope people who love playing goblins get to have plenty of fun right off the bat.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

If you need humanoid monsters that can be slain guilt-free, put bandit clothes on them and/or have them doing evil things.

If you need there to exist an entire race of humanoid monsters that is always evil, may I remind you (much as they were hoping you'd forget) that drow are still a thing? :P


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MaxAstro wrote:

If you need humanoid monsters that can be slain guilt-free, put bandit clothes on them and/or have them doing evil things.

If you need there to exist an entire race of humanoid monsters that is always evil, may I remind you (much as they were hoping you'd forget) that drow are still a thing? :P

But my players keep reforming the bandits!


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WatersLethe wrote:
But my players keep reforming the bandits!

Morally, or via Baleful Polymorph?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Times like this I wish we could post images, because the Road to El Dorado "both" gif was made for these moments. :P


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MaxAstro wrote:

If you need humanoid monsters that can be slain guilt-free, put bandit clothes on them and/or have them doing evil things.

If you need there to exist an entire race of humanoid monsters that is always evil, may I remind you (much as they were hoping you'd forget) that drow are still a thing? :P

Drow don't really play the same role though - common weak chaff. They work better as major campaign arcs or archvillians.

Nor do they need to be always evil and I'm sure if we saw them more commonly they'd get the same kind of complaints.

Mostly though I generally agree: Don't kill them because they're shrot and green, kill them because this particular group is doing bad things. And goblins can still easily fill that role, even if there are exceptional individuals or even groups that don't.


Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh, cultists are the new bandits, by the way.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Most races I like to nuanced, "not everyone is evil all the time" view.

For some reason, though, I strongly prefer drow to be systematically evil, naturally horrible individuals. Non-evil drow rub me wrong in the same way that a non-evil aboleth would.

Agreed that they don't make good chaff, though.


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MaxAstro wrote:

Most races I like to nuanced, "not everyone is evil all the time" view.

For some reason, though, I strongly prefer drow to be systematically evil, naturally horrible individuals. Non-evil drow rub me wrong in the same way that a non-evil aboleth would.

Agreed that they don't make good chaff, though.

Tastes vary. I prefer drow that way as well - though if I was going to run a drow heavy campaign and focus on the drow culture and civilization, I'd probably work in some more "humanizing" traits. Possibly heretical suppressed good cults that could be PC allies and the like.

In general though, when Drow appear on the surface, they're up to no good.

For me the problem with goblins isn't so much the "evil", but the "crazed homicidal pyromaniac" aspect that gets so played up in most of their appearances. It's very hard for me to take that as cultural variation, since it's way outside any range of cultural behavior we see in real world cultures. Obviously, they're not humans and this isn't the real world, but that pushes me towards "It's not cultural, goblins are just like that" rather than "It's just culture, raise them right and they'll be just like anyone else".
I'm okay with individual exceptions to the norm, but that norm is way outside what I can accept as just "nurture".


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Yeah, not all changes in the status quo are retcons. Sandpoint: Light of the Lost Coast focuses plenty on goblin menaces still active in the region, but it also mentions a tribe of neutral goblins who are spying on Sandpoint in an effort to learn how to fit into polite society, believing this to be a better path for goblins. Their leader having this realisation is not a retcon, and she's smart enough to realize Sandpoint has been marred by goblin violence too recently for them to accept goblin neighbors tofay, but she also thinks that won't always be true.


Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
[...], since it's way outside any range of cultural behavior we see in real world cultures. [...]

I... (sadly) wouldn't be so sure of that... There have been some... very unsavory and frankly hysterical events in human history that would fall in line with their behavior... The Rwandan genocide would be my prime example, with 500k to 1M deaths in about two months.

I would agree it's more widespread, but the above event could be reproduced with the right cultural and environment parameters, and the usual goblin upbringing is very close to these, IMHO.


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Elfteiroh wrote:
thejeff wrote:
[...], since it's way outside any range of cultural behavior we see in real world cultures. [...]

I... (sadly) wouldn't be so sure of that... There have been some... very unsavory and frankly hysterical events in human history that would fall in line with their behavior... The Rwandan genocide would be my prime example, with 500k to 1M deaths in about two months.

I would agree it's more widespread, but the above event could be reproduced with the right cultural and environment parameters, and the usual goblin upbringing is very close to these, IMHO.

Humans can be plenty evil - probably more so than goblins in many ways, since we organize and plan better.

Humans - with individual exceptions we classify as mental illnesses - don't culturally reach what been shown as the goblin default. We don't have cultures that set things on fire just to watch them burn with no concern for what gets damaged in the process. We might use fire to kill and persecute enemies, but that's not what I'm talking about. It's the crazy that I find outside the cultural range, not the evil.

Liberty's Edge

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thejeff wrote:
Humans - with individual exceptions we classify as mental illnesses - don't culturally reach what been shown as the goblin default. We don't have cultures that set things on fire just to watch them burn with no concern for what gets damaged in the process. We might use fire to kill and persecute enemies, but that's not what I'm talking about. It's the crazy that I find outside the cultural range, not the evil.

Given that the Aztecs literally believed they had to commit a rather ridiculous number of ritualistic and often deeply cruel murders every year or the world would literally end, I'm not at all convinced that there's a depth of crazy humans can't hit as a specific culture.

Setting things on fire just to watch them burn is also a very real tendency of human beings in certain high stress situations. More than one city burned after being sacked simply because the victorious soldiers wanted to set something on fire. Which makes using it as evidence that goblins aren't like humans more than a trifle dubious...


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
thejeff wrote:
Elfteiroh wrote:
[...]

Humans can be plenty evil - probably more so than goblins in many ways, since we organize and plan better.

Humans - with individual exceptions we classify as mental illnesses - don't culturally reach what been shown as the goblin default. We don't have cultures that set things on fire just to watch them burn with no concern for what gets damaged in the process. We might use fire to kill and persecute enemies, but that's not what I'm talking about. It's the crazy that I find outside the cultural range, not the evil.

Now that I think about this, a Goblin Raid is basically a Riot. And even then, goblins are not ALWAYS raiding. In fact, at the start of RotR, it's even said that a raid this size is uncommon for a goblin tribe to do it on their own... They are basically prompt to riots, even more so with the rightwrong leaders.

You paint them like they are ALWAYS setting things to fire, and killing, but that's false. Usually, they scuttle in the dark, looting what they need from junkyards. Bloody and fiery raids aren't the norm. As a French Canadian, I have SEEN groups of local people set fire to cars because of a Hockey game the home team won...

So yeah, as much as some humans can act like Goblins when they can, so there must be Goblins that act like humans when they can.
And that's basically what Paizo people have been trying to tell us for years. And telling them that they are wrong about their own setting is a little bit weird. (That's not directed to you, I just remember seeing something like this recently, no offence).


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Fine. Perhaps I've gotten the entirely wrong idea about goblins and they're really fine people, no different from humans really. All the propaganda about pyromania and such is just vile lies from humans.

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber
Deadmanwalking wrote:
...Elves of Golarion mentions the nation of Jinin in Tian Xia precisely zero times, and barely mentions those elven cultural centers outside Kyonin.

Admittedly, Tian Xia probably wasn't written at all back then. Just ask the Miracle Samurai. ^_^

Shadow Lodge

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thejeff wrote:

Fine. Perhaps I've gotten the entirely wrong idea about goblins and they're really fine people, no different from humans really. All the propaganda about pyromania and such is just vile lies from humans.

You do that a lot.


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MaxAstro wrote:

If you need humanoid monsters that can be slain guilt-free, put bandit clothes on them and/or have them doing evil things.

If you need there to exist an entire race of humanoid monsters that is always evil, may I remind you (much as they were hoping you'd forget) that drow are still a thing? :P

It's worth noting that drow are also not always evil, even as far back as Second Darkness. They possess free will and self-determination, and are no more "innately evil" than any other elf, or at worst, a tiefling or changeling. See Adventurer's Guide for more discussion on the redemption of drow. ^_^

Sovereign Court

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

(Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it's just as sketchy as it ever was to have drow, in particular, be the "always baby-eating evil from birth, kill them on sight without remorse" ones.)


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I feel like, just from an "empathy is not desirable here" perspective the "always evil, kill on sight" thing probably shouldn't be reminiscent of a human (in terms of number of arms, legs, heads, etc.)

Like Aboleths work as "always evil, kill whenever possible" but Orcs, Goblins, Drow, and Kobolds are recognizable as people (possibly awful people, but people nonetheless.)


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Kalindlara wrote:
(Also, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it's just as sketchy as it ever was to have drow, in particular, be the "always baby-eating evil from birth, kill them on sight without remorse" ones.)

Especially since skeletons exist. THOSE are quite literally (ingame) created to be a nuisance for adventurers to clear out. Or refresh the population, as the case may be.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I guess I should clarify that I don't need all drow to be evil, but I am very much attached to the idea of drow culture being evil.

Liberty's Edge

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Kalindlara wrote:
Deadmanwalking wrote:
...Elves of Golarion mentions the nation of Jinin in Tian Xia precisely zero times, and barely mentions those elven cultural centers outside Kyonin.
Admittedly, Tian Xia probably wasn't written at all back then. Just ask the Miracle Samurai. ^_^

Well, sure. But that's really just reinforces my point in many ways. Jinin's existence wasn't really a retcon, but it was an expansion and books before it's existence do not and cannot reference it.

Likewise the existence of more reasonable goblin tribes.


Personally, I'm not in love with goblins being core, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.

It definitely impacts the baseline assumptions of the player-base, though, and means that the "core" world looks different than it did in PF 1E. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it is a thing.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think you can still keep the pyromania as an innate aspect of goblins and also still have them not be pure evil. Plenty of societies in the real world have venerated fire and used it heavily as a tool. It's possible Goblins can just channel that towards more productive areas, like alchemy and so forth.

Also, I am pretty sure Paizo is easing off as well on the "Drow are always evil", as well. Personally I would be happy if all mortal humanoid races biologically had equal propensity for good or evil. That some races are more prone to one over the other should be down to culture and history, rather than anything. We can keep the "always evil" for fiends (literally made of evil), undead (powered by the magical equivalent of radiation) and aberrations (whose minds are so alien that the concept of "good" is impossible for them to comprehend)

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

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thejeff wrote:

All the propaganda about pyromania and such is just vile lies from humans.

Oh no, goblins love fire. That's just not an automatic disqualification from being a productive member of society.

As an example, I went to high school with a guy who really enjoyed blowing things up. Honestly to the point that I very much doubt he would have stayed out of the legal system and avoided serious repercussions if we'd been born a little more recently or lived somewhere other than Alaska. When he turned seventeen he joined the Army, where he has spent the last 17 years getting paid by the government to blow up anything that might be a dangerous explosive (and occasionally things that definitely aren't but which still fall under a specific category of "blow things like this up just in case".)
That basic desire to watch things explode is definitely the kind of thing that should give school counselors and members of the constabulary pause, but it was also something that our society was able to find a positive outlet for. I'm given to understand that when he retires in a few years he's probably going to be going into some kind of contracting gig that's going to give him lots of opportunities to demolish unsafe/condemned structures in legally approved environments.

There's no reason that goblins can't find similar outlets. I took a look at one way goblin pyromania could find a constructive outlet in Pathfinder Society Scenario #10–12: Breath of the Dragonskull, where

Some Dragonskull stuff:
the forest goblins had a long history of using controlled burns to indulge their pyromania while also improving the safety of their homes and the overall health of the forest they lived in.

In Fumbus's write-up it discusses how he lives in a water-logged house in the Puddles where he can indulge all kinds of flammable experiments without putting the city proper at risk. If you happen to live in a region where the occasional shambling horde of undead is a potential threat, having a bunch of neighbors who are always ready to set something on fire might not be such a bad thing.

Manic levels of energy aren't a disqualifier from being a productive member of society. Neither is an unhealthy fascination with flame. As long as the society has the opportunity and motivation to accommodate those traits with productive outlets, they can even be valuable resources or contributions.
If you were a society that happened to have e.g. Geb as one of your neighbors, then having a population of small, stealthy scouts who can eat just about anything, are highly motivated to light any corpses they stumble across on fire, and whose cultural upbringing has infused them with a cavalier disregard for their own safety, is potentially a really positive thing.

Liberty's Edge

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I have no objections to certain species having built in antisocial tendencies that are more likely to result in an Evil Alignment for a random member of that species than for a random human. Their biology is different and them thus having divergent tendencies, including antisocial ones, seems very reasonable to me.

But biology is not destiny for any thinking creature with free will. Canonically, in Golarion, this is even true of undead (who we have several non-Evil examples of), and fiends (whose redemption we have a couple examples of). But it's certainly true of living biological entities.

As Michael Sayre notes, the more antisocial tendencies of goblins can be channeled, and there are other examples of this as well for other species, with the primal rage of orcs not at all preventing a CG one devoted to Sarenrae from existing or the like. I think that's the standard we should be using for all such species. I mean, maybe Drow score much higher for sociopathic tendencies than humans do, as well as having a truly vile culture...but that doesn't prevent them from being perfectly nice people given the right environment to grow up in.


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Michael Sayre wrote:
thejeff wrote:

All the propaganda about pyromania and such is just vile lies from humans.

Oh no, goblins love fire. That's just not an automatic disqualification from being a productive member of society.

As an example, I went to high school with a guy who really enjoyed blowing things up. Honestly to the point that I very much doubt he would have stayed out of the legal system and avoided serious repercussions if we'd been born a little more recently or lived somewhere other than Alaska. When he turned seventeen he joined the Army, where he has spent the last 17 years getting paid by the government to blow up anything that might be a dangerous explosive (and occasionally things that definitely aren't but which still fall under a specific category of "blow things like this up just in case".)
That basic desire to watch things explode is definitely the kind of thing that should give school counselors and members of the constabulary pause, but it was also something that our society was able to find a positive outlet for. I'm given to understand that when he retires in a few years he's probably going to be going into some kind of contracting gig that's going to give him lots of opportunities to demolish unsafe/condemned structures in legally approved environments.

I remember conversations with chemistry and physics professors about fire and explosions. One talked about how he impressed his wife on their first date by making an explosion and how in college they used to pour large bags of non-dairy creamer out of an upper floor window to be ignited by a flame held out of a lower window. And in a physics class I remember the professor once asking who liked to blow stuff up when they were younger, the vast majority of the class raised their hand. Tossing sodium into water is also a college classic. There is the classic video of lighting a barbecue quickly by pouring liquid oxygen on the coals. And of course, fire and explosions are all throughout our entertainment. Michael Bay would probably make a good goblin. Fascination with fire isn't unusual.

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