Goblins as a race


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I think if starting with the Ironfang Invasion, they'd offered up goblins as a legitimate player choice in the various AP player guides, and not a niche one, more would have been used to it.

That it would have been a challenge to naturally include goblins as a good choice with II, Ruins of Azlant, and War for the Crown, would have made the endeavor more worthwhile, not less in my opinion. After all, some of the primary questions people have had have been along the lines of "How can I fit Goblins into Oppra? Into an extremely size limited colony ship? Into a story about a war against golbinoids?" Getting those answers out in front of us might have started us thinking along those lines a little earlier.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber

I doubt Koblolds will be stuck with -4 Str long term. Edit: In PF2, I mean.


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AnimatedPaper wrote:
I think if starting with the Ironfang Invasion, they'd offered up goblins as a legitimate player choice in the various AP player guides, and not a niche one, more would have been used to it.

A good reason they didn't do this was that the PF1 goblin was designed for "make the monster work the way it is supposed to" which made it pretty unsuitable for a PC unless it's a build where "dex is the only thing that matters" (like a gunslinger).

Since PF2 decouples "how monsters are built" and "how PCs are built" (though you can always build NPCs as PCs) we don't have this problem anymore- PC orcs don't have to have penalties to all mental scores, PC kobolds don't need to be pathetic, and PC goblins can be just a +2/+2/-2 option like the rest.


AnimatedPaper wrote:
I doubt Koblolds will be stuck with -4 Str long term. Edit: In PF2, I mean.

I just wondered why for so long. Next to Goblins very similar imo. The +1 bonus due to Natural AC and the Crafty Racial trait hardly makes up for the -4 to STr bonus imo.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I doubt Koblolds will be stuck with -4 Str long term. Edit: In PF2, I mean.

truly the easiest thing for me to homebrew was a different stat array for kobolds. 5RP race, just really bad


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
PossibleCabbage wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I think if starting with the Ironfang Invasion, they'd offered up goblins as a legitimate player choice in the various AP player guides, and not a niche one, more would have been used to it.

A good reason they didn't do this was that the PF1 goblin was designed for "make the monster work the way it is supposed to" which made it pretty unsuitable for a PC unless it's a build where "dex is the only thing that matters" (like a gunslinger).

Since PF2 decouples "how monsters are built" and "how PCs are built" (though you can always build NPCs as PCs) we don't have this problem anymore- PC orcs don't have to have penalties to all mental scores, PC kobolds don't need to be pathetic, and PC goblins can be just a +2/+2/-2 option like the rest.

"Dex is the only thing that matters" and "Dex is the biggest thing that matters" covers a looot of builds in PF1. Especially late PF1.

I'm not pretending Goblins suddenly became a well-balanced option until PF2 came in to fix them, but Goblins have been a choice (if not a great one) for a while. Putting it into Player's guides that, say, a small band of goblins stowed away on the Peregrine in Ruins, or Phaendar was home to a colony of tolerated goblins in Ironfang, or that one of Eutropia's more controversial reforms was inclusions of goblins into polite(r) society, and as consequence several had attached themselves to her retinue as personal attendants and allies (somewhat to her chagrin), might have been useful.

Sprinkle in a few named Goblin NPCs over those APs as well, as well as allowing goblins to be freely available in Pathfinder Society (and there they COULD do a big event that massively changes how the Society views its Goblin members), and that would make a lot more players think of Venture Captain Tibbles, or Eutropia's handmaiden Clara, or the Angry Albatross tribe of Ancorato Island when they think of goblins, instead of "Burnt Offerings."


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Particular Jones wrote:
AnimatedPaper wrote:
I doubt Koblolds will be stuck with -4 Str long term. Edit: In PF2, I mean.
I just wondered why for so long. Next to Goblins very similar imo. The +1 bonus due to Natural AC and the Crafty Racial trait hardly makes up for the -4 to STr bonus imo.

Can't really blame Paizo for that one. Wizards wrote that one initially, and even they acknowledged that Kobolds needed help to not be absolutely terrible.

THere was an WotC article forever ago that offered the following additional racial traits:

*Craft (trapmaking) is a class skill for all kobolds
*Natural Weapons: Kobolds have two primary claw attacks that deal 1d3 points of slashing damage plus Strength bonus, and a secondary bite attack that deals 1d3 points of piercing damage plus 1/2 Strength bonus. Despite possibly being the weakest reptilian humanoid, kobolds retain a connection to their feral nature.
*Slight Build: The physical stature of kobolds lets them function in many ways as if they were one size category smaller. Whenever a kobold is subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as Hide), the kobold is treated as one size smaller if doing so is advantageous to the character. A kobold is also considered to be one size smaller when "squeezing" through a restrictive space. A kobold can use weapons designed for a creature one size smaller without penalty. However, the space and reach of a kobold remain those of a creature of their actual size. The benefits of this racial trait stack with the effects of powers, abilities, and spells that change the subject's size category.
*Weapon Proficiency: Kobolds receive the Martial Weapon Proficiency feats for the heavy pick and light pick as bonus feats. Kobolds are born and bred miners, regardless of their actual profession, allowing them to easily wield these weapons.
*Weapon Familiarity: Kobolds may treat greatpicks (see below) as martial weapons, rather than exotic weapons.

Grand Lodge

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My biggest complaint about Goblin player characters is how people roleplay them. I played my 2nd 2ePFS game last night, The Mosquito Witch...which is written to be a more serious, horror themed scenario. The GM is great, and warned people ahead of time that they were going to lean heavy into the horror aspects (which I was super excited for)...then one of the players chose to play a Goblin Bard, and proceeded to completely derail any attempts at seriousness, within an hour the GM gave up even trying to run a serious game.

It completely ruined my enjoyment of the game, to the point where I almost withdrew from the table. The same thing happens in Starfinder most of the time when people decide to play Skittermander characters...they play them as ridiculous comic relief characters, hell bent of turning every game into a comedy.

I will probably never sit at another table with someone playing either of those races again because of how annoying and disruptive they are, and the in-universe lore completely backs up and encourages that type of behavior.


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Slyme wrote:

My biggest complaint about Goblin player characters is how people roleplay them. I played my 2nd 2ePFS game last night, The Mosquito Witch...which is written to be a more serious, horror themed scenario. The GM is great, and warned people ahead of time that they were going to lean heavy into the horror aspects (which I was super excited for)...then one of the players chose to play a Goblin Bard, and proceeded to completely derail any attempts at seriousness, within an hour the GM gave up even trying to run a serious game.

It completely ruined my enjoyment of the game, to the point where I almost withdrew from the table. The same thing happens in Starfinder most of the time when people decide to play Skittermander characters...they play them as ridiculous comic relief characters, hell bent of turning every game into a comedy.

I will probably never sit at another table with someone playing either of those races again because of how annoying and disruptive they are, and the in-universe lore completely backs up and encourages that type of behavior.

This can be a problem, but is a 'player/individual' problem vs a problem in general. People CAN do this. It IS a thing. But it doesn't have to be.

Goblins CAN be played for a more comedic aspect and for fun.

But they can also be played straight.

I've played both sides of it. And it depends on the group/story. You can get down right dark and creepy with a goblin, or yeah a bit funny.

The thing is to stop a player that's just getting stupid with it, before they get too much steam and be like "ok I'm glad you're having fun, but you're a little too much Jim Carrey with this and it's taking away from every one elses enjoyment.

The same can be done with Gnomes and Halflings too.

It 'is' a thing, but not one to totally boycott games for. Just let people know -before- they get stupid with it.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Slyme wrote:

My biggest complaint about Goblin player characters is how people roleplay them. I played my 2nd 2ePFS game last night, The Mosquito Witch...which is written to be a more serious, horror themed scenario. The GM is great, and warned people ahead of time that they were going to lean heavy into the horror aspects (which I was super excited for)...then one of the players chose to play a Goblin Bard, and proceeded to completely derail any attempts at seriousness, within an hour the GM gave up even trying to run a serious game.

It completely ruined my enjoyment of the game, to the point where I almost withdrew from the table. The same thing happens in Starfinder most of the time when people decide to play Skittermander characters...they play them as ridiculous comic relief characters, hell bent of turning every game into a comedy.

I will probably never sit at another table with someone playing either of those races again because of how annoying and disruptive they are, and the in-universe lore completely backs up and encourages that type of behavior.

It absolutely does. But as others have pointed out on different threads, that problem isn't actually how goblins or skittermanders are written, it's that people are being jerks to you and your DM. Were neither to exist, you'd still have Gnomes and the entire CN alignment for those shenanigans, if shenanigans is what they'd like to accomplish.

Grand Lodge

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The way Goblins and Skittermanders are written actively encourages that style of play though...Have you played any of the We Be Goblins series, or pretty much any PFS scenario where you encounter Goblins? Or Skitter Shot/Crash in SF? The really push the whole comedic narrative in basically every bit of official published material related to those races.

Gnomes are a bit more random in how they are portrayed, I've only run across super comedic Gnomes in Paizo material once or twice. A lot of players have been tainted by Blizzard's portrayal of them in Warcraft, but Paizo has done a pretty good job of not writing them as the comic relief most of the time.

Same for Halflings...if anything, Halflings are written as being a pretty grim, oppressed race in Golarian. Most of them are either slaves in Cheliax, or freedom fighters trying to end slavery in Cheliax.

Look at the Gnome and Halflings iconics. None of them are written as comedic. Lem is a former slave, Lini is a pretty straight forward Druid focused on nature, Balazar and Enora are both serious students of the arcane, Meligaster is pretty dark, having used his Mesmerist powers to dominate the people keeping him as a slave, and also tyrannizing the other Halfling slaves in the household before running off and joining the Pathfinders.

Then you get Fumbus...the 2e iconic Goblin Alchemist...whose backstory revolves around an exploding pickle barrel and wildly unreliable alchemy.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Slyme wrote:

My biggest complaint about Goblin player characters is how people roleplay them. I played my 2nd 2ePFS game last night, The Mosquito Witch...which is written to be a more serious, horror themed scenario. The GM is great, and warned people ahead of time that they were going to lean heavy into the horror aspects (which I was super excited for)...then one of the players chose to play a Goblin Bard, and proceeded to completely derail any attempts at seriousness, within an hour the GM gave up even trying to run a serious game.

It completely ruined my enjoyment of the game, to the point where I almost withdrew from the table. The same thing happens in Starfinder most of the time when people decide to play Skittermander characters...they play them as ridiculous comic relief characters, hell bent of turning every game into a comedy.

I will probably never sit at another table with someone playing either of those races again because of how annoying and disruptive they are, and the in-universe lore completely backs up and encourages that type of behavior.

As usual when this sort of thing comes up...

Ya got a player problem here, not a goblin problem.

Your GM stated, "guys, we're doing serious horror."
Your fellow player said, "I'm gonna run a goofball goblin bard."

I mean... I can whip up a goblin for a horror story pretty easily. I could possibly, with a bit of work, even make a goblin song slinging goblin bard who'd fit. But it would take work, and I probably wouldn't try if Session Zero set clear expectations.

Grand Lodge

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I like the concept of Goblins and unusual humanoids as playable races...in fact, I gravitate towards playing characters like that. I am also fine with the idea of races which are generally viewed as evil having outcasts, or even whole clans which break off and become 'good'. I've been playing RPGs for decades, the standard 'core' races are generally pretty boring for me, so I love coming up with unusual characters and backstories. In fact, my -2001 PFS2 character is a Goblin, which is also the character I was playing in the game that got ruined by the guy playing the Goblin Bard. I specifically wrote my character to break the stereotype Paizo has been pushing on the Goblins though.

The problem is, Paizo has written Goblins as comical from the start, and that encourages people to play them comically. Even the outcast/good Goblins are written that way in the official source materials. This does nothing to dissuade people from playing Goblin PCs that way, and IMHO actively encourages it.


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Slyme wrote:

I like the concept of Goblins and unusual humanoids as playable races...in fact, I gravitate towards playing characters like that. I am also fine with the idea of races which are generally viewed as evil having outcasts, or even whole clans which break off and become 'good'. I've been playing RPGs for decades, the standard 'core' races are generally pretty boring for me, so I love coming up with unusual characters and backstories. In fact, my -2001 PFS2 character is a Goblin, which is also the character I was playing in the game that got ruined by the guy playing the Goblin Bard. I specifically wrote my character to break the stereotype Paizo has been pushing on the Goblins though.

The problem is, Paizo has written Goblins as comical from the start, and that encourages people to play them comically. Even the outcast/good Goblins are written that way in the official source materials. This does nothing to dissuade people from playing Goblin PCs that way, and IMHO actively encourages it.

You're not wrong. It's hard to find one represented as 'normal' (if that's such a thing) in the fluff.

Again this seems to be something for the group of players. And yes goblin PC's --are-- prone to this sort of thing. So it's good to nip it in the bud at the start.

I've had GM's that are like "Wait you wanna play a goblin? We don't want stupid PC's or Ace Ventura running around man"

And I assure them "no no. I play them like any other PC, just with a quirk or two" (__ALL__ My char's have quirks of some kind)

Some GM's will let you try and sort of watch to make sure you don't get dumb.

Some flat out refuse, because in their eyes, the possibility for stupid, out weighs the possibility of fun.

Both are valid depending on time and place. I've played games with some people, my friends, whom, if I'm honest, I'd not WANT to see them play a goblin, because i KNOW they'd play it annoyingly. lol

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