Goblin Neglect in Gods & Magic


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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I wanted to convey my disappointment in how I feel Goblins were neglected in Gods and Magic. I think that by not including information on Goblin deities and how they fit into the mindset of the "PC Goblin", an opportunity was missed.

I have to admit, I wasn't on board with the decision to make Goblins a Core race during the playtest. I felt like it was pandering and using the success of the Free RPG Day modules to boost the new ruleset.

Don't get me wrong: I love goblins. I've loved goblins since Rise of the Runelords #1's Foreword when James Jacobs declared "...the Ten Commandments of Goblining, if you will."
1. Horse Hate
2. Dog Hate
3. Goblins Raid Junkyards
4. Goblins Love to Sing
5. They're Sneaky
6. They're A Little Crazy
7. They're Voracious
8. They Like Fire
9. They Get Stuck Easily
10. Goblins Believe Writing Steals Your Soul

I wasn't the only one. Everyone went Pathfinder Goblin crazy after this. To me, it was a metaphor for the new world in which I'd be gaming for the next 13 years (Jeez, time flies). Here I saw something that once meant "easy bad guy" and forever onward, it meant "maniac who burns and eats everything."

As time went on, Pathfinder continued to 're-brand' typical aspects of the game, and in so doing, re-invigorate the whole scene for me. Bugbears are stalking psychopaths, ogres are hillbilly murder/cannibals, even hobgoblins were given a strong cultural identity and a cause to get behind, and I was excited to see them get their own nation as Golarion moves ever onward, AP to AP.

With Goblins becoming Core in 2e, though, I feel they've lost everything that makes them Goblin. I was on the fence when the Core was released, and Paizo did a great job fleshing out Goblins as an ancestry and the relevant heritages in the World Guide and Character Guide, but I was really hoping that they'd get some love in Gods & Magic in particular.

In G&M there was an opportunity to flesh out that entire missing piece of the civilized Goblin's culture, and it was passed over. To me, and I'd imagine to goblins, religion is a major aspect of a culture. I can't imagine entire tribes like the Bumblebrashers forgetting about mighty Hadregash, ugly Zogmugot, nasty Venkelvore, or primal Zarongel. I can understand moving away from Lamashtu, but those four deities are where Goblins believe they come from. Even if a Goblin wanted to venture out and do good in the world, and even if the rare town can come to tolerate their presence, I think Goblins would still say small prayers to the four barghests, even if only out of fear for what the afterlife holds for them (and they have to know that they're going to see that afterlife really, really soon).

I hope the world story moves in a direction that helps this make sense soon. My suggestion?

Spoiler:
Chief Zugmut + Starstone = Goblin hero-god of Drama, Forging Your Own Destiny, and maybe a god of stealing stuff who isn't also tied to lust or murder

Thanks for reading my rant. I look forward to seeing how things continue to play out.


I honestly would really like the goblin hero gods to be explored more (and given stats! They would make fantastic boss monsters for extraplanar adventures that can be of a lower tier than demon lords)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

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The tricky thing with the goblin hero gods is that they're all evil. I don't want to redeem them; they should stay evil. Goblins are in a sort of transition in the meta of the game, and while the bulk of the goblin NPCs in-world remain monsters, the ones that are PCs are getting a skewed amount of the attention overall.

In time there may well be a new goblin god, or an established deity taking up the non-evil goblins under their divine wing. Cayden Cailean seems like the most likely person to do this, I feel.

And there's certainly no reason why a goblin worshiper of, say, Shelyn, can't worship her as a beautiful goblin, or can't worship Torag as a goblin who's all about tactics. It won't be the "norm" but then I kind of feel like the closer goblins get to the norm, the less interesting they are.

We might do something at some point in the future to expand on this topic, but for the moment, the point of the goblin is to a certain extent there to give players a chance to play the outsider/anti-hero/unusual hero, not to jump into a world with a character who has, as a result of their ancestry, a built-in nation and pantheon and established place in the regional society of the game. Goblins are scrappy up-and-coming outsiders to the process, and suddenly inventing, say, a new non-evil goblin pantheon out of the blue seems out of place to me.

Grand Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

For sure, I agree with the sentiment. There shouldn't be a shoehorned new non-evil goblin pantheon. I'm looking more for some insight on how these exceptional goblins reconcile their beliefs with their new lives. For example, a goblin can be motivated to join the Pathfinder Society, seek treasure and glory, even to help others and defeat menacing monsters. This doesn't mean that they stop believing in and even idolizing Zarongel for the gift of fire and wolf-riding. Hell, if it's a goblin that wants to be a knight, the first mount they're going to be drawn towards is a wolf or a goblin dog.

It would be really cool to see some artwork of 'goblin-ized' deities who reach out to goblins, by the way. I liked the goblin iconics a lot.

To compare to a real-world situation, people who break away from Mormonism or Christianity always have an interesting story and the catalyst for them to take such an action is a major part of their personality and world view from that point on. Even so, their past, before their break, continues to be a part of who they are in some way, shape, or form forever after.

In a world like Golarion where it's pretty much common knowledge that the gods exist and are in control of your afterlife and immortal soul, it would take a strong program of outreach to convince creatures like goblins that there's an alternative to spending eternity in Basalfeyst.


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

... I nominate Fumbus to pass the Test of the Starstone and become the patron of nonevil goblins.

I WOULD just go with Tup, but he's, well... evil.

Oo! Smink! Smink could do it!

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