Goblin Masterwork


Rules Questions


Sorry if this has already been asked, but the search turned up 270+ pages for masterwork, and I wasn't willing to scour over a decade's worth of threads. We've been taking a "rules as written" approach and tried to limit houseruling as much as we can because we're all pretty new.

I was running Rise of the Runelords last night, and a player of mine had looted a masterwork horsechopper, and some dogchoppers off of the goblins at the Swallowtail festival, and was hoping to sell them off at the Armory. I told him the items would be bought by the vendor at 50% of the stated cost, and that because the horsechopper was masterwork, it's cost was worth the base item +300gp (so 50% of that.) One of my other players took issue with this because he felt that goblin smiths would not be capable of crafting an item that would be considered masterwork by humans/elves/dwarves, and that an item that would be masterwork in the eyes of a goblin would just be a standard item as far as a human smith would be concerned, and thus should not fetch a higher price.

My interpretation of the rules is that "Masterwork" is a game term, like a meta-designation from the player/GM perspective that imparts the properties +1 on attack and +300 to base cost, regardless of the culture of origin of that item. I get where he's coming from that the standards of a goblin craftsman would be far below the standards of a dwarven smith, however as a game mechanic "Masterwork" is not subjective, but a specific property like +1 or "reach weapon" or "fragile." Basically in much the same way as a character in game wouldn't say "Ohhh that's a +1 longsword" but rather "Hmmm that's an enchanted blade" the characters wouldn't say "that's a masterwork horsechopper" but instead something like "Ohh this is a finely crafted horsechopper" or something along those lines.

My lore justification for this is that every race is capable of producing prodigies or geniuses, and that while the average tribe-smith churning out dogchoppers for raids is the musician equivalent of a guy at a house party picking up a guitar and strumming out "wonderwall", there also exist the Mozarts of the goblin smithing world, and they would surely be capable of churning out a masterwork item. Anyways sorry for the long post, but other GMs please weigh in, is Masterwork a specific item category that always has the same properties regardless of origin? OR is the Masterwork quality of an item subjective of the culture that crafts it?

Silver Crusade

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It’s a specific term, your player is whining for the sake of drama.


By strict RAW, it's +300gp, whether it's a horsechopper, a club or a greatsword. It's a bit of a silly rule, but that's what it is. But you're the GM: do what you like.

You could think of it as a very nice (masterwork) blade off a greataxe or glaive or something, that's been attached to a goblin-sized haft. The blade is the expensive bit that makes the difference, so that's what affects the sale price.


Ditto. Your player may be making a reasonable argument based on flavor, but there is no mechanical support to their claim. Since you all are trying to play as close to RAW as possible, your understanding is exactly correct.

Now, if your player wants to make some skill checks to undercut the value of the goblin made weapons, that would be RAW. At that point however, I'm going to be asking why the player is actively trying to undercut the income of the party.


My group had a good laugh about a masterwork horsechopper. But like everyone has said, it's a game term and means what it means. If you need justification, a stopped clock is right twice a day, some goblin weaponmaker just got lucky.


The idea of goblin masterwork bugged me enough that I swapped in captured halfling and gnome made stuff, just to head off the weirdness.


Swapping in other weapons, that's a good way to do it. If a MW horsechopper doesn't make sense.


so.. i can't see why a goblin can't craft a finely balanced weapon. is balance an off topic for them?

if you told me it had runes inscribed i might had issues with it. but a weapon being a better grade?
come on! it might be made from leftover scrap metal found from whatever the Sandpoint citizens dropped of the cliff, but some of that stuff is actually really good working materials. and i can see a family of goblins handing out the same weapon while each generation chip it off a bit more to make it better balanced for a small humanoid with bendy legs and low arms strength. to think that you are the only race that can appreciate a good artistic item is kinda snobbish.


Reksew_Trebla wrote:
Due to early ages of dying, children used to be proficient in trade work as early as possible, which means some of our ancestors made masterwork weapons before or just at hitting puberty. Is it really a stretch for goblins, in a world where it is possible to kill Godzilla Mogaru with a NON-masterwork longsword, to do the same? Get your heads out of your butts people.

No need to get aggressive, we can all enjoy the game in the manner that fits our groove.

Liberty's Edge

The goblin can produce masterwork items.

They can even remove some weapon drawback that way:

Advanced Race Guide wrote:
Dogslicer: This short, curved sword is a favorite weapon of goblins, who show unusual cunning by drilling numerous holes in the blade to reduce the weapon’s weight. Masterwork versions of a dogslicer lose the fragile special weapon ability.

For the sake of verisimilitude, when reselling loot I generally apply a modifier to the sale price based on the ease of finding interested buyers.

So selling the small masterwork horsechopper to a merchant would net less money than selling a common masterwork weapon, as few people will be interested in using a goblin weapon (it is not fashionable). On the other hand, spending some time (and role-playing) finding some rich bourgeois or noble that want to boast to have killed a goblin champion can net more money than selling to a weapon merchant.
But those are houserules that my players are comfortable with, not official rules.


Thanks, yeah that was kind of my take on it. I have no problem with the flavour arguments he was making, and can see where he's coming from, my issue was that I don't think he has a leg to stand on when making the claim that my interpretation of the RAW was wrong. Masterwork seemed to be pretty clearcut in what it entailed.

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