Today we have reached the 2/3 mark of the “30 Days of D&D” blog challenge. The subject for Day 20 is “Favorite Humanoid / Natural / Fey.”
Think I’ll go with… goblins.
Goblins seem to get no respect; they are way underused. It’s all orcs, orcs, orcs! And every so often devious kobolds of the “Tucker’s” variety.
Goblins can be interpreted in different ways. Are they just a smaller race of orcs as in Tolkein? Are they spawned from the nightmares of children? Are they magically transformed children as in Labyrinth? Are they created deep in the earth from some primal force?
Goblins to me have always inhabited an interesting place in the pecking order of monstrous humanoid races. They are physically weaker than all but kobolds, and are often dominated or enslaved by stronger races such as orcs. Being usually Neutral Evil, they are not as organized as their Lawful Evil relatives the hobgoblins, nor as prone to fighting among themselves as Chaotic Evil orcs.
Goblins are part of a family of “goblinoid races” that includes hobgoblins and bugbears. Goblins may be able to call upon their larger relatives for aid in return for bribes or pledges of servitude. This may lead to a situation of a goblin tribe being bossed around by hobgoblins or bugbears, unless the goblins are numerous enough to stand up for themselves.
In my world of Granjor (which includes the continent of Danarbi detailed in some of my posts here), I assigned goblins the role of ancestral enemy of halflings. I mean, all the other demihumans have at least one humanoid race to feud with, why not the halflings too? (I assigned orcs to the dwarves, kobolds to the gnomes, and gnolls to the elves, as hobgoblins are not native to the home continent of the elves.)
Since goblins are a bit bigger than kobolds, they may be more prone to standing to fight instead of relying so much on traps. Goblins will generally be encountered in decent-sized groups; small groups will avoid encounters if possible. They favor weapons such as spears that can be thrown or used in multiple ranks, since going toe-to-toe with larger foes is a bad idea.
Goblins are masters of nighttime sneaking and raiding. Many a remote farmstead has awoken to find their barn on fire and their livestock missing, with the only evidence left behind being numerous small footprints.