Goblins

"I gather you are in a little hurry... This will cost extra."   The goblin clad in fine reddish silks stared at the rather stressed out looking human fellow that had entered his shop and closed the door behind him in a rush. He was tall, his skin tanned and he had dark eyes, which were constantly wandering to the door through which he did enter, as if any time he was expecting someone to push through. The facial features and the accent betrayed his eridan or sothian origin. His choice of clothes betrayed that he had the necessary ressources. Not the necessary taste probably...   "Yes..." he answered, nodded and threw a purse with gold onto the counter "...this should suffice, shouldn't it?"   The goblin opened the purse and counted the contents calmly, knowing well how much this must stress out his "customer". Timepressure is and had always been the best companion while striking a deal... if it was not you who was under this pressure. And it didn't need the goblin insight to see that this guy was under a lot of pressure right now.   "Who is after you? "   the goblin asked without changing his desinterested expression. "...the Guard?"   The "customer" nodded.   "No... not the guard. If it were the guard, you wouldn't be here in my little tailors shop, now would you?. The Xandattaway city guard is deep in the pockets of the guilds... and that's whom you are fleeing from... am i right?. Don't lie...i am a goblin..." the goblin continued.   The man nodded, slowly and more hesitant. He knew what was coming next.   "And I am a good guild member now am i...? This will cost extra."   The man sighed and threw another bag of gold onto the counter. The goblin raised his eyebrow, from the size of the bag the man just doubled the offer. This much of a hurry.   "Now we are talking. You just got yourself a secure way out of the city with the goblin express.What do you think of Duskhaven... i have heard there is a ship waiting in the harbor, and i know just the way to get you there unseen..."   The goblin stepped back and opened a trapdoor behind the counter, while saying this.   "No one may know where i went...." the man said. His pale face, pale for an eridan that is, reacquired some color as he stepped over the counter, leaving some muddy footprints on the fine blackwood. Seeing this irked the goblin more than he would show now, this was a respected tailor after all, but the gold in his little claws made him overlook it. It just took one conscious breath and he turned to the man smiling, just as the man was about to climb down through the trapdoor.   "...you have my promise..." the goblin answered.   The man stopped mid movement climbing down, his head now on level with that of the goblin.   "No... no promise. I want your word." he said.   "A goblin word hunh? Well... this will cost extra..."
— Scene in Xandattaway
 
Oh... you think because they are small, they are not dangerous hunh? OK, try to imagine yourself in the high grass of the grass ocean. You get your first look at this "three foot joke" as you enter a clearing. You stare at him, and he just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two goblins you didn't even know were there. You try to evade but they seem to foresee almost every movement you make. Because goblins are pack hunters, and they are very good at reading their prey. They goblin use tactics and trickery and they are out in force today. And as you prepare to fight the two which are wielding daggers and clubs, the one without any weapons almost escapes your note. But then he slashes at you with his retractable claws, like razors. Many big predators underestimate how much damage such a small creature can do. If you are lucky, you are dead. If not... the Goblins in the ocean of grass care little for their prey, or if you are still alive when they throw you into a giant bowl of boiling water to make supper of you. So show a little respect!
— A warrior in Rimmersgard explains to his youngest son the dangers of underestimating the goblins after stumbling over a goblin corpse.
 

Goblin Names

Names of Goblins are a versatile as humans, and unlike Gelf there is no strict Goblin naming tradition like the name festival. Goblins get their names from their parents, and their parents choose what sounds good to them.   Goblins oftentimes take over the naming tradition of the places they inhabit or strive through, and each goblin clan has his own ways, such that Goblin names oftentimes take over influences of other cultures, hence goblins in orcish areas oftentimes have crude names, while citygoblins sometimes have names which are not different from those of their human neighbors or the orcs they are living with.  
Player Tip: When trying to find a nmae for your goblin, take a human or orcish name and vary it. Add harshness to human names by adding harder hissing sounds, or make orcish names a little rounder by replacing hard consonants with softer ones

Culture

Culture and cultural heritage

Goblin Raiders

  By far not the largest group of Goblins, albeit the one which formed the general picture of humans about them, and the one always referred to when judging or deliberately misjudging goblins, is the group of Goblin Raiders. Goblins of this group live a nomadic life in clans of up to 100 Goblins which strive from region to region. Entering a new region they find a hideout and terrorize an area for as long as the answer of the local government is not explicit enough, or they figure that there is not enough to gain anymore. These Goblin Raiders follow the way of their ancestors, when they still lived together with the orcs in the Orc Plains or the Ocean Of Grass and are met with violence wherever they go. Like most Goblins, except those who have adapted other faiths, Goblin Raiders follow the Goblin Vodun , a shamanistic and synkretistic spirit faith in so called Ghola spirits,with strong connections to the gelf ancestor belief, but much more codified and present, than the ancestor belief is in the life of the under or uppergelf. Due to the violent nature of the life of Goblin Raiders, they almost allways call upon the the war variant of the Ghola spirits, the Kamba-Ghola.  

Western Raiders

Whereas Goblin Raiders in the east, so around The Inner Sea and in Cun Moragh Norn , have to face the hostility which results from their chosen lifestyle alone, in the Ocean Of Grass and The Orc Plains , and generally west of the Dragon Stones, they have formed a symbiosis with the orcs. Less warlike and more prone to tactics and subterfuge, and also known to have a good eye for their opponents motives, Goblins often serve as Scouts and light skirmishers in Orc Warbands, and in return enjoy the protection of the Orcs. This Symbiosis led to the misconception that orcs and goblins are part of a larger group called "goblinoids", and the reason that in wolven language the word orc (from which the word originates) applies for orogs, orcs and goblins alike. Hence the western Goblins are much less inlclined to resort to migration and guerilla warfare than the raiding clans of the east, and more to rely on the strength of "their" tribe. The depth of this symbiosis between Orcs and Goblins goes so deep, that most western goblins do not consider themselves as a separate species anymore, even if they still suffer from the gelfish plague expression and not that of the orogs. This has also led to the existence of Skeks, dwarvensized beings half goblin, half orc which feature signs of both parentages, like tusks or goblin facial features. Able to impose the will on others for purposes of faebirth these halfbreeds can become leaders of orcish warbands (called mobs), which they, thanks to their Goblin insight, usually lead very successfully.   Western raiding Goblins believe in the shamanistic orcish totemcult, albeit many sages have hinted at the similarities between many of the names of the orcish totems when translated into orcish, and the Ghola-Spirits of the Goblin Vodun.
 

Goblin Vagabonds

 
"... no dear, the goblin fortune teller doesn't read the future. She reads you, and tells you what you want to hear... the fortune is what you leave there to feel good."
— Caldavian father warning his daughter after the goblin market came to town.
  There are goblin clans which have given up the raiding life and found out that the life of wandering traders and entertainers might pose just as lucrative, especially if one can be in town one day and on the road the next, in order to escape the arm of the law or of disappointed customers. A common sight are so called "goblin markets", a caravan of one to eight screamingly colourful wagons filled with goblins, coming to a village and offering exotic goods aqcuired during travels, mostly useless but interesting stuff, or questionable services like fortune telling without any involved divination magic. Not that Goblins weren't able to work these wonders, and the fortune teller often doubles as a fully educated Mama or Papa of the Goblin Vodun, yet the goblins have learned the hard way that truth sells alot worse than hope, and usually brings about anger, torches and pitchforks. If you also happen to look very different under these circumstances...   These goblins seldom rely on violence, the groups are seldom bigger than 30 Goblins, and most of them are showmen and -women rather than varriors. Hence the worship of the Khamba (Destruction, Death) side of the Gholas is few and in between. Goblin Vagabonds rather invoke and summon the Kekma (-Protection) or Dhemba ( -Creation, Fertility) aspects of the Ghola Spirits.  
Goblin Carriage.jpg
 

City Goblins

Some goblins have settled down and given up the nomadic life of their ancestors. Now they call big human cities there home, and, just like Edaun elves, have adapted to human lifestyle. Where many Eadun have taken over human beliefs, the Goblins were able to keep there culture and their social cohesion. Cities in which their faith or culture are forbidden or actively pursued by the law are not for the Goblin. Thus the cities of Haven managed to remain clear of goblins, something which the Church and the Inquisition don't grow tired to point out, often citing the "goblin dishonesty" in the same sentence. Another region in which city Goblins won't be found are the former colonies in the West, Weyland and Reach. The Weylandians just consider the threat, that these goblins are really spies for a local orc tribe, as too big. Where this kind of goblins can be found however are the coastal cities of The Emerald Coast, in the Cityleague of Eridu, Soth and the Bandit Kingdoms. City goblins can also be found in Amn, Krynn, Duskhaven, Baricum, Levisjor and in Seti Seturi.   The standing of citygoblins in most cities is that of second class citizens though, and goblins hence are almost forced to refer to a life of crime, which then again reinforces the human preconception of goblins being untrustworthy liars. Few manage to escape the city's slums and those who do oftentimes keep at least a loose connection to the shadier side of society. Where the law is loose however, like in Seti Seturi, in the Bandit Kingdoms and where the question of right and wrong is strongly connected with material wealth like in Xandattaway or other cities of the emerald coast, Goblins have managed to climb the social ladder.   Unlike Eadun, goblins did not renounce their cultural heritage though, even though there are exceptions, especially with those who came to riches and adpated for convenience. Most citygoblins still follow the Goblin Vodun and in cityareas which are home to goblins, Ghola signs can often be found next to signs of the thieve's cant. The Vodun of the citygoblins has adapted though, and whereas the goblin vagabonds and the goblin raiders basically revere the same set of spirits to this very day, the citygoblins added new saints, Gholas even, derived from different belief systems, such that the Goblin Vodun in one city can differ from the Vodun as practised in another one. The symbolism changed too, where the original belief relied on certain runes and signs drawn in blood or chalk to invoke the spirits, City Goblins take the symbols of other faiths and reinterpret them as their own, like for example statues of the Mother, which, for goblins, double as symbols for Sister Dhemba-Kakalla (Kakalla for Creation), while caldavian depictions of the female Warrior became symbols of Sister Khamba-Mokkolanti (Mokkolanti for Destruction). Up to this day the Vodun remain a source of identity for the citygoblins, which then again helps to close their ranks against anything that tries to divide them.

Shared customary codes and values

Goblin Honesty

 
Don't trust a Goblin
— Human Proverb
If Humans all want the truth, why are they so bad at handling it?
— Goblin Proverb
Humans often claim that Goblins have a "special relation" to truth, and that the best way to handle them is not trust them at all. Other humans have found Goblins to be incredibly honest, to the point of offensive bluntness. In order to fit these pictures one has to understand a crucial point of Goblin society: Goblins are in fact Gelf, and thus have to counter the same plague expression as there distant relatives which live under the mountains, or remain hidden away protected by illusions in solitary forests. At the same time they have to counter the xenophobia of humans and, as Goblins like to put it, their way of rather believeing a comfortable lie than an uncomfortable truth. Goblins adapted.   The question if one can trust a Goblin is directly related to the amount the goblins trust this person. The amount of trouble an honest word can spill with people who the goblins won't ever see again is not worth the effort in the eyes of a goblin, but someone who has earned a goblins friendship, and who needs an honest word of critique, can always rely on the goblin to say, what others probably won't, be it out of misplaced respect or because it is uncomfortable. Because only few have learned this side of the goblins though, sweet-talking became also known as "talking goblin-speak".   Another story are promises. Goblins might promise the world, if they can rely on being somewhere else, when the promise will be claimed, yet never to friends or family. For those, a Goblin vow is reserved, and once uttered the goblin and his clan won't break it. Ever.   To counter the misfortunes that comes with dealing with Goblins, except fighting them of course if they are Raiders, humans often demand of a Goblin to pay first and receive the aqcuired goods afterwards.

Encompassed species

Goblins

Ability Score Increase +2 Dex, +1 Con
Size Small
Speed 25 ft

Size: 3.2 to 4.2 feet (0,98 to 1,21 m)  

Gelf Traits:

  • Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Rooted in the material world: Albeit differrently than the elves, Gnomes are protected against the influence of the Fae. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
  • Gelf Empathy: You get advantage on all Insight checks.
  • Retractable Claws: You can decide to extend your claws. Should you do so, your unarmed strikes do 1d4 + Str modifier damage.
  • Trance: Like Elves, Gelf do not sleep. Instead they meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for 4 hours a day. The Common word for this meditation is "trance". While meditating, you dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit a human would from 8 hours of sleep.

Goblin Traits:

  • Nimble Escape:The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
  • Fury of the small:: When you damage a creature with an attack or a spell and the creature's size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals your level. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Languages. Goblin and Common



Cover image: by Dungeon Masters Guide 5e p. 109

Goblins

Ability Score Increase +2 Dex, +1 Con
Size Small
Speed 25 ft

Size: 3.2 to 4.2 feet (0,98 to 1,21 m)  

Gelf Traits:

  • Darkvision: Accustomed to twilit forests and the night sky, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can't discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Rooted in the material world: Albeit differrently than the elves, Gnomes are protected against the influence of the Fae. You have advantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws against magic.
  • Gelf Empathy: You get advantage on all Insight checks.
  • Retractable Claws: You can decide to extend your claws. Should you do so, your unarmed strikes do 1d4 + Str modifier damage.
  • Trance: Like Elves, Gelf do not sleep. Instead they meditate deeply, remaining semi-conscious, for 4 hours a day. The Common word for this meditation is "trance". While meditating, you dream after a fashion; such dreams are actually mental exercises that have become reflexive after years of practice. After resting in this way, you gain the same benefit a human would from 8 hours of sleep.

Goblin Traits:

  • Nimble Escape:The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
  • Fury of the small:: When you damage a creature with an attack or a spell and the creature's size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals your level. Once you use this trait, you can't use it again until you finish a short or long rest.

Languages. Goblin and Common

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