deep goblins Species in Scarterra | World Anvil

deep goblins

Until I see one with my own eyes, I will treat the rumors of thick-skinned goblins the size of dwarves as just that, rumors.   -Beznak Bristlebranch, Dwarf Deep Ranger
  Of the recent mutations/evolutions of common goblins that have cropped up in the Third Age, deep goblins may be the most dangerous, but they are also among the least known goblin variants, not because they are rare, but because they are rarely seen.  
Much like how jumping goblins, red goblins, and frog goblins have developed from an strong infusion of elemental air, fire, and water essence respectively, deep goblins are suffused with the elemental essence of earth. Sometimes they are called rock goblins.
Pile of rocks by Me using Nightcafe
  Rock goblins are much larger and tougher than normal goblins, but they are also noticeably less nimble. If this was all that set them apart from other goblins, they would not be that dangerous, but rock goblins possess a specific trait in abundance that is rare in all other goblins: patience.   Like most goblins, deep goblins resent thousands of years of goblinkind being bullied and enslaved by other races and are happy to turn the tables at every opportunity but deep goblins understand revenge is a dish best served cold and they won't impulsively jump on every apparent short-term advantage that dangles itself under their noses.   Also, when deep goblins have leverage over another being, they don't (usually) immediately opt to begin literally working them to death. They will try to set up mutually beneficial arrangements. These deals of course are slanted towards the deep goblins of course, but they are more along the lines of "an offer you cannot refuse" than "work or die, slave!"   Deep goblins are among the best metalsmiths in Scarnoctis, not counting dwarves, morlocks, and West Colassian cyclopes. Deep goblins view all three of these groups as rivals and competitors that must be eliminated or brought to heel...eventually.   Deep goblins commonly like to act via proxies, often directing ordinary goblins, red goblins, and occasionally kobolds. A tip-off that a Scarnoctan group is acting on "orders from below" is when one notices the "primitive savages" are now suddenly sporting high quality weapons and armor.  
Most goblins are covetous by nature and want everything they see. Deep goblins have a more focused greed and specifically try to hoard precious metals and jewels.

Basic Information


Deep goblins have the basic goblinoid facial features, but their Earth ethnicity are so strong that it has overridden basic aspects of what makes a normal goblins physiology. They are slightly taller and much broader and heavier, roughly the size and weight dwarves. The average deep goblin is a little bit thinner and lankier than the average dwarf but they weigh about the same.   While they don't exactly have what can be called "stone skin", rock goblins are thick skinned and their skin can turn aside weak or glancing blows (see the top sidebar)

Genetics and Reproduction

Deep goblins reproduce like other goblins more or less. Unfortunately, the size and density of rock goblins makes pregnancies rough and rock goblin mothers have a higher likelihood of dying during childbirth than other goblin variants.   To some extent the deep goblin race is compensating for this by stealing medical books or kidnapping midwives to improve their own knowledge of safe birthing, but it is slow process. As a side benefit, deep goblins are generally better at finding medicinal plants and providing basic first aid than all other goblin variants.

Growth Rate & Stages

Deep goblins, age slower than most other goblins. They reach the age of majority at 15 and have a typical life expecancy of about 70 years with reccord life spans around 90 years.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Despite their great size, deep goblins have surprisngly efficient metabolisms and do not need to eat much more than common goblins.   They are not picky eaters, but when they have a choice, they prefer meat, not raw, but rare.   Their teeth are rock hard and their stomachs are very tough. They can grind tough vegetable matter and even small bits of bone.

Additional Information

Geographic Origin and Distribution

As one would guess by their names, deep goblins usually live deep underground and are often the dominant humanoid race in Scarnoctis' deepest depths.   When possible, they will try to claim territories far away from dwarves, morlocks, and cyclopes. The rock goblins plan to turn the tables on these rivals...eventually. First, they need to increase their wealth, power, and numbers before beginning a direct confrontation.   They usually avoid the shallower regions of Scarnoctis and even more rarely adventure into Scarterra.   The exception is rock goblins living in the underground caverns of the Island of Khemarok and Umera and these landmasses have very few dwarves or morlocks and zero cyclopes. This means rock goblins can be bolder in these lands. Unfortunately for the rock goblins, this also means they have become noticed by the humans of these regions though the humans do not yet realize just how many rock goblins dwell beneath them.   Penarchia is a special case. There have been some attempts by deep goblins and Penarchian dwarves to forge mutually beneficial alliance. So far these shaky alliances have all collapsed, but this is the only place in the world where peaceful dwarf-goblin relations were ever even attempted.

Average Intelligence

Deep goblins seem to have raw intelligence and a curiosity for knew knowledge fully equal to humans.

Perception and Sensory Capabilities

Deep goblins have senses attuned specifically to life undergrond.   All deep goblins have the ability to see in low light environments and have an excellent sense of smell and hearing that means they can partially compensate for a lack of vision in total dark.   Deep goblins find bright sunlight disorienting and painful but bearable. Even without bright sunlight (either because of nightfall or heavy cloud cover), deep goblins are moderately uncomfortable. Above ground, them sounds and smells of the surface world can be overwhelming and it is hard to discern the useful sensory input from the "noise". With practice, deep goblins can compensate and display their underground sensory acuity above ground (provide there is no bright sunlight) but very few deep goblins go through this trouble (see the bottom sidebar)

Civilization and Culture

Beauty Ideals

Strength and vitality are considered valuable traits and at least among their own kind, rock goblins that are big and strong are considered more attractive to the opposite sex than rock goblins that are not.   Hybrid rock goblins that have the blood of common goblins are considerd far superior to common goblins and far inferior to full rock goblins. In reality, all rock goblins are hybrids, but only the smallish ones are treated as such.

Gender Ideals

Deep goblins are patriarchal with men holding most leadership positions. Males treat deep goblin females with love and respect. Deep goblin patriarchs regularly consult their wives and sisters when making decisions.   Hybrid rock goblin females and common goblin females are treated as breeding chattel with no rights at all. Hybrid goblin and common goblin males aren't treated much better, some of the harsher tribes even castrate them at a young age.   There are exceptions, some goblin leaders treat non rock goblin males and females with a modicum of respect, but this is an act. These deep goblins merely believe they will get better results from their minions if they pretend to care about them.

Average Technological Level

Through intellectual theft, careful study, and experimentation, deep goblins have a well developed mining and metalworking tradition. They also are generally quite knowledgeable about other aspects of life in Scarnoctis , which plants and fungi are edible and which are poisonous, which animals can be tamed and which are threats, etc.  
Deep goblins are trying to increase their magical power but without much success. They have a small tradition of rune casting wizardry but it is not very powerful or widespread.   They also desperately want to wield divine magic power, but since most of their worship of the Nine is pretty superficial so very few deep goblin theurgists have popped up so far.
Symbol of the Nine (with artist's permission) by Pendrake

Major Language Groups and Dialects

Like most goblins, rock goblins speak a degenerate version of Elven. Rock goblins generally make the effort to learn more foreign languages than most other goblins and this has slowly changed the rock goblin dialect as they incorporate more foreign words and grammar.

Culture and Cultural Heritage

Deep goblins value good craftsmanship and beautiful things. They have few compunctions against stealing valuable items from other races but they place special value on items crafted by their own kind.   Even less so than most other goblins, they have little in the ways of musical tradition and their storytelling tradition values cold hard facts more than building myths and legends.   Relative to other goblins, deep goblins respect their elders and venerate their ancestors. Not a whole lot, but the bar is pretty low because most other goblins barely have enough respect for their honored dead to not eat them. This had resulted in a few deep goblins becoming spirit loas, something almost unheard of among other goblinoids.

Common Taboos

Deep goblins treat cannibalism as a serious taboo whereas most goblins treat cannibalism as a small taboo.   Thus, deep goblin bugbears are not a thing, or if they are, deep goblin bug bears are staying far away from their more respectable kin.   To a lesser extent, deep goblins try to show loyalty to their own race, so figurative and literal backstabbing is less tolerated among deep goblins than among common goblins.


At some point the first rock goblins developed early in the the Third Age and their numbers have grown slowly but steadily since.   The rock goblins have been planning their ascendancy over the other races of Scarnoctis very carefully. Goblins in general are notorious for their infighting and deep goblins are not much better. At the very least they are more subtle in their power plays, but this has slowed down their acquisition of power as a race.

Deep Goblin RPG stats

  Deep goblin characters have the same 1-5 attriute range that humans and most other humanoids have. Deep goblins do NEVER have the normal "Puny" flaw that most other goblins are saddles with and RARELY enjoy the Dexterity bonus most other goblins have.   Survival Instincts: Deep goblins receive a -1 difficulty bonus on all nonmagical Survival rolls involving finding directions and avoiding getting lost.   Deep goblins recieve a -1 difficulty bonus on all nonmagical Survival rolls underground. This is cumulative with the above bonus so deep goblins have a -2 difficulty bonus when rolling to navigate underground.   Thick Skin: Deep goblins receive two bonus soak dice against all forms of damage, unless the attack negates normal armor. These bonus soak dice stack with normal armor.   Acute senses: Deep goblins have a -1 difficulty bonus on all Alertness rolls underground and they only suffer half the normal penalty for blind fighting. If they have the blind Advanced Training Merits, they suffer no penalty at all for blind fighting (underground at least).   Their body physiology is such that deep goblins cannot normally pick up the armor of other races and wear them and visa versa, but most deep goblin tribes and clans have at least one skilled armorsmith among them.     Not very boyant: Deep goblins receive a +2 difficulty penalty on all swimming rolls.   Sunlight sensitivity: Deep goblins receive a one-die penalty on all dice rolls (including Willpower rolls and saving throws but not soak rolls) when exposed to bright sunlight, be it naturally or magically conjured.     What about their supposed talent with metalworking?   Unlike cyclopes, dwarves, and morlocks, deep goblins do not receive any innate bonuses in mining and metalworking, but they commonly train their children in these crafts from a young age, but a deep goblin raised outside his home culture is not going to have this ability, unlike a dwarf who is raised by non-dwarves who will still have innate instincts for stone and metal.
Genetic Ancestor(s)
70 years
Average Height
4' 6"
Average Weight
160 pounds
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
Grey or black skin in the norm and one would expect from the Earth ethnicity.   A small number of deep goblins that live primarily in warm subterranean environments develop secondary fiery traits, including a slight reddish or orangish coloration. A small number of deep goblins that live primarily in colder and windy environments develop secondary airy traits, which usually means they have somewhat light coloration.   Deep goblins generally steer clear of large bodies of water (they are not good swimmers), so no deep goblins have developed secondary watery traits.
Geographic Distribution

Deep Goblin Merits and Flaws

  (Advanced Training Merit) Above ground senses (2): Your character has spent a lot of time above ground, and enjoys the same -1 bonus on all Alertness rolls provided he or she is not in bright sunlight.   (physical Merit) Hybrid Goblin Speed (5 point Merit): Your character has mixed parentage of some sort mixing ordinary goblins blood with deep goblin blood.   In this case, it helps you, your character is only slightly smaller than a regular rock goblin, but is much faster, enjoying the -1 bonus on non-magical Dexterity rolls common goblins enjoy.   (physical Flaw) Hybrid Goblin Weakness (3 or 5 point Flaw): Your character has mixed parentage of some sort mixing ordinary goblins blood with deep goblin blood and it has literally made you soft.   At 3 points, your character has only one bonus soak die rather than two. At 5 points, your character has no bonus soak dice at all.   Physical Flaw) Hybrid Goblin Aura (2 point Flaw): Your character has mixed parentage of some sort mixing ordinary goblins blood with deep goblin blood and it has left you looking unimpressive.   Your character suffers a +1 difficulty on Appearance rolls with all goblins, and a +1 diffiuclty on all social attribute rolls with deep goblins.


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