Favorite Humanoid

20 Sep

Here’s post in the 30 Day D&D Challenge!

Today’s question:

20. What is your Favorite Humanoid Monster?

Honorable mention go to bugbears and gnolls, but my favorite is the goblin.

Goblins have the value of being classic monsters that offer a lot of flexibility in their presentation.  Tolkien portrayed goblins and orcs as the same creatures, cruel and militant foot soldiers that attacked in hordes at the command of a dark lord.  In Warhammer goblins are smaller versions of orcs, still militant but with a goofyness about them.  In many faerie tales goblins are mischievous and magical, sometimes cruel and sometimes not.  To Jim Henson they were faerie creatures of all different shapes and forms, very much like the traditional faerie tales.  It’s notable that David Bowie’s Jarreth, with his tall stature and magical powers, is as much a goblin as the smallest Muppet monster around him.

Yet whichever version of goblin you use it will be recognizable to your players.

For my own campaign I have picked a presentation that embraces part of all these ideas.  My goblins are faerie creatures and distant cousins to the elves, a fact neither species likes to bring attention to.  Goblins alone and in small groups are chaotic in aspect but not automatically evil.  They can be negotiated with, they may be helpful, even nice.  It’s uncommon, but goblins can be found living in the cities of other races.  Goblins have magicians though shaman are extremely rare.  There are no specific goblin gods.

It’s when goblins gather in large groups that things can go downhill.  When a strong personality arises, goblins will be drawn towards him or her.  This personality may be a goblin or a powerful or clever outsider.  When this happens more and more goblins will be drawn to the leader’s banner and their darker natures begin to take hold.

Here’s to the goblin, versatile creatures who’ve been making trouble for PCs for decades.


Posted by on September 20, 2013 in Gaming


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7 responses to “Favorite Humanoid

  1. The Rambling Roleplayer

    September 20, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    In my world I’ve made goblins an off-shoot of demons, albeit very lowly demons that are stuck on the prime material plane and who possess no demonic powers. However, they do have shamans, and worship lesser demons, who tend to use their goblin followers to attack the goblins followers of other demons that they are fighting with. So goblins spend a lot of time fighting among themselves instead of organizing in to meaningful threats against humanity. On occasion though, as demons gain status in the abyss or are absorbed into the armies of more powerful demons, several tribes of goblins may congregate and become more than just a nuisance.

  2. Fractalbat

    September 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    I really like that. You could set a whole campaign in a land where the demonic war has spilled into the prime material and cities are trapped between marauding goblin armies.

    • The Rambling Roleplayer

      September 20, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      I was kind of setting up for something like that at one point, but that game petered out early on, like so many good campaigns end up doing.

  3. jameseck

    September 30, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I like to view goblins as small pack hunters, going for the weakest prey. It’s fun to get the PCs to negotiate their way past one group of goblins only to have the neighboring pack not honor the deal they had no part in. I consider them one of the most difficult races politically.

    • Fractalbat

      October 1, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      Nice! I like it. Love the picture you used too.

      • jameseck

        October 2, 2013 at 8:56 PM

        Thanks, drew it myself. ^_^


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