Friday, January 15, 2016


This is going to the first in a series of posts about how I have approached various archetypal monsters and how they fit into the Castle. As always, your mileage may vary. Feel free to use the following only if it helps or you feel it fits in your campaign.

To be clear, in this post I am referring to common goblins only - not talon goblins, hatchet-faced goblins, xvart, yvart, zvart, bogeys, dusk goblins, sugar goblins, moor walkers, or any of the various similar creatures and cousins. Some or all of what is related below MAY also apply to those sub-types and related humanoids.

Some sages speculate that goblins are born from the spilled blood of fantastic monsters such as chimerae, hydrae, basilisks, manticores, and so on. Dragons are rumored to be so potent magically that goblins can form spontaneously even from their dung.

Other sages are of the opinion that dungeons, after years of bloodshed in their profane halls, achieve a sort of sentience of their own. Goblins are the thoughts and dreams of dungeons made real by the dungeon's need to be occupied.

New goblins are normal goblin-sized and can talk, fight, and do all the things you would expect a goblin to do, but they have no long term memories. As long as they are with you they appear capable of performing normal tasks and remembering details in the short term, but if you leave them alone for a while, they will no longer recognize you.  It takes years before a goblin's brain is mature enough to start laying down new long term memories.

Goblins do not procreate in the usual way, but there are still male and female goblins. Male goblins are always hideously ugly, but female goblins are almost childlike in appearance. They still fight as well as the males, though.

Being creatures of the the dungeon, goblins can see even in complete darkness (I consider it different from infravision, which I use only as the spell). They also are weakened by sunlight, just as described in the Monster Manual.

Goblins do eat, and enjoy food. Nevertheless, as long as they remain in their natural surroundings (ie. dungeons) they do not actually have to consume any nourishment. Should they leave the friendly confines of the dungeon homes, they will find that they hunger like other creatures.

Being fairy-tale creatures, goblins are averse to piety and thus can not become divine spellcasters. You will find no goblin shamans or witchdoctors in Castle Triskelion unless you put them there yourself.

Should goblins be forced to endure discipline, order, and warfare for prolonged periods of time they will naturally evolve into hobgoblins. Usually this happens to a group of goblins working together. This change is so gradual that sometimes they do not even notice that it has happened themselves.

Goblins can also become bugbears, but goblins do not wish to talk about this horrible process.

Goblins are often found serving evil wizards, evil knights, hobgoblins, or stronger goblins. They are natural minions.

At certain times of the year goblins and their ilk (in this case including talon goblins, hatchet-faces, etc.) gather for a Goblin Market, where commerce, not violence, is the rule.

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