Content of the article: "Goblins shouldn’t be just mindless cannon fodder"
One thing that I've always hated is that goblins seem quite disconnected from the world in a lot of campaigns. Goblins are not the most intelligent of creatures, but we should always consider that they have a society, a culture, a religion (they've even got shamans).
There's some good material on goblins on Volo's Guide, but here are some details I personally add to the goblins of my world, feel free to include your thoughts (kinda hoping I get some good ideas from this post):
Goblins live in a caste system where the upper castes assert their domination by physically punishing the lower castes.
I like to consider the different goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, bugbears) all the same species. On my setting they get their differences from their social positions. In other words, a goblin can become a hobgoblin if he gets to a higher position through violence and domination (in a similar way frogs and lizards can change sexes). Maybe the hobgoblins get better food and change their morphology accordingly, maybe they get a blessing from the shaman.
Goblins could be proud of the way they see the world, perhaps they think they're better than humans and other races. Goblins think that domination is the only kind of relationship, either you're dominating or being dominated. Maybe they think other races are hypocrites for discussing useless things like kindness and justice while also living by the rules of domination.
Goblins have names and lives, for god's sake. There's a big difference between killing hobgoblin#3 and killing Hefferson, the hobgoblin general that bears the same kind of scars you've seen on lower caste goblins, indicating that he was once a pariah. Even if the PCs don't get the opportunity to hear the backstories, having goblins call members of the same caste by their names make them seem less "videogamy" (they can still call members of the lower castes "scum") .
Goblins can try to do anything out of fear of their bosses, even if that means being non-aggressive. A Goblin boss can make others collect materials underground and sell to other races on the surface, for example. If a goblin is ordered to not harm anyone, chances are he won't (out of fear of punishment).
Can't wait to hear your thoughts and the flavor of your own goblins.
- Player seems to enjoy being a contrarian
- My party wants to tame an owlbear
- Party Assassinates Hobgoblin Leader with Magic Pineapple
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