View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other 3.5e; the goblinoids of Fold (PEACH)

2016-12-22, 05:09 PM
First things first; Fold is the name for my own setting that I've been working on gradually for a few year's now. Fold is pretty much identical to most settings used for D&D; a mostly eurocentric medieval mishmash world, but one where I've tried to mix things up a little. The technology level is kind of early industrial; clockwork and black powder exist but are incredibly rare, steam power is just starting to take off in the "heart of civilisation". And, for the past 800 years, the world has been recovering from the end of the Age of Gods, which came to an end with the sacrifice of all of the gods to seal away some shadowy and ancient evil.

One of the things I've wanted to do is make a world where a number of races aren't "inherently evil monster race" that serves as "faceless mook army", making them more viable options for players, and more in line (in terms of crunch) with the races of the Player's Handbook. I've already tackled my first hurdle; the orcs, who have taken the place of the PHB's half-orcs, and fill the role of the "bruiser" in the core races' ranks. Second, I dealt with kobolds, who are still something of an "evil horde" race, but a more viable option for player's (ignoring how cheesable they can be if using Races of the Dragon).

My final challenge in terms of tweaking some of the "savage races" lies in the goblinoids. Bhuka and varag are being left as is. The tweaks are being made to the goblins and hobgoblins primarily. I have yet to decide whether or not I feel like bugbears need altering. I realise that perceptions of a race is ultimately down to how they're used by a DM and how they're fluffed and presented, but I want there to be something to back up the fluff for these guys.

Goblinoids are, as always, a gang of related races, originating in my setting from a series of islands known as "The Goblin Archipelago", and are one of the few naturally ocurring native humanoid races (alongside orcs and kobolds). As a natural species, they have actually descended from a handful of predecessor animal species that followed divergent evolution paths, and which are not unlike real world marsupials. Goblinoids (minus the bhuka) share a culture of "acquisition", generally adhering to a philosophy called "The Avarice" in Common. The interpretation of what acquisition means is down to the individual, but for brevity it most simply boils down to 'conquest', 'hoarding' and 'plunder'. Hobgoblins as a militaristic culture enjoy discovering and claiming new lands at best, and annexing settlements or indeed nations at worst. Goblin are immensely mercantile, and seek opportunities for trade, though are highly likely to try and cut themselves a better deal than their trading victim partner, but some are not above turning to larceny; what matters to them is not how much money or goods they have, but how they gain their riches. Bugbears are the simplest of the three main goblinoid branches; they enjoy plunder, and they're rarely subtle, with many bugbears living as pirates, brigands and bandits.

So. Goblins, if broken down to their most stereotypical, are the "wheeler dealers". They'd sell their own mothers if they thought they'd get a good price for her, and would likely spin some sort of tapestry of lies about how she was worth more anyway. But they're also a race that have a very bad (and mostly unfounded) reputation as thieves. What I'm wanting to avoid is the horrendous mire that is the vibe that kender give off of not understanding ownership.

Stats I have in mind for them currently:

Ability score adjustments: -2 Strength, +2 Dexterity. Goblins are quick and agile, but their size makes them weaker than other races.
Type: Humanoid (Goblinoid)
Size: Small.
Speed: 30ft base land speed. Goblins are quicker than other smaller creatures.
Darkvision 60ft.
Skills: Receive a +2 racial bonus on Appraise, Search and Sleight of Hand checks. Goblins are incredibly good at scrutinising details and possess a prediliction for being quick fingered.
Saves: Receive a +2 racial bonus on saving throws made to avoid traps. They'll tell you it's down to finely honed senses and an understanding of hazards, when really goblins just have a leftover instinctive skittishness handed down from their evolutionary forebears...
Favoured class: Rogue.

Hobgoblins are a race I quite like the general fluff of; but have always felt that their racial abilties didn't really do these concept much justice. Padding out their fluff, I had this idea of them going to staking out new lands to claim, often meaning they have to conquer a village or town or two, using siege warfare and disciplined and regimented mentality (have to be superior to their brutish cousins after all!). Laying siege to a settlement until the inhabitants either beat them back (and earning their respect) or being forced to broker a deal with their attackers. As much as hobgoblins love warfare, they love creating binding contracts and treaties with opponents just as much. Often a 'conquered' people will be allowed to live as they did, just under the watch of hobgoblin prefects whilst expected to make regular tithes to ensure both free and peaceful lives (relatively speaking). Hobgoblins are also found as mercenaries the world over, and enjoy a reputation as reliable and respectable hires, if something of a nightmare to deal with in terms of bureaucracy. I wanted to reflect this militant mindset in some of their abilities, but not tie a player down into playing purely a fighter with a hobgoblin character.

Ability score adjustments: None. Hobgoblins are almost as adaptable as humans.
Type: Humanoid (Goblinoid).
Size: Medium.
Speed: 30ft base land speed.
Darkvision 60ft.
Skills: Receive +2 racial bonus on Sense Motive checks. Hobgoblins are a wily and often suspicious bunch and seem to be able to read others like a book at times.
Weapon familiarity: Hobgoblins are proficient with light and heavy flails, and treat dire flails as martial weapons. The militaristic bent of their culture forces all children to undergo a degree of weapons training.
Feat: Hobgoblins receive Weapon Focus with the light flail, heavy flail or dire flail as a bonus feat at 1st level, without needing to meet the prerequisites (aside from proficiency with the chosen weapon). This further reflects the degree of martial training received by all hobgoblin youngsters.
Favoured class: Fighter.

Thoughts and suggestions on these ideas is very much appreciated. I'm wondering if they need anything added or taken away to bring them in line with the other PHB races at all.

Thanks for any feedback in advance!

2016-12-25, 07:08 AM
I think the Hobgoblin is too focused on the flails. If you play a character that isn't using flails your race ends up giving you very little.

Weapon proficiency are generally not that powerful of a racial ability. Fine to leave in, mostly flavor.
Gaining weapon focus with flails is good at low level and for melee characters that want to follow that feat tree.

Perhaps give them Iron Will to represent their military discipline.
Alternatively give them the Mettle class feature.
Up to you to determine if it is too good to give Mettle as a racial ability, it is certainly good, though in my experience not game breaking.

Kind of comes down to the question of ''do i want my player race to matter more at low level and less at high level or do i want it to matter more or less equally no matte the level?''

Iron Will matters more at low level, at higher level your class bonus to will saves matters more. Though it opens up room if you need iron will to qualify for a feat or class.

Mettle is about as good at high level as it is at low level.

2016-12-25, 08:47 PM
The main thing that jumps out at me here is that Hobgoblins seem like drastically inferior humans, and Goblins seem like (mostly) superior halflings.

A racial bonus on sense motive is okay, but other than that Hobgoblins have a free Weapon Focus feat instead of a free ANY feat, free proficiency with three mediocre weapons instead of a solid chunk of bonus skill points, and a favored class of Fighter instead of the coveted Favored: Any. Roleplay and feel aside, I see no convincing mechanical reason to play a Hobgoblin instead of a human.

Likewise, Goblins get the same stat modifiers as Halflings but they have that sweet, sweet 10ft of extra movement, canceling the normal downsides to being small. The rest of their fluff is solidly different, though: That darkvision is nice but their skill bonuses are (generally) less useful than halfling's and their +2 against traps is worse than a constant +1 to all saving throws, but certainly still handy. You could make a good case for halflings having better racial traits, but I'm a big fan of high movespeed.

If you want to differentiate them from halflings and go all-in on that "natural merchants" vibe, I'd suggest giving them +2 to CHA instead of DEX and adding Bluff to their skills bonuses. However, it's clear you want them to be good rouges (which makes perfect sense) and the CHA bonus just means you'll have a bunch of goblin sorcerers running around instead. To combat this, you could double up on stat mods and give +2 to DEX and CHA for -2 to STR and CON, but that really depends on how much of a "splat book feel" you want these guys to have. :P

Hobgoblins are a harder fix. "My species hits things with flails" isn't a particularly engaging character concept, but mechanically that's about all their racial abilities do, and the only exception is a rather confusing one. I'm at a loss as to why you chose Sense Motive for their racial bonus. Hobgoblins certainly aren't known as the wisest species in the monster manual, and nothing in your description of their role in your world lead me to assume they would be particularly shrewd this time around either. Not that there's anything wrong with Sense Motive as the racial bonus, but I don't feel like it has been properly explained. Their "professional" approach to conquering is cool and I like it, but it sounds like it would supply a Diplomacy bonus or other Charisma-related skills rather than Sense Motive.

Anyway, in regards to improving the race... you should ask yourself what you want the race to do, and how you want to make it flexible. Currently, it's mechanically inferior to the human for any class, INCLUDING fighter. As a Human Fighter, I'd get proficiencies with light and heavy flails anyway from first level fighter, and I don't really want or need a proficiency with dire flails (it's a double weapon; I'd have to waltz down the entire two-weapon fighting tree to use it, weapon focus or no). A human could even pick Weapon Focus as their bonus feat anyway... or, you know, one of many significantly better feats.

Of course, humans are one of the best races in the game, so perhaps comparing to them isn't exactly fair. Either way, I'd remove the Weapon Focus feat and replace it with something a bit more substantial that still feels uniquely "hobgobliny." Maybe a cool feat that normally requires another feat as a prerequisite in order to differentiate it from the human's "I can pick any feat I qualify for" ability. Suggestions: Hold the Line, Improved Critical, Cleave.

2016-12-30, 07:41 AM
Thanks very much for the feedback guys!

With the goblin statline, I was trying to avoid giving them a Con penalty, as elves get enough stick for having that (that said, a lot of my players seem to love elves!)

But the +2 to Bluff is a good shout. I didn't want to "overload" them with skill bonus.

As for hobgoblins...

Losing the dire flail familiarity, but keeping the other flail proficiency as a flavour thing. The Sense Motive bonus for the hobgoblins was part of their whole "really good at reading people" idea I had, making them harder to feint in combat and such, but for the whole "professional conquest" edge, I think adding the +2 Diplomacy would help. I may swap the feat out for the Mettle ability then. I actually kinda like that idea.
With hobgoblin stats, I found it hard to make a bonus/penalty balance that worked for them. In my head, they've essentially become the "race that could've been the dominant species if it weren't for humans."