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Verble
2019-11-12, 05:57 PM
What're your thoughts on goblins and kobolds(PC's & setting wise)?

I'm a big fan of monstrous races in general, and kobolds and goblins specifically. I find they can have a very interesting role in society, such as kobolds maintaining city sewer systems or as in Ebberon where there was a Goblinoid empire that collapsed and current societies were built on top.

I've played a goblin wizard in the past and plan a kobold monk for an upcoming AL game. What are your thoughts on goblins and kobolds in your game society? What are your experiences with them as PC's? How are goblins and kobolds different from each other in your world?

Kelb_Panthera
2019-11-12, 06:11 PM
Kobolds are always fun from a GM perspective because tucker's kobolds. Little blighters can punch -way- above their weight class if you know what you're doing.

From a PC perspective, they're also fun for the whole "I'm a tiny dragon and you will respect my dragon-ness!" angle.

Goblins I'm kinda "meh" on, all in all, unless you want to go with blended goblinoids rather than just goblins.

BWR
2019-11-12, 06:27 PM
The whole 3.x dragon-related lizard kobolds are frankly boring and it's a shame that they were introduced. Hariless dogs all the way!
I just finished running a Broken Lands, so we had a blast with kobolds, because the Republic of Kol (and the Broken Lands in general) is plain amazing.
We had, among other things, one kobold who transitioned to troll. Another lost his heart (literally) to an evil god in a power play to lure him away from his real patron deity.

Goblins in BL are fun, and the various other Mystaran goblin cultures are fun and need more exploration.

Aotrs Commander
2019-11-12, 06:27 PM
I've never used D&D's fluff for... Pretty much any of what I classify as the goblinoids (which - heresy - covers goblins, hobgoblins, orcs and kobolds but not bugbears) have always been re-imaged (fluff and mechanics both) for my campaigns worlds, always somewhere on the spectrum between Tolkien and Warhammer Fantasy (D&D was a distant forth RPG after Rolemaster for the former and HeroQuest and WFRP for the latter). (This is also why the PC races are predominatly assumed to be human/elf/dwarf/halfling and gnome alwyass to me felt like a strange add-on. My Tolkien bias is strong, I'm afraid.

The only official world I play on for choice is Golarion; but I liked their take on goblins so much I had to swipe it for my campaign world; as the aforementioned were already present (called orc-kin, this time - all essentially species genetically created (though they don't call it that) by the Dark Lord), I went closer to what I suspect is inspiration and made them into gremlins, only if anything they turn up Golarion Goblin to 11.



The last time I used Kobolds in any significant capacity on their own (i.e. not part of the Dark Lord's multiracial minions1) was in the 3.5 conversion of AD&D's Dragob Mountain, where they were essentially goblin-like (and that was even borne out by the artwork, being more, if you will snotling/goblin than AD&D's more archetypal dog-like.)




1Kobolds actually came out on top there, whereas typically they have been "weaker than goblins," Dreemaenhyll's kobolds were the last of the quartet to be created, and so the art was most perfected.

Luccan
2019-11-12, 06:35 PM
Like Kelb, I like goblins for the weird classification that is goblinoids. On their own, I find their big advantage over kobolds is that they're taken somewhat more seriously and they're given an odd sort of berth as far as conceptual space goes these days. Like, kobolds are expected to be the little dragon guys and I like that, but most people are comfortable ignoring Maglubiyet and sticking to the more basic lore and building on it or scrapping the fluff entirely to do their own thing. Since they aren't one of the "main" races in D&D, no one minds if you do what you want.

Meanwhile, I like kobolds because they're just... so pathetic. Yet seriously played, even without going to Tucker's kobolds levels of preparation, they should be a real threat in their homes. Also, as I stated above, the draconic ties are fun to play with.

As a player, I like goblins as wary outsiders and kobolds as curious but careless. Goblins know they won't live long but don't reproduce quite rapidly enough to just throw their lives away and are aware how much everybody hates them. While kobolds have cowardly traits, most die in mining accidents or skirmishes fairly young anyway and are more group oriented. They just aren't that concerned with self preservation in a world that's going to kill them when their backs are turned anyway, particularly if they can get ahold of something that makes them more dragon-like (valuables or magic).

Verble
2019-11-12, 07:19 PM
Kobolds are always fun from a GM perspective because tucker's kobolds. Little blighters can punch -way- above their weight class if you know what you're doing.

Just read about Tucker's Kobolds which are amazing. Thanks for sharing that. If I ever make it to the DM's chair, they'll definitely make an appearance.




Goblins I'm kinda "meh" on, all in all, unless you want to go with blended goblinoids rather than just goblins.


Blended Goblinoids being the idea that mischievous goblins grow into serious hobgoblins that grow into lazy bugbear generals?

I saw that once and like the idea.

Tvtyrant
2019-11-12, 07:28 PM
I'm not a big fan of either unless more is done with them.

Bringing them closer to Folklore is nice. I have played around with the idea of Goblins as the spirits left behind by crimes. Bugbears are the really awful things, hobgoblins are the lesser spirits left behind by battles, goblins are petty crimes like theft. They perpetuate the actions that gave birth to them, and can't be wiped out permanently.

Aotrs Commander
2019-11-12, 07:42 PM
Maybe worth mentioned in passing that that 3.5 converter Dragon Mountain was for 16th to Epic PCs... Too high, really, for the intended Tucker's Kobold tactic to work, but that didnt matter because with an average level of about 8-12 (with the heads of the disparate tribes and their head honcos all being 16-20), the kobolds of that particular Dragon Mountain were not a joke to anyone...!


Not even Captain Dragon Mountain, who was, like, level 30 and showed up to shield-sling-smash the crap out of the PCs.


Actually, come to that, it's perhaps worth mentioned that adventure contained the "little clash" with Clan Blood which was the single most complex encounter we've ever had, considering there were 50 kobolds (CLASSED kobolds) or so, of which only fifteen were fighters, and the rest a mix of martial adepts, casters, invokers and psions of various stripes from 12-20th level.

I think they had less of a fight with the end bosses...!

Kelb_Panthera
2019-11-12, 08:19 PM
Blended Goblinoids being the idea that mischievous goblins grow into serious hobgoblins that grow into lazy bugbear generals?

I saw that once and like the idea.

I actually just meant their societies blended together, like with the nation of Daargun in the Eberron Campaign Setting.

What you've just described is the orks from Warhammer 40k and, possibly, Warhammer fantasy. I'm a bit more familiar with the former than the latter, tbh. Some crazy stuff in the lore for that setting. Orks are the least of it, though still pretty awesome.

False God
2019-11-12, 08:39 PM
I prefer them as monsters. Along with Kender and Hobbits.

Verble
2019-11-12, 10:04 PM
The whole 3.x dragon-related lizard kobolds are frankly boring and it's a shame that they were introduced. Hariless dogs all the way!
I just finished running a Broken Lands, so we had a blast with kobolds, because the Republic of Kol (and the Broken Lands in general) is plain amazing.
We had, among other things, one kobold who transitioned to troll. Another lost his heart (literally) to an evil god in a power play to lure him away from his real patron deity.

Goblins in BL are fun, and the various other Mystaran goblin cultures are fun and need more exploration.

Sounds fun. I remember Kobolds being doglike in the EverQuest MMO, Gnolls being kinda wolf like but created by the same God as the gnomes and dwarves(they refute this). I like the idea of a campaign where the norm is non-tolkien races. How did the kobold become a troll?


I've never used D&D's fluff for... Pretty much any of what I classify as the goblinoids (which - heresy - covers goblins, hobgoblins, orcs and kobolds but not bugbears) have always been re-imaged (fluff and mechanics both) for my campaigns worlds, always somewhere on the spectrum between Tolkien and Warhammer Fantasy (D&D was a distant forth RPG after Rolemaster for the former and HeroQuest and WFRP for the latter). (This is also why the PC races are predominatly assumed to be human/elf/dwarf/halfling and gnome alwyass to me felt like a strange add-on. My Tolkien bias is strong, I'm afraid.


I go the other way. The idea of these more human races being civilized and the 'monstrous' races, being, well, monsters just rubs me the wrong way.

I was inspired by 'The Last Ringbearer' to make the Goblinoid races in the midst of a technological revolution. Perhaps humans are one of the older species and is now in decline. Elves are a recent addition to the world and viewed with suspicion. I also like the idea of Orsimar 'half orcs' per Elder Scrolls, that are actually elven or full fey creatures.

Obviously I have heavy Homebrew ideas.

Verble
2019-11-12, 10:07 PM
I actually just meant their societies blended together, like with the nation of Daargun in the Eberron Campaign Setting.

What you've just described is the orks from Warhammer 40k and, possibly, Warhammer fantasy. I'm a bit more familiar with the former than the latter, tbh. Some crazy stuff in the lore for that setting. Orks are the least of it, though still pretty awesome.

Aren't orks grown from spores? Could make an interesting nature bonded race, like the Sylvari from Guild Wars 2.

Luccan
2019-11-12, 10:40 PM
I go the other way. The idea of these more human races being civilized and the 'monstrous' races, being, well, monsters just rubs me the wrong way.


Understandable. Work can be done to avoid simple "they're just bad because they are" and D&D has put at least some token effort into it, at least for the last couple decades. The idea is that goblinoids, orcs, kobolds, and so on are basically being forced/tricked into self-destructive tendencies by bitter deities. It's a bit thin, but it's something to work off of or scrap entirely if you've got a better idea.



I was inspired by 'The Last Ringbearer' to make the Goblinoid races in the midst of a technological revolution. Perhaps humans are one of the older species and is now in decline. Elves are a recent addition to the world and viewed with suspicion. I also like the idea of Orsimar 'half orcs' per Elder Scrolls, that are actually elven or full fey creatures.

Obviously I have heavy Homebrew ideas.

Humans in decline is an interesting idea, generally fantasy has humans as just coming into dominance or having held it for so long that magic has all but disappeared.

Verble
2019-11-13, 12:06 AM
Humans in decline is an interesting idea, generally fantasy has humans as just coming into dominance or having held it for so long that magic has all but disappeared.


I also rather liked Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Arcana Evolved setting, where the races were enslaved by dragon/demon beings and were liberated by an army of Giants that sailed from another continent. The Giants won, and act kind of like stewards and administrators. So, for example, most buildings follow giant building codes. In my twist on events a rising threat was the Humans First movement who were fighting (some politically, some with terrorism) for a bigger say in governmental affairs. Brings into play a lot of interesting ideas about governance, self determination, political violence. Not your typical dungeon crawl.

Luccan
2019-11-13, 12:14 AM
I also rather liked Monte Cook's Arcana Unearthed/Arcana Evolved setting, where the races were enslaved by dragon/demon beings and were liberated by an army of Giants that sailed from another continent. The Giants won, and act kind of like stewards and administrators. So, for example, most buildings follow giant building codes. In my twist on events a rising threat was the Humans First movement who were fighting (some politically, some with terrorism) for a bigger say in governmental affairs. Brings into play a lot of interesting ideas about governance, self determination, political violence. Not your typical dungeon crawl.

Arcana Evolved is interesting and I've always wanted to try actually playing it, though honestly what bothers me about it is everyone is just kind of cool with Giants ruling forever (or if you aren't, you're some kind of weirdo). And the Giants are just kind of... perfect at it? From what I recall, there's little if any suggestion that any Giant anywhere has mismanaged or proven to be a poor leader and another group has stepped up, quite reasonably, to replace them. If you're not outright worshiping Giants in the setting, you're at least happily subservient to them. The main exceptions are the draconic races and the Vulca- I mean Verrik. And that seems much more black-and-white than even D&D tends to be.

So, the idea of humans being dominant and that decay in prominence perhaps exposing some long kept secrets about their misuse of power is interesting. Although the inverse would also worry me. Is there a big reveal that humans are secretly the source of all the world's problems? It's a careful balancing act.

Edit: What I'm saying is, what you don't want to take from The Last Ringbearer is the idea that humans are the "real" bad guys and that the fantasy elements you're countering are propaganda to be met with your own.

Verble
2019-11-13, 12:56 AM
Arcana Evolved is interesting and I've always wanted to try actually playing it, though honestly what bothers me about it is everyone is just kind of cool with Giants ruling forever (or if you aren't, you're some kind of weirdo). And the Giants are just kind of... perfect at it? From what I recall, there's little if any suggestion that any Giant anywhere has mismanaged or proven to be a poor leader and another group has stepped up, quite reasonably, to replace them. If you're not outright worshiping Giants in the setting, you're at least happily subservient to them. The main exceptions are the draconic races and the Vulca- I mean Verrik. And that seems much more black-and-white than even D&D tends to be.

Exactly. That's why it seemed natural for a rebellion/resistance when people felt they had just traded one master for another.



So, the idea of humans being dominant and that decay in prominence perhaps exposing some long kept secrets about their misuse of power is interesting. Although the inverse would also worry me. Is there a big reveal that humans are secretly the source of all the world's problems? It's a careful balancing act.

Edit: What I'm saying is, what you don't want to take from The Last Ringbearer is the idea that humans are the "real" bad guys and that the fantasy elements you're countering are propaganda to be met with your own.

I definitely take your point. The ideas I have are less about good and bad guys, than as different values and everyone struggling to find their place in world. It's partially inspired by geopolitics(elves migrated to the world after a magical catastrophe in their own world, and depending on the person might be seen as in need of compassion, or rejected lest they do the same thing to this world). So there's this sense of the actions of races and kingdoms that have consequences, but also the question as to how much is an individual responsibly for the actions of their collective people. I'm just beginning to toss ideas around, but it's nice to have someone to bounce it off of.

Thanks.

Luccan
2019-11-13, 01:14 AM
Exactly. That's why it seemed natural for a rebellion/resistance when people felt they had just traded one master for another.



I definitely take your point. The ideas I have are less about good and bad guys, than as different values and everyone struggling to find their place in world. It's partially inspired by geopolitics(elves migrated to the world after a magical catastrophe in their own world, and depending on the person might be seen as in need of compassion, or rejected lest they do the same thing to this world). So there's this sense of the actions of races and kingdoms that have consequences, but also the question as to how much is an individual responsibly for the actions of their collective people. I'm just beginning to toss ideas around, but it's nice to have someone to bounce it off of.

Thanks.

There seems to be so little talk about the game online, but I think it's really interesting both mechanically and within its established setting. In some ways it's everything people complain about with 3e D&D (black and white morality, abilities appearing at late levels that would be better early) and in others it's everything they want fixed (no alignment, every class gets to do cool things even the two or three "not" magic classes, unique races).

I think your ideas could be quite engaging. And quite intense, too. I hope you find the right group for it. I'm glad to be of help as I can be. I think elves are a good choice in a tabletop context because players probably already have their own biases ignited at the mere mention of "elf". Playing with that inherent reaction as a people both capable of disaster but also probably in genuine need of sympathy will be very compelling.

Illogictree
2019-11-13, 01:40 AM
A favorite topic of mine, kobolds vs goblins!

So, I usually run kobolds as kind of pathetic but dangerously clever and doggedly persistent. Because they're small and weak, they're easily bullied into serving more powerful and dangerous monsters; but they're fully aware of their draconic ties and are proud of that. Basically, everyone dumps on them but they're arrogant enough to believe that they have the right to take what they want. It's not impossible to find good-aligned kobolds either, though they generally are ones who've parted ways with kobold gangs.

Goblins on the other hand... in one Dungeon World game I ran, they're literally the leftover bits of creatures from when the evil gods got done making all the monstrosities of the world, agglomerated into more-or-less viable creatures. They had a hideous, patchworked appearance, and while intelligent after a fashion were more-or-less insane. They could build some pretty complex things, and had a religion of sorts headed by magic-using shamans, but they had a complete lack of self-preservation instincts and a love for setting things on fire. I didn't actually use this, but I liked the suggestion from the Monster Man podcast that in their off-hours they're engaged in nonsensical but cruel things to occupy their time, such as playing a game involving spearing beetles, or seeing how many crabs they can stuff in one guy's mouth.

...Given that I actually play a kobold character in a game, you can tell where my sympathies lie. XD But I try to make encounters with both interesting and distinctive in their own ways.

Kaptin Keen
2019-11-13, 02:45 AM
People tend to forget that small races - logically - should rule the world. They have a ton of significant bonuses, and barely any drawbacks. Better AC, bonuses to hit, skill bonuses, and generally high dex which further increases their deadliness at range. I'll just draw a quick parallel to the real world, where you may have noticed barely any wars are settled at melee range.

Also, human level intelligence.

So it's a conceptual error that goblins and kobolds are pathetic little bastards that adventurers mow down at their leisure, once their done fighting rats and house cats. Goblins and kobolds are logically the main relevant enemies of humankind, and we really should view them as such.

Thus, goblins being the smarter and deadlier greenskins, they should be in command of armies of orcs and ogres, and using their clever little hands to build all manner of mischief. They have bonuses for stealth, so one would expect them to make heavy use of that - night fighting, snipers, assassins.

Kobolds for their part .. well, maybe they are slaves to dragons, but we've all seen that trope before - so I'm going to ditch that like yesterdays paper. Kobolds are miners and trap makers, so really you should expect any kobold lair to be riddled with deadliness. They are also related to dragons, so .. I'd have them using dragonkin - wyverns in particular - in all they do.

Being of human intelligence means they should have functioning societies, organised armies, proper equipment. They should have easy access to things that are underground, like metals - and quite possible gasses and gunpowder (no, gunpowder isn't as such underground, but the components are). They should have trade and diplomatic relations with other races and nations.

Oh, and kobolds should have sorcerers, obviously. Goblins should have psions (blues), and ... why not mages, while we're at it.

Aotrs Commander
2019-11-13, 07:03 AM
I go the other way. The idea of these more human races being civilized and the 'monstrous' races, being, well, monsters just rubs me the wrong way.

On my most recent fantasy campaign world (by recent I mean "one that's probably a good 15 years old now and will probably be the permenant one, now that I spent a lot of time carefully building it") it's not quite that simple. At any rate, its definitely not the same sort of thign as Oots, where the orc-kin are just there to provide sword-fodder for the protagonist races.

[Bleakbane Blither Warning]

Basically, there is the Northern Nations, which are humans/elf/dwarf/halfing, in various nation states and culture, of which the largest is an empire of Not-the-Romans, basically. The Northern Nations are not a group or a federation or anything; if left alone, they'd be as fractious as anything. They are only called so because of the existent of the Dark Lord, who has made, like three concerted efforts of the the centuries to conquer them (as he and the Northern Nations are the only immediate major civilisations in their portion of the continent). And I mean, like, we're talking MAJOR periods of warfare, the last one was a drawn-out affair called rhe Dark Wars that lasted nearly eighty years and saw the Dark Lord defeated and presumed dead. (He ain't...!) (The cost of that conflict which then set EVERYONE into a dark age for a couple hundred years, basically, when the grand alliance they'd formed fell apart in short order.)

The Dark Lord isn't a god, but an ex-divine servitor who alone stuck around when the old gods left the world ten thousand years ago, before Civilisation Happened. He's basically, like, a Fighter 20 with a SUPER-high Intelligence bonus who, over the course of the next few thousand years worked out How To Magic from first principles, starting from literally nothing more on his back than his sword. His first minions were basically a crowd of lizardfolk he took over, best short-hand categorised as "Evil not-Vulcans" who are Smarter Than You, which suited the Dark Lord fine since he's a very solid Lawful Evil. (This will be of no surprise to anyone that knows me even passingly...) So basically the Dark Lord's mob and the not-Romans have been forever nicking each other's ideas. The Dark Lands, therefore, are actually very civilised, if also completely Evil, as opposed to the Northern Nations which are mostly kind of neutrals (in power, generally) with some goods (probably the Elves, though I haven't actually detailed any of the current rulers). The Dark Lands are actually pretty egalitarian, given all the various races under the Dark Lord's purview (orcs, goblins, kobolds, hobgolbins, the afore-mentioned Intulo, Dark Elves, three species of Dark Humans (the latter pair of species having been genetically tampered with as well) and scattering of Dark Dwarves who are pretty much an endangered species at this poiint, plus a few dragons, plus some other Intelligent genetically created species (Gagana, the magical crow-falcons which are also Smarter Than You) and, of course, Undead). He also is very BIG into knowledge for the sake of knowledge (not having paper to write crap on for centureis does that to you), so he has loads of Repositories, which are like historical-research/museum/libaries as state-run facilities which even get properly guarded by Dark Army legion soldiers, so it's not like he's entirely a one-dimensional Evilullz dude.

Now, that is not to say Evil is monolithic. There are scattered tribes of maruading, tribal orc-kin around in the Northern Nations, some of which now follow other gods. (However, in that instance, even that was a delibverate action by the Dark Lord during the Dark Wars, to disperse a load of his soldiers into the wilds to "go native" and maraud everywhere and present a permenant attritional pain in the Northern Nation's side.) There are also the Night Elves (the local drow equvilent, only arguably crazier), the gremlins and various other evils floating around the world, it's just the biggest one is the most well-organised.



(On the other hand, the Dark Lands are definitely solidly Evil. The Intulo lack emotions and especially nice ones, so there has never been a recorded Good one, and the orc-kin have been genetically engineered as a predilection towards Evil, essentially (theorhetically, you could with effort, raise one not to be). Orcs and Gagana have a Charisma penalty, for instance, which in their case is representative of them being genetically disposed to having some subserviance1.)



On the flip side, gryphons are a good-side created race (inspired by the gryphons out of Merceses Lackey' Valdemar) and both they and unicorns are, like, playable PC races (albiet with monster classes for the first few levels).



Now, me being me, you could of course, make a very strong arguement that in reality the Dark Lord and the Dark Lands are actually the (Evil) protagonists of the campaign world and not the Northen Nations, since where favourisim is shown, it's on their side.

Certainly, you can argue they actually get more toys than the good guys; I mean, at least two od the Dark Men subraces get EXTRA bonuses on TOP of human racial stats. (The Ubumnyama2 get a straight +2 to Str, with no penalty - and this is on 3.5 race standards (so in PF terms, they'd get a second, flexible, +2 as well).) And the most important party of the present day era we play is the one that's the Dark Lord's secret Black Ops party...!

At the very least, at any rate, we have parties on both sides of the alignment spectrum.



1Side topic: not unlike the way I interpret the Dwarf penalty to charisma not as just them lacking social skills, but respresentative of their clannish uniformity. It's not that dwarves lack strength of personality (like, say the Intulo, who kinda actually do, and get a-4 Charisma!), it's that their personalities are always inclined to be very similiar, because comformity. As evidenced by the traditional dwarven attitude (so ably parodied by Pratchett), y'know, as hard-drinking, hard-fighting, often crude, gold-hungry etc etc. Heck, you can argue even Dragon Age's dwarves, which were a bit different, support my line of reasoning, since they instead had a pretty rigid class system.

2"Ooboom n-yama;" their language is a terribly-Bleakbane-can't-foreign-languages-google-translate form of isiZulu.

...

Actually, since Black Panther has come out since I started work on the campaign world, I just realised that, like, the Ubumnyama's bits of the Dark Lands can basically be, like Evil-Wakanda as well as Evil-Not-Rome (cool!), which means there now has to be an Evil-Not-Shuri somewhere. Awesome!

(No, but seriously, Evil-Not-Shuri would make a cracking not-Q side character for the Dark Lord's Black Ops party... *scribbling of notes*)

Zhorn
2019-11-13, 08:49 AM
I like to treat goblins in my games as existing in this nature-vs-nurture middle ground.
They're like the kids from Lord of the Flies. The have the capacity to fit into civilised society, but go feral if left to develop by their own devices.

So you can have town goblins and city goblins who seem perfectly acclimated to living in a functional society with laws, manners, hygiene, etc.

And then you have wild goblins. Very little developed sense of empathy, object permanence, or impulse control. If their attention and focus isn't on something, they stop thinking about it and swap to whatever their inner desire points to at that moments. Wild goblin have the potential to develop into civilised city/town goblin, but most of the time can't get there on their own.

Psyren
2019-11-13, 12:01 PM
They vary widely in outlook, mechanics, and even aesthetics depending on system and setting. It's nearly impossible to generalize about them across multiple games or worlds.

Is the thread more geared at:
1) Discussing our favorite iterations of each
2) Contrasting their portrayal in a certain setting with another setting, or each other?

Kelb_Panthera
2019-11-13, 12:48 PM
Aren't orks grown from spores? Could make an interesting nature bonded race, like the Sylvari from Guild Wars 2.

They are. They are an asexually reproducing animal/fungus creature. Their entire society revolves around war and they grow from little snotlings right up into orks and then some even make it to warboss; which are something like goblins, orcs, and bugbears/orgres, respectively.

The whole thing is just metal as all hell too.

Mark Hall
2019-11-13, 01:45 PM
The whole 3.x dragon-related lizard kobolds are frankly boring and it's a shame that they were introduced. Hariless dogs all the way!


I describe them as "humanoid chihuahuas with mange", though the thought of them as chupacabras just jumped to me and seems delicious.

However, my view of kobolds tends to be amorally pragmatic. They're evil, to be sure, but they're that pragmatic sort of evil of very weak creatures, who will do whatever it takes to survive. Lawful, their survival is more group-oriented, but cannibalism? Well, that's FOOD. Shanking a non-tribe member in the back? Keeps someone in your tribe from getting hurt. Poison? It can be cooked out. Murder a bunch of gnomes? Their homes are well-constructed and the right size for kobolds. Kurtulumak and his clerics encourage them to seek power and glory, but even that's pragmatic in purpose.

Goblins, in the context of goblinoids, are cruel. A hobgoblin can be brutal, but it will tend to be a relatively impartial kind of brutality... they don't necessary care about beating YOU, just BEATING you. Bugbears don't necessarily want you dead, but they love to inflict fear (Hackmaster does some really neat things with their reproduction which makes them even more messed up; their females must consume a heart from a demi-human to enter heat). A bugbear that can get away with it will do nothing, but let your fear of them drive you to do everything for them.

But goblins? Goblins want you in PAIN. They want YOU to suffer, and if your suffering can be unique to you, they like it even more. Part of the reason they hate dwarves so much is that dwarves just won't suffer for them. You chop off their arm, and they just give you these angry looks, and then scratch their nose with their other hand. Chop off THAT hand and they refuse to admit their noses itch. It drives them mad. Goblins will inflict cruelties and degradations upon people, and their traps and the like tend to reflect that. A kobold trap will dump you in a cess pit because it is effective; a goblin trap will dump you in a cess pit because it is humiliating to be covered in waste.

My goblins (which are from Tellene, aka Kingdoms of Kalamar) are also obsessed with status and order. In a small group, every male goblin know his place in the pecking order relative to every other male goblin. Introduce a new goblin, and there's a sorting process where they throw their weight around until someone slaps them down, and they find their level. In a larger group, they have social rituals to allow underlings to act in the name of their leader, but while interacting with their social superiors. A fight between two goblins isn't to the death, just to one admitting that he is inferior to the other... and, from then on, usually being fairly content with that. Wargs have a parallel social order. Assassins and the House of Knives play an open political role, but it's bad form to actually kill your superiors (though it's acceptable to cripple them or kidnap or steal leverage against them).

Grim Portent
2019-11-13, 02:12 PM
I flung them both back to their folklore roots.

Kobolds are mostly malicious solitary spirits found in mines, houses and on ships. They're generally not too bad to have around, but they get insulted easily and their revenge is often highly disproportionate to the perceived slight to the point of murdering people for calling them ugly. They're corporeal, but hard to kill and easier to drive away with religious rites than violence.

Goblin is a catch all term that refers to fey who like to scare, harm or mislead people. They look grotesquely ugly, usually as a mockery of the form of the local mortals. They call out to lead people away from villages and roads, preferably deep into woods or bogs, they carry lanterns at night to lead the curious astray and sometimes if there's a bunch of them and you seem vulnerable they'll beat you up. They never directly kill anyone but they'll happily lead you off a cliff or into a swamp in which you can drown, or to a pack of wolves and then laugh and jeer as you struggle to survive. They avoid groups of people who aren't children and prefer not to mess with anyone who might pose them a genuine threat.


PCs might get asked to help soothe an angry kobold's mood or try to convince it to leave, lest it continue to turn the cow's milk sour, break furniture and attack people. Couple of different methods work, but it's more of an excorcism than anything else unless it decides to try and twist your head off by your ears.

Goblins are more like bandits, a nuisance but no real threat to a party. Shoot a few with arrows or make a convincing threat and they'll bugger off in search of something else to do. Driving them away from a road or going looking for someone they managed to trick into getting lost is not unusual work.

ngilop
2019-11-13, 02:16 PM
I hated how 3rd ed turned kobolds into dragon wannabes.

I loved their 2nd ed depiction (visually). Dog-rat humanoid crossbreeds who have a VERY large and extreme napoleon complex who were just as largely yellow-bellied (which I incorporated into the lore, as when scared kobold's abdomen turn yellow) cowards is how they were depicted (emotionally) in my games.

Goblinoids are a mix bag.

Poor bugbears I never really had a place for, just slapping them in for 'the guys inbetween golbins/orc and ogres"

Hobgoblins were basically romans, and lawful neutral, but elves were jerks and pulled some pro apple-level PR to turn the emerging humans (as in socially and culturally) against them.

Goblins proper I made them culturally lazy. Why work hard when the town/city/nation next to yours can provide you with everything you need, just get in there and get. Couple that with the incessant need to be better than others and the false belief that everything good is goblins, just the other races get the credit and you get why goblins don't do anything. The tend to self-sabotage themselves and in the end don't put forth the effort to actually try to be successful. Again, they would rather it get handed to them.

BWR
2019-11-14, 04:02 AM
How did the kobold become a troll?


The PCs had been captured and a few of them, this kobold among them, had their minds switch with trolls so the captors had big strong nigh-immortal but intelligent servitors. The original bodies were kept hidden where the captors had full control over them and could kill them at leisure.

The player loves Mystara's take on trolls and had wanted to play one for ages so when the opportunity came to get his original body back he asked if he could stay as a troll. We made the arrangement permanent and he instantly started playing the character as a troll instead of a kobold.

redwizard007
2019-11-14, 02:46 PM
Kobolds are meh. Nothing wrong with little dog/lizard faced minions.

Goblins get short sticked every time I see them. Freaking comedy relief. Totally unacceptable. A proper goblin is crafty at the least, and often quite quick witted. They have terrible impulse control unless under fear of death and aren't particularly loyal unless constantly supervised. What they do well is night raids, underground hit and run attacks and ambushes with numerical superiority.

Because of all that, I tend to use goblin tribes as borderland threats to hamlets and isolated farms. Towns, especially walled towns, are beyond their abilities to take and they know it. When used as supporting troops of a larger force, goblins gravitate to scouts, bowmen, or warg riding medium cavalry.

A goblin chief will quickly pledge loyalty to any powerful monster that tries to subjugate his tribe and then immediately ignores it as his slaves and females occupy the "new leader" with liquor and food. The "master" is bothered only when a suitable challenge faces the goblins. Then one problem solves another.

While males dominate goblin tribes, the females have more power than one would expect. Females make up only 20% of the adult goblins. They chose their own mates and may change their partners as often as they like. Any male taking a female against her will is killed in his sleep either by the female or one of her other suitors. Females birth litters of little goblins six to eight at a time that are raised by female slaves of other races. This frees the mother to find a new partner after a few days of healing, and incentivizes slaving without the icky rape issues. Goblins actually find other humanoids disgusting and would never consider mating with one. Because of the fluidity of goblin mating and the collective rearing, goblins do not trace their lineage, and they rise or fall on their own merit.

I could go on for pages

Bohandas
2019-11-14, 05:52 PM
I've never used D&D's fluff for... Pretty much any of what I classify as the goblinoids (which - heresy - covers goblins, hobgoblins, orcs and kobolds but not bugbears) have always been re-imaged (fluff and mechanics both) for my campaigns worlds, always somewhere on the spectrum between Tolkien and Warhammer Fantasy (D&D was a distant forth RPG after Rolemaster for the former and HeroQuest and WFRP for the latter). (This is also why the PC races are predominatly assumed to be human/elf/dwarf/halfling and gnome alwyass to me felt like a strange add-on. My Tolkien bias is strong, I'm afraid.

Aren't orcs a type of fungus in Warhammer?

Aotrs Commander
2019-11-15, 08:49 AM
Aren't orcs a type of fungus in Warhammer?

In 40K, at least, they are now (and maybe in the Age of Sigma stuff; I wouldn't know), but that was a later invention long after Warhammer fantasy started (and, I suspect, like a lot of GW's decisions of the years, as much as anything to move things more AWAY from the not-Tolkien stuff they started with. Looking at you baalrukh blood thirster and page 289 of WFRP where that halfling is actually hilariously labelled hobbit. Yes, the irony of them eventually being able to produce ACTUAL Middle-Earth stuff was not lost one me...) My first edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle (the book edition) notably had a half-orc character in the scenario, for instance.

So whether or not GW has retconned it later is kind of irrelevant to me, since on the rare occasion I do anything on Warhammer world (outside of Total Warhammer), I'm using the source material from that era as that, not what they later made orcs/orks into, is what I took away from it and like. (Notably? Warhammer Armies? Catalyst that set me on the path to becoming a Lich. No joke.)

(To be fair, the Orks are the only bit of 40K that has merit (to me), in that they are genuinely alien beneath the layer of silliness. But I still prefer the orcs as they started out - and human-sized, come to that.)

Corsair14
2019-11-15, 08:59 AM
In an all goblin or kobold campaign that would be awesome. I allowed a goblin once in a prior campaign back in 3rd. He played it well and my group had so many Mikes he was forever known as Goblin Mike after that. Character was ok, had to stay hidden or on a leash in any town and another player would have to sign a statement that he was taking charge of him and was responsible for any damages. One character who was fairly strong would literally throw the goblin over the enemy front line from time to time when appropriate to sometimes great results and sometime a horrible fumble.

Tanarii
2019-11-15, 10:07 AM
The whole 3.x dragon-related lizard kobolds are frankly boring and it's a shame that they were introduced. Hariless dogs all the way!
I just finished running a Broken Lands, so we had a blast with kobolds, because the Republic of Kol (and the Broken Lands in general) is plain amazing.
We had, among other things, one kobold who transitioned to troll. Another lost his heart (literally) to an evil god in a power play to lure him away from his real patron deity.

Goblins in BL are fun, and the various other Mystaran goblin cultures are fun and need more exploration.Yeah the Orcs of Thar Gazateer is one of the best takes on D&D humanoids in general, and one of the best Gazateers to boot. The latter mainly because the writers remembered that D&D is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.

Tzardok
2019-11-16, 02:25 PM
I once played a kobold who believed that all "the treasures of the earth" (gold, gems, etc.) where originally owned by the kobolds and all the other races had stolen them. He was on a one-man-crussade to steel it back. It was quite funny.

Neon_Avenger
2019-11-18, 07:09 PM
In the world I have been DMing in, goblins are very much fey creatures. They get to be as reckless as they want because they get to reincarnate after a short stay in a Valhalla type afterlife and will keep most of their memories each time.

Whereas kobolds were created by dragons to mine, build, and craft. Since then they have branched out and started trying to make their own way in the world, with betting degrees of success.

TripleD
2019-11-18, 11:28 PM
"Races of the Dragon" was the book that moved Kobolds from "race I like" to "my favourite race in Dungeons and Dragons".

It dove into Kobold psychology and summed it up in one word: content. Kobolds are happy. All they want to do is mine, design traps, and serve dragons. They care for each other. All the eggs are placed in a central nest and hatchlings are raised communally. Alongside "trap maker" and "architect", "teacher" is considered one of the most noble professions. They are industrious (one of the fluff quotes is from a dwarf: "You don't know the meaning of 'hard work' until you have seen a Kobold mine in full swing") yet not to a fault; the same chapter describes Kobold's relaxing in underground springs after a long day and polishing each other's scales. To be a Kobold among Kobolds is a wonderful thing.

And yet shocking cruelty and xenophobia are also a core of their culture. Any creature caught moving in to their territory is to be brutally killed as quickly as possible, with the exception of those who may have useful information. Save them for later torture. No "humanity" is projected onto these captives. Kobolds are blood of the dragons; no matter how much the world may say otherwise, deep down Kobolds think they are better than everyone else.

The psychological mix of these is fascinating to me. Is it really "cruelty" if your people are attacked and nearly wiped out again and again? Doesn't holing up in a mountain, stuffing it with traps, and adopting a policy of "shoot first ask questions later" make a certain amount of pragmatic sense? If you honestly believed with all your heart in reincarnation (as Kobolds do) is it actually cowardice to abandon much of your colony if it guarantees some of you survive, or is that just us projecting our beliefs on a different culture?

This is me extrapolating, but while their disgust towards "gnomes" is well documented, I like to think that Kobolds have contempt for most of the other small races as well. "Look at them. Trying to fit in with the humans and elves. Goblins are even worse with their kin. Twice the work for 1/4 the credit. Never really seen as equal to the tall peoples. We have the blood of dragons. If we're going to beg respect from anyone, it's going to be the biggest, baddest mother#@!$%s on the planet."