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Worldbuilding: Goblins

30 December 201205:21AMworldbuilding

Goblins. Yeeeeessssss. I've got plans for these guys.

Big plans.

Basically, in this world, Goblins are Mongols. The horses, the nomadic lifestyle, the bows, the pillaging... all of it.

Only, y'know. Green.

Actually, maybe I shouldn't have linked to that page. There's actually very little on there which is applicable to these goblins, apart from the picture, which is pretty accurate. And, probably, I can adapt the stat blocks. But fluff-wise, it's easier to start from scratch.


The goblins are a nomadic tribal race which is native to the foothills of the (as yet unnamed) mountains. Maybe I should just call them the Unnamed Mountains and be done with it. That's the best thing about fantasy, you can just capitalise whatever adjectives you'd normally use, and call it a name.

Anyway, goblins. Men have generally had very little contact with goblins, in warfare, trade, or diplomacy, and didn't even know a lot about them until recently, when the expansion of The Desert Road (see? just capitalise, and you're good) has brought traders within striking distance of the goblin steppes. The anger at the imposition and the temptation of caravans full of riches have caused periodic goblin raids on caravans to become much more of a problem.

They're not mindless savages. Nomadic, non-literate, and prone to opportunism, yes. But animals, no. By my estimates, on average they're probably actually slightly smarter than humans. For example, they've independently invented composite bows, steelworking, and rudimentary gunpowder technology. Goblinforged weapons, while extremely difficult to come by, are some of the highest quality in the world. Their knowledge of anatomy and medicine matches that of humans, and their desertcraft exceeds it.

Probably the goblins' biggest achievement, though, is in breeding and training horses. Goblins are expert riders and their horses are trained and bred for speed and obedience. There are few horses outside of the foothills, and those that can be found are no match for Goblinsteeds

For the sake of variety, there are several different clans of goblins. For the sake of simplicity, I'm not going to list all the details, or probably even come up with them until I need them. I will, however, come up with a naming scheme. And maybe some names, and approximate populations.

Everybody hates those tossers who go and invent a whole language and insist that all the names make sense in it. The clan names are going to be translations into... well, Humanish. Whatever that is. Anyway, for the sake of having a pattern, all the tribe names are going to be "The [verb][ed/ing] [noun]s", and should ideally sound a bit alien and, well, translated. So, like, "The Flowing Sands", "The Deep-notched Bows", "The Painted Skulls", and so on.


I've been hesitant to include these so far, since I don't actually want to make this system specific. I think what I'll do is define some general traits which can be used for any system, and then throw together a quick stat-block for Pathfinder since that's what we have books for.

So in Pathfinder speak, that's:

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