Goblin

Written by Meadslosh.

Goblin
 
You're one of the few of your wretched kind to crawl out of the dank, savage warrens and not go running back at the first sign of danger. Once you got used to the light of the sun, you wondered why you didn't leave your filthy, ravenous kindred behind long ago.
 
+2 Dex or +2 Wis: In a den of goblins, you need to be quick if you want to eat. You either developed fast feet or a paranoid level of awareness.
 
Small: Goblins have a +2 AC bonus against opportunity attacks.
 
Shifty Bugger (Racial Power)
Goblins gain a +5 bonus to disengage checks.
Champion feat: Once per battle when you successfully disengage from an enemy, you may make a basic melee attack against that enemy at a +5 bonus. That'll teach them to take their eyes off of you.
 
Razormouth (Racial Power)
You've got a mouthful of jagged teeth that grow back at a rate that more delicate races find alarming. You may use your bite when making basic melee attacks. It deals 1d3 damage per level. Additionally, you can survive on nearly any organic matter no harder to chew than bones or soft wood. This doesn't really have any rules attached to it, but who knows when chewing through a table might come in handy?
 
Throughout the Dragon Empire, goblins elicit almost universal disgust and contempt. Goblins primarily live in warrens, expansive tunnels criss-crossing through soft, slimy earth. They eke out pathetic existences living on carrion and anything dull enough to fall into crude goblin-made traps. A few goblin tribes maintain a small degree of prosperity by consigning themselves to the service of minor ne'er-do-wells who need cheap, expendable minions. Thankfully for both these would-be-villains and the goblins themselves, goblins reproduce with staggering efficiency. If they aren't kept in check by adventurers, they typically reduce their own numbers through fighting (usually over food).
 
Thankfully, you are not one of these common goblins, or at least you have left enough of your savage heritage behind to get by in the world of daylight. You're not a creation of dark magic like the orcs, so you aren't forbidden from cities, but don't expect to be welcomed with open arms. Full citizenship within the Dragon Empire, even in Drakkenhall, is pretty much out of the question. Your small size and slippery nature make you well-suited to careers in burglary, couriering, or rat-catching, but never fear to aspire to greater things; goblins have strong traditions of guerilla rangers and spiteful, maladjusted clerics in service to their pantheon of spiteful, maladjusted gods.
 
Frenemies in middling places: Goblins such as yourself are likely to have relationships with the Orc Lord (orcs consider goblins to be property and eagerly push them around as spare troops and laborers), the Dwarf King (goblins and dwarves have a famous enmity, as former are quite attracted to the 'pre-made' underground cities of the latter), the Three (dragons view goblins much in the same way orcs do, except with the added benefit of being potential snacks), and the Prince of Shadows (who sees a great deal of promise in the natural sneakiness of goblins, and is known for treating his goblin employees with a modicum of respect). Pretty much any villainous or ambiguous icon could have use for goblins, In most cases, you're likely no longer in service to these icons and now want the satisfaction of sticking it to whoever used to push you around. Or your past of service to dark powers means nosey adventurers want to pick your brain for secret knowledge about said powers' plans.

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  • Not bad! Only issue I see is you gave them two racial powers - other races only have one, so it makes them a little unbalanced.

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  • Actually, gnomes also have two racial powers, but you'll notice two things: firstly, that their second power (illusions) could hardly ever replace more potent class abilities, and secondly that their illusion power cannot be upgraded with feats. I followed the same model with my goblin write-up. With a bite doing 1d3/level damage, a goblin is certainly a better unarmed fighter than the other races, but even a simple dagger outclasses its damage. Additionally, it can't be enhanced with a feat. I'd hardly call that unbalanced.

    My bigger concern is whether or not the champion feat for Shifty Bugger is balanced, or at least not quite-so-hamfisted. I'm quite aware that a +5 bonus to an attack is absolutely enormous, but I'm really not sure how else to make the bonus attack really count when you decide to go for it. I considered something roughly to the effect of "every time you disengage, do damage equal to your level," but that doesn't have much appeal since it encourages a boring strategy of wandering in and out of engagement with enemies.

    Anyhow, I put in the whole thing about the teeth because of my cousin. He's a little older than me but had never played a role playing game until recently when I ran a one-shot session of Old School Hack, a wonderful little OSR RPG/boardgame mashup loosely based on 1e. It includes all the same classes with one exception: the halfling was replaced with a goblin. Well, my cousin took to the goblin right away. One of the options the goblin player may choose is the "eat anything" power, and I'm sure you can imagine what he spent the rest of the night doing: eating anything not nailed down that could fit into his mouth, regardless of whether or not it was an important quest item or not. Now that we're getting a 13th Age campaign off the ground, he wants to play a goblin sorcerer, and he insisted on having the ability to chomp away on just about anything. I am acquiescing to the best of my ability.

    One final thought that just occurred to me: Shifty Bugger was lifted straight from the goblin entries in the core bestiary, but none of the goblins there have any special abilities that complement it. Should it be Razormouth that gets a champion feat while Shifty Bugger remains just a disengage bonus? I'd value anyone's input.

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  • I like the idea of shifting Razormouth to a feat. It sounds much more flavor-text (i.e. a good choice for a player who maybe wants it as a down-and-dirty option for a character.)

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  • I see a couple issues here that could be resolved. The first is that PC races all seem to have encounter powers with the single exception of the human. Instead of always receiving a +5 bonus to disengage, they should instead have some sort of once per an encounter use power.

    The second is the razorteeth. Maybe the weapon part can exist as a heritage feat. But it is overall a bit powerful to just give them an extra free 1d3 attack at all times. It also doesn't really conceptually work well with the idea that they are going to attack and run away. Chopping down on someone is quite the opposite and requires a pretty significant commitment on the person doing that.

    As for being able to survive just fine on refuse-- that works perfectly fine as flavor text.

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