Building a Better Dungeons and Dragons Goblin
The Goblin is a staple of Dungeons and Dragons and using them effectively lends to a more memorable and engaging gameplay experience. This is especially true in the realm of Homebrew D&D where the only limitations are what you are willing to create. All the resources you need can be pulled straight from the the Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual and Dungeon Masters Guide. In fact, these three books along with some good old fashion imagination is all you need!
The Goblin race is one of the most common enemies that players will encounter in D&D, and are often portrayed as weak, cowardly, and dim-witted creatures. However, they can be used in a variety of ways to add depth and complexity to your game. It is easy to pigeonhole Goblins into a strictly “comic relief” role and nothing is wrong with that, but the Goblin NPC can be so much more. Join us as we deep dive into tips, tricks, and advice to help enhance the Goblin NPC’s in your D&D Homebrew.
Looking Beyond the Character Sheets
Tip 1: Use Goblins as Ambushers. One of the classic ways to use goblins is as ambushers. Goblins are small and nimble, making them perfect for setting traps and attacking from unexpected angles. They can use their stealth abilities to sneak up on unsuspecting players and launch surprise attacks. This is a great way to stay true to the tropes of Dungeons and Dragons while setting the stage for broader character development.
When setting up an ambush with goblin NPCs, make sure to take advantage of their small size and agility. Have them hide behind trees, rocks, and other natural obstacles. Use their superior numbers to your advantage, overwhelming the players with a horde of goblins. Remember, one Goblin is comical, but a dozen can quickly become treacherous.
Tip 2: Create Goblin Leaders. While goblins are often portrayed as mindless minions, they can also be given more complex personalities and motivations. By creating a goblin leader, you can add depth to your game and create an engaging villain for your players to face.
When creating a goblin leader, think about their backstory and motivations. What led them to become a leader? Are they seeking power, wealth, or revenge? What kind of tactics do they use to control their minions? By giving your goblin leader a unique personality and backstory, you can create a more interesting and memorable villain for your players to face.
Goblins as a formidable Enemy
Tip 3: Use Goblins as a Rogue. Goblins are notorious for their love of shiny objects and their tendency to steal. This can be used to your advantage in your D&D campaign. Use goblins as thieves, sneaking into player camps at night and stealing valuable items.
When using goblins as thieves, make sure to give them unique personalities and quirks. Maybe one goblin is particularly fond of jewelry, while another has a weakness for magical items. By creating unique goblin thieves, you can add humor and intrigue to your game.
Tip 4: Use Goblins as Comedic Relief. Alright… sometimes the stereotypical Goblin goofball is exactly what you need. While goblins are often portrayed as villains, they are an easy source of comedic relief when needed. By giving goblins silly personalities and quirks, you can create humorous encounters that break up the tension of a dungeon crawl.
When using goblins for comedic relief, think about their quirks and mannerisms. Maybe one goblin has a lisp, while another is obsessed with collecting spoons. By creating silly goblin NPCs, you can add levity to your game and keep your players entertained.
Tip 5: Use Goblins in Unexpected Ways. Don’t be afraid to use goblins in completely original ways. While they are often used as villains or minions, goblins can be used in a variety of roles. Maybe a goblin has been captured by a more powerful creature and needs the player’s help to escape. Or maybe a goblin has stumbled upon a powerful artifact and needs the player’s assistance to unlock its secrets.
By using goblins in unexpected ways, you can keep your players on their toes and create a more engaging and memorable campaign.
A Dungeon Masters Guide to GOBLINS
In Dungeons and Dragons 5e, goblins are unique abilities set them apart from other creatures in the game. Here are a few of the more notable aspects of goblins to keep in mind when planning for your D&D homebrew interactions.
- Small Size: Goblins are a Small-sized creature, which means they are smaller and lighter than most other humanoid races in the game. This gives them certain advantages and disadvantages, such as increased mobility in tight spaces but reduced strength and carrying capacity.
- Nimble Escape: Goblins have the Nimble Escape trait, which allows them to use the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of their turns. This makes them highly mobile and difficult to pin down in combat, as they can easily slip away from danger or hide from their enemies.
- Darkvision: Goblins have Darkvision, which means they can see in darkness as if it were dim light. This makes them well-suited to living and fighting in underground environments like caves and dungeons.
- Pack Tactics: Goblins have the Pack Tactics trait, which gives them advantage on attack rolls against a creature if at least one of the goblin’s allies is within 5 feet of the creature and the ally isn’t incapacitated. This makes them highly effective at working together in groups, using their superior numbers to overwhelm their foes.
- Cowardly: Goblins are often portrayed as cowardly and easily frightened creatures. This can be used to the DM’s advantage in combat, as goblins may flee or surrender when they are losing a fight.
- Mischievous: Goblins are known for their love of mischief and pranks, which can make them unpredictable and entertaining NPCs. They may steal items, play tricks on the players, or even offer to help the players in exchange for a favor or reward.
Goblin traits to build a story upon
Overall, the goblin’s small size, mobility, darkvision, pack tactics, cowardice, and mischievous nature make them a unique and versatile creature in D&D 5E. They can be used in a variety of ways to add depth and complexity to your game, from cunning ambushers to cowardly thieves to bumbling comic relief. One tidbit of advice is to consider all the possible classes and backgrounds a goblin can specialize in. Flesh out your NPC’s just as you would your player character sheets.
Building a Better Story for Your Little Green Minions
Connecting all the dots and creating a memorable scenario to place your fleshed out goblin into is the final step. Goblin NPC’s can be a great way to add excitement and intrigue to your Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Here are five goblin focused story hooks that create unique and interesting gameplay:
- Goblin Kidnappers: The players come across a group of goblins who are kidnapping other creatures, such as humans or halflings. The goblins are using their captives to mine for precious gems or other resources. The players must decide whether to rescue the captives or confront the goblins directly.
- Goblin Assassins: The players are hired by a local lord to investigate a series of mysterious deaths. They soon discover that goblins are responsible, using their nimble escape and pack tactics to sneak into their targets’ homes and murder them in their sleep. The players must track down the goblins and put a stop to their deadly campaign.
- Goblin Treasure Hunters: The players stumble upon a group of goblins who have discovered an ancient tomb filled with treasure. The goblins are using their nimble escape and pack tactics to fend off other adventurers who are trying to claim the treasure for themselves. The players must decide whether to ally with the goblins or try to steal the treasure for themselves.
Using Gamer Humor and So Much More
- Goblin Smugglers: The players are hired by a local merchant to investigate a string of thefts. They soon discover that goblins are smuggling stolen goods out of the city and selling them on the black market. The players must track down the goblins and uncover their smuggling operation.
- Goblin Tinkerers: The players come across a group of goblins who have set up a makeshift workshop in the forest. The goblins are using their mischievous nature and tinkerer skills to create strange and unusual gadgets, such as exploding mushrooms and flying contraptions. The players can choose to either help the goblins with their inventions or put a stop to their disruptive activities.
These story hooks using goblins in Dungeons and Dragons 5e can add depth and complexity to your game, while also providing unique challenges for your players to overcome. It goes without saying that there are literally limitless options for story building so be creative. The best advice is to think of an adventure YOU would enjoy playing and then create that adventure for YOUR players.
Merging Stories and Characters for your D&D Friends
Building a Fantasy World of Adventure
In conclusion, goblin NPCs are a versatile addition to any Dungeons and Dragons campaign. By using them in unique and unexpected ways, you can create a memorable game that your players are sure to enjoy.
What are some tips and tricks you have for creating memorable Dungeons and Dragons goblin NPC’s? What other topics do you want Nerd Night News to cover? Let us know in the comments below!
Check out some other Nerd Article while you’re here. LIKE THIS ONE! 6 Practical Tips for World-Building in DnD 5e