Goblin (Dungeons & Dragons)

Goblin (Dungeons & Dragons)

Infobox D&D creature


In the "Dungeons & Dragons" fantasy role-playing game, goblins are a very common and fairly weak race of evil humanoid monsters. Goblins and Kobolds are often the first type of non-human monsters that low-level player characters will face. In D&D, unlike in many other fantasy role playing games, goblins aren't smaller cousins of orcs, but are a part of the related species collectively referred to as goblinoids. Goblinoids include hobgoblins, bugbears, and others.

Publication history

The goblin first appeared in the fantasy supplement to the original "Chainmail" set before appearing in the original Dungeons & Dragons game.

Dungeons & Dragons (1974-1976)

The goblin was one of the first monsters introduced in the earliest edition of the game, in the Dungeons & Dragons "white box" set (1974), where they were described simply as small monsters. [Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson. "Dungeons & Dragons" (3-Volume Set) (TSR, 1974)]

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 1st edition (1977-1988)

The goblin appears in the first edition Monster Manual (1977), [Gygax, Gary. "Monster Manual" (TSR, 1977)] where it is described as having a tribal society and dwelling in dismal surroundings.

The mythology and attitudes of the goblins are described in detail in "Dragon" #63 (July 1982), in Roger E. Moore's article, "The Humanoids." [Moore, Roger E. "The Humanoids." "Dragon" #63 (TSR, 1982)]

In the article "Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold?" by Joseph Clay in "Dragon" #141 (January 1989), kobolds, xvarts, goblins, and orcs were presented as player character races along with two new character classes the "Shaman" and the "Witch Doctor". [cite journal | authorlink = Joseph Clay | last = Clay | first = Joseph | title = Hey, Wanna Be a Kobold? | journal = Dragon | volume = #141 | publisher = TSR | year = 1989]

Dungeons & Dragons (1977-1999)

This edition of the D&D game included its own version of the goblin, in the "Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set" (1977, 1981, 1983). [Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974] , edited by J. Eric Holmes. "Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set" (TSR, 1977)] [Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974] , edited by Tom Moldvay. "Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set" (TSR, 1981)] [Gygax, Gary, and Dave Arneson [1974] , edited by Frank Mentzer. "Dungeons & Dragons Set 1: Basic Rules" (TSR, 1983)] The goblin was featured as a player character race in the "Orcs of Thar" gazetteer (1989). Goblins were also later featured in the "Dungeons & Dragons Game" set (1991), the "Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia" (1991), [Schend, Steven E., Jon Pickens, and Dori Warty (Editors). "Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia" (TSR, 1991)] the "Classic Dungeons & Dragons Game" set (1994), and the "Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game" set (1999).

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition (1989-1999)

The goblin appears first in the Monstrous Compendium Volume One (1989), [Cook, David, et al. "Monstrous Compendium Volume One" (TSR, 1989)] and is reprinted in the Monstrous Manual (1993). [Stewart, Doug, ed. "Monstrous Manual" (TSR, 1993)]

The goblin is detailed as a playable character race in "The Complete Book of Humanoids" (1993). [Slavicsek, Bill. "The Complete Book of Humanoids" (TSR, 1993)] The goblin is later presented as a playable character race again in "Player's Option: Skills & Powers" (1995) and in the module "Reverse Dungeon" (2000).

The goblyn, a related creature in the Ravenloft campaign setting, appeared in the module "Feast of Goblyns" (1990), and the "Monstrous Compendium Ravenloft Appendix" (1991).

The Cerilian goblin for the Birthright campaign setting appeared in the "Birthright Campaign Setting" set (1995), and was reprinted in "Monstrous Compendium Annual Four" (1998).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0 edition (2000-2002)

The goblin appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2000). [Cook, Monte, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams. "Monster Manual" (Wizards of the Coast, 2000)]

Tactics for fighting goblins were described in "Vs. Goblins", by Bruce Cordell, in "Dragon" #275 (2000). [Cordell, Bruce R. "Vs. Goblins." "Dragon" #275 (Paizo Publishing, 2000)]

The Dekanter goblin was introduced in "Monsters of Faerun" (2000). "Races of Faerûn" (2003) presented the goblin and Dekanter goblin as player character races for the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. [Reynolds, Sean K., Forbeck, Matt, Jacobs, James, Boyd, Erik L. "Races of Faerûn" (Wizards of the Coast, 2003)]

The blue, a psionic relative of the goblin, appeared in the "Psionics Handbook" (2001).

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 edition (2003-2007)

The goblin appears in the revised Monster Manual for this edition (2003).

The blue appeared in the "Expanded Psionics Handbook" (2004). [Cordell, Bruce R. "Expanded Psionics Handbook" (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)]

The air goblin, the aquatic goblin, the arctic goblin, the desert goblin, and the jungle goblin were all introduced in "Unearthed Arcana" (2004). "Monster Manual III" (2004) introduced the forestkith goblin. [Burlew, Rich, et al. "Monster Manual III" (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)] The snow goblin appeared in "Frostburn: Mastering the Perils of Ice and Snow" (2004). [Baur, Wolfgang, James Jacobs, and George Strayton. "Frostburn" (Wizards of the Coast, 2004)] The dark goblin appeared in "Tome of Magic" (2006). [Sernett, Matthew, David Noonan, Ari Marmell, and Robert J. Schwalb. ' (Wizards of the Coast, 2006)] The goblin flesh-herder"' appeared in "Drow of the Underdark" (2007).

The goblyn of Ravenloft appeared again in the "Campaign Classics" feature in "Dragon" #339 (January 2006).

Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition (2008-)

The goblin appears in the Monster Manual for this edition (2008), including the goblin cutter, the goblin blackblade, the goblin warrior, the goblin sharpshooter, the goblin hexer, the goblin skullcleaver, and the goblin underboss. The bugbear and the hobgoblin also appear under the goblin entry in this edition's Monster Manual. [Mearls, Mike, Stephen Schubert, and James Wyatt. "Monster Manual" (Wizards of the Coast, 2008)]


Goblins are small humanoid monsters. They vary in height from about 3 to 3 ½ feet (91 - 106 cm) and weigh 40 to 45 pounds (21 - 24 kg).Fact|date=March 2008 They walk upright even though their arms nearly reach their knees. Their eyes vary from red to yellow and are usually dull and glazed. They have a broad nose that sits on a flat face with pointed ears and a wide mouth. Their mouth contains small, but sharp fangs. Their skin pigment ranges from a deep red through nearly any shade of orange to yellow. Members of the same tribe tend to have the same skin color. Based on their ability scores the average goblin would be able to lift about 60 pounds over his headOr|date=January 2008.


Goblins usually live in tribes which are ruled by the strongest goblin in the group. These tribes vary in size from gangs of 4-9 to tribes of up to 400.Fact|date=March 2008 Most larger tribes have wolves or dire wolves as mounts, or ally themselves with worgs, which also carry them into battle. Goblin tribes usually settle near civilized areas to raid for food, livestock, tools, weapons, and supplies. Some goblin clans will come under the control of stronger goblinoids or other creatures, who will use the goblins for their own purposesvague.

In most campaign settings, Maglubiyet, the god of war and rulership, is the chief deity of goblins. Other gods worshipped by the goblins include Khurgorbaeyag, the god of slavery, oppression, and morale, and Bargrivyek, the god of co-operation and territory.

Goblin Sub-races


Nilbogs are a race of magical goblins that are healed by receiving damage and are damaged by healing spells. [citation|journal=White Dwarf|publisher=Games Workshop|date=April 1978|issue=6|pages=6-8] The name is "goblin" spelled backward, a reference to this reversal of effects. The exact connection between the nilbog and the llort, which shares its power to heal by receiving damage, is unknown.


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