Tuesday 8 May 2018

OSR: Goblins

I warn you in advance that this post is fucking stupid.

I've previously written about how goblins are fungal spores from space who do little but adapt almost perfectly to their environment only to get let down by their own lethal combination of curiosity and stupidity, and I promised that I'd add some mechanical features to my previous lore-bollocks. As it's nearly 6 months later I thought I'd go right ahead and get on that.

Credit, I Van

Goblins are weird spore creatures whose only purpose is to adapt to their environment and spread. They do this by gathering up biomass in the local area and chucking it into a foul-smelling spawning pool filled with acid, proteins and goblin base cells that breaks the biomass down and incorporates genetic traits from local flora and fauna into new goblins. The goblins go about their merry business until they collectively realise that there's a fuck ton of goblins in the area and the excess are 'convinced' to leave.

I'd intended for goblins to be more indicators of the general state of the environment than player characters due to goblins being despised as mischief-causing, occasionally murderous pests. Also their general mental state generally swings between being either intensely curious or rabidly vicious (insert comment about the average adventurer here). However, I did make a promise so here are some (LotFP-compatible) rules for goblins as a racial choice if anyone wanted to give them a try:



Goblins roll 4d4 for their abilities instead of 3d6.

As Halflings (goblins are pretty resilient creatures).



None (goblins are useless, but see below).

Goblins can be Goblins.


Goblins start with no possessions unless otherwise specified. All goblins have the following abilities/features:


Extremely Omnivorous
Pretty much anything organic counts as rations for goblins.


Roll randomly to determine the environment in which your goblin spawned. You don't know how you ended up here.

1. Forest - Gain the Climb skill at 3-in-6 and a long prehensile tail that is capable of carrying a minor weapon, and can support your weight. You start play with a leather sling and 5 bullets.

2. Desert - Gain the Bushcraft skill at 3-in-6 when in desert terrain. You require water once per week and can dig yourself into sand with only your nose poking out. You start play with your favourite pointy digging stick (minor weapon).

3. Mountains - You are hirsute and insulated against the cold, your natural AC is that of leather armour. You begin play with a tattered rope that you stole from a climber you pushed off a cliff, and your favourite bashing rock (improvised weapon).

4. Plains - You are taller than most goblins and can pass as an ugly halfling if you dress right and stay quiet. You start with a dagger (actual metal!) and 1sp.

5. Jungle - Your striped hide is well camouflaged against the verdant background; you gain the Stealth skill at 5-in-6 when in the wilderness. You begin with a blowpipe and 10 dung-tipped darts.

6. Marsh - Ain't nothing can poison you. Your Save vs Poison is 5 at level 1. You start play with a fishing pole, a club and a dead fish. Delicious.

7. Ocean - Yes, goblins can and do live in the sea. You start play with webbed appendages and gills. You can't breathe out of the water. You start with a bucket of seawater and a net.

8. Mage-blighted - Your hide is silvered and oddly reflective. Any spell cast upon you has a 50% chance of rebounding at the user. You start with a robe that is far too long for you, a scroll containing a level 1 arcane spell and a magic wand (in reality it's just a particularly knobbly stick).

9. Divine - A goblin threw a vial of holy water or a cleric or something into your spawning pool and now nothing works quite right. You look like a cherub that was fed through a mangle and thrown out of a tree, but you are able to project your voice with semi-angelic force once per day per level - all who hear you when you do so must Save vs Magic or be stunned for 1d4 rounds and take 1d6 damage. You start with a ragged loincloth and don't know why you wear it, and a crude holy symbol.

10. Volcano - You're pretty much fireproof, but don't go jumping into lava. You start with a macuahuitl of volcanic glass and petrified wood.

11. Arctic - Your body keeps working even in freezing conditions and you can dig down to permafrost with only your hands when conditions get too extreme. You are able to excavate three times as much earth when digging compared to a normal adventurer and do not suffer from freezing conditions, even when naked (which is most of the time). You start with a bone harpoon and some seal jerky.

12. Moon - You don't require oxygen, but you do need plenty of sun. You are very, very confused as to how you ended up here. You can reverse your relative gravity once per day per level, which lasts for a maximum of 1 hour per level. Start play with a moon rock (It hums! It glows! It floats! It's wytchfire! It might explode!).

Credit, Vaska Tsiolkovsky

Goblins advance as halflings, but their unique biology grants them extra abilities when they level up if they've consumed enough organic matter from their local environment. This is down to GM discretion but I'd say eating something the size of a dog, bones and all, is good enough. The ability gained should be discussed with the GM.

Upon reaching level 5 the goblin must Save vs Magic. Success means nothing happens. If the save is failed then the goblin's urge to spawn becomes too great and they flee the party, becoming an NPC. After gorging themselves on local biomass and finding a safe location, the goblin bloats and explodes into an acidic soup that begins to spawn smaller goblins. This save must be made withe cumulative -2 penalty at every subsequent level. Anyone in the vicinity of an exploding goblin take 1d8 acid damage, Save vs Breath for half damage.

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