Goblins are fun to role-play. Numerous players have discovered this as they’ve interrogated the goblins in my campaigns. Goblins know that they’re almost at the bottom of the humanoid pecking order (with only kobolds lower), and so they’re used to being bullied. They almost enjoy it.
Every so often, one of the goblins decides that turning traitor is a good career move, and so starts accompanying the player characters. They’re rarely dependable allies. Once a party of three goblins (nicknamed Huey, Dewey and Louie) started accompanying a low-level group in an AD&D campaign. That lasted until the next encounter, when they realised the PCs were being defeated and they quickly changed sides again. (Shortly thereafter they realised their mistake, but it was a little too late for them…)
In the first 4E adventure, Keep on the Shadowfell, there’s a goblin named Splug. He’s locked in a cell, and he’s unhappy with his tribe. So, my players asked him to join them. He accompanied them through every succeeding adventure until eventually reaching 30th level with the rest of the group – who owed their lives, a few times over, to Splug. Who might have ended up killing Orcus…
In my Wednesday D&D Encounters game (not the Princes of the Apocalypse group), an unfortunate TPK in Castle Naerytar has meant that the players have started new characters, and they’re adventuring through the starter set adventure. In the initial goblin raid on the party, one of the goblins was captured and persuaded to help the PCs, telling them where the traps were and showing them around the obstacles.
I role-play this goblin in a high-pitched, squeaky voice, and as he’s been adventuring with the party – and seeing them defeating all their foes – he’s been getting braver and helping them more and more.
During the final fight with the goblin leader Klarg, Splig rushed forward to aid his new friends (as Klarg had bullied him) and hit him with a critical hit – the first hit Klarg suffered in the combat. My friend Sarah, who had been very dismissive of Splig (as her flaw is that she doesn’t respect those who haven’t proven themselves in combat), suddenly realised that Splig could be brave, and he could fight. The group now really appreciated Splig, and they were wondering if he could join the group on a permanent basis.
Who am I to say no to their enthusiasm? The question was how to deal with Splig’s statistics. He obviously began as a straight goblin, but he’d die very quickly in combat as the game progressed. (We’re eventually going to rescue the original characters and resurrect them and get back to the Tyranny storyline). So, I’m doing what I did with Splug: statting out Splig as a regular character. I won’t track XP for him, but level him to be on par with the other characters.
The hope is that he’ll provide a lot of role-playing potential in the days ahead. It seems likely!
Here’s how I’ve constructed Splig: basic goblin stats, then overlaid by the stats of a 2nd level fighter with the criminal background. He’s not really that impressive (yet), but he’ll be easy for me to run as a DM and should be very amusing in play.
Splig, Goblin Fighter 2
Armour Class 15 (leather armour, shield)
Hit Points 16 (2d10)
Speed 30 ft.
Str -1 (8), Dex +2 (14), Con +0 (10), Int +0 (10), Wis -1 (8), Cha -1 (8)
Skills Athletics +1, Deception +1, Stealth +6, Survival +1
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Goblin
Splig can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of his turns.
Splig can regain 1d10+2 hit points as a bonus actions. (1/rest)
Action Surge. Splig can take an additional action (1/rest).
Fightning Style – Archer. Splig gets +2 to ranged attacks (included).
+4 to hit, 1d6+2 slashing damage.
+6 to hit, range 80/320 ft., 1d6+2 piercing damage