Monday, March 28, 2011

Generating a Goblin Tribe

Let's have our stat blocks go a little further, combining them with a method for generating war parties and whole tribes as a sort of monster gazette.

No. Encountered:  5d6 (40d10)
Movement:  60'
Size:  Small (four and a half feet)
Armor Class:  7 (6 w/ shield, 4 w/ armor + shield)
Hit Dice:  1 (d6)
Attacks:  1
Damage:  by weapon (1d6 average)
Special Attacks:  None
Special Defenses:  None
Save:  Fighter
Morale: 6
Treasure: TBD

Goblins are semi-nomadic tribal creatures who stand taller than dwarves and are more solidly built than elves. They are green skinned due to their forest dwelling ancestry, but now make their home underground in rough terrain outside of settled areas. They have excellent night vision, twice that of humans. They subsist on a mix of limited farming and animal husbandry, scavenging, and raiding. They have no central leadership; any goblin may lead a war raiding party and the most successful raiders form a council for peace time decisions.

Goblins fight unarmored and with basic weapons. Spearmen arm themselves with short spear and wooden shield (AC 6). Javelin throwers are armed with Atlatl and 10 darts. Archers carry short bow and 12 arrows. Pikemen teams consist of two goblins wielding one pike. Braves carry two hand axes.

Raiding party. Goblins encountered outside the lair are led by a raiding leader and consist of equal parts spearmen (defensive action) or braves (raiding), javelin throwers, and archers. Ideally, they fight in successive skirmish lines, discharging ranged weapons and then falling back. Raiding parties prefer to avoid fights and rather plunder livestock, metal tools and weapons, and foodstuffs. Goblins raid by moonlight, leaving on foot and often returning on horseback driving livestock. They rarely fight on horseback instead using the animals for labor and food; goblins have a penchant for horseflesh.

In the lair. Goblins prefer to fight outside of their settlements. When their lairs are threatened, they attempt to screen their women who will hastily gather what they can and abandon the settlement. Being semi-nomadic, they are adept at moving entire villages and supply trains with surprising speed. Screening forces resemble raiding parties. Braves will arm themselves as pikemen and line behind spearmen supported by javelin throwers within the lair itself if the fight goes badly as a last ditch effort to buy time.

Tribe generation. For every 100 goblins there are:

5 leaders
20 braves
25 spearmen
25 javelin throwers
25 archers

All leaders can be a war party leader, fighting with an additional HD. 1 out of every 5 is an exceptional leader; a tribe's fiercest leader fights as a 2HD goblin plus an additional HD for every 100 members. A tribe of 200 goblins has a first level shaman, a tribe of 300+ has a 3rd level shaman and a 1st level shaman. The death of any leader will cause all goblins present to make a morale check at a penalty of +1.

Leaders are equipped with short sword and shield and a 50% chance of having metal armor (AC 4). These are both signs of wealth for the most successful of the tribe. For a settlement larger than 250 souls, one leader will fight from horseback wielding two matchlock pistols, metal armor, and a short sword and shield if dismounted.

Settlements consist of an additional, equal number of females who perform most of the village's labor. They do not go out on raids and are tasked with moving the settlement in the case of an attack. They can defend themselves as braves wielding knives instead of hand axes.

Treasure. System TBD.


  1. I'm left a bit confused about goblin settlements. Are they above or below ground? A mix? Do they dig out below ground lairs themselves, or do they only utilize existing caves and dungeons?

  2. Yea, sorry I haven't made it clear. I imagine goblins living in a 'mix.' They would have parts of their settlement above ground for some basic farming and for stolen livestock. Their dwellings would be mostly underground utilizing existing caves and dungeons or even depressions, steep valleys, and box canyons. These goblins don't have the usual propensity for underground and dungeon construction (originally being forest dwellers). I will have to work on a post to better describe this.