- 1Goblin Primer
- 2Your Warren, Your Home
- 3Creating a Goblin Character
- 3.1Goblin Racial Traits
- 3.2Special Considerations
- 3.3Special Ability: Empty the Warrens
- 3.4Pre-generated Goblin Characters
- 4Crafting Traps
- 4.1The Trap-Crafting Process
- 4.2Example Configurations (DMG)
- 4.2.1(5E DMG)
- 4.2.2(Xanathar's Guide to Everything)
- 4.3Component Parts
- 4.4Typical Trap Effects
Goblins know they are a weak, unsophisticated race that can be easily dominated by bigger, smarter, more organized, more ferocious, or more magical creatures…
Goblins seek to trap and enslave any creatures they encounter, but they flee from opposition that seems too daunting. For miles around their lair, they employ pit traps, snares, and nets to catch the unwary, and when their hunting patrols encounter other beings, they always look for ways to capture their foes instead of killing them.Volo’s Guide to Monsters
A goblin tribe is organized in a four-tiered caste system made up of lashers, hunters, gatherers, and pariahs. The status of every family in the tribe is based on its importance to the tribe’s survival. Families that belong to the higher-ranking castes keep their status by not sharing their knowledge and skills with other families, while those in the lower castes have little hope of escaping their plight…
Lashers. The closest thing a goblin tribe has to nobility is the caste of lashers-families of goblins trained in the ways of battle, and also possessed of key skills such as strategy, trap-building, beast taming, mining, smelting, forging, and religion. If the tribe has any spellcasters, this caste includes them. Lashers follow the lead of the tribe’s boss, and enforce their will on other goblins with whips.
Hunters. The families of goblins that are skilled in the use of weapons but not privy to any other special knowledge have the second highest status in the tribe. Hunters are often the best wolf riders and know the most about the territory farthest from the tribe’s lair. These individuals hunt game in peaceful times, and in combat they serve as scouts, foot soldiers, and cavalry.
Gatherers. Families in the second lowest caste are responsible for getting food from the surrounding area, taking what’s naturally available or stealing whatever they can.
Pariahs. Some goblin families are the lowest of the low, composed of the most dimwitted, least educated, and weakest goblins. They get the worst jobs: mucking out animal pens, cleaning up after other goblins, and doing any hard labor such as digging mines.Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Tribes of goblins take up residence in shrouded valleys, shadowy forests, and caves and tunnels beneath the surface of the world. Capable miners and crafters, they seek to settle in places where they can get the raw materials to make weapons and armor. Their need for iron and other metals sometimes puts them in conflict with other races, but just as often, goblins get what they need by claiming mines abandoned by other races and scratching away at veins thought to be played out.
When goblins expand a mine, the tunnels they dig are narrow and warren-like. Goblins live both within these tunnels and on the surface around the outside of the area. They guard the territory around the mine for miles, sending out patrols of hunters equipped with war horns and using wolves as watchdogs to alert them to intruders.
Outskirts. The territory around a goblin lair has several hallmarks, most of which aren’t readily apparent. Packs of wolves allied with the goblins serve as effective perimeter guards, without giving away the fact that a tribe of goblins lives nearby. Hunters take up guard posts in tall trees and atop high rocky outcrops from where they can view the terrain while staying unseen. Any obvious path through the territory (a valley, a clear trail, or a river) might be turned into an ambush point where a force of goblins can capture intruders. Such places might also be set with net traps, snare traps, or hidden pit traps that gatherers regularly check for new slaves. The area also includes burial grounds for each caste, always placed far from the lair.
Lair Exterior. Anyone who is skilled or fortunate enough to pass through the territory of a goblin tribe without being detected is likely to come upon some tell-tale signs of habitation-complete with goblins at work and other goblins standing guard over them.
If the lair was built around a mine, the tribe’s smelting furnace and forge will be in the vicinity. A lair inside a forest likely has piles of cut timber (and suitable tools) nearby. In appropriate terrain, the goblins might set aside some land for simple farming (raising mushrooms and gourds). If the lair doesn’t have enough space underground for everyone, gatherers and pariahs are housed in huts on the surface, near the areas where they work.
Lair Interior. The ideal place for a goblin lair is an abandoned mine that features two or three large chambers and a few smaller ones, with tunnels connecting them. In such a place, the tribe can protect its most valuable assets while providing for a modicum of comfort. Most lairs have only a single entrance, but the goblins might build a number of escape tunnels that emerge far from that location.Volo’s Guide to Monsters
Close inside the entrance, if a suitable area exists, the goblins set up a den for their wolves. The animals come and go as they please, unless the goblins have use for them. Any tunnel in the lair, whether dug by goblins or not, is likely to be trapped, typically in a way that not only injures the enemy but also collapses the passage.
Open spaces inside a lair are useful for a number of reasons, and the goblins will hollow out chambers for their use if need be. Slaves and tamed monsters are best kept in large areas with limited access, making them easier to guard. The tribe’s boss lays claim to a space that’s treated as a throne room of sorts. The lashers and hunters of a tribe occupy other caverns and chambers, enjoying the comfort and safety of underground living as a reward for their status and their value to the group.
Your Warren, Your Home
Your playable goblin characters, regardless of class, will be part of the Lashers or Hunters group. They will be assigned with guarding the “Lair Interior” of their particular warren, a breeding colony towing to a goblin king living elsewhere.
The map for the adventure will resemble the following. You will make forays from it to gather supplies, build and set traps, and eventually defend it from an encroaching force.
A pit in the northern-most room leads to shallow caves housing a filthy stream and a small mushroom farm. Outside, a winding forest trail leads down the mountain towards the human settlements.
The boss in charge of this particular warren is a fearsome goblin female named Ogsa. Actually medium-sized, she towers head-and-shoulders over the goblins surrounding her. Next to her, they seem like her children–which most of them are.
It’s been said in jest (and never within her hearing) that her impressive size owes to hobgoblin blood somewhere in her ancestry.
Creating a Goblin Character
Goblin Racial Traits
Creating a goblin character in 5E is the same as for any other race. Use the following information (taken from Volo’s Guide to Monsters) to set your specific racial traits:
* Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.
* Age. Goblins reach adulthood at age 8 and live up to 60 years.
* Alignment. Goblins are typically neutral evil, as they care only for their own needs. A few goblins might tend toward good or neutrality, but only rarely.
* Size. Goblins are between 3 and 4 feet tall and weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Your size is Small.
* Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
* Darkvision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
* Fury of the Small. When you damage a creature with an attack or a spell and the creature’s size is larger than yours, you can cause the attack or spell to deal extra damage to the creature. The extra damage equals your level. Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
* Nimble Escape. You can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of your turns.
* Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin.
For Goblin-sounding names, consider the following website:
All Player goblin characters will be, regardless of class, Level 1. Your characters are at the bottom of the pecking order of combat, regularly tasked with fighting creatures much larger in size and able to kill you with a single blow.
Players may begin with leather armor and a shield, plus a choice of any two starting weapons (simple or martial).
As a result, your characters will have to make best use of their situation. They must be resourceful, clever, machinating, and–above all else–suicidal.
After all, there’s always another goblin ready to don your still-smoking boots…
Special Ability: Empty the Warrens
Goblins live hard and die quickly, hopefully in as much mayhem as they can muster. Fortunately for them, there always seems to be another goblin directly behind.
If a Player’s goblin character is reduced to 0 HP, another goblin appears directly adjacent to their equipment.
On that Player’s first following turn, the new goblin salvages and equips any remaining items from the body.
It will be able to act on the Player’s second following turn. Any rest-related cooldowns are refreshed (to include spell slots, class abilities, etc.).
The new goblin may be exactly identical to the old goblin, save with a required change in name and one visible characteristic (gender, age, number of remaining limbs).
For example, should Troghut, goblin druid, nature expert, and champion of the downtrodden mushrooms ever find himself stepped upon, then Chaahx, apprentice-druid-in-secret, can immediately pick up. (Or Asb, his one-eyed cousin; or Eelk, sous-chef extraordinaire. In warrens, there is no end to distant relatives.)
Pre-generated Goblin Characters
For those wishing to eschew the entire generation process (or for those who need a quick replacement in battle), here are a few pre-made characters:
Barbarian (High AC)
Fighter (Dart Flinger)
Monk (Flurry of Blows)
Rogue (Sneaky Stabby)
Bard (Party Booster)
Druid (Terrain Control)
Sorcerer (Ranged Bomber)
Reminder: All above characters also have Darkvision 60′, Fury of the Small, Nimble Escape, and Empty the Warrens.
Mechanical traps include pits, arrow traps, falling blocks, water-filled rooms, whirling blades, and anything else that depends on a mechanism to operate…
Most traps are triggered when a creature goes somewhere or touches something that the trap’s creator wanted to protect. Common triggers include stepping on a pressure plate or a false section of floor, pulling a trip wire, turning a doorknob, and using the wrong key in a lock.Dungeon Master’s Guide, 5E
Most traps are created by the Dungeon Master (particularly in 5th edition), with fixed DCs for spotting and disarming them. Unfortunately, there are no official rules for Player-created ones. Therefore, following are the simple rules we will use when making traps:
The Trap-Crafting Process
Step 1: Player describes what sort of trap they intend to craft, including location, parts incorporated, necessary trigger, and desired effect.
(Triggers can be a wide range of possibilities, from pressure plates to false floors to tripwires to mechanisms remotely-activated via Readied actions.)
Step 2: Player rolls a d20 + their Dexterity bonus and records the result. That result is most related DCs for that trap, whether Perception / Disable or appropriate save.
(Multiple goblins can work together on a trap. If so, the primary character rolls with advantage.)
Step 3: If an enemy fails to spot, disable, or avoid the trap, Player may roll appropriate damage for that trap.
(Once constructed, the trap may be moved. However, it can not be disassembled without destroying its component parts.)
Example Configurations (DMG)
The following are traps that appear in the source books, and they are a great springboard for designing your own:
Simple Pit. A simple pit trap is a hole dug in the ground. The hole is covered by a large cloth anchored on the pit’s edge and camouflaged with dirt and debris. The DC to spot the pit is 10. Anyone stepping on the cloth falls through and pulls the cloth down into the pit, taking damage based on the pit’s depth (usually 10 feet, but some pits are deeper).
Hidden Pit. This pit has a cover constructed from material identical to the floor around it. A successful DC 15 Wisdom (Perception) check discerns an absence of foot traffic over the section of floor that forms the pit’s cover. A successful DC 15 Intelligence (Investigation) check is necessary to confirm that the trapped section of floor is actually the cover of a pit. When a creature steps on the cover, it swings open like a trapdoor, causing the intruder to spill into the pit below. The pit is usually 10 or 20 feet deep but can be deeper. Once the pit trap is detected, an iron spike or similar object can be wedged between the pit’s cover and the surrounding floor in such a way as to prevent the cover from opening, thereby making it safe to cross. The cover can also be magically held shut using the arcane lock spell or similar magic.
Locking Pit. This pit trap is identical to a hidden pit trap, with one key exception: the trap door that covers the pit is spring-loaded. After a creature falls into the pit, the cover snaps shut to trap its victim inside. A successful DC 20 Strength check is necessary to pry the cover open. The cover can also be smashed open. A character in the pit can also attempt to disable the spring mechanism from the inside with a DC 15 Dexterity check using thieves’ tools, provided that the mechanism can be reached and the character can see. In some cases, a mechanism (usually hidden behind a secret door nearby) opens the pit.
Spiked Pit. This pit trap is a simple, hidden, or locking pit trap with sharpened wooden or iron spikes at the bottom. A creature falling into the pit takes 11 (2d10) piercing damage from the spikes, in addition to any falling damage. Even nastier versions have poison smeared on the spikes. In that case, anyone taking piercing damage from the spikes must also make a DC 13 Constitution saving throw, taking an 22 (4d10) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Poison Darts. The trap activates when more than 20 pounds of weight is placed on the pressure plate, releasing four darts. Each dart makes a ranged attack with a +8 bonus against a random target within 10 feet of the pressure plate (vision is irrelevant to this attack roll). (If there are no targets in the area, the darts don’t hit anything.) A target that is hit takes 2 (1d4) piercing damage and must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw, taking 11 (2d10) poison damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
Falling Net. When the trap is triggered, the net is released, covering a 10-foot-square area. Those in the area are trapped under the net and restrained, and those that fail a DC 10 Strength saving throw are also knocked prone. A creature can use its action to make a DC 10 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. The net has AC 10 and 20 hit points. Dealing 5 slashing damage to the net (AC 10) destroys a 5-foot-square section of it, freeing any creature trapped in that section.
Collapsing Roof. When the trap is triggered, the unstable ceiling collapses. Any creature in the area beneath the unstable section must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw, taking 22 (4d10) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. Once the trap is triggered, the floor of the area is filled with rubble and becomes difficult terrain.
(Xanathar’s Guide to Everything)
Bear Trap. A bear trap resembles a set of iron jaws that springs shut when stepped on, clamping down on a creature’s leg. The trap is spiked in the ground, leaving the victim immobilized.
Trigger. A creature that steps on the bear trap triggers it.
Effect. The trap makes an attack against the triggering creature. The attack has a +8 attack bonus and deals 5 (1d10) piercing damage on a hit. This attack can’t gain advantage or disadvantage. A creature hit by the trap has its speed reduced to 0. It can’t move until it breaks free of the trap, which requires a successful DC 15 Strength check by the creature or another creature adjacent to the trap.
Crossbow Trap. The crossbow trap is a favorite of kobolds and other creatures that rely on traps to defend their lairs. It consists of a trip wire strung across a hallway and connected to a pair of hidden heavy crossbows. The crossbows are aimed to fire down the hallway at anyone who disturbs the trip wire.
Trigger. A creature that walks through the trip wire triggers the trap.
Effect. The trap makes two attacks against the triggering creature. Each attack has a +8 attack bonus and deals 5 (1d10) piercing damage on a hit. This attack can’t gain advantage or disadvantage.
Falling Portcullis. Some folk who build dungeons, such as mad wizards in search of new victims, have no intention of allowing their visitors to make an easy escape. A falling portcullis trap can be especially devious if it causes a portcullis to drop some distance away from the pressure plate that activates the trap. Although the trap is deep in the dungeon, the portcullis closes off the dungeon entrance, which is hundreds of feet away, meaning that adventurers don’t know they are trapped until they decide to head for the exit.
Trigger. A creature that steps on the pressure plate triggers the trap.
Effect. An iron portcullis drops from the ceiling, blocking an exit or a passageway.
Goblins rarely stumble upon a pre-made trap; and when they do, it’s never their own. Your characters will have to search for parts to build their own contraptions.
We will be using the following tables to decide what your characters find when they scavenge. (They are taken from page 299 on in the DMG.)
Typical Trap Effects
Traps that don’t fall into the simple configurations listed above can have their own tailor-made effects. However, these effects should not be more powerful than what is already available to first-level characters, via equipment or non-divine spells. (Additional effects are possible, but must be first approved by the DM.)
Acid. As an action, you can splash the contents of this vial onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw the vial up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. In either case, make a ranged attack against a creature or object, treating the acid as an improvised weapon. On a hit, the target takes 2d6 acid damage.
Alchemist’s Fire. This sticky, adhesive fluid ignites when exposed to air. As an action, you can throw this flask up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. Make a ranged attack against a creature or object, treating the alchemist’s fire as an improvised weapon. On a hit, the target takes 1d4 fire damage at the start of each of its turns. A creature can end this damage by using its action to make a DC 10 Dexterity check to extinguish the flames.
Ball Bearings. As an action, you can spill these tiny metal balls from their pouch to cover a level, square area that is 10 feet on a side. A creature moving across the covered area must succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. A creature moving through the area at half speed doesn’t need to make the save.
Caltrops. As an action, you can spread a bag of caltrops to cover a square area that is 5 feet on a side. Any creature that enters the area must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or stop moving this turn and take 1 piercing damage. Taking this damage reduces the creature’s walking speed by 10 feet until the creature regains at least 1 hit point. A creature moving through the area at half speed doesn’t need to make the save.
Hunting Trap. When you use your action to set it, this trap forms a saw-‐‑toothed steel ring that snaps shut when a creature steps on a pressure plate in the center. The trap is affixed by a heavy chain to an immobile object, such as a tree or a spike driven into the ground. A creature that steps on the plate must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity saving throw or take 1d4 piercing damage and stop moving. Thereafter, until the creature breaks free of the trap, its movement is limited by the length of the chain (typically 3 feet long). A creature can use its action to make a DC 13 Strength check, freeing itself or another creature within its reach on a success. Each failed check deals 1 piercing damage to the trapped creature.
Oil. Oil usually comes in a clay flask that holds 1 pint. As an action, you can splash the oil in this flask onto a creature within 5 feet of you or throw it up to 20 feet, shattering it on impact. Make a ranged attack against a target creature or object, treating the oil as an improvised weapon. On a hit, the target is covered in oil. If the target takes any fire damage before the oil dries (after 1 minute), the target takes an additional 5 fire damage from the burning oil. You can also pour a flask of oil on the ground to cover a 5-‐‑foot-‐‑square area, provided that the surface is level. If lit, the oil burns for 2 rounds and deals 5 fire damage to any creature that enters the area or ends its turn in the area. A creature can take this damage only once per turn.
Poison, Basic. You can use the poison in this vial to coat one slashing or piercing weapon or up to three pieces of ammunition. Applying the poison takes an action. A creature hit by the poisoned weapon or ammunition must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 poison damage.
Once applied, the poison retains potency for 1 minute before drying.
Acid Splash. You hurl a bubble of acid. Choose one creature within range, or choose two creatures within range that are within 5 feet of each other. A target must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or take 1d6 acid damage.
Alarm. You set an alarm against unwanted intrusion. Choose a door, a window, or an area within range that is no larger than a 20-foot cube. Until the spell ends, an alarm alerts you whenever a Tiny or larger creature touches or enters the warded area. When you cast the spell, you can designate creatures that won’t set off the alarm.
You also choose whether the alarm is mental or audible.An audible alarm produces the sound of a hand bell for 10 seconds within 60 feet.
Burning Hands. As you hold your hands with thumbs touching and fingers spread, a thin sheet of flames shoots forth from your outstretched fingertips. Each creature in a 15-foot cone must make a Dexterity saving throw. A creature takes 3d6 fire damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one. The fire ignites any flammable objects in the area that aren’t being worn or carried.
Color Spray. A dazzling array of flashing, colored light springs from your hand. Roll 6d10; the total is how many hit points of creatures this spell can effect. Creatures in a 15-foot cone originating from you are affected in ascending order of their current hit points (ignoring unconscious creatures and creatures that can’t see).
Starting with the creature that has the lowest current hit points, each creature affected by this spell is blinded until the spell ends. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected.
Entangle. Grasping weeds and vines sprout from the ground in a 20-foot square starting from a point within range. For the duration, these plants turn the ground in the area into difficult terrain.
A creature in the area when you cast the spell must succeed on a Strength saving throw or be restrained by the entangling plants until the spell ends. A creature restrained by the plants can use its action to make a Strength check against your spell save DC. On a success, it frees itself.
Faerie Fire. Each object in a 20-foot cube within range is outlined in blue, green, or violet light (your choice). Any creature in the area when the spell is cast is also outlined in light if it fails a Dexterity saving throw. For the duration, objects and affected creatures shed dim light in a 10-foot radius.
Any attack roll against an affected creature or object has advantage if the attacker can see it, and the affected creature or object can’t benefit from being invisible.
Fire Bolt. You hurl a mote of fire at a creature or object within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, the target takes 1d10 fire damage. A flammable object hit by this spell ignites if it isn’t being worn or carried.
Fog Cloud. You create a 20-foot-radius sphere of fog centered on a point within range. The sphere spreads around corners, and its area is heavily obscured. It lasts for the duration or until a wind of moderate or greater speed (at least 10 miles per hour) disperses it.
Grease. Slick grease covers the ground in a 10-foot square centered on a point within range and turns it into difficult terrain for the duration.
When the grease appears, each creature standing in its area must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone. A creature that enters the area or ends its turn there must also succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone.
Infestation (Xanathar’s). You cause a cloud of mites, fleas, and other parasites to appear momentarily on one creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw, or it takes 1d6 poison damage and moves 5 feet in a random direction if it can move and its speed is at least 5 feet. Roll a d4 for the direction: 1, north; 2, south; 3, east; or 4, west. This movement doesn’t provoke opportunity attacks, and if the direction rolled is blocked, the target doesn’t move.
Poison Spray. You extend your hand toward a creature you can see within range and project a puff of noxious gas from your palm. The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d12 poison damage.
Snare (Xanathar’s). The trap triggers when a Small, Medium, or Large creature moves onto the ground or the floor in the spell’s radius. That creature must succeed on a Dexterity saving throw or be magically hoisted into the air, leaving it hanging upside down 3 feet above the ground or the floor. The creature is restrained there until the spell ends. A restrained creature can make a Dexterity saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.
Thunderwave. A wave of thunderous force sweeps out from you. Each creature in a 15-‐‑foot cube originating from you must make a Constitution saving throw. On a failed save, a creature takes 2d8 thunder damage and is pushed 10 feet away from you. On a successful save, the creature takes half as much damage and isn’t pushed.
In addition, unsecured objects that are completely within the area of effect are automatically pushed 10 feet away from you by the spell’s effect, and the spell emits a thunderous boom audible out to 300 feet.