It’s been a while since my last random table post – a year, a week, and a day, to be exact – so I think it’s high time I get with the program and slap one in. Here are several goblin reskins for your use. Some are still essentially goblins with a few quirks, while others are a complete repalette that can use the goblin stat block with a totally different flavor.
- Sylvan goblins. These goblins live in small family groups and are semi-nomadic, keeping a strict territory but never nesting in the same spot twice in a row. They move between sites in an unpredictable pattern, spending the days asleep in large aeries woven from pine needles, moss, twigs, and such; at night, they hunt and gather in a two-mile radius from their sleep site. Sylvan goblins can climb as well as they walk and can pass without trace in wilderness environments. They avoid passing through running water, even shallow streams, and prefer to create bridges. When rain comes, they build canopies over their nests and stay put until the skies clear, even if the rain goes on for days.
- Sandclaws. Tiny clannad whose dun, pebbled skin provides camouflage, sandclaws dig horizontal burrows into vertical or steeply sloped dirt faces, especially along shorelines. Each burrow is large enough for one occupant. While females do tend their clutches of no more than three eggs, the moment the young hatch she will vacate the nest, leaving a fish or small animal for her offspring to eat; she will dig a new burrow and never return to the old one. Sandclaws are social creatures which have only one organizational unit, the tribe, and do not recognize family relationships. They tend toward xenophobia – their delicate nesting environments do not survive much outside attention.
- Cloaked jabberers. Did you ever watch Star Wars and think, “hey, those Jawas are just space desert goblin traders”? Cloaked jabberers are shrewd salesfolk who live on the fringes of settlements and cities. They have a variety of goods for sale, some acquired through normal trade and others scavenged (or stolen), repaired, and sometimes improved… though occasionally what looked like a fair deal may fall apart just as soon as the jabberers are no longer in sight. Jabberers rely on repeat business, however, so they usually keep their deals and acquisitions on the up-and-up. A jabberer camp often moves every couple of months, though some may make more permanent settlements on the outskirts of large cities.
- Rocklings. These are animated stones and boulders ranging from two feet to twelve feet in diameter. They sometimes appear to have faces, though it could always be a trick of shadow, and the precise place from which their voices issue cannot be pinned down – just when you think you know what’s speaking, it starts to sound like it’s coming from behind you instead, or above, or beneath. Rocklings can roll about under their own power. Their most spectacular feat is to assemble into groups to take collective forms. Rocklings can stick together just by touching; this connection is almost as strong as the stone they are made of. They may arrange themselves however they desire, perhaps becoming a biped in order to chase off a hill giant or forming a staircase to allow a favored clannad passage to an otherwise inaccessible ledge. Rocklings resist damage from nonmagical weapons the same as the rock of which they are made, but magic and magical weapons damage them normally. They love riddles, complex puzzles, and poetry and songs with layers of meaning and symbolism, but as pragmatists they’re also wooed by items which protect against magic.
- Shadow skrits. There’s a story about a mage who cursed a settlement of small creatures to never see the sun again; if the sun’s rays ever fell upon their skin, they would vanish completely. Huddled in their hall that night and terrified of dawn, the creatures tried to think of a way to break the curse, but without knowing how it was laid their shaman could not combat it. Bored of waiting for the creatures to perish, the wizard sent a golem to tear off the roof of the hall. As the sky began to lighten and the sun broke over the horizon, the shaman desperately laid a curse of her own, sending the creatures’ spirits into their shadows. Sure enough, their bodies disappeared in the morning sunlight, but their shadows remained, unattached to any form. While the mage’s target in the story is usually goblins, other beings may be cited depending on the storyteller and region. The skrits sure aren’t telling what they were before the transformation. Perhaps even they’ve forgotten.
- Snow goblins. Along with all that comes with Cold typing, snow goblins can produce snow and ice from their hands, up to ten kilograms a day, and have a limited capacity to shape it as they produce it (though sculpting snow and ice the old-fashioned way is also a valued skill). On moonlit nights they gather on windswept mountaintops to build ice castles and sing about emotional freedom.
- Gobisprudents. This tribe of goblins – and there may be more than one tribe in the world – is composed of thirteen members. The central figure is the Gobstice; the remaining twelve form the Gury. Wherever they travel, the Gobisprudents mete out justice against wrongdoers… by holding an elaborate trial proceeding. The Gobstice can compel all who hear her magic gavel to establish a rough court setting and take part in a dramatic trial which might stretch for days. Evidence is produced and witnesses are called (if there are not enough witnesses, members of the Gury will happily fill in). The proceedings may appear humorous, but at the core they are rooted firmly in the agreed law of the land, though it may be temporarily modified to allow for an adversarial two-party trial by jury if such is not already provided within the scope of the law. The Gobstice likes to couch things in humor and entendre to keep the trial from becoming too serious. Whenever trained attorneys are available to act as officers of the court, however, things get procedural.
- Umber goblins. What happens when you cross a goblin with an umber hulk? You get a creature that uses the goblin stat block but has natural armor, a burrow speed, and a confusion gaze attack.