Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dwimmermount Goblins

James Maliszewski, the creator of Dwimmermount, felt that halfllings were too closely tied with Professor Tolkien’s Middle-Earth to really fit with the pulp-inspired adventure he was creating. Rather than merely eliminate halflings, however, James replaced them with a playable goblin race.

Unfortunately, goblins didn’t make the final cut in the published Dwimmermount megadungeon. According to the authors, they were counting on the fan community to fill the void with their own take on goblins. In that spirit, I present this class, compatible with the ACKS version of Dwimmermount and inspired by the original goblin description as it appeared on Grognardia.

Scroll to the very bottom if you'd like to download the PDF version.
For an insight into my design, check out this thread.

The goblins insist, with scowling stubbornness, that theirs is the only intelligent race native to the world. All the other sentient races are either visitors from some other plane, artificial constructs raised from beasts or inert materials, or magical copies of the goblins themselves. In other words, interlopers, inferiors, and poor imitations. Of course, the average goblin isn’t foolish enough to say this directly to anyone’s face. They know enough to appear submissive when their skin is on the line, although their racial arrogance can’t help but leak out from time to time. This passive-aggressive, curt deference gives most goblins a grating personality.

Goblins have no nation of their own. They live among those they consider their inferiors, usually in small “goblin-towns” within larger human settlements. Goblins pride themselves on remaining as self-sufficient as possible, growing their own food on weedy little farms and making extra coin doing odd jobs. Most humans don’t entirely trust goblins, but they’re sometimes willing to hire them as cheap labor. Goblins are naturally stealthy, skilled with tools and machines, and rather unscrupulous, making them ideal for tasks others would find unsavory.

The average goblin is small, ranging in height from 3 to 3 ½ feet, with long, slender limbs and dexterous fingers. Their skin is colored orange, red, or yellow, and their red eyes shine in the dark. Goblins favor dark clothing with sharp, angular lines, and often accent their outfits with pointed hats or tailed hoods. A goblin’s ears, which tend to be long and prodigious, represent age and wisdom in their culture, and they rarely cover them.

Goblins don’t usually follow any organized religion, or revere any specific gods, but they do maintain a strong respect for the supernatural. Most goblins believe that all living things have an eternal spirit that is reincarnated into a new body after death. This animism is an informal faith that comes with many taboos and superstitions, though the specific details vary from region to region.

Being ultimately self-interested and somewhat disorganized creatures, goblins tend toward Neutral or Chaos alignments. Neutral is certainly the norm in the goblin-towns, where it is in the race’s best interest to at least tolerate the strictures of Law. In the wilds, however, and in the caverns and dungeons deep beneath the earth, there dwell innumerable goblins who have embraced Chaos. These chthonic goblins are different than their surface kin, having adapted completely to the lightless environment of the underworld. They spend their short, miserable lives stealing, murdering, and generally spreading destruction wherever they go. Naturally, this does little to help the reputation of the surface goblins.

Prime Requisite: STR and DEX
Requirements: DEX 9
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 8

Goblin bluecaps take their name from their headgear; dark blue hoods and hats akin to those worn by goblin-kind’s murderous cousins, the redcaps. Bluecaps are jacks-of-all-trades, who put their natural talents to work as part-time thieves and tomb-raiders. The bluecaps’ willingness to do just about any job, provided the gold is right and the risk is low, makes them ideal hirelings for those with morally ambiguous goals.

Novice bluecaps, called boggle-men, can be found most anywhere there is a sizable goblin population, usually lounging about the seedier parts of town. As he gains experience, a bluecap can afford to be more selective in the jobs he takes and prospective employers must seek him out specifically. The most skilled bluecaps, the meisters, generally work with a core group of like-minded ne’er-do-wells, forming strong bonds over the course of many adventures. Provided, of course, the bluecap doesn’t betray his friends as soon as a better deal comes along.

Bluecaps benefit from the goblin race’s natural talent with mechanical devices. They can open locks and remove traps as a thief of the same level, although they do not possess the thief’s special ability to find traps.

Goblin bluecaps learn to fight as a means of survival. At first level, bluecaps hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. They advance in attack throws and saving throws as fighters, by two points every three levels of experience, and may perform one cleave attack per level. They increase their base damage roll from successful missile and melee attacks by +1 at 1st level and by an additional +1 at 3rd and 6th level.

Goblin bluecaps are adept at using their small size to their advantage in combat. They receive a +2 bonus to armor class against creatures larger than man-sized. However, bluecap goblins cannot use human-sized two-handed weapons (including longbows and pole arms) and must always use two hands when wielding weapons designed for one or two-handed use (i.e. swords, staffs, battle axes). As long as their weapons are the proper size, goblins may use any fighting style (two weapons, weapon and shield, or two-handed). Goblin bluecaps dislike restrictive armor, as it limits their stealth and mobility, and cannot wear armor heavier than leather, though they can use shields.

While sages doubt the goblins’ claims that they have been around longer than anyone else, the race does have a very long and detailed oral history. Older goblins are very fond of bombarding their juniors with all manner of lessons, which are often just biased versions of historical events told from a goblin perspective. Most of these dubious teachings do contain a kernel of useful information, and all goblin bluecaps receive the equivalent of a free Loremastery proficiency.

Goblins are crafty when it comes to certain kinds of manual labor. They gain a +1 bonus to proficiency throws related to any trade they’ve learned through the craft proficiency, though they still must take the proficiency as normal. Goblins are natural linguists, picking up the dialects of other creatures with surprising ease. In addition to Goblin, a bluecap begins the game knowing Common, plus two languages of the player’s choice. These languages are in addition to any bonus languages granted by a high intelligence score.

Goblin bluecaps are difficult to spot, disappearing into the woods and underbrush with a proficiency throw of 3+ on 1d20. In dungeons, if a goblin bluecap is motionless and quiet in cover, he can escape detection with a proficiency throw of 14+ on 1d20.

Despite their outward subordination, most goblins are fiercely proud and prone to unwarranted arrogance. This surly demeanor gives them a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans, demi-humans, and even other goblins. Finally, goblins have infravision with a range of 60 feet.

When a goblin bluecap reaches 6th level (bugaboo), he gains the ability to pick pockets as a 1st level thief. At 8th level (meister bluecap) they can read languages (including ciphers, treasure maps, and dead languages, but not magical writings) with a proficiency throw of 5+.

Goblin Bluecap Proficiency List: Acrobatics, Alertness, Ambushing, Bribery, Cat Burglary, Caving, Climbing, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (Disarm, Incapacitate), Contortionism, Craft, Disguise, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style (missile weapon, single weapon, two weapons, weapon and shield), Gambling, Lockpicking, Mapping, Mimicry, Precise Shooting, Skirmishing, Skulking, Swashbuckling, Trap Finding, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus.

The following rules apply to all custom goblin classes.

All goblin classes require a minimum Dexterity 9 or better.

Fighting: Goblins are too small to use certain weapons. See small size below.
Divine: Goblins may never allocate build points to the Divine category.

Goblins are a race without a country, eking out a living in lands ruled by other races or trying to survive in the unforgiving realms below the earth’s surface. They have lived as long as they have by clinging fiercely to the goblin versions of pride and self-reliance. As a result, any custom goblin class must invest maximum points in the base class categories as well as 4 points in race. This means that goblins never reach 9th level or above and can never build a stronghold. The experience cost of this investment, however, is relatively low. All goblins receive the following custom powers:

Small Size: Goblins receive a +2 AC against any opponent larger than human-sized. They cannot use human-sized two-handed weapons (including longbows and pole arms) and must always use two hands when wielding weapons designed for one or two-handed use (i.e. swords, staffs, battle axes).

Infravision: Goblins have infravision to a range of 60 feet.

Crafty: Goblins are naturally skilled craftsmen and gain a +1 bonus to proficiency throws related to any trade they’ve learned through the craft proficiency, though they still must take the proficiency as normal.

Natural Linguists: Skilled linguists, goblins have no trouble speaking the difficult goblin tongue, and automatically receive it as a bonus language as well as Common. They may select any two languages as bonus languages in addition to the languages granted by a high intelligence.

Surly Demeanor: The character suffers a -2 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of all other creatures, including other goblins.

The goblin bluecap was built as Hit Dice 1, Fighting 2, Thievery 1, and Goblin 4. There were two trade-offs (reducing armor selection twice to gain loremastery and difficult to spot). There was one custom power trade-off (1 initial thief skill for 1 skill at 4th level and 1 at 8th level. 

If the GM wishes to create a class reflecting the chthonic goblins who live in the underworld, he should add the following racial abilities. These abilities do not change the experience requirements of a standard goblin (4).

Infravision: Subterranean goblins have infravision out to 90 feet, rather than the 60 feet of surface goblins.

Sunlight Sensitivity: Subterranean goblins suffer a -1 penalty to all attack rolls in full sunlight.

Goblin loyalty is dubious at best, but they work more cheaply than other races and won’t balk at illegal or distasteful jobs. In any city with a significant goblin population, approximately 10% of the available hirelings will be goblins. Goblin henchmen work for 80% of the monthly wages listed on the Henchman Monthly Fee chart. Any time the dice indicate that there are no henchmen of a particular level available, the judge may allow players to spend an additional 2d6gp (1d6gp in a class IV or smaller market) to immediately roll again on the Hiring Availability by Market Class table, checking specifically for goblin hirelings. Remember that goblins suffer a -2 penalty to reactions, loyalty, and morale (including reactions to hiring offers).

PDF Version is right here.

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