Wandering Monsters: When Is a Goblin Not a Goblin?

Wandering Monsters: When Is a Goblin Not a Goblin?
James Wyatt

In 4th Edition, we included goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears under a general “goblin” entry, which caused our editors some consternation. You see, by doing things this way, the word “goblin” had to do double duty because it meant both the general class and the specific race—genus and species, as it were. When we did this, though, we were also extending a line of thinking that started back in the earliest years of D&D, when these monsters were grouped together into the broad category of goblinoid.


Talk about this article here.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I think they pretty much nailed this one, as opposed to some niggling details from last week's article that didn't feel right.  I definitely like the "goblinoid" idea of having goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears share an evolutionary tree, and language.  I'm not entirely sure they should "always' be found together working in groups, but that should certainly be a possible theme.  I would think that such creatures generally like to be on their own in unmixed groups, with the exception of hobgoblins who appreciate the strengths and weaknesses that each "sub-race" brings to the table.  But unless there is a very powerful hobgoblin leader it takes a much more powerful force to bring them together such as a warlord, mage or evil priest.

Can't wait to see how Dragon’s-Eye View depicts them.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

I agree, they did a good job with this article.  I also think that Orcs should be included as a Goblinoid, but that mostly comes from growing up reading Tolkien, LOL.  

I like the emphasis that the three races are related but different, and work together mostly only when a Stronger force compels them.  Whether that's as simple as a couple of Bugbears bossing around a local tribe of Goblins, or a lair of Hobgoblins using goblins and Bugbears as labor and canon fodder.  Or a powerful Necromancer bringing an area's monsters to heel to use against his enemies.

What I don't like is the forced emphasis they placed on Alignment.  They did a good job of describing each race's natural tendencies and society traits without having to say they are LE or NE.  Goblins are sneaky, devious and cowardly little monsters, Gotcha.  Saying they are Neutral Evil because of 'X' and not Chaotic Evil because of 'Y' seems forced and unnecessary to me.  As many GM's are likely to use Goblinoids and monsters in general as they see fit, and not always as the Monster Manual intended, it really serves no purpose.  Leave Alignment as fluff only, or better yet remove it altogether.  

A man (or monster) is defined by his actions, and those actions are what are 'Good' or 'Evil'.  How he goes about those actions will determine whether he is 'Lawful' or 'Chaotic', and often may vary from situation to situation.
I have to agree about the alignments. It just felt tacked on and completely unnecessary.
Orcs could, or should, have got a goblinoid subrace (by mixture of blood, captured concubines), at least like option.

* For me goblins are small but very crafty and spiteful. Kobolds with dragons allies can create empires but goblins are too wild. goblins are the oucast, the humanoid scavenger from ecosystem. And sometimes they can be less stupy they look. They shouldn´t be understimated because they could give you some unpleasant surprises.

Goblins from some clockpunk settins can be the archienemies or favourit rival or antagonist of tinker gnomes. 

* I miss the AD&D bugbear picture. His eyes were enoughly shrewd. Ogres are the official muscle without brain. Bugbear can´t be only stronger but stupier. 

* For me the D&D hobgoblins are like klingons from Star Treck, powerful army but with some sense of honor. They want conquer all kingdoms but they can get your sincere respect. They can be the worthiest enemy. 

* Trolls are a subrace of giants. The closest one could the fomorian giant.

* Oni or mage ogres could have got goblinoid blood, from "crossbreed" ancestors.

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

What I don't like is the forced emphasis they placed on Alignment.  They did a good job of describing each race's natural tendencies and society traits without having to say they are LE or NE.  Goblins are sneaky, devious and cowardly little monsters, Gotcha.  Saying they are Neutral Evil because of 'X' and not Chaotic Evil because of 'Y' seems forced and unnecessary to me.  As many GM's are likely to use Goblinoids and monsters in general as they see fit, and not always as the Monster Manual intended, it really serves no purpose.  Leave Alignment as fluff only, or better yet remove it altogether.  

A man (or monster) is defined by his actions, and those actions are what are 'Good' or 'Evil'.  How he goes about those actions will determine whether he is 'Lawful' or 'Chaotic', and often may vary from situation to situation.



I think the alignment point is moot. Some DMs will want it and others will view it as unnessercery and ignore it. You proclaim it appears to be an afterthought, I view it as a sore thumb to be a precursor to the eventual moduleization of the game. Play your game as you see fit as it does not affect me.
Alignment is in.  Can't do anything about that.  I suggest those who don't like it try to ignore it.  We're going to continue to see it time and time again throughout the development process and in the final game.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Since the books haven't even been finalized yet, much less printed, nothing is 100% 'in'.  there's still time to get the designers to come to their senses and flush alignment down the toilet.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Overall I like it.

But....

Goblins have way too many negatives. Low Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, AND Charisma? How can I make a credible threat out of that? Trying to make kobolds look good? Goblins need something to explain why Survival of the Fittest has not killed them all. And high birth numbers wont cut it. That is the Kobolds stitck of being pathetic, dextrous, and numerous.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Since the books haven't even been finalized yet, much less printed, nothing is 100% 'in'.  there's still time to get the designers to come to their senses and flush alignment down the toilet.



Actually it has been stated that the nine alignments are in.  No discussion.  I'm surprised you missed the uproar around this when Mike made the statement.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

For goodness sakes.

Alignment entries are opt-outtable
Alignment mechanics are opt-innable.

Nobody should have a problem with this.  It's win-win for both sides!  All the article did was explain the alignment entry.  That's it.  It's one line that is causing way too much angst on these forums.
Overall I like it. But.... Goblins have way too many negatives. Low Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, AND Charisma? How can I make a credible threat out of that? Trying to make kobolds look good? Goblins need something to explain why Survival of the Fittest has not killed them all. And high birth numbers wont cut it. That is the Kobolds stitck of being pathetic, dextrous, and numerous.



Actually since as long as I have been playing D&D kobolds and goblins have shared the pathetic, and numerous thing.  I don't see a reason to differentiate in mechanics.  The fluff has been for a long time that goblins are kind of weak and know it, while kobolds are weak, but think they are related to dragons and all the grandeur and power that they have.  It makes them both comic relief in different kind of ways.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Nobody should have a problem with this.  It's win-win for both sides!  All the article did was explain the alignment entry.  That's it.  It's one line that is causing way too much angst on these forums.



This is true.  I'm afraid there are those who simply won't be happy if the word alignment appears anywhere in any of the core rule books.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

For me the difference between goblins and kobolds is that goblins are opportunistic sadists, and kobolds are territorial and devious.

Imagine a scenario in which a party is going into a vast dungeon, with some low-level creatures on the top levels and the ahrder creatures on the lower levels.

If the top level is inhabited by goblins, the goblins put up some token resistance when the adventurers first come in.  When they realize the adventurers are too strong for them, they will hide and scurry away.  But they will follow the adventurers in the shadows, always staying out of reach.  Always just out of sight.  And when some bigger monster weakens the adventurers, then the goblins show up, stab the adventurers and take their stuff.

If the top level is inhabited by kobolds, you almost never see them.  The entire area is rigged with traps.  The kobolds use their small size to their advantage with lots of murder holes and scurry-passages for them to maneuver through while the big adventurers trudge through narrow passages rigged with burning pitch and nasty spikes.  Once you get through, however, the kobolds will not follow you into the dangerous lower levels.  Instead, they will tend to their wounded and prepare new traps to get you on the way out.

When the characters are higher level, they will meet goblins and kobolds as minions of larger creatures.  Goblins will be wrangled into service to hobgoblins, bugbears, and giants, while kobolds will be wrangled into service by troglodytes, lizardfolk, and dragons.  By that point, though, the goblins and kobolds are nuisances, not even the minor threats they were at lower levels.  Their presence mostly serves as a marker to show the PCs whow far they've advanced.
@Kalex_the_Omen on Goblin vs Kobold

Yes there is a history of goblins and kobolds being both pathetic and numerous small monsters. And it always annoyed me how similar they are.

Do we need 2 high Dex, Low almost everything else, small, sneaky, low HP monsters who swarm your with attacks and run away.

In the Cave of Chaos, one of my players actually kept forgetting which of the two they were fighting. (To be fair, they were systematically 5 minute workday bombing the two caves on alternate days dressed up like the other)

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

@Kalex_the_Omen on Goblin vs Kobold Yes there is a history of goblins and kobolds being both pathetic and numerous small monsters. And it always annoyed me how similar they are. Do we need 2 high Dex, Low almost everything else, small, sneaky, low HP monsters who swarm your with attacks and run away. In the Cave of Chaos, one of my players actually kept forgetting which of the two they were fighting. (To be fair, they were systematically 5 minute workday bombing the two caves on alternate days dressed up like the other)



I don't see any reason why not.  As I and wrecan explained there is a lot to the fluff that separates these two races.  In 4e there were mechanical elements to their stat blocks that made the feel different in combat in addition to the fluff.  I suspect that the dev team is looking for ways to do the same thing without actually duplicating the 4e stat block.

I always liked the fact that I could build my dungeons along either the goblinoid path, or the draconic path that wrecan hints at and they would feel very different even in 1e when the mechanics for the two races were virtually identical.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Overall I like the article.  I hope this line of thought is expressed sufficiently in the monster manuals as well so we can get a good idea of the monster characteristics DM's can express at the table.

I thought the bugbear entry was a little lacking compared to the others.  I've always found it hard to give them more description than "The big brute who sneaks up and beats you to a pulp."  I'd like to see a bit more information about how they live, how they think, what they value, etc.  There was some of it in the article but I would like to see it fleshed out more.

As for alignment, meh.  It'll be in the game and I won't use it.  That's fine.  I hope those that do use it will find it apt for their games.
http://art.penny-arcade.com/photos/979299305_WsMkV-L.jpg
Something I did like about 4Ed was the alignment system, they want to use that for DnDNext, I'm okay with that.  I'd even like to see something like D20 Modern's Allegiances either as an addition or in place of the alignment system.  Something that has relevance to the game beyond mechanical representation of your Character's morality.

If they provide examples in the Core Rules of several different ways of running an Alignment system, I'd prefer that.  What I don't like to see is creation of Core material with the Alignment Axis used as Default.  None of the monsters presented so far actually Need to be described as; Chaotic Evil, Neutral Evil or Lawful Evil.  The writeups describing how those creatures act and their societies tendencies already took care of that.  Just don't add it in at all, and let each GM decide how and what Alignment they want to use, if any.

If DnDNext is going to be Modular, then they need to build it that way.  Defaulting to the Alignment Axis does not fulfill that goal.  Presenting several Alignment system choices would be. 
Overall I like it. But.... Goblins have way too many negatives. Low Strength, Constitution, Wisdom, AND Charisma? How can I make a credible threat out of that? Trying to make kobolds look good? Goblins need something to explain why Survival of the Fittest has not killed them all. And high birth numbers wont cut it. That is the Kobolds stitck of being pathetic, dextrous, and numerous.



I always viewed kobolds as a long-lived race very concerned about their own mortality that will scamper away from anything that seems a threat because they don't want to die.  Their numbers come not from fecundity, but rather, because they live so long.

I always viewed goblins as a short-lived race whose numbers are based upon fecundity.  They are heavily influenced by mob mentality such that if the mob of goblins is charging, they charge, if the mob of goblins start fleeing, they flee.

Don't see them as the same schtick at all.
I voted for them all fighting together.   I don't see that as always true but I see it as at least occasionally true.  I think as tribes they are distinct.  I do though see them together in fighting units when lead by some stronger force.

 
What I don't like to see is creation of Core material with the Alignment Axis used as Default.  None of the monsters presented so far actually Need to be described as; Chaotic Evil, Neutral Evil or Lawful Evil.  The writeups describing how those creatures act and their societies tendencies already took care of that.  Just don't add it in at all, and let each GM decide how and what Alignment they want to use, if any.

If DnDNext is going to be Modular, then they need to build it that way.  Defaulting to the Alignment Axis does not fulfill that goal.  Presenting several Alignment system choices would be. 



Apparently (and I agree with them) the devs have decided that alignment is something that has existed in the game for it's entire nearly 40 year lifespan, and that fact makes alignment an iconic part of what makes D&D what it is.  Similar to hit points, armor class, d20s and the six atributes.  It appears the 9 alignments will be core assumptions, whether or not there are mechanical hooks to those alignments is yet to be seen, or determined but the 9 alignments are in.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

Nothing new. 

I would like a module that DMs can plug in to their worlds to break free of the stereotypical dungeon fodder model.  Something more evovled.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I'm very happy the monster descriptions are making reference to alignment.     I think alignment is a great tool for the DM since it helps him determine how a particular monster or group of monsters will react given any number of situations.    With that said, I think alignment makes more sense for a parltuclar socieity than it does for individual actions.      

Knowling that hobgoblins have a Lawful Evil socieity really helps the DM role play them effectively.    
For example,  it means that the hobgoblins will most likely have a hierarchical command structure.  When designing a hobgoblin fortification the DM can be sure that the creatures will have regular patrols and that their actions will be highly coordinated.    


Ah, but the current difference between goblins and kobolds is just culture. Culture is something easily changed while still keeping semblance of the source.

Mechanically they sound like clones. In combat, they would fight exactly the same unless you force a culture onto them. During conversation, they would sound the same except if add a collective personality.

Sure, they soften up up in different ways and have different allies, but with interacted with they are clones. If a DM makes goblins all trap happy, then they are nearly indistinguishable from kobolds. That is my fear for this humanoid are similar stuff. You are filling the MM with different cultures, not different beings.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Mechanically they sound like clones.


Mechanically, in combat, all those Abilities are virtually meaningless anyway.  Mechanically, in combat, almost all non-spellcasting humanoids are "Init +X, Spd X', AC XX, hp XX, Attack +X, Dmg XdY+Z". 

Each humanoid race may get a racial ability, but even in 4e, the only edition to really do such a thing, the only racial difference was that goblins got to shift 1 square as a reaction and kobolds got to shift one square as a minor action.  Hardly a significant mechanical difference.

The humanoid races are going to be distiguished primarily based on story and appearance, not mechanics.
Thanks Kalex for starting this discussion using the proper format.

IVe linked this thread as the Official Discussion

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I think James was right on track with Goblinoids. A little change for Goblins was to make them NE instead of LE as they previously were.  I guess it help differentiate them even more with the Hobgoblins cousins LE as organized and structured Goblins.

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

I thought goblins were originally chaotic evil.  They were made neutral evil to distinguish them from bugbears.
I'm completely on board.

If I want to break the alignment or role mold then I can do so but the defined races work well as written for the default of what should be expected when encountering the races.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

When first read the entry I was considering the design going towards races built towards the trinity model.

Bugbear - 'Me Smash'
Goblin - 'I cut you'
Hobgoblin - 'Let there be Darkness!'

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

On the alignment issue, I am heartened by the fact that so much thought is being put into alignment early.  Looking at all the different variations of what can make someone Neutral Evil, Lawful Evil, Neutral Good or whatever should help them more concretely define the alignments when it comes time to actually write the core rule books for publication.  Since definition is often the complaint of the anti-alignement crowd, perhaps this will help at least some of that crowd be a little more okay with having alignment in the game.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

  I like the idea that the various breeds of Goblinoid were "created", either by some god, some mad wizard (ala Sarumon and his Urukhai), or some self imposed eugenics program- which I could totally see Hobgoblins implementing.  Goblins as peasant infantry and skirmishers, Bugbears as shock troopers, and Hobgoblins as commanders and elite infantry.

   At some point, the original purpose/army for which they were created was lost and the three sub-races spread around and went "feral".  Some, particularly Hobgoblins, occasionally manage to whip up an organized force consisting of other Goblinoids and whatever other creatures they can rally into battle.
  I like the idea that the various breeds of Goblinoid were "created", either by some god, some mad wizard (ala Sarumon and his Urukhai), or some self imposed eugenics program- which I could totally see Hobgoblins implementing.  Goblins as peasant infantry and skirmishers, Bugbears as shock troopers, and Hobgoblins as commanders and elite infantry.

   At some point, the original purpose/army for which they were created was lost and the three sub-races spread around and went "feral".  Some, particularly Hobgoblins, occasionally manage to whip up an organized force consisting of other Goblinoids and whatever other creatures they can rally into battle.



my ideal goblinoid situation right there 
You are Red/Blue!
You are Red/Blue!
I have more problem with the stat restrictions than I do with the alignment suggestions. 

Of course - I'll just throw it out when I feel like having a smart goblin - but still, I think it's important to encourage people not comfortable with throwing out "rules"  - to develope their own goblinoid capabilities. 

Example: I'd actually like the goblins to be "the brains" - hobgoblins to be "the leaders" - and bugbears to be "the brawn"

Mostly because I like the image of the shaman, the chieftain, and the champion all in "council" arguing over which demi-human race to squish next. 
 
I have more problem with the stat restrictions than I do with the alignment suggestions. 

Of course - I'll just throw it out when I feel like having a smart goblin - but still, I think it's important to encourage people not comfortable with throwing out "rules"  - to develope their own goblinoid capabilities. 

Example: I'd actually like the goblins to be "the brains" - hobgoblins to be "the leaders" - and bugbears to be "the brawn" 



I think from what I have read that monster customization with the ease of 4e is one of the monster design goals.  Hopefully they will provide us with a concrete set of guidelines (and a nifty DDI Monster Builder) that will help us all accomplish this.

Kalex the Omen 
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Concerning Player Rules Bias
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
Gaining victory through rules bias is a hollow victory and they know it.
Concerning "Default" Rules
Kalex_the_Omen wrote:
The argument goes, that some idiot at the table might claim that because there is a "default" that is the only true way to play D&D. An idiotic misconception that should be quite easy to disprove just by reading the rules, coming to these forums, or sending a quick note off to Customer Support and sharing the inevitable response with the group. BTW, I'm not just talking about Next when I say this. Of course, D&D has always been this way since at least the late 70's when I began playing.

See the whole thing about this mechanically similar humanoid of a different color is that it focuses heavy of they cultural mindset of the monster and not enough on how they are interacted with.

So yes it captures the stereotypical generic goblin, hobgoblin, and bugbear cultures, it leaves nothing it the DM were to switch or alter cultures. No biological information. No innate talents. No sensible favoritism of tactics, hobbies, or strategies. Though that is not the point of these articles, right? But it doesn't make me feel that 50% of the Monster Manual will be useless to me.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I haven't bought a monster manual in 2 decades.  If I get one for 5E, I hope that it is for something other than the art.  I will try to be optimistic.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

@Orzel -- You don't think that the cultural mindset helps determine the tactics and how they interact?  Or are you meaning you're having trouble extrapolating what they might do?  I'm...not quite sure I follow your complaint.  If the DM is switching cultures, shouldn't the tactics evolve with the altered culture?

For example, if I create bugbears that employ technology to greater extents and values individual action over the more typically hobgoblinish group dynamic, then I'm likely to see some heavy armored bugbears and some -traps- (the mechanical kind), as well as things like launched vials of oil and so on.  If this hypothetical bugbear were a group dynamic, they would (could) be more into integrated tactics: volleys of burning (explosive?) arrows to cover the full advance of a shieldwall phalanx with long spears behind them and inidivual weapons with coordinated pairs in case the phalanx wall is broken.

Culture and technology and approach to expression, along with inherent talent, should be the keys to tactics.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

goglins = petty thiefs, mugger, rustler, hooligan, little criminal gang.

bugbears = thugs, bullys, the classic gang boss´ bodyguard.

hobgoblins =  organized crime, gansters. 

kobolds = terrorist group or saboteur, lackey.

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kobolds are more sophisticated that goblins. If kobolds could tame magical beast, their pokemon army would so dangerous like a orc horde. Goblins are like rats, outlaws (but the clockpunk version, the "evil brother" of tinker gnome). 

* I don´t want kobolds with heads of baby cocodriles but the ferious AD&D reptilian bulldog heads. I want kobold heads like a half-dragon bulldogs o scaly reptilian ape-like rottweilers . That ridicolous long jaw is for children cartoon characters. 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I'm with ya on the snout, Luis_Carlos.  I never did like it beyond it being so ugly it was cute.  But it never was (to me) 'kobold'.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

I voted for putting them all under a broad category like Giant Class (love that, the 1st Ed Ranger has such panache) or Goblinoid.

I liked the little break down of the 3, but they made goblin taste a little too much like kobold for me, I prefer my goblins to be a bit more together than that (LE, worship Maglubiyet, war against orcs and Gruumsh).