Saturday, November 28, 2015

d8 Shitty Goblin Weapons

The Tao of Goblins

Before we move onto the weirder stuff, make sure that you have the basics covered.

Shitty Gear

Goblins are always armed--but they're always armed with low-quality weapons.  Whenever a goblin does maximum damage with their shitty weapon, it breaks.  Goblins usually then continue the fight by biting (1d4 damage, no penalty to attack roll).  Goblins often smear their weapons with their poop (disease saves).

Their armor is also rubbish.  In my head, the archytypal goblin is naked except for an oversized helmet.  Or just wears a huge pile of sewn ratskins with the tails flopping all around, like a Lady Gaga dress.  Or just wears a pair of human-size plate-mail boots and a dead bat codpiece.


Goblins love setting things on fire.  They love molotovs, but struggle to get ahold of good glass bottles.  More frequently, they have one goblin throw a bladder full of oil, and then another goblin throw a torch.

As a DM, this is more fun, too.  Everyone is confident in the fight until half the party is doused in highly flammable oil (harvested from the goblin fish, naturally) and three more goblins join the combat bearing torches.

The other thing that goblins love is escalation.  Fire spreads, and a trivial encounter with 3 goblins can quickly get out of hand if the bookshelves catch.

Fire is also great for destroying things that the PCs care about.  The goblins don't care if the wizard's library burns down, but the PC's probably care a lot about the scrolls in there, and might have to split their attention between fending off goblins and saving scrolls.

Goblins also like stinkpots, smoke bombs, and bladder-balloons filled with explosive gases.


Goblins ride lots of beasties.  They're pretty bad at controlling them, though.  These beasties have a 5% chance each round of combat of freaking out--carnivores will start attacking people at random, while non-carnivores will probably just run away, usually carrying its rider with it.
  • bats (fly)
  • pigs (charge)
  • cave lizards (climb on ceilings)
  • dire rats (disease)
  • humans (ask for rescue through their bridles)
  • a single dragon with like, 200 goblins strapped to it, poking it with sticks

Goblins do a lot of shitty drugs, but the most relevant one is a fungus called badsauce.  It grows in guano.  This mostly makes them shoot barf out their noses and scream a lot, but sometimes it improves their initiative (+4 to initiative on a d20 initiative, +1 on a d6) and makes them immune to fear and sleep.  These goblins have a 5% chance of having a seizure each round of combat (losing their turn).

You could also have druggy berserkers, who snort monstershit out of rat-bladder snuff bags.  This gives them +3 to hit and damage, but then they pass the fuck out after 1d3 turns.  Monstershit is made from purple worm feces.

Just treat them like methed-out hobbits and you'll do fine.

No Fair Fights

The preferred goblin strategy is just to be numerous.  They'll run away and come back with reinforcements if they think they need to.  Generally speaking, there are always more goblins nearby, and the noise of combat (goblins shrieking out their warsongs) will attract 1d8 reinforcements after 1d8 turns (assuming that the combat even lasts that long).  This only happens once.

But goblins only charge you as one big shrieking horde when they heavily outnumber you  Otherwise, they get tricksy.

From high ledges, wrapped in darkness, thew throw down rocks, spears, and rats.

They often have arrow slits carved out between rooms so that they can snipe you.

Splitting the party with falling porticullises, collapsing bridges, etc.

Against heavily armored fighters, they'll come back with nets.  Six goblins will attempt to tackle and immobilize the fighter (and those +2 aid another bonuses add up fast).  Or they'll just smash spider egg-clusters on the fighter's platemail, and one round later there will be thousands of baby spiders crawling around in his armor.

They run away when they are losing.  (The one thing that goblins are smart about is knowing when they are losing.)  Usually all in different directions, and usually to go get reinforcements.  Goblins never fight to the death (unless drugs are involved).

They also build a lot of shitty traps, but I already wrote about that earlier this week.

by diomahesa
Weirder Weapons

Now that we've got that covered, we can move on to the weirder stuff.

1. Headcage

These are like buckets at the end of a short-strung fishing pole.  Goblins will try to slam it down on your head (-2 to hit for awkwardness), where it will lock into place, effectively blinding you.

Frequently, there will be a starving rat trapped in there with.  It'll probably try to eat your face off.  You might have to kill it by banging your bucket-head on a wall until you bludgeon the rat to death with your own face.

2. Goblin Tank

This is just a solid dome of rusted armor, cooking pans, and heavy garbage.  A quartet of goblins will crawl underneath it and shove it around, like a rat trapped under a cereal bowl.  It weighs about 500 pounds, but goblins are really strong for their size.  They're like chimps (except with way more poop-flinging).

There's a few holes in the tank so that they can stick spears through.  One of them might even have a crossbow.

Because the thing is basically just a huge hunk of solid metal, the AC is really high.  Like two points better than plate, or something.  On the plus side, it moves about as fast as you'd expect.  A drunkard could outrun it by crawling.  It also doesn't do stairs very well.  And once you kill 3/4 of the goblins, the last goblin is basically trapped in there--it's too heavy to shove along the ground.

3. Goblin Ball

This is just a giant hamsterball made of wood/metal and covered with spikes.  A quartet of goblins runs around inside of one of these balls, which is taller than a man.  It does trample damage like a warhorse, but the goblins waste a turn between each charge as they fumble over each other, barfing and cussing.

If you catch them during one of these orientations, you can roll them off a cliff or something, as long as the people doing the pushing are stronger than four goblins combined.

Actually, definitely keep a cliff nearby if you write a goblin ball encounter.  Maybe in the previous room or something.  Or at least, a long stairway.

4. Goblin Buzzsaw

Two goblins are required to operate this unwieldy piece of shit.  One to turn the crank and the other to swing it around and cut down mushrooms (which is what it was designed for).  It does a crazy amount of damage (like 2d8, when a normal goblin does 1d6).

5. Rat Flail

This is a bunch of drugged-up rats, tied together by their tails and attached to a stick, along with some sharp, heavy objects that some goblin thought belonged on a flail.  In addition to doing normal flail damage, it also deposits an angry rat on the defender if the damage roll is an odd number.  It usually only works for about 3 hits before all the rats die/fall apart.

The rat will latch on and begin gnawing.  Use the same rules as for an attached weasel.  (And don't tell me that your edition of D&D doesn't have rules for attached weasels!)

6. Goblin Bomber

This is just a goblin with a barrel of explosives strapped to his back, and a torch in his hand.  Treat it like a 2d6 fireball.  The goblin will be all hopped up on goblin drugs, too.  The idea is to kill them before they can run up to you and detonate (this is not hard).  Or just splash him with water so his torch goes out.

7. Goblin Bungees

This is when a bunch of goblins ambush the party by jumping down on them, attempt to grab one or two party members, and then abscond with them back up to some hidden ledge on the ceiling.  It takes a moment for the goblins upstairs to reel in the bungee jumpers, though, so the stolen party member ascends at a more manageable rate of 10'/round.

Expect a few of the bungees (made from twisted goblin gut) to snap.  So in addition to trying to rescue to rapidly ascending friends, you also have to deal with a few goblins trying to stab you in the groins.  (A large and exhaustive catalog of different groin-stabbing maneuvers is as close as goblins have ever come to developing a martial art.)

8. Vermin-on-a-Stick

Sometimes goblins will catch a spider, centipede, or scorpion and tie it to the end of a stick.  Not only does this become the battle standard of that goblin squad, it's also a (sort of) effective weapon.  You try fighting a goblin who keeps shoving a centipede in your face.  It's fully alive, and very biteful.

9. Stacking

Much like baby goats, goblins are fond of standing on top of each other.  In its simplest incarnation, this is two goblins in a trenchcoat pretending to be a tall, skinny orc.  The deception is poor, because the stranger has really short arms and is pointing a crossbow at you from his crotch.

But goblin stacking can get surprisingly elaborate.  Six goblins equipped with the proper hooks and straps can form a towering form that has the stats of an ogre.  When the pseudo-ogre is killed, it falls apart into its constituent goblins, who spend the next round climbing out of their harnesses.  The whole thing also de-voltrons if the players cut the right straps (this requires luck or experience).

There are even rumors of goblin tribes that can assemble into larger, more ridiculous forms, and even change them mid-combat.

10. Surprisingly Potent Weapons

Between the rampant incompetence and sharp sticks covered in poop, it's easy to forget that goblins are as intelligent as anyone else, and just as capable of mastering advanced skills (they're just hampered by short attention spans, poor risk assessment, and a complete lack of impulse control).

Powerful goblin wizards exist (possibly travelling around inside her gelatinous cube mount).  So do legendary goblin swordsman (usually accompanied by a swarm of semi-competent apprentices).

And of course, goblins dig in deep places.  And when they find weird shit, they aren't afraid to press all the buttons.  Goblins sometimes inherit ancient superweapons, like powered armor (with two goblins crammed inside) or laser tanks (which spends a lot of time running into walls and running over allies).

(There are ten entries on this d8 table because goblins count good.)

by nraminhos
See also:


  1. This is fantastic! love to see a whole weird goblin compendium once you have a bunch of stuff concocted.

  2. My players are going to retroactively hate you for every post you make about goblins. Keep it up.

  3. I just used this plus the shitty goblin trap ideas to run a five-room dungeon! My players laughed like heck, even though three of them nearly died. Kudos to you sir!

  4. Hi Arnold,
    If I want to use some of these entries in an adventure I am publishing, how would you like me to credit your work/you?