Thursday, 18 August 2022



Here are some rules for an all-Goblin game build on the "BX Commons" chassis.

Arthur Rackham


  • all goblins are stealthy
  • all goblins are thieves
  • all goblins attend to the phases of the mooooon
  • not all goblins are goblins
  • all goblins can hide behind things
  • Fear COLD IRON

AMORAL - a goblin is not a hero and can never do anything because it is the "right thing to do" (in human terms at least)
it has to be funny, tricksy, part of a deal, chaotic or otherwise

STR - 3d6 drop the highest
DEX - 4d6 drop the lowest
INT - 3d6
WIS - zero, gobs have no wisdom
CHA - 3d6
CON - 3d6 drop the highest

d3 hit points

  • Climbing - all can climb *built surfaces* without restriction
  • Sneaking - all can hide if there are shadows to hide in
  • Crafting - all can tie & fix things together pretty well, if an unspecialised handyman could do it they can too

Genderless, or so we think, except for the Goblin Queen and for Changelings

And one of the following GOBLIN POWERS (d100);

1. can invert personal gravity 
2. can spit like a hand catapult
3. excellent voice impersonator
4. can talk to (choose one) corvids, foxes, rats, bats, cats,
5. wonderful dancer
6. plays the [choose one] fiddle, whistle, harp, or sings beautifully
7. can tell one not immediately disprovable lie per night which will automatically be believed
8. can read, write, calculate and do accounts
9. can pick locks with fingernails
10. can tie things up super-fast
11. acrobatic/clown skills (vaulting, tumbling etc)
12. can hide under any object (regardless of size) (and opposed to hiding *behind* objects, which all Goblins can do)
13. can light or quench lamps and lights in a room by snapping fingers (fires dim but don't go out)
14. can whistle up a wind
15. wears a coat with seven pockets, containing; string, sharp tacks, chalk, a sharp stone knife, a gold ring, a beautiful mirror and a brass bell
16. detachable limbs act as floating truculent (and unreliable) servants, responding to voice command (sometimes)
17. can always guess what others have in their pockets
18. can swim in air as if it were water while holding their breath
19. can inflate self like a pufferfish, becoming a robust, very bouncy rubberesque ball
20. can throw cutlery *other than knives* with incredible accuracy 
21. can roll like a hoop without end
22. has a fundamentally indeterminate number of toes (i.e. they cannot be counted at all)
23. has a large black "riding cat", cultured, more intelligent than they are, reluctantly obedient and largely indifferent to their desires
24. a magnificent cook
25. wears a wizards hat, top unscrews to reveal a pot of super-strong glue
26. can enchant snails for remote communication if worn as ear buds (range 50 meters, snails whisper what is said, casting goblin must be wearing one)
27. can charm others to dance as they are dancing, (music must be playing and they may not play it)
28. wears heavy boots which only they can move in with prefect ease and silence, boots highly resistant to all damage, leave human-seeming footprints
29. wears a red coat which is very fine, all shall remark on it
30. extremely sharp teeth
31. savant whistler
32. extremely skilled and lucky at games of gambling or chance
33. can pull an extremely frightening face
34. can wiggle out of or though most impediments and restrictions (within bounds, under door gaps perhaps, not through keyholes)
35. very good at hiding things
36. has a pair of thick spectacles that allow them to see things very far away like an owl, because this is how they think spectacles work
37. can make excellent paper planes and in fact use them as gliders
38. acidic piss
39. own reflection acts as a kind of retainer, can be sent on missions to other reflective surfaces, keep watch etc, must be paid in silver for each deed
40. has a 'ghost costume' which, depending on circumstance, looks kinda legit
41. snot is mildly explosive when flicked (equivalent to streetkid 'caps')
42. can telekinetically control milk (when in field of view) if rolled twice can control cheese as well
43. can easily pull rug or carpet out from underneath someone's feet (regardless of mass, floor staples, etc)
44. earwax acts as a low-friction Grease
45. can magically transform into small critters if they eat one (dispelled by daylight or cold iron)
46. can poke, prod and pinch via power of the mind alone (line of sight only)
47. can 'solid snake' small containers as un-suspectable disguises (so long as not seen moving)
48. can musically control hair so long as continually playing, whistling singing etc
49. can trick or fool most quadrupeds
50. after being pressganged for a winter, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the names, addresses and various naughtiness or niceness of all local children, as well as any potential access via chimney
51. after slight case of vampirism, can command the sleeping to perform actions they would usually perform
52. high voice, big ears, has an inaudible (to humans) ultrasound squeal that enables darkvision
53. smoking habit, hacking cough, pipe, can form quite large smoke animals and objects & command them somewhat (depending on wind & tobacco access)
54. can garble and disorder systems of measurement by "fiddling" with them (clocks ruined, book pages out of joint, calendars give wrong months/days etc)
55. genius puppeteer
56. can shed skin like a snake, leaves goblin-shaped skin-bag behind, multiple possible uses
57. 'moon eyed' one eye clear white, constantly emits moonlight when opened
58. can balance on anything
59. if they can stick their finger up a quadrupeds arse it will do whatever they say *so long as the finger is up their arse*
60. savant goldsmith
61. can turn small stones to gems (limited time period)
62. can swallow quite a large number of small objects and bring them up later
63. has a remarkable beard, from the neck up, could me mistaken for a very old man
64. has golden scissors, can shear a sheep or cut hair in a trice "with my golden scissors!"
65. poops out fruit pastilles, has a constant supply, they are pretty tasty
66. savant who always wins any artistic competition, (in any field) but no talent rest of the time
67. swapmaster, others will always listen to their offer of a swap, usually gets the best out of any deal
68. can clean and repair pretty much anything over the course of a night
69. alcoholic goblin, can mix great drinks - knows them all, also compulsive drunk who will neck everything in sight
70. very large nose, smells like a dog
71. can roll most round objects for an undeterminedly long distance
72. can balance almost anything on top of anything else
73. mushrooms growing under left arm produce hallucinations when eaten, those under right arm incapacitate with sickness, crotch shrooms create agreeableness
74. is haunted by a spectral capybara which appears in darkness and prophecies doom (actually quite useful information most times, is unusually specific doomsayer)
75. has a witches hat stuffed with straw which contains a small owls nest, the small owl will sometimes agree to perform certain narrowly-defined tasks
76. left eye is a crystal Palantir which can see the *feet* of anyone within 100 miles ( will only focus on feet), others can stare into (or steal) the eye
77. can throw pennies with unearthly accuracy
79. Goblin Prince,  wears a silver paper crown which bestows  *influence* (by verbal and RHYMED command only) over [pick or roll one] pigs, cows, goats, doors, kitchen implements, wool (influence more powerful in darkness, tripled under a full moon)
80. has pockets full of pins
81. 'door painter' can paint doors onto vertical surfaces which give goblins, friendlies and neutrals access to, if they take half an hour to paint it, the other side, or if they do it super-fast - wherever the DM finds most amusing, doors panted under full moons can go further but effect ends that night (may return next full moon)
82. when saddened, weeps silvery tears which, if tears from both eyes are used to flavour food, make it delicious, or if collected in *identical* (they must be identical and unlabelled) crystal vials, the tears from the left eye make a 'first sight' love potion while those from the right eye form an donkeys-head-plus-egomania potion. These vials are easy to tell apart UNLESS *anyone* warns against getting them mixed up, in which case they are immediately mixed up.
83. has a tongue of purest alchemical green which if it licks an object *all over* can turn that object into 'pure green', pure green objects are (d6) 1 weightless, 2 unearthly smooth, 3 ripe cheese smell, 4 come alive with impish consciousness, 5 emit bright green glow or 6, either wonderous sharp or leaden heavy it being whichever they were NOT before
84. wears a magnificent three-piece suit and top hat and no shoes with a large spider in each pocket, the hat full of webs and another spider in their pocket watch which tells the time some of the time, spiders are somewhat commensurate to command
85. very large, ripe buttocks, invulnerable to most harm, very bouncy
86. carries a glass hammer which they can use to anneal (only) very soft things into each other, shape them and to make them hard
87. impish ancestry, immune to fire and in fact finds it healing and invigorating, likes to sleep/dance in there
88. candle goblin, head encrusted with single large white old wax candle which, when lit, allows them to summon and partially command relatively large amounts of relatively large moths, goblin depressed when candle not lit
89. vantablack goblin, can hide in strong shadows, even during the day, even in villages and civilised areas, often hard to find
90. wears fine glass gloves (horrible goblin hands inside) leaves human hand prints, can shatter brittle objects from a distance by rubbing fingers to make a SKREEEE sound, if glove is lost humans who find it will assume it belongs to a "beautiful lady" & seek "her" out
91. egg goblin, can transform into a sinister-looking egg at-will and roll about in a dark and ominous manner
92. curse goblin, can only have one curse operating at any time, curse MUST have specific, (if impossible) conditions, can also be ended on command, curses must be FUNNY (to the goblin at least), need line of sight, pointed finger and voice to curse, curse must be announced and heard by victim
93. very big ears, hears like a surveillance microphone (must be aimed in right direction)
94. pneumocephalic goblin, can inflate own head and other limbs, and body like a balloon and use it to float away, and for other purposes
95. sack goblin, carries a bag of holding, 1ft diameter opening, sack is patched and will semi-regularly let random items loose unless constantly re-patched
96. horned goblin, horns re-grow over a night if pulled off 
97. gold-toothed goblin, gold teeth will re-grow (as gold) if pulled out, over about a month (teeth are not sharp goblin can only eat soft foods)
98. sleep terror goblin, if it crouches on someone's chest when they are lying down and *looks at them* they will be utterly unable to get up, also terrified
99. mosquito goblin, can extend super long tongue to slluuuuuuuurp up large amounts of liquids & store in expanding belly
100. Goblin King, wears a golden paper crown which gives (by verbal and RHYMED command only) command over hair, eggs, shoes, golden objects, snails, prickly animals and the hearts of spinsters and very old men


At a new level you get a new hit *point* and one more goblin power.


(Goblins find it hard to win a straight fight with anything bigger than themselves. Especially in daylight, they will be booted like a football, kicked to death and once they are dead people will say "look its just a strange rat or hairless racoon". By morning they have calmed down, take a look at the body again and its clearly some kind of strange animal, dangerous certainly, we should get another dog, but spirits were high last night and things always look worse by moonlight eh?)

Also Goblins don't actually *fight* much. Their missions don't require it and they wouldn't win anyway. Trickery is usually better.


Run a standard Human as a 3HD Ogre. Big, slow, dumb but unlike Ogres, civilised.

HD, Morale and Resistance to Trickery of Humans goes UP relative to;

- Daylight
- Adulthood
- Numbers

HD, Morale and Resistance to Trickery of Humans goes DOWN relative to;

- Darkness
- Moonlight
- Children
- On their own
- Drunkeness
- Madness


FRIENDLIES (will greet Gobs in a Freindly way, Gobs rarely get into conflict with these & can get missions from them)

- Necromancer (or mad Wizard)
- Witch
- Vampire
- Troll
- A ghoul in the graveyard hanging out and waiting for a meal
- Ghosts roaming about here and there
- A dragon on a pile of gold (of little interest to you, you prefer cake & socks)

NEUTRALS (who knows how they will react, depends much on circumstance and chance. i.e a reaction roll)

- Children on their own or in small groups
- Wizard (standard)
- Drunk adults
- Madmen
- Beggars
- Fairys (are twats to you, basically the Goblins Goblins)

NEUTRAL/NEGATIVE (not friendly, but won't necessarily attack)

- Farm animals like horses, cows etc
- Skeletons

DANGEROUS ENEMIES (No need for a reaction roll, these fuckers will kill you on sight)

- All sane sober adults
- Policeman
- Priest
- Guardian animals
- Redcap (magical and kind of a Goblin but also a serial killer)


'CENTRE' of the Goblin map is the margins of a normal 'civilised' map. More 'points of dark', so forest, moorlands, buried glens, caves, ruins of truly ancient cities,  dragon sleeping deep in a forgotten cave, hills and steep valleys like Appalachia, dry soil, no way for croplands.

'Goblin Normalcy', relatively safe places for you, even in daylight.

INNER RING of the goblin map, ruins, old forgotten graveyards, a necromancers tower, a witches hut, a vampires mansion, all far away from villages, hard for villagers to get to, no roads, or at least no obvious roads, but might be pastoralists around; shepherds, goatherds, truffle seekers, wanderers, charcoal burners, hermits. A troll bridge, - probably a rare road leads between villages, across the wilderness, but a troll there (you know them well), plenty of dungeons and stuff (you live in them sometimes).

OUTER RING of the goblin map

The villages - actually the outskirts of three different counties or duchies, (lucky for you they don't talk to each other much), managed forest, rivers grow more navigable, land flatter, roads, scarecrows, more pastoralists (likely young men and women), outlying houses, usually for the poor and old.

Then the centres of the villages - very dangerous places for goblins, even at night, can be many people around, blacksmiths, the church, DOGS, still lots of nooks and crannies, roofs to hop between, eaves to huddle under, bins, drains, alehouses. The village for Goblins is like a dungeon for humans. The castle/mansion, you would want somewhere for the Duke to live so the Goblin Queen can send you to swap his baby for a changeling.

How big would the map actually be though? You would want it to be small enough for children to potentially get lost in the forest. Probably not all that big.. But maybe distance means fundamentally different things to Goblins?


PCs can fast travel without random encounters so long as the PLAYERS sing a goblin song together.


Goblin missions are meant to be somewhat absurdist, though still to involve infiltration, trickery, deception, thieving and general shenanigans. Stealing eggs from a grandmother should still be a pretty hard ask since that grandma is essentially an Ogre armed with a magical weapon (iron skillet), with a guard dog (pretty dangerous to Goblins), and not to mention the COCK - a fucking prehistoric murder machine that will not let you near those eggs.

Standard Goblin missions come from the Goblin Queen, who usually wants something completely different each time she wakes up, so you only have a single night to fulfill her desire and it will be different tomorrow.

- Causing goblin trouble for people i.e. scaring their cows, spoiling milk etc.
- Stealing eggs from a henhouse.
- Stealing the golden hair of a maiden.
- A priests teeth not won by force.
- A grandmothers cup (she won't let it go, lives on the edge of town drinks heavily, complains constantly of Goblins in her house
- Goblin inception - placing something *in* a house rather than taking something *out*
- Changeling-Swap (probably a high-difficulty mission)
- Bring a bunch of people to dance round a mushroom circle under the moon.
- A catskin cloak
- A copy of the humans 'magic' (i.e. holy) book.
- *Hot* tarts
- Certain pale apples
- A particular rare alcoholic drink
- The roundest pig possible.


  1. This is excellent; reading any given paragraph or subsection is like a portal that transports you into the world that you're depicting, even without the full context. That might be entering your "headspace"; a particular world in your mental universe that one can feel the unstated breadth and possibility of, then see it emerge with the next thing you write. Reading this took me to the world of your previous goblin material, which is a place I was glad to go

  2. Adore this! I've always wanted to do an all-goblin game, but as always you took it to the next level.

    I rolled 'egg goblin,' and am enormously happy about it.

  3. Some of your best recent work, this man just cannot miss. You might have already seen this:

  4. Brilliant as usual. Made me think of this little Tunnels and Trolls number I played the hell out of in 8th grade.: Goblin Lake

  5. Reading this makes me smile. There's a wonderful sense of humor here which reminds me of being a little kid in the best possible way. It's not nostalgia, but rather that it transports me to a place where high silliness is just fine with everyone and operating on one's own sense of logic is acceptable, whether or not it jibes with anyone else's.

  6. No coherent comment here but just sheer praise!!

  7. Excellent! A fabulous resource for the goblins in our current campaigns and tables. They are currently feuding over the virtues of one versus two syllable names while simultaneously cooperating in the domestication of giant moths that they can use as steeds.
    I also noticed, per the goblin polychronicon, that the number 78 is missing from the list of goblin powers. Combining the highest single digit prime with the lowest single digit cube in numerical order would be disastrous.

  8. Very cool. I might run my next B/X game with this format. Genius work!

  9. This is so fantastic and fun!
    Can I translate this in italian, when and if I'll ever have the time to do so?

  10. To paraphrase The Defenders of The Internet (no point googling, they destroyed it, precious insane bloody artists destroyed the thing that most brought me joy ever) "Fuck, my brother! That is a fine blog post!"

    Please, stick this on a leaflet and charge a fiver entry fee. Rackham art is out of copyright, yeh?