I wanted to do the goblins last time, but wasn't feeling the inspiration, so I worked up the obsidian giants. Decided to go back to the goblins and it turned out I had them about 80% written already! A Christmas miracle!
There are a few goblin as playable races for 5e already written that I liked, but that weren't really fitting my vision for Eska's goblins. I did borrow pieces and combined them into my version. Thanks to Wrath of Zombie and his blog, TheHobgoblin on EnWorld, and Samuel Van Der Wall at RPG Alchemy.
The grey goblin subrace is my own. I do like the Bug Collector and Fire Breath subraces from Wrath of Zombie, and the Forest and Hill goblins from TheHobgoblin. I plan on offering these as options on Eska, with most of the wild tribes being a mix of these (and possibly other) subraces.
Goblins of Eska
The goblins don’t remember much of their arrival on Eska. So many goblin generations have passed that they are only stories of legends. The goblins first came to Eska along with the orcs, landing their ships and finding the somewhat primitive humans no match for their warlike ways. Humanity was enslaved by the orc and goblin invaders. The orcs brought their dwarven slaves, and the goblins their gnome slaves with them from their home to use to harvest the rich natural resources of Eska for their use.
Then the elves came to Eska and systematically destroyed the orcs and enslaved the goblins. At first all the elves kept goblin slaves, but soon the dark and the wood elves tired of them, and only the gray elves continue to use them.
Some goblins did escape the initial enslavement and found homes in the wild corners of Eska. Over the years their numbers have grown, but fearing the elves kept a low profile. Occasionally an escaped gray goblin will find their way to join their wild brethren.
Dwarves – Dwarves are always so angry and serious. And they are always looking to kill you over absolutely nothing! Kill them first or keep clear and unless you outnumber them two to one, be ready to run if you ever see them reach for their axe.
Humans – The nicest thing about these big, bumbling oafs is that they make nice places for us to live. Every one of their cities has a dozen different places for us to carve out a den right under their feet. And they throw so much away that we can make use of! Their garbage heaps are full of treasure. Some humans are as quick to kill us as dwarves, others are as patient as saurians—and the problem is you can never tell which is which. It is better to keep your distance if they are old enough to be bigger than you.
Gnomes - Once our slaves, but now they wander Eska taunting us with all their creations. Their crawlers and warforged make them tough to attack, but we do whenever we can!
Gray Elves - For the grey goblins, they are worshipped or feared. The wild goblins hate them, and think them weird and creepy.
Wood Elves - The grey goblins grudgingly accept them, but don’t like the looks they give us. The wild goblins hate them but find them delicious.
Huan’apan - So silly. Who taught dogs to talk?
Dark Elves - Gray goblins hate the dark elves, while the some of the wild tribes have worked for them as mercenaries.
Saurians - They are so boring! And dumb. At least they usually aren’t out to kill us like everyone else and they can more or less take a joke, but they’ll fall for every trick in the book and still keep that dumb smile plastered on their faces.
Warforged - If it weren’t for these weird creations, the gnomes would be so easily enslaved again!
Goblin names are given at birth and, since Goblins are often born in litters of 3-5, all Goblins born together are usually given similar names. While Goblins try to put a creative flare on the names they give their children, there are so many Goblins born that it is inevitable that there are many with the same names.
Instead of having family names, Goblins are often named after their tribes. The tribe names are often long consisting of multiple Goblin words strung together, because of this goblins tend to only use their given name and then try to earn a title or nickname and start using it instead of their tribe name.
Example First Names: Bex, Bkexus, Bmant, Dosg, Drosm, Gmosuz, Gmotk, Gok, Groxum, Kbozt, Ksuber, Ktusg, Kzenug, Mezorg, Mobd, Mobenk, Muzats, Mxesag, Ndat, Nurs, Rduten, Rtukb, Sbukx, Sok, Sorn, Stak, Stakoz, Suk, Sutb, Szubox, Tdarus, Tgerud, Tsod, Tugarn, Xban, Xderob, Xkenum, Xneruk, Zgen, Zturg
Example Surnames / Clan Names / Family Names: Chainbone, Crazebone, Darkchaos, Darkcraze, Darkgut, Deathbasher, Deathgouger, Dirtbreaker, Dreadbreaker, Dreadhand, Dreadsnapper, Evilrender, Evilstench, Fangdweller, Fanghacker, Foulbeast, Fouldread, Giantbasher, Giantthief, Heartkill, Hellyell, Howlfilth, Madswiller, Metalarm, Metalhand, Metalshred, Mosstooth, Oozechaos, Ragecraze, Razorfang, Scumeater, Serpentgloom, Slimegibber, Spineshadow, Stonebasher, Stonemaw, Stonepuke, Tonguecut, Wildstalker, Wormdweller
Your goblin character has some traits in common with all other goblins.
Ability Score Adjustments: Your Dexterity Score is increased by 2.
Age: Goblins mature at nearly twice the rate humans do. A goblin of even 10 years old could be considered an adult. Goblins tend to live fairly short and fast lives, even the lucky survivors rarely make it into a fifth decade.
Alignment: Most Goblins tend towards Neutral. Their general behavior includes some very chaotic elements, but is balanced by their loyalty to their group and putting the needs of the tribe above their own.
Size: The average goblin is about 3 and a half feet tall and they weigh in at about 45 pounds. Your size is Small.
Movement: Your base walking speed is 30 feet. You are a bit faster than other small humanoids.
Dark Vision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were in bright light and in darkness as if it were in dim light. You can't discern colors in darkness, only shades of black and white.
Nimble Escape. Goblins favor hit and run tactics. You can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of your turns.
Sneaky: You have advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) rolls.
Languages: You can speak, read and write Common and Goblin. Goblins have their own language that they more or less share with Bugbears and Hobgoblins. There are dialect differences, but they can be overcome with some extra effort. However, the races do not share a script. While Hobgoblins use a complicated pictographic script, Goblins use a simple phonetic script using heavily modified Dwarven characters.
Subrace. The sheer number of the various goblin clans is staggering. Much like the number of beetle species on the planet, it is impossible to know and catalogue them all.
The gray goblins are the servants of the mith’edhel. Generation upon generation have lived in servitude. Most serve willingly, even happily, with clans of goblins associated with mith’edhel families. Those that are associated with an elven family are sometimes permitted to use the elven surname, but with the mool’ (or servant) as a prefix to the elven name.
Ability Score Increase.
Your Intelligence score increases by 1.
Gray goblins are adept at aiding others. You can use the help action as a bonus action.