Goblins are mischievous, humanoid creatures that are commonly found in Europe in forests and mountainous regions. There are similar species found all over the world.
Category: Forest/Mountainous, Nocturnal
Goblins in history are depicted as either mischievous or outright evil depending on the source material. In their kinder depictions, they play pranks or serve comeuppance to humans that have committed some slight. Their pranks are usually relatively harmless, but can be permanent. In their less kind depictions, goblins often are an active threat to anyone walking along alone, particularly at night. One depiction of them, redcaps, dye their hats in the blood of fallen humans, often in battlefields, and will die if they cannot keep the hat freshly soaked in blood.
The term is often used to describe kobolds, gremlins, pixies, brownies and other types of fae, which may account for the wide variety of depictions. In modern times, they are the inspiration for the Smurfs, a much gentler depiction than their usual depictions.
Traits and Behavior
Goblins are humanoid, usually reaching 3-4 feet in height by adulthood. Their skin is often green in tone, though this can range from brown-green tones to more vivid shades. They have pointed ears, and their eyes can be almost any color; they are nocturnal and have incredible night vision. Some, but not all, have additional sets of eyes, which can see various other light spectrums.
Goblins have unusually long fingers, used primarily for climbing, as they live primarily in forests or mountain regions and spend a great deal of time perched in tall branches or cliff faces. Their toes are almost as long as their fingers.
Goblins can have a wide variety of teeth; some have a mouth of canines, they may have underbites or overbites, some may have flat teeth similar to humans, and a very small number have fangs that can produce venom. They are technically omnivores, but their diet is usually exclusively meat and mushrooms, with occasional other foods if available. While they are happy to scavenge for meat and will eat anything from squirrels to snakes, they are very fond of mushrooms and will cultivate them carefully to eat them all times of year. Their stomachs can handle almost anything, and frequently eat poisonous plants.
Goblins are remarkable engineers, though their structures rarely make sense to anyone besides them. Their towns and cities are often built into sides of cliffs or into tree tops, hanging high above the ground and connected by various walkways and rope paths. These towns are usually completely impossible to navigate unless one is a goblin or a similarly skilled climber. The only thing in their towns that is at ground level is a large bonfire area for gatherings. Goblins can eat raw meat (and often prefer it), so rarely use this fire for cooking. Goblins love the light and smoke of a fire and it is purely for entertainment. They do brew alcohol from mushrooms and drink lavishly at these fires; one should never consume that alcohol, as it is deadly to most other species.
Goblin societies are complex, with leadership being a large number of goblins that change often, and appear to be any age, gender or apparent occupation. What, exactly, their leadership does or is even called is unclear, as goblins generally do what they like, and many appear to not know who is currently considered leadership. They all seem perfectly content with this, and often state they find human government systems odd and unclear instead.
Some goblins implied that being chosen to be a leader of any kind is involuntary, and the goblin in question may not have been told.
Goblins are incredibly fond of bright colors, interesting textures, and anything shiny, and often collect trash and litter they find to decorate their homes and clothing. They may wear numerous layers of human scraps, goblin woven clothing and even moss. Rather than make any attempt to camouflage, they depend on making a great deal of noise and distraction to keep any humans away from them. While not actively interested in humans outside of their interesting garbage, they will prank or even attack any humans or other species that get too close to their town.
Goblins are vindictive if slighted, and will pursue a grudge until they either complete whatever elaborate revenge they have decided to inflict, the human manages to settle the grudge in another way, or the person moved too far away to pursue. Even if they die, a goblin may continue with their relatives or children.
What a slight will be to a goblin can vary wildly, from finding or seeking out goblin towns, littering in the forest (unless the trash was interesting), insulting the goblins, or interfering with another prank. To get a goblin to stop their pranking, you can offer them a gift of interesting items (they are particularly fond of small shiny items such as buttons, but find coins boring), or begin to prank them instead. They take that as a compliment to their skills, and enjoy the back and forth. It can be difficult to tell if the pranks have gone from ill-intentioned to fun, but the best sign is pranks going from potentially dangerous to merely unusual, such as your entire car being painted lime green instead of finding faerie rings in your garden made from poisonous mushrooms. Tread carefully regardless, a prank war with a goblin can easily go back to them trying to cause you harm, and you may never know why.
Goblins do not have a solid concept of gender, and only have two sets of pronouns. The first refers to all goblins of any age or body type, the second specifically to a goblin who is currently pregnant. When the baby goblins are born, the parent will revert to the first pronouns again. Baby goblins are raised entirely communally, and will not know the name of the one that bore them.
Goblins as infants are brought up and cared for by volunteers until they are capable of talking and walking, around the age of three, at which point they are fed and watched but largely left alone. During the day they pick a small burrow in the trees, or simply sneak into an adult’s home, to sleep. They are considered adults when they have built their own home, no matter how structurally sound, so some will be adults after only a few years, and others may be decades old. Goblins can live to be as old as 500, but on average reach 350 years of age.
When a goblin dies, they are buried and above them, their favorite breed of mushrooms is grown.
They create hoards similar to dragons, but they have no specific kind of item, and will get rid of items if they are no longer interesting. Giving them something to go into that collection can distract them from a grudge. As mentioned, returning fire with other pranks is another way to calm their mischief. Goblins are rarely interested in direct conflict, so they do not need to be directly confronted.