4th Edition D&D – Reviews – Goblins

These reviews are just going in whatever order interests me. If there’s something else anyone wants to talk about, lemme know in the comments.

Goblins and Kobolds are two of the quintessential races for low-level PCs to pound on in D&D. Both races have been reworked in the 4th Edition Monster Manual, which I think is the best of the three core books by a significant margin.


The entry for Goblins includes Bugbears and Hobgoblins. Bugbears have kind of a brutish, thug appeal. The Bugbear Warrior has the Skullthumper encounter ability which enables him to knock you flat and daze you until you can make a save. The Bugbear Strangler has the Strangle at-will ability that is basically a high-bonus grab followed by an ongoing 1d10+4 damage until the target overcomes its -4 penalty and breaks the hold. Bad news, and fun twists on the biggest Goblinoid.

The Hobgoblin has the usual soldier feel, with phalanx-fighting and formation-fighting abilities to use when fighting in military units. They also have Hobgoblin Resilience, which allows them to roll an immediate save against an effect that allows saves once per encounter.

The Goblins, however, have the scariest combination in my opinion. All Goblins have Goblin Tactics, which is an at-will immediate reaction to being missed by a melee attack. When missed, they can shift 1 square. Big deal, right? But incomes the Goblin Hexer, who has Incite Bravery. This allows the Hexer, as an immediate reaction, at will, to shift a Goblin ally another 2 squares whenever it uses Goblin Tactics. The shift is followed by an immediate attack.

So if there is a Goblin Hexer in your combat, every time you miss one of the Goblins within 10 squares of him, that Goblin can immediately shift 3 squares and make an attack. Goblin ACs are between 15 and about 17, so that means at 1st or 2nd or even maybe 3rd level, you’ll miss a given Goblin 1/2 the time. So half of the Goblins you’re facing get to shift an extra 3 squares and attack you.

That sounds like a lot of fun – for the Goblins.

Oh, did I mention that the Hexer can also Blind you with an at-will power that also deals damage? Because he can do that too.

Coming next – Kobolds!

2 thoughts on “4th Edition D&D – Reviews – Goblins

  1. I DO like the idea of the goblinoids fighting differently based on different tactics. But most good DM's already did this anyways.

    Still, I enjoy the characterizations that I've read & will 'borrow' them.

    But what do Kobolds get to do?
    And whats the backstory to the Goblin abilities? They sound like the spaz MtG goblins.

    Steve G.
    Project Manager


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