Dungeons and Dragons: Goblin

The Goblin

Featured in Tolkien’s books and Peter Jackson’s films, is an entry from Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual I, the goblin.  Not as large as their hobgoblin cousin or as well known as the orc, the goblin was a race of fierce troublemakers and scavengers.

“Goblins range from yellow through dull-orange to brick red in skin color.  Their eyes are reddish to lemon yellow.”


Tolkien interchanged words “goblin” and “orc”, depending what Middle Earth language was used.  Peter Jackson’s goblins were different looking humanoids compared to the orc.  His films depicted them with green skin and pointy ears led by a goblin king.

The manual portrayal is closer to the films preceding them by over 20 years.  Like the film, the book writes goblins hate light and dwarves, are fair miners, and speak orcish.  The artwork had greater influence than the written text.  I thought the goblin as grimy humanoids with soot on their faces and not as sophisticated as hobgoblins.  Too poor, they wielded inferior weaponry and were no match for heroes.  Still, they were angry and fought to survive and sometimes expand.  More outgoing than the kobold but not as diplomatic as the orc.

Trivia: Defeating the goblin earned 10 XP.

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