Thursday, August 23, 2012

Harry Potter-style Goblin Class

Goblins in Harry Potter are actually pretty cool. Refreshingly divorced from the influences of D&D or even Tolkien, they bear a greater resemblance to gnomes and dwarves than anything else. Though they are uneasily integrated into wizarding society, they still live a very separate existence, dwelling primarily within their underground tunnels and lightless bank vaults. It also appears that they're oppressed by the wizards, since there have been several bloody goblin rebellions in the past (it's typical of Rowling's style that she treats this as a humorous historical quirk rather than a glaring example of social inequality). One of the most common disagreements between the races is over their concept of ownership: goblins take the view that the creator of an object is its owner, and any 'sale' is in reality a loan that lasts for the duration of the purchaser's life, but no further. Thus, the current ownership of relics like the Sword of Gryffindor (forged by Ragnuk the First and 'sold' to Godric Gryffindor) is a contentious issue.

Here we present statistics for a Goblin class for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess or other D&D games. This could also be reskinned as a tinker gnome or other such race.

Hit die: d8
Attack bonus: +1
Saving throws: As Specialist
EXP progression: As Cleric - 1,750 for 2nd level and doubling thereafter; for 9th level onwards, cease doubling and instead add 112,000 for each successive level

Skill Points: Goblins are a skilled race, though not as versatile as human Specialists. The Goblin gains 2 skill points at 1st level and 1 skill point at each level thereafter, i.e. half the skill points of a Specialist. These points can be spent only in the following categories: Architecture, Open Doors, Search, Sleight of Hand, Tinker.
Mundane Crafting: No other race possesses the crafting skills of the goblins. Within 1 turn (10 minutes) a goblin can create more or less any mundane object, provided the raw materials are available. For example, a 10-foot pole could be made into a 5-foot ladder, a steel shield could be made into several swords, or a lump of stone could become a small statuette. No tools or workshops are required; don't ask how the goblins do it, because they won't tell you.
Highly intricate devices may take longer at the DM's discretion, and art pieces with gold piece value cannot be created unless the raw materials are of similar value. Only loose objects can be crafted, so you can't 'craft' a locked door into a pile of wood shavings. You also cannot create any technology that your character doesn't know about, so no crafting AK-47s in a medieval setting; though if you did find an AK-47 somewhere, the goblin could try to reverse engineer it.
Magical Crafting: The greatest goblin craft is the creation of new magic items, though only the oldest and cleverest goblins achieve this level of mastery. At 10th level a goblin can create magic weapons and armour with a +1 bonus, and this bonus increases by 1 every two levels thereafter, to a maximum of +5 at 18th level. Creation of other magic items is up to the DM to consider. This process should cost as much as the g.p. value of the magic item in question.
Alternatively, if playing in a campaign with only unique and rare magic items, consider allowing the goblin to forge their own unique items only after completing a special quest.

The main draw of this class is, of course, the Mundane Crafting ability, which allows the goblin to essentially bypass any questions of "Did you buy such-and-such before we set out?" and even create entirely new objects which no-one could have predicted a need for. This might be overpowered if the goblin just chooses to carry a bunch of spare wood and metal everywhere, but maybe not if you followed tight encumbrance rules like the Anti-Hammerspace Item Tracker. I also like the idea of the PCs scrounging around in the dungeon and building new weapons or items out of questionable materials. "The rust monster will never expect a stone sword!"

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