Goblinoid is a term incorporated into the /tg/ lexicon from Dungeons & Dragons. It is a generic way to refer to all races considered part of the goblin family; the goblin, the hobgoblin and the bugbear most prominently, as well as other, more obscure members of the family tree such as the bhuka or the worghest.
The term is pretty old in D&D, and has been used in a generic sense since at least Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. It rose to particular prominence in 3rd edition, when the new methodology for organizing monsters by species, becoming a subtype that could be used to distinguish humanoid type creatures - a move that, of course, Pathfinder preserved. Its primary use is to distinguish the "true goblin races" from look-like humanoids, like xvarts or kobolds.
The core Goblinoid races are:
Other members of the family tree include:
- Amitok: A hobgoblin strain native to arctic conditions, which has adapted to cold-weather survival by growing a dense coat of white fur. This ancient branch of the family tree hasn't appeared since Dragon Magazine #89, which is when it was introduced to the world.
- Bakemono: Native to the Shadowlands of the Rokugan setting, these creatures are essentially the goblin equivalent of oni; they only exist in D&D because of the short-lived Legend of the Five Rings D20 conversion.
- Bhuka: Heavily physically altered desert-dwelling goblinoids who, unlike most of their kin, are decidedly not evil. Introduced in the Sandstorm supplement.
- Blue: A species of goblinoid derived from goblin stock who are characterized by their name-sake bright blue skin and their potent natural affinity for psionics.
- Dekanter Goblin: A magically mutated strain of goblin native to the Forgotten Realms, Dekanter Goblins were created by an illithid lich known as the "Beast Lord" from its lair in the Dekanter Mines. Introduced in "Monsters of Faerun", it also received PC stats in "Races of Faerun". Distinguished by its rhino-like head and regenerative abilities.
- Forestkith Goblin: These primordial goblinoids resemble carnivorous hybrids of ape and goblin; nomadic hunters of deep forests, they have the magical ability to disguise themselves as trees, which they use to avoid the hated sunlight. Presented as both a monster and a PC race in the Monster Manual III of 3rd edition.
- Goblyn: Former humans transformed by dark magic into carnivorous, deformed, goblin-like creatures. Most characterized by their gaping maws full of razor-sharp fangs and their favorite combat tactic, which is to grab a bastard by the neck and start chewing his face off. Native to the Ravenloft setting. It appeared in both the Ravenloft Monster Manuals (Denizens of Darkness for 3.0 and Denizens of Dread for 3.5) and in Dragon Magazine #339.
- Grodd Goblin: A descendant species derived from goblin stock, the Grodd Goblins have spent centuries trapped in the Demiplane of Grodd, where a half-elf half-dragon's leadership has caued them to evolve into a peaceful and civilized people. The energies of their home have also physically and spiritually mutated them, amongst other things giving them an affinity for shadow magic. Appear in the 3e adventure "Into the Dragon's Lair".
- Koalinth: Hobgoblins who have migrated to the waterways, evolving into an amphibious species.
- Monkey Goblin: A variant from Pathfinder, these jungle & forest-dwelling goblinoids use prehensile, rat-like tails to assist them in their arboreal lifestyle.
- Nilbog: Magical goblins who exert a paradox aura, causing them to be healed by attacks and be damaged by healing spells. In 5th edition, they were changed to being goblins possessed by the last remaining vestiges of one of their dead gods, using powerful magical trickery to fuck with whoever pissed them off - especially by oppressing goblins.
- Norker: Goblinoids distinguished by their tough, armored hides and significant strength.
- Snow Goblin: Furry goblins who inhabit frostfell regions, distinguished by their hides and the pronounced throat-sacks they use to project their booming calls. Introduced in "Frostburn", they may be a revival of the base concept of the Amitok.
- Thoul: A strange merging of a hobgoblin, a troll, and a ghoul. Appearing in some of the earliest D&D publications ever made.
- Varag: A primeval strain of bestial hobgoblin-kin, the result of experiments in magically hybridizing hobgoblins and dire wolves that went disastrously right. Introduced in the Monster Manual IV.
- Verdan: Chaos-touched altered goblinoids who are particularly prone to spontaneous mutations as they age, including randomly shifting gender. Introduced in the Acquisitions Incorporated splatbook for 5e.
- Vril: The result of drow breeding programs, these purple-skinned, tiger-striped, bat-like goblinoids possess bone-shattering shrieks and the ability to alter their own bodies to better resist physical damage. Introduced in "Drow of the Underdark", which in one of WotC's most infamous cockups had full player stats for them, but didn't have the monster statblock!
Gods of the Goblinoids
Goblinoids do have their own pantheon of racial deities, although unlike the orcish deities, there has never been a lot of effort put into fleshing out their religions, and so we don't actually know all that much. Many haven't had any love at all since their debut in Monster Mythology.
- Maglubiyet - God of Goblinoids
- Khurgorbaeyag - God of Goblins and Goblinoid Warfare
- Nomog-Geaya - God of Hobgoblins
- Bargrivyek - God of Goblinoid Unity
- Hruggek - God of Bugbears
- Grankhul - Bugbear God of Stealth
- Skiggaret - Bugbear God of Fear
- Meriadar - God of Mongrelfolk and Good Goblinoids
- The Stalker - God of Hate, Death and Cold
- Kikanuti - Goddess of Bhukas
The D&D motto has always been "throw it in!", especially when it comes to monstrous races. As a result, there's a substantial array of races who fill the same "small, weak, cowardly, numerous, low-level enemy mook" niche as the common goblins.