Tougher than Goblins, smarter than Bugbears, they're the Lawful Evil to Goblin's Neutral and Bugbear's Chaotic. Usually considered militaristic and malevolent, but often overlooked as cannon fodder like their smaller Goblin cousins, Hobgoblins can prove to be interesting and formidable enemies to a group of player characters, and have the capacity to be pretty badass if you want them to be. Also have a love of slavery (though that’s not fucking unique). Physically, Hobgoblins are generally portrayed as being very large and strong, usually at least as tall as a human. They range from rust to amber in color and sometimes have blueish purple noses or ears. Their ears tend to be overlarge and they have either dog-like or extremely long noses.
Hobgoblins vs Orcs
If you google something like "Dungeons and Dragons Hobgoblin", you'll get a lot of results where people are asking what the real difference is between Hobgoblins and Orcs. Aren't they just the same thing with a different name and drawn slightly differently and carrying different weapons? Well, not exactly.
The short but not especially helpful answer is, to quote the Daily Bestiary blog: "Orcs may have hordes, but Hobgoblins have armies."
The longer and more expositional answer is that way back at the dawn of Dungeons and Dragons, Gary Gygax wanted to have a distinct monster with distinct stats at every early Challenge Rating (1-7). This distinction has been grandfathered in all the way down to Pathfinder and 5th Edition, though the exact differences in stats has changed over the years, and it's usually combined with the flavor portrayal - Orcs being the tribal savages, Hobgoblins being the well-organized and relentless force. Rule Zero, of course, means you can choose to use both creatures, only one, or neither, as you feel like. If your campaign is likely to travel long distances and visit vastly different regions, it can be useful to have two creatures that fill a similar niche and yet are distinct in certain ways from each other. In addition, publishers sometimes give Hobgoblins the more exotic weapons, armor, and tactics, with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons portraying hobgoblins with an almost "oriental" cast (samurai armor for the 1e version, Mongolian clothes for the 2e), which is something that Pathfinder preserved.
For those of you who follow Tolkien, the traits of the Lord of the Rings Orcs were actually split between Dungeons and Dragons' Orcs and Hobgoblins. D&D Orcs are reminiscent of the cave-dwelling ambushers Bilbo met in the Misty Mountains or the hordes that Sauron used to attack Gondor, while D&D Hobgoblins are more like Saruman's Uruk-hai.
Perhaps to try and reinforce the split, unlike orcs, hobgoblins are usually not suggested to be capable of interbreeding with other races... at least, not since thouls stopped being a thing. But, the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting for 3rd edition decided to just say "fuck it" to that noise, introducing the Sil-karg, or Half-Hobgoblin, to go alongside the Half-Orc.
Hobgoblins, the Playable?
As it turns out, that natural lawfulness means that when you get down to it, hobgoblins are a pretty decent option for monster adventurers. After all, if they're not as murderously self-interested as standard Chaotic Evil monsters, then logically they can find common cause to adventure with humanoids for whatever reasons.
In fact, Hobgoblins have actually been playable in literally every single edition of D&D, from Basic through to 5th.
Basic D&D presented Hobgoblins as a PC race in the 10th of the Known World Gazetteers, which makes sense if you're aware that Gazetteer #10 was "The Orcs of Thar". Hobgoblins received the following traits:
- Hobgoblin Ability Modifiers: +1 Strength, -1 Dexterity
- Note: Like all Humanoids from "The Orcs of Thar", a Hobgoblin has racial ability score caps of 18 in all scores bar Intelligence and Wisdom, which are capped at 16.
- Note: Like all Humanoids from "The Orcs of Thar", a Hobgoblin determines its Charisma score for interacting with humans and demihumans by dividing its Charisma score by 3 (rounding down) and subtacting the result from 9.
- Hobgoblin Natural Armor Class: 8
- Can become Shamans (8th level) and Wokani (4th level).
|Hobgoblin's's level||XP Required||Hobgoblin's hit dice|
|9||300,000||+2 Hit Points|
|Subsequent||240,000||+2 Hit Points|
- Ability Modifiers: -1 Charisma
- Ability Mins/Maxs: STR 6/18, DEX 6/18, CON 5/18, INT 3/18, WIS 3/18, CHA 3/14
- Available Classes: Fighter (11), Cleric (9), Shaman (7), Witch Doctor (7), Thief (12)
- Natural Armor Class: 10
- Hit Dice: By class
- Infravision 60 feet
- 40% chance to detect new construction, sloping passages, and shifting walls when within underground complexes (roll 1d10; the hobgoblin senses these features on a 1-4).
- Dwarves receive a +1 bonus to attack rolls vs. hobgoblins.
- Weapon Proficiencies: Long Composite Bow, Morning Star, Scimtar, Spear, Whip, Pole Arms
- Nonweapon Proficiencies: Armorer, Blacksmithing, Bowyer/Fletcher, Brewing, Chanting, Close-Quarter Fighting, Direction Sense, Fire-Building, Hiding, Intimidation, Looting, Religion, Weaponsmithing, Wild Fighting
Hobgoblin PC stats were actually all over the place in 3rd edition! First appearing in the Monster Manual as an NPC, they got their first full PC stat block in Forgotten Realms: Races of Faerun, and were reprinted a few times after that, remaining identical in every printing:
You may wonder just why it is that they get a +1 LA rating? Well, the truth is it's because WotC dramatically undervalued class levels and overvalued ability score bonuses.
In Kingdoms of Kalamar, hobgoblins lost the +1 LA at the cost of suffering a -2 penalty to Int, Wis and Cha. Even with their +2 to Listen & Spot checks, way underpowered.
In Eberron Hobgoblins were one of the great empires of the past and have a sovereign, recognized nation plus a history of mercenary work. While not exactly respected in most of Eberron, including one in an adventuring party is perfectly plausible.
Hobgoblins appeared in 4e's 1st Monster Manual, alongside many other iconic monstrous races. They weren't particularly exciting when they did, but they were functional and certainly not as badly off as in some editions:
- Ability Scores: +2 Constitution, +2 Charisma
- Size: Medium
- Speed: 6 squares
- Vision: Low-Light
- Skill Bonuses: +2 Athletics, +2 History
- Battle Ready: +2 bonus to Initiative checks
- Racial Power - Hobgoblin Resilience: Once per encounter, as an immediate reaction to being affected by an effect that a save can end, you can make a save to end that effect.
4th edition would later present them as a Winning Races article in Dragon Magazine #419. In this version, their ability modifiers were +2 Con and +2 to Cha or Int, they gained the Phalanx Soldier racial trait (+1 to AC if you are wielding a shield and standing adjacent to a shield-wielding ally), and Hobgoblin Resilience was replaced with Hobgoblin Discipline (1/encounter, as a free action, immediately end an ongoing save-ends effect at the start of your turn).
Nasty mid-level monsters. Low hitpoints, but good armor for monsters and have a faux-sneak attack that deals a shitload of extra damage when they focus-fire on a single target, which they will get off because your brain-dead party couldn't focus-fire on the squishy-but-deadly guys if their lives literally depended on it, right? Volo's Guide to Monsters added brutal monk/cops that can turn invisible and powerful blaster wizards that get faux-evoker powers and can apply that faux-sneak attack to all of their spells. Even the AoEs.
Added as a playable race in in Volo's Guide to Monsters, along with both the other goblinoids. +2 Con, +1 Int, proficiency in light armor and some weapons of the player's choice, and the ability to "save face" by re-rolling a failed d20 roll with a bonus equal to the number of allies watching (+5 tops) rather than their iconic "monster power". Mockingly described on /tg/ as being all wizards, since Int bonuses are scarce and getting additional weapons and armor is a lot better for classes that don't already get them, but a Con bonus is welcome in any class.
On the other hand, if you want a more expected sort of hobgoblin PC race, take a look at the World of Farland, which gives us this statblock: the biggest difference is that Farlandish hobgoblins are literally bred for either of two military castes, and have subraces reflecting this.
- Ability Score Increase: +2 Constitution
- Size: Medium
- Speed: 30 feet
- Darkvision 60 feet
- Born to War: You are Proficient in all Martial type weapons.
- Tactical Mind: You have Advantage on Intelligence checks relating to battle tactics and strategy.
- Subrace: Choose either the Cavalry-Bred or Legion-Bred subrace.
Cavalry-Bred hobgoblins are bred as beastmasters and, obviously, cavalry.
- Ability Score Increase: +1 Dexterity
- Hard to Kill: You have Advantage on Death Saving Throws.
- Beast Trainer: You have Proficiency in Handle Animal, and when you are mounted, you gain Advantage on the next attack you make after your mount is struck by an attack.
Legion-Bred hobgoblins are the rank-and-file warriors of the hobgoblin legions.
- Ability Score Increase: +1 Strength
- Martial Advantage: Once per short rest, if you hit an enemy that is also within 5 feet of a non-incapacitated ally of yours, you can deal +2d6 damage.
- Stern: You have Proficiency in Intimidation.
Keith Baker later introduced further hobgoblin subraces in Exploring Eberron, mostly for the Dhakaani culture of ancient goblinoids reemerging in secret after locking themselves away from the Age of Dust deep beneath the Earth, Fallout style. They are specifically known as the Dhakaani ghaal’dar (mighty folk), and are the leadership caste of their society. They also have different subraces for different specializations:
- Ability Score Increase: Your Constitution score increases by 2.
- Age: Ghaal’dar mature at the same rate as humans and have lifespans similar to theirs.
- Size: Ghaal’dar are between 5 and 6 feet tall and weigh between 150 and 200 pounds. Your size is Medium.
- Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
- Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
- Discipline: You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed.
- Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and Goblin.
- Subrace: Within the Dhakaani caste system, young ghaal’dar are trained to fulfill one of two roles. Guides are diplomats and scholars, while soldiers are devoted to war. Choose a subrace for your ghaal’dar character.
- Guide: As a guide, possibly a duur’kala bard, you’ve been trained to lead your people.
- Ability Score Increase: Either your Intelligence or Charisma score increases by 1 (your choice).
- Lead By Example: If you fail an ability check or saving throw, you can gain a bonus to the roll equal to the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you (maximum bonus of +5). Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
- The Guiding Arts: You have proficiency in two of the following skills of your choice: History, Medicine, Performance, or Persuasion.
- Soldier: As a soldier, you’ve drilled in the art of war since childhood. Ability Score Increase.
- Ability Score Increase: Either your Dexterity or Strength score increases by 1 (your choice).
- Strength in Unity: If you miss with an attack roll or fail a saving throw, you can gain a bonus to the roll equal to the number of allies you can see within 30 feet of you (Maximum bonus of +5). Once you use this trait, you can’t use it again until you finish a short or long rest.
- The Arts of War: You have proficiency in two of the following skills of your choice: Athletics, Intimidation, Perception, or Survival.
- Guide: As a guide, possibly a duur’kala bard, you’ve been trained to lead your people.
Introduced in the March 2021 issue of Unearthed Arcana, this new lore presents an alternative take on hobgoblins that originated in the Feywild alongside the other goblinoids and then migrated to the Prime Material. Your PC is either a throwback to those original fey hobgoblins, or is a member of a branch that never followed the others to the Prime. These hobgoblins are able to channel the fey magic of "reciprocity", the power that creates a bond between the giver and recipient of a gift.
- Ability Score Modifier: +2 to one ability score of your choice and +1 to a second ability score of your choice, or +1 to three different ability scores of your choice
- Creature Type: Humanoid
- Size: Medium
- Speed: 30 feet
- Darkvision: 60 feet
- Fey Ancestry: As per Elf
- Fortune from the Many: This is literally just the Saving Face mechanic with a new name.
- Fey Gift: You can spend a Bonus Action to use the Help action to provide one of the following effects. You can do this (Proficiency Bonus) times per long rest.
- Hospitality: You and the target of your Help action heal (1d6 + your Proficiency bonus) HP.
- Passage: You and the target of your Help action increase your base speed by +10 feet until the start of your next turn.
- Spite: Until the start of your next turn, the first time you or the target of your Help action hits a creature with an attack roll, that creature has disadvantage on the next attack roll that it makes within the next minute.
On the world of Golarion, hobgoblins are the result of an ancient attempt at fleshcrafting ordinary goblins into bigger, stronger and smarter forms that could then be used as expendable soldiers to defeat the elves. Whilst the elves managed to stop their creators before they could install controls, but not in time to keep them from hating elves instinctively or from seeking to conquer and destroy. Nice going, pointy-ears. Since they hate elves, they hate arcane magic and even Sorcerers are unheard of among them. They make up for this with Alchemists, Ja Noi allies, the occasional devil worshiping shaman Cleric and engineers (the kind that makes mundane siege engines and fortifications rather than steampunk).
Golarion hobgoblins are most notable because they're supposed to be completely hairless... but, as Paizo began using them more frequently, hobgoblins with hair became increasingly common in their artwork. Rather than admit that this was just a result of different artists ignoring that lore, Paizo retconned that Golarion hobgobs are hairless... but scalp humanoid foes they defeat and make wigs out of their hair, which they wear as symbols of prowess and honor.
Their stats are unchanged from 3E, except they lose level adjustment and, per Pathfinder's changes to the skill system, their move silently bonus is now a bonus to Stealth. They have options to trade away this bonus for a few things, and one thing to trade their darkvision for, but in the end the only reason to bother with playing one is they alone have the perfect ability scores for a Kineticist.
Ability Modifiers: +2 Dex
Hit Points: 6
Size and Type: Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Battle Hardened: +1 racial bonus to AC against combat maneuvers.
Darkvision: 60 feet.
Fearsome: +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks.
Sneaky: +2 racial bonus to Stealth checks.
The Hobgoblins of Warhammer Fantasy were backstabbing, selfish, and treasonous to the point even normal goblins seemed chill compared to them. So much so that they evolved a bony plate in their back to wardoff backstabbing. Their culture was vaguely Mongol Horde, rode giant wolves,and were hated by the other Greenskins for siding with their Chaos Dwarf Masters in the Greenskin Slave Rebellion of Zharr-Naggrund. Their leader, Hobgobla Khan, was the reason the Cathayan Great Bastion was built.
Now in Age of Sigmar, the Hobgoblins (renamed Hobgrots) follow the swamp-dwelling sub-faction of the Orruks Warclans called the Kruleboyz, Orcs that are more Morky in their fighting style, they don't scream or yell (very unusual for a warhammer orc) and prefer quick and stealthy kills and ambushes, so much that their weapons are smaller just so they can get under warrior's armor.
Hobgrots are bigger than the usual goblins, and even though they do follow the Kruelboyz they are more of a middle-man for their true masters, rumored to be Chaos Dwarves. This would also explain why Hobgrots carry Sticky Grenades with them, so basically not much has changed in their transition.
|This article or section is about Monstergirls (or a monster that is frequently depicted as a Monstergirl), something that /tg/ widely considers to be the purest form of awesome. Expect PROMOTIONS! and /d/elight in equal measure, often with drawfaggotry or writefaggotry to match.|
Because hobgoblins are not readily distinguished from goblins in the eyes of most people, the idea of a hobgoblin monstergirl is an uncommon one at best. Perhaps the most believable depiction of a hobgoblin MG would be as a race of goblinoid amazons; curvy female goblinoids who use force to secure what they want, be it land, wealth, or a human boytoy.
For what it's worth, there is one D&D adventure where a sexy female hobgoblin appears; Red Hand of Doom features Wyrmlord Ulwai Stormcaller, a female hobgoblin stormsinger whose rare blue eyes and uncanny good looks have attracted much torment for her throughout her life, as other hobgoblins have accused her of being half-human, or even half-elven. The same description also calls her a masterful liar even though she has no ranks in bluff and her art is pretty far from sexy, so take the description with some skepticism.
In the Monster Girl Encyclopedia, hobgoblins are portrayed as ditzy, dim-witted, clumsy oppai loli variants of the common goblin; despite being even dumber than their flat-chested sisters, goblins adore and revere them, seeing their huge breasts as a sign of great power and potential. Perhaps because hobgoblin mamono are even more ridiculously super-strong than the goblins are themselves; they may not have much going for them, but if they hit you, then you stay hit. Or else it's because the common goblins are smart enough to realize that breasts are a huge advantage in terms of having fun whilst having sex.
A troop of hobgoblins from the Nentir Vale.
A Hobgoblin Firebrand from the Pathfinder RPG
An Oriental style Hobgoblin commander, also from Pathfinder
|Dungeons & Dragons 1st Edition Races|
|Basic Set:||Dwarf - Elf - Hobbit - Human|
|Creature Catalog 1:||Brownie - Centaur - Dryad - Faun - Hsiao |
Leprechaun - Pixie - Pooka - Redcap - Sidhe
Sprite - Treant - Wood Imp - Wooddrake
|Creature Catalog 2:||Faenare - Gnome - Gremlin - Harpy |
Nagpa - Pegataur - Sphinx - Tabi
|Creature Catalog 3:||Kna - Kopru - Merrow - Nixie |
Sea Giant - Shark-kin - Triton
|Dragon Magazine:||Cayma - Gatorman - Lupin - N'djatwa |
Phanaton - Rakasta - Shazak - Wallara
|Hollow World:||Beastman - Brute-Man - Hutaakan |
Krugel Orc - Kubitt - Malpheggi Lizard Man
|Known World:||Bugbear - Goblin - Gnoll |
Hobgoblin - Kobold - Ogre - Troll
|Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Races|
|Core:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Dark Sun:||Aarakocra - Half-Giant - Mul - Pterran - Thri-kreen|
|Dragonlance:||Draconian - Irda - Kender - Minotaur|
|Mystara:||Aranea - Ee'ar - Enduk - Lizardfolk (Cayma - Gurrash - Shazak) |
Lupin - Manscorpion - Phanaton - Rakasta - Tortle - Wallara
|Oriental Adventures:||Korobokuru - Hengeyokai - Spirit Folk|
|Planescape:||Aasimar - Bariaur - Genasi - Githyanki - Githzerai - Modron - Tiefling|
|Spelljammer:||Dracon - Giff - Grommam - Hadozee - Hurwaeti - Rastipede - Scro - Xixchil|
|Ravenloft:||Broken One - Flesh Golem - Half-Vistani - Therianthrope|
Book of X:
|Alaghi - Beastman - Bugbear - Bullywug - Centaur - Duergar |
Fremlin - Firbolg - Flind - Gnoll - Goblin - Half-Ogre - Hobgoblin
Kobold - Mongrelfolk - Ogre - Ogre Mage - Orc - Pixie
Satyr - Saurial - Svirfneblin - Swanmay - Voadkyn - Wemic
|Dragon Magazine:||Half-Dryad - Half-Satyr - Uldra - Xvart|
|Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Races|
|Player's Handbook 1:||Dragonborn - Dwarf - Eladrin - Elf |
Half-Elf - Halfling - Human - Tiefling
|Player's Handbook 2:||Deva - Gnome - Goliath - Half-Orc - Shifter|
|Player's Handbook 3:||Githzerai - Minotaur - Shardmind - Wilden|
|Monster Manual 1:||Bugbear - Doppelganger - Githyanki |
Goblin - Hobgoblin - Kobold - Orc
|Monster Manual 2:||Bullywug - Duergar - Kenku|
|Dragon Magazine:||Gnoll - Shadar-kai|
|Heroes of Shadow:||Revenant - Shade - Vryloka|
|Heroes of the Feywild||Hamadryad - Pixie - Satyr|
|Eberron's Player's Guide:||Changeling - Kalashtar - Warforged|
|The Manual of the Planes:||Bladeling|
|Dark Sun Campaign Setting:||Mul - Thri-kreen|
|Forgotten Realms Player's Guide:||Drow - Genasi|
|The Races of Pathfinder|
|Player's Handbook:||Dwarf - Elf - Gnome - Half-Elf - Half-Orc - Halfling - Human|
|Aasimar - Catfolk - Changeling - Dhampir - Duergar |
Drow - Fetchling - Gillman - Goblin - Grippli - Hobgoblin
Ifrit - Kitsune - Kobold - Merfolk - Nagaji - Orc - Oread
Ratfolk - Samsaran - Strix - Suli - Svirfneblin - Sylph
Tengu - Tiefling - Undine - Vanara - Vishkanya - Wayang
|Bestiaries:||Android - Astomoi - Caligni - Deep One Hybrid - Gathlain |
Gnoll - Kasatha - Munavri - Naiad - Orang-Pendak
Reptoid - Rougarou - Shabti - Trox - Yaddithian
|Adventure Paths:||Being of Ib - Kuru|
|Inner Sea Races:||Ghoran - Monkey Goblin - Lashunta - Skinwalker |
Syrinx - Triaxian - Wyrwood - Wyvaran
|Ultimate Wilderness:||Vine Leshy|
|Blood of the Sea:||Adaro - Cecaelia - Grindylow - Locathah - Sahuagin - Triton|
|Planar Adventures:||Aphorite - Duskwalker - Ganzi|