Last Updated: June 20, 2021
Of the three humanoid races (bugbears, goblins, and hobgoblins), the Hobgoblin is the smart one. They’ve changed a lot mechanically over several editions, but their lore has remained largely the same: a regimented, militaristic society which idolizes warriors and punishes weaklings. Strangely, they gain an Intelligence increase, which predisposes them to classes like the Artificer and the Wizard. In previous editions hobgoblins shunned arcane magic, going so far as to call it “elf magic” as a slur. This change in capabilities between editions is somewhat odd, but since hobgoblins are generally one of those humanoid races that you fight for a few levels then forget about I don’t think anyone noticed.
Mechanically, the Hobgoblin has some unique traits. Proficiency in light armor and two martial weapons can be helpful for many classes, and while an Intelligence increase can certainly pigeon-hole the Hobgoblin into spellcasting classes that’s not your only option. Saving Face is a powerful option to turn a failed roll into a successful one, and in some cases it’s enough to offset a relatively low ability score in Strength or Dexterity. However, the ability to use it on saving throws can make it hard to justify using for something like an attack roll. Weirdly, Saving Face improves based on the number of nearby allies, so it works best in a large party. If you’re not getting the full +5 bonus, look for options like Find Familiar, or befriend an animal or something.
Table of Contents
RPGBOT uses the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks, which is simple to understand and easy to read at a glance.
- : Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational. Nearly never useful.
- : OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances. Useful sometimes.
- : Good options. Useful often.
- : Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character. Useful very frequently.
I will not include 3rd-party content, including content from DMs Guild, even if it is my own, because I can’t assume that your game will allow 3rd-party content or homebrew. I also won’t cover Unearthed Arcana content because it’s not finalized, and I can’t guarantee that it will be available to you in your games.
The advice offered below is based on the current State of the Character Optimization Meta as of when the article was last updated. Keep in mind that the state of the meta periodically changes as new source materials are released and this article will be updating accordingly as time allows.
RPGBOT is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Fan Content Policy. Not approved/endorsed by Wizards. Portions of the materials used are property of Wizards of the Coast. ©Wizards of the Coast LLC.
Classes (Default Rules)
This section assumes that you’re not using the option “Customizing Your Origin” rules presented in Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything. If you are using those rules, scroll up to the previous section.
An Intelligence increase is all that the Artificer really needs, but proficiency in two martial weapons is nice for Battlesmith builds that want to explore weapons before their subclass comes online.
Barbarians are too dependent on Strength to work without a Strength increase, and Saving Face isn’t enough to fix that.
Nothing useful for the Bard.
Nothing useful for the Cleric.
Nothing useful for the Druid.
Constitution and Intelligence could work for an Eldritch Knight, but without a Strength/Dexterity increase you’ll lag offensively. Saving Face will help, but not enough.