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Pathfinder 2e - The Goblin Handbook

Last Updated: September 10th, 2020

Disclaimer

I will use the color coding scheme which has become common among Pathfinder build handbooks.

  • Red: Bad, useless options, or options which are extremely situational.
  • Orange: OK options, or useful options that only apply in rare circumstances
  • Green: Good options.
  • Blue: Fantastic options, often essential to the function of your character.

Introduction

Goblins have been a fan favorite for Pathfinder since early in 1st edition, so it's no surprise that they made it into the Core Rulebook in Pathfinder 2e. Several of their Ancestry Feats are based on feats which existed in Pathfinder 1e, and the long-time players may recognize some of the Heritage option from Pathfinder 1e's Advanced Race Guide's list of alternate racial traits. Paizo kept a lot of great, interesting options and added a lot more on top of them.

Goblin Racial Traits

  • Hit Points: The least hit points of any race, but at least the Goblin doesn't have a racial Ability Flaw in Constitution like the Elf.
  • Size: Small. Medium and small size have few functional differences in Pathfinder 2e.
  • Speed: 25 ft. is standard.
  • Ability Boosts: The Goblin's ability increases work well for a variety of classes and builds, but a Wisdom flaw is hard for many classes and hurts crucial stats like Will saves and Perception.
  • Languages: Racial language plus Common is standard.
  • Senses: Darkvision is always helpful.

Goblin Heritages

  • Charhide Goblin: Fire resistance is fantastic.
  • Irongut Goblin: Amusing, but too situational. As soon as you gain a couple levels you'll have so much gold that food stops being expensive enough to track.
  • Razortooth Goblin: Basically a short sword attached to your face. You can bith with your hands full, but I can't think of a build where this is especially useful.
  • Snow Goblin: Cold resistance probably isn't as widely useful as fire resistance, but it's still really good.
  • Unbreakable Goblin: Too situational. Feather Fall is a 1st-leve spell, and 4 hit points is nothing compared to what other heritages offer.

Goblin Feats

Goblins get an abnormally large number of Ancestry Feat options compared to other races in the Core Rulebook, and while all of them are thematically great they're also very tempting for Adopted Ancestry.

Level 1

  • Burn It!: A significant addition to your damage output over the course of your life, though it locks you into fire damage somewhat, and fire resistance is common.
  • City Scavenger: Not worth an Ancestry Feat. Maybe a Skill Feat, but not an Ancestry Feat.
  • Extra Squishy: Too situational.
  • Goblin Lore: Trained in three skills is good for a single feat.
  • Goblin Scuttle: Bonus movement on your Reaction is neat, but it's only a Step. Possibly helpful for back-line characters, but I'm not certain if it's worth a feat.
  • Goblin Song: The penalty is not significant enough to justify spending an Action to apply this to one target. You get more targets as you improve your Proficiency in Performance. The best use is to follow this with a save-or-suck spell which affects all of the affected creatures, but you could also follow it with other debuffs like Bon Mot or Demoralize.
  • Goblin Weapon Familiarity: Dogslicers are great option for rangers, rogues, and other characters who enjoy flanking and making numerous attacks, and this makes them Simple so they're widely available to most classes. Unfortunately, the Horsechopper probably isn't worth your attention.
  • Junk Tinker: Tempting for alchemists and for other characters who spend a lot of time crafting, but not so good that you can build a character around it.
  • Rough Rider: A great option for any goblin seeking an animal companion.
  • Twitchy: A consistent bonus to Initiative and some protections against Hazards (traps, etc.). However, the Initiative bonus is a Circumstance bonus so it won't stack with Incredible Initiative. The +4 bonus effect is really neat, but it's very situational.
  • Very Sneaky: The ability to move between cover while sneaking is a significant advantage.

Level 5

  • Goblin Weapon Frenzy: The critical specialization on Dogslicer is really good for the Rogue, but otherwise it's nothing tha you desperately need to have.
  • Kneecap: This doesn't list when it expires or if the target can negate the effect somehow, which I hope will be addressed in errata. Until we know how long this lasts, it's hard to assess.
  • Loud Singer: If you're going to take Goblin Song, you need to at least consider this. 30 feet is often enough range in most encounters, but extra range and an additional target can make a big difference if you're successfully combining the Will penalty from Goblin Song with other effects.
  • Vandal: The effects are not good enough to justify the feat. If you want to break items, get an adamantine weapon.

Level 9

  • Cave Climber: Even at such a low speed, a Climb Speed can still be a significant improvement to your mobility.
  • Cling: If you're built to fight with your jaws (or with a similar natural weapon which your GM will allow), this is a great way to keep enemies in reach when they might normally attempt to move away from you.
  • Skittering Scuttle: Really neat, but I don't think it's worth two feats to get it.

Level 13

  • Goblin Weapon Expertise: Goblin Weapon Familiarity gives you access to two weapons and makes them both Simple, so you're almost certainly getting proficiency improvements to them without this.
  • Very, Very Sneaky: Essentially the ability to hide in plain sight.

Level 17

  • Reckless Abandon: This is hillarious, but it can be difficult to make a big impact. It only works on your own turn and expires at the end of your turn, so all of the nasty effects that hit you between turns (spells, attacks, etc.) don't apply. The best cases I can think of for this are running through traps, running through spell effects like Prismatic Wall, and for triggering Reactions from enemies so that your allies can move more freely on their own turns.