Book Review: Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! (PFRPG) by Richard Pett and Paizo Publishing

Goblins. In all my roleplaying experience, they’ve been a type of vermin for the most part. Small, powerful enough to be annoying, and underfoot in the dark, dank, unexplored places heroes sometimes go…

So when I saw a 16-page module about goblins on the Free RPG Day table at Petrie’s Family Games, I was shocked and not sure quite what to expect. On the cover, you see a band of goblins with their beady red eyes fighting what appears to be a giant spider. Unfortunately for the goblins, it appears they’re not the first to try and kill this vicious spider – as the skeletal remains of previous heroes attempting the feat are on the ground beneath it all. At the top, you see “Pathfinder Module” and in big scratched out letters, you see the words “We Be Goblins!”

Could it be…? Really? A whole adventure where you play goblins? How unique!

Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! turns out to be exactly that – a first level adventure for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game with a twist. Instead of playing the regular type of adventurers – humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves… – a small squad of four goblins is on a mission. Can they follow the map of a goblin already exiled from the Licktoad tribe and locate a cache of fireworks deep in the Brinestump Marsh?

First and foremost, this is a complete end to end adventure with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s refreshing to see Paizo‘s talented folks apply their skills to a much smaller product. This isn’t one of their huge, beautiful books like the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary or their Pathfinder Adventure Path books like Second Darkness. This adventure is tiny, as would befit a small troupe of brave (or crazy) goblins.

I find that it’s difficult to create low-level, starting adventures in any system and setting. Low-level characters have a tendency to die quickly, especially when you’re introducing new, often inexperience, players to the game. But in the path of We Are Goblins!, writer Richard Pett has done the following beautifully:

  1. Introduced a small setting that’s immediately understood to be part of a larger world. The Licktoad tribe of goblins lives in Brinestump Marsh near the human town of Sandpoint on the coast of Varisia. Though I’m not familiar with Varisia, the map on page 3 gives me enough context to know where we are without being overwhelmed.
  2. Additionally, it’s immediately understood that the Licktoad tribe, like most goblins, hates the taller humanoid races and really wants to burn Sandpoint down.
  3. And finally, to set the stage for this adventure, we get a glimpse into the goblin mind. I really had no idea that they were so superstitious to think that writing things down brings bad luck and steals words from their brains. This taboo is much like the belief of some people in our own world that if someone’s photograph is taken, it will steal a part of the person’s soul via sympathetic magic

With those three points as a base, you are introduced to the world of the Licktoad tribe as Chief Gutwad sends the tribe’s great heroes on this important mission. Having more fireworks in the tribe’s possession would let them continue their campaign of destruction over the “longshanks” of Sandpoint! Obviously Chief Gutwad is thinking strategically towards the long term, which is why he’s the chief!

Players can choose among four different pre-generated goblin characters – Reta Bigbad, fighter; Chuffy Lickwound, rogue; Poog of Zarongel, cleric; and Mogmurch, alchemist. If you have four players, you have almost a traditional balanced party – fighter, cleric, thief, wizard. And each character has a song that sums up his or her point of view as well as complete stats, gear, and a more detailed description. As a side note, I love the songs throughout the book – it’s a great way to up the fun level from the very first page!

And the encounters throughout the module offer some serious challenges for our goblin heroes – from a spider and horse to dogs and a big baddie at the end. I think there’s plenty here to offer a good combination of combat and roleplaying without going overboard. Though the monster descriptions list the page on which they can be found in the Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, you can also locate monster stats in the bestiary of the online Pathfinder SRD.

Ultimately, Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! adheres to Paizo’s great track record of quality products in a little package. Reading through it makes me want to get a group together to play through it. It might be fun to play one of these little miscreant goblin heroes!

If you weren’t fortunate enough to pick up a free copy of Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! on Free RPG Day 2011, you can find it at the Paizo store and give it a look. And now I might have to check out the Pathfinder Player Companion Goblins of Golarion and Jade Regent Adventure Path when they come out in August 2011 to see what else they’ve done to elaborate on goblins!

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3 comments to Book Review: Pathfinder Module: We Be Goblins! (PFRPG) by Richard Pett and Paizo Publishing

  • Sewicked

    I have played this adventure and run it, more than once. It’s a rollicking good time and it encourages overacting and going wild. I have heard of at least one table that had a TPK (total party killed) who demanded to play again, because they had so much fun. They just shuffled around the characters and started from the beginning.

    • Fitz

      @Sewicked – That’s awesome. It definitely seems like a ton of fun – the TPK story just drives that home even more! Thanks for sharing!

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