Goblin 5e Guide

Published on December 11, 2020, Last modified on May 6th, 2021

What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the Goblin will be right for your character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your Goblin. This color coding isn’t a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of sub-optimized options out there that will be viable to your party and will be fun to play.

  • Black is a trait shared by many races and or will not impact the effectiveness of your character build
  • Red isn’t going to contribute to the effectiveness of your character build at all
  • Orange is an OK option
  • Green is a good option
  • Blue is a great option, you should strongly consider this option for your character
  • Sky Blue is an amazing option. If you do not take this option your character would not be optimized

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything Update

Tasha's Cauldron of Everything has added the "Customizing Your Origin" option that may affect the ability score increases, languages, and proficiencies in this guide. To read more about this, visit our D&D Race Guide.

What are Goblins?

Originally the cliché monster intended for a campaign’s first low-level combat encounter, Goblins became a playable race in Volo’s Guide to Monsters. They are small, evil humanoids that typically live together in caves, venturing out to ambush unsuspecting prey. As self-serving as they are greedy, travelers should always be wary of encountering Goblins.

With the addition of Goblins as a playable race in D&D 5e, there is a whole new avenue for roleplaying and storytelling that playing a monster brings to the table. If your Goblin has had different life experiences, it is completely reasonable to play one as an able member of an adventuring party.

Goblin Traits

Ability Score Increase: DEX is an extremely common ASI, but is useful to most builds to, at the very least, bolster AC. The same goes for CON. Together, these ASIs are good for DEX dependent builds that want some durability.

Age: Goblins grow up fast but do not live especially long. Aging magic could be harsh.

Alignment: As expected, Goblins lean towards being evil.

Size: A Small size comes with some drawbacks, such as wielding certain weapons and grappling. On the other side, Small creatures are better at hiding and can more easily move around the battlefield.

Speed: Maintaining a standard walking speed is great considering that Goblins are Small creatures.

Darkvision: Darkvision is always great, but its advantage can be ruined if your party members do not also have it.

Fury of the Small: Fury of the Small is great against single targets. It scales as you level and will work against most creatures since they will likely be larger than you, but sadly it can only be used once per Short Rest.

Nimble Escape: More uses for the bonus action is excellent, especially as a melee or sneaky character. As a Rogue, Nimble Escape is completely useless because it is essentially Cunning Action with fewer available actions.

Languages: Speaking Goblin is pretty niche.

Which Classes Work With Goblins?

The Goblin’s stat spread doesn’t lend itself to being optimized for anything other than DEX-dependent character builds.

Artificer: Artificers need INT to be effective.

Barbarian: Barbarians need STR to be effective.

Bard: Bards need CHA to be effective.

Cleric: While there are Cleric builds centered around DEX, the lack of WIS is a steep price to pay.

Druid: Druids need WIS to be effective.

Fighter: Goblins are right at home for DEX-based Fighter builds. The Goblin’s racial traits add extra movement options and boosted damage. STR-based Fighters are better off choosing a different race.

Monk: DEX and CON are a great start for a Monk build as they need a high AC and hit points to survive in melee range. Nimble Escape works well with this class, but may not get much use as Monks have many powerful options for their Bonus Action.

Paladin: Because Paladins rely on several ability scores, a lack of both STR and CHA is not ideal. Despite this, DEX and CON are still useful and the Goblin’s racial traits add extra movement options and boosted damage.

Ranger: Goblins are a great choice for Rangers. The DEX and CON ASI spread is second only to races with DEX and WIS. The Goblin’s racial traits all increase the effectiveness of the class.

Rogue: Nimble Escape is useless as a Rogue due to Cunning Action. The DEX and CON boosts are what Rogues want but there are other races that have similar ASIs and better racial traits.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers need CHA to be effective.

Warlock: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.

Wizard: Wizards need INT to be effective.

Roland Drews

Roland Drews is a content creator and editor at Arcane Eye. When he isn't watching basketball or noodling on his guitar, you can find Roland reading, writing, or playing D&D. He currently lives in Bonn, Germany with his girlfriend Jess.