Hobgoblin Guide 5e

Published on August 31, 2021, Last modified on May 5th, 2022

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What is this guide?

This guide is meant to give you an idea of whether or not the hobgoblin will be right for your 5e character build.

The color code below has been implemented to help you identify, at a glance, how good that option will be for your hobgoblin. 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 Hobgoblins in 5e?

Source: Volo's Guide to Monsters

If there is one thing hobgoblins love, it’s war. Even in times of peace, hobgoblin society is rich with military tradition, brutal laws, and a strict military hierarchy. Following orders and honoring the gods are non-negotiable rules in hobgoblin society, and all are meant to help achieve their most important goal – upholding the legion.

Glory is earned by honoring or aiding the legion in battle. Cowardice will not be tolerated. In fact, a hobgoblin would rather die than be called a coward.

Hobgoblins are a playable character race found in Volo’s Guide to Monsters.

Hobgoblin 5e Traits

Ability Score Increase: +2 CON and +1 INT is a strange spread of ASI. Of course, INT-based casters need to focus on INT and always like CON for added HP. That said, INT casters usually would rather see +2 INT over CON. For other classes, INT is usually a dump stat.

Size: Medium is the typical size of most races, and is neither good nor bad.

Speed: Hobgoblins have a standard walking speed of 30 feet.

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

Martial Training: Proficiency in two martial weapons and light armor opens up the door for options that many characters who choose the hobgoblin wouldn’t otherwise have access to, namely INT-based casters.

Saving Face: This is a cool trait. The bonus comes after you know you have failed your roll, meaning that you can save this ability for when you think you may change the outcome. Given that choice, being able to use it once per short rest is pretty powerful, especially when used to avoid failing a deadly saving throw. This trait works best the larger your party is (up to five), so if you aren’t playing with that many people it would be a good idea to recruit some NPCs or animal friends.

Hobgoblin 5e Subraces

Updated

In the Monsters of the Multiverse update, hobgoblins are now descended from the fey and have had their racial traits reworked to fill the role of a powerful support character.

Fey Ancestry: Advantage against being charmed and being unable to be put to sleep by magic will come in handy in some tough situations.

Fey Gift: This is such a unique way to make the Help action more interesting and really differentiates the hobgoblin from any other race. The most useful option is probably Hospitality to get temporary hit points, as even 1d6 + proficiency bonus is huge at lower levels. Note that Help actions can now be performed as a bonus action, meaning that if your build doesn’t regularly spend a bonus action this gives you far greater action economy on your turn.

Fortune from the Many: Very similar to Saving Face. Though the maximum ally bonus is now only +3, many people play in smaller groups so it may not matter too much. In addition, the number of uses being tied to proficiency bonus instead of once per short rest means you will probably be able to use this more times per day than before at higher levels.

Which 5e Classes Work With Hobgoblins?

The hobgoblin’s ability score spread is not good for the majority of classes, but Martial Training and Saving Face could make things work. Saving Face is good for any class. Overall though, the hobgoblin is really only viable for INT-based casters.

Artificer: +2 INT would be much more appealing for the artificer and the armor component of Martial Training is redundant. Still, proficiency in martial weapons, a CON boost, and Saving Face could provide a good foundation for a Battle Smith artificer.

  • Updated: Many artificers use their bonus action frequently, so Fey Gift isn't going to be used that often. Fortune from the Many is still very useful here.

Barbarian: Barbarians need STR to be effective.

  • Updated: Entering and leaving Rage uses up your bonus action, as do some abilities of the barbarian's subclasses, making Fey Gift hard to justify at times. Of the options, temporary hit points are probably the best use of Fey Gift to make you even more tanky and to give some support abilities to a barbarian. Fortune from the Many is good, especially since most barbarians dump several stats so this could help you succeed on tougher ability checks or saving throws.

Bard: Bards need CHA to be effective.

  • Updated: The hobgoblin creates an even more support focused bard with Fey Gift, combining nicely with Bardic Inspiration. With your large number of proficiencies, Fortune from the Many makes it even less likely that you will fail an ability check or saving throw.

Cleric: Clerics need some STR, DEX, or WIS to be effective.

  • Updated: Fey Gift provides an additional support ability to the cleric, who is often considered a supporting character in a party. Temporary hit points from Fey Gift aid in tanking for your party.

Druid: Druids need WIS to be effective.

  • Updated: Druids are not known for their extensive bonus action usage, so Fey Gift can be used at any time you see fit. The problem here is that druids have a tough time stacking AC, and Fey Gift requires you to be close to your ally, making it tough to use safely in combat.

Fighter: Eldritch Knights are interested in INT, and Saving Face could help with reliability. Despite this, a lack of STR or DEX may be too much to overcome.

  • Updated: Hobgoblins are an excellent choice for fighters as many builds don't have a steady use of their bonus action, freeing it up for Fey Gift. Fortune from the Many is handy to have in your back pocket in any situation.

Monk: Monks need DEX or WIS to be effective.

  • Updated: Hobgoblins just don't make sense for monks since most monks need their bonus action nearly every turn in combat. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.

Paladin: Paladins are too multi-ability score dependent to choose a hobgoblin.

  • Updated: Paladins can do very well in a supporting role, and Fey Gift enhances this and is a powerful use of your bonus action when you don't need it to cast spells.

Ranger: Rangers need DEX to be effective.

  • Updated: The ranger's bread and butter spells like hunter's mark use up your bonus action, so you may not have many opportunities to use Fey Gift. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.

Rogue: Arcane Tricksters are interested in INT, though without DEX a rogue may struggle.

  • Updated: Rogues need their bonus action for some of their most important class features, sidelining Fey Gift.

Sorcerer: Sorcerers need CHA to be effective.

  • Updated: Sorcerers are far too squishy to use Fey Gift in combat, as they would need to be close to an ally to provide the Help action. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.

Warlock: Warlocks need CHA to be effective.

  • Updated: Hexblades could use Fey Gift in combat, but other subclasses are far too squishy as they would need to be close to an ally to provide the Help action. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.

Wizard: Unlike artificers, wizards don’t naturally get access to any armor, so the light armor proficiency from Martial Training will do wonders for survivability. The light armor, combined with CON and Saving Face for saving throws and concentration checks creates a good baseline for a sturdy wizard build.

  • Updated: Bladesingers could use Fey Gift in combat, but other subclasses are far too squishy as they would need to be close to an ally to provide the Help action. Still, Fortune from the Many is useful to have as a failsafe for saving throws.

Sources Used in This Guide

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.

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