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Critical Role Wiki
Critical Role Wiki
DEV 10-10 Goblinoids

Official concept art of the goblinoid races for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, by Steve Prescott.[art 1]

The Curse of Strife (sometimes written without capitalization[1]) was inflicted in the Calamity by Bane, the Strife Emperor. The term is used to describe the mental affliction on the goblinkin following the completion of their transformation from the dranassar,[1] and which has been carried forward by those who dedicate themselves to Bane.[2]


The curse instills in its victims the compulsion that leads them to evil by allowing Bane's foul voice to prey upon their minds from beyond the Divine Gate. The effects are unpredictable, causing some to become uncontrollably aggressive, others to become obedient soldiers, and yet others to become solitary criminals.[2]

Following the creation of the curse, the Strife Emperor used goblinkin as his minions in his conquest of the world. Few dranassar escaped the transformation, and those who did are living in the shadows (mostly in Wildemount, but some in Tal'Dorei), trying to find a way to help their kin rid themselves of the curse.[3] Whether they intend to rid goblinkin of only the mental affliction or to fully transform them back into dranassar is uncertain.

Clerics of the Strife Emperor can inflict the curse merely by casting the bestow curse spell.[2]

Breaking the curse[]

Goblinkin born within 100 miles of a Luxon beacon are shielded from the curse.[4]

Near-death trauma and extended compassion can both help a goblinkin break through the curse.[4][2]

In the Lushgut Forest is the Vinewreathed Enclave, a society led by bugbear druids of Melora who, decades before 836 PD, learned to use her magic to free themselves and their goblin kin of the curse of strife.[5]

Alternatively, one can simply cast the 3rd-level remove curse spell on the afflicted individual.[2]

Cultural consequences[]

There is a common but mistaken belief that, like the goblinkins' curse of strife, orcs and half-orcs are afflicted by a similar "curse of ruin" from Gruumsh. As a result, the union of orcs and goblinkin is still strictly taboo among Xhorhasian nomads because the elders fear the madness that would afflict a soul with both curses. As a result, despite many orcs in Xhorhas living in mixed bands with bugbears, most half-orcs in Xhorhas have human or drow blood.[6]

One reason many people of Tal'Dorei fear goblins is because they believe the curse is heritable.[2]

Behind the scenes[]

In the Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, the Curse of Strife was described as heritable, predictable, and particularly difficult to inflict, break, or fully recover from.

There was no mention of the curse being inflicted by a bestow curse spell. The curse was described as having predictable effects based on the specialized roles for which Bane had created each goblinkin race. The compulsion drove goblins to commit acts of wanton destruction and malice, hobgoblins to commit acts of conquest and despotism, and bugbears to commit to self-isolation so as to maximize the suffering of those they brutalize.

As the curse was inherited, those who are transfigured into goblinkin or are reborn as goblinkin were described as being free of the curse. The remove curse spell did not automatically break the curse but could aid in breaking it, especially if cast by a trusted companion.

A goblinkin who was freed from the curse was freed from its compulsions; however, they had likely internalized a bias inflicted by the curse, and might retain that aspect of their alignment even after the curse was broken.[1]

But just as the Curse of Ruin was retconned in the Explorer's Guide to make it less based on heritage, so too was the Curse of Strife retconned in the Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn.



  1. Goblinoids, Take Two (archived from the original at This file is unofficial Fan Content permitted under the Wizards of the Coast 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.