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Critical Role Wiki
Goblinkin of Exandria

Official art of a hobgoblin, bugbear, and goblin, by Nguyen Minh Hieu from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn.[art 1]

Goblinkin, also called goblinoids, is the term for goblins, bugbears, and hobgoblins, the three races created by Bane, the Strife Emperor, evil god of war and conquest, to serve him during the Calamity.


DEV 10-10 Goblinoids

Official concept art of the goblinoid races for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, by Steve Prescott.[art 2]

During the Calamity, Bane revealed himself to the dranassar, a strong, cunning, multitudinous race of humanoids then living in what is now Xhorhas. Many of them, enthralled by Bane's power, followed him willingly, and their capital of Ghor Dranas became the seat of the Betrayer Gods' power. Those who opposed him were bent to his will and were corrupted first. When Bane needed skirmishers, he twisted some dranassar slaves into goblins; when he needed loyal legions, he made some dranassar into hobgoblins; when he needed spies or brute force, he turned them into bugbears. As the war raged on, even those loyal to him were corrupted to fill the ranks.[1][2]

In the first centuries after the Calamity, the goblinkin tribes of Xhorhas were mostly confined to that region of Wildemount: Uk'otoa guarded the waters to the south for the Ki'Nau, and the surviving dwarves of Grimgolir prevented any tribes from moving to the west.[3]

The Curse of Strife[]

Though Bane was defeated by Melora in one of the final battles of the Calamity and banished beyond the Divine Gate,[4] many goblinkin are still affected by the curse of strife, which allows Bane's voice to prey on their minds and compel them to evil.[5] The curse has since been bestowed by those who dedicate themselves to Bane.[6]

The curse can be broken, but it is nearly impossible for a goblinkin to do so on their own. There are several ways it can be done:

  • Goblinkin born within 100 miles of a Luxon beacon are shielded from the curse. Any creature transfigured or reborn into the body of a goblinkin (such as through consecution) is likewise free of the curse.
  • In the Lushgut Forest, the Vinewreathed Enclave is a druidic order of bugbears and goblins who broke free from Bane's influence decades before 836 PD.
  • After being reduced to 0 hit points and returning to consciousness, they can make a Wisdom saving throw (DC 20), with advantage if they were brought back to life. On a success, the goblinkin breaks free from the curse of strife.
  • A goblinkin targeted by remove curse can also make this saving throw, with advantage on the save if the caster is a trusted companion.[5]

Unless the curse is broken early in life, the individual is likely to retain the same attitude toward law and chaos. The bugbears of the Vinewreathed Enclave, free of the curse, can easily work with other defenders of nature.[5]



Iron Authority[]


Depiction of a typical hobgoblin from D&D: Monster Manual, page 187.[art 3]

The Iron Authority is a hobgoblin empire still very explicitly under the sway of Bane. It is a highly regimented, militaristic police state in which hobgoblins are on top and goblins are second-class citizens who are clearly relegated to servant roles.[4]

Notable goblinkin: Tz'Jarr (the Iron Emperor), Zuun'dak (heir to Tz'Jarr's throne), Hdar

Republic of Tal'Dorei[]

  • In the Dividing Plains the Ravagers, lawless warbands of goblinoids and orcs devoted to Gruumsh, delight in murdering innocents.[7] Goblins only join the Ravagers as slaves—spoils from orcish raids of goblin nests. Those who show exceptional skill are forced to drink a concoction called skullfire that burns any remaining reason from their minds and makes them obedient and murderous.[8]
    • The Ravagers see the gnolls of Tal'Dorei, including the Dustpaw tribe that has integrated well in Turst Fields, as weak.[9]
    • The Herd of Storms sometimes has to defend itself from hordes of goblinoids.[10]
  • Hungry goblin scavengers threaten yeomen of the Bladeshimmer Shoreline outside of Emon's walls.[11]
  • Humans, dwarves, and elves of Tal'Dorei treat the endemic goblins like vermin, and look down on them for never having formed any society more organized than a temporary raid camp.[12]
  • The fiercely independent bugbears are renowned in Tal'Dorei's urban underworld as talented burglars and bounty hunters; those who avoid a life of crime tend to live alone in the wilderness as peaceful druids.
  • Hobgoblin scouts far enough from the Iron Authority to threaten Tal'Dorei's hill folk still pledge allegiance to the Authority, but they may be a little more independently minded; most are too heavily indoctrinated to seek freedom even when it's offered, but a few rare hobgoblins who have tasted freedom have defected from their units.[12] On occasion, a hobgoblin regiment may take control of an arm of the Ravagers and organize them into a more dangerous force.[13]

Notable goblinkin: Grud the Great

Elsewhere in Tal'Dorei[]

  • Ice goblins have been known to organize into hordes that can be threatening to Lyrengorn's wyvern riders.[14]
  • The peoples of the Mornset Countryside fend for themselves against godless hordes of goblinoids.[15] Alliances with local Lowborn giantkin help to protect them against hobgoblins from the south.[16]
  • As of 812 PD, the Orroyen elves feared the Iron Authority slavers, but the hobgoblins' expeditions were getting rarer due to their expense and losses to the terrors of the jungle.[17]
  • By 836 PD goblinkin comprise a significant minority in Niirdal-Poc, almost matching the number of humans;[18] the Crown Keepers visiting in early 843 PD noticed hobgoblins and goblins.[19]



Jester tattooing Gluzo by Andrew Jensen

Fan art of Jester tattooing Gluzzo, by Andrew Jensen.[art 4]

Abrianna Mirimm - BlackSalander

Fan art of Skysibil Abrianna Mirimm, by BlackSalander.[art 5]

Thanks to the power of the Luxon, goblinkin in Xhorhas are commonly free of the curse of strife. Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears are all common in the region. Goblinoids are a common sight in Rosohna[5] and collectively are the largest group in several of the Kryn Dynasty's main settlements: Asarius, Urzin, Jigow, and Igrathad.[20]

Goblinoids are integrated enough that, for example, half-elves in the region may have the yellow eyes and tufted ears of a bugbear.[21] However, 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.[22]

The Lolth-worshipping Children of Malice include some bands of bugbears and hobgoblins who raid outlying Kryn settlements[23] and trade caravans. Ironeye Jaglord Brukk, a hobgoblin warlord, leads one such band.[24]

Also within the Kryn lands is a cult of bugbears and hobgoblins who still worship Bane called the Lords of Strife.[25]

Notable goblinkin: Skysybil Abrianna Mirimm, Zorth, Umadon, Maruo, Uraya Hythenos

Menagerie Coast[]

Wensforth - BuckMoonArt

Fan art of Wensforth, by @BuckMoonArt.[art 6]

The bugbears and goblins of the Vinewreathed Enclave are slowly developing friendly relations with people living in the northern reaches of the Menagerie Coast, such as in Gwardan. But in the larger southern cities, goblins are a rare sight, and most people's familiarity with goblins extends only to terrifying stories of (still-cursed) goblins they hear from travelers.[5]

Notable goblinkin: Wensforth

Dwendalian Empire[]

Nott - Monica Magana

Fan art of Nott, by Monica M. Magaña.[art 7]

Goblins in the Empire form small tribal groups that try to avoid the attention of the Righteous Brand. As in the Republic of Tal'Dorei, goblins in rural areas still suffer under Bane's curse and are treated like vermin. Goblins in cities may be viewed with suspicion or even fear, but most city folk have less experience with goblin raiders and accept that not all goblins are evil.[2]

Notable goblinkin: Nott the Brave

Greying Wildlands[]

Nomadic clans of northern goblins form hunting parties and ride winter wolves in the Crystalsands Tundra.[26] Goblinoid bands have also claimed parts of the Rime Plains unchallenged.[27]


Goblins make up 15% of the population of the rough-and-tumble harbor city of Rotthold, second only to humans (30%).


The Duneburrow goblins of the Marquesian deserts have a fearsome reputation.[5]



  1. Official art of a hobgoblin, bugbear, and goblin, by Nguyen Minh Hieu from Tal'Dorei Campaign Setting Reborn. Used with permission.
  2. 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.
  3. Depiction of a typical hobgoblin from D&D: Monster Manual, page 187. This page contains 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.
  4. Fan art of Jester tattooing Gluzzo, by Andrew Jensen (source). Used with permission.
  5. Fan art of Skysibil Abrianna Mirimm, by BlackSalander (source). Used with permission.
  6. Fan art of Wensforth, by @BuckMoonArt (source). Used with permission.
  7. Fan art of Nott, by Monica M. Magaña (source). Used with permission.