Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Goblin: A Custom Class for ACKS

"I am that merry wanderer of the night?"  I am that giggling-dangerous-totally-bloody-psychotic-menace-to-life-and-limb, more like it.
--Peaseblossom, in The Sandman:  A Midsummer Night's Dream

The other day, I pointed out that it's useful to have a character type in the campaign that combines excellent scouting ability, with excellent saving throws (my ill-fated Ode to a Dead Halfling).  Stealth lets the party gather more information, which leads to tactics and strategy and fun, and durability makes it a bit easier to rationalize the risk.  But not everyone likes those furry-footed crumb-snatchers that infest the Shire.  I recently got the ACKS player's guide in the mail, and there's a thorough chapter on creating custom classes.  Without further ado, I present the Goblin - a custom class for ACKS.  (If I must choose an adjectival surname, I shall refer to it as the Goblin Skulk).

Goblins are mischievous, thrill-seeking wanderers from the realm of fairy (I wouldn't use the humanoid of the same name in the campaign).  They delight in risk and adventure; they eschew creature comforts for the open road and the cold of night.  They are the opposite of hobbits and halflings in every way imaginable.

Goblins use 1d6 HD, and fight like a thief of the same level, also limited to leather armor.  Their saving throws are modified by their natural resistances (see fey-blooded, below).  At 1st level, they Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and Backstab like a thief of the same level.  At 3rd level, they gain Pick Pockets (like a 1st level thief), and then gain Open Locks at 5th level and Climb Walls at 7th level.  (I could be talked into changing around the timing and order the thief abilities unlock).

Because they are Fey-Blooded, goblins are naturally resistant to effects, gaining a +4 on all saving throws (but only +3 vs breath weapons).  They have Infravision to 45'.  Due to their ability to use Glamor, they are "difficult to spot", fading away from sight when remaining motionless.  Goblins appear Inhuman, giving them negative reaction modifiers to humans and demi-humans, but gaining a similar bonus when dealing with fairy monsters.

Goblins need 1,600 XP to advance to level 2, and can achieve a maximum level of 13.

  1. 0
  2. 1,600
  3. 3,200
  4. 6,400
  5. 12,800
  6. 25,600
  7. 50,000
  8. 100,000, and each level thereafter

There you go - a simplified replacement to the Halfling, that focuses on stealth, murder, mischief, and durability.  One of my players can do a spot-on Gollum voice imitation, and I'm sure he'd have a ton of fun skulking around the shadows with this type of character… SNEAKING.

Note:  If you're not using ACKS, it's easy to take a sharpie, cross out the word "Halfling" in your Moldvay BX book, and write in there, GOBLIN.  Halflings get some additional bonuses to AC and missile attacks, but I like the addition of the thief abilities and backstab here - more mischief potential.

*Inspirational image is Robin Goodfellow, Puck, the original goblin, from the excellent Sandman comic, A Midsummer Night's Dream, by Kelley Jones and Charles Vess.  One of my all-time favorites.


  1. Hmm, looks like you've deviated a bit from rules-as-written for the thief ability unlocks, but it makes sense.

    I might have to steal this, but I'd rename it Dwarf. Nice!

  2. I might switch climb walls and pick pockets, since I'm totally imagining this class skittering up walls.

  3. "'s easy to take a sharpie, cross out the word "Halfling" in your Moldvay BX book, and write in there, GOBLIN."

    No word of a lie, I just did this yesterday!! I feel even better about it now.

  4. Neat creature, that. But why "goblin"? That causes it to replace a perfectly good race of existing monsters. Why not come up with a new name? It's a Skiltch. (AFTER coming up with that word I noticed it handily sounds like a portmanteau of SneaK and filch. Appropriate, yes?)

  5. Hey, Beedo -- Do you mind if I format this and make a png file in the same manner as this ACKS Phraint class?