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Goblin sprite.png


Urist likes goblins for their terrifying features.
Goblin portrait.png

Any location

Alignment: Evil

· Learns · Humanoid

Cannot be tamed 
Birth: 3,000 cm3
Mid: 15,000 cm3
Max: 60,000 cm3

Child at: 1
Adult at: 18
Max age: Immortal
Cannot be butchered

Wikipedia article

This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

A medium-sized humanoid driven to cruelty by its evil nature.
A goblin riding a beak dog, drawn in crayon by Bay 12 Games.

Goblins are intelligent, evil, aggressive humanoid creatures that live in dark pits, and are the main opponent in fortress mode. They often establish settlements in dark fortresses within regions touched by evil, though it may be hard for some to imagine that goblins are capable of building those obsidian monoliths. They quickly become a threat to the great majority of fortresses - except some island or mountain forts.

Goblins will start harassing a fortress early in its life, first with babysnatchers, and later with sieges. Goblin babysnatchers carry a bag for their purpose. Their soldiers are commonly armored with copper and iron armor, and armed with copper, iron and silver weapons, generally with no quality levels unless on weaponmasters, and also typically accompanied by other creatures, such as other humanoids they have successfully kidnapped, trolls and beak dog mounts. Their items can be a valuable source of metals for fortresses that embarked in metal-scarce areas (leading some players to refer to the plunder from a defeated goblin attack as goblinite). Defeating a majority of an attacking force usually sends the rest of them running.

Goblins are immortal beings, dying only to violence and disease. For spoiler reasons, they never need to eat or drink, despite being carnivorous. Graphically, goblins can appear with different shades of green skin.

Goblins speak the goblin language.

Some traitors dwarves like goblins for their terrifying features.

Ethics and values[edit]

Dwarf head pixel.png  This article or section contains minor spoilers. You may want to avoid reading it.

Goblins show the least concern for ethics out of any race in the game, with the sole exception being that treason is punishable by death (which currently has no effect on successful attempts to bump off a leader). It appears that goblins do not enforce punishment, but instead simply ignore crimes and leave any punishment to be determined by the parties involved. It is because of their acceptance of controversial acts that goblins become enemies with nearly every other race. For example, goblins find the torture of animals, the butchering and consuming of sapient beings, oath-breaking, and general malice acceptable or consider it a personal matter.

Goblin civilizations are created when a particularly powerful demon escapes the Underworld. Such demons remain in charge until they're killed or otherwise defeated, in which case normal goblins will take their place. This could imply the reason behind their particular (lack of) ethics. Goblin civilizations in fact require these demons to appear in worldgen - should you use advanced world generation to forbid demons in your world, the goblins will be locked away in the Underworld in their place, and will remain there until they are freed by a civilization digging too deep and too greedily.

Goblins consider power to be of the utmost importance. They also value cunning, independence and martial prowess. Goblin society dislikes peace, perseverance, hard work, tranquillity, cooperation, tradition, decorum and friendship. They don't value loyalty, introspection, eloquence, harmony or nature at all. Goblins abhor law, truth, self-control, fairness and sacrifice. Individual goblins tend to be cruel, hateful, easily angered and immodest while having a low capacity for altruism and being swayed by emotional appeals. Despite their evil nature, however, they tend to be very tolerant creatures, and indeed, babies taken by goblin-snatchers are raised into fully-fledged citizens who are given the same rights and treatments as the goblins themselves, suffering from no particular kind of prejudice.


While aggressive, goblins are notably cowardly. Although they're brutal and sadistic, they will not hold the line against a superior force and are more than willing to sacrifice their wounded comrades in a badly organized retreat. Their strength generally comes from pure numbers, as they're usually weaker than a dwarf one-on-one (a notable exception is their weapon lords and masters, who can be VERY talented in warfare.)

Community outlook[edit]

Green and heartless.

Out of the non-player races, the goblins are the ones the player interacts with the most, given the fact they're the ones that are always hostile and eager to attack you. Compared to elves, goblins can actually be a threat to a fortress, and an unprepared player can easily lose all their dwarves by being overwhelmed by the greenskin tide. However, their tendency to run off when outmatched as well as a general feeling of dwarven superiority has led to the goblins gaining a reputation of being cowardly little bastards who rely on sheer numbers to match the might of a dwarven warrior. As the main enemies of the dwarves, goblins make for perfect target-practice in fun projects.

The community plays most of their evil acts for laughs (such as implying baby-snatchers are trying to save dwarven children from their unhinged parents), and generally treats them as being equivalent to ineffectual cartoon villains who can't quite get anything done properly. A goblin will generally be treated more favorably than an elf, though; despite goblins wanting dwarves dead out of pure malice, the antipathy the community has with the elves comes from their awful, stuck-up attitude, which goblins actually lack entirely. They're evil, but they don't pretend to be good.

D4Dwarf.png This article or section has been rated D for Dwarf. It may include witty humour, not-so-witty humour, bad humour, in-jokes, pop culture references, and references to the Bay12 forums. Don't believe everything you read, and if you miss some of the references, don't worry. It was inevitable.

Despite their bloodthirsty, selfish, unsympathetic and cruel nature, goblins are also recognized as a benevolent and merciful race in some aspects. Goblin Baby-Snatchers claim moral superiority by rescuing innocent lives from the slavery of making rock trumpets until they are eaten by a giant cave spider. Atrocities such as the so-called dwarven day care institution also spur snatchers to rescue the children from constant abuse. Goblin sieges are considered to be a form of mass mercy-killings, as a fort can die in the most horrific of ways, such as social disagreements, an infestation of parasitic organisms (some masquerading as dwarves) or worst of all: a visit from the circus. And goblins who are friendly towards dwarves have been observed after de-transforming from a werebeast.

In addition, dwarven science[Citation needed] has proven that the violence between goblins and dwarves does, in fact, start on a purely instinctual level. Leaving a goblin and dwarven child locked in a room together will result in them kicking, punching, and biting each other to death the moment they notice each other. Whether this natural animosity stems from uncounted centuries of war, or opposing viewpoints on the treatment of children has yet to be determined.

Despite being mortal enemies of the dwarves, goblins are still infinitely better than the despicable tree-hugging hippies.

Playing as goblins[edit]

Goblins are normally not playable in adventurer mode, as the player isn't able to make adventurers from their civilizations. However, you may be able to play as one if populations of goblins have been absorbed into dwarven, human or elven civilizations during worldgen, though as noted, they will not actually belong to the actual goblin civilizations, meaning your goblin and the others will be hostile to one another. "Goblin" settlements will sometimes be completely goblin-free, having been displaced by the descendants of children that were captured in ages past. In this respect, whilst they're a goblin faction, they're populated purely by unfortunate prisoners and other brainwashed humanoids.

By modding, however, goblins can also be played in fortress mode as well.

See also[edit]