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Our Goblins Are Different

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Goblins come in various alignments:
Chaotic Evil, Chaotic Busty, Chaotic Adorable,
and Chaotic Scientificial.

"Goblins don't need to justify their cruel acts. They're evil creatures."
Grandpa Seth, Troll 2

Goblins in fiction are usually small, ugly creatures which tend to be evil, crabby, and/or mischievous. While they're smaller and weaker than orcs (when the word doesn't refer to the same creature) and trolls (most of the time), goblins may make up for this by being dangerous in other ways. They may manufacture clever traps to trip up the unwary foe, or overwhelm him through sheer numbers. But goblins in folklore and fantasy fiction can differ almost as much as trolls do.

In folklore, goblins were diminutive household pests, or at best wild creatures, and were typically conflated with whatever trolls and/or faeries fit the trope. A stronger form of goblin may be known as a hobgoblin, though the term originally denoted the friendlier variety of goblin (the word "hob" being derived either from the shelf at the back of a fireplace and thus indicating "hearth and home" or from a Middle English nickname for "Robert"). English Puritans later started using the word "hobgoblin", originally meaning a friendlier variety of goblin, to mean "demon", which probably is why Tolkien used the word "hobgoblin" to mean "a bigger goblin". Both goblins and hobgoblins, if they were viewed at all as a mythical race, instead of just monsters or diminutive faeries of the nasty sort, would be generally considered the "dark" version of elves or dwarves in that culture.

In fantasy, goblins have gained a distinct purpose: their lack of size and strength makes any evil act they may commit seem comical by default, and thus they tend to serve as the lowest rung of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, and are usually the first kind of Mook a budding adventurer will fight, essentially making them The Goomba of RPGs. "Hobgoblin" has become the denomination for a stronger variety of goblins (which may or may not be conflated with the orc), typically closer to humans in size. This usage of the word was propagated by Dungeons & Dragons. Generally if you have both hobgoblins and orcs, hobgoblins will be a more "civilised" regimented evil while orcs will be dim, marauding barbarians — though, aesthetically, goblins will be the ones who grab their stuff from the scrap yard while the orcs will buy their equipment (or kill you and take it from your corpse).

Since many depictions of goblins have traits you'd find in certain propaganda there tend to be some unfortunate implications. This is especially the case when their design and mannerisms heavily borrow traits from said stereotypes.

Two trends in modern (approx. 2000s) fantasy is to make goblins have a slightly more fleshed out role by:

  1. Turning them into a Proud Merchant Race with a unique gift for managing your money, or separating you from it.
  2. Making goblins masters of technology, often shunned by other races in the setting (with gnomes, dwarves, and humans being possible exceptions). In accordance with the less-than-serious overall image of goblins, their inventions tend to be rickety and unstable, hilariously violent, or they simply explode spectacularly at the slightest provocation.

See also Our Orcs Are Different, for another fantasy species goblins are often linked to, and Our Kobolds Are Different, for another species with similar folkloric origins and use in modern fantasy, as well as Standard Fantasy Races.


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  • The Haunted House: The Secret of the Ghost Ball: going off of Shinbi as an example, goblins are small, green magical creatures who feed off the energy generated by human dwelling places. They're more mischievous than evil, and are cute rather than grotesque.
  • The Hétszűnyű Kapanyányimonyók or Kapanyelű Facika from Son of the White Horse, based on Hungarian folklore, is a small, mischievous, and insanely powerful entity, seemingly made of clouds and lightning — and, in a twist not taken from folklore, is actually God in disguise. While alternatively called "Seven Winged Skull-Size Gnome" or "Seven Hearted Lobahobgoblin" in English, its archaic name actually means something like "Seven Cubit Beard and Skull-Sized Egg/Testicle", with his alternative name meaning "Hoe-Handle Sized Dick". The film mercifully focuses only on the size of his beard.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Goblin Is Very Strong goblins, especially female goblins, are the hapless prey of low level adventurers. With the exception of the protagonist who has managed to reach the level cap.
  • Goblin Slayer, surprisingly, subverts this. Goblins in the setting are, in many ways, surprisingly generic, with many of the characteristics common in fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons-type settings. They're as small as a human child, with the strength to match, and while dangerous in large numbers, an experienced adventurer can usually make short work of them. Chapters one and two of the manga show, in horrific detail, what goblins do to inexperienced and woefully under-prepared adventurers who foolishly try and raid their lairs, intent on exterminating them and rescuing the maidens that the goblins had kidnapped for breeding purposes. If there's one thing that's different about the goblins in this setting, it is the fact that there is absolutely nothing funny about them: They are absolutely terrifying.
  • Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash: Goblins in the series are intelligent creatures that have a bit of a social order, with upper-class ones taking wives and banishing those that lose to them in battle to the Old Town. The exiled ones are the ones most often seen, staking a claim to the surrounding area. They also come in different types. Mud goblins are the lowest kind, while proper goblins have pouches they use to carry valuables. Hobgoblins are roughly human-sized, but are dumb and used as servants.
  • In The Legend of Snow White (which gives the story of Snow White massive Adaptation Expansion), goblins are fire spirits, short in stature and humanoid but with distinctive triangular noses. Their ruler is Prince Gobby, who starts out as a villain who tries to force Snow White to marry him, but has a Heel–Face Turn when he finds true love with a girl goblin named Memole.
  • Overlord (2012): Goblins are described as being like a cross between humans and apes. Goblins here are the standard vicious little bastards who can only deal damage in great numbers (and accompanied by ogres at that). However, those summoned by YGGDRASSIL's horn (originally a low-level item that summons a small mob of different goblins such as casters, archers, wolf-riders, etc.) are scarily competent, not only an effective guerrilla force in their own right but loyal to their summoner, who end up Training the Peaceful Villagers and helping them build fortifications. We later meet Agu, who belongs to the hobgoblin subspecies. They're Caucasian instead of green, smarter, more articulate and physically better than regular goblins.
  • Peter Grill and the Philosopher's Time: Has goblins being One-Gender Race who wish to rape members of the other species to breed much like many other examples except here they are all-female and after males, so it's played for comedy. Most of them are not portrayed as traditionally attractive by human standards, but main character Gobuko and some of her cohorts are hot Hobgoblins and she ends up in the protagonist's Unwanted Harem.
  • Goblins in Re:Monster are similar to the ones in Goblin Slayer. Although females exist, they find it easier to breed with other races so the men often kidnap and rape human women. Being set in an RPG Mechanics 'Verse, they can level up and evolve into hobgoblins which are bigger, stronger and smarter.
  • Goblins in So I'm a Spider, So What? look like giant mice and spend most of their time trying to level up and become hobgoblins because it's the only way to lengthen their 11-13 year lifespans.
  • That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime: The goblin tribe Rimuru originally meets are short and weak physically like children, though they are intelligent and skilled enough to quickly erect fortifications as well as use basic weapons like spears or bows, and have a fully functional culture and language. After he names them, they transform into "Hobgoblins" and "Goblinas" for male and female respectively, who essentially resemble green-skinned adult humans with developed canines and pointy ears save for the actual children. Except for Gobta, who still appears the same ("My growth was more of a spiritual type!"). Personality-wise, however, they're practically no different from tribal humans who have no issues with coexisting with former enemies in peace, with a fully thriving civilization easily coming into existence under Rimuru's watchful eyes.
  • Digimon Frontier has Grumblemon, a weird combination of a gnome and a goblin with Earth based powers, who in the English Dub also has a You No Take Candle speech pattern.
  • The goblins in So Whats Wrong With Getting Reborn As A Goblin? have some oddities to them. Alongside their blue skin, rather short lifespans (around a week at most), and no need for sleep (due to these short lifespans limiting the time they have to do everything else), these goblins also have the ability to pass on their "birth spells" and inherit traits that are separate from their base status. These inherited traits cannot be transferred to another goblin after they die, only their base stats. The main goblin, Akira, carries the "octogenarian" status, which allows him to live for 80 human years.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Goblins, most often present as the standard fantasy breed of diminutive, destructive green-skinned and big-eared humanoids, are the characteristic creature — a creature type that shows up multiple times each set as several smaller common creature cards — of Red, the color of chaos, emotions and impulsive behavior. They're not evil, though, just rowdy and destructive, and serve as the game's comic relief race.
    • Goblins from early sets tend to be portrayed as much more dangerous and malicious than in their later portrayals. The goblins of Terisiare, in particular, waged a long series of wars against the continent's human kingdoms during the period of cooling temperatures and dwindling civilization covered in The Dark. The Terisiarean goblins also include a couple of distinct sub-breeds in the form of Marsh Goblins, bald and floppy-eared goblins with short tails that even other goblins shun "thanks to certain unwholesome customs they practice", and Scarwood Goblins, a larger and more cunning kind only found in certain deep forests.
    • Most worlds' goblins fit this schema fairly closely, including those of Dominaria, the setting's main universe, as well as those of the City Planet Ravnica and the metallic world of Mirrodin... before it was destroyed by the Phyrexians, anyway.
    • Many other worlds, however, have rather more unusual goblins:
      • Rath has Moggs, a genetically engineered strain of goblin which is larger, stronger and has a distinctive ridge on its head. They're still not very intelligent, though.
      • The Kyren goblins of Mercadian Masques were inversions of the normal stupid headstrong goblin: They are the true rulers of Mercadia. They're actually more evil than most other MtG goblins.
      • The Akki of the Japanese mythology-influenced plane Kamigawa are based on the kappa of Japanese folklore. In fact, the concept has often been described as "fire kappa". In the Time Skip between original Kamigawa block and Neon Dynasty, they've acquired a bit of a Mad Scientist streak along with a fondness for Tim Taylor Technology (as pictured in the page image).
      • Lorwyn boggarts are more adventuresome and intelligent than most, but have a total lack of care for life—their own or others'. Shadowmoor boggarts are nearly mindless eating machines. Shadowmoor also has hobgoblins, who are basically angry hobbits with fangs; spriggans, sizeshifters who can turn from weedy runts into towering colossi; murderous redcaps; and stream hoppers, bizarre creatures with a single leg, arm, and eye. All are classified as goblins in the game.
      • Goblins on the Alaran shard of Jund are ratlike creatures who simply live to be eaten by the dragons that dominate the shard.
      • Fiora's goblins are slightly larger than goblins on other worlds, with hunched backs and the males usually sporting beards. They're actually fairly smart when allowed to be, but are treated as a Fantastic Underclass by the humans of Paliano.
      • Tarkir's goblins are hairy, aggressive and dim little critters who are primarily associated with the Mardu Horde. There's a variant breed with white hair who dwell in the snowy areas that serve as home to the Temur, but the majority of goblins are either Mardu or neutral.
        The Mardu all enjoy war, but only the goblins make a game of it.Flavor Text for Mardu Scout.
      • Ixalan's goblins, in keeping with the Age of Sail/New World theme of the set, more greatly resemble monkeys, are covered in fur, and have prehensile tails. They are still mischievous and are mostly pirates.
      • Eldraine, a plane inspired by Arthurian myths and the tales of the brothers Grimm, is home to redcaps much like Shadowmoor is — in this case, they're vicious, barbaric wilderness-dwellers who were chased out of civilized lands long ago, dye their hats with the blood of their victims and ride giant weasels.
    • In terms of actual gameplay, most Magic goblins are small, cheap creatures that lend themselves well to Zerg Rush tactics or to use as convenient sacrificial fodder. Some even come with relevant abilities built right in.

    Comic Books 
  • Gold Digger: The Gaoblins were once a race that fought with the Dynasty as their willing army. But when their masters ran for quasi-space, they abandoned the Gaoblins to the rest of the universe. In order to hide from the universal lynch-mob from killing them they slaughtered the Eldrich, Trolvic, Atlantian and Krynn. Then disguised themselves genetically as the ones they slaughtered. All except for the ones who resided on the Dynasty's base-station "Oblivion" remained true Gaoblin.
  • Fairly standard short green ones appear living across the ten worlds of Asgard in Marvel's The Mighty Thor. The fire giant Surtur has a race of children called the Fire Demons that are occasionally called Fire Goblins. Their bodies are constantly on fire and their height varies.
  • Spider-Man features a number of villains with goblin motifs (mostly Green Goblins and Hobgoblins). They are usually just super powered humans with gadgets. The only exceptions would be Demogoblin who was a demon that was once bonded to one of the many Hobgoblins and the Ultimate Marvel version of Norman Osborn who could turn into a green brute that bore a closer resemblance to a goblin.
  • Van Von Hunter volume 2 has the "darkness-loving goblins" in that world as "elves" corrupted by demonic magic. Hollow-tree, cookie-baking elves. Who still make great baked goods. They make AMAZING brownies. Which are Comfort Food to the Sidekick, and Really Good to a pack of zombies that snaps them out of a hunger from brains in Volume 2 (the zombies then want the brownies instead). The brownies have made a king reconsider not having them operate in his kingdom (where they could do great business selling their baked goods).

    Comic Strips 
  • Little Nemo in Slumberland gave us the Boomps. While most goblins in Nightmareland are evil, the Boomps are good goblins who are outcasts in Nightmareland and enemies of the Nightmare King.
  • The goblins in Phoebe and Her Unicorn are basically civilized, but speak entirely in "blart"s, which Marigold can translate. Their laughter causes apps on phones to crash.

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, it is posited by Harry that goblins are just humans under a sort of inherited genetic curse and not, lamentably, an incredibly valuable second data point for the origin of intelligent life. (This is, however, never confirmed in the story, leaving Epileptic Trees to grow).
  • The Haunted Mansion and the Hatbox Ghost Fan Verse takes a mention of "goblins and ghoulies" in canon, a Marc Davis sketch of a short chicken-footed ghost, and rolls with it. Harking back to the original medieval goblins, these goblins are a type of spirits (though they do have the 'deformed little humanoid' look when visible). They are very mischievous and are a level under demons.
  • In My Little Warcraft - New Friends after being brought to Equestria and having his hair conditioned, Gai'vahros Dawnbreaker makes an offhand remark about how expensive it is to get a haircut from Goblins. Twilight is initially weirded out by this statement on the grounds that Goblins from Equestria are brutish uncivilized creatures that wouldn't be trusted to open a cupboard for her.
    Gai'vahros: No. No, neither would I, my Lady Twilight. They would probably find a way to blow it up.
  • In the There Was Once an Avenger From Krypton universe, Tales of Arcadia-style animalistic goblins are the main variety, with Harry Potter ones being a subspecies with a more human-like intelligence.
  • Hopkoblins from We Can Be Heroes are pale-skinned, wide-eyed goblin aliens loosely based on the Hopkinsville Goblin. The males tend to be built like their inspiration thanks to being hairless, tiny, and having long, thin limbs. The females meanwhile are taller and proportioned closer to humans, have hair, and tend to be more muscular. They hail from a ridiculously bleak planet called Dizmol, and as a whole tend to be grumpy, miserable people with mannerisms based on surly New Yorkers.
  • In With Strings Attached, the goblins of Goblin Valley are “a burnt orange, big-headed, toothy folk, averaging three feet in height.” George has to become one, and to his great disgust he discovers that “he was weak, his head made him oddly balanced, his tongue was long enough that he could have made Gene Simmons cry, and almost from the moment he became the thing he started craving meat and got a permanent hard-on from wanting to screw everything in sight. He ended up having to *ping* turn himself into a eunuch and prayed to God he wouldn't get stuck that way”.

    Films — Animation 
  • Goblins as depicted in The Hobbit by Rankin/Bass Productions look very odd compared to most stereotypical depictions of goblins, large (at least to a hobbit), putrid creatures, either hugely muscular or fat. They also had bulbous toad-like heads featuring tusks, lupine ears, canine-like noses, horns, and even two throats. This design is recycled in The Return of the King. Also, they are amazing singers.
  • The goblins in The Princess and the Goblin have incredibly tough skin, to the point that boulders falling on their head don't bother them and swords bend when they strike. They're incapacitated by even light blows to their feet though, and cheerful singing repels them.
  • Maleficent's goons from Sleeping Beauty are usually interpreted as being goblins, being small, green, idiotic, animal-like (as in pig-like, bat-like, bird-like and crocodile-like) mooks.
  • Strange Magic: The goblins in the film are pretty diverse, ranging from (relatively) small ones with bird beaks to frog-like ones to big muscly scaley versions. Their king is both more humanoid and more insect like.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Field Guide to Evil: In "What Ever Happened to Paganus the Pagan?", goblins are minor demons from Greek Mythology. They dwell in The Underworld and are only allowed to travel to Earth one day a year, Christmas, where they play tricks on drunken humans, like a low-power version of The Krampus.
  • The Gremlins of the Gremlins films are basically goblins, though with a very odd life cycle (start off as a fuzzy creature, mutate into a green-skinned furless creature if they eat after midnight, reproduce spontaneously if exposed to water...). The Gremlin is a folkloric creature dating back to at least World War II. It jams guns, pokes holes in radiator hoses, tears engine gaskets, and performs other acts of technological sabotage. Gremlins feature in several Bugs Bunny propaganda shorts from the era.
  • Hiruko The Goblin: The titular goblins are more like Big Creepy-Crawlies that like to attach human heads to their bodies.
  • In Hobgoblins, they're plush-sized furry space creatures that can make your deepest fantasies manifest. They're also incredibly incompetent for monsters. They only manage to kill one guy in the entire film. They even failed to kill one of the main characters!
  • Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit adaptations portray the goblins as small orcs that live in the Misty Mountains (though this distinction is nowhere to be found in the original books, which use "orc" and "goblin" interchangeably, and only arguably appears as one line in The Hobbitnote ). As indicated in supplementary material, the filmmakers envisioned the goblins as originating from remnants of Morgoth's orc armies that fled under the mountains after the end of the First Age.
    • The Goblins of Moria featured in The Fellowship of the Ring are green-skinned with large eyes, wear heavy armor, and are very adept climbers. Word of God is that they have a cult worshiping the Balrog as their god, with their armor and weapons modeled after its appearance.
    • The Goblin-town Goblins featured in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey are pale, riddled with deformities, and generally more feeble-looking than their Moria counterparts.
  • Labyrinth features goblins as its villains. Most of them are straight examples of the trope, except the Goblin King, who looks like... well, David Bowie. Probably why fanon almost universally maintains that Jareth is a fairy, that and he fits the profile extraordinarily well. (An alternative fanon explanation is that Jareth is, basically, the previous Toby. This is seemingly confirmed in Labyrinth: Coronation by Simon Spurrier, although Spurrier says the book is non-canon and has an Unreliable Narrator).
  • Legend: Darkness' evil minions are goblins. Their chief, Blix, looks the most like a classic goblin, with wrinkled, greenish skin and a giant beak of a nose. Pox however is a furry goblin with a piglike face.
  • Master Yoda from Star Wars has a similar look to a classic goblin but otherwise he is truly different. He is a wise, benevolent and nimble creature who is only comical when he is Obfuscating Stupidity to test a potential new disciple.
  • Troll 2, which has nothing to do with Troll and has no trolls in it, is about goblins in a town known as Nilbog. They are evil vegetarians who can disguise themselves as humans, which they like doing to trick people into consuming some kind of creepy green stuff that turns them into piles of spinach, so that the vegetarian goblins can eat them. The goblins are portrayed by little people wearing potato sacks and masks, which come in a total of three different designs, one of which is hilariously bug-eyed. They also fight with fishing spears, even when they're trying to hunt people.

  • In Fighting Fantasy, goblins are among the races created by evil gods and are innately tainted with Chaos. As chaos creatures, goblins have evolved into various subspecies including Sewer Goblins and the even weaker than normal Lesser Goblin. There are also the more dangerous Mutant Goblins who really got "blessed" by Chaos to becoming monstrous freaks.
  • In the Savage Realm books, one recurring character is Grazu the Goblin Merchant. This Intrepid Merchant regularly leaves the fantasy setting of the Savage Realm and travels throughout the universe to find wares for his World Famous Emporium (which is a stall that pops out of his small travel bag). Among the items for sale, he has a Halfing battering ram, a ballista and toilet paper. Unfortunately he's sold out for his M5000 Pulse Plasma Rifles.

  • In NERO, goblins are green, small and have orange mohawks. Depending on the average player level of the franchise the can range from significant threats in large numbers to comedy relief. Hobgoblins are reddish-brown and have more hit-points and are less likely to be used as comedy relief.
  • In Dagorhir, goblins and orks are a collective ("the greenskins"). Although the orks are the larger and more powerful folks and typically wield more authority and influence, the Big Boss is currently a goblin. Consequently their "cunnin' plans" tend to involve less brute force and more silliness. With the exception of a few, they are predominantly cannon fodder.
    • Note that the spelling of "ork" with a K is intentional. Also note that here the difference between "goblin" and "ork" is predominantly a question of size, and that they are otherwise functionally identical.

  • Artemis Fowl goblins are reptilian and have fire powers. To quote the book: "Goblins; evolution's little joke. Take the stupidest creature in existence and give them the ability to conjure fire". Of course this is more Fantastic Racism than anything. Goblins are arguably the lest intelligent type of Fairy, but they can speak, have a culture, and are held individually responsible for breaking Fairy law, unlike some other creatures found below ground (like Trolls) that are basically just animals. They seem to be unbelievably stupid by the standards of other intelligent creatures, but more intelligent than actual animals.
    "Missed me", said the goblin, waggling his forked tongue. It was a testament to the goblin's stupidity that he could be trapped in a melting vehicle during a lockdown with an LEP officer firing at him, and still think he had the upper hand.
    • Artemis asks why the LEP assumes the conspiracy has to be headed by non-goblins. Foaly explains that goblins are so stupid that they caught the head of the cartel because he signed his real name when using a fake ID.
  • Eldon Thompson's Asahiel trilogy played most High Fantasy tropes extremely straight, but was notable for putting fresh spins on several nonhuman races — such as goblins. In this world, rather than being small and weak, goblins are related to elves, human-sized, highly intelligent, and extremely fast. This last in particular makes them one of the most dangerous of the "monster" races in the trilogy, generally ranked by those with experience fighting them only behind giants and dragons.
  • In Asteroid made of Dragons by G.Derek Adams, goblins look like the typical goblin but they are fully part of civilization (the main character is a goblin astronomer) and goblins have superhuman strength. The main character is a bookish weakling by goblin standard and she can bend iron bars.
  • The goblins residing in the underground ruins in Below have a thriving civilization, including a religious order, and they're just as capable with magic and spellbinding as humans are.
  • Bruce Coville:
    • Goblins in the Castle: The goblins, while definitely weird (no two look exactly alike — some are big, some are small, some have varying-size limbs, some don't have limbs at all, and some have or don't have tails), are mostly snarky and pragmatic, and tend to be a lot more decent than many human characters. They also have a sort of emotional hive-mind; their King's emotions affect all the others. Meaning that when he's happy, they're happy, and when he's in an angry and deranged mood, so are the rest of them.
    • Coville's book and children's stage play The Dragonslayers features "goons", which are plainly run-of-the-mill dimwitted goblins who serve as henchmen to the witch antagonist.
    • The Enchanted Files: As explained in Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, Goblins in the Enchanted Realm are about three feet tall, with big noses, big feet and flopping ears. The ones the Carhart siblings and their traveling companions meet are pretty friendly. They're also strong enough to pummel a sea serpent when it attacks their ship.
  • Crowthistle Chronicles: The goblins are completely different. They've been sealed up in a cave for so long that the folk tales about them have confused them with their diminutive, aggressive and stupid servants (Kobolds, so-called because they're some form of construct made of cobalt). The Goblins turn out to be more like traditional elves — tall, skinny, aristocratic. They're also vegan, but the whole book they appear in turns out to be thinly veiled propaganda for PETA...
    • Also some fun back-to-front etymology there. The element cobalt is named after the mythical kobolds, because medieval miners blamed them for poisoning the mine when they got sick from either inhaling arsenic-laden cobalt dust, or attempting to smelt the mineral, mistaking it for silver ore.
  • Discworld:
    • Unseen Academicals establishes goblins as a distinct—and extremely rare—species, similar in appearance to small and odd-looking humans. The only known literature about them is the anthropological text Five Hours and Sixteen Minutes Among the Goblins of Far Uberwald, which according to the author was five hours too long. Incidentally, orcs are introduced in the same novel, but are something else entirely (despite which, humans tend to confuse them).
    • They are elaborated further in Snuff where they are presented as an entire race of Woobies, forced on the edges wherever they go, classified as vermin or property by law in most of the world. They are extremely skilled craftsmen in a very narrow field of making delicate, ornate pots, and they also demonstrate an unexpected skill for stunningly beautiful music and, as of Raising Steam, pretty much anything involving fine detail as well becoming a fixture on the clacks and the new trains. They even build their own underground steam engine, and invent the bicycle.

      The pots are extremely important to what is essentially their religion and entire culture all in one, being something made by a magical process out of anything handy that can't be replicated by non-goblins. The religion is founded on the notion that if one's body is a temple then the things that come out of it are holy, and thus the pots are used to store things like snot and nail clippings; this has given them a reputation for being unpleasantly obsessed with all things nasty and unhygienic.
    • It should be noted that Discworld cover artist Paul Kidby draws Pratchett's goblins to bear a striking resemblance to the Gremlins of the 1984 movie directed by Joe Dante. In a meta sense, gremlins are what the humans of the Discworld imagine the goblins to be like. This might be a deliberate attempt to depict a race of beings whose physical appearance inspires an immediate sense of disgust rather than sympathy, which the reader - along with the human characters- must learn how to overcome.
  • Goblins in The Dresden Files, at least the ones under the Erlking are not unintelligent cannon fodder — they're professional hunters and warriors, and have abilities that make Harry compare them to "...ninjas. From Krypton". At one point they get the drop on an entire Red Court vampire commando team and take them down without making a sound. Of course basically any supernatural entity in the series is a lot stronger and faster than a normal human, Goblins, especially in numbers, do not seem to be something anyone wants to deal with.
  • Two married goblins appear in Fancy Apartments, Mr. and Mrs. Scruvy. The husband works for a magic item shop, and the wife is a witch.
  • Falling With Folded Wings: Yeksa are small, barely intelligent humanoids who capture and eat whoever they can. The System doesn't even bother to translate their language, giving the impression they're completely non-sapient.
  • A Fantasy Attraction has a horde of goblins (Of the typical type: Short, stupid nasty). intruding into the house. A hobgoblin also appears, shorter than the goblins, but polite and civilized.
  • The one appearance of goblins in the Garrett, P.I. novels was surprisingly peaceful, in that the goblins in question were bounty hunters Garrett paused to chat with in the street. They were searching for a runaway wife, which was their main line of work: in this world, goblin males outnumber females seven to one, and the gobliness had grown sick and tired of over-macho oafs brawling over possession of her. Note that the goblins rode mangy, red-eyed wolves in the middle of a human city, without rousing any disturbance, thus both adhering to and subverting their usual LotR image.
  • General Punk duology has goblins as protagonists. They're pragmatic warriors of roughly human size, with inherent magic talent and humanoiditarian reputation.
  • In The Goblin Emperor, goblins have an advanced civilization and sometimes intermarry with elves, such as the case with the Emperor of the elves and a minor goblin aristocrat.
  • "Goblin Market" is a long, long, long Narrative Poem by Christina Rossetti where the goblins are merchants who offer lavishly-described fruit to humans. One of the main characters eats some and starts to waste away, human food being no good to her any more. One interpretation is that the goblins represent foreigners, polluting the innocent with their eeeevil trade and cosmopolitanism; another is that the poem is a Coming of Age Story about a girl's sexual awakening.
  • The trilogy of Goblin Quest, Goblin Hero, and Goblin War both plays cliches about goblins straight and subverts them. They are mostly depicted as mean, repulsive, and selfish, but they're not actively malevolent to anyone they don't think has antagonized them first, and the hero of the story is a goblin.
  • The Goblin Wood takes this trope and runs with this trope to the point you can see the goblin themed gear it wears.
  • Brian Froud's Goblins paints them as something like mischievous fairies, intent on driving people insane with constant minor pranks like dancing on freshly cleaned floors with dirty feet or removing your ability to lie in social situations.
  • Charles Dickens wrote a now-obscure Christmas-themed ghost story (which has strong shadows of that other one) called "The Goblins who Stole a Sexton", sometimes retitled "The Gravedigger and the Goblins" or similar such, about a mean-spirited gravedigger who is kidnapped by goblins on Christmas Eve and taught a lesson. Though the creatures are ultimately beneficial, they are also distinctly ghoulish and sinister. Received an even more obscure animated adaptation from Emerald City Films, which is probably more terrifying than the creators intended.
  • The goblins from Harry Potter are diminutive characters with long hands and long feet who maintain the bank and mint of the British wizard community. They're slightly friendlier than most other goblin examples listed here, and as Professor Flitwick shows are capable of interbreeding with humans. History classes suggest the past was filled with bloody wars between wizards and goblins until the two sides arrived at some sort of lasting accord, which, combined with goblin society having a very different concept of ownership than wizarding society (the right to a manufactured good remains with the manufacturer; any exchange of money for possession of a goblin-made object is therefore a lifetime rental, not a permanent transfer of ownership), has left both wizards and goblins convinced the other are perfidious thieves by nature. This causes problems at a crucial moment of the final book, when some goblins with whom Harry and co. had made a deal decide the terms have been met by the stingiest definition possible and try to forcibly repossess the sword of the centuries-dead Godric Gryffindor.
  • Eric Kimmel's "Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins" has a synagogue haunted by creatures that resemble demons but are still called goblins. Their Goblin King is "too horrible to describe" and thus depicted as a shadowy silhouette with large wings, Horns of Villainy, and a gaunt, skeletal hand. (David Bowie he ain't). The goblins seem to follow a Sorting Algorithm of Evil, as they first send an imp, followed by a scarier goblin every night until their king shows up. It is not made clear what they do normally, but on Hanukkah they tend to ruin the townspeople's lives For the Evulz and keep them from lighting the candles.
  • In the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy, goblins basically look more or less human with random bestial mutations. Each new goblin king has to kidnap a human wife for himself to bring fresh genes into the gene pool.
  • The Immortal Empire series by Kate Locke has very different goblins. In most settings goblins are at the bottom of the power scale, not here. In this setting, the Black Plague mutated and one variant allows for the undead vampire who end up sustaining the Victorian Empire with their immortality and high strength (they don't have the normal limiters that most people have). The other variant allows for the werewolves which don't have the immortality or other undead advantages, but have true superhuman strength from their augmented muscles and size increase. Goblins are those rare individuals who have both virus variants and have ALL the benefits of each strain. They'd be at the top of society's pecking order except that their numbers are small and they lack anyone connected to the Victorian aristocracy (or so they thought).
  • The Iron Teeth's main protagonist is Blacknail the goblin. In this setting goblins are common animals with enough intelligence to develop crude language and be trained. They are sneaky and mischievous and often blamed for stealing things. They aren't big enough to threaten people normally but can be dangerous when in large packs or if their prey is weak or wounded. When goblins eat enough and feel safe they evolve in hobgoblins. Hobgoblins are smart, vicious, and don't play well with others.
  • In Lynn Abbey's Jerlayne, goblins look like your Dungeons & Dragons Drow and act as protectors to the elves. In return elves provided them with metal goods that have been purged of their toxic effect by female elves. Or so the elves were led to believe... The reality is far more diabolical. Ages ago, the goblins came up with an idea — they wanted a servitor race that'll eventually become livestock. The goblin queen looks like an exceptionally beautiful woman with pale skin and jet-black hair. The goblins knew about the existence of another dimension, one that had the human race. So goblins would enter this other world and capture humans to mate with the goblin queen. The resulting child was an elf. And when an elf mated with another elf, the result was another fantasy being that would occupy a necessary niche in the ecology. When the goblins had enough useful creatures and treated metal goods, they intended to eat the elves that they purposely kept ignorant.
  • In Kringle, they live underground, have an insatiable desire to steal, and feed off of fear. They also come in various sizes and colors, ranging from green, to red, to black.
  • Caleb Carr's The Legend of Broken has the Bane who are human but who generations of inbreeding have from people exiled from the title city for falling short of it's religion's standards of beauty has resulted in a diminutive and largely unattractive (although at least one is handsome enough to play The Casanova among Broken's women) race who harbor great hostility towards said city. Unlike most examples of this trope they get a Sympathetic P.O.V..
  • In the Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas Sniegoski, Squire is the goblin of this Supernatural Team and its least powerful member. But he's no little green man in a loincloth. While he's shorter than the average human, he's got Stout Strength from being very stocky. Squire can also teleport himself and materialize medieval weaponry.
  • Rucks in the Mithgar novels are explicitly described as goblins; they're short, scrawny humanoids with big, bat-like ears that generally get used as cannon-fodder by the Big Bad's forces. They're not really Always Chaotic Evil, as most of them are barely sentient and not really qualified to make moral judgments in the first place. Their same general body type comes in two other sizes as well—Hloks are human-sized and much more intelligent, filling the hobgoblin/orc niche, and Trolls are about twelve feet tall and immensely strong, though just as stupid as their tiny cousins.
  • In Nine Goblins, the goblins have a cohesive society and by default are fairly good-natured, but have been forced to become more warlike in response to their treatment by the other races, who regard them as savages or vermin and have no qualms about annexing their territory. There are some hints of the modern "technical wiz" take on goblins, especially with Murray, who invents, for instance, a basic refrigerator.
  • The Noddy series has two greedy and lazy goblins as recurring villains. They basically look like small inbred elves.
  • In the October Daye series the title character has a pet rose goblin which looks (and generally acts) like a cat only made of thorny vines.
  • In The Oddmire, goblins are generally pretty nice, though rambunctious; for example, a goblin folk dance involves "more biting and headbutting than you'd expect". Most of them don't have magic, but every once in a while a changeling is hatched, with the whole baby-switching thing being a ritual to keep the horde from losing their power. Two of the main characters are a pair of "twins", one of whom is actually a goblin changeling, though it takes most of the first book to learn which one.
  • George MacDonald's Phantastes mentions them in passing, in amongst a gathering of Plant Person fairies:
    From the lilies above mentioned, from the campanulas, from the foxgloves, and every bell-shaped flower, curious little figures shot up their heads, peeped at me, and drew back. They seemed to inhabit them, as snails their shells; but I was sure some of them were intruders, and belonged to the gnomes or goblin-fairies, who inhabit the ground and earthy creeping plants.
  • George MacDonald's goblins in The Princess and the Goblin. Thoroughly nasty. Intending to kidnap the princess and marry her to the goblin prince.
  • Rivers of London: Zachary Palmer, a Half-Human Hybrid who's father was a Fae, who is also a Big Eater, a Compulsive Liar and has talents that would mostly put him on the wrong side of the law, is apparently a goblin, although Peter thinks this just shows that the demimonde's terminology is entirely random.
  • Second Apocalypse has the sranc, a race of small, foul creatures with bodies like hairless dogs and faces like porcelain dolls. They were created by corrupting Nonmen DNA with Organic Technology to create a biological weapon against humans and the Nonmen. They have a literal lust for carnage, can survive on almost anything, and reproduce so quickly that they can carpet nations.
  • Lisa Shearin's novels (starting with Magic Lost, Trouble Found) feature "goblins" that are basically grey-skinned elves, with fangs, several levels in badass, and a tendency towards BDSM, cannibalism, and general nastiness. They're basically Dark Elves, but believably well-written.
  • The Hobbit parody The Soddit by A.R.R.R. Roberts has Gobblin's. Which are basically intelligent turkeys.
  • In The Spiderwick Chronicles, goblins are roving scavengers that resemble devilish toads. They love playing mean-spirited pranks on humans and are born without teeth, thus placing various small sharp items in their gums to act as substitutes. Closely related are the bat-faced hobgoblins, which are similar to goblins in nature except friendlier (if even more mischievous). Goblins serve as the Big Bad's minions while a hobgoblin is the resident Anti-Hero.
  • In Achten Tan, the world of volume one of Tales From The Year Between, there are tomgoblins and hobgoblins. One's green, one's blue, both are very small. At least one type is capable of forcing their body to eat pretty much anything of pretty much any size.
  • In the Tenabran Trilogy, goblins have a bad rap among humans because they made up the bulk of the Sorcerous Overlord's armies, but it turns out that they're really not that bad, they just suffer from a species-wide lack of resistance to sorcerous mind control. Left to themselves, they're a peaceful and artistic race—but good luck getting people to believe that, particularly since they're still definitely ugly by human standards.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium: In Middle-earth, the word "goblin" is just the English translation for "orc" ("orc" being a Hobbit and Rohirric rendering of the Elvish orch), and the two are used interchangeably in The Lord of the Rings. In the Author's Note to The Hobbit, Tolkien specifically says, "Orc is not an English word. It appears one or two times but is usually translated goblin (or hobgoblin for the larger kinds). Orc is the hobbits' form of the name given at that time to these creatures..." (he later ruefully added that he looked up the etymology of "hobgoblin" again and found it in fact implied smaller goblin or other mischievous creature). This can be seen in the early drafts of The Silmarillion (The Book of Lost Tales), where all the beings referred to in later drafts as "orcs" are still referred to as "goblins". That said, fans tend to use the term "goblin" to refer specifically to the Orcs of the Misty Mountain, since that subrace features most predominately in The Hobbit, which mostly uses the term "goblin" instead of "orc". Tolkien's orcs, in fact, very closely resemble common modern fantasy goblins (far more so than common fantasy orcs) as they're a fast-breeding, wretched, violent race that are individually small, cowardly, and weak (among other things: 4-foot Hobbits can consistently disguise themselves as Orcs, Gimli prefers to fight Orcs instead of Men because the latter have what he deems an unfair size advantage, and "a huge Orc chieftain" is described as "nearly Man-high") but make up for it with overwhelming numbers and a surprising amount of craftiness in both dirty battle tactics and combat engineering. The modern orc most likely took inspiration from the Uruk-hai, who were taller, stronger, braver, and rumored to have some human ancestry.
  • Touch introduces a goblin race that are actually considered to be humanity's greatest allies among the magical races. They have No Biological Sex, basically look like weirdly androgynous humans, and were originally created when elves (who are The Fair Folk in this series) interbred with something akin to mushrooms.
  • Vainqueur The Dragon: Dragons use them as servants, as described in the first chapter.
  • The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams uses goblins as a stand-in for oppressed minorities, fitting with the "modern" Faerie setting.
  • In Xanth, goblin males are ugly, rude, cruel, and stupid due to a curse by the harpies that made their females prefer goblins of that type and subsequent natural selection. Their females are essentially the opposite. The curse is eventually lifted and the normal selection pressures result in their breeding back to their ancestors, effectively ceasing to exist as goblins. This is shown as a good thing.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Goblins are used by witches as Familiars in Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. They take the form of animals but when being summoned or killed they look like ugly bald Horned Humanoids with Pointy Ears.
  • Guardian: The Lonely and Great God: Kim Shin, the title character, is a dokkaebi, the Korean equivalent of a goblin. He's nothing like most Western versions of goblins; he looks like a normal human, but he's immortal and has supernatural powers.
  • Merlin had a literal goblin in "Goblin's Gold". It was a small, greenish, bald creature that loved gold and playing tricks on people. It made several people fart, made Uther lose his hair and gave Arthur donkey ears. It could take over a person's body and control them, and the only way to get it out was to almost kill the host.
  • Phineas on Power Rangers Mystic Force was only half-goblin. But being half troll, both halves combined to make a really ugly guy, according to his explanation of his Back Story.
  • Star Trek: Just as Vulcans and Klingons are basically Space Elves and Orcs respectively, so Ferengi are very much Space Goblins and may have helped inspire the recent interpretation of goblins as a mercantile race.
  • The Mandalorian: Grogu, being another member of Yoda's species, creates a lot of mischief for his adoptive father Din Djardin.

  • Gloryhammer: On their second album, Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards, The "Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy" attacks a human-based Imperium with a space battlefleet and a magic crystal that can unleash "evil from the sky.", which he then gives to Evil Sorcerer Zargothrax so he can wreak even more havoc.
  • Canadian folkpunk band The Dreadnoughts have an instrumental track called "Goblin Humppa". It has a very manic, slightly sinister energy, as befits the title.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Hobgoblin is Hob Goblin, or Robert/Robin Goblin, also known as Robin Goodfellow or Puck. He's a cheerful sprite sometimes associated with the Devil. You call him Hob to avoid speaking his name and Goodfellow to avoid speaking offense.
  • Greek Mythology had the kobaloi, small mischievous goblinoids that liked to trick, scare, and bite people. In addition to them were the kallikantzaros, which were hairy trouble makers that lived underground, but unlike kobaloi, were sometimes described as large and bestial.
  • The Redcap of Scottish folklore, a short figure wearing a cap drenched in the blood of travellers clubbed to death by him. He requires the blood to survive and can be warded off by reciting a verse of The Bible or with a crucifix.
  • The toyol of Malaysian Mythology is a ghost in the form of a baby with fangs, green skin and pointed ears who steals things from humans. They can be stopped by scattering buttons, sweets, coins, toys or marbles on the floor because they will stop and play with them.
  • The Hopkinsville Goblins, a group of cryptids (generally assumed to be aliens) alleged to have terrorized a family in rural Kentucky. They were described as having glowing yellow eyes, large pointed ears, big heads and spindly limbs in addition to being three feet tall and Immune to Bullets.

  • The Account, a podcast audio drama, features Nyro Guillome, a modern-day goblin squire who possesses a keen sense for magic and considerable one-on-one fighting finesse. She's also considered traditionally attractive, though the all-audio show makes it difficult to confirm that.
  • Dice Funk: The Blackhearts are led by a goblin simply called The Fox. While short, he has no problem holding a unicorn over the side of a ship with his strange red hand. Then there's the sword sticking out of his neck....
  • In Past Division, the goblins have been severely buffed from their canon Dungeons & Dragons counterparts, and also experience an increase in height.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Noddy Shop has a family of goblins that are tiny, ugly-cute people. The mother and father are mischievous rather than outright mean, while their son, Boobull, doesn't want to be that way.
  • Wimzie's House features two goblin children among Wimzie' daycare friends, siblings Jonas and Loulou. They're light green, froglike creatures. Their species has no effect on their personalities, though: they act just like any other kids.

  • Adylheim has goblins that can only be seen through the corner of the eye, and spend much of their time seemingly moving small objects around randomly. Oh and touching them is very, very bad luck.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Bleak World: Goblins are part of the Jotun race and are generally speaking the most destructive, they believe that the Jotun were kicked out of heaven because they were to weak and seek to prove that this is no longer the case by raiding and killing all across the Earth.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the hobgoblins, things that live in the dimension between Earth and Faerie. They're not quite as powerful as the True Fae, but they operate by the same fucked-up rules as them. They're also extremely diverse, ranging from Will-o'-the-Wisps to kelpies to cunning merchants to gigantic trapdoor spiders.
    • While hobgoblins are monsters from the Hedge, it should be noted that "goblin" is a word signifying not the type of creature, but a type of behavior, so to speak. "Goblin" can refer to any fae being who is opportunistic and disloyal (whether a Changeling or a hobgoblin of any sort), or someone who works for a Goblin Market. There are also a lot of Changelings that could be described as "Goblin-like", especially those of the "Wizened" seeming.
    • In Changeling: The Dreaming, on the other hand, the closest thing to goblins are the Nocker kith, wiry and foul-mouthed individuals with a tendency towards mad science (and Explosive Instrumentation). In folklore "nockers" or "knockers" are more or less the same as kobolds. Goblins later appeared as their own race, one of the Thallain, and part of the Shadow Court.
  • The Chronicles of Aeres has two kinds of goblin. Standard goblins are an Always Chaotic Evil created by literally wringing every last drop of goodness from the soul of a gnome or halfling, creating a feral, barely-sapient creature motivated purely by hate and spite. If they live long enough, they grow into Orcs. In comparison, Drauglirs are gnomes who were mutated by exposure to Black Magic; they're surly, avaricious and have a very "goblinlike" appearance, with sickly green skin and haggard builds, but they're one of the non-evil races of the setting, and hate the Vulgraks for turning them into their new state. Drauglirs are known as master trap-builders, and can also briefly assume a form of living obsidian.
  • Chronopia: Most goblins are vassals of the Blackblood Empire serving as nimble scouts and cannonfodder. But from various jungle tribes there are Dual Wielding Swordmasters, the desert-dwelling shock troop Crimson Blades with their two-handed falchions and also the empire has goblins riding Ripper-Beasts, vicious landbound bird-reptile hybrides somewhat reminiscent to the prehistoric Axebeak.
    • There is one free tribe of goblins who grew powerful enough to become their own faction. The Swamp Goblins are a primitive tribe who are well-versed in herb and insect lore - allowing them to tame the beasts and master the use of poison. The Swamp Goblins are also allies with the Elven House, Yellow Lotus.
  • The Dark Eye: Goblins are creatures with reddish-brown fur. They still are clever, dangerous in large numbers and often get bullied by larger races like orcs. Instead of wolves, they ride wild boars, which is also how they depict their mother-goddess. In the latest edition of the game, goblins (along with orcs and lizardmen) became a playable race.
  • In Dragon Dice, goblins are a race that is equivalent in strength to any of the other races. They are composed of the elements of Earth and Death, and find their home in the swamps of the setting. Instead of the usual warg or wolf mounts for their cavalry, they have trained leopards to serve as mounts.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The goblinoids, as they are referred to in-universe, are a broad family of related species and one of the most common and diverse categories of both sapient humanoids and enemy types; while generally similar insofar as they share a humanoid body plan, large and pointed ears, long arms and unpleasant dispositions, they otherwise cover a good deal of this trope's uses and variations:
      • Goblins proper, being small, cowardly, and sneaky critters, are the most common and most "basic" type of goblinoid and usually fit the bill of first-level adventurer fodder.
      • Hobgoblins, the second of the three main goblinoid species, are larger and more orc-like, and tend to be militaristic and intelligent. They also despise goblins, seeing them as weak and contemptible runts — when a hobgoblins encounter their weaker cousins, they typically either conscript them as cannon fodder, enslave them or just wipe them out. In Eberron, Hobgoblins used to control most of the main continent. They had an empire that fell due to extraplanar and human invasions. In the current situation, goblinoids range from working-class laborers to scholars or well-to-do merchants. There's also a hobgoblin-ruled country that tries to recreate some of the old empires' splendor. Goblins and bugbears were also an integral part of the empire, though they were not the ruling class.
      • Bugbears, the third main species, are even bigger, and are brutal, savage thugs who enjoy attacking from ambush. They rarely form their own societies, generally either living alone, joining hobgoblin warbands as hired muscle or taking over goblin tribes by force.
      • Of course, with Eberron having no such thing as Always Chaotic Evil (except for planar/fiendish creatures), Goblinoids are not always evil. While they do practice slavery, Goblinoids are also more tolerant of other races than humans themselves (they will allow worthy humans, dwarves and even halflings to join their clans with full citizenship if they are badass enough).
      • Other goblinoid species — generally either rare, setting-specific, obscure or all three — include norkers, note  nilbogs,note  varags,note  vril,note ; dekanters,note  bhukas,note  forestkith,note  and many others.
    • Besides the goblinoids proper, there's a tremendous number of small humanoid races that could fit the "goblin" profile, and might even be called goblins in other worlds. Among others, there are meazels,note  tasloi,note  xvarts,note  phanatons,note  dark creepers,note  meenlocks,note  blindheimsnote  and many many more.
      • Kobolds (small lizard-like creatures related to dragons, Retconned from the original scaly but mostly doglike humanoids) serve a similar as goblins insofar as providing cheap adventure fodder for low-level players, but can be somewhat more dangerous to unwary heroes due to their aligning to this trope's affinity for artifice far more than true goblins — especially where Booby Traps are concerned.
      • Among The Fair Folk, there are mites (small, pathetic goblin-like creatures that live underground and have a strong affinity for arthropods) and redcaps (essentially as they are in fairytales — murderous little imps who enjoy dipping their hats in the blood of their victims).
      • Ravenloft has "goblyns", humans transformed by a curse or spell into scaly, fanged brutes who unquestioningly obey the evil master who transformed them. Gremishkas, furry snarling pests resembling rabid monkeys, are more animalistic than either goblyns or goblins, but match the fairy-tale "goblin" concept, being small aggressive creatures that enjoy thievery and sabotage.
  • Exalted: Hobgoblins are the least of The Fair Folk, serving their more elegant kin and creators as footsoldiers, raiders and servants, although the Fair Ones' retreat from Creation after their failed invasion left many hobgoblin bands stranded in pockets of Wyld energies and cut off from the rest of Fair Folk society. They're always monstrous and misshapen in appearance, although beyond this their shapes can vary wildly based on their makers' whims or the dominant elemental influences of the areas where they make their home — hobgoblins in the swamps of the South may take the form of dark, red-eyed stalkers in the fog, while ones from the Northern snows may bear thick coats of white hair and long ivory tusks.
  • Fiasco: Goblins in the fanmade playset Goblin Uprising are ambitious, reckless, significantly less smart than they think they are, unscrupulous and not overly concerned with morality: in other words, perfect Fiasco characters. They ride spiders, breed rats to eat, form alliances with virtually anything up to and including a brood of goo monsters, create explosives, and practice strange magics such as "kleptomancy" (divination by theft), Torog's Uncontrollable Explosive Flatulence, and the summoning of random planar beings.
  • Gobblin' focuses entirely on the creatures. They're obnoxious little creatures that are commonly green, but vary in color, size, and shape. They actually have a slow but powerful Healing Factor that lets them reattach or regrow body parts, though the majority of them are unaware of this fact and may flee at the first sign of danger. They were considered annoying and useless (but dangerous) enough to be banished entirely from their universe and dumped into a post-apocalyptic Earth. They happen to love it there and start to rebuild it as their own world.
  • Godforsaken: Hederar are goblin-like humanoids native to the Comerelk jungle, small of size and selfish of spirit. They dress in furs and skins, and use crude tools and weapons of sharpened wood or stone. They eat flesh and greedily lust after shiny treasures of any kind. They live in small, wandering bands and sometimes capture and force other creatures, like wolves or hyenas, to serve them. They also each have a unique, and mostly random, magical ability that they can innately access.
  • GURPS, being a generic system, can offer various sorts of goblin. For example:
    • GURPS Goblins features an entire alternate Earth exactly like ours circa the 1830s, but inhabited only by goblins — a parody of Regency England. These particular goblins are extremely varied, being shaped by the exact forms of mistreatment they suffer in childhood, but are alike in being base, crude, and vulgar, as well as standing up to cartoon levels of interpersonal violence.
    • GURPS Banestorm features goblins as short, green humanoids, immigrants from the mostly arid desert world of Gabrook. They are intelligent, civilized and naturally curious, and actually fit well enough into human society. Hobgoblins are their larger, dumber cousins; while a few live among goblins as servants, most remain hunter-gatherers living in small bands in the wilderness.
    • The GURPS Dungeon Fantasy line (with its standalone spin-off The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game) is a GURPS implementation of "standard" tabletop fantasy games, and hence has goblins and hobgoblins in their standard role as the foot-soldiers of evil. However, it is possible to play an exceptional goblin or hobgoblin as a character.
    • GURPS Fantasy Folk: Goblins and Hobgoblins reviews the range of goblinoids from legend, fantasy, and games, and details four types of goblin, some drawn from previous GURPS books (the "mean" dungeon fantasy type, the smart type from Banestorm, dim-witted but nigh-indestructible comedy goblins, and quite formidable, quasi-folkloric "spirit" goblins) and two types of hobgoblin (another "mean" dungeon fantasy type and the surly versions from Banestorm).
  • In Ironclaw goblins are really different. Also known as Morrignai and one of the few creatures in the setting that can truly be called monsters, they look like eight-foot-tall wolves with the heads and wings of ravens. With their strength and magic resistance just one can seriously threaten an adventuring party. According to Phelan legends they used to steal children and other horrific things but ages ago the druids went to war with them. Both sides barely survived the conflict and have largely left each other alone since then, but the goblins still foster a deep hatred for the tribes.
  • Iron Kingdoms: Multiple different breeds of goblin, or goblin-like creature anyway, show up.
    • Gobbers, the "standard" goblin of the setting, are a widely spread, intelligent and peaceful (for the most part) race that can be found all over Immoren, often becoming traders, alchemists and mekaniks.
    • Boggers, a larger and more aggressive strain of the Gobber race, are more hostile towards other races, but are territorial rather than outright malevolent.
    • Pygmy Trolls, or "Pygs", are the Trollkin equivalent of goblins, being small, weak versions of the common Trollkin who are fully aware of their puny physiques and so compensate for it with brains; they form the most adept gunners, scouts and ambushers of the Trollblood forces.
    • Skorne, the setting's equivalent of hobgoblins, are a distinctly Asiatic-looking race of Lean and Mean human-sized Hordes from the East who shun religion, believe in The Nothing After Death, and have a Proud Warrior Race culture backed up by a unique form of pain-fueled Blood Magic.
  • Pathfinder: There are goblins and many off-shoots.
    • Goblins are dangerously stupid pyromaniacs who loathe dogs and horses (the feeling is mutual), are terrified of writing (it can steal your soul!), and sing horrible merry songs about eating babies. They also have a subrace called "monkey goblins" who use their hand-like feet and prehensile, rat-like tails to live an arboreal life. They serve as the franchise's Mascot Mook, and are included among the base playable races of Second Edition alongside the traditional humans, elves, dwarves and half-elves and half-orcs, which operate under the assumption that players are taking the role of one of a small but growing minority of goblins who are attempting to integrate more into civilization.
    • Hobgoblins are as militaristic as the Dungeons & Dragons norm but are so universally ambitious that they can't hold an army together for long, being an entire race of Starscreams. Despite this, two hobgoblin nations exist, although both are fairly recent. Kaoling, in Tian Xia, was established following the collapse of the empire of Lung Wa a century or so before the setting's present time, and is known for its incredibly treacherous and cutthroat politics; Oprak, in the Mindspin Mountains of the primary setting, is established after the events of the Ironfang Invasion adventure path as a homeland for hobgoblins in particular and monster races in general, and is held together by the iron will of its ruler, General Azaersi.
    • Bugbears are psychotic Serial Killers who live for the smell of fear and are unnervingly good at hiding in places nothing that huge should be able to fit... like behind your door or under your bed.
    • The kijimunas of Tien-Ma, which appear in the Jade Regent adventure path, are red-headed, very human-looking goblins who inhabit coasts and rivers. Absent-minded practical jokesters, they love to fish and play pranks and would probably be written off as harmless, if annoying, goofballs were it not for the fact that their tricks can lead to injuries or even death. Fortunately, they don't usually intend to kill people (corpses are boring; you can't play tricks on a corpse), and they actually have a well-earned reputation for supplying food to villages suffering from famine. Like regular goblins, they have an irrational attitude towards a specific race of animals, which in their case manifests as a deep fear of octopuses — though they're not very fond of spiders, either. They're actually based on a real Japanese youkai.
    • Grindylows, meanwhile, are basically aquatic goblins that mingle a blue-skinned goblin with an octopus, mermaid style, though they're considered aberrations rather than goblinoids. They love octopi, but possess the typical goblin antipathy for a certain animal species-in this case, squids.
    • Goblins and hobgoblins are both statted as playable races, and balanced against humans. Which means that competent members of their kind make capable adventurers... or enemies that can wreak havoc on a party that underestimates them.
    • Outside of the true goblinoids, there are a number of fey creatures inspired by folkloric goblins, such as the small, pathetic mites and the murderous redcaps who stain their hats red with the blood of their victims.
  • Rifts:
    • Psi-goblins are psychic goblins brought to Rifts Earth as enforcers and soldiers for the Federation of Magic. They are cruel beings who hate anything and anyone beautiful, and are expert and eager torturers.
    • The demon goblins of Wormwood are ugly, vicious humanoids native to another dimensions, from which they were brought to Wormwood by the sorceress Salome; as Salome also freed them from the rule of a cruel alien intelligence, they are fanatically loyal to her. They are cruel killers and cannibals who feed on their own kin. They may be distant kin to the goblins of Rifts Earth and the Palladium Fantasy world, but are much stronger and more organized than them.
  • RuneQuest: Goblins are actually a type of elf. Also called Red Elves, they are short, plant-based humanoids who only live for a few months and are born as diminutive adults with full mental faculties in place.
  • Shadowrun:
    • "Goblinization" is the term used for the phenomenon of adults turning into orks or trolls when the metatypes first emerged.
    • Actual goblins are dwarves infected with HMHVV Type I, the virus that turns humans into vampires. Goblins are emaciated, hairless beings with only minimal intelligence, immune to fire and vulnerable to iron. They eat raw meat, often from sapient beings.
    • Hobgoblins are something else entirely, being a regional variant of ork native to the Middle East and Central Asia. Hobgoblins are wirier and skinnier than other orks, have greenish skin tones (orks usually just have human colorations) and solid black eyes, and have a very strong sense of personal honor that demands that they obtain payback for any slight done against them.
  • The Small Folk: Goblins are one clique among the titular Small Folk They aren't especially evil, but they are aggressive and angry, with an attitude, and often wear baseball caps (back to front).
  • The Splinter: The Voormis. They're horrible, yellow, misshapen proto-men who invoke an instinctual feeling of revulsion and horror in other sentient life-forms. They're born as small, rat-like creatures and gradually attain a near-human form as they age.
  • Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game introduced hobgoblins to Azeroth long before they existed in the video game continuity. Here, they were depicted as goblins subjected to an alchemical "augmentation" that transformed them into hulking brutes favored as bodyguards and soldiers with vastly enhanced strength and toughness, but diminished brainpower. These hobgoblins look like giant purple-skinned goblins with claws who secrete acid from their skin.
  • Warhammer: Goblins are small, weak, cowardly and cunning and probably a good deal cleverer than the orcs, having been the ones to come up with catapults and bolt throwers. They are extremely weedy, and as such usually spend their lives being bullied by any Orcs in the area, when they're not simply being bullied by a bigger Gobbo (and that's assuming they don't just knock you over the head and eat you). In Greenskin armies, goblins infantry is largely limited to being cannon fodder and blunting cavalry charges; others act as skirmishing troops and light cavalry, and as the primary beast handlers of the hordes. The main route for advancement among goblins is magic use, as goblin shamans can rise to some considerable prominence even over orcs by using supernatural power to make up for their physical weakness. Additionally the typical goblin has a phobia of elves that's acute enough to affect them in battle.
    • Goblins are very widespread and adaptable, and numerous distinct variants — mostly cultural, but in some cases with clear physical differences as well — exist throughout the world, besides the "common" kind seen alongside Orcs.
      • The Night Goblins are an underground-dwelling sort mostly found deep beneath mountain ranges. They breed mutant (and carnivorous) mobile fungi and ingest magic mushrooms that turn them into frothing, super strong madmen, and are fond of trickery and ambush. They've dwelt underground so long that they find sunlight painfully bright, and always wear distinctive black robes and pointed hoods when aboveground.
      • Forest goblins live deep within the Old World's forests and worship spiders, and frequently turn up riding spiders that range from "wolf" to "townhouse" scale.
      • Hill Goblins, also known as Great Goblins, are unusually large and aggressive Goblins found in hilly areas of the Badlands, and can grow to be almost the size of an Orc.
      • Very early editions include Red Goblins, a particularly evil kind created by ancient wizards as servants and agents. The Red Goblins still follow their ancient masters' goals, although whether these still live isn't known.
    • Snotlings are even smaller, weaker and stupider than other goblins. (An' dat's saying somefing!) They can construct ramshackle steam-powered chariots, and, since the average snotling has a vocabulary of five words and has only just figured out that being kicked hurts, nobody has any idea how they do this.
    • Hobgoblins are a bit like big (human sized) goblins, but are even more deceitful and prone to backstabbing. They have their own civilisation (a Mongol style khanate far to the east of the Old World), but are mostly seen in their role as slave drivers working for the Chaos Dwarfs — which is part of the reason even other greenskins will have nothing to do with them. This is something of a downplay on how they were originally portrayed. In the older hardback book editions, Hobgoblins were not quite as tough as Orcs, but far more disciplined, and not only dressed like Mongols but also rode around on animated stone temple dog guardians of the Chinese style. They were also more humanlike in build and size, and were the only goblinoids in Warhammer to be able to grow hair. Now they're just bigger goblins.
    • Gnoblars are large-eared and -nosed Goblinoids who get bossed around by the Ogres, as the latter are marginally less likely to eat them than other creatures are and hanging around Ogres provides a modicum of safety from other dangers. They mostly live in the Mountains of Mourn and their foothills, but maps of the Badlands also mention Gnoblar tribes existing there. There are also mentions of Boglars, swamp-dwelling Gnoblars who live in the Marshes of Madness in the southern Badlands.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Gretchins and Snotlings — collectively called "Grots" — are the setting's version of goblins, being weedier, thinner and shorter relatives of the Orks who are routinely bossed around, kicked, and occasionally used as helpers, ammo caddies, ammo, missile guidance systems, mine-clearing equipment, human... er, Grot shields, practice targets, and emergency food supplies by those same Orks. They are, however, a fair bit more important than that suggests.
    • Gretchin are societal organisers, making sure everything runs okay behind the scenes; Orks are noted many times as not having much energy for anything other than war. During the sporing process, Grots arrive before the Orks, actually making sure the Orks have a society to inhabit when they show up. They are in most part responsible for the entire Orkoid race's domestic and commercial (non-war related) endeavours. There are even Grot entrepreneurs called "Dodgas" who seem to mostly have the talent for ripping off other Orkoids. Grots are rather understated in most Ork fluff, because their importance is less reflected in matters of warfare, and so is unsurprisingly not particularly well explored in 40k.
    • Snotlings also have more importance, although most of it is implied. It seems Snotlings have some use in keeping the Squigs in check, and were at one point originally the most dominant and intelligent part of the race, but are now merely childlike.
    • Of course, there is also the Grot Rebellion...

  • Arguably the most famous goblin in all fiction is Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow or Hobgoblin (Hob being possibly a nickname of Robin), from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. A version of the aforementioned folklore character, he's a cocky shape-shifting trickster who disdains mortals. He performs a role somewhat reminiscent of Cupid in making people fall in love with each other for his own amusement.

    Video Games 
  • In Age of Wonders, goblins generally have cheap and weak units that make up for their weaknesses using poison. They are a filthy and evil race that prefers the underground, and they love to cause destruction and chaos even if it means they have to blow themselves up while doing it. They also have a twisted sense of aesthetics, as they hate the smell of perfumes, and try to stink up their caverns as much as possible by means such as wearing old socks as long as possible. Also, one goblin hero's profile describes her as a magic user who is skilled in altering her appearances, and she chose a form most hideous and repulsive to other goblins to strike fear into them. She happens to look like a slightly funny-looking little girl.
  • In the Real-Time Strategy game, Armies of Exigo, Goblins are diminutive, greenskinned hunchbacks, who have a tribal culture, and fight with boomerangs. They form a part of the Beast-Man hordes, alongside the Kobolds, Ogres, Trolls, and Lizard Folk, and can be mounted on the backs of the cow-like Boron for greater effectiveness.
  • Atlantica Online, going by the original myth, has goblins as a sort of demon that looks much like humans and are extremely strong for their level, completely inverting the usual portrayal.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Orcs and goblins are technically the same species; goblins just happen to be born very small. Since orc society believes in Might Makes Right, the smaller and weaker goblins are forced to live under the boot of the bigger and stronger orcs, who rely on goblins to perform most menial tasks when they're not sending them into battle as cannon fodder.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has goblins called goblings as common enemies and NPCs. The first variation is water gobling, a green goblin that is found near water and wears a spiked ball for armor. The second kind are trash talking goblins made out of fire. The next two are a friendly lizard like monk goblin and an allied purple goblin who unknowingly wears a pack of TnT on his back. An unnamed, invincible, flamethrower-using gobling is also present in one level.
  • Corruption Of Champions: Goblins are a One-Gender Race of short note , alcoholic, sex-crazed monster babes who wear nothing but a few Stripperiffic leather straps across their large waists that lets them show off their Impossible Hourglass Figure. While they largely serve as The Goomba of the game, along with imps, Tamani (and especially her children from the player) can put up a strong fight if you're unprepared. The Revamped version of the game introduces goblin Assassins, Warriors, and Shamans to present more challenge for a decently leveled player. The majority goblins are Always Chaotic Evil and lustful due to them being one of the many victims of the demon's abuse of the world; a small few, like Lumi the alchemist, show how the goblins were once great engineers and alchemists in the past.
  • Diablo III: Treasure Goblins act as Metal Slimes, running away from the player once engaged and escaping through a portal if not killed quickly. Despite the name, they are actually demons and servants of their corpulent queen Greed, one of Azmodans Sin Lieautenants. She could give The Great Goblin a run for his money though.
  • Goblins in DragonFable and AdventureQuest Worlds are known as Sneevils. They're pretty annoying low-level minions that like to steal things, especially boxes. Sneevils do love their boxes.
  • Dragon's Crown, Goblins, while small and physically weak, are culturally advanced enough to use magic and create things like weapons, armor, and bombs. They usually serve as the Mooks of the orcs, though the art book mentions that this is just what they want everyone to think. They're also technologically advanced enough to design a massive Cool Airship and continuously rebuild the Gargoyle Gate after your character destroys it. Also, while they're very aggressive, they are more than willing to ally with other species, including humans, when it benefits them. This was the case with Lima Ray the Witch, who they actually worshiped as a living goddess after she helped them against elf persecution, which led to the glory days of the goblins when they caused mayhem all around with the help of her powerful magic.
  • Dragon's Dogma: According to the Official Design Works for the game, goblins are evil tree root spirits. As such they have roots growing out of their heads which become longer and more plentiful as they get older. They're also a One-Gender Race that reproduces asexually by planting a tree deep inside a dungeon and then watering it with human blood until young goblins sprout beneath.
  • Dragon's Wake: The first intelligent enemies (as opposed to wild animals) that the player is able to fight are goblins that attack a village of friendly lizardfolk.
  • Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War's goblins are more closely related to the modern portrayal of orcs: big, burly green guys with big clubs. The game's actual orcs are boar people.
  • Dungeon Siege:
    • In the Legends of Aranna expansion, goblins aren't found until the end of the game, where they are one of the most powerful enemies around. Whereas in the original Dungeon Siege, goblins inhabit an Elaborate Underground Base containing a variety of spectacularly anachronistic Steampunk machinery, weaponry, and magically-powered battle robots. Contrast the goblin footsoldiers, who are weak, fight with melee weapons and dress in loincloths, all the while fighting beside goblinoids that are wielding flamethrowers, lightning guns and gatling guns. This makes it more likely that the goblin leader—who is bespectacled, has hair, speaks Hulk and can teleport, all unlike his brethren—is responsible for the existence of the facility.
    • Dungeon Siege III marks the return of the goblins, having been absent entirely from II. After the defeat of the mad leader of the goblins in the original, a more civilized group of goblins took over and gained citizenship in Stonebridge, creating a Steampunk renaissance. Two of them are even on the city's ruling council at the time of III. There are still enemy goblins you have to face, but they're rogues and mercenaries rather than the evil madmen fought in the original.
  • Dwarf Fortress goblins are vicious brutes that attempt to snatch babies, besiege fortresses, and generally cause mayhem and consternation to an ill-prepared fortress. They are ostensibly the evil race in Dwarf Fortress, although dwarves under the player's control are often even worse. Notable for their Equal-Opportunity Evil; stolen babies are raised as goblins, with no prejudice against them, and it's not unheard of for "goblin" civilizations to have only a handful of "true" goblins alongside a majority of culturally-goblin snatched babies and their descendants. As admirers of power and supernatural ability, they are most often found ruled by demons in all but very young worlds.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series in general has Goblins which are a primitive and violent humanoid race found across Tamriel and Akavir. They have a primitive language and tribal social structure, and worship a god known as "Muluk", who is theorized to be the Daedric Prince Malacath. Depending on the tribe, they may be led by a Warlord (also known as Warchiefs, typically the biggest and strongest Goblin in the tribe) or by a magic-using shaman (who can be male or female). They frequently come into conflict with any other races they cross paths with, though have been known to live peacefully with the Orcs. They are also frequently enslaved by other races to serve as labor. There are numerous varieties of Goblin, with some regional differences. On average, they stand 3-5 feet tall, though historically, a race of giant Goblins native to the Alik'r Desert in Hammerfell stood over 8 feet tall. They typically have green-skin, yellow eyes with slitted pupils, a hunched-over posture which sometimes includes a full blown hunchback, pointed ears, and fangs. Though significantly less intelligent than the Men, Mer, and Beast Races of Tamriel, Goblins do show some signs of intelligence. They are known to farm creatures in a primitive fashion, including Tamriel's Rodents of Unusual Size as a food source and giant spiders as beasts of battle. They re also known to salvage weapons, armor, and other items created by the other races for their own use. Goblins have appeared in almost every game in the series including Arena, Morrowind (only in the Tribunal expansion), Oblivion, The Elder Scrolls Online, and the spin-off Action-Adventure game Redguard.
    • Skyrim instead has the Falmer in this role, crossing over with Morlocks. The Falmer were once the graceful Snow Elves, close relatives of the Altmer (High Elves). However, an ancient war with the ancestors of the Nords brought down their civilization and nearly drove their race to extinction. In desperation, some turned to their Dwemer cousins for aid. The Dwemer took them in, but on the condition that they eat toxic fungi which blinded and mutated the Falmer into the barely sapient, goblin-like creatures they are today.
    • The Rieklings of Solstheim are small, Ugly Cute, blue-skinned humanoids somewhat resembling ice goblins. They have their own primitive society (which includes hoarding the detritus of other races which they then apparently worship), are capable of speaking Tamriellic (though mostly in a You No Take Candle fashion), and have tamed wild boars to ride as mounts. The Nords of Solstheim have long believed that the Rieklings are the descendants of the Snow Elves, but other sources make it clear that they are a unique species in their own right.
  • There is a playable goblin in the game Enclave. That alone made it worth playing.
  • Hobbs in the Fable series fit the "diminutive, semi-intelligent scavengers" mold.
  • Many goblins, like those in Final Fantasy XI, are perfectly willing to sell their mother for a nickel. The Moblins of Vana'diel, however, seem more in line with a religious sect than anything else. A Steampunk sect, mind you.
    • In the early Final Fantasy games, goblins were little ugly humanoids with knives who existed to give Level 1 Adventurers their very first experience points. Something either goblin-like or named a Goblin appears in pretty much every installment in the series. They are known for the "Goblin Punch" attack (usually falling under Blue Magic) which traditionally does weak physical damage with a powerful bonus if the attacker and target are the same level.
    • In the Final Fantasy XIII games, goblins and their ilk appear to be cyborgs of some sort, with large metal weights for hands, wheels for feet, and a massive hole in the middle of their body.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV Goblins are portrayed as widespread and somewhat nomadic due to losing their original homeland. They're considered hoarders, but also engineering geniuses; building intricate forges, crafting bombs (which are safer for the user than the more volatile variants made by the Kobolds), being experts in creating and melding Materia, and crafting and various tools and environments which occasionally push the fantasy setting all the way into Steampunk. They are perhaps the most integrated Beastman race with the spoken races (second possibly only to the Moogles). There's also the Illuminati, a sect of goblins obsessed with hoarding technology for themselves and relentlessly hunt down anyone who may try to share any of their findings with the other races, even the culinary sciences.
  • Flash of the Blade has goblin enemies (they're even named as such in-game!) in a cavern, who looks more like Mole People with glowing yellow eyes and a permanent Cheshire Cat Grin on their faces.
  • The goblin mage Mozu from Gigantic is the only one of her species seen so far. She's a tiny, purple creature with long ears, a catlike face, a long tail and hands and feet with three digits each. While not exactly malicious, she's definitely mischievous and has a penchant for thievery.
  • Gobliiins is an Adventure Game series starring "goblins" as the playing characters, but they all look like small pointy-eared humans... except one that is purple and has a pteranodon-like head.
  • The goblins in Goblin Commander were created by a wizard for the sole purpose of constructing a Great Machine, whose function they do not clearly understand. They come in five subraces, with different jobs: the Stonekrusher clan mines metals for the machine, the Hellfire clan harvests wood for the machine, the Stormbringer clan researches magic and energy for the machine, the Plaguespitter clan grows poisonous herbs to fuel the machine, and the Nighthorde clan's purpose is unclear until late in the game.
  • Griswold the Goblin:
    • The titular Griswold is your regular run-of-the-mill green-skinned goblin with pointy ears, a big nose, and an eye for valuables. He's out on adventures to seek valuables, helping many people along the way and running into new adventures and minigames along the way. He also has a habit of occasionally farting and scratching his butt.
    • There's another goblin named Gavin, also fitting Griswold's description, who kidnaps local store owner Oscar (planning to sell him along with everything else in his store that the former took over) and has quite the soft spot for his elusive chicken, chasing him throughout the series.
  • The Asura in Guild Wars and its sequel have the general appearance down, with small statures, large floppy ears, and razor-sharp teeth. However, they're a Proud Scholar Race that utilizes Magitek technology into their weapons, architecture, and everyday lives. They're also generally on the side of good, even if most of them are insufferable, and are just as tough as their larger allies.
  • In Tin Man Games's Gary Chalk's Gun Dogs, the Masker Goblins are a nation of cannibalistic Barbarian Tribes who wear masks to denote their affiliation. They are actually quite dangerous even to the main character. Taking a note from '80s Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the Masker Goblins are only a tad weaker and smaller than a human, additionally while most of their technology is crude and primitive - they're masters of swordsmithing, with even a basic goblin sword being better than what early Steampunk humans usually make. Finally they're often mounted on a creature, typically an ostrich-like Stilt Bird, with one exceptionally dangerous Masker Goblin riding an Ogrish creature known as a Dweeb. Luckily for the Empire, there are more peacable if hot-tempered Masker Goblins willing to trade rather than fight.
  • Goblins are basic troops in a few Heroes of Might and Magic games, usually aligned with the barbarian factions. In Heroes of Might and Magic V they're pretty much a race of Butt Monkeys, prone to cowardice, often used as sacrifices for the orc shamans, and a source of both food and ammunition for the cyclops.
    • They also show up as a playable race in Might and Magic VII. They're roughly the size of a human, a bit dumb (though not excessively so—most of the goblin NPCs show no sign of being dumber than the average human NPC), and while most of the non-player (both monster mobs and actual characters) goblins are bad guys, or at least vaguely aligned with the bad guys, nothing hinders player goblins from aligning with the other side.
  • King's Quest: Mask of Eternity has boar-like goblins.
  • Last Armageddon has an entire playable party of monsters, one of which is a Goblin.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The various Blins play with this in various ways:
    • The Legend of Zelda describes Moblins as goblins with bulldog heads (although they have pig heads in the newer games). While most are just generic monsters, a few have defined personalities. Most of the Moblin characters are comical Card Carrying Villains. A friendly Moblin in the first Zelda is known for the phrase "IT'S A SECRET TO EVERYBODY".
    • Notably as the series continued Moblins began to become more orc or even ogre-like. So the smaller Bokoblins (which first appear in The Wind Waker) were brought in to fill the goblin roll instead. They typically have hunched statures and large, pointed ears, and are usually on the weaker end of enemy progression.
    • Another branch of the family is introduced in Twilight Princess called the Bulblins. Basically they're the smaller variety of their King Mook, King Bulblin. They don't seem to be too different from the Bokoblins aside from being green, riding pigs and dressing in black.
    • Miniblins are the smallest members of the Blin species. They're little gremlins with pitchforks who make a weird honking noise often in unison. And infinitely respawn.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom adds another blin to the family. The Horriblin seems to be an even more goblin like varient. They're subterranean or cave dweling which hints to a tolkienesque aversion to sunlight. And rather than the pig-like snouts of the other blins in this game and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild the Horriblin has a far more goblin like face.
    • Some games have the lesser-known Goriyas, dog-headed goblins who wield boomerangs in battle.
    • Introduced in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the Minish are diminutive, magically-inclined, long-eared creatures very similar to the traditional folklore hobgoblins. Unlike Blins, most Minish are docile and peaceful, if unwilling to engage with wider human societies.
  • In Loop Hero, goblins are lesser sapient species that live in tribes and sustain their living by pillaging from other species. Goblins are incredibly clever and are extremely adept at copying humans if it aids in their survival - one goblin even managed to pass himself off as a cloaked human - but they are incapable of creating new ideas or innovating on old ones. They also need to follow a strict heirarchy behind a leader; if a tribe leader dies, they collectively pick a random goblin and gorge them with food so that they quickly grow into their new leader.
  • The Lord of the Rings Online: Goblins are listed as orc-kind, but are smaller and craftier than their bigger and more brutish orc brethren.
  • Mass Effect: The Vorcha are basically goblins IN SPACE! Like the standard fantasy race, they're small, ugly creatures that everyone else in the universe considers a pest. Aria, the leader of a Vorcha heavy area, even explicitly refers to them as goblins.
  • Miitopia: Goblins are short hunched figures with big heads, Pointy Ears, and a Gag Nose. Comes in many flavors including plain, Mage, Red, Forest, Mecha, and Space.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: In addition to standard D&D goblins, Storm of Zehir features jungle goblins called batiri. They play the role of stereotypical primitive tribes: stone tools and weapons, body paint, people-eating. They're also larger and more muscular than the common goblin.
  • Ōkami has the imps taking on the standard goblin role, including that of being merchants who will sell to Amaterasu despite being her enemy. These weak, mischievous creatures wear a paper mask and fight using musical instruments, they also vary in power level based on their color (green, red, yellow, blue and black). Especially different are the blue and black imps, the blue ones will travel by Kite Riding and the black use the surrounding skulls of earlier victims as laser-firing Attack Drones.
  • Of Orcs and Men has Styx, as well as other goblins as weaker enemies. Interestingly, Styx is apparently the only one to show any intelligence; other goblins in the game are unintelligent to the point of being viewed as animals. It's later revealed that Styx is the original goblin and was once an Orc was transformed due to dabbling too much with magic. All others are simply magically-spawned clones.
    • The prequels Styx: Master of Shadows and Styx: Shards of Darkness show that the original Styx, the one who was once an orc, was killed by a perfect clone of himself he constructed to free him from prison. This Styx, is the player character, and the one who goes on to be the Styx seen in Of Orcs and Men.
  • Goblins are a recurring enemy in Raging Blades, serving as The Goomba. There's also an upgraded, purple-skinned, two-headed goblin enemy late into the game far more dangerous than their one-headed regular brethren.
  • Overlord: Though not specifically identified as such, the minions fit the goblin archetype quite well, being an Always Lawful Evil species that gleefully follow the titular Evil Overlord. They are split between four tribes, each having their own skills. Although still ugly, their simple-minded loyalty and eagerness to smash and put things on their heads give them an Ugly Cute quality.
    • In the first game a member of the Order of the Red Dawn actually refers to them as goblins when explaining to the titular character why he will not be let inside their "establishment".
    • Notably, despite all of the above evidence indicating the minions to be goblins, Overlord: Fellowship of Evil lists a "Goblin Helm" as a cosmetic item with the description saying that it was taken from a dead goblin. This at least implies that there are a race of goblins separate from the minions (though apparently minions and goblins are enough alike to be able to wear the same equipment).
  • Paladins: Ruckus is a tiny goblin miner who hails from a gold mine called Splitstone Quarry. While only knee-high to a human, he's a Gadgeteer Genius who repurposed his mining Mini-Mecha into a war machine that he rides into battle.
  • Piratez: Although the mod mostly avoids the term "goblins", they seem to not only be called this (at least sometimes), but they seem to be pretty widespread around the planet. The most obvious goblin group is the Lokk'Naar tribe, which is the most immediate contact for the pirates. It is unclear if they are related to the Ratmen, or if they are mutants at all (as opposed to being an extraterrestrial race, for example).
  • Pokémon:
    • Sableye is a mischievous, cave-dwelling kobold who feeds off of gems.
    • Impidimp, Morgrem, and Grimmsnarl all have the Pointy Ears, Sinister Schnoz, and general mischievous behavior commonly associated with goblins.
    • Tinkatink, Tinkatuff, and Tinkaton look like adorable sprites, but are effectively redcaps in every other way, being ultraviolent dwarven humanoids who love to savagely beat and attempt to murder anyone unlucky enough to encounter them with their hammers.
  • Rogue has Ur-Viles, a type of goblin leader (not sure of the source), represented by a capital U. They show up towards the end of the game, and are very dangerous-being hard to hit, and hitting hard in return.
  • Runescape: There are two main types of goblins — surface goblins and cave goblins. Green surface goblins are less intelligent than pale green cave goblins. It turns out that surface goblins' lower intelligence is because of their lifestyle, not their natural intelligence which reaches human level.
    • Surface goblins are considered pests by humans, and if there are humans, goblins are not far away. Goblin bands will usually raid remote dwellings, but shortly before the events of the game they invaded Lumbridge and killed many of its residents. This gave rise to a group, Humans Against Monsters, which seeks to exterminate all goblins. Goblins always work in groups.
    • Hobgoblins are present too, although in here, they're the result of goblin and ork interbreeding. Hobgoblins are less civilized than goblins.
    • Goblins were natives of the plane of Yu'biusk, a fey like place. However, during the God Wars, they were pulled off of it, and Yu'buisk was brought to ruin by Bandos, god of war, whom they served (and refer to as "big high war god"). After the wars, the influence of Bandos faded and they began to fight amongst themselves with no stronger ruler.
  • In Super Snail by QCplay Limited, there's a very traditional group of goblins with the usual magic-wielding shaman and wolfrider. However they're living in the year 2023 and deep underground past a number of subway stations into their own dungeon. Each one of those goblins is also essentially a Boss enemy that can easily kick Super Snail's ass.
  • Terraria: Goblins seem to be a combination of many of their various forms. The majority are seen in invasion events, and come in warrior, mage, archer, peon, thieves (who don't actually steal anything), and if in hardmode, summoners. You can also find the occasional scout on the outer edges of the world at random, and a peaceful NPC goblin tinkerer trapped underground after defeating at least one invasion. According to him, he was abandoned for telling them they weren't actually approaching from the right direction.
  • Valheim: Fulings are small, goblin-like beings that live in the Plains biome. They are amongst the deadliest creatures in the game (Plains being the current endgame biome) and mistaking them for a standard nuisance-level mook will not end well for you, especially if your world seed puts Plains where a player might encounter it early on.
  • Vindictus: You first encounter goblins on the quests from Boat 3, which take you to the destroyed town of Ainle, which you usually only reach at around the 20s in level. They're pale monsters roughly the size of humans that used to be part of the Fomors that make up your general enemies, but are now under the control of vampires. They are very slow, but their clubs which have nails through them pack quite a punch. The bosses among them are larger than humans and have such names as Servant of Twilight and Servant of Hell, with the only named one of the bunch being their leader, Information Chief Kalis, a big red goblin warrior who wields a scimitar, and who quickly earns the players' hatred when he brutally murders poor Ellis just before the boss fight in the fourth quest.
  • Warcraft goblins are smaller than orcs, but also have some knowledge of technology, particularly that which explodes. They first showed up in WarCraft II as the inventors of the Horde. They were characterized by their suicidal insanity and seem to be fighting for kicks. In WarCraft III goblins left the Horde, becoming a neutral force (they sell items and utilitarian mercenaries). They also gained a greedy side and more self-preservation tendencies, though some still were completely insane. By World of Warcraft they have been developed into their own culture and society that is concentrated within a dozen or so businesses. They are hedonistic, materialistic, mercenary and commercialized, with a fascination with nice gadgets (until they blow up) and a dog-eat-dog social structure. Kind of like living in Atlantic City under Mob rule, but on steroids.
    • The lore later established that goblins started out a bit more like goblins of old, dumb as a stump and used for dumb muscle. They were a slave race used by trolls native to Kezan, but the Kaja'mite the trolls had the goblins mine mutated them over time, making them intelligent and allowing them to overthrow their troll lords and become the bastards we know and love.
    • Hobgoblins made their official debut in the Cataclysm expansion, appearing as large go-fers and worker bees resembling ogres. Goblins themselves usually refer to them as brutes and look unkindly upon them. The other races have taken to calling them Lumbering Oafs and the name has started to stick, even in official ability text.
    • A new variant of goblins, gilgoblins (also nicknamed "gilblins"), was also introduced in Cataclysm. Gilgoblins are an aquatic subspecies with fins and the ability to breathe underwater. By Battle for Azeroth, they are characterized by being diametrically opposed to the normal goblins, being level-headed, altruistic, and communal, instead of reckless, only out for themselves, and greedy. Sadly, they frequently also suffer as a Slave Race, this time to the Naga.
  • WildStar: The Chua are tiny, psychopathic, adorable furballs who are also extremely intelligent scientists and mechanical geniuses.
  • ZanZarah: The Hidden Portal: The Goblins in Zanzarah are green-skinned humanoids whose home is the swamp village of Dunmore. They are explorers and adventurers, who are friendly to other species.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: A goblin appears in every Halloween toon, but most of the time it just "looks around and does a dance" except for that time he saved Homestar from a zombie sheep.
  • Explored by JoCat in his Crap Guide to Goblins, discussing and illustrating several variations. His particular take on them, called Craplins, is the 'low level cannon fodder that happens to be adorable' type, falling squarely into Mascot Mook territory, complete with plushies.

    Web Comics 
  • Goblins from the Porn with Plot webcomic Anathema are dark-skinned humanoids with Pointy Ears and Cute Little Fangs, and a More Dakka approach to Anti-Air (their flak cannons are so big they're difficult to maneuver). Gas Mask, Longcoat uniforms.
  • Subverted in Apple Valley where Gabbie, one of the main characters is a perky, attractive, cloyingly cute goblin girl. As she is frequently the subject of a fair amount of fan-art and one of the only characters to come even close to being drawn naked, there may also be a bit of Author Appeal at work here, too.
  • Cursed Princess Club:
    • Princess Gwendolyn is a subversion. Her green hair and skin, pointy ears, Scary Teeth, and overall inhuman appearance strongly evoke a classical goblin. But despite looking so inexplicably different from her siblings (two Princess Classic sisters and a Pretty Boy brother), there's no indication that she's anything but human. Plus, she's a Nice Girl who completely lacks the evil or mischievous attributes of typical goblins. With that said, she does occasionally get mistaken for a goblin by people who don't know her well (whenever they aren't mistaking her for a Witch Classic).
    • Played straight with the goblin who cursed Saffron. He was a classical green-skinned, pointy eared, diminutive goblin who was also an Evil Sorcerer to boot. He attempted a Grand Theft Me on Saffron, but the spell didn't work as planned and instead gave the prince an Evil Hand (one with a knobby and discolored appearance resembling a goblin hand).
  • The goblins in Dragon Mango are small, green comic-relief villains who raid nearby farms for chickens and get beaten up by the titular protagonist. They are ruled by Junior, the goblin king who does not look like David Bowie (this is lampshaded at one point) but is considerably bigger, buffer and tougher than his kin. (He uses steroids). They later pull a Heel–Face Turn when they realize that humans are willing to give them chickens and anything else they want in exchange for some of their Worthless Yellow Rocks they have all over their mountain kingdom, and eventually found a powerful bank and get accepted among the civilized people.
  • In Drowtales, humans and orcs are considered by many elves to be types of goblins. While it hasn't been fully detailed, goblinoid species seem to be a generalized term for humanoids that aren't of elvish origin—perhaps apart from the ferals.
  • In The Dwarfs, the Spirit and the Sorceress, the Goblins are small green humanoids with a crooked nose and a big treasure room. They worship a dark spirit known as Zoso, who shares their passion for precious gems, and live in a network of caves near the Dwarfs' forest.
  • The goblins of Far to the North are VERY different. For starters, they're at least seven feet tall, can smell blood, have eyes like hawks, and possibly scales. According to one of the characters they were crafted specifically by dragons to kill Saengorian slavers with their insane archery, so they instantly shoot anything that's male and has dark hair. This becomes a serious problem for the protagonist's half-Saengorian nephew...
  • Flaky Pastry features Nitrine, a goblin gifted from birth with brains and abilities far beyond those of her fellow goblins, apparently part of their Gadgeteer Genius caste (and royalty).
  • The Goblin Hollow features goblins that are small, fuzzy, have enormous pointy ears, improbably small functional wings, and are (though it's not obvious in the black and white strip) bright green. They are also capable of turning selectively invisible (though this can be thwarted by either an infrared camera, or blacklight, which makes them glow), and of teleporting (or "poiting" as they call it). Their lifecycle is similar to that of a cuckoo: after the female goblin lays her eggs, they will leave them either where an ideal "goblin parent" will find them or in close proximity to them. The unborn goblin basically reads the mind of whomever is near the egg: first their mother, then their "adoptive parent", absorbing knowledge and adding them to their own goblin race memories so that they are basically born full grown, mentally and physically. They are VERY loyal to their adoptive "parents" and will accompany and protect them throughout life... though their mischief often makes their foster parent wish they weren't QUITE so doting.
  • The Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes webcomic started out with goblins as being a Villains Out Shopping look at The Dungeons & Dragons world from their point of view. It has since mutated into a full blown Deconstruction of the normal D&D world and Character Alignment system.
    • Alignment system is played straight in this webcomic: many villains even detect as Evil, and they are, well, evil—very much so. It is just that the main cast of goblins is Good and they are opposed by Evil, but self-righteous, humans.
    • A few comics showed a glimpse of an alternate universe where goblins are similar to but oh so very different from those in the main universe.
  • One of Jenny's alternate selves glimpsed in Chapter 2 of Jenny and the Multiverse is a goblin of some kind, with pointy ears, green skin, dark-green hair, and a small pointy nose. Like all other Jennies, she's wearing a scarf and goggles.
  • Goblins in Kill Six Billion Demons are very different; they’re a (vaguely) batlike race who have no eyes and see through smell and echolocation. They were originally created to clean and maintain Throne’s numerous sewers and waterways, but ever since the deaths of the gods, they’ve grown into a Proud Merchant Race with their own clan-based society that founded the first guilds. They have three biological sexes, but asking a goblin their gender is considered very offensive for reasons known only to them. They’re also explicitly not Always Chaotic Evil; the main goblin our heroes interact with, Omun Vash, is a crime boss, but most others are shown living normal lives. They're not really small either, with most being more or less human-sized. The above-mentioned Omun Vash is closer to typical goblin size, but again, he’s pretty clearly an outlier and seems to have the goblin equivalent of dwarfism, judging by his proportions.
  • The "goblin" from NIMONA is a tall humanoid woman with pointy ears and no hair.
    The Director: I know an abomination when I see one.
    Nimona: Yeah, sure. What are you, a goblin?
    The Director: That's none of your business. [Beat] Shut up.
  • The Order of the Stick has one high-ranking villain, Redcloak, who is actually just a goblin with a lot of character class levels.
  • Roommates is a Mega Crossover prominently featuring Labyrinth so Jareth is the King of the Goblins, he is also called the King of the Unwanted, which means goblin is a catch all term for all creatures no other supernatural ruler would take (the stupid, the weak, the weird, the slow, etc. up to the dangerously unstable, which is Jareth himself). They are also indestructible as it's part of the very concept they personify.
    • It's also revealed that this wasn't always the case, because magical rulers are Fisher Kings. Under his predecessor the Goblins were basically The Fair Folk just uglier, and under their first king little more than Always Chaotic Evil monsters.
  • In Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic, goblins are not considered truly Evil by most other monsters; they're only just "sorta bad" (It can be argued that they lack the mental capacity). Gren Razortooth is the principal goblin character, who has been cast out by the rest of her clan after falling in love with Bob the Beholder.
  • In Grrl Power, the character Prinrin is a stereotypical gorgeous goblin shortstack and advanced tech genius/engineer. While she is the only goblin to make an appearance in the comic, it is presumed that she is typica for goblins In-Universe.
  • In El Goonish Shive, goblins are not (so far) known to exist. In the RPG from "Who is Ellen?", they were apparently created as a parody of the mortal races, by a god who wanted to "punish their arrogance" by highlighting all their worst traits. They are born with innate abilities in weaponsmithing and, for some reason, cookery (it's speculated that the god meant them to be alchemists). They're also the cannon fodder mooks in the premade scenario Ellen is running, which gives them absolutely no motivation beyond being evil beings who would probably work for a bad guy. (Ellen adjusts this).

    Web Original 
  • The NSFW game Corruption of Champions has goblins as a common Mook-class enemy. They're a One-Gender Race of Cute Monster Girls, being described as 4ft tall, green-skinned, voluptuous, elf-eared humanoids, and their backstory is that they used to be genius alchemists and mechanics before The Corruption. Now, they're a race of pregnancy-fetishizing, hyper-fertile and incest-indifferent nymphomaniacs, who roam the wastelands looking for phallus-equipped partners to fertilise them. They're a basic low-level enemy, though there's also some named ones. Lynette is a goblin matron who peacefully runs a salon in the mountains (and will eventually start giving free business to a player who proves a willing lover), whilst Tamani is a stronger goblin who's happy to simply ask the player first before having sex (she will still try to rape the player if they refuse), and Abylon is a minor civilized goblin who shows in Tel'adre.
  • One subculture, borne out of social media is goblincore, which, as the name suggests, uses goblin-like imagery. Odd collections, celebration of aspects of nature not typically seen as attractive, and giving off a chaotic-if-benevolent nature-loving vibe are considered part of the subculture's aesthetic.
  • Looming Gaia: Goblins are a sapient race, green, bald, four to five and a half feet tall, and not any more mischievous than any other people. They have a few quirks, though: They never forget anything they learn, they get sick if they eat meat, and if someone who's not a goblin says their full birth name and commands them to do something, they're forced to obey that command.
  • In The Midgaheim Bestiary, goblins are a type of boogeyman, a family of The Fair Folk which also includes orcs, bugbears and trolls and specializes in forming connections between Fairyland and the mortal world, allowing the fairy world to consume small portions of mundane reality to maintain some measure of internal stability. The goblins themselves are descended from frogs, and still strongly resemble them. Several types exist:
    • True goblins are an extremely common strain of fairy, many of which have been cast out of the fairy world for one reason or another. Large goblin populations thus exist in the mortal world, where they often come in conflict with humans over living space. They're also the most technologically adept breed of fairy.
    • Hobgoblins are a smaller variety of goblin and are particularly skilled in enchanting objects. They're more tolerated among other fairies as a result, and often work as servants and enchanters in fairy courts.
    • Grindylows are partially neotenic goblins who never fully leave the tadpole stage, retaining their tails into their adulthood and never growing hind limbs. They're aquatic and more solitary than goblins and hobgoblins, and have little culture of their own.
    • Boggarts are lanky, horned goblin relatives who specialize in forming connections between human houses and Fairyland, allowing house spirits to move in afterwards. These spirits do not, as legend states, turn into boggarts if slighted — rather, they simply ask the original boggart to come back and teach the humans a lesson. While boggarts aren't particularly cruel or sadistic, they do greatly enjoy scaring people out of their wits.
  • Pact has goblins being a loose classification for animalistic Others that share traits such as disliking running water. Pale, the sequel, fleshes out goblin culture immensely, with several goblin characters as part of the main and supporting cast. The ones that aren't animalistic, like the Hyena, come in all shapes, sizes, and levels of awkward and painful-looking body modification. A few common threads remain, however -they tend towards the brutal, exalt size and musculature as a byword for strength, and revel in making things uncomfortable or painful for the humans and Others they victimize. This does come with a weakness to being bound by clean or things - if a goblin is small enough, they can be trapped in a bucket of soapy water.
  • Tales of MU has "goblinoids" as an order of humanoids that aren't mammalian or reptilian. They aren't Always Chaotic Evil, but that hasn't stopped them from occupying the "adventurer fodder" role in times past. Goblinoids in Tales of MU often exhibit an extremely patriarchal culture while their method of reproduction can put just about anybody off the idea of kids forever.
    • Goblins are short marsh-dwellers who worship/live in fear of sleeping Eldritch Abominations. Before becoming civilized by the human empire, they favored direct forms of problem solving, like throwing people into bogs or biting them to death.
    • Kobolds resemble goblins, but with red skin instead of green. They live in mines beneath mountains and fight dwarves for territory while trying to protect their wealth from human looters. Their society is rigid and more stratified than the goblins'.
    • Hobgoblins follow the "larger, stronger goblin" stereotype, but they're slow and methodical instead of being wicked and cruel, being seen by humans as reliable workers. In the goblins' own language, "hobgoblin" roughly translates as "house-boy". Hobgoblins make up the majority of the labor pool in goblin society; this worked fine for goblin-kind until the humans came and started mucking things up filling the poor impressionable hobgoblins' heads with such fantastic notions as being paid for their work.
  • The smolrobots Twitterfeed has Goblinbot as part of a D&D subtheme. Gets a focus page on the smolrobots Paetron, which says "goblin is a trope, not a species" (that trope being, essentially, The Goomba; a goblin is any creature that's "up to no good" but "dies or runs away when you poke it with anything sharper than a sponge") and Goblinbot doesn't have a culture or society because portrayals of such always have Unfortunate Implications.
    It's the platonic ideal of its purpose, which is to be a little guy who is causing problems.

    Web Videos 
  • Bedtime Stories (YouTube Channel): The "Kentucky Goblins" two-parter detailed the titular creatures of the Kelly-Hopkinsville Encounter and other strange beings that may in fact be the same. Unlike the traditional goblin, these creatures appear to be aliens. Part 2 suggests they're in fact The Greys and that features such as the giant ears are actually part of a helmet.
  • Hallowed Worldly hasn't made the nature of its goblins entirely clear yet, but they can definitely pass for human. They belong to a supernatural hierarchy of some sort, which hasn't been depicted on screen.
  • Mahu: In "Frozen Flame" the citizens of the Goblin Republics are actually a civilized people rather than just groups of mindless barbarians.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Goblins are small and ugly as usual, but (with a few individual exceptions) they aren't evil at all, and in fact are very easily intimidated and have a ridiculously rule-bound attitude to life.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long portrays goblins like an underground mafia, but they generally don't get much screen time. Hobgoblins later show up in the second season as your average club-wielding thugs.
  • Fangbone!: Goblins are small and green with little fangs, hair like that of a troll doll, and slime excreted from their skin that makes them immune to fire and lava. They're not evil, but the inhabitants of Skullbania consider them pests due to their love of filth and habit of infesting homes. They also have a natural predator in the form of a giant anteater-like monster called a Goblin Gobbler.
  • Franklin: The goblin in the The Quest of the Green Knight story from "Franklin and the Green Knight" is called a goblin but really doesn't look or behave much like a traditional goblin at all, other than being somewhat on the small side. He is rescued from a traditional-looking griffin by the Green Knight, after which he gives him advice on how to find the object of his search: cherry blossoms that can bring spring. Appearance-wise, if anything, he looks like some sort of buck-toothed, long-tailed anthropomorphic rodent.
  • Gravity Falls features the Gremloblin, which is half-goblin and half-gremlin.
  • LEGO Elves: Secrets of Elvendale: Goblins are cute little creatures who are normally harmless. When Cronan mind controls them into serving him, they're too incompetent to be a real threat.
  • Little Bear features particularly benign goblins: little men with long white beards who wear tall, pointy hats, and who aren't evil, ugly or creepy, just mischievous, especially on the Halloween-like holiday of Goblin Night. Basically they're gnomes who just happen to be called "goblins" instead.
  • In the Legend of the Three Caballeros episode "Stonehenge Your Bets", goblins are green-skinned humanoids, imprisoned in another dimension beneath Stonehenge, who like fighting, building unlikely war-machines, and telenovelas. They look not unlike Creeper from The Black Cauldron, especially the less warlike Worm.
  • My Little Pony:
    • My Little Pony 'n Friends:
      • In "The Magic Coins, Part 2", while crossing the Jewel Desert, Megan and the ponies are ambushed by a group of aggressive goblins. These are depicted as squat, blue-skinned, long-armed and neckless humanoids, and are terrified of bright lights.
      • "The Golden Horseshoes, Part 2" has some very different goblins. The ones encountered here are large, burly green humanoids who tower over Megan, and tend to be ugly and deformed in various unique ways — one has three short horns and flat-topped head, another has flabby wide lips, and a third has an almost beak-like snout. They live underground and are greedy, hostile and argumentative beings, stealing from others and refusing to ever give anything away.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: They aren't actually called goblins, but the diamond dogs fit the niche to a T. They seem to come in sizes tiny and huge (well, huge compared to a pony) but are all hunched over and fanged, talk with a hissing, Gollum-esque inflection, live underground, wear utilitarian metal armor and carry weapons, mine heavily, and are quick to abduct surface creatures.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Goblins are humanoid child-like monsters servants of Samhain.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Goblins are the fairly standard diminutive, green skinned, pointy nosed and long eared type, but considering the only evil thing Roy ever did was overprice his Goblin Dogs and pelted the group with food truck merchandise, he's otherwise a fairly decent person.
  • Trollhunters: Goblins are herd-based, Gremlins-esque trouble makers from the Darklands. Should any of their kind die, even if the "culprit" didn't actually do it, the Goblins swarm them and issue payback on them "ten-fold". Luckily, they're dumb enough to blame the vehicle if one gets run over, and not the driver.


Video Example(s):


The Rankin/Bass goblins

Rankin/Bass's interpretation of goblins strays far from the usual mold, but they can sure sing a tune.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (18 votes)

Example of:

Main / VillainSong

Media sources: