It’s no secret that goblins make for great monsters and are the bane of low-level games everywhere. It’s also no secret that, with products like Weekly Wonders: Goblin Magic, as well as green and grubby goblin archetypes floating around, goblins are one of those classic creatures that some of us would like to preserve at high levels. Today we look at another way to keep goblins going a little higher into the early or mid-game for most campaigns with a previously undiscovered type of goblin: the elusive erlings.
The first sign of this acid green goblin is the wicked sound of its axe as it appears from thin air. It stands the height of a tall man, but lacks the muscle mass of a hobgoblin, instead being thinly built and graceful. Its head is almost comically large, being mostly taken up by its mouth full of yellow teeth. Its ears are uncommonly small for a goblin, and its eyes gleam yellow with malice.
ERLING CR 6
NE Medium humanoid (goblinoid)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft. Perception +1
AC 19, touch 18, flat-footed 11 (+1 armor, +7 Dex, +1 dodge)
hp 68 (8d8+32)
Fort +5, Ref +13, Will +7
Speed 30 ft.
Melee mwk greataxe +11/+6 (1d12+6/x3)
Ranged repeating heavy crossbow +13/+8 (1d10)
Special Attacks consume luck, lucky strike
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 6th)
At will—ghost sound (DC 8), invisibility (self only)
Str 18, Dex 24, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 6
Base Atk +6; CMB +10; CMD 28
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Toughness
Skills Bluff +6, Handle Animal +5, Ride +14 Stealth +22; Racial Bonus Stealth +4
Languages Common, Giant, Goblin
Organization solitary, pair, or band (3-5 plus 1 leader [3rd-level rogue])
Treasure standard (masterwork greataxe, padded armor, repeating heavy crossbow [20 bolts minus whatever is used during combat] and other treasure)
Consume Luck (Su): An erling can consume energy caused by exceptional luck or unluck. Whenever a character within 30 feet (including the erling) rolls a natural 1 or a natural 20 on an attack roll, the erling can gain 1 luck point as an immediate action. For every luck point the erling has, it gains a +1 luck bonus to AC and saving throws. These luck points last for 1 minute or until expended.
Lucky Strike (Su): An erling can expend 1 luck point as a free action as part of making an attack roll. If he does, he rolls twice and takes whichever result he chooses.
Erlings are an elusive and exotic race of goblinoids, thought to be closely related to hobgoblins owing to their similar physical stature. Malicious and hateful creatures, erlings most delight in the misfortune of others and enjoy watching people suffer in unfortunate accidents. They share many of the appetites typical to goblins, enjoying excessive food, destruction, mayhem and wild revels. They also share their smaller cousins’ love of song, something they frequently indulge in while invisible and just on the edge of a potential victim’s hearing, aiming to unnerve their foes so that they might enjoy watching them squirm before coming in for the kill. Erlings have little love for the castoffs of others, and unlike their lesser kin, never reuse found weapons or armor; instead, they each carry a personal armory consisting of a well-crafted greataxe and a repeating heavy crossbow.
Little is known of the erling culture, as they spend most of their time invisible to the rest of the world, roaming about unseen in small bands looking to start up trouble. Their natural stealth, combined with potent illusion, make it almost impossible to prepare for the coming of an erling band, and usually their presence remains undetected until it is too late. Erlings are known to form small bands, consisting of several men and women of fighting age, who form what appears to be a close bond, founded on a mutual desire for mischief and good chemistry. While erling bands are exceptional at coordinating clever ambushes and working well with each other, they aren’t generally any better organized than other goblins and lack the ambition for large-scale attacks, instead plotting out violent but ultimately minor raids for food and other provisions.
Among the most arrogant of goblinoid, erlings are known to mock their victims and torment them mentally before striking. They lack patience, however, and such attempts at drawing out the suffering of those they wish to kill or rob usually end prematurely as the erlings’ violent impulses take over. Erlings are particularly fond of composing simple songs or rhymes about their latest kills, but rarely remember them for long.