What’s the Goblin Doing?

Goblins don’t just sit about in their lair waiting to be slaughtered by wandering adventurers. Like any other sentient beings they have needs and interests. Thus, when the party is exploring a goblin lair, they are likely–at least until the alarm is raised–to encounter goblins going about their daily life.


Use the tables below, to generate the seeds of random encounters in a goblin lair.


General Activities

When encountered, a wandering goblin (or goblins) could be engaged in one of the following activities:

  1. Patrolling their lair
  2. Shirking their duties (drinking, gambling, sleeping etc.)
  3. Carrying water
  4. Disposing of rubbish
  5. Escorting a prisoner
  6. Watching for intruders
  7. Chasing an escaped slave or prisoner
  8. Repairing something such as a door, piece of furniture etc.
  9. Moving foodstuffs or other heavy items about the lair
  10. Loitering
  11. Decorating something with graffiti
  12. Arguing
  13. Baiting a prisoner or small animal
  14. Eating
  15. Failing to watch for intruders (they could be asleep, drunk etc.)
  16. Preparing to go on a scouting mission
  17. Brawling with each other
  18. Plotting against their chieftain, leader or other enemy
  19. Nefariously sneaking about
  20. Making a lot of noise—perhaps shouting or singing


10 Minor Encounters

Use these sample minor encounters, to breathe life into the PCs’ explorations:

  1. The PCs hear whistling from the direction they are heading. A few moments later, a goblin female carrying an empty water jug wanders around the corner. If she gets the chance, she screams, hurls the jug at the nearest intruder’s head and then flees.
  2. As #1, but the female has a young child with her. She screams for help and tries to hold off the PCs while her child escapes to raise the alarm.
  3. The PCs discover a goblin scratching some graffiti into the wall with a sharp stone. The goblin has not noticed them. Investigations reveal, the goblin is writing derogatory comments about the tribe’s chief.
  4. These two young warriors have stolen a flask of wine and are enjoying it somewhere out of the way. They are drunk.
  5. The PCs interrupt two goblins brawling. Totally caught up in their own fight, they have not heard the PCs’ approach.
  6. Suddenly the sound of many goblins chanting a battle song reaches the party’s ears. After a few ragged verses, the singing fades away.
  7. Two goblins each drag a sack of rubbish toward the entrance. At sight of the PCs, they drop the sacks and flee. The rubbish spills out of the sacks creating an area of difficult, slippery (and smelly) terrain.
  8. Two goblin children have cornered a rat and are poking at it with sharp sticks. Their rapacious cries betray their presence before the PC stumble into view. If left to their own devices, they quickly kill the rat and beginning skinning it.
  9. Two goblins have sneaked off for some “quiet time” together. Lost in each other’s company, they are completely oblivious to the PCs.
  10. This goblin is lurking in the hopes of catching and killing his rival. The arrival of the PCs gives him an idea. He offers to give them information on the layout of the lair, where the guards are etc., if they promise to kill his enemy (a particularly large goblin who always wears a black hood and carries a wickedly notched sword).

Related Book

This articles appears in 20 Things #17: Goblin Lair.

For more free content, check out our Free Resources page.

If you’d like to support Raging Swan Press, please join our Patreon campaign. Pledge what you want. Cancel when you want. Get cheap books. Even a $1 pledge is epic and helps us pay our freelancers a decent rate!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

5 thoughts on “What’s the Goblin Doing?

  1. 2.a As #1, but the female has a young child with her. She screams for help and throws the child at the nearest intruder’s head and then flees. The child has improved grapple and a nasty bite attack.