Looking to concoct a goblin bard for a potential campaign, and starting to see the appeal of the goblin race in general.
I've never played a goblin before, but I like the concept of a stereotypically hated race playing a charismatic class like a bard.
Sort of a bard-with-a-rougher edge.
They would be neutral good, attempting to distance themselves from other goblins when they discover music and art, something better than killing and raiding. Combat, aside from magic, would either involve shooting from range or hit-and-run melee (they have bonus action Disengage built right into the race).
I need name ideas, though...I've tried names like "Riff" or "Fret" or "Grunge" to capture that hard rocker image, but am not quite feeling the flow those names have.
Also am curious which bard subclass fits a goblin bard...College of Swords might fit that more violent background, but a Lore Bard or Glamour Bard might break the stereotype of a goblin. Certain subclass features might gel with goblin race features, so if anyone has creative suggestions, please discuss!
If anyone has tried a goblin bard, feel free to share experiences.
As a concept most things work, its implementing them thats the trick. - as long as your world / players dont consider that the only good goblin is a dead goblin, thats gets the foot in the door to play in a non orc / hob / gob / bug / kob party.
Gobs are chaotic normally, do you want yours to be other than chaotic - if yes how did this anomaly occur - separated from tribe? Mental malady? Goblin Anarchist rebeling against the green patriarchy?
Neutral good sounds like a druid adoption - lets try and 'rehabilitate' the pooping eating little fella and see if he can preserve the balance.. or we feed him to the wolves
Goblin bard concepts
Goblin Bayou dweller, Develop your own patois, where some words dont make any sense to 'outsiders' Banyou, washboard, and jug pipes for instruments
Goblin (of the feywyld - Goblyn. Loves music and raised around satyrs... horror ensues in polite society. Customise to represent a particular court / theme and away you go
Goblin Jester - tribe killed, lone survivor served as a jester for the local lord after he was gifted to him by the 'heroic' / genocidal adventurers. Recently the local lord died after your possession by a nilbog - what they want from you is amusement and who knows? They might repossess you again.
Goblin Munin - oral historian for a tribe, and last survivor - had an epiphany that blood shed demands blood will be paid, in cycles that nevr end. Hence new alignment and now seeks to see as much of the wider world as they can to find a new truth of how to live and how goblns could survive.
Goblin baker, selling roadside treats of dubious nature, could be a congob (not conman) or could just naively be unaware most species need foods to be cooked and not rotting before consumption - Sings to advertise wares 'pies for sale get your pies' and the loved by all 'Live 'aflin' ot, Ded aflin cold. Mouldy 'aflin' into de pot, free munfs old!
I enjoy the concept you mentioned regarding the goblin being "gifted" to a noble by adventurers who killed its tribe. Good excuse for the goblin to have a chip on its shoulder.
I actually have the backstory played out...the goblin found the normal day-to-day activity of his tribe raiding / pillaging to be mundane.
Then after one particular raid, they bring the survivors in for the usual slave labor...and one of the survivors happens to be a bard (in this case, the bard subclass will mimic whoever the bard is).
The goblin finds the bard's instrument and books among the loot, and they pique his curiosity. He visits the bard in his cell, and the bard indulges the goblins curiosity by reading from the tome, which contains tales of various adventures. The bard also teaches the goblin the basics of playing the musical instrument. The goblin immediately becomes fixated on the stories, having never heard of anything like them, and becomes entranced by the music. The goblin & the bard develop a shaky friendship in secret, with the bard instructing the goblin in the bardic arts, teaching him to read from the book. Doing so unlocks the innate magical power within the goblin, a rare occurrence among goblins, which they refer to as "booyahg" in their own tongue.
Upon his tribe discovering this power, they intend for the goblin to use the magic to expand their territory. Magic is, after all, a powerful weapon. But with the goblin's increasing uncertainty regarding his own race and their violent tendencies, the goblin instead breaks the bard out from his cell, and the two escape in the middle of the night.
The goblin has a fervent desire to understand art and magic, and the strange world his people once terrorized. Obviously, he travels under cover, with his bard mentor providing some instruction how to safely move among the other races.
He's a bit rough around the edges, but he's got a good heart. His wish is to prove that he isn't a threat, while being accepted as an adventurer and artist like his mentor. He learns the written word, and practices writing down the stories he experiences while adventuring. In combat, he recites battle chants taught to him by his mentor.
He is not, however, a warrior...at best, he's a scrapper: he'll dive in for an ambush, and then run like hell.
For the sake of survival, I'd say that College of Swords makes the most sense.
He'd have partaken in goblin raids, though he mostly defended himself, rather than mindlessly slaughter like his kin. The Defensive Flourish would make sense, as he would be skilled in deflection. Mobile Flourish makes him nimble...come to think of it, that makes this Flourish incredible!
It uses the reaction to use your movement speed to move towards your target...good for throwing weapons...THEN you can use the goblins "Nimble Escape" to bonus action Disengage and use your movement to run away...plus 10 movement for the Flourish feature...another 10 movement with Longstrider!
A Valor Bard would not make sense, given it is a more martial class, but a College of Sword bard fits well as a scrapper...he fights, but to run away!
Honestly, it's a brilliant choice that fits the motif of the goblin race quite well!