When to Introduce a Goblin Into Your Campaign
In D&D, Goblins are typically found in the early stages of a campaign, serving the players’ desire to get into a fight with something that is universally understood as the “bad guy.” While some PCs may have possess some inner-conflict in killing an enemy like a mischievous human wizard, many players have no qualms with striking down a gang of Goblins. Many DMs and players accept the Goblin’s role as a punching bag in their game – but you as the DM need to decide if there is more to these creatures (other than being an enemy they can kill with no in-game ramifications.) Do they steal and kill for the pleasure of it all, or do they have to resort to these dishonest behaviors for other reasons?
Because Goblins have a low challenge rating, they can be brought into a game when your players are as early as Level 1. If you’d like to provide a challenge, you need to include larger numbers and role-play their tendency to rely on guerrilla warfare.
How to Introduce a Goblin Into Your Campaign
If you want to make a Goblin encounter memorable, you need to play up the battle tactics they prefer: hide and shoot, or stab and run. Many DMs role-play Goblins as cowardly things when they’re singled out, so make sure you have plenty of Goblins to contend with. Goblins won’t stick around for a fight they know they’re losing… so know when to have your Goblin lackey cut loose from an impending loss. The Monster Manual spells out an ability which makes Goblins particularly skilled at hiding from the PCs, whether they’re setting up a stealth attack (which you should always attempt before bringing your Goblins out into the open) or if they’re attempting to flee.