Goblins are violent, primitive humanoids found throughout Tamriel, often living in sewers, caves and ruins in small clan-based societies. They can range in height from three feet to over eight feet. Appearance-wise, goblins have green skin, yellow eyes with slitted pupils, pronounced canine teeth, elven ears, and sometimes horns and hunchbacks.
Some goblin tribes worship a god called Muluk, who is thought to be related to the Orc god Mauloch, an aspect of Malacath. As goblins are a type of Goblin-ken they are protected and guided by Malacath. Freed goblins slaves were among those responsible for the original founding of Orsinium.
Goblins take a traditional view to their outfits, with some pieces even dating back to the First Era. This is called the "Primal" culture set by ethnographers, however it is unknown if they inherited it from previous generations, looted it from ancient ruins, scavenged it from other civilizations, or forged it themselves. They are known for their vicious combat capabilities with both melee and ranged weapons, although some learn the ways of magic.
Goblin society is primitive and violent, and often poses a threat to the more advanced societies that surround them. While their societies are often led by the strongest and largest goblins (called warlords) or their religious leaders (called shamans), some tribes are ruled by other races. Goblin shamans are usually the most intelligent members of tribe and the ones that lead in religious practices. They can recognize more intelligent individuals and in some cases reprimand warriors for attacking them. The death of a shaman is known to turn a tribe docile. The symbol of a shaman's position is often a totem or a headdress; if taken or lost, the tribe will do anything to get it back.
To the Nords, goblins are sometimes known as rieklings, although they bear no resemblance to the creatures of the same name that inhabit Solstheim, which the Imperials consider to be "ice goblins".
Giant Goblins once inhabited Hammerfell before the arrival of the Ra Gada. They were conquered by Divad Hunding, although not entirely exterminated. A Redguard hero named Derik Hallin was famed for fighting back against the Giant Goblins upon their return to the Alik'r.
Goblins usually live in a tribal society, although they are not always part of a named tribe. Those tribes that do have names are notable for their use of symbols, strong leadership, and distinctive traditions.
The Bitterfish Tribe was a loosely organized tribe found in the West Weald of Cyrodiil. They use slaughterfish as a food source, and ritually carry their scales. They attempted to take over the Ayleid ruins of Miscarcand in 3E 433, but were driven back by its undead guardians.
Bloody Hand Tribe
The Bloody Hand Tribe (also known as the Bloody Hand Goblins) inhabit Cracked Wood Cave in the Nibenay Basin. In 2E 582, the tribe was aggressively encroaching on the settlement of Cropsford, and the villagers feared an attack was imminent. The hostility was evidently too much, as Cropsford was later abandoned. In 3E 433, their totem was stolen by the Rock Biter Tribe, inciting a goblin war. The war ended after a group of settlers got external help to stop the constant raiding parties preventing them from building a farm at Cropsford.
Dust Eater Tribe
The Dust Eater Tribe (or Dusteater Tribe) are found in both Hammerfell and Cyrodiil. They are known to inhabit the Dwemer ruins of Rkhardahrk in Craglorn, where they live alongside ogres and dreugh. They also inhabit an abandoned mine known as Barren Mine, found deep in Blackwood.
The Flint-Tooth Tribe was a tribe of giant goblins that inhabited Hammerfell before the arrival of the Ra Gada. They were killed by the invaders, and their spirits became bound to HoonDing's Watch in the Alik'r. These spirits serve to test pilgrims hoping to understand the trials of the Ra Gada, who came to love the desert's simple beauty during their fight against the goblins.
Rock Biter Tribe
The Rock Biter Tribe inhabit Timberscar Hollow in the Nibenay Basin. In 3E 433, they stole the totem of the Bloody Hand Tribe, inciting a goblin war. The war ended after a group of settlers got external help to stop the constant raiding parties preventing them from building a farm at Cropsford.
The Sandgrubber Tribe inhabit Divad's Chagrin Mine, a shallow mine in the Alik'r. They were originally brought to the abandoned mine by Dunmer slavers, who hoped to sell them as laborers. However, the goblins rose up and killed their captives. Their leader Nokhailaedhaz was killed in 2E 582.
The Shadowsilk Tribe are a tribe found in Stonefalls who have managed to tame giant spiders for use as war beasts. At some point they took control of one of Mephala's Nests, killing the Mephala worshippers within. In 2E 582, a Dunmer mage apprentice named Denthis Romori accidentally transformed his brother Dithis into a female goblin. Dithis was then kidnapped and taken to a nearby goblin camp by the Shadowsilk chieftain Grimmstal, prompting a rescue.
Sharp Tooth Tribe
The Sharp Tooth Tribe inhabit an abandoned mine known as Derelict Mine, found east of Skingrad in the West Weald of Cyrodiil. The tribe is often targeted by goblin hunters. In 3E 433 they stole the totem of the White Skin Tribe, inciting a goblin war.
Skull Breaker Tribe
The Stonechewer Tribe are a tribe found in both High Rock and Elsweyr. They are known to worship Muluk. The tribe in Elsweyr was wiped out by the Knahaten Flu. The High Rock tribe inhabit Menevia, in central Stormhaven. In 2E 582 the tribe briefly held Cumberland's Watch after their totem was stolen.
Three Feather Tribe
The Toothmaul Tribe are found on Auridon in the Summerset Isles. Originally slaves from the main Summerset Isle, the goblins escaped from captivity and laid claim to a cave they named Toothmaul Gully. They then formed a tribe, led by Chief Koth. In 2E 582, a member of the Veiled Heritance named Nelanya tricked the goblins into signing a contract in a desperate attempt to garner more allies. In return for the ability to recruit tribe members into labor and fighting forces, the Heritance provided the goblins with reserve arms and armor. After discovering the goblin occupation of the gully, the First Auridon Marines broke up the alliance and ensured the tribe's survival for their continued cooperation with the Altmer.
White Skin Tribe
The White Skin Tribe inhabit Goblin Jim's Cave, found north of Skingrad in the Imperial Reserve, a long way from civilization. They were led by a Breton man named Goblin Jim, who was accepted into the tribe and became their shaman. In 3E 433 their totem was stolen by the Sharp Tooth Tribe, inciting a goblin war.
- ^ a b Sacred Rites of the Stonechewers — Nellic Sterone
- ^ Varieties of Faith: The Orcs — Brother Mikhael Karkuxor of the Imperial College
- ^ Malacath's dialogue in Oblivion
- ^ Pocket Guide to the Empire
- ^ Racial Motifs 13: Primal — Seif-ij Hidja
- ^ a b Fedris Hler's dialogue in Tribunal
- ^ Gathering Force: Arms and Armor of Tamriel — David S. J. Hodgson
- ^ a b Events of Oblivion
- ^ Fort Frostmoth dialogue in Bloodmoon
- ^ Events of ESO
- ^ Notes For Redguard History — Destri Melarg
- ^ Kyne's Challenge: A Hunter's Companion — David S. J. Hodgson