D&D General The Appearance of Female Goblins

And I think it has more to do with male game desigers designing the females they would prefer to look at.

In our mixed gender D&D group I have noticed no difference between male and female players and stated attractiveness of the characters (which is usually not mentioned at all). The only time I recall physical attractiveness being referred to was one my characters (male character, male player) who was extremely vain about their long flowing hair (in contrast to my balding self) and a bugbear (male player, male character) who made a point of always being neatly groomed.

Have a look at fan art, overwhelming done by females. It's not just professional artists. The overwhelming amount of depictions (including commissions done by players) depict them as either cute, gorgeous, sexy or some combo of that.
 

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Why do these threads always return to, "But what about BOOBs? Do TheY hAvE boObS?"
Honest response: because any other sex-dependent traits are either not going to be seen or are obviously within the realm of personal (for tha character) choice - do female goblins have long hair? There might be a general answer but it's not super important to any pc - they have as much hair as the player says they do, just like everybody else.

But boobs (or lack thereof) are fixed for the whole race. So, if someone wants to play a girl goblin, there needs to be a worldbuilding-scale answer.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
And I think it has more to do with male game desigers designing the females they would prefer to look at.

In our mixed gender D&D group I have noticed no difference between male and female players and stated attractiveness of the characters (which is usually not mentioned at all). The only time I recall physical attractiveness being referred to was one my characters (male character, male player) who was extremely vain about their long flowing hair (in contrast to my balding self) and a bugbear (male player, male character) who made a point of always being neatly groomed.

Same in our groups. The last few male characters in my long-term group were all stunning and cared deeply about their looks. My own female bardbuckler was an otherwordly beauty as well, and that was a huge tie-in into the character's background. In my new groups, the only vain and pretty character is a guy (our elven bard) while our female warlock only cares for dresses but less for her looks.
 

Hussar

Legend
Heh, this is what you get for trying to mix SF with your fantasy.

Fantasy world building doesn't, by and large, give a toss about these questions because fantasy world building is about building a fantasy world and fantasy worlds don't have to make sense. They just have to be interesting places to have adventures in.

SF is more rigorous than that. There's entire branches of SF that are devoted to creating functioning worlds where things like plot and character development are largely afterthoughts - See Dan Simmons' Hyperion series for a perfect example.

And, of course, we're trying to retroactively backfill in the blanks that have been left by authors that couldn't give a rat's petoot about world building but rather wanted some cool bugger for the PC's to kill. So, we get goblins, boggles, xvarts, gibberlings, and a whole host of other critters which are more or less the same thing with a slight change of paint job and then people want them to make sense. :D

Fun mental exercise.
 


I would argue that "boobs" and mammaries are not the same thing. Human females usually have much larger than functionally necessary mammaries because of sexual selection factors. Compare to other apes. A mammalian species in which they did not have a role as a sexual attractant might be expected to have nipples without significant "boobs". E.g. a female tabaxi, like a cat, might have nipples that are completely concealed by fur unless nursing.
 

Have a look at fan art, overwhelming done by females. It's not just professional artists. The overwhelming amount of depictions (including commissions done by players) depict them as either cute, gorgeous, sexy or some combo of that.

Do you think fan art represents a specific section of the player base, or a general slice through? Because I'm going to tell you, it's the former. The sort of people who pay to have to have their characters drawn (which is most of what you're calling fan art) and the sort of people who are artists and draw their characters well enough that they feel comfortable putting them on the internet, are not representative of "most players".

They're representative of a subset of players, who tend to be particularly interested in RP, particularly interested in romantic RP. You see the same thing in MMOs and so on. The sort of people who do fan art, and get fan art done, are absolutely not representative of most people playing the game. They'll have characters with elaborate backstories, sexy escapades, know their RP-walk button is, and so on.

On top of all that, few will pay an artist, or puts in hours and hours of work, to represent a just fairly boring-looking character. And some artists, especially the more anime/Disney-type artists, can't even draw boring-looking characters. They can draw ugly, or strange, but normal, average, okay? Nope. It's either attractive or strange/ugly, that's your choice. So you have multiple factors here and you're wrong if you're suggesting this means most players want desperately sexy characters, but you're right to suggest most "fan art" depicts such.

Most players, in my experience, if you ask them to describe their character, rarely go to the extremes of attractiveness or hideousness unless there's mechanical element (as there is in some RPGs - White Wolf ones typically have some mechanics there, but it also costs points, so it's still rare). But then you get this subset of players who do want attractive characters. And guess what? I'm one of them. I'm out myself right now. I'm the only player in my group who is keen on drawing their characters, and I'm the only one who consistently has notably attractive characters (or at least ones with extremely distinctive appearances - though I did make an exception last time I played, but being forgettable was part of my whole deal).

Another issue here, with some races is that there's a bit of an unfortunate tendency in most fantasy art to, rather inexplicably given biology, see "male" as the "default" state of being, and female as the "exception". So instead of coming with an appearance for a race that makes sense as a race that has mothers, and sisters, and so on, they come up with an appearance is that is basically masculine, and then go "Oh I guess I should make a female version!" (this just seems totally nuts to me - it's like DMs who have no idea where anyone poops in their dungeon, or don't understand thermodynamics), much, much later. And that female version will range from anything to "just put lipstick on it" to "What if I just drew a slim burlesque dancer and put some vaguely monstrous features on her even though the male looks like King Kong on steroids?" or the dreaded "Just put boobs on it!".

Why not start with the female? Y'know? Why not look at animals and how they do or don't have sexual dimorphism? Everything that reproduces sexually has a mother (but not necessarily a father - parthenogenesis is a thing). I guess there's elves - they do tend to be androgynous in D&D and even lean a bit feminine in typical appearances. But I really hope we don't see more "Michelangelo"-style "I took the male and stuck on big boobs on it, now it's a chick!"-type stuff.
 

For both male and female goblins, I generally just use the Pathfinder style in terms of looks and personality, even though I'm running D&D. I've yet to have a player ask me questions about goblin boobs. I suspect that they'd get a look askance and I'd move on.

In Tomb of Annihilation, there are female goblins. They don't look very different than the male. They certainly don't look like short humans with large ears.

Personally, I love the Pathfinder female goblin. Being almost exactly like the male, but has lipstick.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
Honest response: because any other sex-dependent traits are either not going to be seen or are obviously within the realm of personal (for tha character) choice - do female goblins have long hair? There might be a general answer but it's not super important to any pc - they have as much hair as the player says they do, just like everybody else.

But boobs (or lack thereof) are fixed for the whole race. So, if someone wants to play a girl goblin, there needs to be a worldbuilding-scale answer.

I really think you're giving too much credit to the pro-boob people here. Usually they don't really need a worldbuilding answer, but they want those boobs anyway.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Also, are we talking about Classical/Renaissance-style nudes, or are we talking about fully-clothed (and armoured) characters?

D&D is a fantasy Roleplaying game with a heavy focus on combat as a key component of the game. You can emphasize other portions of the game (and my favourite nights do), but "most hero characters wear armour" is a base assumption of the game. Most fantasy RPG artwork is of player characters and/or antagonists (though I love me a good painting of the innkeep or shopkeep getting caught in the middle of the PCs' shenanigans).

Armour should not be showing mammaries. Full stop. It's a deathtrap.

Even light armour would be finding a way to work around this with flat plates and padding to make it harder for weapons to pierce vulnerable areas.

Armour is a equalizing factor - look at Cara & She-Ra in doctorbadwolf's images above. Neither emphasize their chests in their armoured costumes, because doing that is calling out "point sword here."

I think focusing on whether or not goblins have breasts and how large are they and how many do they have is often going to be irrelevant.

But sure, maybe the goblins are like those from Sir Peter Jackson's take on Goblin-town, and wear Gollum-like loincloths and nothing more, rather than the fully-armoured Goblin armies pursuing the Fellowship in Moria (or any Orcs in Middle-earth, but I'm sticking to the films because they decided, like D&D, to separate Goblins from Orcs for "Reasons" ®). In that case, maybe you care about what they look like as they're pursuing the Company.

I'd argue that as with An Unexpected Journey and with Labyrinth, Goblins could be male or female and you wouldn't know it, because these are degenerate troglodytic people of an already twisted race of mutilated, twisted, tortured, defiled, corrupted, and indoctrinated Elves and/or Humans. Or they sprung from mud (but were somehow cross-bred by Saruman) per the Fellowship film. Either way, the concept of gender, orientation, and sexuality doesn't seem to apply to Goblins when used for this purpose.

If we're talking instead about Goblins in a setting like Warcraft, where they have a complex history as a native race of Azeroth that were enslaved, then later recruited into the Horde as a witty inventors and artificers, then we again come back to the question: why are we worrying about secondary characteristics in Goblin anatomy? Most are going to wear clothes, armor, schizotech that makes it hard to tell, and it doesn't really matter in the long run.

If I had to choose a particularly "feminine" Goblin form, I would say the Pathfinder image from earlier up the thread is better than most. The lipstick is a bit silly, but it evokes female without screaming "I exist for male viewers titillation." It's still silly, and as fun as the silly-Goblins trope is, we should be aware of when that trope is linked to denigrating depictions of other cultures of humans in the real world (there's a definite risk of leaning toward minstrel-play when it comes to "those silly goblins").
 

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