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D&D 5E Would Tasloi be Goblins or Small-sized Tabaxi?

I just remembered the Tasloi another variety of often antagonistic humanoids which originally appeared in 1e. Somehow I remember them most from Baldur's Gate as one of the enemies you fought, with one of them being a part of a trio with a Kobold and a Xvart. But they've often seemed redundant to Goblins, occupying the same conceptual space as Goblins, except that they're jungle-dwellers. Which might be why they haven't been brought up in 5e yet. While their entry says they have cat-like eyes, one interpretation over the editions they went more cat-like to distinguish them from Goblins.

As characters in terms of PC race (with some consideration to Monsters of the Multiverse) should they just be Goblins or Tabaxi who are size small?
 

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MadBeard

Explorer
There are stats for Tasloi in Heroes of Baldur's Gate 5ed adventure. Not as a playable character race, but monster stat block.
 



I've always just seen them as another of the many goblin groups, nothing really cat-like to them. Just some jungle adapted gobbos

Probably would use that one variant goblin stat set from the MTG stuff with the climbing speed buff, but goblins all the same
 

I think outside the main 3 Goblinoids there's at least 5 other varieties, like Koalinths and Blues, but I don't think Tasloi were ever counted among them.

As for the Tasloi becoming even more cat-like, I think that may have been something in the 3e OA book.
 

One thing about Baldur's Gate 1 is it deliberately tried to avoid cliché humanoids like goblins and orcs, so they included more obscure ones like Xvarts and Tasoli (goblins and orcs eventually appeared in BG2, then BG1 Enhanced Edition).

As for the Heroes of Baldur's Gate, the art for tasoli isn't remotely catlike, and describes them as "Lanky but small goblin-like creatures". I think a PC Tasoli could just use goblin lineage.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
When I ran Tomb of Annihilation, I interpreted the tasloi as a tribe of Batiri goblins.

Here are the takeaways from my writeup:
  • Tasloi are simian goblins with a penchant for trap-making whispering among the treetops, living alongside su-monsters, carnivorous apes, monkeys, and spiders. They are the animal-husbanding treetop-whispering bogeyman sort of goblins.
  • All Tasloi goblins can speak with primates and su-monsters, have a Climb speed of 30 feet, Animal Handling +3, and are typically equipped with nets. Some expertly wield vine whips with which they can Grapple or Shove at reach.
  • The Tasloi inhabit the jungles south of Omu. They evaded enslavement by the monarchs of Omu for decades if not centuries.
  • Known for their high-pitched whispery voices echoing in the canopy, the Tasloi were regarded with terror by the old Omuan civilization. The glint of cat eyes in the jungle was considered an ill omen of the Tasloi.
  • Living in treehouses and platforms connected by vine bridges, they train giant wolf spiders to assist in construction and protection, while they ride giant wasps into battle.
  • Their favored strategy is to set up obvious escape routes from the lairs of dangerous jungle predators, which they line with traps ranging from spiked pits to darts poisoned with giant wasp venom.
  • Whatever god the Tasloi used to worship was replaced by veneration of Acererak’s bearded devil symbol which their Queen Draggaknuckles (goblin boss) found carved into jungle ruins near Omu. In fact, Draggaknuckles triggered a glyph of warding in the ruins which cursed her face to be locked in mockery of the silently screaming bearded devil symbol, impeding her speech and forcing her to rely on hand gestures and sycophantic “interpreters.” The goblins refers to this deity as Great Face, sketching crude depictions of it on the trees and offering their queen pantomime of the Great Face as a form of homage, much to Draggaknuckles’ chagrin. Remove curse breaks the queen’s curse and she will gratefully welcome those who freed her.
 

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