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Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about dust goblins

Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about dust goblins

It’s Midgard Monday! Each week, we visit a corner of the wide world of Midgard. Look for standalone content you can drop into your campaign—whether it’s in Midgard or your own homebrew. Find new inspiration each Midgard Monday!

The Mage Wars that devastated Western Midgard rendered the land nearly uninhabitable. However, this destruction proved a boon to the world’s goblins, who finally found a location where they could dwell without organized efforts to eradicate them.

In the weeks coming up, we’ll focus on Midgard monsters. Let us know in the comments and on social media what you think of the new ideas!

Cities in Dust

Goblins embrace the chaos of their surroundings and have learned to wield it against their more physically superior foes. I, Casimir, traveled to the Goblin Wastes to see these resilient creatures, who are honored with the first entry in my Enchiridion of Monsters.

Dust goblins (see Tome of Beasts 1) appear deceptively scrawny and malnourished, even in cases where they have plenty of food and water. While they won’t win a wrestling match with a larger humanoid, dust goblins show no fear against imposing creatures.

In fact, one should fear a dust goblin who runs away from combat, as it will assuredly return after discovering a more advantageous approach. Goblins use their cunning and the inherent dangers in the Wastes (of which they possess extensive knowledge) to defeat their foes.

Their best defense is banding together, and many distinct tribes roam the Wasted West, often display symbols associated with their collective obsessions. Except when they clash over a mutually desired ruin or artifact, goblin tribes generally leave others to their pursuits.

Under One Banner

In rare cases, a charismatic or forceful dust goblin unites several tribes and expands their goblin empire beyond the confines of the Goblin Wastes. Once a successor to this powerful goblin proves ineffective, the empire disintegrates, and the goblins return to their fragmented tribes. Currently, Braagezz, the leader of the Dust Diggers has unified three other major tribes into her camp—the boar-devoted Bloody Tusk, the Disciples of the Sand Bird (the dread walker Ornis Ammos), and the cannibalistic Bonewraiths.

Braagezz won many battles against the tribes, ultimately offering an alternative to submission: a slow, painful death from ancient weapons recovered by the Dust Diggers. I witnessed these potent vril weapons first, and my skin still crawls at the crackling of well-stoked fire.

Dreadful Fanatics

Of course, in a land dominated by the dread walkers, some goblin tribes become fascinated with the alien beings, bordering on fanatical worship. They often give in to madness, living on or near the Walkers and altering their bodies to honor the Walkers.

One such tribe known as The Sightless venerate the dread walker Nath’nakar the Old, especially the aspect of its burned-out eyes. I saw no sign that the Walkers paid any attention to their worshippers, and several goblins showed the effects of living so close to these devastating creatures whose mere presence warps reality.

I elected to depart their territory instead of asking, since proselytization involves forcing outsiders to stare at Nath’nakar until the viewer dies or succumb to insanity. I believe I’m safe to assume their shamans deemed any who fail the exposure test as insufficiently devoted.

Because of the ever-increasing population of dust goblins, and the tendency for one tribe to eradicate other tribes over a shared obsession, the number of dread walkers proves insufficient for every tribe in the Wastes. This has caused the goblins to expand their horizons and attach their devotion to dark gods or powerful Void-dwelling beings. In rare cases, the goblins worship more traditional deities but focus on deities’ fringe aspects or take certain aspects to extremes that would appall other adherents.

Whereas most dust goblins wish to preserve their livelihoods, the more religious among them seek to satisfy their obsessions in ways which have little to do with treasure. Their desires may invite negotiation, provided adventurers can stomach fulfilling the goblins’ gruesome demands.

When dust goblins devote themselves to their chosen being, their shamans align the tribes with aberrant creatures based on the objects of their devotion. In the case of the Sightless, they fed the eyes they harvest to an oculo swarm (see Tome of Beasts 1) or other creature composed of eyes or possessing many eyes. These strange adoptees enjoy a symbiotic relationship with the goblins. Even mindless aberrations leave their goblin keepers alone and even come to the goblins’ defense, provided the goblins sate their bizarre appetites.

Not All Bad News

Dust goblins separated from their tribes and raised by other cultures retain their obsessive natures but apply them to traditional pursuits in their adoptive cultures. These goblins join adventuring groups and treat the members as tribemates. Their resilience and preoccupations, which turn to machines and tinkering, make them valuable additions.

New Magic Item

I did manage to recover a treasure from the Sightless, another reason I quickly departed their territory. I admit their intense devotion (and the item’s thematic connection to their “deity”) has made me superstitious about using it.


Wondrous Item, Uncommon (Requires Attunement)   2,000 gp

Eight stylized eyes equidistantly dot this brass headband. While wearing this circlet, the eyes alert you to movement all around, with little acuity but enough to prevent you from being surprised if you are conscious and not in an area of magical darkness.

In addition, when targeted with a spell or other effect that would blind you, you can use your reaction to instead blind the circlet’s eyes. This disables the circlet until the duration ends or until the next dawn, whichever occurs first. You do not receive additional saves to end the circlet’s blindness, even if specified by the spell or effect. However, a spell such as restoration targeting the circlet can remove its blindness.

Get into Midgard with the Midgard Worldbook! This acclaimed campaign setting is rich and deep, with a decade of support from Kobold Press.

Want a more focused start? Try the Zobeck Clockwork City Collector’s Edition! This detailed sourcebook
gives players plenty of room to run, and includes adventures within the Clockwork City itself!

about Mike Welham

Mike Welham started gaming some time in the Mesozoic Era and has played at least one game in each edition of D&D. He has been happily writing for Kobold Press for over ten years and is partially responsible for all the darn drakes flying around Midgard.

3 thoughts on “Midgard Monday: Casimir’s Enchiridion of Monsters talks about dust goblins”

  1. This type of Midgard lore looks like it will be fun! Interested in the descriptions of the monsters of midgard via a “Midgardian” perspective.

  2. The broader your vocabulary, the easier it will be to spot potential words in the letter grid. Reading widely and learning new words can give you a competitive edge.

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