Skeletons, zombies, goblins, orcs, yadda-yadda-yadda. Seinfeld told us that I can't yadda-yadda sex, but players can definitely yadda-yadda your trash mobs. Bunch of goblins? Meh. Fight fight, yadda-yadda, gather xp and move on.
So what if these trash mobs had some more spice to them? What if there was a chart penned out to give some variety to these little fellers? Don't worry, kids, your good ol' pal Mr. Remley will make your monsters stand out more. And here's how:
WE'RE GOING TO ROLL FOR THEIR HIT POINTS!
YES, WHITE TEXT! YOU HEARD ME CORRECT! WE ROLL FOR DAMAGE, SO WHY NOT ROLL FOR HIT POINTS?
LET'S EXAMINE THE GOBLIN STAT BLOCK FROM 5E, WHICH WE HAVE STOLEN WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE FROM THE 5E SRD:
D&D 5E Goblin
Small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil
Armor class 15 (leather armor, shield)
Hit points 7 (2d6)
Speed 30 ft.
Str 8(-1), Dex 14(+2), Con 10(+0), Int 10(+0), Wis 8(-1), Cha 8(-1)
Skills Stealth +6
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 9
Languages Common, Goblin
Challenge 1/4 (50 xp)
Nimble Escape: The goblin can take the Disengage or Hide action as a bonus action on each of its turns.
Scimitar. Melee weapon attack: +4 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) slashing damage.
Shortbow. Ranged weapon attack: +4 to hit, range 80/320 ft., one target. Hit: 5 (1d6+2) piercing.
Now because you know that I am extremely minimalist at heart based on an earlier blog post, let's take these stats and condense them to just the good stuff:
D&D 5E Goblin (annotated)
HP 7 (2d6)
SP 30 ft.
Stealth +6; darkvis 60 ft., pP 9
AT scimitar +4 (1d6+2), shortbow (1d6+2)
Disengages or hides as bonus action
Damn, that looks beautiful! Nice and crisp, like a post-it note scale that you can keep without having to open up to a big fancy Monster Manual page. But let's look at that starting HP for now. Instead of using 7 hp for your goblins, instead roll the listed hit dice (2d6) for all Goblins your party comes across, using this chart to see how to spruce up their stats.
2: Weakling. 15 ft. speed, no armor (AC 12) always attacks at disadvantage.
3: Runt. No armor (AC 12), armed only with club (1d4 damage).
4: Novice. No armor (AC 12), armed only with scimitar (1d4+2 damage).
5: Bloodied. No armor (AC 12),
6: Scout. No armor (AC 12), armed only with a shortbow (1d6+2 damage).
7: Scrapper. No changes.
8: Burly. Wields a war pick (1d8 damage).
9: Headtaker. No shield (AC 13), dual wields scimitar and dagger (1d6/1d4 damage).
10: Mastershot. No shield (AC 13), strong enough to wield a heavy crossbow (1d10 damage)
11: Specialist. Gains sneak attack 1d6. Stealth checks at advantage.
12: Champion Grunt. Covered in battle scars. Attacks twice.
Using basic probability, your rolls will most likely land around the midrange (7), with outliers being snake eyes (2 hp weaklings) or box cars (12 hp champion grunts). The less starting HP the goblins have, the "weaker" they are. The more starting HP the goblins have, the "stronger" they are.
This idea was stolen with zero remorse from Zzarchov Kowalski's The Punchline, which does a similar thing with demon cult people, so throw money at him at this link for a nice adventure about the devil and clowns. He was also fun to chat with at GenCon, though I might have broken his heart a bit when I answered "Patrick Stuart" to his "So whose your favorite Lamentations content creator?" question. I'm sorry, Zzarchov... but your work did encourage me to create a chart involving various goblins, which is pretty bitchin'.
If you'd like to throw money at me for more of these stupid blog posts, you can buy this adventure about TOTALLY DIFFERENT DEVIL CLOWNS at this link right here.