PHB, p91:

Choose a type of favored enemy: aberrations, beasts, celestials, constructs, dragons, elementals, fey, fiends, giants, monstrosities, oozes, plants, or undead. Alternatively, you can select two races of humanoid (such as gnolls and orcs) as favored enemies.

My ranger is familiar with goblinoids. Can I choose that as a single type? Can I choose it as one of two humanoid types? Or do I need to choose specific goblinoids, say goblins and hobgoblins?

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    \$\begingroup\$ As an aside, the Revised Ranger can take all humanoids as a favored enemy, which greatly simplifies this question by removing it entirely. \$\endgroup\$ – Xiong Chiamiov Jan 28 '18 at 23:20

You can choose them as a humanoid race.

Goblinoids are considered a humanoid race. We can verify this by looking at their stat blocks in the Monster Manual.


Medium humanoid (goblinoid), chaotic evil (MM, 33)

Goblins themselves share the same trait.


Small humanoid (goblinoid), neutral evil (MM, 166)

As a result, you can pick goblinoids as a race of humanoid, and then select a second humanoid race as well.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I agree with your answer, but the rules allow you to choose "a type" or "two races of humanoid." Saying you can choose them as "a type of humanoid," while accurate, confused me at first and I had to read it a couple times to realize which part of the rule you were applying. \$\endgroup\$ – GrandOpener Jan 28 '18 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough, I've edited my answer to specify humanoid "race" rather than "type". \$\endgroup\$ – Baron Jan 28 '18 at 14:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Goblinoid isn't a race, it's a tag. Bugbear and goblin is the race in your example. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jan 28 '18 at 16:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ Doval hits upon one of my questions - what leads you to believe that Goblinoid is a race, rather than Goblin, Hobgoblin, and Bugbear all being separate (humanoid) races? \$\endgroup\$ – Xiong Chiamiov Jan 28 '18 at 23:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ MM p. 7 defines "the races of goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears)." "Goblinoid" is a tag for these 3 races, similar to how "shapechanger" is a tag for jackalweres and werewolves. \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Jan 29 '18 at 1:56

Goblinoid isn't a race; it's a family of races.

Goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears are distinct humanoid races, each with their own physical characteristics and culture.

The word goblinoid in their stat blocks is a tag:

A monster might have one or more tags appended to its type, in parentheses. For example, an orc has the humanoid (orc) type. The parenthetical tags provide additional categorization for certain creatures. The tags have no rules of their own, but something in the game, such as a magic item, might refer to them. For instance, a spear that is especially effective at fighting demons would work against any monster that has the demon tag.

Note that tags have no inherent meaning. While the goblinoid tag applies to creatures that are closely related to each other, other tags like shapechanger apply to a disparate collection of creatures, such as vampires, lycanthropes and doppelgangers.

The Monster Manual has separate sections for goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears. This is the first clue that they're not just one species. In their respective sections, we find these quotes:

Goblins belong to a family of creatures called Goblinoids. Their larger cousins, hobgoblins and bugbears, like to bully goblins into submission.

Hobgoblins belong to a family of creatures called Goblinoids. They are often found lording over their cousins, the smaller goblins and the ferocious bugbears.

Bugbears are often found in the company of their cousins, hobgoblins and goblins.

Goblinoids are consistently referred to as a family of creatures and the different races are referred to as cousins of each other.

Volo's Guide to Monsters contains playable monster races; goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears are presented as distinct options. The book also goes into more detail about these races as a group and individually:

In bygone times the goblinoids were distinct from one another, with separate faiths and different customs ... What the goblins, the bugbears, and the hobgoblins were before their gods bowed to Maglubiyet no longer matters. Now they are, first of all, followers of Maglubiyet ... Each race his its own tendencies, outlook, culture, and gods. But Maglubiyet's hand joins them together, just as he made all their gods parts within a greater whole.

The common thread between goblinoids is their shared worship of Maglubiyet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the correct conclusion. Consider adding the quote from page 7 of the Monster Manual, in the Humanoids block: "the races of goblinoids (goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears)" \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Grant Jan 29 '18 at 1:49

When you choose goblinoids as humanoid enemy, you include Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears, all with one choice, no need to take each one separately.

Think about this, when you choose construct, do you choose only clay golems? When you choose dragons, are pseudodragons and true dragons sold individually sorted by color? When you choose elves, aren't high elves, drows and wild elves in the same package?

Choosing an humanoid, you pick 2 races, not 2 exemplars. You get goblinoids and dwarves or humans and elves and get the whole spectrum of the race.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The problem is that goblinoid isn't a race and goblin/hobgoblin/bugbear aren't subraces. They're distinct races that collaborate with each other closely. \$\endgroup\$ – Doval Jan 29 '18 at 16:01

Jeremy Crawford, D&D 5e rules designer, unofficially says they're separate races in this tweet:

would love it if you could put this one to bed. Can Rangers choose ‘Goblinoid’ as one of their races in regards to Favored Enemy? Cheers

If you're choosing a type of humanoid for Favored Enemy, goblinoid is too broad, but goblin, hobgoblin, bugbear, or the like works.

More about Favored Enemy. It tells you to pick a creature type, but if you pick humanoid, you choose two races of humanoid. Goblinoid isn't a race. As explained in the Monster Manual, goblinoid is a family of races. Goblin, bugbear, and hobgoblin are races.

Elves have subraces. Constructs are similar enough. Goblinoids are entirely different species with widely different forms who all worship Maglubiyet.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Jeremy Crawford's tweets are no longer canon. Do any other sources say this? \$\endgroup\$ – NoOneIsHere May 11 at 18:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already, and check out the help center for more guidance. As the other user mentioned, it would improve your answer to cite the relevant part of the Monster Manual that supports the claim made in the unofficial tweet. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast May 11 at 19:57

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