I remember reading somewhere that rats and wolves can be controlled by goblins to make them do their bidding. But I can't find the page I read that on, and I'm not sure if I remember it correctly now.

I'm trying to make a quest line where the PCs start off with fighting rats, and then later find out that they are controlled by goblins that live under the city. This quest is, of course, for level 1-2 players.

I have a player that's experienced and knows plenty of lore, so I'd like to know both the rules and the lore in this matter.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you need rules for how they do it, or lore examples of it happening? As a DM, you can totally say that they do this. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ a bit of both. because i have a player thats more experienced and knows a bit more. I don't really want him to stop me in the middle of the game to tell me that im wrong. So it would feel a bit better to know both the rules and lore \$\endgroup\$
    – Celia
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:11

1 Answer 1


From the Monster Manual, p.165:

Goblins have an affinity for rats and wolves, raising them to serve as companions and mounts, respectively. Like rats, goblins shun sunlight and sleep underground during the day. Like wolves, they are pack hunters, made bolder by their numbers. When they hunt from the backs of wolves, goblins use hit-and-run attacks.

This is reported in the general description of Goblins. It does not mean that they can control rats and wolves like if they were using a spell like Dominate Monster (i.e. make them perform specific actions by command), but rather that they raise these beasts in order to make them friendly (like humans and dogs, or humans and horses).

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    \$\begingroup\$ @Celia if you found this answer useful, feel free to award it an"accept" by clicking on the green check-mark under the score. It'll award the author a little extra reputation and indicate to the world that you found the answer useful. Oh, and welcome to the site! Thanks for contributing =) \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Apr 18, 2017 at 11:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ Delightfully, this means that all the rats the party's been cleaving through would have been "tamed" rats - raised, trained, and probably held in some affection by their goblin handlers. Lets you add a little extra roleplaying to the encounter (if you so choose). \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben Barden
    Apr 18, 2017 at 13:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BenBarden "You killed Jerry, you monsters!" \$\endgroup\$
    – JAB
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ omg yes! im going to use that. we got a character that loves animals so much that he would protect them even if they tried to kill him. it would break him knowing that he's killing someone's else's friend and family \$\endgroup\$
    – Celia
    Apr 19, 2017 at 11:03

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