Hey Game Fans, we’re back for another part of a feature on the Homebrew setting of Lakeport. Today we’re going to look at the Goblins and the four variants, and we’re going to dig into the Hobgoblins as well. These two groups have strong cultural ties with each other, and we’ll cover the statistical differences after we go over some of their cultural specifics. For a general history of these groups as well as goblins and some other groups, check out our article here. Let’s dig a little deeper into the culture of the Goblins
The Goblins of Lakeport are actually four distinct groups of extremely similar humanoids. The larger group Goblins do not have the ability to interbreed and they are actually incapable of interbreeding with anything but other members of their group. Each group seems to have a specific reason for existing, and some of those reasons are more likely to get them in trouble than others.
Goblins have four distinctive appearance types, each one representing a different group. The “normal” goblins are small creatures, with large jaggedly pointed ears and lopsided jaws. They have extremely sharp teeth and are usually either a shade of green or a dark brown. All Goblins share the solid red eyes that Orcs have. The Snakhs have ursine features with bloodshot red eyes and golden fur. All typically dress in red leather jerkins and carry small pots for storing their most prized possession, honey. The Ferata have raccoon like features and dress in dark leathers. They obsess over junk and the discarded remnants of larger creatures, cobbling things together into a workable...something. The Koraka have many characteristics of a variety of birds and spend their time either constructing nests or gathering things to trade for other, shinier objects.
Goblins have an inferiority complex as a species, and have suffered terribly at the hands of larger races over the years. In many regions they were considered pests to be exterminated, and this has shaped how they react to other sentients. The Orcs saw value in them, and took them in as lost cousins. The Goblins have flourished under the protection of their Orc cousins, and the most well behaved goblins typically serve in the households of orcs and manage to keep their urges in check.
Goblins that are by themselves don’t have the social support network that those dwelling with Orcs have. These goblins revert to their tribal structure, and pillage and destroy the lands they occupy. The lone goblin is almost as dangerous as the goblin in the horde. One has nothing to lose, and the other has no fear because of the closeness of the horde.
Goblins dwelling with Orcs take on their Orcish hosts social mannerisms but lack the lung capacity and voice control to have a voice deep enough to be respected as an equal. The orcs don’t hold that against them, accepting the goblins as their maker made them. Goblins on their own revert to a tribal structure, ruled over by either the strongest (or eldest) female goblin. No one can remember why the goblins are lead by their women, and when asked, the tribal leaders remind them “because.” This usually settles all arguments amongst the tribe.
In the societies where Orcs and Goblins live together, the goblins live in their own dwellings constructed along the walled off Orcish domain. The Goblins prefer living underground, but they are typically found in split level warrens that stretch around the Orcs. There are typically a dozen goblins to every orc, and when these communities go to war, the Goblins gleefully throw themselves at their enemies.
Goblins have a terrible secret that they are trying to figure out. As a group, goblins know a terrible truth, but are incapable of fully wrapping their brains around the totality of that secret. Goblins go to great lengths to hide that secret (and especially their involvement in it) and the elders of any given tribe send out their most capable members to investigate the secret while hiding the rest of it behind myths and fables.
Goblin adventurers are trying very hard to get along with other sentient beings. The goblin mind is a fragile thing, and they have suffered greatly in the past at the hands of larger beings. They are slow to trust, and are often misanthropic creatures that delight in the suffering of others. Should a Goblin make a friend, they watch that friend like a hawk to make sure that said friend is an honest and true friend. Anything the Goblin sees as a betrayal of that relationship is dealt with by pranks and other petty gestures. Often the first time that a person has made a friend of a goblin revolves around a prank for a perceived slight. They excel at tasks that require stealth and quick fingers, though most Goblins become rogues, while Snakhs tend towards the barbarian life. Ferata typically dabble in arcane magic while the Koraka are often called to the path of the ranger.
Goblins from this setting have the following changes
Note: Though each of the goblin sub groups have distinct physical differences, they all are basically the same creatures underneath. They all share the same racial abilities (as listed in Volo’s Guide) The only difference is their alignment.
Goblins are typically neutral in alignment.
Goblins worship Hanshu, the Lady of blades. Hanshu has led the goblins through trials and tribulations throughout their many generations in this world and she watches over all the goblins. Her clergy walk a tightrope, though, balancing the wild instincts of tribes of goblins with the practical needs of their orc dwelling cousins. Rather than tempering their behavior, her clergy tend to get goblins to focus on turning their instinctual wants/needs into a usable form. Some days are more successful than others.
A different breed of goblin entirely, the Hobgoblins are larger and physically more powerful than their smaller kin. With a size and strength on par with their Orc cousins, Hobgoblins are a martial society that focuses on zealous adherence to their code of conduct and obedience to their superiors.
Hobgoblins have darker skin than humans and pronounced brow ridges that cover their foreheads in horns, armored growths and ridges. They sharpen their teeth and typically dress in heavier chain armor. Hobgoblins do not travel without weapons and cut a fearsome look by themselves. Unlike the rest of their kin, Hobgoblins have a full range of eye color, though they all share black hair.
Hobgoblins are best described as a tightly wound individual who works his or her utmost to keep their spring from going off. They are a proud, martial people who study the teachings of Hanshu as a means to maintaining their composure and honor. Honor (along with martial superiority) is the foundation of Hobgoblin society and it binds the lowliest warrior to the Chancellor of the Hobgoblin Empire.
Hobgoblins are a martial society divided into great houses. There are nearly a hundred great houses (Or there were the last time the Chancellor demanded a census), and they make alliances and feud with each other as they like. The Hobgoblins have not had a true Emperor is nearly 400 years after a disagreement with the horselords of the Amber Sea. While the horselords are ostensibly peaceful, they are not weak, which was a strong lesson for the Hobgoblins. The Chancellor decides on the direction of the Empire as a whole, while expecting the great houses to carry out his or her orders.
Honor is a tricky thing for a Hobgoblin. It directs everything that a Hobgoblin does, from the paths they choose in life, the way the treat others, and even the way their lives end. Questioning the Honor of a Hobgoblin is one of the surest ways to make a dire enemy, and more than once this has spilled into a blood feud that can last for generations. However, Hobgoblins remember and honor their debts, and more than one village along the northern mountains has a house of Hobgoblins watching over it in exchange for an ancient kindness showed to them.
Hobgoblin adventurers are rare, but not so rare as to be unheard of. Some of them are travelling the world to learn about the many other things that exist in the wider world while others are exiled for a breach of honor. Hobgoblin adventurers are just as proud as their more localized cousins, and they tend to fall into the martial classes, with Fighter and Paladin being prime examples of Hobgoblin. The Lady of Blades welcomes many proud warriors into her church, and her paladins are often at the forefront of any conflict.
Hobgoblins have the following changes from the ones in Volo’s Guide
Hobgoblins are typically Lawful Neutral in alignment.
Hobgoblins worship Hanshu, the Lady of blades. Hanshu has laid down ancient tenets of honor and integrity that bind Hobgoblins together. There are priests and paladins that spend their lives studying the meaning of these mysteries and learning more about their place in the universe. Her clerics stand as arbitrators in disputes between the great houses (mostly fairly, most of the time) and her high priest or priestess is a personal advisor to the Chancellor.