Hobgoblins and Goblinkin

“Goblinkin” is a term which encompasses several closely related, but distinct, humanoid species; hobgoblins, goblins, and bugbears. Goblinkin of all three varieties share several characteristics. They all have somewhat elongated canines, pointed ears, the ability to see very well in the dark, an uncanny ability to move quietly, and slightly slanted eyes. Goblinkin eye colors are usually some shade of black, brown, or yellow. Goblinkin are endemic to Carona, specifically the territories that eventually became Wànnián Dìguó. Another Goblinkin nation also exists on the islands to the east of Carona, the daemon-worshipping empire of Daiteikoku.

Goblins are by far the most common goblinkin species. They are small, and very agile. Goblins are almost universally kept as a slave race by hobgoblins, though they are not infrequently purchased by dwarves, humans, gnomes, and elves. Goblin slaves usually work as serf farmers or menial labor, and are also common as a form of slave soldier. Goblins have yellow skin, large heads, eyes, and ears, lanky black hair, and a tendency towards scrawniness. Goblin demeanor is usually rather servile, and their well-developed sense of self preservation has earned them a reputation as cravens. They breed very quickly, and reach maturity in roughly eight years, though the average lifespan is only around thirty. Those that escape their masters usually eke out an existence as scavengers and bandits.

Bugbears are slightly more numerous than hobgoblins. They are rather large by the standards of goblinkin, often standing between 6 and 6.5 feet, and muscular. Bugbears have brown skin covered in coarse yellow-brown hair. Like goblins, bugbears are almost invariably a slave race, usually employed as heavy labor or enslaved shock troops. Bugbears tend to be somewhat short-tempered, but quickly learn to control themselves due to harsh disciplinary measures. Bugbears usually live around forty years, and reach maturity around fifteen.

Hobgoblins are the least numerous of the goblinkin, but the dominant branch of the group. They are somewhat shorter than humans, rarely growing taller than 5.5 feet, and tend towards athletic builds. Hobgoblins have an excellent ability to focus and concentrate. Hobgoblins have a brownish orange skintone, prominent noses, high cheekbones, and coarse black or brown hair. Male hobgoblins tend to wear their facial hair as a long fu manchu and an elongated patch directly beneath the mouth. Some hobgoblins are born with a streak of white hair among a normal color, and are considered to be the reincarnation of a great hero. Hobgoblins are usually arrogant, proud, and occasionally cruel, and the culture of Wànnián Dìguó highly values individual honor and glory. While these factors would suggest a somewhat chaotic culture, there is also a high emphasis on individual discipline and ability to cooperate with others.
The hobgoblins of Daiteikoku are largely similar culturally, however in many respects more militarized due to the long period of the islands being ruled by many warring states. Additionally, their cruel streak is much more exaggerated, and they have a very strong sense of superiority, viewing themselves as a master race destined to conquer the world in the name of their Abyssal masters.

Hobgoblins claim to have used arcane means to breed both of the other branches of goblinkin as ideal slaves, and these claims are given a great deal of credence by human and dwarven scholars. Indeed, both bugbears and goblins are physically well suited as laborers, and tend towards a natural obedience towards hobgoblins. Accounts of goblin and bugbear slaves date back to pre-Harunn human legends, which tend to speak of black magics summoning them into the world.

Goblinkin artistic legacy can be divided between that of the hobgobins and that of their slaves. Hobgoblins have a strong calligraphic tradition, and many love to paint. Hobgoblin music tends to be at once stirring and martial and smoothly melodic. The slave culture tends towards wood carvings and singing. The support beams in slave quarters often become very elaborate after a decade or so.

Goblinkin religious beliefs developed separately from the beliefs of the humans and dwarves. Unlike the pantheistic religion originally spread by the dwarves, goblinkin beliefs are more philosophical than spiritual. They center around concepts of reincarnation and the idea that mortals can sever themselves from the chain of reincarnation through detatching themselves from mortal concerns. They also advocate the concept that everyone has a place in society, which it is an important duty to discover, self discipline being crucial, and that a mortal’s acts can determine the form that they are reincarnated in. While the religious beliefs of the rest of the continent have seeped in, they are more often incorporated into goblinkin beliefs than supplanting them.

The religious beliefs of Daiteikoku are much different. Knight-Seeker operatives from the Order of the Heartflame sent to observe have compared their organized religion to a Daemon cult that gained state support and became the dominant religion. They’ve reported mass humanoid sacrifices to summon minor daemons as footsoldiers, the use of succubi/incubi in bizarre and twisted sexual rituals, and frequent use of imps as spies and messengers. All of these operatives, no matter how experienced, have eventually been exposed and forced to flee. Arcane means are suspected in their discoveries.

Game Stats:

Hobgoblin (PC)
+2 Dexterity, +2 Constitution.
A hobgoblin’s base land speed is 30 feet.
Low-Light Vision.
Darkvision out to 60 feet.
+4 racial bonus on Move Silently checks.
+2 racial bonus on Climb, Concentration, Jump, and Swim checks.
Educated: Hobgoblin characters are automatically literate in any language they speak.
Automatic Languages: Trade Pidgin, Dìguó Yǔyán. Bonus Languages: Ancient Hieroglyphs (Caronan), Ancient Spoken Form (Caronan), Daemonic, Draconic, Dwarven, Elven, Harunni, Orcish.

Goblin (NPC)
As MM.

Bugbear (NPC)
As MM, but no racial hit dice.

Hobgoblins and Goblinkin

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