The Fallen Folk
- Goblins are the smallest, youngest, and physically weakest of the bunch. Goblins reach physical and mental maturity quickly, as physically and mentally mature as a human adult in only a few hours. But they are craven and cruel, seeking to lord any power they can over others. They are placed on the bottom-rung of goblin-society. Goblins are extremely numerous, and die in droves, leaving only a fraction to mature past this stage. When they are first born, goblins are prone to violent and disgusting mutations, and may be plagued with uneven bowlegs, extra limbs, or multiple rows of razor-teeth.
- Hobgoblins are "adult" goblins, generally coming from those few goblins that survive more than 20 years. They represent the cruel ambition of men, taken to its logical extreme. They forge weapons and build cities, but are incapable of compassion or care. Their main goals are to enslave and dominate, and they possess the most fervent devotion to their dark god, the Iron One.
- Bugbears are the eldest goblins, generally around 60 years or more. Their bodies do not atrophy -- rather, bugbears are massive and strong -- but like humans, the Fallen Folk grow senile in their age. But unlike men, bugbears grow unruly, bestial, and needlessly cruel. They behave the least like true humanoids, resembling closer a hungry predator, as though some kind of wolf or panther were crossed with a man. Hobgoblins understand the danger they pose to the fabric of their society, and keep bugbears as second-class citizens once they grow too old. They are used as scouts and shock-troops in hobgoblin armies.
Civilization and Culture
- Goblins have no gender, and thus have species-universal names. Examples include: Azai, Brodai, Choknech, Dua, Fangor, Iranchimeg, Jegu, Khoridai, Nergui, Odo, Rogtan, Torag, Ulchek, Yek, and Zarr.
- Goblins exist in war-bands in the Borderlands, where the greatest concentration of their population lives.
- Smaller war-bands exist on the fringes of society in Ironwall, Oster, and the Heartlands, but they are considerably smaller than the ones that live in the Borderlands.
- War-bands are ruled by warlords or chiefs, the criteria for which is based on different races. They are almost always hobgoblins.
Major Language Groups and Dialects
- All varieties of goblin-men collectively speak Goblin, a language derived from Common, Infernal, Abyssal, and other dialects. The hobgoblins standardized the language, and use the Dwarven alphabet to write.
Culture and Cultural Heritage
- Goblins live for conflict, and have organized their society around the act of war and its preparation. Their culture is reminiscent of an army. But unlike brutish orcs or giants, hobgoblins do not respect strength -- they respect victory. A cunning tactician is as worthy of respect as a mighty warrior.
- Hobgoblins, the most intelligent and well-developed of the species, dominate the culture. They emphasize discipline and order to a fascistic degree, and run society with a sense of cruel logic. Goblin society is all about scapegoating, finding enemies, quelling dissent.
- Goblins and bugbears care less for these virtues, but there is little they can do about it. They are resentful of anyone more powerful than them, and goblin folk-culture emphasizes aggression and pure ruthlessness to survive amid grander forces. They especially resent the Iron One, and hate all gods and religion.
The goblin-men spent generations fighting among other races and worshiping countless gods of evil; the Horned King the Prince of Undeath, or more commonly, one of many long-dead beings. However, once the Iron One escaped from his prison-plane, he chose the goblins as his charge, and slew their petty-gods. The hobgoblins cheered at the might and ruthlessness of their new king; the goblins were frightened of this tyrant, and the bugbears hardly noticed, rarely pondering such spiritual questions. Since then, the goblins have ruled the Borderlands with the blessing of their dark god, destroying and enslaving any creature they come across.
Common Myths and Legends
The goblins believe magic is a singular physical force, like gravity or time. The Fallen Folk have little talent for wizardry, but magical mutations are quite common among newly-spawned goblins. A few develop sorcerous abilities, and take on a role not unlike a tribal druid or shaman. For whatever reason, goblin sorcerers rarely develop beyond the goblin-stage even as they grow old, but they are highly respected among their people. It is the highest social station that a goblin can achieve.
Interspecies Relations and Assumptions
The Fallen Folk hate, and are hated by, all creatures that are not goblins. They hold ancestral grudges against men and elves, in particular, and have fought frequently with the dwarfs in recent decades. They think of the halflings as pitiable weaklings, and below their consideration. They have not made enough contact with orcs to consider themselves anything more than another race to be exterminated.
- Goblins have lifespans comparable to humans; by 20 years, a young goblin matures into a hobgoblin, and around 60 years, a hobgoblin becomes a bugbear.
- Average Height
- Goblins average around 4' tall, with spindly builds. Hobgoblins are slightly taller and bulkier than humans, and bugbears tower over them at around 7' tall.
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