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Hobgoblins, Scourge of the East 
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Red Cap
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Location: Manitoba, Canada
Post Hobgoblins, Scourge of the East
Hobgoblins:
You remain hidden in the bushes, watching the hobgoblin band pass by, mounted on small, somewhat shaggy horses. You know well that these small horses- almost large ponies, really, are specifically bred for their toughness and that the hobgoblins ride their mounts hard. This particular group is most likely what the hobgoblins call a ‘hand’, a group of about fifty warriors made up from five ‘fingers’ of ten warriors, the fundamental unit of hobgoblin society.

Carried on their horses are the weapons that hobgoblins prefer, long spears and powerful composite bows. Watching the horde intently, you do not notice the hobgoblin scout until it is too late. The last sound you hear is the faint ‘whoosh’ of an arrow, before all goes black …


Racial Attributes:
Languages: Goblin, Common
Bonus Languages: Giant, Orcish, Infernal
Size: Medium
Movement: 30 feet
Typical Classes: Druid, Ranger, Fighter
Attribute Modifiers: +1 Constitution, +1 Dexterity, -2 Charisma

Racial Traits:
Darkvision: Hobgoblins possess darkvision out to a range of 60 feet.

Nomadic Tradition: Hobgoblins receive a +2 bonus to Wisdom checks for animal handling related to the handling of horses and dogs of all types, and a +2 bonus to Dexterity checks related to riding horses.

Intimidating: Their scarified faces and fearsome reputation give Hobgoblins a +2 bonus to all Charisma checks involving intimidation.

Martial Tradition: All adult Hobgoblins are proficient with short bows, and possess a +2 bonus to Charisma saves against fear effects.

Appearance and Physiology: Of the goblinoid races, the Hobgoblins are the closest to the form of a human being, being approximately the same height as humans of the appropriate gender and being built like stocky men. They have grey skin and greasy dark hair. Adult male hobgoblins will also possess an extensive series of scars, arranged in elaborate patterns, which identify the ‘finger’, ‘fist’ and individual to hobgoblins and thos familiar with them. Hobgoblins do not have an equal gender ratio- there are about two male hobgoblins for every female. They mature much more rapidly than humans- with hobgoblins reaching full adulthood at about ten years of age, but are capable of living about the same lifespan as humans do.

Society and Culture: Hobgoblins are a nomadic race, though their hordes operate very differently from that of an Orcish nature. Orcish hordes are typically ad hoc arrangements that fall apart as easily as they form, with leaders emerging through brute strength and often little else. A Hobgoblin horde is a much more tightly organized affair, with all Hobgoblin males belonging to a tight formation of ten warriors referred to as a ‘finger’ and to a broader group known as a ‘fist’, several of which make up a clan. Individual ‘fingers’ and ‘fists’ have long and storied histories, stretching back centuries in many cases and young hobgoblins are taught the lore of their particular military formations.

Hobgoblins have little sense of ‘home’, finding all the familiarity and camaraderie they need with their fellows- while there are frequent brawls and fights within formations, it is rare for them to result in serious injury or death and it is fair to say that Hobgoblins in a particular ‘finger’ tend to regard their fellows as brothers in arms. They most typically winter in a fixed location, usually one that is fairly isolated, and go on rampages as the weather turns more favorable.

Hobgoblin warriors are famous for their skill and cunning, and are capable of fighting both on horseback and on foot, though they almost always approach their targets on horseback. Against an organized enemy, a hobgoblin army will most typically divide into two parts, horse warriors that will harass enemies and attempt to corrall them into a constrained area, where dismounted warriors await with long spears for a devastating charge, most typically in a wedge formation, though sometimes in the legendary ‘devil’s horns’ formation, where a central thrust is supplemented by two flanking attacks.

For hobgoblins, there is no real division between war and peace- they exist in a constant state of war-readiness, and even the females and children are trained to use bows in a basic manner to defend the wagon trains that carry their civilization with them. Hobgoblin culture is overwhelmingly based around the military- women are kept as fit as possible in the belief that they will raise strong men. The only adult Hobgoblin males that do not find are a tiny handful of elders kept as advisers, and the shamans that are the tenders of the Hobgoblin religion.

Most Hobgoblins worship Thrax, the Greater God of Lawful Evil, and the master of tyranny and warfare, but many individual clans worship the great devils. The most powerful of the Hobgoblin Shamans typically follow a path like that of the druids, but prefer to use nature’s power to crush the enemies of the hobgoblin race than to defend nature in an abstract manner.

Hobgoblins are usually hostile towards all outsiders, but sometimes will condescend to trade with settlements near their wintering centers, and with powerful lawful evil societies. They disdain orcs as fundamentally lazy and stupid, and deride goblins as pathetic- they occasionally take both as slaves, though given the choice, they usually prefer human slaves. They have a long-standing hatred of elves of all types and will often go to great lengths to attack and destroy elven settlements.

History: The Hobgoblins mostly rely on oral myths, mostly being illiterate, but according to their tales, they are the product of the Great God Thrax, working upon the goblinoid mold to create the perfect soldier. The goblin was quick, but weak and cowardly, the orc was brave and strong, but lazy and stupid- and the bugbear was far too disorganized and sadistic. Thus, he created the hobgoblin, stronger than the goblin, more intelligent than the orc and more organized by the bugbear, to serve as his scourge of the world. Elven records indicate that the hobgoblin hordes are ancient, even by their standards, and have always been a serious threat to the order of the world.

The Hobgoblins are strongest in the eastern parts of Illyria and it is believed that many clans winter in the foothills of the Great Iron Mountains, which seperate the Western Lands from the Great Desert and the realms of the East. While they may make their homes in the East, Hobgoblin hordes penetrate deeply into Illyria on a regular basis and particularly bold raids have sacked cities a mere hundred miles from the Aeonian Sea, where the imperial capital, Solfest is located. In recent years, there appears to have been a trend of hobgoblin hordes becoming larger and more ambitious in their targets ...


Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:59 am
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Red Cap
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Post Re: Hobgoblins, Scourge of the East
Very nice.

I plan on making the Avars in my Carolingian campaign a hobgoblin culture as a little surprise should my pc's ever head east, this has some nice tidbits I might steal to flesh them out.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:20 am
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Ulthal
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Post Re: Hobgoblins, Scourge of the East
nice writeup.

a Carolingian campaign, eh Zarathustra? Sounds fun. Who gets to be Count Roland? LOL

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Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:28 pm
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Red Cap
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Location: Canberra, Australia
Post Re: Hobgoblins, Scourge of the East
Geleg wrote:
nice writeup.

a Carolingian campaign, eh Zarathustra? Sounds fun. Who gets to be Count Roland? LOL


I'm thinking roughly 790 AD - I want King Offa still in power in Britain and the continental Saxons still sticking to their guns (swords?) so Roland would be dead. But I WAS thinking of using some of the more "legendary" aspects like his sword Durendal to recover or a tomb somewhere up in the Pyrenees to pilgrimage to or something.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:39 pm
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