My name is Gragord, I hail from a small village within the Great Kingdom where I worked as a sage, making a decent living at it and still having time for my studies. As is common knowledge, when the Bone March fell to the humanoids, the Overking became irate. I fled my home in the cover of darkness, for the Overking was forcing all men of my talent to feed themselves to the humanoid armies; something that I am not ashamed to admit that I wanted no part of. The Grand Army is not known for providing protection, nor comforts, which my stock depends upon; so, I deserted my home, and decided to make my way to the Free City of Greyhawk. A place far enough away from my King’s contact that I could effectively disappear.
I suppose, that if I had made it to the city of Greyhawk, then my life-path would be different, but that wasn’t so. I traveled the roads alone, in the blanket of night, dependent upon my spells to keep me safe. I, unfortunately, had not gotten so far as a days travel away from my home when the royal guards placed me on their wanted lists and began combing the country-side. I knew well that I could not depend upon the docks, so I had to change my original plans, and decided to risk movement through places where I knew that the soldiers would be reluctant to go. Death in the swamp would be more noble then feeding the gears of a war I cared nothing about.
I made it almost to the Kingdom of Nyrond when I was captured by a tribe of Goblins. I suppose that one would think that a man of my skill could easily destroy these humanoids, and I could, but then I decided that with the war taking place in the north, the Humanoids of the south would not be cooperative with the local human leadership of the kingdom, and I was right. There was much resentment between the goblins and the soldiers who offered to pay a modest prize for my capture, but this bounty was ignored and no information as to my whereabouts were ever released to them.
I allowed myself to be detained into a manner of slavery. I wasn’t taken below ground to help dig the massive network of caves with the other human slaves, instead I was taken to the goblin tribal leader, he informed me that their Cleric had recently been killed, all of his books regarding the religions and customs of the goblin people were scribed in some secret language which the former cleric had used to make himself seem more irreplaceable. I agreed to transcribe these works in exchange for comfortable conditions and a small measure of freedom, and this was how my new life began.
For many moons I worked, and lived among the goblins. I became enthralled by their ethnicity, it then dawned on me that no books that I have ever seen had ever been dedicated to cultures of the lesser human races. My guess is that writers are, by nature, a cowardly lot; thus, I decided to begin a side project, while working among them: To record the facts and behaviors which I witnessed, and, once I finished serving them, I was made good my escape, and I chose to seek more humanoids in which to study. This book is the composite of my work. I write it for those interested in how these monstrous beings live, either for a historical perspective of our world, or to use as one will.
The goblin is a squat, thin creature. Their faces are rather piggish; with snout-like noses and sharp protruding teeth that are too large for their mouths. Their arms are too long for their bodies, and they have sharper and pointed ears when compared to elven variety. Their skulls are unique to them, easily identified as goblin once all of the flesh has been cleaned from the bone.
Their skin color varies by tribe, varying from yellow, orange, to a deep red. Eyes are different depending on tribe as well, varying from reds to yellows which, in low levels of light, appear to burn into the darkness.
In the last few centuries, mans technology has grown in leaps and bounds. The same cannot be said in regards to the lowly goblin. They have evolved to a specific plateau and have never improved. This is due to their nature, they have a specific pecking order amongst themselves, ones status is improved through acts of violence and murder. If one goblin appears to be getting ahead, either his subordinate will use him as a stepping stool, or the goblin above him will kill him to protect his own status. Because of this, they have very little history to show for themselves.
While the goblin spends almost his entire life below ground, they have no idea how to work metals, they obtain tools through thievery and slavery. Surprisingly enough they do possess one marketable skill, that of leather working. When it comes to tanning and working with leather, I have seen no peers equal to their skill. Each goblin seems to have great cleverness when it comes to producing this material. The leader of the tribe is especially well protected, his leather armor is both beautiful and functional.
While it is unclear what the goblins hope to obtain, they are always mining. This probably has more to do with their sanitation problems then any real gain. They defecate where they eat, cleaning is alien to them, thus they are always on the move. These tunnels and passageways are rather complex and well-built. Looking upon their craftsmanship, I can recognize their work as forming the foundations of many underground networks in many castles and fortresses around the Flanaess. They typically move around thick deposits of metal, however they mine precious stones, probably just to spite the gnomes who are always looking for them.
Like most humanoids whom I have studied, the goblin shares with them a strong disdain for their treatment. One which raises their tempers up faster and hotter then one would imagine possible. They have vowed to destroy the “surface creatures”, regardless of the fact that they require us to survive. They raise no cattle for meat, they grow no food, they live only on what they can kill or steal, yet they despise us! In fact, the only creatures that they despise more then humans, are gnomes and dwarves.
There is a saying in the underdark, “Raka Snetha, P’pootha kik”, roughly translated, it means that one should not suffer a gnome or dwarf to live. Many great wars have raged on between these two peoples, the reason for this war has been lost to both, but the pain and memory of it remains as fresh in their minds as their need for water. If one looks upon the numbers, a dwarf is not mature until he is well over 100 years old, while a male goblin reaches maturity in just 4 years. A short lived goblin does more damage to the dwarven race by killing just one of their kind then a dwarf can possibly do even by destroying an entire tribe.
They have no love for other creatures, they spend so much time fighting with themselves, and jockeying for positions that it would be insulting to take friendships beyond the tribe. I think that I am an exception to the rule. Once I noticed the trends and how things work I myself entered the quest for power, and have become a human bodyguard for the leader of this violent bunch. While they respect strength, and observe fear, they are a cowardly lot, more then often doing nothing independently. If a political assassination is going to take place, the goblin behind it will first rally his supporters and make promises to each one for their co-conspirators in the bloody revolt. I fear that if I had overstayed my welcome longer then I did, jealousy and revenge would no doubt be my ending. I made few friends while among them, but the ones I made, I made sure were powerful and it took much work to keep them that way.
The goblins seem to understand their place in the pecking order in regards to the other humanoids as well. A mouthy goblin will always keep himself in check when in mixed company. They don’t care for Kobolds, but the other humanoids, your hobgoblins, gnolls, etc., they will seek nothing more then some pointless attempt to earn respect which they will never obtain. Even a goblin leader will cater to the lowest ranks of humanoid, treating them as royalty higher then themselves.
Within the humanoid races, their closest alley, if one could call them that, would be the bugbear. These two races have long had a pact with one another and have never entered war or conflicts with the other. The goblin respects their strength and power, while the bugbears respect their dedication and talent for ambush. This race alone, have the goblins ever felt any kinship too.
One exception, however, is in regards to halflings. There is a halfling village somewhere nearby and they quietly trade goods back and forth, apparently the halflings have no qualms about fencing stolen merchandise, they are also similar in size which may make for some sort of kinship among the peoples. It is even listed in their religious materials that it is ill-luck to slay a halfling.
RELIGIONS OF GOBLINKIND
If one can put a word to their beliefs, that word would be brutality. They worship slavery and blind obedience. All of their religious observances must be practiced with a living sacrifice. Dwarves and gnomes are the preferred victims of their evil and dark rites, but they will settle for quantity as well. The last day of my stay with them, they horrified me by rounding up an entire village of elven children, despite my protests and tears they slaughtered the lot of them. This act was what broke the pact and alliance which I had among them, and it is these feelings of compassion and respect for life which led to all of my greatest difficulties when it came to producing this book that you are now reading.
Unlike halfling races, the names of the gods are uniform for all goblins. It never changes, neither by location or time these gods have reigned over the goblin souls. Key of the gods is Maglubiyet, a god that they share with their superior cousins, the hobgoblin. Maglubiyet is a god of war, and also the goblin patron of law, who demands his followers sacrifice the living. This right is preformed by decapitating their victim with an axe. There are four major celebrations of Maglubivet, on these days hobgoblins and goblins converge to pay homage to their saint with blood.
The goblin does have their own god as well, which they do not share with any other humanoid. This beings name is Khurgorbaeyag, a god of slavery and oppression. Both of these elements are key to goblin survival. Slaves of all races are kept for work and in thin times, for food. The goblin leaders, and especially the goblin kings all utter his name when passing judgments and making important decisions. The symbol of this god is the whip. Unlike how humans worship their gods, the goblins believe that they are slaves to Khurgorbaeyag, and typically serve their priests with the abandon of a zealot, only questioning him if they aren’t suffering enough, a consideration usually taken by an underling to a tribal cleric who leads the revolt, however in the case of recent events, it was the tribal leader himself who grew tired of being undermined by the former cleric.
GOBLIN FAMILY STUCTURES
Goblin women lead horrible lives, and considered to be below the human and demi-human slaves which the tribes keep. Woman are for breeding only, and it is their function to raise the young. If one wishes to hear the true haunting voice of despair, one simply needs to listen to the wailing and crying which comes from the breeding caves.
Women have no rights, and are not taught anything. The young are typically beaten by the adult males in order to teach them their ranks immediately. If one survives their youth, they are initiated by pain, taken from the care of their mothers and beaten remorselessly by an entire group of goblin men, those who resist fighting back against their kind are allowed to live, while those who fight back are almost always beat to death unless they are able to kill all of their attackers, these goblins are considered special.
Goblins seem to be incapable of wizardry, but the shamans and priests of Khurgorbaeyag are quite skilled. I stumbled upon a few scrolls in my work of copying the religious rites, and while I am not accomplished in the ways of the gods, I was able to determine that much of their body of work seems to revolve around pain and suffering. They are also skilled at manipulating the darkness. According to my contact within the church, they are specialized at casting spells from the spheres of divination, protection, and reversing the spells of both the healing and the sun spheres of priestly magics.
While the creatures are susceptible to all forms of magic, they are resistant to spells which cause depression, this of course, being a byproduct of their god. Their lives are hellish, depression is a daily happening for them and their kind, one cannot be lower then the goblin and they know it.
The goblin does not appear to be compatible with demi-human blood, there are no half-goblins of any race, however within the humanoid races, it is my belief that many of them share goblin blood. As I’ve already stated, the goblins share gods with many of them, and are considered minions. In human society, the goblin would be considered royalty, as it possesses the cleanest and purest blood, however this is one instance where the humanoids rebel against this philosophy. Even the Hobgoblin, which is definitely goblinoid, considers itself to be above these lowly creatures.
The goblin, despite variances of skin and eye colors, are all of the same blood and they do not have any racisms against their own kind in this regard. Goblin tribes exist in every land with the exception of the far northern territories, as they are not physically sturdy enough to survive arctic temperatures. While they can keep alive during winters, this is the worst time for them as they have no concept of packing or saving away for these times of strife, this is also why goblin raids are more common in winter moons, then the warm summer ones.
The further north you get, the more bestial they become, but the northern goblin is also the most skilled at taming the wild and dangerous worg wolves. How they can do this remains a mystery, the worg wolf is a primal and very violent creatures which forms no desire for relationships of any kind, perhaps this trait is something that the goblin and worg shares and have thus formed an alliance.
A word about these northern goblins; I have mentioned the rite of manhood which they suffer upon all of their youth, it may be that the powerful goblins who are able to defeat up to 10 of their kind, are sent up north. That the northern tribes are crack teams of the best fighters, this is simply a theory of my own invention. During my time with the goblins I had never seen any goblin defeat the gang of their attackers. When I asked the tribal leader about this, he was definitely evasive, only telling me that these goblins were considered special, and that is it. If this is the case, and the goblin nation is amassing an army of violent, highly trained fighters . . . well, perhaps investigating this rumor is best left to better men then myself. . . .
THE GOBLIN LIFE-CYCLE
Goblins typically live short, pointless lives. They are capable of living for up to 50 years, but this is rarely the case. All venerable goblins are shamans, and are crazy. The shamans keep the goblins healthy, skilled at mixing herbal remedies. The rest of the goblins are terrified of them, even the tribal leaders give them a wide path. Most other goblins, if they are not killed in battle, they are murdered by their own kind in the eternal goblin struggle of rank and file.
Because of the initiation rites, weak, sickly, or feeble minded goblins are quickly slain. Goblin women do not get old, if they do not suicide themselves, they are typically burned once they become barren.
Every goblin male has his position and his duty which he is aware of. He is also aware of every goblin above him in status, as well as who he is responsible for to boss around. All property is communal, and kept with the tribal leader for safe keeping. The tribal leader is responsible for paying his tithe to the Goblin King and staying in contact with him. Privacy is absolutely unheard of! The goblin defecates where it stands, sex has no taboos, clothing is functional only, and nudity means nothing to the goblin. They are a shameless lot, they never groom themselves, nor avoid their own excrement. Lice and other vermin are typical within the goblin caverns, it is unclear how the goblin can be so resistant to disease and the parasites which is normally associated with this kind of living, though this could be attributed to both the tribal shaman, as well as a monstrously high constitution.
The only law which is enforced with any strictness what-so-ever, are the laws which involve the chain of command. While it is acceptable to murder the goblins under you, and it is legal to murder the goblin directly above you, it is illegal to kill any goblins above your direct superior. Goblins who become too ambitious are typically dealt with quickly and quietly.
Goblin justice knows only violence. Stealing from the tribe is a capital offense as well, and the goblin is executed on the spot, however this is a rare offense which is typically unheard of. Failure to perform ones function or duty are seen as acts against god, and punished by the church. Goblins are terrified of this, as their souls are cast out, and not allowed to join the army of the afterlife. Oddly enough, this is a common occurrence, very little proof is required to prove someone incompetent.
While all property is communal, pay is in the form of a weak, but highly addictive narcotic. I regret to admit that I myself became a victim of this vile material. It is a mixture of mold and root which they call Snuff. It is manufactured by slaves, and comes in three forms which is distributed by rank.
The first class of snuff comes in the form of a short fat plug, this is distributed to most goblins, who bit off a chunk of it. The snuff is kept between the cheek and the jaw and the juice is swallowed. This narcotic aids with depression, but is more or less weak in effect but highly addictive. Consuming this stuff did nothing for me, however after just one trial I immediately became ill until I took another dose.
The second class is better quality drug and is distributed to higher ranking officers as well as specialists within the goblin armies. This is ground down into little sprigs, the sprigs are placed under the tongue and is very soothing to the soul, however a specific mindlessness takes over ones being while on it. This drug lasts longer, and the goblins under its influence are easily spotted as their eyes become dull and less reflective, which serves as a benefit to goblin sentries, as they lose that unsettling blazing of the eyes.
The third class of snuff is the best in quality, and only reserved for leaders and extremely powerful goblin generals as well as royalty. This class of snuff is ground finely down, and instead of being ingested by placing it in the mouth and sucking on it, it is snorted up ones nose. This is a powerful stimulant! I was allowed to partake in this form of snuff but once, and I am ashamed that I cannot recall much of the influence of it, however the pleasure that I reserved from it was extremely unsettling. It is this drug which possibly makes the goblin under its influence more capable in one-on-one combat. Constant use causes muscles to become more defined, it causes the body to function faster, and the senses to be keener then usual. A side-effect, of course being suicidal blood lust and fits of uncontrollable rage, which are all common among the goblin elite.
GOBLINS AT WAR
War is a responsibility of religion. A goblin who is not at war is offending god. A goblin who does not die in battle is offending god. This religious zealotry is very related to the Bugbear, and it is this bond of beliefs which keeps these two cultures as eternal allies.
The goblin is not stupid, quite the opposite really. Goblins are advanced strategists, highly skilled at setting traps and ambushes, which is their typical means of survival. Despite their religious beliefs of dying in combat, to their core they are a cowardly lot. One on one combat is unheard of, for obvious reasons. Individually, the goblin is weak, but working together they become a force to be reckoned with.
The tools of the goblin are typically stolen, or provided by bugbears. Goblins are skilled with axes, their preferred weapons when fighting in melee, but they also are proficient in morning stars, short swords, and spears. Those working with bugbears and other humanoids often form unites who train with simple polearms if they are available, more often then not preferring the military pick. For ranged combat, they avoid bows and arrows, and prefer slings as each can make their own with leather and there is never a short supply of ammo.
One of the most important tools of war to the goblin are the worgs. Worg patrols are among the most elite of goblin solders, the worgs are provided by the goblin king and farmed up north. Each tribe is provided for.
A few goblins are skilled fighters, they are normally specialized with axes and responsible for grand armies of goblins. Clerics are also in charge of armies and are capable fighters. Goblins trained in the arts of thievery are much more common, their thieves rivaling those of the halfling variety which are normally considered to be most skilled in their arts.
THE SLAVES OF THE GOBLINS
All goblin tribes rely on slavery to exist. Slaves prepare the snuff which is the basis of their financial system, slaves also dig the tunnels and expand the caverns which goblins require to occupy as they hate the sunlight. Because of the frail form of the goblin body, manual labor is beyond them, the slave population is composed of humans and elves. Snuff is the typical method of bondage, but the slaves are never allowed out of their chains, the locks are permanent and have no keyholes. Children caught in bondage suffer the most, as the shackles do not allow for growth of any kind. Children are used to dig in the deepest section of the mine, as well as grinding up the snuff into fine powder for royalty, a highly dangerous job as the air is full of this narcotic. The life expectancy for a snuff miner is a few months, once the fetters become infected or the slave becomes ill he is taken to the refinery and forced to grind the snuff, life expectancy in this part of the mine is measured in days! Hence its rarity and its high value.
GOBLINS OF THE REALM
As a race, the goblin is more organized then any other. Communications between the tribes are constant, and considering the reaches of this race, this is a colossal undertaking which makes them a serious menace to mankind. Tribes are hidden in every nation of the realm. They breed diseases and parasites which they themselves seem to be immune too, but we are not. Coupled with their devotion to causes, and their shear numbers, how much longer can mankind hope to keep this race pinned down to the mountains, forests, and swamps is unknown, but eventually the dam will break. If a races success shall be measured in numbers instead of land, the true rulers of the Flanaess is not mankind, but truly the Goblin. Take away from this text what you will, but I warn you to not underestimate this race simply because of their size and discount them as simple cowards. Behind hate and malice, the goblin mind is sharp and keen. Beware!
While most goblins are not classed, a few of them are. A classed goblin can achieve the following levels of experience max.
Goblin thieves have the same racial modifiers as halflings to their skill levels.
You can take the word Shaman to either mean healer or wizard. While none of my sources have mentioned wizardry, there is no restrictions on the goblins intelligence. While they would have trouble joining established wizardry schools, learning on ones own really isn’t out of the question, but understandably, goblin wizards would be unique in many ways. In other respects, one can just assume that shamans aren’t regulated by lawful institutions and can act chaotically.
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