While the peaceful nations of Tellene strain under the threat of humanoid attack directed at their heart – the food-producing villages and farms – one race among the humanoids is now a dominant force in trade, politics and war. Hobgoblins are very competitive and see a great deal of honor to be gained from winning a contest, whether an arm-wrestling contest, a foot race or a huge battle. During contests, friendships, religion and other factors lose importance – only winning matters. Competitors need not fear deceit, however. Hobgoblins consider cheating worse than losing.
Hobgoblins live in a very definitive caste system, and the language operates in much the same way. Societal stature is evidenced by the words a hobgoblin uses to communicate. Royalty will often have to be translated for commoners—and vice versa. A slave is allowed only to speak to other slaves. When in the presence of a social superior, one is expected to wait until spoken to before speaking. The penalty for “speaking out of caste” is the removal of the offender’s tongue.
There is a language that most hobgoblins are raised from birth to speak: the Battle Tongue of the military. Battle Tongue is mostly standardized across Tellene, and the hobgoblins of Ul-Karg speak the same Battle Tongue as the hobgoblins of Norga-Krangrel. (The Kors speak Battle Tongue only during battles or during military training.)
Unlike Krangi or Kargi, Battle Tongue does not rely on context for understanding. It has standardized names for most common items, including gods, locations, weapons, and tactics. It can convey complex military orders, and can describe basic religious ideas. However, philosophy, magic, complex theology, and commerce are all impossible to discuss in Battle Tongue.
The hobgoblin language uses the following letters: A, B, D, E, F, G, GG, H, I, J, K, KK, L, M, N, O, P, R, RR, S, T, TT, U, V, W and Z. Double consonants and hard consonant sounds are characteristic of the hobgoblin language. Written Hobgoblin is not difficult to learn, and most hobgoblins are taught to read and write a simplified Hobgoblin during their mandatory service in the military. Hobgoblin is written right to left and their text bears similarities to Dwarven. Most non-hobgoblin scholars agree that hobgoblins adopted Dwarven at some point in the distant past.
Hobgoblin names are all their own. The only sign of it anywhere is in the Young Kingdoms, where certain place names are obvious Kalamaran derivatives of Kargi names. Korak (Kurghak), Ek’Kasel (Ekhazel), and the Lido (Lidou) Bog were all originally part of the extensive kingdom of Kruk-Ma-Kali. All dialects of Hobgoblin are obviously closely related and use the same character set, but have diverged greatly in spoken word from whatever past origin they shared. Consequently, Kargi, Krangi, Kors, and Rankki are distinct languages and speakers of each cannot communicate with the other without translation. Dazlak is a dialect of Krangi.