The Goblins of Aerk
If Lizardfolk are rarely seen, Minotaurs are rarely considered, and Fhraen are rarely thought well of; they still have it better than Goblins. The Goblins of Aerk were brought here by Fhey Nobles who used them as a servitor caste since the Goblins lacked any direction of their own and only caused trouble if not given something else to do. Since arriving in Aerk, their race has left this voluntary vassalage and become the true nuisance that they strive to be.
Hunted by Fhey, slaughtered by Dwur intent on keeping them out of Brom, worked mercilessly as slaves in most nations and even brought nearly to extinction after their arrival in Aerk; the Goblins have bounced back time and time again. They breed faster than any race known, do whatever it takes to survive (including selling their mother for food) and fight like crazed madmen when cornered; so it seems that Goblins are here to stay in Aerk.
Goblins are not from the same world as the Fhey, but somehow found their way there and were then willing to serve the Fhey for a life of seeming ease. All they had to do was fetch a drink or whatever for their masters and in return were well clothed, fed and given what seemed to them a lavish life. After leaving the service of the Fhey that came to Aerk, Goblin life has changed dramatically; and only for the worse.
Goblins are tribal, but only for breeding purposes; individual Goblins can be members of many tribes in their short life. Their leaders are generally the biggest, strongest, or sometimes smartest of the group. They have no concept of privacy; living, breeding and sleeping in large common areas with only the leaders having private chambers. Goblins survive by raiding and stealing (preferably from those who cannot defend themselves easily), sneaking into lairs, villages and even towns by night to take what they can. They are not above waylaying travelers on the road or in forests and stripping them of all possessions; up to and including the clothes on their backs and gold in their teeth. Goblins will sometimes capture slaves to perform hard labor in the tribe’s lair or camp; preferring children who are easy to bully. In lean times, the weakest and elderly of a tribe will be sold as slaves as well.
Lone Goblins are an oddity in Aerk; but in civilized nations this seems to be the only way they can essentially survive by staying out of trouble. Some few serve wizards as pages since they can grasp the concept of magic and have latent spell abilities; but these few rare individuals were usually born outside the tribal pattern and can more readily live as their servant ancestors did. Others are street-smart and live in slums or as beggars in large cities, even serving well as garbage collectors and street sweeps at times.
The concept of a solitary goblin adventurer is laughable however; their innate cowardice demands that they adventure with someone else who can fight, cast spells, heal, or generally do anything so that they rarely must act alone. It has been recorded that a Goblin Paladin once lived though; so it can be said they aren’t totally without backbone.
Personality: Being bullied by bigger and stronger creatures has taught Goblins to exploit what few advantages they have: sheer numbers, malicious ingenuity and an inkling of magical talent. The concept of a fair fight is meaningless to a Goblin. They favor ambushes, overwhelming odds, dirty tricks and any other edge they can devise to aid in their daily struggles. Cowardly by nature, they think nothing of fleeing when the advantage is lost. They have no concept of privacy or personal belongings; freely taking without thinking it is even wrong unless they are caught. A Goblins mentality can be described as a do or die attitude: “Do whatever it takes to live so that you don’t die” could be their race’s motto.
Physical Description: Goblins are flat-faced with broad noses, pointed ears, a wide mouth filled with sharp teeth and coarse scraggly hair. They average about 3’6" for males and females and weigh on average 50 to 55 pounds. Their eyes are usually dull and glazed, varying in color from red to yellow. Goblin skin color ranges from yellow through any shade of orange to a deep red; but all have a greenish tint as well. Goblins wear whatever clothing is available. The common Goblin warrior will have a leather jerkin and buckler, hunting bow and arrows or pair of hunting spears and a roughly made goblin knife (a rather large curved and serrated sword made by the goblins and reviled by everyone else).
Relations: Goblins just want to survive and will do whatever it takes to do so. They care little for other races who in turn care nothing for them. Goblins stay clear of the Fhey so they aren’t hunted, out of Brom so they aren’t killed, under cover in nations that don’t keep slaves and under the whip of nations that do. Minotaurs pity Goblins but don’t want them in their lands; while Lizardfolk look at them as little more than a snack. Fhraen sometimes use Goblins as helpers in a scheme and it isn’t unusual for a Goblin to try and take on with Gypsy Fhraen. Daerkur that have soldiers sometimes use Goblins as fodder as well, and in some lands such as the Karnite Empire they are actively used as mercenaries if they are not slaves.
Alignment: Goblins are stingy, selfish, greedy and all around a morally corrupt race. They care only about “me, me, me…” and do whatever it takes to get ahead; or at least stay alive. Because they have no concern for laws, but see the values at least of working with each other to survive, they are a neutral race. Their selfishness grounds them firmly in the ranking of evil races; and so they are seen as a Neutral Evil race over all.
Goblin Lands: The only “Land” of the Goblins is within the Vashakwood. Here they reign supreme, most of the time, simply because their numbers are overwhelming and they are well known for their Worg Riding Cavalry. There are many tribes here and they war continuously for the resources of this land. The Vashakwood is a terrible place filled with all manner of beasts, however; so the Goblin’s numbers have not grown too great. Other Goblins live wherever they can, from dank caves to dismal ruins, and their lairs are always smelly and filthy due to an utter lack of sanitation. Goblins often settle near civilized areas to raid for food, livestock, tools, weapons, and supplies. Once a tribe has despoiled a locale, it simply packs up and moves on to the next convenient area. Orcs and Thurse are sometimes found in the company of goblin tribes, usually as bullying leaders. Some goblin tribes, especially those found in the Vashakwood, form alliances with worgs, which carry them into combat.
Languages: Goblins have no native language at all; but a hodge-podge of words taken from every language encountered makes for the Goblin language which varies in dialect from land to land. All Goblins start with “Goblin” and the Common tongue.
Names: Goblin names are simple and have no set pattern. Such names as Bek, Grup, Tok and so on are common as Goblin parents don’t name their children; but instead yell curses at them until the child is old enough to choose its own name.
Religion: Goblins care nothing for religion; but they gladly take whatever is given them. Goblins will go to whatever church they are allowed in if they think it will benefit them; it is common knowledge that some “civilized” goblins carry a holy symbol of every Deity known in the land. It is rare for a Goblin to become a Cleric; but not unknown. Those that do choose darker powers or those of trickery or riches. Goblins care so little for the land that a Goblin Druid has yet to be known.
The Goblins within the Kingdom of Mahn
(As told by the Lore-Master of the White King)
Goblins in the Kingdom of Mahn fit one of two categories: renegade raider to be slaughtered or bondsman servant. Goblins have few numbers in the Kingdom because they so often cause their own death by breaking laws that anyone with common sense would follow; such as not raiding a herd of cattle and killing the farmer that gets in your way.
Those Goblins that are bondsmen are usually sold into their debtor status because they won’t hold jobs to pay their taxes; then the Crown sells them to a Lord so that they can work and be fed without causing trouble. Some very few Goblins live within cities as layabouts and work with local thieves’ guilds to earn their keep; and even a few are Freemen that have somehow managed to stay that way by having just enough money at tax time.
Goblins are never used in the military of any decent noble in the Kingdom; they are simply too cowardly to stand and fight in an ordered battle. Goblin brigands are the most troublesome in the Kingdom and the King has issued bounties for their murderous heads. Unfortunately, it isn’t unknown for “innocent” goblins to be killed by unscrupulous bounty hunters out for a few quick coins from the Royal Coffers. The King’s law protects Goblin serfs however just as well as any other; and a murderer of such as these will himself be hanged if found guilty.
Some few wizards among the humans have taken Goblins as a Page. If properly managed they function in this capacity quite well because of their own magical talents. Were it not for their smell, I nearly took on a Goblin servant myself because such a small being would work nicely in the cramped quarters of the Obsidian Spire I watch over. I thought it best not to, however, so that I didn’t also have to hire a servant to clean up the Goblin and his messes.
Goblin characters possess the following racial traits: