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Counted among the Verminous Races, goblins are small, furred humanoids usually reaching no more than four feet in height. Their fur is usually a mottled green, although other colors are not unknown. Their ears are large for their bodies and pointed, and their mouths are filled with sharp teeth. They tend to be fairly sullen by disposition, scampering out of the way of those more powerful than they are (fawning over them if necessary), but ganging up on those weaker than they are.

Goblin women tend to be highly fecund, with births often occurring every year and multiple births being the norm rather than the exception. Thus, goblin populations can quickly overwhelm other races in a region if their numbers are allowed to grow unchecked, and it is believed that this has lead to the near-extinction of humans in the Flannish Region in the past. For this region, most human civilizations deal fairly harshly with goblins, with pogroms and mass executions being common if their numbers rise too highly. Among the Flannish Cities, the preferred method is to sterilize any goblins permitted to dwell in the cities, and deporting them to the Gray Hills if they become too troublesome. This is seen as more kind than outright extermination.

For these reasons, goblins have become experts at hiding from humans. In older times, they hid in so-called goblin mounds, hills that were hollowed out with their tunnels. In modern times, they establish their lairs in the sewers of the cities, in abandoned buildings, cellars of slum apartments, and other hidden places. They tend to come out only at night to scavenge what they need. They are not above attacking lone humans if they think they can get away with it, and do not shy away from eating them, which makes them a popular bogeyman for mothers to frighten young children with.

However, often they survive and prosper by allying with some other groups who use them as cheap labor, thieves, or informants and spies. Hobgoblins are especially known for this, but criminal organizations of all races make use of them. In some cases, legal businesses and even the city authorities will hire them (for lower wages than they would pay humans, of course) - after all, goblins will fit into much tighter spaces than humans and thus can find ready employment as sewer workers, chimney sweeps, and similar professions where this is an advantage. This can lead to resentment from goblins which do not have even this minimal amount of official recognition and legal protection, but the race as a whole has little solidarity with each other.

See Also

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Many fantasy settings assume that it is perfectly all right to slaughter members of "evil races". And there is nothing inherently wrong with that - after all, it's supposed to be fantasy and escapism and a little mindless slaughter is a great way of letting off steam after a hard day at the office.

However, there is potential for some deeper role-playing here. Sure, goblins seem to be a fairly aggressive and treacherous race, but how much of that is nature and how much is nurture. And most players will probably feel uncomfortable with how goblins are treated here, as their treatment echoes crimes against humanity in our own history. Can they really stand aside when large numbers of goblins are herded on cattle trains and transported to the Gray Hills - a place where most of them will likely starve?

The GM should probably resist attempts to force moral choices on the player characters - merely present the situation, and let the players make their own decisions on whether or not to help the goblins.


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