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Hobgoblins are known for their skill in warfare, their iron discipline, their codes of honor, and their cruelty towards those they deem their inferiors. Their fortress cities are a testament to both their determination to survive in a dangerous world, and their organizational skills, and they are generally counted among the civilized races of the Known Lands as a result.

Hobgoblin personality is defined by their codes of honor. Anyone who achieves results is to be treated with respect. Anyone who is unable - or worse, unwilling - to achieve something is beneath contempt. The highest achievements are those revolving around warfare. Any insults to one’s achievement, or one’s clan, must be dealt with quickly. This is usually done through a challenge - the offended party pits him or his resources (his clan members, hirelings, and property - including slaves) against the offender. The precise details of the challenge are mutually agreed upon before it begins, or else decided by a war council of veterans. It is dishonorable to use more resources than one’s opponent, but highly honorable to succeed with less resources. Cheating is considered highly dishonorable, and punished with exile or death.

A hobgoblin’s word is his bond. If he has agreed to do something for someone, he will do it or die trying, unless his partner has lied to him about the facts - in which case he will go out of his way to take revenge upon the liar. This trait makes hobgoblins highly desirable as mercenaries.

Most hobgoblins belong to a clan, either by birth or by adoption. They will proudly wear clan insignia and defend their clan’s honor with their lives. Sometimes exceptional nonhobgoblins are adopted into a clan, but this is a rare exception.

There is no gender discrimination among hobgoblins - men and women can both join any occupation acceptable for hobgoblins, and neither is considered inherently any less competent in any profession than the other. It helps that rearing children is not considered the job of the mother, but of older members of the clan who are too infirm to remain active as warriors. Shortly after birth, children are given over to them, thus allowing the mother to quickly return to her job. Female hobgoblins are popular as bodyguards for the unmarried daughters of rich humans, as using male bodyguards would be socially unacceptable.

Hobgoblins are tall humanoids and grow roughly 6 1/2 feel tall. Most of their bodies is covered in a fine fur that is dark brown, black, or gray in color. Their skin tends to be dark or red-orange in color. Some families have hereditary marks on their faces in different colors such as blue, red, or green. Beards are common in both males and females. Their clothes are often colorful and display their clan symbols, but they tend to be militaristic in appearance.

Hobgoblins consider humans as a whole to be weak-willed and lacking discipline, though most hobgoblins realize that there are some humans worthy of respect. Dwarves are regarded as almost-equals for their determination and skill in warfare, and their weapons are in high demand among hobgoblins. Orcs are considered to be uncouth barbarians. Gnomes and Halflings are beneath notice. Elves (and their sidhe masters) receive the special hatred of the hobgoblins ever since the first hobgoblin felled the first tree in an elven forest. Humans might come to a peaceful compromise with the elven kingdoms, but hobgoblin honor made it impossible for them to back down, which made the elven defense of their forest ever fiercer. As hobgoblins have no value for nature that isn’t actively harvested, this conflict will likely continue until either race is eradicated.

The Hobgoblin Dominions are the ancestral lands of the hobgoblins, and the majority of their population can still be found there. However, they have long since spread to other regions where they tend to live in small, clan-based groups that exist within larger non-hobgoblin communities.

Hobgoblins live to prove themselves in the eyes of their peers. Thus, they readily take to the road to adventure, seeking glory in battle and riches for their clan. Many hire themselves out as mercenaries, and find plenty of people willing to hire them.

List of Articles about Hobgoblins

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

I wanted to present one of the races which are usually considered "monsters" as viable player characters. Hobgoblins seemed like the best fit, and I developed them from that starting point.


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