Of all the peoples of Calibran, goblins live closest to the wild and unpredictable lands of Chaos. Some of that strange place's nature may have infected the goblins, as they are an erratic and fickle people. They see the world as the endless interplay of luck and chance, and as a result they rarely take responsibility for their actions. It wasn't their fault, a goblin will often say. It was just bad luck.
If goblins were amiable and generous, this would perhaps not be such a problem. But, in truth, their tendency is towards viciousness and grasping envy. They crave what they do not have, and will balk at nothing to get it.
Some assume goblins are cousins to orcs, but it is a dubious assumption. Goblins lack the tribal structure of the orcs, each individual going their own way. They don't have even the twisted version of of honor the orcs adhere to, mere expediency taking its place. Goblins are much more clever in the matter of making and forging than orcs, though. The steel they make is often a match for, or better than, human steel. And their cleverness with tools and machines is great, though the devices they build are rickety and unreliable things, with a tendency to fail spectacularly.
Goblins are short, squat, and spindly, rarely topping five feet. They lack muscle and strength, which perhaps motivates their skill with machines. Their skin tone is generally a sickly green, though occasionally the green will tend more toward yellow. Their hair, when they have it, is invariably black and greasy. Baldness is rampant, however, among both males and females.
Goblins are known for their noses, specifically the unsightliness of their proboscises. Most are long and pointed, though there is a significant minority that have short, round, piggish noses.
A goblin's natural lifespan can actually be quite long, and an elder might be over a hundred years old. Most don't reach fifty, however. Goblins constantly scheme at each others' demise, and in any case safety is rarely their first concern. On the whole, their lives are nasty, brutish, and short.
Goblins will live wherever they are allowed. The only true goblin city is Daexbur.
Visitors to Daexbur will often comment on its similarity to an anthill, and a poorly constructed one at that. It is built into a tall hill at the southern most stretch of the Goblin Woods, just west of the unnamed mountains that separate the kingdom of Calibran from the strange lands of Chaos. The goblins have burrowed into the hill at all levels, and with no organization or plan. There are occasional collapses, and many tunnels and caves have ceilings supported by make shift and unreliable methods. A homeless goblin might simply dig a new hole in the hill to live in.
The city has spread out beyond the hill in ramshackle fashion. Log cabins are close by clapboard houses, next to canvas tents that at some point became more or less permanent fixtures.
There are many forges and smithies in Daexbur, as some of their primary exports are their steel and the strange machines the cleverest among them construct. Some steel comes from the low hills to the west of the city. Some comes from the mountains bordering Chaos. It is said that weapons and tools made from this material can sometimes have strange properties.
Daexbur is famed for its gambling dens. As goblins are great believers in luck, gambling seems to them a natural and fair way to redistribute wealth. They are not above putting their fingers on the scales of chance, however, and accusations of cheating fly fast and frequently. Casual accusations are dealt with by duckings in water or other humiliations. More serious accusations end with someone getting knifed.
The Chief of Daexbur is a title that was, up till recently, claimed by any number of goblins, and passed from hand to hand rapidly. Within the last couple years, however, Bladaag the Dog has managed to hang onto the title, and enforce his claim. He was a small time crook that worked his way up to the head of a small criminal organization, and then used that to take the top spot. Now, his enforcers, bouncers, and bookies run the city.
Goblins worship no god. Instead, they believe the universe is ruled by the vagaries of luck and the unlikely and random actions of chance.
There are a number of rituals which certain goblins claim can concentrate the forces of good luck, and banish any bad luck that happens to adhere to a particular individual. Those with the 'secret' knowledge to perform these rituals invariably charge large sums. Most people of any intelligence consider them charlatans.
Goblins are aware of the spirits of nature and the elements, but their relationship with them is purely utilitarian. They do not worship them, but invoke the spirits in their magic.
Goblin's speak the King's Speech almost exclusively. There might be a few, particularly in the far reaches of the Goblin Woods, that might still have snatches of some traditional goblin speech. But it is no longer a living language.
Goblin shamans are not religious figures, unlike the shamans of minotaurs or orcs. They are more like the human wizards, following certain principles to create an effect.
Goblin magic can effect plants, animals, and to a lesser extent the pure elements. Rain and snow can be summoned, as well as other, more spectacular effects. Unlike orcs or minotaurs, they rarely combine their efforts, and so the power of their magic is limited.
Rule of the Dragon Edit
Goblins lurk around the edges of early history. They are not, by and large, suited to be soldiers and warriors. They were occasionally pressed into service to form armies for dragons. More often they were spies, taskmasters, or torturers.
The Dragon Wars Edit
When a faction among the dragons first began hunting and killing the other races, goblins quickly found ways to survive. Some hid in the mountains, or under hills. Some pledged themselves to serve this or that dragon Lord. Some, however, the bravest, wanted to be free of the great beasts' threat.
The elves were the first to kill a dragon, using their high magic. The minotaurs killed one with a combination of magic and strength of arms, and the dwarves trapped one in their deep mines. A young dragon came hunting in the far mountains, north of the orc city of Mor Cthokbur. A cabal of goblins, seeking revenge for the deaths of their fellows and families, plotted this young dragon's death.
The goblins trapped it in a valley with their machines, and used other machines to wound and weaken it. Finally, they overwhelmed it by sheer numbers. This was the final blow that broke the dragon's aura of invincibility. If even the goblins could kill a dragon, it was said, how strong could the old masters be?
Goblin spies discovered that a Flight of Dragons, led by the legendary Liszurath the Indomitable, would be flying and hunting in the south of Calibran. They sent word to the human general Johelm Belgrave, who formed a battle plan with the help of their information. The goblins also went to fight, bringing weapons and machines to the battle. They had a vital role to play in Johelm's plan, and many sacrificed themselves to kill Liszurath and his allies.
After Farsalon Edit
After their part in the Battle of Farsalon, goblins have rarely risen to prominence in Calibran. They can be found in almost every city and most towns, though are not generally welcomed by the locals. They are merchants and gamblers and thieves, and sometimes tinkerers and smiths. But they are always at the edges and in the dark places, in the slums and quarters of the city set aside for the foreigners and poor.
No goblin has sat the Dragon Throne, though several have attempted the quest.
Named and Important Characters Edit
Bladaag the Dog Edit
The Chief of Daexbur. A pretty criminal who leveraged his control of a criminal organization into taking control of the whole city. Not especially bright, but cunning and ruthless.
Naming Conventions Edit
Notable Skills and Traits Edit
Being small and slight means that goblins often go over looked. Many consider them vile annoyances, but not real threats. This is a mistake. Goblins are masters of the back stab, and those who deal with them would be wise to be wary, counting fingers and toes after every transaction.
Anything mechanical fascinates them, and they often are able to dissect and analyze new machines. They can then recreate, or even improve them. Many of the machines they make include clever ways to inflect pain or damage people. With their belief in the supremacy of luck, testing, failsafes, and controlled conditions are unheard of. Safety is definitely not a goblin's first priority.
Cultural notes Edit
The Daexbur Gambling Dens Edit
The ‘Chief of Daexbur’ is usually a fleeting title as a new one usually surfaces with each passing day but in recent years Bladaag the Dog has managed to retain his position. As a first class crook, he knows how to keep his population calm and occupied; traditionally, goblins like one thing: fighting. When they’re not fighting, they’re squabbling; when they’re not squabbling, they’re eating; when they’re not eating, they’re almost certainly breeding but when they’re not busy with their usual past times: they’re gambling. Bladaag, although not the sharpest tool in the box, was clever enough to understand that his folk need distraction and if they’re distracted, his long-nosed head will probably remain on his bony, crooked shoulders. Gambling dens have sprung up around every hearth and there is no wager that Daexbur’s bookmakers won’t take; fights, dog races, dice, you name it, Daexbur has got it. Debtors and cheats get the knife; it’s not quite law and order but it certainly keeps the population manageable.