Goblins are small, green humanoids who are, at best, viewed as nuisances by the civilized races of Orn. Lacking an organized society of their own, goblins congregate in small camps and prey on travelers. Some of the more ambitious groups try to raid towns and villages, but most goblins are too cowardly to attack a superior foe unless coerced.
Goblin characters must wear green body paint on all areas of exposed skin. Many goblins wear a hodgepodge of oversized or makeshift clothing and equipment that they've managed to cobble together.
As the bard Giovanni Bonatelli once wrote, “If one were to compare the vile creature of the Goblin to any animal, they would bear a striking resemblance to a rabid sewer rat inflicted with mange. I apologize to any rats that I may have offended by this accusation.”
Goblins are known across the many shards as being mean, nasty, vile little pests with a propensity to carry disease wherever they go. They have a notoriously short temper and have a tendency to lash out when even slightly agitated or annoyed. If one is unfortunate enough to be forced to keep company with one of these creatures, take care to stay off of their bad side as long as you can. Goblins are notorious for holding grudges and will reciprocate any slight with a far crueler trick when you are at your most vulnerable. Their cruelty only grows when they are in a large pack, being very mob oriented. If you are able to separate a single goblin and offer a credible threat, their demeanor will quickly change to groveling and fear. While they may seem pitiable in their shrunken state, do not be fooled. They will quickly return to their nasty, filthy self within moments of separating themselves from the threat.
These creatures are also known for being incredibly dim-witted and are easily fooled by the simplest of misdirection. This is believed to feed their immense greed and desire for anything with the slightest glimmer or shine to it, some reporting finding entire caves lined with worthless metals and shiny rocks which sparkle. However, even with their limited mental capacities, there are many hordes who have mastered the art of crafting machines from scraps and refuse. These machines, while not on par with the Gnomish inventions, still show a technology above many other civilizations of Orn. But, while Gnomish inventions might be for the betterment of all or to solve a specific issue, Goblin technologies are almost always for war and murder of some kind. Many to this day still puzzle how a creature with such little smarts can craft such complex devices.
The only time a goblin can feel truly comfortable is when they are covered in filth. Any who have the misfortune of entering a goblin cave can attest to the muck that seems to cover every surface and vile stench of rot, refuse, and fetid dung that hangs in the air and sticks to your clothes. While many would catch all sorts of diseases from being within shouting distance to one of these cess pools, Goblins live and thrive. They seem to have developed a boosted immune system that protects them from many diseases and illnesses that would kill those 3 to 4 times their size in a matter of days. It is advised to bath and wash any clothing or important possessions that may have come into contact with a goblin and to burn everything else.
An excerpt from the “Almanac of Dreadful Monstrocities”, written by Torvald McKenny, on the subject of goblins reads:
“If one thing can be said of goblins, it is this: They have no shame. They have no compunctions about using any underhanded trick to get their way. They are pathological liars, cheats, and thieves, taking whatever they can, including the credit for an accomplishment. When faced with a credible threat, they flee. When cornered, they grovel (often quite well from years of practice). When victorious, they gloat. And they do it all without a shred of remorse. They are greedy, cowardly, shallow creatures with no redeeming qualities to speak of.”
Goblins are one of the oldest races of Orn, having existed long before the dawn of written language. Because of this, their true origins are widely argued. Many Angori shamans claim goblins are the result of the immortal Arimir sneezing onto a Baka dung pile. According to the few dwarves that didn’t instantly discredit this research, Goblins are the result of an ancient Dwarven clan digging too deep and accidently splitting their mountain in two. The result being a curse of the filthy green monsters pouring from the crack and invading every cave they come across, infecting the many mountains around. Others simply claim they are from an uncovered outhouse that sat for far too long. Neither sides are able to decide where this might have occurred nor did even fewer seem to even care.
The most credulous claim so far comes from a small, reclusive glen of elves. They claim the true origin of the foul creatures come from a small, secular town of Gnomes who had lived in an ancient mountain cave. However, after dabbling in forbidden and occult magic to further their own avarice, they were all cursed with green skin, vastly reduced intelligence, and an insatiable bloodlust and worse temper. They go on to claim they spread through years and years of quick child birth and expansion of the goblins to new caves across the, at the time, un-shattered realms. However, this claim is still under discussion on its validity.
While all goblins might share different hues of green skin, there are still a vast number of different sun-races of goblin. The most common of these are the Common Goblin, Saltlins, and the more-prevalent Gremlin.
Most goblins tend to live deep in stagnant caves and in small forest dens close to occupied hamlets. When most people speak of a goblin, they are referring to these as they are the most common to stumble upon while traveling between towns. They are driven by an intense greed of all things shiny and live by a love of fire. Beware of their shamans, for they have developed a nasty habit of launching firy snots straight from their own nose. You will be hard pressed to find one of these goblins away from their horde as they almost always travel in packs, knowing safety is in numbers and to cowardly to deal with a threat on their own.
Saltlins are the result of goblins who ventured from their caves and have made a new life sailing the seas of Orn. While their land dwelling cousins are happy ransacking the villages closest to them, these sea-faring goblins have taken up a life of a Coastal Raider. Building massive vessels from the carcasses of once ship-wrecked ships, they sail the nearby coast looking for any to ambush. They are responsible for many sailors untimely demise and the theft of goods from many different merchants. Whenever these marauders claim a new ship as their victim, they simply strip the entire vessel and add it to their own. This eventually results in hulking monstrosities sailing the seas. However, being as their ships are made from refuse and scraps, they are not very well made and are known to fall apart in storms or drawn out fire fights if not careful. This usually results in the death of most of the horde onboard as, ironically enough, most of these creatures have never bothered to learn to swim. While they still just as greedy for shiny objects as their land cousins, they also have a deep attraction for the sea and very seldom come to land.
There are some rare goblins who have split themselves from their original horde to live a more civilized life in the larger cities. These Gremlins tend to be little better-spoken, however most still have trouble speaking more than a broken version of the common language for the area. While very few develop meaningful skills, most turn to a life of petty crime. It is not uncommon to find a goblin in many of the gangs that plague the larger Ornish cities. There have also been reports of full Goblin civilizations forming within the sewers of those cities. These hidden enclaves of debauchery are also rumor to be the locations of the Goblin Market, the most prolific of the Black Markets. It is rumored to be very little you can’t find, legal or otherwise, that can’t be found in these hidden stalls. The goblins who run these markets tend to have cut throat business practices and excellent bartering skills. There are tales of these shops being able to provide magical or supernatural gifts in exchange for personal attributes of the customer, such as their memories or their voice. It is ill advised to search out this Market for obvious reasons.
Goblin society, if it can be called that, is completely dependant on a sort of caste system. Instead of basing their hierarchy off bloodlines or wealth, they simply use aggression or murder to rise the ranks. The more timid or runts of each goblin litter tend to sit at the bottom and often receive the wanton aggression and cruelty of those stronger than themselves. In times of famine, or when the horde simply gets a little hungry and retrieving stored food is a slight inconvenience, it is not uncommon to cannibalize the weakest among them. At the top of this hierarchy is the Chieftain, who is more often than not the Strongest, Most Ruthless, or simply the most clever of the entire horde. These chieftains do not tend to last long, however, as they are always under threat of assignation or coup.
Because of this, it is not uncommon to find a goblin horde with a non-goblin as chieftain. As noted in “Transcribes of Dragons and their Homes”, by Sir Harold Bethalmy, there have been several instances of Dragons acting as the chieftain to a goblin horde. Being obviously far more powerful and far more clever, these goblins have been known to worship these dragons as one would with the Immortals.
Because of the lack of communication between Goblin hordes, there is very little in the way of a shared culture amongst the entire Goblin race. Instead, each horde may have an entire different set of taboos, if they have any, and have their own set of practices. One particular horde comes to mind from the Varalian plains who have taken up donning pointed hats that are repeatedly dyed red with the blood of their victims. These so called “Murderous Redcaps” have been reported multiple times in the past to be encroaching on the city of Vloston, before ultimately being turned away by the militias. Their current location is presently unknown.
Goblins are one of the few races of Orn to be almost unanimously hated by every other civilized civilization. They are considered a pest and vermin by nearly everyone who has the misfortune to live within proximity to their nests. Even the Goblins hate other Goblins, but are far more willing to tolerate their presence. This is perfectly fine to the Goblins because they, themselves, highly distrust every other race as well. But nobody hates Goblins nearly as much as the Gnomes, and Goblins see them as their greatest enemies. They see each other as absolute monsters and fiends. Goblins have been known to go out of their way to attack or pull excessively cruel pranks on any Gnome they come across. The true origins of this unfettered hatred is currently unknown.
While it isn’t uncommon for a horde to create it’s own “Immortals” to worship, such as the Moon, Fire, or a cleverly stacked pile of rocks, different hordes have also been found to worship different Immortals.
Most of the common land dwelling varieties will commonly offer patronage to Hexadus, Dhuroscht, or even Hursisa. The nests of the goblins who worship Hursisa tend to be very easy to find due to the overpowering stench of rot and disease that permeates the air and kills any wildlife within several fields worth of land.
Saltlins, being coastal raiders, are most commonly found to show respect to Syflare and Hexadus. They look to Syflare for their sea travels and to Hexadus for an excellent raiding. It isn’t uncommon for these goblins to claim several captives because of their patronage.
Gremlins, tending to be more clever and less brutish, tend to respect discretion more than overt violence. Because of this, many will offer their support for Secronus in hopes that the secrets will benefit their businesses and give an advantage over competitors.
Almost all goblin adventurers have been exiled from their tribes, or have at least avoided being executed and eaten. This is commonly because they didn’t fit in with their tribe, being “Not Cruel Enough,” or they attempted a coup for the role of Chieftain and failed. Whatever their reason, it has forced them to leave the safety of their horde. They now wander, attempting to find a new horde that will take them in. While some may try to find a new goblin tribe to join, others attempt to find their place in the civilized world. They find this incredibly difficult as nearly every other race believes them to be a menace. The ones who are tolerated, however, will attempt to recreate the pecking order they lived by in their old tribe, even if they are the only ones who follow it.
Lacking communication between the different hordes, goblins tend to have only their own sayings and what not that are unique to their horde. Strangely enough, when it comes to insulting Gnomes, a few common phrases do exists. The most prevalent being “Cherry Cheeks”, “Tomato-Face”, and the ever present “Blood-Cheeked Demons”.