While I hate to add humanoid creatures to this compendium, I have little choice. Although I have a great deal of departmental pressure to include orcs, I have thus far been able to resist.
The same cannot be said for goblins.
Disgusting, wretched, vile creatures! There is little, if any, good to be said about goblins.
They are around the same height as dwarves though much scrawnier and as they tend to hunch up as though permanently skulking they often seem shorter.
Concepts such as fairness, honesty, and really any virtue are alien to goblins. Their society is a dark one. They fight among each other over everything, but are cowardly and will bow and grovel before anything stronger than them. They play on the mercy of other creatures and will beg for forgiveness right until they poison or stab them.
And, when they can’t get mercy as in the case when dealing with others of their kin, they will swear to serve them and offer treasures or other such incentives.
Basically, they bribe other goblins to avoid death where possible. Or they get murdered or work together to murder another goblin and then each other.
Really, just a lot of bloodshed.
Goblins don’t care for their young, their families or their fellows as we do. They often sell their children into slavery, but not before abusing and torturing them first. They may choose a partner, but they own them rather than love them. And, as you might imagine… monogamy, being faithful or caring about their partners as anything other than sex toys just isn’t something they do.
Goblins are pathological liars. They are intelligent but not nearly as much as they think they are. They are very cunning, however.
Due to their green skin, they are often compared to orcs by those who think another Blood War is a good idea. To this I say, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Orcs can be brutal. They can be evil. They can be cruel. Just as we can. But, they are not as universally evil and twisted as goblins are.
Not by a long shot.
But, I digress.
Goblins will live most anywhere. However, they tend to be most common in less hospitable places away from other races as few races tolerate their existence and those that do tend to be just as evil.
Goblins attack small, isolated settlements, and tend to leave the rest alone. Simply out of self-preservation.
After all, it is the rule of many societies that goblins are to be killed on sight. Traced back to wherever they live and exterminated.
They have engaged in larger battles though. Particularly against the dwarves and elves. I’m sure that they’d do the same to humans, but to my knowledge, there are no goblin settlements large enough to do so anywhere near humans.
So, essentially, luck. And, of course, the methodical destruction of any goblins we find.
You might wonder how goblins survive given that essentially every race wishes to kill them. Hells, even a good deal of the creatures I’ve listed thus far in the compendium would kill goblins on sight. Especially gryphons.
The answer to their continued survival is two-fold. One being that they are able to subsist on food and water that would kill us and are somehow able to contract diseases without dying from them. Usually.
The second reason is simply that they breed prolifically. In fact, any time a sentient race grows lax in culling the goblin population their numbers explode.
They give birth but their pregnancy cycles are short, and it takes only a handful of years for a goblin to reach maturity.
It’s a damn good thing they’re just as horrible to one another as they are to everything else. If they weren’t so hell bent on screwing each other over, they’d pose a far more significant threat.
Which is why other sentient creatures who are able to keep them in some degree of order can quickly find themselves at the head of a massive, ruthless army.
Thankfully, the goblins tend to succeed in murdering them eventually. But, even so… they pose a great threat. This is one of the reasons why anyone found colluding with goblins is summarily executed.
However, there does exist a curious tale of an exception. Or so it would seem at least.
There was a wizard some years back who came across a very peculiar goblin barely a year old. This goblin was a joke of the tribe. A favorite source of amusement. And, given the way the goblin mind works… you can only imagine the horrors they inflicted.
I won't be describing them here.
But, the strange thing about this goblin was it behaved… I don’t even know how to put it into just a few words.
As the story goes, the wizard and a those traveling with him happened across the village and wiped out the goblins. Every one they could find.
It’s not mentioned what the wizard and his group had set out to do, but they’d moved on and then sometime later were returning exactly the way they’d come
It was then, on the way back, that they found a single one remaining. They were about to attack when they noticed it was behaving strangely. So strangely that they thought perhaps some other creature had been cursed with the form of a goblin.
As to its strange behaviour… it was feeding birds. Not luring them into traps or torturing them. Just… feeding them. And, in the time the group had been gone it had dug graves and buried all its fellows. Very strange behaviour for a goblin. Even more so when they later found out how it had been treated.
As for how it avoided dying with the rest, it was apparently tied to a torture rack at the time and so badly mangled that they’d assumed it was dead.
It had managed to free itself as the ropes were of poor quality and had then set about its self-appointed tasks.
That goblin now lives in service to the wizard who found him with a special order from the local ruler that it is not to be killed.
I’d thought it to be a fanciful tale at first, but several of my colleagues have seen the goblin working within the city under the wizard’s protection.
It does pose an interesting question though, doesn’t it? How much is good and evil about culture and the way we are raised? How much is it about simply what we are born to… and how much is choice?
Does that goblin have some shift in its makeup, or does it choose to be what it is?
- Nicholas Wolfram, Professor of Monsterology at Lestria University