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On Hobgoblins and Hairpieces

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

We have stated in no uncertain terms that hobgoblins can't grow hair on their heads. Sometimes on the same page as an illustration of a hobgoblin with hair. But how can this be, you wonder? Surely this is a joke! Or maybe Paizo has screwed up yet again! Rest assured, loyal fan, that Paizo remains and lovable and infallible as ever with the release of the Ironfang Invasion Adventure Path. Those occasional hobgoblins you see with hair aren't mistakes, but rather part of a secret canon that we heretofore have not revealed for lack of page space and also because we didn't make it up until just now.

Hobgoblins must earn their hair!

Hair is important in hobgoblin culture, especially among warriors. Hair emulates the barghests and hero-gods that hobgoblins honor, and long, flowing hair is a resource that must be taken in battle—a hobgoblin can neither grow a mane of hair, nor skin hair—real hair—from animals in the hunt. Instead warriors strip a lock of hair from each human and elf they kill, and weave them into their hats or helms or else glue them to their own scalps. A proud soldier may show off his five or six locks—braided tightly to protect them—at social events or formal drills, while the most vicious warriors let their stolen hair flow free in battle, confidant they can replace anything lost with the coifs of their victims.

Not every hobgoblin follows this tradition, however. It is fundamentally bragging about one's skill as a warrior, inviting lesser subordinate to challenge the warrior to a kalech-mar honor duel for her position. Those hobgoblins especially lawfully-minded view the practice as a foolish excess and needless bravado, something that drives a wedge through unit cohesion with petty one-upmanship. Other simply seize too much hair in battle to wear it publicly.

So the only truly accurate summary is, if you see a hobgoblin with hair, run.

Illustrations by Mirco Paganessi, Maichol Quinto, Firat Solhan, and Valeria Lutfullina

And if you see a hobgoblin without hair, run faster.

Illustrations by Yigit Koroglu, Ilona Sopuch, Oksana Federova, and Firat Solhan

Of course, that's to say nothing of the minotaurs...

Crystal Frasier
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ironfang Invasion Pathfinder Adventure Path
Dark Archive

Finally, more hobgoblin lore! These guys have been ignored for too long!


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Oh boy... That hobgoblin gunslinger... He would make such a great avatar... *-*


5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
...and also because we didn't make it up until just now.

That's what I figured. ;)

Great flavour addition to the background of hobgoblins and I love that it is somewhat reminiscent of how Jägermonsters get their hats.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Yesss! Hobgoblins that don't look terrible! These hobgoblins are lean, mean fighting machines. This alone seriously—seriously—makes me want to buy the AP.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Nice!

Yay for another awesome Crystal blog!


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Dude, not only is Qa'al sharp-looking, his story's pretty cool too.

CONTINUE, BRAVE PAIZONIANS!


Anyone got artist credits for these?

Paizo Employee Community & Digital Content Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Garrett Guillotte wrote:
Anyone got artist credits for these?

Yep! Should be displaying now :)


Interesting and cohesive! Stellar work as usual, Crystal!

These are some pretty cool-looking NPCs, too!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

*imagines a combat now...*

"Scraggly mop-headed warrior human, I challenge you to a Trial of Possession for your grey hair. Let the fires of battle be the judge!"


Wait! There are minotaurs too now!?!


10 people marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
...and also because we didn't make it up until just now.

I have spent many (far too many) years reading comics, but this blog is easily one of the very best bits of unrevealed-until-now canon/explanations. Well done. You've won an Official No-Prize; your Stan Lee will be in the mail* once I figure out how to fit him through the postal mail slot.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Crystal Frasier wrote:
but rather part of a secret canon that we heretofore have not revealed for lack of page space and also because we didn't make it up until just now.

I had to sign in just to say how much I appreciate this joke. Companies sometimes get weirdly defensive about things like this, and it is great to see people just having fun with it.

I think the real question, though, is if this is just some silly fun or something you'll actually incorporate going forward? Lets face it, that Alchemist's luscious locks aren't going to pass as random strands cut from different people. In the future will art commissions directly ask for this newly uncovered lore to be incorporated, or will we just somehow have to learn to suffer through the occasional hobgoblin that someone decided to put hair on?

As a sidenote: the third picture is weirdly amazing. I don't know if it is the mullet, cobra, or the whole thing combined with primitive Ugg boots, but my Ironfang Invasion goal is now to become best friends with whoever that character is. If that requires betraying humanity, then so be it.

Liberty's Edge

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So is an Infernal Coiffure going to be one of the many magic items one can acquire from this AP?

For those who don't get it...:
'Hell Toupee'


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Oh, sure, it might look like real hair. This is because hobgoblins actually take great pride in maintaining, dyeing and styling their stolen locks to look like they come from the same head! That's clearly what Paizo intended all along!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love when people care about hair

where it comes from

how it gets onto the head

good content

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

Necessity is the mother of invention.


I love you guys!
Keep answering the important questions.


But the hair in the art doesn't really look like it's from random humanoids. It also doesn't look glued on. It looks all uniform and naturally flowing from the scalp.

So nice try. :P

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber

You clearly understand nothing of hobgoblin wig lore.


6 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm in a Strange Aeons campaign with more amnesia than usual and one of the other players is playing a hobgoblin with hair.

Our GM got way too excited about this blog post.


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IonutRO wrote:

But the hair in the art doesn't really look like it's from random humanoids. It also doesn't look glued on. It looks all uniform and naturally flowing from the scalp.

Hobgoblin Haberdasher is a prestige class. Or at least it should be.


This is by far the greatest article I have ever read about hair. Or hobgoblins!

XD


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Did this post go up two days early? ;)


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
IonutRO wrote:

But the hair in the art doesn't really look like it's from random humanoids. It also doesn't look glued on. It looks all uniform and naturally flowing from the scalp.

So nice try. :P

Clearly they left out the hobgoblin alchemical items that allow hobgoblin to apply it to create the illusion of a unified whole as well as attaching it more firmly and naturally. Clearly.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I see Hobgoblins are the new catfolk :P


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Fashion Goblin wrote:
IonutRO wrote:

But the hair in the art doesn't really look like it's from random humanoids. It also doesn't look glued on. It looks all uniform and naturally flowing from the scalp.

Hobgoblin Haberdasher is a prestige class. Or at least it should be.

The hobgoblin coiffurest archetype for alchemists is not only deadly with light blades, they also produce potent potables.


Hobgoblins are experts at dyeing and styling the hair they retrieve, IonutRO. Obviously. :P


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

And they must be extremely frustrated when they find themselves fighting reptilian or other hairless creatures.


7 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber
David knott 242 wrote:

And they must be extremely frustrated when they find themselves fighting reptilian or other hairless creatures.

"But.... General, why ally with the kobolds? Why not just crush them?"

"Because a smattering of scales would look STUPID on my head!"


I always just told myself depictions of hobgoblins with hair and other human/elven facial features are fevered memories of non-hobgoblins who survived an encounter and transposed more familiar features as a coping mechanism :p

For a naturally bald race, wouldn't a lot of attention go to eyebrows, eyelashes, and the subtle gestures thereof?

Women communicating what sort of mate they want with certain colors of eye shadow and shaping their eyebrows a certain way. Or something bright enough to blind would-be attackers. Different tonics men use to grow Gandalf-grade eye-mufflers or how to mix camouflaging eye shadow that won't run into their eye at a critical moment in battle. Or screamo concerts.

That hobgoblins can see in darkness means such a subtle form of communication works at all hours of the day, ranging from soldiers percolating orders in eyebrow code-speak to a woman's "come-hither" telling a man where to meet her and when for what after the banquet.

It follows a hobgoblin whose eyebrows have been shaved is the object of great shame, as only a captured soldier or a slave would be in that vulnerable a position.


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Hobgoblin men can give "come-hither" looks, too, and hobgoblin women have plenty of use for camouflage. What they don't have any use for is the Patriarchy! That said, I'm not sure why the hobgoblins would need help getting across emotions regardless—I don't know anyone who uses their hair as a part of their body language, unless, as an autistic, I've been missing way more than I realized. ;D

Also, you can't see color in darkness, so that would limit somewhat the range of what they can convey with eyebrows.


Do artists go against the lore just to be spiteful, or was it merely happenstance?

Note that I phrased it to speak of interior artists in general; this is a problem I've seen in multiple RPG lines.

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Spite and malice never come into play in these situations. We work with professional illustrators. Most often when things end up slightly off-model, it's the result of a combination of close timing and crossed communication.


Hm, okay.

Next question: why is there crossed communication?

Silver Crusade

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

... because telepathically communicating what the art should look like hasn't worked out any better yet? *joking*

I imagine the art order has a description that doesn't spell out every little detail (as to have the artist have some design space), but more a general concept like:
-Hobgoblin wielding a 'normal' pistol and one 'dragon-stylized' with a big muzzle about to roar fire.

Or

-female hobgoblin, heavily scared, buckler, fire-y whip, snake companion.

The artist then generally knows what to draw, knowing hobgoblins from other fantasy settings, but might not know that Pathfinder hobgoblins are bald.

Silver Crusade

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber
AlgaeNymph wrote:

Hm, okay.

Next question: why is there crossed communication?

Have you every worked in any place that involved remote work of any sort? Doesn't even have to involve freelancers, just a division of the company that's in another locale?


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
mln84 wrote:
Did this post go up two days early? ;)

Sorry, three days early. (I didn't see it until Thursday.)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
AlgaeNymph wrote:
Next question: why is there crossed communication?

I learned a lesson about art direction years ago when I wrote for Dragon. In the article "Mesopotamian Mythos" I described various holy symbols.

Sometimes the fault is with the artist: I said, "A capricorn - half goat/half fish" what ended up on the page was not the heraldric creature, but a Billy Bass with horns.

Sometimes the fault is with the writer: I said, "A blue diamond", when I saw the printed art was a round-cut gemstone, I realized, what I should have said was "A blue rhombus" (which abstractly represents a diamond).

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 8

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I just figured that hair was a recessive trait for hobgoblins. Most don't have it, a few do. Most who do shave it off for fear of looking too distinctive/individual. The ones who keep it (like the hobgoblin Holtzmann up there) are iconoclasts.


3 people marked this as a favorite.
AlgaeNymph wrote:

Hm, okay.

Next question: why is there crossed communication?

Paizo's been getting better about some of this—it's way rarer to see a character who's supposed to have dark skin being basically slightly tanned, or a gray-skinned drow. Boob plate isn't completely gone (you can see a bit of it above), but we're getting there.

I'm just glad that the main things we have to complain about in the art these days are pupiled high elves and hairy hobgoblins, instead of black-skinned dark elves and pale Mwangi. :P

Paizo Employee Developer

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In many cases, artists working in this industry do not speak English as a first language. Couple that with the brevity we try to employ when making art requests and sometimes you get miscommunications. In general, however, our artists are very good at following directions. Art requests are usually only a sentence or two long, such as,

"This bald, male hobgoblin is wielding a scimitar and a dented metal shield that it looks like he took as a trophy of a former war. He has a scar running down the left side of his face."

In this case, the most important things we want the artist to know are that it's 1) a hobgoblin; 2) male; 3) he's bald; 4) what he's holding in his hands; 5) two distinctive features that make this hobgoblin specific rather than general a) his trophy shield and b) his scar. The less details we give, the more likely we are to get art that includes those elements.

Consider, on the other hand, an art order were overly complicated:

"This war-weary hobgoblin lieutenant, a male of the species of roughly middle age, has a black, burnished leather tunic with brass studs in roughly whorled shapes on it. His breaches are mottled with a mix of blood and mud, and his steel-spiked boots are caked with dried excrement from the yak mounts they ride in his army. The scar on the left side of his face runs from an inch above his eyebrow down to his chin, and is mostly straight except for a little squiggle at his cheek, like the slash hit his cheekbone and flinched only slightly. He has no hair on his head. In his right hand, held above his head menacingly, is a well-maintained scimitar with a spiked hand-guard that he might use to punch people in close combat. His other hand wields a battered metal shield, round in shape and convex to deflect blows, that bears the marred visage of an elven prince. This was formerly his enemy's shield and the hobgoblin stole it, so it needs to look like both a trophy but also something he doesn't respect, hence the scratches and dents over the elven face. The hobgoblin should have a look on his face like he wants to kill you, but not instantly—he wants to toy with you first. He wants you to suffer."

In this case, if the art director ordering the art didn't murder the developer who wrote such a request (slowly, so they suffered) the artist, whether a native English speaker or not, has so much information that they don't know which elements are most vital to making the illustration accurate. If the artist chooses to focus primarily on the whorled pattern of the armor's studs, or the hilt of the scimitar, or the yak crap caked on the character's boots, and deemphasizes the character's scar and shield, and yes, that he's bald, that's not really the artist's fault.

TL;DR: Miscommunications happen because we have very little space to tell someone we've never met how a specific illustration should look, and sometimes that laser focus means that other elements we don't specify exactly come out differently.

If you're really curious about how miscommunications happen in general, there are a ton of articles online about it. Just google "How do miscommunications happen".

The Real Reason:

Mercury in apparent retrograde


Mitt Ticulous wrote:
For a naturally bald race, wouldn't a lot of attention go to eyebrows, eyelashes, and the subtle gestures thereof?

So Emilia Clarke would be the Khaleesi, Mother of Hobgoblins too?


MMCJawa wrote:
I see Hobgoblins are the new catfolk :P

Did they ever solve catfolk?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
swoosh wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
I see Hobgoblins are the new catfolk :P
Did they ever solve catfolk?

They went with the Khajit method, there's different types of Catfolk running around.


Look at the post above you. :P


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Damn ninja succubi!


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
swoosh wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
I see Hobgoblins are the new catfolk :P
Did they ever solve catfolk?
They went with the Khajit method, there's different types of Catfolk running around.

I think it goes,

Beastiary:Anime catgirls
Advanced Race Book: Furries
Shattered Star: Thundercats

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