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Where do hobgoblins spend their money?


Ironfang Invasion


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Trail of the Hunted contains several references to hobgoblin soldiers being paid in gold for services or bounties. There's even an army payroll that comes up at one point.

Where do they spend it?

I thought that in Golarion, hobgoblins raid and pillage and use slave labor (and the downtrodden non-soldier hobgoblin underclass) to get the goods and services they need. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wasn't under the impression that there was a well established enough goblinoid civilization for them to have their own economy and commerce (except Kaoling in Tian Xia and maybe in the Darklands) and most cities don't really welcome hobgoblins (at least not in army platoon form.)

What's the point of coin, if you don't have anywhere to spend it?

I can think of a couple few places where they could, like Kaer Maga and Urgir, but it seems like a long way to go to spend your foot-soldier wages.

Honestly, I could copy/paste this query for most situations involving "monster-folk" carrying coin pouches when they don't seem to have an opportunity to participate in trade and commerce.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

Dragons don't participate in trade and commerce, either.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

An army is a feature of an organised civilization, so if they can create an actual army (as opposed to a horde) then they can also support some commercial activities. Soldiers can use their extra money to get better food, trinkets, etc from army commissaries which draw upon the armies logistical base. When not campaigning it will let them interact with civilian populations around their base area.

All of this needs a means of transferring wealth and barter is rubbish for a complicated society which raises armies. When they want a service from a slave/underclass run organisation which is owned by another hobgoblin then they need to pay for access to that service and 5 gp is more portable than a cow.

Any society with an organisation greater than that of the village will need money. They will also have as a group economic ties to greater golarion society with merchants profiting by selling them useful goods in return for their plunder(high risk, high profit trading suitable for Neutral or evil pc's) , towns or other organisations paying tribute to avoid attack (some of this tribute may be in the form of food or slaves but coin is more negotiable).
Nations like Cheliax probably do a great deal of business with Hobgoblins , hiring them as mercenaries, selling them weapons and armour, buying and selling slaves all sorts of opportunities


Another way to think about this conundrum would be this... If you are the leader of a hobgoblin army that is seeking to create their own kingdom, then you will have to promote trade and economy, right? What better way to get a start on that than to pay your soldiers with currency and begin teaching them the basics of a currency-based economy as opposed to the traditional barter system?

Once you complete your conquering and secure the borders of your kingdom, encourage the hobgoblins to pay for the services of the tradesfolk as opposed to enslaving them. This way you kill two birds with one stone; encourage your new economy to blossom and by paying your serfs for their services, they are less likely to be encouraged to revolt against their hobgoblins overlords!


Hobgoblins are intelligent, so they understand how money works. They are also lawful by disposition - so it seems reasonable that they would want a way of measuring value within their society.

That doesn't mean to say they need to produce their own coins - coin gathered from raiding or loot would do the trick. The same coins might be passed around for years - I have just looked in my pocket and found a 1986 coin (out os the 8-10 coins that were there). If I check my 'foreign coins' pots at home, I am sure I would find something older :)

Nor does it mean that all trade is carried out with Gold Coins, many Hobgobs won't have coins and much will be barters. But not all that many human peasants have gold coins either, so they trade/barter services between them selves. Hobgob society needn't be any different from our own.

It is probably better to think of creatures that are Lawful and Intelligent as 'competition' rather than as plain old monsters.


Faelyn wrote:
What better way to get a start on that than to pay your soldiers with currency and begin teaching them the basics of a currency-based economy as opposed to the traditional barter system?

As I understand it, the historical development of currency goes more like this:

(1) Honor economy: people exchange goods in the form of presents, to win the respect of their neighbours. This works pretty well in villages, but has trouble in larger societies where you have to deal with strangers.
(2) Legal system: the local temple, say, tries to mediate disputes by setting fines for crimes to reduce the risk of violent family feuds. The fines must be expressed in some item of relatively stable value. For those who don't have that exact item, fixed exchange rates are negotiated.
(3) Credit system: The people who manage fines start to manage debts. Someone owes you four chickens, which is equal to one sheep. After a while the number representing your wealth becomes increasingly abstract.
(4) Cash system: The ruler takes control of all the local silver (or gold) mines. He demands taxes be paid to him in silver coins. He pays his soldiers in silver coins. That way, all the civilians will supply the soldiers with whatever they need so they can earn silver to pay their taxes.

There's really no 'barter' step. It's just not a practical way to do business.

In the case of Hobgoblins - maybe they use coins to buy slaves from one another?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My best guess is that they still have some downtime. So they go to the bar and drink, gamble with there until. etc etc


Buying goblin orphans from the orphanage to raise as slaves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

While hobgoblins do not have their own country per se, they clearly do possess organized societies which would value a medium of exchange amongst themselves, if nothing else. Moreover, these particular hobgoblins are both out to carve out their own country, but also have a history, as many hobgoblins do, serving as mercenaries for Molthune.


Hobmart.


Money might also help in times where being intimidating just won't cut it.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as a favorite.

At the HOBby shop!

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ummmm..
Hobgoblins attack Caravan..
Hobgoblins dump shiny worthless round metal things...carry off chests and crates


The PG describes the Ironfang Legion as "one of Molthune's infamous monster regiments." Presumably, the soldiers get to take leave in Canorate or somewhere once in a while. Gotta have cash to spend when you're on leave back home, they can't have their legions knocking over hot dog venders in town because they don't have gold.

Dark Archive

Drakli wrote:

Trail of the Hunted contains several references to hobgoblin soldiers being paid in gold for services or bounties. There's even an army payroll that comes up at one point.

Where do they spend it?

I thought that in Golarion, hobgoblins raid and pillage and use slave labor (and the downtrodden non-soldier hobgoblin underclass) to get the goods and services they need. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wasn't under the impression that there was a well established enough goblinoid civilization for them to have their own economy and commerce (except Kaoling in Tian Xia and maybe in the Darklands) and most cities don't really welcome hobgoblins (at least not in army platoon form.)

What's the point of coin, if you don't have anywhere to spend it?

I can think of a couple few places where they could, like Kaer Maga and Urgir, but it seems like a long way to go to spend your foot-soldier wages.

Honestly, I could copy/paste this query for most situations involving "monster-folk" carrying coin pouches when they don't seem to have an opportunity to participate in trade and commerce.

The core group of the army is a former mercenary unit employed by Molthune. I'm pretty sure that means that would have been allowed to buy and sell from some cities or wandering traders/caravans.


I'm sure some pirate, or bandit, or something is willing to trade with hobgoblins in exchange for enough hard currency. "It's just business, man."


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

They are still prone to injuries.

Money can be used to restore their missing limbs, etc for spellcasting services as well.

Paying to cast raise dead for their captain, for example. Who fell in combat. Treat these hobgoblins not as monsters but adventurers/armies that gave up morality to be successful. That's how I would view it. They could also use the money to purchase magical weapons, as having a slave do it would result in a cursed item.

Paizo Employee Developer

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They likely aren't participating in the economies of other societies, preferring instead, as the OP mentioned, to raid and pillage to get what they want in that regard. But within their own society, they would totally exchange money for services and goods. A soldier is only as good as her armor, and some hobgoblins would likely save every coin they could find to buy a newly crafted suit of scale mail to replace the worn studded leather that is standard army issue. Plenty of hobgoblins serve roles other than that of the soldier, and thus economies outside the army's supply chain are common.


They spend their money on gambling! And hookers!... in fact, forget the gambling!


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber
Mark Moreland wrote:
They likely aren't participating in the economies of other societies, preferring instead, as the OP mentioned, to raid and pillage to get what they want in that regard. But within their own society, they would totally exchange money for services and goods. A soldier is only as good as her armor, and some hobgoblins would likely save every coin they could find to buy a newly crafted suit of scale mail to replace the worn studded leather that is standard army issue. Plenty of hobgoblins serve roles other than that of the soldier, and thus economies outside the army's supply chain are common.

I think one could also look at how gold and silver from the Roman Empire was spent by the civilisations around it that didn't really have a coin-based economy (such as the Germanic tribes, or the Amizagh of the Sahara.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I could see places like Urgir, run by orcs, where they may actually participate in outside economies. For that, gold would be worthwhile.


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Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting Subscriber

Look, militant and organized though they may be, Hobgoblins are still living creatures with personalities.

They probably gamble during downtime.
Buy better weapons from Hobgoblin smiths.
Slaves cost money, and I can see saving up to have your own personal pack-slave being a status thing.
Buying a cure for some horrible trench foot from the squad alchemist.
Paying a fellow hobgoblin to dye and style their captured hair locks.
Getting Private Hassk from Company G to give you one of those kickin' tattoos he does, then paying Corporal Grurel to paint the same design on your shield 'cause he's a better artist than you are...

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Ye Olde Magick Shoppe


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
taks wrote:
I could see places like Urgir, run by orcs, where they may actually participate in outside economies. For that, gold would be worthwhile.

Not to mention Fellstrok, in Urgir's basement.


The Raven Black wrote:
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe

Nope. It turns out that Hobgoblins actually hate arcane magic.

Bestiary 1 wrote:
It is well known that hobgoblins mistrust and even despise magic, particularly arcane magic. Their shamans are treated with a mix of fear and respect, and are usually forced to live alone on the fringes of the tribe's lair. It is all but unheard of to find a hobgoblin practicing arcane magic, or as hobgoblins call it, "elf magic." This is the root of their hatred of magic—the hobgoblins' hatred of elves.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I could think of a dozen places willing to sell to well organized and thus outwards behaved hobbs that come thru a tower some teleporting guy brought. They are told to behave and any trouble results in instant executions by their own commanders that want to maintain both discipline and fight just one war at a time.

shackles for extra cheap stuff (iirc one plunder 1000gp value 3000gp in goods if bought honestly), absalom sells to anyone with coint to pay and so forth.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Drakli wrote:

Trail of the Hunted contains several references to hobgoblin soldiers being paid in gold for services or bounties. There's even an army payroll that comes up at one point.

Where do they spend it?

I thought that in Golarion, hobgoblins raid and pillage and use slave labor (and the downtrodden non-soldier hobgoblin underclass) to get the goods and services they need. Maybe I'm wrong, but I wasn't under the impression that there was a well established enough goblinoid civilization for them to have their own economy and commerce (except Kaoling in Tian Xia and maybe in the Darklands) and most cities don't really welcome hobgoblins (at least not in army platoon form.)

What's the point of coin, if you don't have anywhere to spend it?

I can think of a couple few places where they could, like Kaer Maga and Urgir, but it seems like a long way to go to spend your foot-soldier wages.

Honestly, I could copy/paste this query for most situations involving "monster-folk" carrying coin pouches when they don't seem to have an opportunity to participate in trade and commerce.

Very good questions. First, let us look at the hobgoblin people as a whole. Unlike orcs, Hobgoblins are not a barbaric hunter-gatherer society. Unlike their kin the goblins who live in relatively small tribes, or bugbears which gather in small familial bands, Hobgoblins form themselves into massive armies that need literal tons of foodstuffs each day to stay functional when at war. At the very least, even at peacetime, the hobgoblins need to be able to feed themselves. Even if they only eat meat (I cannot remember if Hobgoblins are carnivorous; I thought they were omnivorous?), they still need cattle, sheep, goats, and the fodder with which to feed them. They would thus need the means of growing massive amounts of food that only agricultural societies are capable of producing. But as has been established in the canon, Hobgoblins are not farmers or herders. They are warriors and slave masters. The only tools fit for hobgoblin hands are the sword and the whip, not the plow or shepherd's crook. In spite of their violent nature, Hobgoblins are one of the most "civilized" of the monster races and are capable of developing complex, hierarchical societies with functioning economies. As has been shown in your cited example of Kaoling, this is one example of a major Hobgoblin society and it is a brutally rigid, stratified caste system reminiscent of Japan's government during the Edo Period under the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Hobgoblins act as the Samurai caste, and non-hobgoblins are serfs who must demonstrate absolute obedience and provide goods and services to their military masters in exchange for protection.

With that extremely long preamble out of the way, as for what hobgoblins in general spend their money on in a practical sense, they would most likely spend their money trading for goods that they do not have the ability to make (or force their slaves to produce) with traders and societies who are too powerful for them to conquer or enslave outright. The second thing that Hobgoblins spend their spoils or military pay on, most likely, would be slaves. As a helotistic society, the center of Hobgoblin life and its economy, both in war time and in peacetime is slavery. Third, the hobgoblins would pay each other for the products of their respective slaves' labor. A hobgoblin who owns several shepherd slaves and sheep would probably sell meat to hobgoblins who like the taste of fresh mutton lamb and want something more than the standard military fare (which probably consists of heavily salted or dried meats); or might sell wool to a hobgoblin who owns a family of enslaved weavers, and in turn sells woolen cloaks and clothing to hobgoblins who want warm-weather gear, etc. And finally, the Fourth thing that Hobgoblins would spend their money on would be land to either purchase or lease. The reason I say land is because what good would be owning a bunch of slaves whose only useful skill is farming if they have no land with which to farm? Or slave miners if there are no mines or quarries that their owner has a right to use? Or for that matter, land on which the slaves would live while their master is off to war?

With that in mind, looking at the Hobgoblins of the Ironfang Invasion (and depending on how the series of APs unfolds), it would be necessary for them to develop a monetary system for their own internal trade economy for the above reasons. First, they are capturing large swathes of territory and enslaving many thousands of people who will act their tillers of soil, hewers of wood, and drawers of water. These enslaved people will literally be the means of production who would provide the goods and services to their hobgoblin overlords. Working under the presumption that individual hobgoblins of whatever rank can purchase and own slaves, the mark of wealth and prestige in their society would be the number of slaves one owns as well as any particular slave's individual talents. I imagine that a hobgoblin who owns a dwarven blacksmith slave would be considered of far greater prestige (and probably would have had to have been of higher rank to afford purchasing such a talented slave) than a hobgoblin who owned, say, a family of turnip farmer slaves.


Hey Louis, that was a great post, but I think you accidentally posted it three times.

Liberty's Edge

Axial wrote:
Hey Louis, that was a great post, but I think you accidentally posted it three times.

Ugh, the embarrassment. Thanks, Axial. I flagged the extra posts.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

Extra posts removed.


Axial wrote:
The Raven Black wrote:
Ye Olde Magick Shoppe

Nope. It turns out that Hobgoblins actually hate arcane magic.

Bestiary 1 wrote:
It is well known that hobgoblins mistrust and even despise magic, particularly arcane magic. Their shamans are treated with a mix of fear and respect, and are usually forced to live alone on the fringes of the tribe's lair. It is all but unheard of to find a hobgoblin practicing arcane magic, or as hobgoblins call it, "elf magic." This is the root of their hatred of magic—the hobgoblins' hatred of elves.

Yup. We all hate Elves and want nothing to do with them or their abominations. Divine magic is OKAY.

I get triggered pretty easily around wizards...


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I'm sure the wizards will be more than happy to put you in a safe extra-dimensional space.

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