Hobgoblins: Why?

Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Hobgoblins Unleashed!

Why hobgoblins? Because a mercenary band of them is a very cool thing for the party to encounter.

Paizo Employee Organized Play Developer

From the PRD:
"The Nature of Goblinoid Evil
Goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears, despite having superficial similarities, each represent a different face of evil. Hobgoblins are ordered and methodical in their evil, forming vast armies, warbands, and despotic nations. Goblins are the primal evil, seeking only cruelty and petty victimization as they can find it, be that among their own kind or against their neighbors. Yet the evil personified by the bugbear may be the most terrifying, for they actively seek to inflict pain and suffering in the most destructive ways possible. When a hobgoblin kills, it's because of tradition and order. When a goblin kills, it's for fun. But when a bugbear holds its blade, it kills only when it can be assured that the murder will cause maximum pain and suffering to those its weapon does not touch; to a bugbear, the true goal of murder is to strike not at the victim, but at those who held the victim dear."

Arikiel wrote:
...you can also argue that gnomes are redundant between halflings and dwarves.

Wait, you mean this isn't a commonly accepted idea already?

Why dragons in ten different colors? Variety

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

The "Arkadia" homebrew campaign world I played in back in the late '80s had a nation of humanoid monsters that the humans called The Orcish Lands. It was ruled by, you guessed it, the hobgoblins.

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Hobgoblins exist because orcs are chaotic stupid.

Different races have acquired back stories in my campaign (started as a setting for Chainmail fantasy supplement wargames and became a D&D setting in 1974). If you work it out ahead of time, or you have c.40 years to mull it over :) , the different races can add a lot to the flavor of a game as well as filling out "niches" for monsters.

Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears are all related to the ancient Elves. One war against chaos (the Demonstrife)and one civil war (the Kinstrife) later massive use of magic and chaos created new races.

The Goblins are twisted diminished insane Elves, permanent refugees with little memory of what they were. The Hobgoblins are the highly disciplined descendents of Elvish military garrisons who stayed at their posts. Bugbears are a nasty batch of killers that no one else wants to aknowledge. Goblins and Hobgoblins both answer to, and are protected by, the God-Emperor of the Elves. It's an uncomfortable relation for the modern High Elves, accepted reluctantly by the Wood Elves, used at need by the Goblin tribes and central to the existance of the Hobgoblin regiments. Bugbears are traitors (like the Drow) despised by all.

High Elves are the fallen remnants of the ancient Elvish race, Wood Elves are about half way between Goblins and High Elves. Nervous, claustrophobic refugees. Not as bent as Goblins. The Drow are the descendents of the rebellious Elves from the Kinstrife. Cursed and marked, driven underground and matriarchal due to the total annihilation of their adult males during the Kinstrife.

Other races (Ogres, the different giants and dragons, Kobolds, Gnomes, Orcs etc.) have their origins in this period as well.

I don't have Gnolls or some other humanoid species. There's only so much turf to go around and only so many decent backgrounds...

judas 147 wrote:
spectrevk wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:

Ah, but how did the tradition start? What was the original purpose of Hobgoblins?

Yes, Orcs are chaotic, and more brutish, but they still form tribes and raid villages. I suppose Hobgoblins might be more likely to use siege weaponry to attack a fortified city, but they still seem to fall into a very similar slot to me.

i remember first of all, the goblin can grow into a hobgoblin like a pokemon or something that was in AD&D 2nd E

youll start a fight with, and after a few time (rounds or something) they become stronger until grow to an hobgoblin

weird, but at least that is what i can remember... maybe my DM do that and i dont know, i like it.

yeah, that was totally your DM...heh

Strange my earlier post seems to have vanished
Any way as stated in an earlier post hobgoblins where the bridge between orcs and gnolls in the distant past of basic D&D and have just become part of the fabric of D&D and PF.
I also recommend the slayers guide to hobgoblins by mongoose publishing a good read and gives a whole new twist on a classic monster i often use them instead of orcs if i want a more interesting foe

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Big Lemon wrote:

We could just all be humans. It would be easier to roleplay.

I don't know. I've lived and worked around them for years and I'm still not sure I understand them.


That aside, one thing about Hobgoblins, at least from modules and AP installments; of the "savage races," they seem to be the ones you'll most likely see integrated into civilized society. Their lawful bent seems to make them reliable enough not to automatically be run out of human cities on a rail... on an individual basis, anyway.

I have two modules and one AP volume with hobgoblin NPCs who show up in civilized places. One's a mob boss in (I think it's) Absalom the watch can't touch because he's too good at covering his crimes to get arrested, another's a skilled monk participating in a respected martial arts tourney, and a third is a pirate captain in the Shackles (which isn't all that civilized one might say, but still seems to be human predominated.)

They make useful monstery NPCs in civilized locations when half-orcs don't cut it or have been overused, and their organized nature makes it easy to built sub-plots, conspiracies, and dangerous factions around them.

Heh, this thread gave me an idea. I've been trying to avoid a humanocentric setting, and I already made the Hobgoblins something similar to the Mongolians in the setting at least when it comes to the ones living in the East, though they ride worgs and wolves as often as they ride horses. I wonder if I should pick some other race to represent the Chinese and Japanese without coming off as racist. I've already made the High Elves the Celts and and the Aztecs (other Elven sub-races have their own cultures), while the Humans are mostly analogs to English, French, Ancient Greek and Babylonians.

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Like a lot of people have said above it's about how you use them. In my game for example they have their own nations of hobgoblins and massive criminal organization called the The Smrtta Dileri. The are known as slavers, despots, and tyrants of the highest order willing to take victims of their assaults as payment instead of gold or gems. They believe that all other races are inferior to them and are dumbfounded by humanities propensity to keep on the weak, the sick, and the deficient who can no longer serve a purpose to the greater whole.

Thing is though they are always willing to work for whomever pays them, are willing to be civil in foreign lands, and quite often are the cheapest and most highly effective bands of mercenaries one can hire. They always follow the contract through to the letter and are consummate professionals able to get the job done with minimal resources and collateral damage. Because of this many view them as a necessary evil for most towns and nations they are found in which gives them leeway to do more of the vile things they are known for like slaving, black market trafficking, and generally trying to find ways to dominate those who have the misfortune of living around their outposts.

Also they have a feel and style like that of the Mongols and Spartans with garb, structures, and fighting styles similar to mongol hordes but with a mentality and training regime like that of the Spartans. Think of a mongol horde of hobgoblins with a propensity to throw adolescents into the woods unarmed with a belief that the worthy will survive and come back and the weak can get culled from the heard.

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