We goblinoids are just like you humans, except our empire lasted eleven thousand years.
The goblinoids are more than tribes of savages scratching at the edges of civilization. They carved out a nation in Khorvaire during the Last War and ruled an empire that spanned the continent. Cunning, fierce, and strong in number, goblinoids are poised to take back the empire that civil war destroyed millennia ago—if they can manage to keep civil war from tearing apart their newborn nation.
Lands: The goblinoids live mainly in Darguun and Droaam, but a small group ekes out an existence in nearly every major city of Khorvaire. Most of these “city goblins” are descendants of goblinoid slaves taken before and during the Last War. A few are mercenaries hired during the Last War who remained loyal to their employers despite the betrayal and rebellion that created Darguun. These goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears live peacefully among other races, although they often live in the cities’ slums and have second-class status. The goblinoid nation of Darguun has existed only since the end of the Last War. Led by a hobgoblin tribal chief named Haruuc, the many tribes hired out to various nations as mercenaries turned against their employers and carved their own territory out of the vast battleground the continent had become. Haruuc loosely controls a young country that strains against his reign. The tribes of goblins, hobgoblins, and bugbears fight among themselves,and some openly defy Haruuc’s edicts. Still, the goblinoids are more unified now than they have been since the Dhakaani empire collapsed roughly five thousand years ago.
Droaam also hosts a relatively large population of goblins, many as slaves to other races. A few independent tribes eke out an existence among the other monstrous races. These tribes are proud of their independence from Darguun, but they must be ever watchful and defend themselves from those of their land who would end that independence with death or slavery.
Settlements: Goblinoid settlements differ somewhat depending on race, tribe, and landscape. In general, goblinoids have built little in recent history. A tribal existence and almost constant warfare leaves little opportunity for making more than simple wooden fortifications. Instead, goblinoids excel at converting existing constructions for their own needs.
Under the Seawall Mountains, for example, the Dhakaani clans adapt natural caverns, mines, and the tunnels dug by the Dhakaani empire. In the highlands of the nation and on the slopes of the Seawall Mountains, the Marguul clans use caves, naturally defensible areas, and fortresses built during the Last War, building longhouses when such places are not available. In the lowlands, the Ghaal’dar clans cobble together villages and cities around the ruins of the Dhakaani Empire. Communities in Darguun often have members of many races. Typically, settlements are populated mainly by goblins, hobgoblins, or bugbears. These are supported by goblin and kobold slaves, with some settlements using humans and members of other races as slaves. Tribes are multiracial, although an individual clan might be dominated by one particular goblinoid race. In Darguun, tribal and clan membership is determined by merit. Someone who holds true to a tribe’s customs, remains loyal, and fights off or kills enough of those who oppose his membership can be inducted into a tribe. Thus, even humans, kobolds, and gnomes can be found bearing the scars or brands that indicate tribe and clan.
When settlements are dominated by a single race, viewers can often determine which race that is by looking at the existing architecture. Goblins modify structures to lower doors and ceilings, often splitting a single story in a building into two. This makes taller races squat, kneel, and crawl in their buildings, showing goblin superiority. Hobgoblins alter the landscape and existing buildings for strong, organized defense. Entry points into buildings and cities typically require a force to funnel into an area overlooked by guards behind arrow loops. Bugbears prefer settlements and structures to be dark and convoluted, with many hiding places and dead ends. This gives them the home turf advantage and allows them to use the guerrilla tactics they prefer.
Power Groups: Haruuc maintains loose control of his nation. In theory, the country has a feudal system, with Haruuc demanding fealty, tribute, and military aid from the clans of the region. In practice, Haruuc maintains control mainly over the Ghaal’dar. The Marguul obey his edicts to varying degrees, and the Dhakaani pay him lip service at best. The whole nation has the feel of a lawless frontier. Infighting abounds, and the strong rule the weak. Most people have respect for the idea of a lawful society, but when push comes to shove, duels and vengeance punish more crimes than any system of rules and regulations.
Beliefs: Many goblinoids of Darguun worship The Shadow or The Mockery, sometimes under a different name. Over the last century, due mostly to their travels during the Last War, goblinoids have learned of the other gods of the Sovereign Host. Haruuc took up Dol Dorn as his patron and has spread that faith among his followers. Temples to Dol Dorn, Dol Arran, and Balinor can be found in the capital of Rhukaan Draal, but Darguun as a whole is ruled by worship of the Dark Six.
The Dhakaani tribe is the other exception. The clans of the caverns and hidden places are agnostic and pay homage to the legends of their great past through the songs and stories of bards. Clerics have no place among them, because worship of a deity distracts from rever- ence for the Empire of Dhakaan. City goblins worship the Sovereign Host to some degree, but many also pay greatest respect to a member of the Dark Six (although they take pains to hide this fact from others).
Language: Goblinoids share common speech patterns and vocabulary despite differences of race. Bugbears, goblins, and hobgoblins all speak Goblin, and bugbears and hobgoblins also speak Common. Around other races, goblinoids often speak Goblin, but around goblin slaves, hobgoblins and bugbears often speak Common. When speaking to one another, goblinoids often intermix Common and Goblin, using whatever terms are most applicable at the moment.
Goblin names for the creations of other races tend to be several Goblin words strung together to describe the object, so goblinoids can most often be heard using a word in Common when the Goblin phrase is too long. For instance, even at the height of the Dhakaani Empire, goblinoids didn’t build ships with sails, and thus, even when a goblin speaks Goblin, it might say “sailboat” in Common rather than “little warship not for war with big blanket to hold wind” in Goblin.
Race can have an effect on the way a goblinoid speaks. Bugbears tend to speak as little as possible. Even when separated by great distance, bugbears tend to communicate intent through pantomime punctuated by growls or grumbles rather than shouting. On the other hand, hobgoblins seem to relish raising their voices. They shout over one another, stating facts in the tone of commandments and questions like demands. Goblin slaves speak as little as possible to avoid attracting attention, but free goblins and slaves left alone tend to yammer with great energy, punctuating speech with hollering and screeches.
Relations: City goblins get along well enough with every race. They sometimes have conflicts with individuals from the wilderness who are unused to goblins being part of polite society, but for the most part, the goblinoids of the major cities are tolerated simply as members of the underclass.
The nation of Darguun is similarly tolerated, but the same cannot be said for its people. A great deal of bad feeling exists toward the goblinoids of Darguun. The wounds of the Last War still ache; the people of Breland and now-ruined Cyre haven’t forgotten the treachery that allowed the creation of the goblinoid nation. Thrane has never fully accepted Darguun, despite signing the Treaty of Thronehold; many people of other nations hate the goblinoids for keeping their countrymen as slaves or for harboring criminals. Of course, many people can’t really tell the difference between a Darguun goblinoid and a city goblin, so as long as a Darguun goblinoid takes up the trappings of civilized society, he can travel in other realms relatively unmolested.