For the typical citizen of Tellest, goblins are naught but a tale woven to frighten children into their best behavior. Generally, in stories, they are described as skittering, slavering little creatures that feed on children’s teeth or steal toys or treats in the middle of the night.
In reality, a goblin is far, far worse…
Goblins are slender beings of average size that could easily be confused with an orc to the untrained eye. The most telling feature that separates the two is a goblin’s pointed ears. Their skin color can vary between shades of grey, green, black blue or white skin. They never have blond hair, instead most often having black, grey or red hair. They’re very sneaky, and tend to dwell in dark places.
Due to poor hygiene, goblins do not tend to live as long as many of the other humanoid races. That, coupled with their dangerous habits tends to lead to an untimely death.
Clothing and Adornment
Though goblins are more discrete about show, they are still similar to humans in dress. They tend to be a little more casual about what they wear, and they don’t care for colors as much as a typical surface dweller. Of course, the quality is usually quite deteriorated. Those who study goblin behavior equate a wealthy goblin’s clothing with a poor human’s.
Goblins tend to tattoo their bodies and faces, sometimes with incandescent inks that allow them to glow in the dark. Ears and noses are often pierced, usually with the belief that it would allow them to smell better, or see more clearly in the dark.
Relations to Other Races
No one knows for sure where the goblins originated from, but various races have their own theories. Orcs tend to believe a theory that they evolved from two ancient brothers who were at war. While the taller, broader brother found victory, and earned the right to see the sun, the smaller one was forced beneath the ground.
Several of the other goodly races, and a few of the darker ones, tend to believe in the concept that goblins were the result of a union between elves and orcs, and that neither side would give them peace.
The goblins believe that they were forged from living ore, which they also attribute to their affinity toward the underground, and mining.
Despite the fairytales that people tell their children, goblins are not mindless monsters that seek menial comforts in baubles or trinkets. In fact, they are wildly intelligent, a fact that is only offset by their primal nature.
Goblins are quite vicious. Their place in society is usually determined by their strength, which is usually proportionate to the level of comfort they are afforded.
Because of the general hierarchy, however, the intelligent goblins that know they’re intelligent but can’t physically muscle their way up the ranks have it just as easy within a subgroup of their people.
Similar to some of the more barbaric and nomadic cultures of humans and orcs, when a goblin wants a mate, he’ll typically take it. More than many of the other races though, a strong goblin will have the propensity to take multiple companions, and it isn’t unheard of for a female goblin to be discarded, sometimes in a more permanent fashion.
Still, some of the more banal goblin tribes have a more relaxed monogamy amongst their people.
Because of the risk of death amongst their mines, and the true threat of an early passing due to physical ailments, many goblins treasure their young. They aren’t as unwitting as some would believe, and they’re very protective of them.
In some of the more primal tribes, the value on a child may be gender specific. Within some of these sadistic societies, it is common practice for a son to take on his father’s mate when he passes, assuming it isn’t the same mate that gave him life. Goblin daughters, meanwhile, are considered lowborn, and must find a way to climb up the social ladder without any help from their families. Because of this, many goblin females can be just as vile and brutal as their male counterparts.
Within the more cruel groups that tend to nomadically traverse the larger areas of the underworld, goblins are very animalistic in nature. The static groups of goblins are typically much more organized. People have their places, despite a lean on old habits of violence. There are tasks at hand that goblin citizens will openly fulfill, including blacksmithing, tailoring and mushroom agriculture.
Similar to dwarves, the most prevalent industry for a goblin is the mining of precious metals. Even within the goblin mining companies, sometimes there is a class system. Often, a well-known surveyor will take the richest veins for themselves, and only a threat of violence is known to hold them at bay. As such, the strongest miners are typically the richest.
Behavior toward Other Races
Due to their physical similarities and the social stigmas surrounding them, goblins despise orcs and elves. Most tribes are located far from them, but organized groups of goblins will not shy away from the surface, and have often come to blows against them.
More than any other group, the goblins are at war with the dwarves. This is typically due to the shared resources of the two groups. Because both races aspire to mine – the dwarves usually from above and the goblins below – they contend over the same resources. However, while dwarves typically value veins within, goblins would rather pick through debris than suffer their competitors to walk away with anything. Thus, the dwarves are known to call them knockers because of the noise they make before they bring down a mine.
Still, there are some circumstances where a goblin will not act with hostility toward the goodly races. The more benevolent of the race may sometimes lead miners away from danger or toward a wealthy mineral deposit. Usually, that behavior is rewarded with the last bits of a biscuit or some fruit.
There have also been many instances when children have been snatched from their homes when there is a known presence of goblins nearby. It is theorized that they use them for slave labor, and raise the children as their own.
In line with that notion, gremlins are used almost like fodder to the goblins. Sometimes the two races are confused as a portion of one greater race, but that is not the case. The gremlins are valued for their work ethic and their intelligence. Goblins also tend to rely on the strength and companionship of trolls, ever their larger, fiercer cousins.
Goblins began to adopt the common language centuries ago. Because of this, they lost a good deal of their original speech, though there are some linguistic hang-ups that occur because of their varied dialects.
Though most of the goblins tell their tales aurally, writing is becoming a more integrated source of record keeping. It originally became fundamental in engineering and mathematics, but certain goblin storytellers and scholars have noticed the benefit of the medium.
Unlike many of the so-called evil races of Tellest, the goblins believe in all of the greater gods. Though they worship Nerot and Cebrum at their forefront, akin to the lagano and gnolls, for instance, they also place a great deal of faith on Galvan and Obsam, the two brothers known to represent good finding and craftsmanship.
Myths and Legends
Many of the goblins are aware of the legend of Romus Youngblood, and thus, the part that the goblin Rellix had on it. Despite the fact that Rellix’ actions would have saved Tellest from an influx of demons, goblinkind loathes him for banding together with what is perceived as the goodly races.
Beyond that, there aren’t very many instances where something of extreme merit is passed down in goblin culture. Rather, they will talk about events with more vague details, such as an instance where the goblins would poison a dwarvish mine with tainted ore that, when smelted, created noxious fumes that killed many smallfolk.
Due to the great intelligence of many goblins, their level of technology is rapidly increasing. However, based on their culture, much of this equipment is used within their mines. They do have sprawling underground water systems to aid them in cleanliness, along with some other contemporary ideas from the surface world.
Goblins very rarely pursue the magical arts, but when they do, it is almost always in some pursuit of fire. They believe that Galvan and Obsam are beings of fire that fuel their forges, and make their tools and weapons stronger.
Goblins rarely take to organized combat, but when they do, it is typically well formed. Rather, they use ingenious tactics to hit their enemies with surprises attacks, and in smaller numbers.
Weapons and Tools
It is said that goblins have focused largely on humans for their style of combat. As such, they have grown accustomed to all sorts of weaponry. However, most seem to prefer smaller swords, which aid them in close quarters combat underground. They also favor compact crossbows as a means to dispatch their enemies from afar.
Wars and Enemies
Over the course of history, the goblins have waged many wars. Among the surface dwellers, orcs and elves have endured the brunt of the confrontations.
Within mines across the lands, dwarves have taken to arms against goblins, and the gnomes are typically involved by proxy. Many times, when the goblins are victorious in battle, the bodies of those that have fallen cannot be found, and it is difficult to understand what has transpired on the battlefield.
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