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    Canonfire :: View topic - Where is the Hobgoblin Nation?
    Canonfire Forum Index -> World of Greyhawk Discussion
    Where is the Hobgoblin Nation?
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    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:16 am  
    Where is the Hobgoblin Nation?

    From what I have seen, the hobgoblins are usually presented with the military organization many human nations would envy. What forces in the Flanaess keep the hobgoblins from carving a piece of it for themselves? For them to develop an organized military culture, they would have to be organized enough to acquire foodstuffs and raw materials to support an army. That would require mines for metals and farm and pastureland for food. It seems to me that would require maintaining some sort of control over some area of land even if they are oppressing others into producing for them. Are their numbers too low? Are there just not enough hobgoblins to matter much in the grand scheme of things compared to humans and demihumans?

    Turrosh Mak united a number of orc tribes, along with many other humanoid tribes to create a nation for his own kind in Pomarj. Is there anywhere that a hobgoblin leader might find conditions ripe to do something similar?
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:25 am  

    The Horned Society is probably the largest chunk of Hobgoblins. Before Iuz took over, it was high level humans posing as devils that controlled them. After Iuz came back, he wiped out the Hiearchs and replaced them with his own people.

    The problem with Greyhawk is that it's an early game campaign. Early games didn't allow monsters to have levels. So, you don't really get many places that are run by humanoid monsters...like the hobgoblins.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:04 am  

    I believe Joe Bloch's Dragon #167 article "See the Pomarj -- and Die!" listed a number of significant hobgoblin tribes inhabiting the Pomarj. Wikipedia states that 47,600 hobgoblins live there.
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 9:46 am  

    Additionally, because of their lawful natures and military culture, many evil nations use them as troops. Before the Twin Cataclysms, both the Suel and the Baklunish nations employed hobgoblin mercenaries. In more recent times, in addition to the Horned Society, the Scarlet Brotherhood makes extensive use of hobgoblin troops.

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    GreySage

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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 11:19 am  

    I theorized that there was a good-sized hobgoblin nation where the Horned Society is now, but it was destroyed by the Aerdi or the Knights of Holy Shielding. They allied with the Horned Lords in order to take back their ancestral lands.

    There are a lot of hobgoblins in the modern Bone March, though. Apparently the Shining Spear tribe dominates Ferendar Keep two days march east of Spinecastle.

    The Paizo sourcebook Classic Monsters Revisited included a theory for why hobgoblins don't form large nations, though: "While it is theoretically possible for one ruler to control a vast stretch of territory under this system (armies or hordes commanded by autocratic generals), in practice, the native ambition present in every hobgoblin prevents such empires from forming. While every hobgoblin understands the concepts of "duty" and "chain of command," the idea of "loyalty" is a foreign concept. As a result, any powerful hobgoblin out of his superior's immediate view is probably planning to either usurp the superior's position or run off somewhere to make himself general of another settlement. For this reson, even areas with high population densitites tend to fall into a collection of separate city-states."
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Aspedri

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    Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:35 pm  

    I think the problem, at least on Oerth, is that for the Hobgoblins to forge a functional state they need to:

    1. Occupy a region with sufficient natural resources.
    2. Stabilize the region long enough to sustain a state.

    In the case of the Horned Society, the land is generally poor, being worked by herdsmen and with few other resources. The land is marginal at best, and a hobgoblin nation/military apparatus cannot support itself without outside assistance, in this case provided by the Hierarchs.

    In the Bone March, while the territory is somewhat richer, it is fundamentally unstable, and the consolidation of resources cannot occur that would enable a hobgoblin state to emerge in a permanent sense.

    Hobgoblins while possessing a lot of raw military power, lack (at least in my 1st and 2nd edition rules) significant magical prowess, which means they usually become the junior partners of fiends, wizards, and other evil, magically inclined personages. They are always the bridesmaids, never the brides.

    The counterargument would be the Pomarj, but there they are but a part of the vast humanoid stew. However, there their humanoid cousins are so numerous that they cannot effectively execute control over them.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Nov 22, 2014 1:43 pm  

    heychadwick wrote:

    The problem with Greyhawk is that it's an early game campaign. Early games didn't allow monsters to have levels.

    You mean the the first twenty-seven years of D&D?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Nov 22, 2014 8:26 pm  

    heychadwick wrote:
    The problem with Greyhawk is that it's an early game campaign. Early games didn't allow monsters to have levels.


    What?

    Quote:
    There is no reason that players cannot be allowed to play as virtually anything, provided they begin relatively weak and work up to the top, i.e., a player wishing to be a Dragon would have to begin as let us say, a "young" one and progress upwards int he usual manner, steps being predetermined by the campaign referee.


    Plus we have examples such as Quijj, Robilar's orc hireling, the Old Guard Kobolds in Castle Greyhawk, and there are all sorts of leveled monsters listed in the early Judges Guild material.

    I daresay the evidence is against you on that one.

    Joe / GG
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    Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:01 pm  

    What I mean is that Greyhawk was developed before Hobgoblins were allowed to have levels. So, you generally had to have evil humans (or something from the PHB) running the show to make it an epic level nation.
    Master Greytalker

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    Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:46 pm  

    Wasn't there a city of Hobgoblins in the Lortmils?
    GreySage

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    Mon Nov 24, 2014 4:48 pm  

    ragnar wrote:
    Wasn't there a city of Hobgoblins in the Lortmils?


    Probably before the Hateful Wars.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:49 pm  

    Slightly off topic, I always wondered the same thing about the Hobgoblins. They are described as big, strong, stoic, militaristic and organized, with a well developed martial culture. Empires have been built with warriors like this. I'm guessing the reason they haven't has to do with the origins of Greyhawk & D&D. Monsters were built for a game, not a world, and monsters got tougher the lower you got in the dungeon. Hobgoblins are essentially super-goblins, meant to be the 2nd or 3rd level challenge for a dungeon party.

    I've been thinking of developing a fairly large city-state of Hobgoblins based on ancient Sparta. Goblins and Bugbears would be similar to the perioeci of Sparta, with either Orcs, Kobolds or Humans in the role of the Helots. Leave out the part about eating people and living in dungeons, the upbringing of Hob warriors looks a lot like the Agoge of Sparta. Their total dedication as infantry warriors and their stoic demeanor make them good stand ins for Spartan hoplites. Also, especially if the helots were humans, the issues of inability to grow food and craft would disappear.

    And of course, a Lawful Evil nation of brutal humanoids ruling over an oppressed human slave society is just the type of thing for a bunch of adventurers to set right! That's my two cents anyhow
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 25, 2014 1:31 pm  

    Interesting Gman75;

    Beyond the flanaess; the Huuncha League off the Sunlea Coast was seized by hobgoblins whom enslaved its suloise inhabitants. An island society that interacts both economically and politically with the surrounding civilizations. Granted its relatively small and violent in intent but it could serve as a viable nation.

    Even more strange; synopsis of your own hypothetical hobgoblin nation, posited in the post. It bears a remarkable resemblance to Darak Urtag: Orcreich. Simply replace the hobgoblins with orcish hordes.

    Spoilers: Both these areas are part of the forthcoming Beyond the Gazetteers Series.
    GreySage

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    Tue Nov 25, 2014 2:48 pm  

    I've always appreciated it when humanoids are NOT depicted as stupid canon fodder but cunning, deadly adversaries worthy of respect and fear.

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Wed Nov 26, 2014 3:57 am  

    My players have never appreciated intelligent/cunning humanoids. Just ask the player of the Bard who shape-changed into a gargoyle to be immune to the non-magical weapon attacks of some humanoids, who then proceeded to grapple and overbear him into a pool of water and nearly drown him. Laughing Evil Grin
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    Master Greytalker

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    Thu Nov 27, 2014 9:01 am  

    Just found it. Grot-Ugrat: Legacy of Hate. It's actually here on Canonfire:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=423
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu Nov 27, 2014 11:00 pm  

    This is very cool! Now I want to do an adventure trying to retrieve gold from the ruins, and maybe liberate a religious artifact. With a group of Hobgoblins on the other side trying to retrieve the same artifact. hmmm. This could get interesting.
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Aspedri

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    Fri Nov 28, 2014 4:49 pm  

    Perhaps a hobgoblin Belloq to make the story more interesting?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:00 am  

    tarelton wrote:
    Perhaps a hobgoblin Belloq to make the story more interesting?


    "You could warn them, Magister Jhones; if only you spoke hobgoblin."
    Adept Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:11 pm  

    "Too bad the hoch-Jebli don't know you the way I do..."
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:10 pm  

    Grot-Ugrat. Even the name is resounding. The dwarf and gnome hail from gyrax in the principality of ulek. I am definately gonna do a homebrew with the ruins of grot-egrat.

    I am one hundred percent gonna use this. legacy of hate... grot-ugrat.... sounds like history to me. an inn? a fire? an old gnome still carrying scars of what they did......
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:11 am  

    I just got the Indiana Jones series for Black Friday too. :) I got some watching and planning to do!
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