DESIGNER’S DIARY 3: HOBGOBLINS OF CONFLICT
When designing hobgoblins, we considered goblinoid cosmology. And we decided on an alternative goblinoid cosmology. We took the original and creative goblinoid god (which, as you may guess, is Maglubiyet) as a basis, but we started thinking about changing it.
Goblins should be the first step in the creation of this species. The Defeated God referenced in the hobgoblin pantheon is a nod to Maglubiyet’s Turkish name and essentially means the same thing. In the goblinoid cosmology we reimagined, goblins were the first creations of this god. Despite being small, they were chaotic and incredibly successful in surviving. But why did the same god feel the need to create other goblinoids?
Upon reflection, we realized that a malevolent god intent on conquering the entire universe would need to experiment with different creations and not be satisfied with their first attempts. So, the bugbears, the second goblinoid race created by the deity, were not as chaotic as the first and were also physically quite large! However, despite their size, they were lazy creatures with a small number and did not make perfect soldiers that complied with the deity’s wishes. Therefore, the Defeated God must have created hobgoblins as their final and most perfect creation.
Hobgoblins would make up most of the Defeated God’s divine armies in the celestial realms. Due to their lawful nature, discipline, incredible military skills, and propensity for warfare, hobgoblins quickly became the deity’s favorite. However, we placed the “war” theme at the center of hobgoblin culture with significant weight, which would give them a different perspective.
In everything we designed for the Hobgoblins, the war would be at the center. All Brutal Races are naturally skilled warriors, but a race created solely for combat had to be different from those who fight out of necessity. The deities of the Hobgoblins, their settlements, their subraces, and the equipment they create, everything should be made for war. Of course, their martial abilities and combat skills should not go beyond the design balances of DnD and turn them into an “overpowered race that can defeat everyone.” While not giving the Hobgoblins martial abilities that would upset the balance, we also had to design their subraces to be distinct from each other.
Unlike orcs, the influence of gods in the life of Hobgoblins was much less. That is why we focused heavily on the main reason that differentiated Hobgoblin subraces. Ultimately, due to their lawful nature, we predicted that the larger settlements Hobgoblins created, the more civilized they would become. However, we could not ignore the war theme while this happened and should not stray too far from the standard DnD Hobgoblin.
The Castellan Hobgoblins were designed to be the best fighters in a warrior race and were chosen as the default hobgoblin subrace. Castellans, who lived in castles and were constantly under siege or attacked somewhere, could fight flexibly in tight spaces. Grunt hobgoblins, on the other hand, could live with others but had a different theme. Whether hobgoblin or not, they were expected to be large-shouldered, closed-off soldiers wearing heavy armor, found in the armies of powerful warlords, wizards, and extradimensional beings, holding the front lines. These were much more fundamental hobgoblin themes, and they were predicted to be the most populous peoples among them.
Worldly Hobgoblins were envisioned as the subrace living in the largest cities. They were designed to be much more civilized and extroverted than others. They also became very suitable for some alternative hobgoblin gods. Tribal Hobgoblins, on the other hand, were designed as the smallest settlement’s people, the most savage among them, found in small numbers in the wild lands. They would be known among others for their incredible archery skills and bows with special creations.
The Mercenary Hobgoblins was designed to be a subrace not culturally associated with any settlement and became the most flexible and adventurer-themed subrace. The final option was the Nomad Hobgoblins, who ventured furthest from the core hobgoblin themes and became an exotic people more interested in nature and animal spirits, with little interest in warfare.
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