Monday, January 23, 2012
Goblinoids in Garnia
Goblinoids in Garnia are, as I envisioned the setting originally, the first of the Evil invaders of the world. I always pictured them Goblins, Hobgoblins and Bugbears as different stages of guided evolution of the original Goblin species. Whatever force of evil ultimately owns their home plane, their "God", has tinkered with their species to make the perfect race of evil servant-soldiers to conquer in his (or her, anything is possible I guess) name. I never even considered going the Tolkien route and having Goblins just be corrupted Elves, and Orcs just being a different name for Goblins; besides I really want to go with a more mythologically sound version of Elves, where I get to kind of mix the Gaelic Sidhe and the Norse Alfar into a blender; I feel it makes for a more interesting campaign setting and more interesting Elves.
I see the Goblins as the base species, fairly weak, but they are Evil and cunning, fairly well organized, if none too bright and they breed quickly. Hordes of these can be raised in say a decade or so. I assume they were originally bred to fight the Dwarves and followed them here from their world for two reasons; first they are a primarily subterranean race and get a -1 to attacks in full sunlight, and a bunch of Dwarf type bonuses regarding mining and underground construction, and second, they attack Dwarves on sight. This is all based on the 1st edition AD&D Monster Manual, but, once again, that's Garnia's roots. They also hate Gnomes, but in 1st edition AD&D Gnomes are essentially a pretty distinctive sub-species of Dwarf, so that makes sense, and I axed Gnomes from Garnia in the early 1990s when I realized that no one had ever played one.
Hobgoblins then are the next toughest Goblinoids, and are probably the crowning achievement of Goblin genetic engineering. There are only about 1/2 as many encountered, which tells me they don't breed as fast or they have higher mortality rates or something, but they are bigger (6'6" average as opposed to 4' average), stronger (1d8 damage vs. 1d6), faster (MV 9" vs 6"), tougher (1+1 HD vs. 1-1HD) and harder to hit (AC:5 vs. AC:6). They are just as well organized, maybe better, since they are specifically mentioned as living in a military hierarchy. They also will organize Goblins or Orcs to do their bidding. They don't have the sunlight penalty, but maintain the underground/mining bonuses and they have a marine genetic variant, the Koalinth. My assumption about Hobgoblins is that they were bred for fighting here on Garnia because they have an inbred hatred of Elves rather than Dwarves.
Now we move on to the Bugbear, the wacky cousin of the Goblin family tree. They look like what would happen if you took a Goblin and stretched it to nearly twice it's normal height (7'+ Average) and covered them in long fur. They are described as having a "shambling gait", but are actually rather quick (9" MV) and stealthy (50% chance of surprise). They are the biggest, strongest (2d4DMG), and toughest (3+1HD) of the Goblinoids. They can throw any weapon up to 40' (with 20' considered short range), I think they might be the only monster with that peculiar ability. They are so tough that even their women and children get to fight, as if they were Hobgoblins and Kobolds respectively. Their AC of 5 is OK, matching the Hobgoblin, their dual weaknesses are their lack of organization (due to their Chaotic Evil Alignment) and their small numbers (6-36 vs 20-200 Hobgoblins or 40-400 Goblins). My Garnia specific assumption about Bugbears is that they were an early experimentation with the "build a better Goblin project" from Evil forces R us, and they just went too far to the bigger, stronger, more aggressive end of the spectrum with their super-Goblin serum. They make good shock troops for Evil forces though, even if they can be a bit difficult to control and often run off the reservation; anything that screws over the Elves, Dwarves and Humans is a good thing for Evil incorporated, right?