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 What would you do with Hobgoblins in the realms?
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Kelcimer
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Posted - 06 Sep 2021 :  08:30:41  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
In another thread sleyvas posed the question about Hobgoblins. I could have answered it there, but as has already been point out, the thread was getting away from the original topic.

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas if you were going to "shoehorn" in a hobgoblin kingdom in the realms, where would you do it? I'm thinking the mountains near Impiltur, up in Vaasa, and in the icy areas north of Narfell (some of which have been hinted as having hobgoblin tribes, like in the chronicles of Nindawen novels, but not necessarily in sourcebooks). I also wouldn't be surprised to find them in the hordelands.


I confess, I haven't ever given Hobgoblins much thought. After thinking it, here are my thoughts as to where to place them in the Realms.

North of Narfell is a good one. I don't like the idea of just sticking them in some narrow sliver of mountains somewhere. I'd rather give them some decent amount of land to work with. And flat land if possible. I think that the The Giants Plain, the Shining Plains,and the southern half of the Orcsraun Moutains would all be good locations to shoehorn a hobgoblin kingdom into the Realms.

But the spot I find most attractive is the valley between the Cloven Mountains and the Snowflake Mountains going all along the southern coast of the Deepwash. Hobgoblins are supposed to be more militarily organized and more strategic thinkers. Placing them on land that they would find defensible would be the thing to do. With their borders defined in the north by the Deepwash, the West by the Snowflakes, and to the south by the Cloven Mountains, their nation would be mostly secure. The only strategic vulnerablity they would be what they might call The Three Gaps. There is the gap in the Cloven Mountains through which the Deepwash drains, there is the gap between the Snowflakes and the bridge that leads to Lheshayl, and there is the gap between the southern most arm of the Cloven Mountains and the Snowflakes. Let's call this the Homeland.

I should think that when they try to expand, the most tempting target is the north coast of the Deepwash and upriver to the lake that is northwest of the Deepwash. The reason being is that then the Deepwash becomes their own personal lake. There is a reason why coastal kingdoms are so frequent in history. Being able to transport people and goods overwater is the fastest and cheapest way to move them both.

If they were to be successful in conquering the north coast of the Deepwash and that other lake system, then they would have bought themselves two larger gaps in their geography: the gap between the Snowflake and the Giant's Run Mountains, and the gap between the Giant's Run and the Deepwing Mountains.

There is really nothing to be done about the first, but with the second they could aim to conquer all of the Shining Plains. They could then have a very narrow gap between the Deepwing Mountains and the Wetwoods, which is very defensible. They would also have a gap between the Giant's Run and the very southern most part of the Lake of the Long Arm. At that point they could get into conflict with the city-states of the Dragon Coast.

But could they get that far? Keeping to just the Homeland, they could potentially have a lot of problems. How many monsters are there in the Deepwash and in the mountains? Monsters on the borders is one of the big limiting factors in my mind for a nation to project force, because they have to maintain so much force to keep their communities safe from those same monsters. And they might also have the same problems with orcs, giants, and other races that eke out lives in the mountains.

The city-states to their north might be very good at defending their territory. They too have narrow gaps to defend against the Hobgoblins, there is narrow crossing at the north end of the deepwash and then between that lake and the Giant's Run Mountains.

I might add this nation to my own version of the Realms. I'll have to think on that. I think I need to understand Hobgoblins a little bit more.

Where would you give them a decent place to have a nation?

What defines a hobgoblin in your mind?

What would you do with Hobgoblins in the Realms?

SaMoCon
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Posted - 06 Sep 2021 :  10:54:02  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Because of the prowess hobgoblins have in their racial lore for the long term endeavors of manipulating and breeding living things, I thought they should have built populous realms that could support those pursuits like churning out bugbears and worgs. Since it would have been unlikely that any such nations would be quiet as the roll of history went by I decided to back date the hobgoblin realms and place them in the West but directly in the path of growing elf nations. This would allow the hobgoblins a history from which they still possess certain technologies and stories of their former glory. The presence of the organized hobgoblins in this area running from the North to the mountains of Amn would explain why humans were not already migrating into this area until after the elves had pacified it. For their part, the hobgoblin nations were quickly destroyed by the elves with such light losses due to the elves' heavy use of magic and coordination with allied creatures whereas the hobgoblins' over-reliance on slaves and mistreatment of non-hobgoblins were the real causes of the collapse. Or at least that is what I had written into my game's landscape nearly 2 decades ago.

Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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TheIriaeban
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Posted - 06 Sep 2021 :  16:34:18  Show Profile Send TheIriaeban a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Kelcimer, do you have a time period in mind? Giant's Plain may work depending on when.

1372 to Spellplague: Mid-Giant's Plain may be ok. That could have been the reason (or one of them) why the Barony of Maerantede was founded just south of the Trader's Road between Easting and Priapurl. That could also be why trade that avoided Iriaebor went to the west of Troll Mountains instead of going to the Giant's Plain.

Spellplague to Second Sundering: It would have be southern Giant's Plain since the mid-Plains area collapsed into Land's Mouth. Being that far south, you can guarantee that Amn would take notice since it would be affecting any trade between Amn and Nathlan.

Post Second Sundering: Mid-Giant's Plains comes back into play. The Barony of Maerantede was swallowed by Land's Mouth and destroyed. There could be a new one to take it's place if the same factors that led to its creation are in play again.

"Iriaebor is a fine city. So what if you can have violence between merchant groups break out at any moment. Not every city can offer dinner AND a show."

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sleyvas
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Posted - 06 Sep 2021 :  20:37:25  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you did stick them north or Narfell, I do recommend checking out the Chosen of Nindawen series, as its one of the only ones that actively places hobgoblins there and delves into their culture. It gets into some of their language, codes of conduct, how they treat guests and warriors, etc... I won't say it is an exhaustive exploration mind you, but it is something.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Diffan
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Posted - 06 Sep 2021 :  23:50:06  Show Profile Send Diffan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've always seen Hobgoblins as exceptionally well-trained militia and mercenaries that are more organized and armed than orcs and their training leads them to be good tacticians.

This mostly comes from their depictions from 4th Edition where they have bonuses for working in concert, having shield walls, and using flaking maneuvers to their advantage.

Heck, in the Space RPG I'm creating called Vangard there's a race of beings called the Thanesh, who's a matriarchal and sophisticated society that is highly structured and militarized (semi-Spartan like in beliefs). The are humanoid and have soft brown fur and protruding lower fangs who've made a name for themselves as Mercenaries with well-armed Vangards (think Mechs/Titans).

4E Realms = Great Taste, Less Filling.

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deserk
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  00:34:22  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Unapproachable East (3rd edition) does state there is a hobgoblin kingdom composed of several tribes that lies beneath the Giantspire Mountains and which is ruled by a king Kardobbik. And given the history that hobgoblin hordes have had in Narfell and Impiltur (whose foundation as the current kingdom is partly owed to the grave threat posed by these hobgoblin clans), it seems likely to suppose that their population is particularly vast and significant.

Other areas I think hobgoblins would thrive well in would be lands surrounding the Moonsea, Thar, the Shining Plains, the Shaar and possibly the Dragon Coast since there is much land yet unclaimed by mankind and they are relatively close to some vital trade hubs (Zhentil Keep, Mulmaster, Melvaunt, Westgate, etc.) where they could either illicitly or openly sell their products (weapons, armour, slaves, etc.) or their services as mercenaries. They would also most likely want to dwell in remote land that is easily defensible like in hill or mountain forts.

I would think that in contrast with how orcs, the hobgoblins are probably the more quiet and subtle dangers of Faerun. Probably focusing on more long-game targets or easy targets to avoid arousing great alarm and suspicion among the many human realms of Faerun. And they are probably fierce competitors of orcs since they generally seem to fight over the same sort of living space for survival.

Edited by - deserk on 07 Sep 2021 00:35:36
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sleyvas
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  01:06:45  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yeah, that point about hobgoblins and orcs competing for territory is something I very much see happening in places like Vaasa where both are rumored to exist. Humanity as a result must be VERY prepared in these areas if they don't expect to become the next meal. This would mirror earlier lore where the god of Maglubiyet and Gruumsh were at odds with one another.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Kelcimer
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  01:47:01  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Generally speaking, how do Hobgoblins get on with the other similar races? Goblins, kobalds, bugbears, & orcs? And how do those races feel about hobgoblins?
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ericlboyd
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  03:10:42  Show Profile  Visit ericlboyd's Homepage Send ericlboyd a Private Message  Reply with Quote
So if you look at George's Impiltur articles and Champions of Ruin, you'll learn a lot about hobgoblins in the mountains north of Impiltur ...

If you look at Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark you'll find a hobgoblin kingdom as well.

Finally, if you look at Dragons of Faerun, you'll find details on the Blood of Morueme.

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sleyvas
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  13:46:23  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

So if you look at George's Impiltur articles and Champions of Ruin, you'll learn a lot about hobgoblins in the mountains north of Impiltur ...

If you look at Drizzt Do'Urden's Guide to the Underdark you'll find a hobgoblin kingdom as well.

Finally, if you look at Dragons of Faerun, you'll find details on the Blood of Morueme.



Eric,

I had noted the hobgoblins in Impiltur, which is why I mentioned that as a possibility (for same reasons, mentioning north of Narfell because of Nindawen series). That being said, they could use development more (which can be said of nearly everything of course). I also remember the ones from DoF. However, save me the looking, if you don't mind....quick rundown of the Underdark ones? Location? Name? General Concept?

BTW, someone had mentioned hobgoblins in the Shaar.... and that's intriguing... but it also made me think that in the Utter East was a "goblin" kingdom in the Blood & Magic ... the kingdom of Nix. Granted, that was goblins and not hobgoblins, but it might make a good place to have some hobgoblins migrate to.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Gary Dallison
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United Kingdom
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  14:11:15  Show Profile Send Gary Dallison a Private Message  Reply with Quote
To me hobgoblins are a created race through breeding and magical experiments etc.

I'd start by coming up with different varieties for those in the south sword coast, those in the stone lands, those in the giant spires etc.

Those different varieties all have different origins and so have different personalities and instincts and goals (although loosely based upon goblin mentality).

Other than that I'd do what I normally do on a project, gather as much information as I can find from all FR sources from all editions, try and work it into a coherent whole and then develop it further and build it into the surrounding events.

I particularly like the hobgoblin role in the fallen kingdom that Eric and George did. They aren't given centre stage but they are a recurring threat.

Hobgoblins are the new kids on the block. Humans should watch out.

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deserk
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Norway
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  18:48:19  Show Profile Send deserk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
I had noted the hobgoblins in Impiltur, which is why I mentioned that as a possibility (for same reasons, mentioning north of Narfell because of Nindawen series). That being said, they could use development more (which can be said of nearly everything of course). I also remember the ones from DoF. However, save me the looking, if you don't mind....quick rundown of the Underdark ones? Location? Name? General Concept?

It's Holorarar. One of the fallen dwarven subkingdoms of Shanatar and now currently the site of a burgeoning hobgoblin kingdom.

Speculating, but perhaps they might be survivors of the hobgoblin civilization that built the massive idol of Nomog-Neaya in what is currently Tethyr. They were wiped out by the armies of Calimshan, and ever since it doesn't seem like there has been much activity from hobs in that region. They might have been driven underground, and when Holorarar fell during the Kinclashes they might have swooped in and seized what was left.

Holorarar was one of the agricultural breadbaskets of the Shanatar empire, so it could have been an invaluable new homeland to a greatly diminished nation of hobgoblins, if they took over and restored it's farmlands. Given that Drizzt's Guide to the Underdark seems to suggest they've focused on solidifying the tribes into a cohesive kingdom and on largely internal affairs rather than waging war on nearby realms, that seems likely to be the case.

Edited by - deserk on 07 Sep 2021 18:50:10
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sleyvas
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  19:48:27  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by deserk

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas
I had noted the hobgoblins in Impiltur, which is why I mentioned that as a possibility (for same reasons, mentioning north of Narfell because of Nindawen series). That being said, they could use development more (which can be said of nearly everything of course). I also remember the ones from DoF. However, save me the looking, if you don't mind....quick rundown of the Underdark ones? Location? Name? General Concept?

It's Holorarar. One of the fallen dwarven subkingdoms of Shanatar and now currently the site of a burgeoning hobgoblin kingdom.

Speculating, but perhaps they might be survivors of the hobgoblin civilization that built the massive idol of Nomog-Neaya in what is currently Tethyr. They were wiped out by the armies of Calimshan, and ever since it doesn't seem like there has been much activity from hobs in that region. They might have been driven underground, and when Holorarar fell during the Kinclashes they might have swooped in and seized what was left.

Holorarar was one of the agricultural breadbaskets of the Shanatar empire, so it could have been an invaluable new homeland to a greatly diminished nation of hobgoblins, if they took over and restored it's farmlands. Given that Drizzt's Guide to the Underdark seems to suggest they've focused on solidifying the tribes into a cohesive kingdom and on largely internal affairs rather than waging war on nearby realms, that seems likely to be the case.



Oh, that actually sounds really interesting.... I really need to sit down with that book and give it a more thorough read through.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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SaMoCon
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Posted - 07 Sep 2021 :  21:02:26  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by deserk

Speculating, but perhaps they might be survivors of the hobgoblin civilization that built the massive idol of Nomog-Neaya in what is currently Tethyr. They were wiped out by the armies of Calimshan, and ever since it doesn't seem like there has been much activity from hobs in that region. They might have been driven underground, and when Holorarar fell during the Kinclashes they might have swooped in and seized what was left.

Holorarar was one of the agricultural breadbaskets of the Shanatar empire, so it could have been an invaluable new homeland to a greatly diminished nation of hobgoblins, if they took over and restored it's farmlands. Given that Drizzt's Guide to the Underdark seems to suggest they've focused on solidifying the tribes into a cohesive kingdom and on largely internal affairs rather than waging war on nearby realms, that seems likely to be the case.


Ooo! Do we have any more information? Back when I was compiling a list of realms I found I had a lot of listing that had only beginning and ending dates if even that much. New info now incorporated where italics are seen.

  • Nomog-Geaya, the hobgoblin realm founded by three tribes ruling the Wurlur & River Ith confluence from -3778 DR until victorious Calishite armies tore down the namesake temple & renamed the area the Gorge of the Fallen Idol in -1931 DR. DC25 Knowledge History, or DC30 Knowledge Local Tethyr

  • Holorarar, the shield dwarf subkingdom, known as the forgotten kingdom, was formed after the Fall of Barakuir in -7000 DR, an agricultural breadbasket of the Shanatar kingdom, destroyed by the gray dwarves during the Kin Clashes -1800 DR. DC25 Knowledge History, or DC30 Knowledge Local Northdark

  • Holorar, the hobgoblin kingdom coalescing from Nomog-Geaya's displaced descendants around a chosen king in the ruins of the dwarf kingdom Holorarar during the Year of Clutching Dusk, -379 DR. This cohesive kindom focuses largely internal affairs rather than waging war on nearby realms. DC10 Knowledge History, or DC11 Knowledge Local Old Shanatar

  • Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.
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    AuldDragon
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2021 :  03:19:38  Show Profile  Visit AuldDragon's Homepage Send AuldDragon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by SaMoCon

  • Nomog-Geaya, the hobgoblin realm founded by three tribes ruling the Wurlur & River Ith confluence from -3778 DR until victorious Calishite armies tore down the namesake temple & renamed the area the Gorge of the Fallen Idol in -1931 DR. DC25 Knowledge History, or DC30 Knowledge Local Tethyr




  • Nomog-Geaya is the name of the hobgoblin god (subordinate to Maglubiyet); I don't think it is the name of the realm that existed there. The giant idol in the realm was dedicated to Nomog-Geaya.

    Jeff

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    TBeholder
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    Posted - 09 Sep 2021 :  20:53:13  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    Hobs get the short stick because for "disciplined evil warriors" niche humans would do, there's no need for a special critter tied to every notch.
    And yes, no goblinoid realm in need of a proper army. Many Arrows is orc-only.
    Likewise, "very brutal, barely controllable mercenaries" niche is taken by the gnolls, so bugbears have it even worse.

    So not a lot of places. North/East of Moonsea, yes.
    Maybe some of those mountainous regions SW of the Sea of Fallen Stars no one thought worth the trouble to annex (or whoever tried found out the hidden costs include annual raids by the duergar).
    Also, if Veldorn and/or Sythillisian "Empire" decide they need a better standing army than mob of giants, goblins and human renegades, they could import some hobgoblin tribe.

    EDIT:
    quote:
    Ed Greenwood wrote in Just a Typical Night in an Inn:
    They heard hobgoblin horns, too, and had traveled the Moonsea Ride often enough to know that the bugbears and the hobgoblins were both keeping watch over the trade road, seeking easy prey and good times to attack.

    People never wonder How the world goes round -Helloween
    And even I make no pretense Of having more than common sense -R.W.Wood
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    Edited by - TBeholder on 10 Sep 2021 19:07:02
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    Kelcimer
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    Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  09:40:16  Show Profile Send Kelcimer a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    This conversation on Hobgoblins have caused me to reconsider them. I have a place for them in my campaign now.
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    questing gm
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    Posted - 16 Sep 2021 :  14:28:21  Show Profile  Visit questing gm's Homepage Send questing gm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    I had always thought that it made sense to run Red Hand of Doom with the hobgoblins of the Morueme clan.
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    SaMoCon
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    Posted - 17 Sep 2021 :  02:48:55  Show Profile Send SaMoCon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
    quote:
    Originally posted by AuldDragon

    quote:
    Originally posted by SaMoCon

  • Nomog-Geaya, the hobgoblin realm founded by three tribes ruling the Wurlur & River Ith confluence from -3778 DR until victorious Calishite armies tore down the namesake temple & renamed the area the Gorge of the Fallen Idol in -1931 DR. DC25 Knowledge History, or DC30 Knowledge Local Tethyr




  • Nomog-Geaya is the name of the hobgoblin god (subordinate to Maglubiyet); I don't think it is the name of the realm that existed there. The giant idol in the realm was dedicated to Nomog-Geaya.

    Technically, there is no printed name for the hob civ that existed in the area for over 1500 years. The area itself was called "Gorge of Nomog-Geaya the Warrior" and had resisted attacks from dwarves, elves, and humans until a Calishite army near the end of the Second Age of Calimshan finally routed the hobs out of their home. The lore lauded the tribes settling there for building an advanced civilization capable of successfully taking on the dwarves and completing an engineering feat of erecting their monolothic statue. The civilization itself has to have a name, but none was forthcoming, and "Gorge of Nomog-Geaya the Warrior" is beyond too long plus being the name of a geographic feature that continues to exist even though the naming civilization is long gone. Calling it Nomog-Geaya was the only thing that seemed to make sense when I was compiling the list of civs.

    If anyone has a better idea that is consistent with the lore, I'm all ears... um, eyes?.. reads?.. whatever.

    EDIT Just adding information to the discussion.

    There is a lack of hobgoblins in the FR that seems to run contrary to their supposed ability to menace the civilized races.
    Numbers were only given for the military unit and one hobgoblin village (100 & 514 respectively). These numbers are not viable for a sustainable presence but I understand that the authors were more interested in creating a threat against PCs than world building when creating this lore. These are small groups that will die out on their own if left to their own devices.

    For an intelligent, industrious, opportunistic race like the hobgoblins I would have thought they should have carved strongholds and nascent nations for themselves with teeming numbers of non-combatants improving their capacities to wage war. Slavery, selective breeding, and bending the most bestial wills to the leash are the hallmarks of hobgoblin history but how can this be effectively done if they hobs are scattered in small clans that practically precludes a "middle class" of skilled specialists that would have the time to do these things? The presence of hobgoblins needs to be far greater, otherwise their future is extinction.

    Make the best use of the system that's there, then modify the mechanics that don't allow you to have the fun you are looking for.

    Edited by - SaMoCon on 30 Sep 2021 12:52:55
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