D&D 5E Goblinoids in D&D 5e: Their Origin, Story, and Tragedy (+)

For much of D&D's history, it has had plenty of races whose whole identities and stories basically revolved around them being always-evil villainous humanoid mooks that the players can kill without having to deal with any sort of moral ramifications for mass-murdering them (Point 1 of evidence). Among the most iconic of these in the game are Orcs and Goblinoids, both heavily influenced by their depictions in J.R.R. Tokien's stories in Middle Earth (the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion). Both of these creatures have roots in European folklore that Tolkien took inspiration from and adapted to fit his world and the stories he wanted to tell with it. When Gary Gygax was creating Dungeons and Dragons, he "borrowed" many creatures (Hobbits, Balrogs, Orcs, Goblins/Hobgoblins, Ents, Elves, and many others) from J.R.R. Tolkien's works and plopped them straight into the D&D Multiverse with barely a second thought. Due to the process that Goblinoids got inserted into D&D, as well as decades of clinging to tradition and Tolkien's works, Goblinoids have deviated little in the core lore of D&D from the (misinterpreted) Tolkien-version of them, aside from the addition of Bugbears to the Goblin/Hobgoblin duo and a small pantheon of minor gods that rule the Goblinoids.

4D9B0488-0215-41AC-8B12-D119661108D1.png


(Edit: I just want to add a note that Goblins and Hobgoblins in Middle Earth were actually just Orcs. Many people have misinterpreted their inclusion in the Hobbit as them being an entirely separate race from Orcs, which is likely where the D&D version of Goblins and Hobgoblins got their roots. "Goblin" was just a human name for the Orcs, and "Hobgoblins" were a larger breed of Goblins, probably being the Uruk-Hai or a different breed of Orcs that is larger than the typical. However, this understandably has caused a lot of confusion over the years, especially because Goblins and Hobgoblins are different from Orcs in the Hobbit movies.)

Recently, this has changed. 5e has quite a bit of information about Goblinoids in the Monster Manual and Volo's Guide to Monsters, and now Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, that show what the true colors of these three races and their overall story in the base D&D Multiverse. Now, this is quite a big story, so I'll give you a hint: the Goblinoids are actually the victims in the D&D Multiverse. They're quite possibly the single most victimized race/group of races in the D&D Multiverse (only being surpassed by the Duergar).

I recognize that this is quite a big claim, and that I have a lot of heavy lifting to do to convince many of you of this, so let's get started.

What, Precisely, is a "Goblinoid"?​

Here we are, don't turn away now
We are the goblins that razed this town
Here we are, don't turn away now
We are the goblins that razed this town . . . to dust


Goblinoids in D&D 5e are a group of "monstrous" humanoid races ruled over by Maglubiyet, a tyrannical, warmongering god that seeks to conquer every other race and become the king of the gods (pretty stereotypical for an evil conqueror god, but it works). So far in 5e, there are only three races that are classified as "Goblinoids"; the Goblins (duh), Hobgoblins (also duh), and Bugbears. In previous editions there were even more races of Goblinoids, such as the Bakemono, Varag, Dekanter Goblins, and a few others (Orcs and Kobolds were even classified as Goblinoids at some point), but 5e mostly focuses on these three main goblinoids, with very few exceptions (Verdan, Koalinths, Norkers, Barghests).

The main reason for there being 3 different main variations of Goblinoids in D&D 5e is almost undoubtedly due to them filling all of the types of evil alignments perfectly (Goblins as Neutral Evil, Hobgoblins as Lawful Evil, Bugbears as Chaotic Evil), but there also is a folklore justification for them being classified similarly (all of them were meddlesome fey house spirits with similar descriptions and behaviors).

While the different goblinoid races in the folklore (and many others) had notable similarities that would make one assume that the creatures were related, D&D's takes on these monsters doesn't tend to share these links. Goblins are tricksy cowards and constant liars, Hobgoblins are disciplined and militaristic warlords, and Bugbears are savage Sasquatch-like humanoids with primal characteristics and uncannily long limbs. Besides the naming similarities between Goblins and Hobgoblins, there's really not much between these different races to make someone assume that they're all that closely related. And this is actually justified in D&D 5e's lore. Volo's Guide to Monsters says the following:
Maglubiyet is truly the Conquering God. He stiffens the spines of cowardly goblins. He rouses bugbears from their lazy slumber. He sets the thunderous step of hobgoblin legions. Maglubiyet takes three races and turns them into one people.

In bygone times the goblinoids were distinct from one another, with separate faiths and different customs. Then Maglubiyet came and conquered all who stood before him, mortals and deities alike. Gods and heroes who wouldn’t bend to his will were broken and discarded. He put his foot on the neck of mighty Khurgorbaeyag, bound the will of intractable Hruggek, and forced sadistic Nomog-Geaya to fall in line. What the goblins, the bugbears, and the hobgoblins were before their gods bowed to Maglubiyet no longer matters. Now they are, first of all, followers of Maglubiyet.
(emphasis mine)

As we can see here, a "Goblinoid" is just the name applied to the loosely-related races of people that Maglubiyet has (so far) conquered and assimilated into one culture and people. All of the three different Goblinoid races have distinct ancestries, Maglubiyet just managed to kill most of their previous pantheons, take control of the gods from these old pantheons that survived, and dominate the cultures of these three different races in order to force them to serve his will. And Maglubiyet has not stopped his conquest, he is continuing his wars with other gods in Acheron where he's trying to conquer the Orcish pantheon and take control of the Orcs that follow Gruumsh. It is possible that if Maglubiyet succeeds in his conquest of the Orcish Pantheon that the Orcs will become the fourth major race to be classified as a "Goblinoid", but (thankfully) for now, Orcs are not numbered among Maglubiyet's mortal ranks.

Who Were the Goblinoids Before Maglubiyet Conquered Them?​

If it hadn't been for Goblin-Eye Joe
I'd been married long time ago
Where did you come from, where did you go?

Where did you come from, Goblin-Eye Joe?

Apparently they were Fey (taking a note from the folklore, for once). With the recent mechanical changes to the Goblinoid races from Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, it has become canon due to their added Fey Ancestry trait that all three of the Goblinoid races are descended from Fey, similarly to Elves. This adds a lot to their origins that we previously did not know anything about. Apparently Volo was lying when he said "what [the Goblinoids] were before their gods bowed to Maglubiyet no longer matters", because the fact that the Goblinoids have ancestral roots in the Feywild is quite important to them, both mechanically and lore-wise.

Now that we've answered what creature type they were before becoming the Goblinoids, we need to answer another question: what type of Fey they were? To me, the answer is clearly Unseelie, because the distinction between the two Fey Courts generally falls into "If they're pretty, they're Seelie, if they're ugly, they're Unseelie", making the all of the Goblinoid races fall pretty easily into having ancestors from the Unseelie Fey. Now, there is more to being an Unseelie Fey than just being ugly, but most of the other notable traits of the Unseelie Fey (excessively cruel, slavers, malicious pranksters) also match up well with what we know of Goblinoids.

Furthermore, while this was almost definitely not intentional, there are way more Seelie Archfey that have been named in D&D products than Unseelie (this also predates 5e). There's Queen Titania, King Oberon, their three Daughters of Delight (that were corrupted by the Prince of Frost, but still count), Nathair, Skerrit, Verenestra, Damh, and more. For the Unseelie Archfey, there's only the Queen of Air and Darkness and Nintra Siotta (there's a few others that might be in the court, but aren't explicitly stated to be, like Baba Yaga, the Prince of Frost, and Neifion). With so few Unseelie Archfey listed, one has to question "why?", and the Goblinoids possibly having roots in the Unseelie Court provides an in-universe answer to that. Maglubiyet killed them. If the Goblinoids used to be their own races, members of the various types of Fey in the Feywild, followers of the Unseelie Court's Archfey, and we combine that with what we know of how Maglubiyet conquered the Goblinoids . . . it's pretty clear what happened to the rest of the Unseelie Archfey.

Maglubiyet killed most of them, and adopted the few survivors that defected into his own pantheon. If this were true, Khurgorbaeyag (the sole survivor of the old Goblin pantheon), Hruggek and Grankhul (the last two gods of the old Bugbear pantheon), Nomog-Geaya, and Bargrivyek (the only two survivors of the old Hobgoblin pantheon), and possibly even Maglubiyet, all used to be Archfey of the Unseelie Court.

Side Note: We know of precisely one god from the old Goblinoid pantheons that Maglubiyet killed; the prankster spirit that is the vestige of a former Goblin god of trickery that creates Nilbogs. We don't know their name, but know that they were a god of trickery, are now a vestige that can possess any goblin, but chooses only the most unhinged/unruly goblins in its clan, and is trying to cause disorder and chaos amongst Maglubiyet's ranks to get back for his conquest of the original Goblin pantheon. This god sound a lot like an Archfey, being a chaotic trickster spirit out for revenge against another that has wronged them. Maglubiyet is Lawful Evil and despises chaos, and Archfey are notable for their chaotic behavior, which further explains why Maglubiyet left so few members of the previous pantheons of the Goblinoids alive (and also why he now wants to conquer the Orcs, who are known for being Chaotic Evil).

As a summary, the Goblinoids were probably Fey of the Unseelie Court before Maglubiyet came in, murdered their pantheons (the Unseelie Archfey), completely changed their culture and nature (turning them into humanoids as a way to "tame" them and get the more chaotic elements from their fey nature out of them), and turned them into a minions that he uses in his battle against the Orcs and their pantheon to try and conquer and "tame" even more races.

(The names of the different races also probably changed from the time that they were Fey to the present day, due to Maglubiyet erasing their cultural heritage and changing their fundamental nature. I personally use "Gremlin" as the fey version of Goblins, "Hob" for the fey version of Hobgoblins, and "Boggart" for the fey version of Bugbears, but none of this is supported in any official 5e books and is purely my own headcanon.)

How Does Maglubiyet Treat the Goblinoids?​

You're my biggest fan
You'll follow me until you love me
Goblin-Goblin Nazis
Baby, there's no other pantheons
I know that you'll be
My Goblin-Goblin Nazis


Long story short: not well. While some of the goblinoids are definitely treated better than others (Hobgoblins when compared to the lowly Goblins), the centuries of brainwashing, eugenics, and cultural genocide that all of the Goblinoid races have undergone have resulted in their society being . . . a bit extreme. If you want a more in-depth description of how it functions, you can go read their section in Volo's Guide to Monsters, but this is the basics of how each race in the Goblinoid family is treated in the culture Maglubiyet has fostered for them:
  • Goblins are taught that the world is a place where you have to take advantage of others, or you will be taken advantage of. They're oppressed by the Hobgoblins and sometimes by lazy Bugbears, and this has created a cycle of oppression in their caste system, where they're constantly being oppressed, while also oppressing others below them in status (including their slaves and pets). Because they're constantly being beaten, robbed, mocked, and excluded, they do all of those same things to their pets (which makes them super vicious), to their slaves (which is extremely traumatizing to any survivors of being enslaved by goblins), and other goblins that are lower in station.
  • Bugbears aren't built for long periods of exertion, don't have many children, and basically have to hibernate every now and then, so most people think that they're lazy. Due to this, they live in tribes, similar to many animals, and are basically just ambush predators in humanoid form. Their two gods are of bravery/power and stealth/watchfulness, and they believe that murder is a holy tradition, and also believe that any bugbear that shows signs of cowardice is being possessed by "the Bogeyman", and shun any members of their tribes that have "betrayed their gods" by running away from a losing battle, or something along those lines.
  • Hobgoblins are taught that their only purpose in life is to be pawns in Maglubiyet's war against the Orcish Pantheon (which is true from a certain point of view, because Maglubiyet would have killed them all if he couldn't make use of them), and are extremely militaristic due to this. They're (culturally) like a mix of Nazis and Romans, and for some reason also Samurai/Ninjas, focusing mainly on honor, which they believe can only be achieved on the battlefield. They don't see the point in any of the arts (because they can't give them "honor"), believe that their individual lives do not matter (only their wars do), and have a strict hierarchical caste system that, you guessed it, entirely revolves around how accomplished they are on the battlefield.
. . . That's all not great. They're trained to believe that this is the best that life can give them, and centuries of this propaganda and brainwashing have made there be very few insurgent goblinoids, to the point where basically every other humanoid race in the core of D&D considers them to be irredeemable monsters that want to kill/enslave all of them, and treats them accordingly. They're the victims of being taken out of their previous lives, having their gods killed, and being used as pawns in an eternal war between their conqueror and every other god in every pantheon, basically turning from natural spirits of the Feywild into fantasy Nazis.

The Tragedy of 5e's Goblinoids . . . the Wise​

We walk a lonely road
The only one that we have ever known
We know where it goes

And it's home to us, but we walk alone

I think it's been made pretty clear throughout this post that the Goblinoids in D&D 5e's base lore are victims, but let's recap just to make it obvious. Here's the steps of what it took to get the Goblinoids into the state that they are now.
  1. They were Fey, probably of the Unseelie Court, that lived in the Feywild and embodied many different ideals (trickery for Goblins, the laws of nature for Hobgoblins, the primal ferocity of nature for Bugbears). They had their own cultures, traditions, religions, and whole pantheons of what were probably the Unseelie Archfey that they worshipped.
  2. Maglubiyet came from somewhere and began conquering their pantheons, killing their gods, and probably many of their population that lived in the Feywild. He eventually won the war, converted a handful of their former gods to his side, and makes the Goblinoids form a mass exodus from the Feywild into the Material Plane.
  3. In order to perfect his new "children", Maglubiyet spends centuries of eugenics, brainwashing, and spreading propaganda to turn Goblinoids from natural fey spirits into the "monstrous" humanoids that they are today, killing any that rebel and making them lose their Fey nature to try and cut off all of their ancestral roots to their previous cultures and pantheons.
  4. Maglubiyet tries to conquer the Orcs and their pantheon, igniting an eternal war in Acheron where dead Goblinoids and Orcs will forever fight against one another in an attempt to add another race of people into his flock and continue his crusade of becoming the ruler of all the gods in the D&D Multiverse.
  5. Due to this brainwashing and conditioning to his idea of a perfect world, nearly every other race in all of the D&D Multiverse shuns the Goblinoids and treats them as irredeemable monsters to be exterminated.
  6. Not only are Goblinoids rejected by every other race on the Material Plane, but they also oppress one another and are restrained by extraordinarily restrictive cultures in order to keep them under the control of Maglubiyet.
. . . That's a pretty tragic story, if you ask me. They're probably the single most victimized race (or group of races) in all of D&D 5e's core lore (possibly being surpassed by the Duergar), and are almost universally hated in the D&D Multiverse. They're stuck fighting an eternal war for an oppressive god that killed their own gods and genetically manipulated them to better serve his will, and they themselves don't even know their origins. It's sad and awful what has been done to them in-game, especially because they're pretty interesting creatures, and I'm sure that whatever their Fey cultures/pantheons were like were interesting, as well.

What are your thoughts? Did I get anything wrong (in the context of D&D 5e's lore)? Does anyone have something to add to this? Or do any of you already use a story like this?

Keep in mind that this is a (+) thread. This is not a thread to debate the ethics of killing Goblinoids, or ranting about how you hate the changes to Goblinoids in 5e, or otherwise going against the grain. I'm not saying that you have to use this story at all, this was just an analysis of their lore in 5e so far and pointing out how they're actually the victims here, in the context of 5e's lore about them. This is pretty setting-specific, but it works in any world that has Maglubiyet (or Bane for the Dawn War Pantheon could work as a replacement), the Goblinoid family of races, and an original plane for Fey. Feel free to ignore/use anything from this that you want, as well as to comment anything constructive that you think could add to the discussion.

Have a good day, and apologies for the awful song parodies.
 
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Faolyn

(she/her)
There's actually a lot more types of goblinoids than just goblins, bugbears, and hobgoblins. Norkers, varag, koalinths, dekanters, possibly mongrelfolk, and the old Kara Tur MC appendix suggested that bakemono were a type of goblin as well. And as of this edition, tasloi are a type of goblin as well. The art for the tasloi is definitely the most fey-like of all the goblinoid art (if among hardest for some of us to see properly):

1643437602027.png


There's probably more goblinoids I can't think of.

I like this synopsis, and it certainly puts their eternal war in perspective. I'd probably use something very similar to this for my games (except that one of them is Ravenloft, and the other doesn't even have goblins in it).

It's interesting to look at some of the game's early lore under the light of their new fey origins. Dragon #63, for instance, included the following: "Hobgoblin culture generally encourages a lifelong rejection of emotional displays, in keeping with the proper attitude of a warrior race. But on a personal level, the average non-leader hobgoblin will sometimes show his or her feelings, though usually only when alone or when it is believed no one else is looking." (It goes on to say that the reason hobgoblins hate elves is because elves are so free with their emotions.) Did Maglubiyet forbid emotions, perhaps as a reaction to elfin fey, or was this a survival technique they learned on their own?

However...

Maglubiyet tries to conquer the Orcs and their pantheon, igniting an eternal war in Acheron where dead Goblinoids and Orcs will forever fight against one another in an attempt to add another race of people into his flock and continue his crusade of becoming the ruler of all the gods in the D&D Multiverse.
The war between goblinoids and orcs is one that has been around for so long that D&D had to keep it in, of course, presumably for much of the same reason why demons and devils are at constant war with each other--to help explain why they haven't killed or conquered everyone else. But in-universe, it makes me wonder why Maglubiyet isn't trying to conquer elves, gnomes, or other fey-descended people. Of all the mortal creatures, why is he so interested in orcs? Why not humans or dwarfs? Does he want to replace hoboblins with something stronger? Create a superior hoborc hybrid master race? Does he just really hate Gruumsh?
 


Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
it makes me wonder why Maglubiyet isn't trying to conquer elves, gnomes, or other fey-descended people. Of all the mortal creatures, why is he so interested in orcs? Why not humans or dwarfs? Does he want to replace hoboblins with something stronger? Create a superior hoborc hybrid master race? Does he just really hate Gruumsh?

This is a good question.

I suspect that Gruumsh (and only Gruumsh) is also focused on territorial expansion (expressed both spiritually and topographically). His vision is for Orcs to spread on an ever-expanding mission, fuelled by the commandments to multiply and to occupy. Unlike Maglubiyet who is willing to incorporate various species under his umbrella, Gruumsh wants only to expand his own, under a single banner. That is why he must be the next to go.

The other player in this war (which is fought without diplomats, as gods in the other pantheons do; they have their territories and have agreed to the spiritual borders) is Yeenoghu. The god of the gnolls wants only to destroy. If there is a barrier, it is there to be broken; an alliance, it is there to be betrayed. Yeenoghu fights against all the gods, picking away at weak spots before retreating to his darkness, and devouring the corpses of those he or his followers capture. Yeenoghu is the god of entropy.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
There's actually a lot more types of goblinoids than just goblins, bugbears, and hobgoblins. Norkers, varag, koalinths, dekanters, possibly mongrelfolk, and the old Kara Tur MC appendix suggested that bakemono were a type of goblin as well. And as of this edition, tasloi are a type of goblin as well. The art for the tasloi is definitely the most fey-like of all the goblinoid art (if among hardest for some of us to see properly)
Yep! I addressed this here:
So far in 5e, there are only three races that are classified as "Goblinoids"; the Goblins (duh), Hobgoblins (also duh), and Bugbears. In previous editions there were even more races of Goblinoids, such as the Bakemono, Varag, Dekanter Goblins, and a few others (Orcs and Kobolds were even classified as Goblinoids at some point), but 5e mostly focuses on these three main goblinoids, with very few exceptions (Verdan, Koalinths, Norkers, Barghests).
I was mostly focusing on D&D 5e's lore in this post, going over what we know of Goblinoids from 5e's lore, and covering the 3 main types of them. I'm aware that there are plenty of variations, but just wanted to go over the 3 main types (most of the variations are off-shoots of the base 3 goblinoids. Norkers are Goblins from the Elemental Plane of Earth, Koalinths are aquatic Hobgoblins, Verdan are mutated goblins and hobgoblins created by an Elder Evil of Entropy, and so on).
It's interesting to look at some of the game's early lore under the light of their new fey origins. Dragon #63, for instance, included the following: "Hobgoblin culture generally encourages a lifelong rejection of emotional displays, in keeping with the proper attitude of a warrior race. But on a personal level, the average non-leader hobgoblin will sometimes show his or her feelings, though usually only when alone or when it is believed no one else is looking." (It goes on to say that the reason hobgoblins hate elves is because elves are so free with their emotions.) Did Maglubiyet forbid emotions, perhaps as a reaction to elfin fey, or was this a survival technique they learned on their own?
That is interesting. That does fit well with the idea that Maglubiyet is trying to suppress the Fey Ancestry of the Goblinoid races, as the Feywild is a plane of emotions and he doesn't want them to know where they came from (because that would give them an identity beyond being his servants, which could lead to them realizing how awful he is and revolting).

This is also interesting when you take into account the fact that it's pretty easy to tell when another Hobgoblin is reacting to something emotionally, due to their nose changing color.

Source: Volo's Guide to Monsters
The noses of all hobgoblins become more colorful when they are enraged or excited, much the way that humans’ cheeks can flush with emotion.
I wonder if Hobgoblins have a stigma about this, then. It's already embarrassing enough for humans when we blush/flush in public. For a culture where you're taught to not have emotions in front of anyone else, that would be even worse.
The war between goblinoids and orcs is one that has been around for so long that D&D had to keep it in, of course, presumably for much of the same reason why demons and devils are at constant war with each other--to help explain why they haven't killed or conquered everyone else. But in-universe, it makes me wonder why Maglubiyet isn't trying to conquer elves, gnomes, or other fey-descended people. Of all the mortal creatures, why is he so interested in orcs? Why not humans or dwarfs? Does he want to replace hoboblins with something stronger? Create a superior hoborc hybrid master race? Does he just really hate Gruumsh?
Good questions. None of these have canonical answers, but I do have a few suggestions if you want to preemptively avoid questions from your players if you use something like this in your campaigns.

First suggestion, maybe Maglubiyet, for some reason, only targets races that are "typically evil". Maybe it's easier to conquer a race that already follows evil gods than one that follows good gods. For Fey-descended creatures, this would be the Unseelie Fey (while they're not universally evil, it's kind of part of their theme), making him start with Goblinoids. The next major group of "typically evil" humanoids in the D&D multiverse are the Orcs. It is canon that he will move onto the other races and gods after he finishes with the Orcish Pantheon, so maybe his next targets will be Drow, Kobolds/Chromatic Dragons, Duergar, Gnolls, Minotaurs, Trolls/Ogres, or Githyanki? Then, after he's united the "evil races" he'll try to do the good races.

Second suggestion, maybe he already has gone after other races (besides the Goblinoid races). We know that Maglubiyet gives those that he conquers two options; joining his side or death. Maybe he has tried to conquer some other races/gods before, but all of them would rather die than "turn to the dark side". This could make for a cool story in a setting, where there's a few extinct races and pantheons from centuries ago that are revealed to be results of Maglubiyet's conquest of other deities.

Third suggestion, maybe Maglubiyet also started as an Unseelie Archfey. It would be pretty easy to justify the question "why did he start with the Unseelie" when the answer is "he was one, betrayed the rest, and went on a Multiverse-spanning conquest of the rest of the gods".

Or maybe it's something entirely different, or a combination of these three. He could just really dislike Chaotic creatures, and want to start with the Orcs because they're a prominent Chaotic Evil racial culture. Or has some specific feud with Gruumsh that he wants to resolve before conquering the other races. Something like that.

I personally am a fan of the idea of Maglubiyet planning to use his same eugenics/artificial selection process on the Orcs to produce a line of "supersoldiers". Maybe he just needs to conquer the Orcs, spend a century or two brainwashing them to his side, and then he will have enough power to take on any/every other race in the D&D Multiverse?

Just some thoughts. I hope this helps answer the question.
 
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JEB

Legend
Very interesting use of the new and old lore!

In previous editions there were even more races of Goblinoids, such as the Bakemono, Varag, Dekanter Goblins, and a few others (Orcs and Kobolds were even classified as Goblinoids at some point), but 5e mostly focuses on these three main goblinoids, with very few exceptions (Verdan, Koalinths, Norkers, Barghests).
I'd be curious if you have any thoughts about how these others would fit into your take on the goblinoid mythology. I've always had a odd soft spot for norkers, for example...
 

But in-universe, it makes me wonder why Maglubiyet isn't trying to conquer elves, gnomes, or other fey-descended people. Of all the mortal creatures, why is he so interested in orcs? Why not humans or dwarfs? Does he want to replace hoboblins with something stronger? Create a superior hoborc hybrid master race? Does he just really hate Gruumsh?
The way I look at it/explained it, lorewise, is that when The Dead Three all died at some point, Maglubiyet saw that he no longer had to be an Exarch of Bane because all of a sudden, his job position had no boss to rein him in or order him around. He then proceeded to branch out into his High Chieftan/Mighty One god phase and then after taking over the three Goblinoid races, he figured that he still needed SOMETHING to boost his god street cred. And since the Orcs are some of the baddest muthas around, taking out Gruumsh and his Orcs is just the street cred boost that Maglubiyet needs to further solidify his presence as a deity. (Because almost murdering an entire Pantheon of Goblinoids and jacking their people just wasn't enough for somebody who once served Bane.)

Basically, you take out the Orcs, especially Gruumsh, and a whole lotta peeps are gonna think twice about messing with you/taking your territory/whatever else.
 
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Yep! I addressed this here:

I was mostly focusing on D&D 5e's lore in this post, going over what we know of Goblinoids from 5e's lore, and covering the 3 main types of them. I'm aware that there are plenty of variations, but just wanted to go over the 3 main types (most of the variations are off-shoots of the base 3 goblinoids. Norkers are Goblins from the Elemental Plane of Earth, Koalinths are aquatic Hobgoblins, Verdan are mutated goblins and hobgoblins created by an Elder Evil of Entropy, and so on).

That is interesting. That does fit well with the idea that Maglubiyet is trying to suppress the Fey Ancestry of the Goblinoid races, as the Feywild is a plane of emotions and he doesn't want them to know where they came from (because that would give them an identity beyond being his servants, which could lead to them realizing how awful he is and revolting).

This is also interesting when you take into account the fact that it's pretty easy to tell when another Hobgoblin is reacting to something emotionally, due to their nose changing color.

Source: Volo's Guide to Monsters

I wonder if Hobgoblins have a stigma about this, then. It's already embarrassing enough for humans when we blush/flush in public. For a culture where you're taught to not have emotions in front of anyone else, that would be even worse.

Good questions. None of these have canonical answers, but I do have a few suggestions if you want to preemptively avoid questions from your players if you use something like this in your campaigns.

First suggestion, maybe Maglubiyet, for some reason, only targets races that are "typically evil". Maybe it's easier to conquer a race that already follows evil gods than one that follows good gods. For Fey-descended creatures, this would be the Unseelie Fey (while they're not universally evil, it's kind of part of their theme), making him start with Goblinoids. The next major group of "typically evil" humanoids in the D&D multiverse are the Orcs. It is canon that he will move onto the other races and gods after he finishes with the Orcish Pantheon, so maybe his next targets will be Drow, Kobolds/Chromatic Dragons, Duergar, Gnolls, Minotaurs, Trolls/Ogres, or Githyanki? Then, after he's united the "evil races" he'll try to do the good races.

Second suggestion, maybe he already has gone after other races (besides the Goblinoid races). We know that Maglubiyet gives those that he conquers two options; joining his side or death. Maybe he has tried to conquer some other races/gods before, but all of them would rather die than "turn to the dark side". This could make for a cool story in a setting, where there's a few extinct races and pantheons from centuries ago that are revealed to be results of Maglubiyet's conquest of other deities.

Third suggestion, maybe Maglubiyet also started as an Unseelie Archfey. It would be pretty easy to justify the question "why did he start with the Unseelie" when the answer is "he was one, betrayed the rest, and went on a Multiverse-spanning conquest of the rest of the gods".

Or maybe it's something entirely different, or a combination of these three. He could just really dislike Chaotic creatures, and want to start with the Orcs because they're a prominent Chaotic Evil racial culture. Or has some specific feud with Gruumsh that he wants to resolve before conquering the other races. Something like that.

I personally am a fan of the idea of Maglubiyet planning to use his same eugenics/artificial selection process on the Orcs to produce a line of "supersoldiers". Maybe he just needs to conquer the Orcs, spend a century or two brainwashing them to his side, and then he will have enough power to take on any/every other race in the D&D Multiverse?

Just some thoughts. I hope this helps answer the question.
well, that is just scary.
also aside from war and being terrible what is Maglubiyet a god of?
 
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AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'd be curious if you have any thoughts about how these others would fit into your take on the goblinoid mythology. I've always had a odd soft spot for norkers, for example...
I'm probably not the best person to ask this, as I've never used those Goblinoids and aren't that familiar with them (being someone that's only played and bought products for D&D 5e), but after reading up a bit on their lore, here's how I would do it.

Norkers are the distant relatives of either Goblins or Hobgoblins (which one differs from edition to edition, and is up to you), from back before Maglubiyet had conquered any race of people yet. These proto-goblinoids, following their original god (also probably an Unseelie Fey), made their way to the Elemental Plane of Earth, and gradually evolved to their environment due to their adaptive fey nature (and maybe due to some help from their patron god). They lived there for probably hundreds of years, secluding themselves from its other inhabitants and becoming more like the elementals native to that plane than the fey, getting their stony carapace and primitive-looking appearance.

Eventually Maglubiyet began his conquest, and decided to start with the Norkers, thinking that such a primitive race would be easy to dominate and noting how oppressive their patron god was (believing that it would be easier to take control of a race that's already oppressed than one that has freedom). He wounded the god and caused them to flee into the Underdark, where they would remain hidden for centuries. At some point their patron god died off (possibly from a lingering wound from Maglubiyet due to their first confrontation, or Maglubiyet eventually found him after defeating the Goblins, Hobgoblins, and Bugbears and killed him). Either way, the Norkers are interplanar refugees, having emigrated from one plane to another at least twice throughout their history.

Once Maglubiyet had conquered the 3 core Goblinoid races, he came back to take control of the Norkers, who were now dwelling in the Underdark. Due to their secluded lives in the Elemental Plane of Earth, Norkers don't reproduce quickly, so they're still pretty rare amonst the goblinoid host, but they're fairly well known. They're also the most rebellious of the Goblinoids that serve Maglubiyet, as they actually remember the time before Maglubiyet conquered them and preferred it back then, but they still fall in line when told what to do (as a remainder of how they were trained by their previous god).

Varag are a mix between Hobgoblins and Bugbears, created as an experiment by Maglubiyet back when he was using artificial selection to try and make the best soldiers he could have. This ended up creating the Varag, which ended up being a mostly failed experiment due to their reduced intelligence and more animalistic nature, but the descendants of this ancient experiment still exist to this day, and are occasionally incorporated into armies of Hobgoblins or ambush squads of Bugbears if they can properly train them.

Like the Norkers, although the Tasloi are related to the Goblins that Maglubiyet conquered, their divergence happened so far back that they're now very different species.

Tasloi emigrated to the Material Plane thousands of years ago, all on their own, without following the orders of some god or Archfey. In order to avoid the predators and humanoid races that would be hostile to them, they decided to live in the jungles and forests of the world. They evolved to fit that environment, growing green fur as camouflage, becoming better climbers so that they could easily navigate their new homes, and learning how to build tree-houses that spanned the canopies of the forests to provide shelter for their families.

Eventually, sometime after Maglubiyet conquered the main Goblinoid races, he learned of the Tasloi. After seeing how adapted they were to their environment, he decided to not try and incorporate them into his armies of goblinoids, and instead just convert them to worship him, giving him more power due to how prayers work in D&D.

Seeing a Tasloi out of a jungle is a bit like seeing a fish out of water, so I would mainly use them in jungle environments (Chult, for instance, possibly as allies of the various tribes of Batiri Goblins that live there). And while they follow Maglubiyet, I would play it more as a forced religion, with them having their own spirits and aspects of gods that they worship/serve above Maglubiyet. However, if the party has offended some Goblinoids and fled into a jungle to hide, or something like that, I would definitely have the Goblinoids call in help from the Tasloi and ambush them in the night.

Basically just use them as is. Not much to change with their lore, as they don't have much in the first place.

I don't know enough to say anything about Bakemono, and Dekanter Goblins as far as I can tell were just the creation of a single Alhoon that experimented on goblins to give them rhino horns, but otherwise I hope this helps.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
also aside from war and being terrible what is Maglubiyet a god of?
Here's the Forgotten Realms Wiki page for him if you want to read more about him:
Long story short, he's the god of Goblinoids, tyranny, war, and conquest. War and Order clerics commonly follow him, as well as Conquest Paladins.
 


AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
He's also a former Exarch of Bane. (Exarches are basically almost the right hand of a deity, with a Chosen being below that.)
I'm just going to point out that this is specific terminology is only used in D&D 4e. 5e does not have Exarchs or Chosen (yet), and Bane hasn't been stated to ever having any sort of control over Maglubiyet in any official D&D 5e books.
 
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I'm just going to point out that this is specific terminology is only used in D&D 4e. 5e does not have Exarchs or Chosen (yet), and Bane hasn't been stated to previously had any sort of control over Maglubiyet in any official D&D 5e books.
Got ya. My version of DND for 5E includes a number of elements from prior editions, in regard to lore. I actually didn't know the Exarch part was only in 4E.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
. . . That's a pretty tragic story, if you ask me.

It is indeed, that being said, it still very much makes them adventurers' fodder. They are now thoroughly corrupted, meaning that of course evil PCs will kill them for their meager loot, and good PC will still kill them, reluctantly like all the killing they do.

HOWEVER, thanks for the article, what would you say about starting a campaign where they can be redeemed ? Where Maglubiyet is the arch-enemy, and the goal to free the goblinoids from his clutches ?
 

Here's the Forgotten Realms Wiki page for him if you want to read more about him:
Long story short, he's the god of Goblinoids, tyranny, war, and conquest. War and Order clerics commonly follow him, as well as Conquest Paladins.
Also that website and the old/original 1D4 chan are my fave sites to use for DND information/changes in regard to races and a lot of other things.
 

Corinnguard

Explorer
This is the best, well-thought origin for 5e's Goblinoids that I have seen in a while. Before this, I liked the Explorers of Wildemount origin for the Goblinoids where Bane takes a race he came across, and shaped them into specific roles for his army. But now that the Goblinoids' fey origins have been returned/restored in Monsters of the Multiverse, does this mean that they have been freed from Maglubuyet's control? And if so, who freed them? Explorers of Wildemount mentioned that some of the Goblinoids began to free themselves from Bane's control.

So are you going to cover the origin of another race? You mentioned the Gnolls. It would be neat to see how the Gnolls or even the Minotaurs came to be.
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
It is indeed, that being said, it still very much makes them adventurers' fodder. They are now thoroughly corrupted, meaning that of course evil PCs will kill them for their meager loot, and good PC will still kill them, reluctantly like all the killing they do.

HOWEVER, thanks for the article, what would you say about starting a campaign where they can be redeemed ? Where Maglubiyet is the arch-enemy, and the goal to free the goblinoids from his clutches ?
I agree that if they are doing evil things, it doesn't matter at all how tragic their story is, they have to be stopped, one way or another. Dracula from the Castlevania TV Show is an extremely tragic character, but he still has to die for the betterment of the world. The same thing applies here. It also does hint that if they are capable of being corrupted, they can also be redeemed.

For an adventure focusing around that, it depends on the world, but I would probably have it revolve around the players trying to find some way to kill/imprison Maglubiyet (or Bane, if you're using the Dawn War Pantheon with this same story just pasted on that one god), or having the party somehow discover the origins of the Goblinoid peoples and revealing the truth of their heritage to them in order to instill a rebellion against Maglubiyet.

The party could even become allies with Gruumsh-worshipping Orcs in order to overthrow Maglubiyet in Acheron, or have to make deals with Archfey in the Feywild (or possibly Vecna) in order to learn the secret nature of the Goblinoid's history.

Or, if the goblins are cursed to follow Maglubiyet (similarly to how they're cursed by Bane in Exandria), the party could set out to find a MacGuffin (a magic item, or spell, or creature) that can break this curse, possibly even restoring the Goblinoids tainted by Maglubiyet back to their original feyish forms.
 
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