Hobgoblins are a race of discipline, pride and dominance. Tall, physically domineering and coldly calculating, they seek to bring it to order under them, strangling out that which they deem to be frivolous and soft. They are masters of the art of war, erecting imposing fortresses across the world and rallying the most fearsome armies to impose themselves upon all others. There are few places that are safe from their advance for long and every bastion of life sooner or later is threatened by their influence.
Tall and Imposing
Hobgoblins have a dangerous look about them. Their features are often reminiscent of more primitive and threatening beasts, often compared to wolves, tigers or gorillas. They move with the deadly precision of an apex predator. With most standing anywhere between six to seven feet tall, they literally look down upon other races as weak and lacking. They are naturally quite athletic, though some are thin and wiry while others are large and powerful with an average weight around225 pounds. Their society forges every member into their finest form, so there isn’t a large difference between the size of the male or female members.
Hobgoblins have universally jet black or dark reddish brown hair. They generally have thick hair both on their heads and their bodies, particularly in their youth. Their eye colors are often brown usually ranging from black to red to yellow. Their skin tones come in the usual human range, though they can also come in shades of red, orange, yellow or gray. They usually dress in a conservative manner and seem always ready for battle, often favoring simple black or other dark colors. They keep their armor and weapons clean, but not shined. Some add some small splashes of bright, vibrant color contrasting their dark clothing with blood red being a favorite. Tattoos and piercing are far from uncommon among them as many like to use them to display their tolerance for pain.
For Glory or Honor!
Hobgoblins can have an off-putting narrow and focused view upon the world. Though they age and mature at the same rate as humans, it is unusual for them to have anywhere near the breadth of experience nor the depth of knowledge nor the refinement of skills that humans have. Instead they focus themselves on being perfect physical specimens and carrying out their duties without flaw or failure. Even those who fulfill mainly non-combative roles in their societies carrying out the same combat drills and practices as the soldiers, everyone prepared to charge into battle and give their lives for the cause.
Hobgoblin society is far more mobile than it may appear to outsiders. Although being born to the elite within the society is a big advantage, a series of failures can cause any noble-born to find themself tossed onto the frontline as expendable. Those who find success in battle, fulfill their role and serve the clan with the most success, honor and pride can find themselves quickly advancing through the ranks. Many hobgoblins engage in treacherous acts to advance through the ranks, though they fall within the rules.
For all their cold fierceness and brutality, they have many noble traits not found among other unenlightened races. They are good to their word, quick to confront others directly with sincerity and honesty. They do not give up in the face of impossible circumstances and are quick to discourage those who would. They are fiercely loyal, continuing to serve their mission even when all seems lost and their companions fallen. And despite their fearsome appearances, others are often taken aback by just how intelligent and well-spoken they can be once they choose to express themselves through words rather than action. All this makes them truly frightening opponents.
Hobgoblin clans are often not very large and often treat others as rivals, but once one has started to show real promise and success others often rally behind them. Their lands are often organized in very simple, but efficient ways. They dominate other humanoids and then use them as slave labor to build up their fiefdoms. Although their lands may in some ways superficially resemble those of humans, they often lack the artistic refinement and high use of skill seen in human settlements. Instead they use the simplest effective architecture styles.
Hobgoblin society is heavily militarized. Every last one is considered to be part of the warlord’s army, even if one’s primary role is that of a fisherman or smith, they trained up as a soldier as part of their basic primary education. Even as children they know more about warfare and violence than most know all their lives.
Despite the brutal discipline of their societies, or perhaps because of it, it is not the least bit uncommon to find hobgoblins outside of their own lands. They invariably take up jobs that involve enacting violence, whether as mercenaries, bounty hunters, body guards, bouncers or enforcers, they are valued for their unique blend of being both loyal and honorable while being cruel and efficient.
Hobgoblins who take up the life of adventuring are virtually never in it to help anyone. They are often hardly interested in the gold except perhaps as a means for how it could help them expand their power and influence in the world. Instead, they are often seeking to challenge themselves, to accomplish great feats to expand their prestige or perhaps simply to have a purpose, a mission to accomplish. They often have the long-term goal of creating their own clan or to earn an invitation to a place of prestige within a powerful one. Although a hobgoblin adventure may seek to dominate, control and discipline his companions, they often have little inspiration to seek out an adventure on their own and instead usually sign on to an inspired person’s mission as a mercenary.
Dominating and Calculating
Given the strict standards that hobgoblins set for themselves, it cannot be at all surprising that they look upon all other races as failing those standards. The attitude of a hobgoblin is often arrogant and dismissive. Other races have a long way to go before earning the respect of a hobgoblin, and if they don’t then they ca expect to be constantly berated for their failures.
Dwarves – Though they are tough, Dwarves lives are focused entirely upon unhealthy obsessions. They drive themselves mad obsessing over their clan’s losses and let their anger consume them entirely. Others are obsessed with collecting material things that do nothing to better themselves or their lives for the sole purpose of collecting them and displaying them. Dwarfs make good miners and craftsmen, they simply need someone to take control of them and direct them properly.
Elves – The elves have powerful dangerous magic and a unique place of nobility in the world. And yet being blessed with such advantages, they have let it make them soft, brittle, and corrupted. They are weak and cowardly, quick to run or resort to dishonor when faced with a real battle. They make up for their weakness by being slippery and dishonest. Always be suspicious of them and never expect much from them except hypocritical lecturing and boasting. Simply slay them at the first sign of threat.
Halfling – Tiny and weak, in many ways they might be a marginal improvement on goblins except they are harder to herd and train. Their lack of strength makes them terrible even as slaves and they are too small to use as arrow shields. Not much else you can do with them besides have them grow food to feed your armies.
Human – There is a lot of potential here, if only they weren’t so small and lazy. Though you’ll find plenty of exceptions, most humans just don’t have the discipline and focus it takes to perform their duties properly. When it comes to battle, far too many will flee or simply stand around and scream. They fail to prepare many of their own for war and get offended when they fall in battle. The best use for humans is as a buffer between ourselves and the many even less tolerable peoples.
Hobgoblin personal names usually consist of two or three Goblin words, although they often go by nicknames as their names tend to be very long and very difficult for any other race to pronounce. One of these words is always taken from one of their parents’ names. Hobgoblins also use the name of the band they were born into rather than a family name, even if that band has been disbanded or destroyed. This means that parent and child don’t always have the same family names and Hobgoblins born outside of a band have no family name.
Male Names: Bolddengkara, Chaotetsu, Daeweimichi, Etsuqingou, Hanfutetsu, Haruhanxiong, Haruilfuu, Heeyamachuu, Hyokshiroumu, Jargaalshunwa, Jinyeontae, Juanchengken, Kiyoazu, Kongkyunghide, Monkhbakuizu, Morisukexu, Namzhongsaki, Nerkimijoo, Nerlibayar, Norisaki, Okikyung, Pingumito, Satoyasu, Sumiwangming, Totoxie, Tulgasora, Zhushirougo
Female Names: Amineryoon, Arihuang, Benihina, Benizhaoko, Caimineno, Chengayuye, Chirisong, Erdenerie, Etsuichi, Hemamiran, Houhyebo, Jingoyuunran, Kanamiyo, Kongkongsu, Kotomaho, Minaitsu, Minaxiao, Naorisa, Narunahi, Nayunero, Oriyona, Reirie, Tangdoping, Tsuyumami, Wanhoshiyu, Yoonfengfuki, Yumasuzu
Clan Names: Barynchi, Chonojougi, Gangjianhe, Hadzukichumo, Hwajaeyalach, Kyoren, Luukiba, Sekiuzmerch, Shanmongsangga, Ukeldun, Xiannuanchin, Yemusatsu
Your hobgoblin character has a number of traits that are a direct result of is superior stock and its rigorous training.
Ability Score Adjustments: Your Constitution Score is increased by 2.
Age: Hobgoblins age at roughly the same rate as humans. They reach full maturity around the age of 16 and are usually considered to be full adults then. Because of their violent and aggressive lives, they usually die in battle once their bodies begin failing them.
Alignment: Most hobgoblins are extremely disciplined and honorable, seeking to enforce the order with which they live their lives onto the world making them strictly Lawful. They are often extremely brutal, cruel and cold with their means as well, making them solidly evil.
Size: Hobgoblins generally stand between 6 and 7 feet tall and average around 225 pounds. Your size is Medium
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Dark Vision: You are descended from predatory ancestors with keen night vision. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were in bright light and in darkness as if it were in tim light. You can't discern colors in darkness, only shades of black and white.
Always Prepared: You add your profiency bonus to your Initiative checks.
Natural Athlete: You have advantage on Strength (Athletics) rolls.
Resilient: You have advantage on your checks to recuperate while resting.
Languages: You can speak, read and write Common and (High) Goblin. Hobgoblins speak Goblin, although their dialect is considerably different from their smaller cousins. They insist on using an ancient pictographic script with over 2000 characters and rare is the hobgoblin who knows them all. This means hobgoblins often need scribes to read and write their messages for them.
Subrace: There are several different kinds of hobgoblins throughout the realms, though they are typically not distinguished when adversaries. You may choose between crimson hobgoblin or gamboge hobgoblin.
As a crimson hobgoblin, you are a paragon of stalwart resilience and perseverance. Your ability to face down even the largest and strongest of foes, to be able to take a hit and keep pushing forward can win you the respect and support of even the most brutal and fearsome of allies.
Crimson hobgoblins are generally more primitive than the other kind, but are also often found working with or even controlling orcs, ogres, gnolls and other seemingly uncontrollable forces. They are very physical and often larger than other hobgoblins. They are also known for their red skin and unique blue-colored noses.
Ability Score Adjustment: Your Strength Score is increased by 1.
Immense Stamina: When you spend a hit die during a rest, you may reroll any 1s or 2s and must use the new result.
Unbreakable: You have advantage on saving throws against being frightened.
As a gamboge hobgoblin, you are a disciplined member the most militarized society in the world. Trained since you could walk in the ways of war, you are an expert on taking command on the battlefield and whipping the troops into order.
Gamboge hobgoblins are a primarily civilizing force in the world, if brutal at that. They often forge fiefdoms along the border of human lands and keep an uneasy peace with the most evil of human civilizations. They are the ones most commonly found working as hired muscle in human cities. They tend to be marginally closer to human size and tend towards having yellow-orange skin.
Ability Score Adjustment: Your Charisma Score is increased by 1.
Commanding: You have advantage on Charisma (Intimidation) checks. You may add your Intimidation bonus to the damage of your critical hits.
Phalanx Training: You are proficient with the use of shields. You may add your shield bonus to armor class to your Dexterity saving throws to reduce or avoid damage from attacks that target you or the area you are within. This does not stack with other abilities that would allow you to use your shield's AC bonus to increase your saving throw.
Hobgoblins of the Underworld
Down inside the hidden places of the world lie another sort of hobgoblin. These gray skinned treacherous beings, often called slate hobgoblins, care little for the honor and discipline of their surface cousins. Instead, they excel at stealth and subterfuge. They are keen as spotting weaknesses in others and exploiting them to their full advantage. These hobgoblins are as ugly as they are frightening and often rule over tribes of lesser beings as conniving lords. They often engage in politics with Duegar and Drow, though usually come out on the losing end.