D&D 5E Volo's Guide to Monsters Hobgoblins: You would think there are many cities.

Hobgoblins also have major nation states in the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, if anyone remembers that one.

As to the Realms, I think this is more of a systemic problem than specifically picking on hobgoblins. A lot of the game settings when they got their initial boxed sets in late 1e had a lot of empty spaces at the edge of the map. Maybe not physically at the map's edge, but there were always 'empty' spaces for you to put 'something.' I think that's where all the orc and hobgoblin lands were supposed to be, along with bandit kings, places where the free hypogryphs roamed, where the uncharted forests were that you had to travel to for the plot hook, etc. With each edition, expansion, Volo's guide to ____, or novel, the writers have been filling in those empty spaces. That's fine for some stories. You can still have ancient ruins just off the beaten trail 80 miles from Silverymoon. You can still fight the Zhents or clean up one of the abandoned Dale cities or go down to Chult to ride dinosaurs. But there isn't really a lot of good places for petty kingdoms, tinpot dictators, or the like (human, orc, or hobgoblin) except in truly remote places it is hard to get your PCs to go to. It is a conundrum I usually address by warping my FR maps ("You know those two nations who share a boarder, but aren't at war? That's because there's actually a 500 miles stretch between that the printed map does n't show. It's a demilitarized region that's fairly unsafe and full of adventure opportunities.").
 

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Caliburn101

Explorer
Forgotten Realms seems to take the 'they came from the mountains' approach to monsters.

They don't have civilisations marked on the map, regardless of how intelligent or territorial they are.

They might as well have spawn points...

... contrast this with Greyhawk, where there are large areas given entirely over to them - the Pomarj and the Lands of Iuz etc.

FR just has large spaces between city-states on the massively overused Sword Coast, and you won't be seeing a Hobgoblin city anywhere...
 


Bitbrain

Glory to Ka!
My DM uses the forgotten realms as the primary setting for his game, but came up with his own little explanation as to why you never seem to see Hobgoblin cities: his Goblinoids are essentially a self-policing slave race of the Blue Dragons, and they build their cities underground beneath and around their masters' lairs.
 
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okay

then the question is simple.

what areas still have enough empty space in toril for a hobgoblin nation to exist.

so far, the hordelands are the ones that might conceal one, especially if they put it near thay.

also give them their own fortress around the moonsea, I can't see fzoul when he was alive and the chosen of bane not drafting the hobgoblins into his nefarious schemes.

Vaasa is also a great place to setup the kingdom: Zhengyi the Witch-King has been dead for centuries and hobgoblins are the most likely race to fill in the power vaccuum.

Also seriously considering making a city -state somewhere along the edges of anauroch which is why one of the reasons why cormyr has so many problems pacifying the stonelands (and also gives my stonelander minotaurs somebody to feud with). :D
 

GreenTengu

Adventurer
So where are the Orcs and Goblins in the Realms? I gather they once swept down from the tundra to demolish some of the far northern Dwarven cities, but I don't see them all living in the glaciers now that they've been driven off.


Mountain Orcs live in colder regions, particularly those that get lots of snow and other races aren't hardy enough to effectively occupy without a lot of trouble. They naturally come out of those area in order to raid the easy to take supply from the softer races once in a while, but they are so tough and hardy that they can thrive where no one else can. They also tend to live in caves and abandoned cities of Dwarves and other cavern-dwelling races. Though not DEEP in the caves as you tend to get other varieties of Orcs (Orogs) once you get too deep in there.


Gray Orcs live out on the plains as nomadic barbarians, following around whatever game it is they hunt. Naturally, they also tend to raid crop fields, caravans, and well-- anything else that is pretty easy to take down. But they nonetheless they aren't as "monsterous" in the eyes of other races as Mountain Orcs are. In fact, there are regions where they have lost so often and beaten down so badly they have effectively been turned into docile farmers, but no one respects those ones much.


Contrarily, the city-building hobgoblins as covered by Volo's guide tend to be the ones that live in warmer, more temperate climates where you can actually set yourself up a nice plantation for the slaves to work and actually turn a decent crop from it. While the guide likely presented Hobgoblins as all one thing, you also have big burly barbaric ones that also live way up north and are not particularly distinguishable from the Orcs and you also have creepy, sneaky cave-dwelling ones that live underground and they just don't have the kind of resources to set up any sort of civilization.


As for Goblins-- they live everywhere. Like... EVERYWHERE. If there is some overlooked niche or cranny that they can take shelter in and make a life by herding, growing or stealing, then they make themselves at home there-- no matter how uncomfortable or unsanitary or otherwise inhospitable they might have to put up with it being. If at least some of them can adapt to it and survive, it is worth it.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Looks like there are places in the Realms that are Hobgoblin realms:



- Doomspire on the mountain Dragondoom, Hobs led by half-dragons (Blue)



-Stonelands & Goblin Marches, between Coronyr and the Anauroch desert: unpleasant, but Goblinoid ruled, and there was even a cataclysmic war where where Hobgoblin wizards summoning fiends were decimated by Humans/Elves/Dwarves and left a mark: Battle of the Bones.



- Seems there are a number of petty clans bullying locals in the Western heartlands, Seven Samurai style...
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Also, there is a kingdom in the Gianspire Mountains between Damara and Narfell, and possibly an underground one on the doorstep of Impilitur in the Earthspur mountains...
 

gyor

Legend
The Gobliniod section weird has little to nothing to do with the Forgotten Realms.

Most of Gobliniod Deities mentioned in the section have never appeared in a Forgotten Realms product.

Maglubiyet and Hruggek to my knowledge were the only ones ever mention in a forgotten realms product. In fact Shar has been mentioned as some times being worshipped by Gobliniods.

No mention that Bane turned Maglubiyet and Hruggek into Exarchs during the Spellplague (which means its likely many Gobliniods worship Bane as well).

Honestly the section has more in common with Greyhawk then the Forgotten Realms.

Its weird for an nominially FR book, the Forgotten Realms Characters Volo is right in the title and Elminister is mentioned on the back cover, it seems almost seems to actively ignoring FR Lore. But perhaps that issue should be its own thread.
 

gyor

Legend
When you read the write up on Hobgoblins you would think they have many cities in the Realms. The write up talks about them having a secret police, strictly military like, pursuit of martial and arcane arts, institutions for the arcane arts, ranks, following orders, etc....

I could picture them having a strict military society behind the walls of fortress like cities.

The write up has almost nothing to do with the Forgotten Realms, its seems based more on Greyhawk honestly.
 

No mention that Bane turned Maglubiyet and Hruggek into Exarchs during the Spellplague (which means its likely many Gobliniods worship Bane as well).

Just to tell you this was bull and is being completely ignored. (And it makes a lot of sense to be ignored.) Maglubiyet is both an older and more powerful god then Bane.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
The write up has almost nothing to do with the Forgotten Realms, its seems based more on Greyhawk honestly.


Despite the marketing, and Ed Greenwoods notes (all the stickies are Ed's reactions in character to reading a draft of the book!), it really is a generic D&D book.
 


BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
It would make perfect sense to have hobgoblin cities, though I could also see them as living entirely out of portable military camps similar to the Roman Castra. Every morning they strike camp, every day they march, every evening they set up camp. These could potentially be like cities unto themselves.
 

gyor

Legend
The High Moor and the Lurkwood are major Hobgoblin and Bugbear locations and the High Moor is said to have had ancient fallen Kingdoms, so I wouldn't be surprised if either location had at one point a Hobgoblin civilization.

In fact I think some Hobgoblin Tribes of the High Moors actually deal with the Lords' Alliance.

And the Hobgoblins and Bugbears of the Lurkwood tend to be mercanaries working for the Hobgoblin mercs The Chill.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
It is a conundrum I usually address by warping my FR maps ("You know those two nations who share a boarder, but aren't at war? That's because there's actually a 500 miles stretch between that the printed map does n't show. It's a demilitarized region that's fairly unsafe and full of adventure opportunities.").

I don't run FR, but I really like this idea. I am swiping it if you don't mind.

I always forget, in this age of satellite imagery, how unreliable old maps used to be
 


It would make perfect sense to have hobgoblin cities, though I could also see them as living entirely out of portable military camps similar to the Roman Castra. Every morning they strike camp, every day they march, every evening they set up camp. These could potentially be like cities unto themselves.

I really like the idea of a portable city, but would have to figure out a way to make it so it can appear just about any where as needed, while avoiding the standard "wizard did it." I could see the hobgoblin engineering corps can have a city pop up overnight and tear one down the next.

Also how do you have factions within the city that just don't break off and go their separate ways?
 

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