Goblin Lore Text

Goblin Lore Text

The Northern Goblin

Eldra: Aldgigus Hinna Obglied

Slang: Gobber, Gob, Gobbling, Shrieker, Two-legged Rat

While travelling the freeholds, one is surely to have dealings with the Goblin folk. One can most readily recognize a goblin by its shortness, long limbs, and large head. They have large protruding ears, large eyes, while the nose and mouth is akin to that of a bat, making them one of the most unattractive peoples of Prymvera. Though many make the claim that goblins are one of the fey folk, this is not the case. They are a material creature, perhaps the first of the land based sentient species on the planet.

By and large, most solitary goblins are rarely a threat and disinclined to cause problems for the wary traveller. However, the unwary are likely to become victim to hijinks and trickery of all sorts, including the theft of ones belongings. Goblins are more dangerous when they have a clear numbers advantage over any potential victims, especial if it is night or if one loiters in darkened depths. Then it is likely that one may find oneself robbed and murdered.

It is well known throughout the freeholds that goblins have a taste for young human flesh. One is well advised to keep one’s children close where goblins abound.

For those who have heard the stories of goblins living and working alongside men, one needs only go to the great city of GreensBridge, under those mighty Eldra towers one can find all the races of the freeholds, living and working together in great accord. Goblins can be civilized and trained for menial tasks. Their small stature makes them excellent labourers for the sewer work and for mining difficult depths.

Ajax Burgundy

A Guide to the Freeholds

Goblin Lore


  • Goblins are nocturnal, cold blooded, hairless and have more traits of an amphibian than they do a mammal. A slim and agile folk, goblins are extremely flexible, yet lack physical strength as compared to most of the other humanoid races.
  • They are bipedal with two arms. The arms appear disproportionately long. Hands and feet have three digits each, fingers and toes have non-retracting claws.
  • A goblin’s most distinctive feature is the head, which is large as compared to the rest of their bodies. They have long, expressive ears which are highly articulate near the skull and allow the goblin to hear into higher frequency ranges. The eyes are very large, tending towards black or dark brown with red highlights. The eyes have two lids, the inner lid being a semi-transparent membrane. Their nose is similar to that of a bat and they have a mouthful of small sharp teeth.
  • Skin coloration is generally green, grey or brown with mottled variations of, accents around parts of the head and the limb joints are not uncommon and tend to be darker than the rest of the body.
  • Goblins are typically between three and a half to four and a half feet in height, females tend to be taller than males. Cases of dwarfism or gigantism are extremely rare.
  • Reproductive organs are discrete. Females have four or six teats that appear during gestation and for upwards of a year after giving birth, as well a birth pouch in the lower abdomen that recedes around three months after having given birth. Goblins do not secrete milk, but rather a bloody mucus that the young feed on during their first few weeks of life.

Life Cycle

  • Comparatively short lived, they have litters between three and five young. Newborns are reliant on the mother for the first three to five months of life, during this period they grow quickly and it is typical that upwards of fifty percent of the little ones will have been killed off by their own siblings.
  • Goblin children live with the family unit upwards of three to five years, over the next three to five years they are cared for by the wider goblin community.
  • Goblins have a juvenile phase between the ages of six to ten and typically are considered adult no later than their twelfth year.
  • Females are typically fertile between the ages of twelve and twenty-five, in colder climates they reproduce once a year whereas in warmer climates they will reproduce twice a year or more often.
  • Adults are active and vital until around their twenty-fifth year, they enter their geriatric phase shortly thereafter and rarely live longer than thirty years.
  • Typical goblin populations will have a birth ratio of 1 in 5 as female and 1 in 5 as asexual or neuter. Meaning 3 in 5 are borne male.


  • The northern goblin can be found in most places throughout the freeholds and surrounding areas, though they are most populous along the southern regions of the northern continent and the northern archipelago of the Principalities.
  • Isolated wetlands and forest regions are the most likely place for goblins to live, they typically make their homes near cave systems or in the ruins of ancient cities.
  • There are a large number of goblins that make their homes in or near large human cities. In some cases they are legal residents but in many cases they would be considered a threat.
  • In colder climates they will hibernate through most of the winter, typically from late autumn through to early spring.
  • In regions were caves or other hardened cover is unavailable, especially in wetland regions, goblins build nesting houses. Nesting houses are typically built on raised wooden platforms with a round or octagonal wooden common room on top of the platform and a round, bulbous, mud and wattle sub-level below the platform. In some cases the lower level of the nesting house may access tunnels or other sub-level rooms, though this is not a typical feature.


  • As a general rule goblins are naturally inquisitive, resourceful and inventive. They are very adaptive to change, as a result goblin culture is diverse. It is a common misconception that goblin culture is limited to tribal groups of nomadic or semi-nomadic, hunter-gatherer family units. While this is often the case in less hospitable regions, there have been plenty of examples of goblins integrating with the cultures around them and adopting the cultural norms of their neighbours. As well, there have been a few examples of large goblin cities throughout history and in some cases they have, in the past, formed nation-like alliances between two or more goblin cities.
  • Typically communal and often adopting external cultural influences from other species.
  • In most cases goblin culture is matriarchal, based on the family unit. Family units consist of one to three females, with one to three males per female, and as many as ten to twenty children per female, depending on the climate. Within a goblin community the eldest female holds the title of Historian and through oral tradition they keep track of the laws and events that are important to the community.
  • There has only ever been accounts of female mages within the goblin populations. As many as one in one-hundred female goblins are natural mages. In almost all cases where there is a natural mage within a goblin population, that female, or the most accomplished female in cases of multiple mages, will typically be the Historian. There are also stories within goblin lore of The Historian, an ancient mage who became powerful enough to extend her lifespan, seemingly indefinitely. This person, or personification, seems to be the closest thing to a god or goddess that the goblins have.
  • In times of crisis or in the distribution of rare or valued resources, either a council of the community’s elder females, or the entire community, will gather to decide what action should be taken.
  • Courtship is typically a competition between males, while strength and combat prowess may help one male defeat or out compete other males, they are far from the only deciding factors. Ultimately the female is the one who decides and that decision seems to revolve around which male can provide the most for the family and by extension the community. Gold, copper, gemstones and other such valuables are highly prized, skill at a craft or trade are highly respected, cunning and inventive intelligence seems to be valued over brute strength as is the ability to lead others. Also, if a female already has a male who is a good food provider, she is more likely to pick someone who brings other abilities to the group.
  • Females do not breed with males outside of their own family unit and typically not outside of their own mates. There is some indication that the females will share their mates within the same family unit, especially in the case where a female had lost her own mates. Siblings and half-siblings never become a mating pair.
  • Goblins have very casual attitudes about death, murdering a male or neuter is only a crime if it deprives the community of a unique or rare resource. Murdering a female is nearly always considered a crime. Exile is the most common penalty.
  • Only Historians and heroes are typically given burials and that only seems to happen in the largest and most stable communities. Typically, goblins deal with their dead through excarnation. Bodies will be taken from the community to a nearby hill or otherwise isolated area and left to decompose or to be consumed by animals. Goblins do not typically consume each other past the first few weeks of life and will only resort to such in the most extreme food shortages.
  • Goblins have been known to eat all other demi-humans, especially the young or plump. Though this rarely happens in cases where the goblins live in close relation with another racial group.


  • In the past scholars have attributed only the most basic communication abilities to goblins, attributing their chirps, chattering and shrieks to a lower form of communications along the lines of some animals. It was long believed by many that goblins were only slightly more intelligent than a crow.
  • The goblin language is nearly impossible for anyone who is not a goblin to speak properly. The fact that much of the language is accompanied by subtle gestures with the arms and the ears, as well certain postures or stances may have specific meaning, there is great difficulty for any non goblin to replicate these forms. Further issues of anatomy also limits a goblins ability to speak the human languages and visa-versa. The throat, mouth, tongue and teeth are very different than humans. As well goblin hearing is better suited to higher frequencies.
  • The differences makes communicating about complex issues between goblins and other species difficult. It has often been done, as in the case with GreensBridge, with the mutual creation of a lexicon.
  • Goblins have two known written forms of their language, including an ancient pictorial form consisting of over three hundred symbols, which reads top to bottom or outer ring to centre, depending on its use and era. There are more recent syllabic forms, with over three dozen known variations, most of them read right to left, some read top to bottom.
  • It should be noted that few goblins ever learn to read or write their own language, it is most commonly known among the Historians. There have been many populations of goblins where even the Historians do not read or write, often as a result of a disaster or war that took the lives of the literate few. In some of the larger communities, literacy is much wider spread and often used to track contracts and favours. Goblins use slats of wood to write on, though there are some who use paper or parchment. Most of the oldest examples, more so with the pictorial form, have been carved in stone or stamped in metal.

Clothing and Accessories

  • Goblins typically favour function over aesthetics when it comes to clothing, though this seems to be less the case in larger populations or in areas where they live in conjunction with another species.
  • Goblins clothe themselves in loose fitting garments that do not impede their movement. In warm seasons and climates they will wear little to nothing. Baggy shorts, half-skirts and sarongs are the most common garments, wile foot or hand wraps, ponchos and baggy pants also fairly typical. A belt or sash are often worn and are as much a tool as a garment. Oddly, goblins are fond of old sacks, this is likely due to the simplicity of converting them into a simple, loose fitting garment.
  • Materials used for clothing are diverse, animals hides and wool are the most common but goblins will also process plants and use the hair of nearly any creature. This is mostly dependent on what the environment can provide and the stability of the community.
  • In colder weather or climates, goblins will typically wear layers of clothing, hoods, head wraps and ear warmers. The ear warmers or ear sheathes, as they are sometimes called, are one of the clothing articles unique to goblins. All of these cold weather articles impede communication.
  • Most goblins do not wear hats as it is one of the few clothing articles associated with status in goblin society. Females, especially Historians, wear hats as a sign of their status, the taller and more elaborate the hat, the greater the status. Hammered copper and gold are typical, any female with the wealth to do so can wear such a skull cap. Such hats are sometimes decorated with stone, bone, wood or gems and often feathers will be used.
  • Goblins tend to accessorize minimally, most commonly feathers are added to clothing or to personalized gear. Rings and other loops are not unheard of but generally seem to be used ceremonially and, like the hats, more so by females. Piercings in the ears and nostrils seem to be fairly universal throughout goblin societies, but it would be unusual to see a goblin with more than two or three piercings. Scarification and tattoos are much more common than jewellery.
  • Where goblins have integrated themselves into another society, they will often try to emulate the local fashions as well as cover their faces, especially below the eyes as many peoples find a goblin’s face to be disturbing. Goblins will also make some effort to cover their claws, wearing nobs and wraps or in the case of footwear, nobs and spats. Nobs are typically made of metal, wood or bone, connected with leather straps. While these adaptations make it easier to interact with the mixed community, such garments typically have a detrimental effect to mobility and grip.
  • Goggles are highly prized by goblins. Primitive versions tend to be made from wood and bone and rarely will have glass or stone lenses, instead slits are cut. In some cases very thin, nearly transparent bone will be used. In more recent years in GreensBridge and High Fort, where quality glass is fairly common, there have been many innovations in goblin goggles, including tinted glass and corrective lenses. The biggest use of these goggles is to be able to better hack the light of day or other bright sources of light. Protective goggles are sometimes used by goblin warriors.

Music, Dance and Ceremony

  • Goblins love music, though the average non-goblin may be hard pressed to be appreciative of the majority of goblin music. This is due, at least in part, to differences in hearing ranges.
  • Goblin singing has most often been characterized as a cacophony of shrieks and whistles.
  • The goblin nose flute is a common instrument, seemingly universal throughout goblin populations. Additionally simple percussion instruments of various designs are common, with metal loops and bells of various sizes being most prevalent. Stringed instruments are the least common, but as with many things goblin, their inventiveness has produced some unique and odd instruments.
  • Numerous loops of metal, stone, wood or bone, are often worn around arms and legs and used by goblin dancers to accent their moves and as accompaniment to the musicians.
  • Goblin dance, much like their music is generally improvisational and interpretive. Many non-goblin observers have described goblin dancing as a melee of contortionists.
  • Goblins will dance and play music during or after a ceremony, though they are less inclined to do ceremony than the majority of other races. Ceremony is typical in the cases of a Historian being named or in the recognition of individuals who make heroic accomplishments and sometimes in the cases of a new mate joining a family. Among certain northern populations there is the singing of the setting and rising of the sun, similar to the practices of the old ways and likely learned from the wild-folk, which seems to have been the case with many of the early human populations throughout the north.
  • Goblins do not seem to use drugs or alcohol as part of their traditions and rarely even for recreational purposes. It should also be noted that most drugs and fermentation that affect other species have little to no effect on goblins.


  • Goblins rarely war among themselves, even when on opposing sides of a conflict.
  • Goblins will typically only raise themselves to warfare if their homes are threatened by an external force. They will use traps and ambushes rather than directly meeting an opponent on the field of battle.
  • Most warfare that goblins do engage in is at the behest of others. Most commonly orc and humans have been known to use goblin forces in war. An intelligent general does well to remember what goblins do well and that their small physique typically makes them ill suited when matched up on a battlefield against most other war faring peoples. They excel in roles as scouts, infiltrators, assassins, raiders and as light skirmishers. The more inventive goblins also do well as sappers.
  • Though not universal in all goblin communities they do have light cavalry units. The most common being battle-goats and war-dogs. There have been rarer cases where goblins have trained wyrms of various sorts for similar roles, including various winged species. Though useful, these types of units rarely number more than a few dozen, even in bigger communities.
  • Goblins operate well as raiders, bandits and sneak thieves, which are all roles any goblin might take on should the need arise. These activities are not generally considered to be acts of war, especially if applied against other goblins, though many other peoples have the opposite point of view on such activities.
  • Typical goblin weapons include; the melee-spear, javelin, atlatl, staff, sling-staff, sling, chopper, lasso, nets and finger-blades. While the missile weapons remain largely similar to those of other species, goblin melee weapons often have a handle more suited to the highly flexible, three digit goblin hand. This innovation is most commonly seen on their melee-spears and choppers of all sizes, the handles have a wide angled crook or two. Their weapons are often made from primitive materials and it is rare to find anything more advanced than bronze working outside of the largest goblin communities.
  • Goblin finger-blades are two or three edged blades that fit over a goblin’s fingers, most often one for each digit, typically with two or more metal rings on each blade to secure them in place. These are actually a status symbol, typically owned by Historians and warriors of renown. The origin of these blades is said to be ancient, dating back to the earliest of goblin societies and were part of a formalized martial tradition. Examples exist in a wide variety of styles and materials, in the displays of the GreensBridge Library. Stone, bone, wood and metal of all sorts have been used to make these weapons.
  • Armour is not something most goblins will wear, aside from padded cloth, light leather, skull caps (exclusive to females) and in rare cases goggles. The primary reason behind this is that goblins tend to lose the advantage of their mobility and gain little protection in exchange. Mounted units tend to be the most common exception to this and both mount and rider are usually armoured. Heavy leather, often reinforced with bone, wood or metal will often be used in these cases and mounted goblins often carry a buckler or small shield.


  • Goblins have had an obsession with flight for as long as there have been goblins. Kites and hot air balloons were the first and most common methods through which they achieved this. They were also the first species to develop gliders and this fact is documented on the Wall of Races in GreensBridge. These devices have been reinvented by goblins over and over again through the ages, many goblins have lost their lives to this pursuit. More recently they have been able to tame certain breeds of winged wyrms and many goblins have gone to Maldorn to serve, in whatever role is available, on the airships.

Dwarves and Goblins

  • Dwarves despise goblins. Mostly due to goblins opportunist and invasive nature, they often seek to shelter in the underground halls of the dwarves. Goblins tend towards impulsiveness and hasty, even reckless, decisions. A young dwarf will have only reached adolescence by the time a goblin has lived a long life and died. There seems little chance the two species will ever be able to find common ground.

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