I’ve always considered that Hobgoblins, or Hobbies, as they are called would exist in my fantasy world. They don’t seem to appear in fantasy literature. Now, I’ve been playing DnD since I was 8… and they rarely appear in games, unless I’m the Dungeon Master. They are kind of lost in the level skip between fall over easy kobolds to goblins to the more powerful ogres and trolls. So, where do they fit?
They don’t fit… and that’s where and why they exist. They don’t associate with those races, except as for-hire mercenaries. In the world of FI, Hobbies exist as tribes led by a warlord. They set up shop on the fringes of civilization and hire themselves out to the highest bidder. They do not look, act, smell, speak, or behave like their goblin kin and take offense at the suggestion they do. They might worship Gruustir. They might worship no one at all.
Honor bound and rigidly caste-oriented, and stubbornly-proud of their caste system, Hobbies aspire to be the best at the hand they are dealt. If born into the warrior caste, they will try to be the best. If born into the servant caste, be the best. By excelling, they can rise up and attain power amongst and within the other castes… and so, while being caste-rigid, a meritocracy has enveloped the caste structure so that recognition brings rewards and power and honor. While the warlord is always a warrior, the most powerful members of Hobbie society can come from literally anywhere based on merit first, followed by familial and caste status.
And then there is magic. Hobbies barely recognize the difference between the magic of a wizard and the divine origin of a cleric’s power. Magic from “what?” they ask of a wizard. “Magic from who?” they might ask a cleric. “It’s the same outcome. Same thing.” Rather than get caught up in recognizing one deity over another, they look at the relative power of a mage or priest versus others they may have known and talk about being favored, and treat it the same as a warrior’s strength. Caste is irrelevant for magic or clerical power though it is harder for a wizard to get the attention they might need to rise up and actually become a wizard if they begin in a poorer caste.
Ribbons and beads in the hair or tied to clothing are used to outwardly designate caste when within Hobbie territory. These are removed when traveling outside among aliens. Hobbies struggle to understand aliens through their own social structures and it makes them quick to take offense at compliments or a standard practice like a bribe or even a simple gift. Honor and good-favor cannot be bought; it must be earned. Any attempts to short cut these are only worthy of spite… and Hobbies struggle with these ideas among aliens.
In the years of Malcor’s reign, a new warlord has been able to unite many Hobbie factions together west of The Quat. They call their country, Viridian and fly brilliant green flags the color of emerald. They worship Gruustir and their priests enjoy especially strong favor from him. Each faction has had its warlord join the emperor’s ruling council leaving a priest, or a Legion, in charge of that faction as the 1st, 2nd, and so on Legion.
Wary of The Quat, Morbatten, and distrustful of Morilon for centuries of abuse, where will this new power turn for direction?