5e Grognard

5e Grognard

Old school ideas, new edition rules.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hobgoblins of Eska (Nuin'ohtar or Muukuukek)

Quite a long time since my last post.  A dead computer, and some writer's block were the main culprits.  The change from summer to fall brought plenty of outdoor chores around the house to distract me as well.  Also, I think I overwhelmed myself into blogs, message boards and the like and just needed to step away.

I've struggled with the writing of the goblin entry, which I planned to be next, but only got about halfway through before I realized changing gears was needed, so I bring you the hobgoblins of Eska.

The vast majority of the racial write up was lifted from a pdf I had downloaded a while back that I really like, by Andrew Ferris.  Thanks Andrew!

Hobgoblins of Eska

The hobgoblins of Eska are not a natural race.  The mith'edhel, desperate for an equalizer against the mori'edhel in the Kinslayer Wars had turned to their wizards to augment their forces.  Among the many creatures they created or summoned, the nuin'ohtar (low warriors) were the gray elves' biggest success.

The goblins had been the servants of the gray elves since the Orqu'ohta, the Orc Wars. They used their wizardry to warp and transform select goblin young and added size, muscle and intelligence.  They are raised not in families, but in military troops, learning the art of war and battle.  Armed with shocklances, they are the most efficient, ruthless fighting force of Eska.

While the gray elves call them nuin'ohtar, amongst themselves they prefer the goblin word muukuukek.  The nuin'ohtar are sexless, being neither male or female, and they can't breed.  The mith'edhel did this on purpose.  The nuin'ohtar have an amazing survival instinct, and great pride in their race.  They know the only way their race survives is by the magic of the elves, so their loyalty is almost certainly guaranteed.

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. Dwarves make good miners and craftsmen, they simply need someone to take control of them and direct them properly.

Humans – 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.

Gnomes - Frivolous little beasts. Humor has its place, but they put it in too many places. Some of their creations are useful, though.

Gray Elves - Hobgoblins call the mith'edhel the shaakhuur, or the creators. They are recognized as the top of the chain of command, and their great magic is feared. Deep down they harbor distrust and animosity to them, though.

Wood Elves and huan’apan - The forest elves and their dog men make good skirmishers, but lack the ability to stand up to a real fight. Still, their general alliance with the shaakhuur is to be respected.

Dark Elves - They fight well against great odds and have earned grudging respect.

Saurians - Undisciplined fighters, but the masters of ambush. The elves think that they are close to the land, but the lizardfolk are part of it.

Warforged - Like the hobgoblins, a race built for war. They don't understand the warforged quest for "humanity".

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 around 225 pounds. Their society forges every member into their finest form.

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 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 common 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 promoted to the elite within the society is a big advantage, a series of failures can cause any officer to find themselves tossed onto the frontline as expendable.  Those who find success in battle, fulfill their role and serve the troop with the most success, honor and pride can find themselves quickly advancing through the ranks. Few hobgoblins engage in treacherous acts to advance through the ranks, though those that do 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.

Warring Fiefdoms

Hobgoblin lands are often organized in very simple, but efficient ways. They dominate others 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, bodyguards, bouncers or enforcers, they are valued for their unique blend of being both loyal and honorable while being cruel and efficient.

To Battle!

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 troop or to earn an invitation to a place of prestige within a powerful one.  Although a hobgoblin adventurer 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 can expect to be constantly berated for their failures.

Hobgoblin Names

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 commander’s names.  Hobgoblins also use the name of the troop they were born into, even if that troop has been disbanded or destroyed.

Hobgoblin 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

Troop 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 Strength score is increased by 1 and 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.

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.

Natural Athlete: You gain proficiency in the Athletics skill.

Martial Training: You have proficiency with the spear and longbow, and with medium armor.

Immense Stamina: When you spend a hit die during a rest, you may reroll any 1s or 2s and must use the new result.

Always Prepared: You add your proficiency bonus to your Initiative checks.

Languages: You can speak, read and write Common and 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.

Shocklance (Ma'tok): Lightning springs from this spear and delivers a shock to a creature you try to touch. You have advantage on the attack roll if the target is wearing armor made of metal. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 lightning damage, and it can’t take reactions until the start of its next turn.