Rise of the Runelords
Shalelu is the local ‘expert’ on Goblins, and has a lot of knowledge to impart on those willing to listen on the little anklebiters.
Ten Fun Facts about Goblins
1. HORSE HATE: Goblins excel at riding animals, but they don’t quite get horses. In fact, their hatred of all things horse is matched only by their fear of horses, who tend to step on goblins who get too close.
2. DOG HATE: Although goblins raise horrible ratfaced creatures called (creatively enough) goblin dogs to use as mounts, and ride wolves or worgs if they can get them—goblins are quick to explain that wolves are NOT dogs—their hatred of plain old dogs nearly matches their hatred of horses. The feeling is mutual. If your dog’s barking at the woodpile for no reason, chances are he smells a frightened goblin hiding in there somewhere.
3. GOBLINS RAID JUNKYARDS: Garbage pits, gutters, sewers—anywhere there’s garbage, you can bet goblins are nearby. Goblins are weirdly adept at crafting weapons and armor from refuse, and are fond of killing people with what they throw away.
4. GOBLINS LOVE TO SING: Unfortunately, as catchy as their lyrics can be, goblin songs tend to be a bit too creepy and disturbing to catch on in polite society.
5. THEY’RE SNEAKY: An excited or angry goblin is a noisy, chattering, toothy menace, but even then, he can drop into an unsettling silence in a heartbeat. This, matched with their diminutive size, makes goblins unnervingly adept at hiding in places you’d never expect: stacks of firewood, rain barrels, under logs, under chicken coops, in ovens….
6. THEY’RE A LITTLE CRAZY: The fact that goblins think of things like ovens as good hiding places reveals much about their inability to think plans through to the most likely outcome. That, and they tend to be easily distracted, particularly by shiny things and animals smaller than them that might make good eating.
7. THEY’RE VORACIOUS: Given enough supplies, a goblin generally takes nearly a dozen meals a day. Most goblin tribes don’t have enough supplies to accommodate such ravenous appetites, which is why the little menaces are so prone to going on raids.
8. THEY LIKE FIRE: Burning things is one of the great goblin pastimes, although they’re generally pretty careful about lighting fires in their own lairs, especially since goblins tend to live in large tangled thistle patches and sleep in beds of dried leaves and grass. But give a goblin a torch and someone else’s home and you’ve got trouble.
9. THEY GET STUCK EASILY: Goblins have wiry frames but wide heads. They live in cramped warrens. Sometimes too cramped.
10. GOBLINS BELIEVE WRITING STEALS YOUR SOUL: The walls of goblin lairs and the ruins of towns goblins have raided are littered with pictures of their exploits. They never use writing, though. That’s not lucky. Writing steals words out of your head. You can’t get them back.
There are five major goblin tribes in the region. The closest to Sandpoint are the Birdcruncher goblins, who live in caves along the western edge of the Devil’s Platter, although traditionally these goblins are the least aggressive of the five. To the south are the Licktoad goblins of the Brinestump Marsh, pests who are excellent swimmers. East are the Seven Tooth goblins of Shank’s Wood, goblins who’ve secured a place for themselves by raiding Sandpoint’s junkyard and rebuilding the stolen refuse into armor and weapons. Farther east are the Mosswood goblins, likely the largest tribe but one traditionally held back by feuding families within their own ranks. And finally, there are the Thistletop goblins, who live on the Nettlewood coast atop a small island that some say holds a passing resemblance to a decapitated head.
Shalelu notes that goblins generally live short, violent lives. It’s unusual for a single goblin to achieve any real measure of notoriety, but when one does, it’s well earned. Currently, six goblins in the region enjoy the status of “hero.”
Big Gugmut is an unusually muscular and tall goblin from Mosswood who, it is said, had a hobgoblin for a mother and a wild boar for a father.
Koruvus was a champion of the Seven Tooth tribe, as well known for his short temper as he was for his prized possession—a magic longsword sized for a human that the goblin stubbornly kept as his own (despite the fact that it was too large for him to properly wield). Koruvus vanished several months ago after he supposedly discovered a “secret hideout” in a cave along the cliffs, but the Seven Tooth goblins remain convinced he’s out there still, a ghost or worse, waiting to murder any goblin who tries to discover his hideout.
Vorka is a notorious goblin cannibal who lives in the Brinestump marsh, a “hero” mostly to goblins other than the Licktoad tribe.
Rendwattle Gutwad is the obese chieftain of the Brinestump goblins, a corpulent monster who, it is said, never leaves his throne.
Ripnugget is the leader of the Thistletop goblins and controls what the five tribes agree is the best lair.
And then there’s Bruthazmus, an infamous bugbear ranger who lives in northern Nettlewood and often visits the five tribes to trade things he’s stolen from caravans for alcohol, news, or magic arrows. Shalelu notes that Bruthazmus has a particular hatred of elves, and that they have fought on several occasions. To date, neither of them has managed to get the upper hand on the other, but Shalelu bitterly vows that she won’t be the first to fall in their private war.