They’re disreputable, uncouth, rowdy, and possibly untrustworthy. Everybody knows they’re trouble. (They’re also everybody’s unspoken favorite.) They’re goblins!
One of my favorite aspects of worldbuilding is both portraying people as whole people while also explicating why those people get simplified into caricatures. So if goblins are real people who care about their kids and want to live full lives themselves, what social circumstances make everybody else skeptical of their whole authentic selves?
And it’s easy to go maudlin here, but it’s also great fun to really buy in to being the outsider, which allows you to question, poke, and prod things that other folks don’t. Which is, you know, a very goblin thing to do.
Let’s check em out!
This ancient and much-maligned people are often found on the fringes of society. Goblins have a reputation for odd and reckless behavior, although this is probably mostly a reflection of their social status as often-undesirable outsiders. Goblins tend toward slight frames, with skin tones range from pallid white to vivid green. They are known for sharp features and pointed ears. Any relation to elves is virulently denied by Loratha’s natural philosophers.
Ancestral gobins arose in the caverns of eastern Kharzan, from which they were expelled at the dawn of recorded history. While their own records are patchy, their ancient accounts of living in deep caves and fighting hairy, bearded terrors are corroborated by the oldest dwarven legends. Goblin populations were pushed into Verdas, the Outland, and southern Loratha, where they carved out refugee communities. A later wave of voluntary migration saw large numbers of goblins settling the Kelompok. Today this people primarily lives on the surface, with the notable exception of the Yonishan cave goblins in Toriel, the descendants of goblin deserters from the Imperial Wars and Bucoli Uprising.
Goblins are known for a facility with casting glamours, although this is hardly a hereditary talent. Goblin parents often teach their children rudimentary glamours at a young age, focusing on hiding in plain sight and shifting or obscuring facial features. Meager family meals may be glamoured to appear as amazing feasts. It is no stretch of the imagination to see that these are the remnants of goblins’ refugee history. However, this practice is often seized upon by other peoples to stoke fears and disdain, typifiying goblins as shifty and underhanded.
The typical goblin family unit consists of three to six weavebonded adults, their children, and occasionally their elderly parents. Children generally know who their birth parents are, but the primary caregiver among the adults is the mother to all the family’s children. Occasionally this role is shared between two mothers. The rest of the adults focus on supporting the family financially.
As goblins rarely possess the social and financial resources to be landowners, providing financial support usually means working for hire or coin. The most visible such work is as entertainers, performing and promulgating popular music like trollsong and industraza. These performances are often supplemented with colorful glamours. Less flashy and more common goblin jobs includes domestic servants, field hands, mine workers, and general laborers. As they are often seen as disposable and temporary labor, few goblins harbor much loyalty to their employers. There is always another job.
We’ve got a good spread of options for next week. What strikes your fancy, my generous backers?