Hobgoblins, despite their name, are not related to goblins.
They are believed to be descended from the reptile races that dominated the land eons ago but this is disputed.
Hobgoblins themselves believe they were created from “the sparks of battle” and from “the clash of steel” and back this up by worshipping their god of war and conquest, Grazzik Sinsparr.
They are tall (some half-a-foot taller than humans in most cases) and robust. They are built for combat and train their bodies for such.
Hobgoblins tend to have either olive-green or a tan-brown skin colour, and are hairless. Their skulls are more ape-like than humans, having a much wider jaw (and bite radius) and sharper teeth. Their neck is thick and well-muscled, like the rest of their frame.
They dress sparsely and prefer wearing armour when they can as it reminds them of who they are.
In fact, a Hobgoblin’s armour and weapons are a symbol of who they are and each item has a history and story associated with it.
It is not unusual for the relative of a fallen Hobgoblin to come after the killer to reclaim their relative’s armour or weapons.
Hobgoblins take great pride in their armaments and it’s most common for Hobgoblins to hand down their tools of war from one generation to the next.
Weapons and armour are always well-made and well cared for.
They also take advantage of local resources, using many different materials to manufacture their armour and weapons – from steel to animal shells, claws and teeth, to obsidian, hard woods, and other strong materials.
Hobgoblins of the Freelands feel they should be ruling these lands and are angry they aren’t. They blame humans for their Empire’s collapse and are aggressive and combative towards humans.
Inter-clan rivalry is also fierce as they blame each other for the Empire’s collapse almost as much as they do humans, and it’s not unusual to see two clans fighting each other.
Hobgoblins value status and power, but currently they lack much of either. This fuels their hatred and anger which they unleash upon enemies.
Hobgoblins measure their success or failure with the amount of pain they can take, and also mete out to their enemies.
Hobgoblin magic, which is almost always divine in nature, is dominated by spells that inflict harm rather than heal, and it’s seen as a sign of weakness for a Hobgoblin to accept any magical healing and they will refuse any attempts to do so, no matter how injured they are.
The Hobgoblin Empire was made up of a collection of confederated clans who worked together for mutual survival, coming together for protection and also for basic needs.
They managed to keep their Empire together for over a thousand years, growing it year on year.
They were one of the first civilizations to raise mounts of various kinds, from horses to giant lizards to giant flightless birds.
This enhanced their nomadic lifestyle as Hobgoblins traveled extensively within their Empire’s borders, never staying in one place long enough to establish permanent settlements.
This lifestyle came to benefit them after the Empire crumbled as it allowed the clans to disperse into the wilds and their ancestors still practice these nomadic practices today.
The Empire was located where the Southern Freelands are now.
Cambrian forces marched their way north and captured much of the steppes that were occupied by the Hobgoblins, smashing their confederated Empire to ruin. This occurred in the year 298NR (almost a thousand years ago).
This war took a heavy toll and weakened the northern forces of Cambria however, and the humans and dwarves further north managed to push Cambrian forces southward, back beyond the mountains, soon after.
After the Empire was shattered, the remaining Hobgoblin clans splintered off into various areas of the Freelands and greater Aythia.
They can be found in almost all environs across the Known World.