Long, long ago, when the universe was still shrouded in mystery, in the times before myth became history, The Land twirled away from the mother universe and spun into its own space-time continuum.
Some say a mammoth farted too loudly.
Some say a red dragon tried to mate with a chaos butterfly.
Many human scholars say it was caused by a goblin pact with one of the Dark Lords. Huh! Of course they would.
Many of the creatures remained blissfully ignorant, content to orbit the sun, or, in the case of goblins, wallow in the nearest mud flats, because The Land was a copy, an exact replica of the mother universe.
Except for one thing.
The Land contained the creatures that would soon become only myths and legends in the mother universe. A few may have remained, trapped by the sudden rift, but they soon died out leaving remains to puzzle archaeologists and palaeontologists. In The Land, however, they live, love and die; work, fight and play; unaware that anything has changed.
Goblins raise pigs and play in the mud.
Ogres hunt the mammoths and pray to the gods in the caves.
Elves tend the trees and the animals of the forest.
Gnomes tinker with machines or make potions in their labs.
Travellers roam the wilderness bringing entertainment to every tribe.
These tribes and all the others live peacefully, except for odd disturbances like when some wizard declares all buildings must be built 12 metres above the ground, or when the dwarves decide they don’t have time to build for anyone else, or when a fairy hides the royal robes of some high-elf.
But the peace wasn’t to last for long. Just as some of the faerie creatures were trapped on Earth, so were some of the humans trapped on The Land.
The writings of the very first goblin historian, my great-great-grandfather, suggest that the Clysm was caused by god-magic gone wrong. The gods cast a great spell in an attempt to separate the humans from the magical world. Many gods still refuse to discuss the matter. Those who deign to comment blame the one-god – Chaos.
The mis-cast magic and the continued presence of the humans were to have tragic effects on The Land for generations.
Unlike the faerie, humans can breed very fast.
by the Master-Historian – Nerly Tru
A Typical Goblin
Humans have forgotten about goblins. In your world, they are now creatures of myth, forgotten, deemed to be figments of a fertile imagination. Thus, in your literature, there are many different descriptions of goblins. None of them are correct.
Perhaps the best way is to describe a normal, average, typical goblin. Balg Flaso is such a creature.
Balg has the normal head that is almost centred on normal shoulders and, like any normal goblin; he has a short neck so that food can get to the intestines as quickly as possible. Attached to the shoulders are the normal two arms, each of which ends in a normal hand. Below his neck is a normal torso which rests on two normal legs each ending with a normal foot. Of course he has the normal gray-green hide which is tougher than a rhinoceros horn but suppler than the skin on a baby’s bottom – a human baby’s bottom, that is, because a goblin baby’s bottom tends to be … but a polite goblin never talks about that.
He has the normal twelve toes, ten fingers and two thumbs. (Like many goblins, Balg had a third thumb removed at birth but polite goblins don’t talk about that either.) He also had the normal two small piggish eyes, the large but flattish nose – it has only been broken once – a mouth and teeth similar to a human, and two, erect, pointed ears also reminiscent of a pig.
He also that spot behind the head that … but no respectable goblin ever talks about that.
Balg is of average height for a goblin which was about a half-head shorter than the average human. Actually, Balg isn’t sure about this as he’s never met an average human. His friend, Torne Bollox, said he’d seen an average human once but he’d been part of an average family in an average village in an average country and Torne couldn’t remember where because it was all so average. In any case, Balg thought it had to be wrong. How could he be a half-head shorter if he had his whole head?
He was also of average build for a goblin, which meant the width of his shoulders measures almost half his height. That’s one reason why Balg hates visiting human settlements. How can you feel welcome when you have to sidle through every doorway? And naturally, he is supposed to be an average weight for a goblin but no one knows this for sure because no one had ever weighed all the goblins. And even if they had no one would be able to work out the average because most goblins can’t count beyond twenty-four. A few can count to twenty-five but respectable goblins didn’t associate with those creatures.
Unfortunately, Balg has the typical goblin smell. Humans think it comes from all the belching and farting but it’s just goblin. They don’t even have to sweat. Most goblins don’t sweat anyway unless they’ve just been fighting on a very, very, very hot day. That’s probably why they like mud baths so much as well and that could add to the smell. Perhaps the smell has something to do with the typical goblin appetite. Goblins may only have the two main meals on a typical day but once they’ve eaten a whole pig and washed it down with at least six large mugs of ale, they don’t feel like doing much except sleep after breakfast. The main meal at night might sometimes get out of hand with some of the young goblin bucks wanting to fight but the typical goblin fight usually ends with the participants falling over each other and going to sleep.
Balg loves eating, drinking and sleeping like any typical goblin. He also loves to go fishing on the river but he usually ends up sleeping anyway. This could be because he usually forgets to bring the bait. Goblins aren’t noted for their foresight and planning, at least the typical goblin isn’t. Like any typical goblin buck, Balg also loves fighting but it is too much like hard work and he rarely bothers unless he has to. Luckily for Balg, his job as the village constable rarely requires him to do any fighting.
Of course goblins are green and sometimes they are likened to frogs because of their squat shape and colour. More often, they are called a mixture of human and pig and some humans attempt to insult them by referring to them as hog people. Goblins are perplexed by this, wondering why anyone would spoil a perfectly good pig by mixing it with a human.
by the Master-Historian, Nerly Tru
The Goblin Creed
Every goblin works for the good of the tribe.
Every goblin shares with the rest of the tribe.
Every goblin obeys their chief.
If goblins had laws, these would be the only three. They aren’t taught anywhere, nor are they preached at some pulpit. I believe they were simply part of our chemistry when the gods made us.
Goblins will work with goblins from other tribes for their mutual benefit. And sometimes goblins will work with another species. If the other species reneged on any agreement, it would be considered an open act of aggression, perhaps even war. The goblins would certainly do whatever they considered necessary to recover what they thought they were owed.
One thing that often caused confusion between goblins and humans was the concept of belongings or ownership. Every possession of the goblin tribe belongs to the tribe, even weapons or clothes, even the tools used by a mid-wife in her trade.1 We even sleep in the nearest available hut at night though a female with a new-born cub is usually allowed to remain in the one hut for a few weeks. Some of this changed in the years after the Clysm. The village constable was often allowed to live near or above its2 office, as was the blacksmith and the tavern keeper. Some farmers even lived in huts on the farms they supervised rather than in the village. Now peace has been declared – there are even reports that some of the gods are roaming the countryside once again – goblins and all the other creatures are trying to bring their old traditions back.
These days, the chief is elected every five years. This relatively new concept may stay though there is talk of extending the period to ten or even fifteen years. In the past the chief was usually chosen by acclamation at a morning or evening gather. If there was more than one worthy candidate, the selection would fall to the ‘senior’3 goblins in the tribe. If it was particularly close, a contest of some description would be arranged. In the days before the Clysm, I believe the contest consisted of retrieving an object from a deep body of water.4 The chief must obey the first two ‘laws’. That makes it more of a servant than a superior and possibly explains why the position is not as highly sought after as chief-hunter or chief-farmer, or even chief-forager. Still, it’s the chief that chooses those positions.
Hopefully that explains the goblin psyche to you. Perhaps it also helps explain why humans thought they were educating us when we considered they were simply trying to corrupt us.
by the Master-Historian, Nerly Tru
1 Goblins of either gender are expected to do any work in the village. There are only two exceptions. The mid-wife is almost always female and the shaman is almost always male.
2 ‘It’ is not considered an insulting pronoun by goblins and is often used when the gender of the goblin under discussion is unknown.
3 Seniors were those holding senior positions (chief-hunter, chief-forager, chief-pig-farmer, chief-vegie-farmer, blacksmith, tavern-keeper, shaman and mid-wife) and all those over 45 years old.
4 I shudder at the thought and wonder that they ever found any chief using that test.