[Let’s Read] Volo’s Guide to Monsters

vitruvian

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Life under goblinoid rule isn’t that bad, actually. The new law code will probably be a good deal harsher than the old one, but existing customs will be respected, and old political leaders will be left in charge as long as they act as a goblinoid puppets and helpfully point out dissenters. On religion, they are less flexible. Harmless harvest Gods and the like can be ignored as backwards superstitions, but any God of battle or war is a threat. The priests of such Gods are permitted a chance to turn to the worship of Maglubiyet, but if they refuse, they’re subjected to single combat against one hobgoblin priest after another until they fall. Temples of such conquered Gods are thoroughly converted into temples of Maglubiyet, with the alter being turned into a chopping block.
Cue the story of the priest or paladin of Helm or Torm who was so high level that even though they surrendered in order that the town not be sacked, they kept winning the single combats until the local legion ran out of them and had to send away for more. They still died eventually, but not before seriously depleting the chaplain corps of the entire host; the story is only known because this allowed the town to be retaken a few years later since the garrison was lacking divine magic support, and they weren't quite vicious enough in killing or silencing the witnesses.
 

VoidDrifter

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I won't lie, I generally prefer 4e lore to 5e lore, but the Goblinoids chapter in this book is actually pretty decent. The hobgoblins section in particular reminds me of the Winning Races: Hobgoblins article from 4e's Dragon #419. Though, like Vitruvian, I can't help but smirk at the mental image of a hobgoblin horde capturing a town defended by an epic tier paladin of Bane or Kord, who proceeds to grimly chop down literally every single priest they throw at him. I can't help but wonder what that would do to the horde's morale...
 

Azimer the Mad

Knight of Chaos
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Is there an actual hobgoblin/goblinoid based nation or empire in the Realms?

Because to me claiming that “hobgoblins are a highly organized, successful military society” without actually giving them an example of said society in the campaign world they claim this info is based upon really creates some dissonance.
Well, it is the Forgotten Realms. There's hundreds of miles of empty hexes where we can plop one or more down and correct Wizards' mistake.
 

SuperG

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Cue the story of the priest or paladin of Helm or Torm who was so high level that even though they surrendered in order that the town not be sacked, they kept winning the single combats until the local legion ran out of them and had to send away for more. They still died eventually, but not before seriously depleting the chaplain corps of the entire host; the story is only known because this allowed the town to be retaken a few years later since the garrison was lacking divine magic support, and they weren't quite vicious enough in killing or silencing the witnesses.
More amusing idea: they are STILL shipping in priests to battle Fizen the Eternal, Warforged Paladin with a Ring of Regeneration who hasn't left the circle in months.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
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Its worth mentioning that in Pathfinder's inner sea setting, there is in fact a Hobgoblin Nation, the Kingdom of Kaoling in the dragon Empire, which is a nation ruled over by Hobgoblins.

There is also the AP The Ironfang invasion, which is about an army of Hobgoblins and other monsters seizing the territory between Molthune and Nirmathas as their own nation, and the PC';s becoming freedom fighters to oppose them.

So that's two nations the Hobgoblins have in the Inner sea, while in the Forgotten Realms they canonically have nothing. Not gonna lie, I feel like maybe Mauglibyet is holding you guys back, maybe its time to cut him loose.
 

Gilphon

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It's weird to me that they'd write this section in a way that implies that Hobgoblins have an empire, even though it's set in a world where they don't. Like, it's a good write-up for Hobgoblin culture, but one that kinda seems like it's in the wrong setting.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
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It's weird to me that they'd write this section in a way that implies that Hobgoblins have an empire, even though it's set in a world where they don't. Like, it's a good write-up for Hobgoblin culture, but one that kinda seems like it's in the wrong setting.
The problem is that this new charactterization of the Goblins as this theocratic military force is new to this edition, and it doesn't really reflect in the Forgotten Realms. Hell it doesn't even reflect in any of the adventures I've seen thusfar. In both Dragon heist and Dungeon of the mad mage the Hobgoblins we see are mainly flunkies to Xanathar or other local baddies. I mean they have a colony in Undermountain, but I don't see much that informs the way they are depicted here.
 

Montegris

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I used hobgoblins very effectively in the last campaign I run to completion for 5E. They were the main antagonists and the players learned to fear them for their tactics, cunning and how powerful they became once I created some higher level versions of the base monster.

The story I went with was that The Great Hlundadim (a canonic Hobgoblin demigod or sorcerer that I added some homebrew lore to, and who had created an empire that had rivalled with Netheril at one point) had awoken as a lich, and the PC's were the descendants of those who had defeated TGH a few generations prior. The Hobgoblin empire is of the past, if I'm not mistaken, a canon part of the Forgotten Realms, although I can't remember if its connection to TGH is something I made up or not.
 

Bira

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I don't know if anyone else mentioned it before, but Eberron has a goblinoid nation. Eberron goblinoids used to have a continent-spanning empire named Dhakaan thousands of years ago, but it fell when it was invaded by the daelkyr (Far Realm monsters). The survivors became the nomadic, violent tribes that are more usual for D&D settings. Until about thirty years before the setting's "present", that is. The human nation of Cyre hired a whole contingent of hobgoblin mercenaries to help fight the big war that engulfed the continent back then, and these mercenaries eventually rebelled, seized a chunk of territory for themselves, and named it the nation of Dharguun.

Dharguun was formally recognized as a nation by the treaty that ended that big war, which I imagine was made easier by the fact that Cyre was swallowed by a magical disaster and wasn't there to object. It's a rough-and-tumble sort of place, but it's not an "evil empire that must be erradicated" or anything of the sort.
 
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