[Let’s Read] Volo’s Guide to Monsters

NobodyImportant

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Goblinoid War Camp

Goblinoid war camps are places on edge, constantly ready to spring once more onto war footing. The example is a permanent settlement that has been converted into a garrison.

Most goblinoid war camps are circular, with goblins, slaves and beasts digging a path around the entire site, interrupted with a few wide paths. A wooden palisade and watchtowers are constructed on the inside of the ditch. Supplies are distributed through a system of heavily-guarded wagons.

Each goblinoid species lives separately, in dwellings designed for their comfort. Wide paths connect them to each other and the gates. At the center sits a command center, which holds the warlord, their bugbear bodyguards and the goblin jester. If the camp isn’t big enough to have its own library and rookery, the command center assumes those functions.

Hobgoblins have the best accommodations, each banner receiving a group of lodges to house its members. Bugbears can settle wherever hobgoblins haven’t claimed, digging shallow dens that end up scattered about the interior of the camp. Finally, goblins sleep where they’re told to, usually near the beast and slave quarters. They’ll have access to circular tents or, in more permanent settlements, wattle-and-daub huts.

Many camps maintain libraries near their command centers, used to hold accounting records, maps, battle accounts, and things of that sort. While on the move, these records are loaded into a fireproof wagon and protected by hardened, veteran librarians and caretakers who’ll defend it with their lives. Most will also contain a rookery, for the ravens who serve as messengers and spies, which resembles a massive metal tree.

Finally, all camps will contain a headsman’s block, Maglubiyet’s holy site, blessed with the blood of foes and the disloyal. Depending on how swiftly the camp has been set up, the block can range from an unadorned stump to an elaborate shrine. The holy weapons of other goblinoid Gods will be placed on a rack nearby: Maglubiyet’s headsman’s axe on top, then Nomog-Geaya’s sword or handaxe and Bargrivyek’s spiked whip. At the bottom, or sometimes laying on the ground, sits the red-and-yellow whip of Khurgorbaeyag. Severed heads will also be scattered about, hanging in bunches or impaled on pikes, to honor the separate but subservient bugbear Gods.

Thus ends Goblinoids. I think the most significant change, besides finally giving bugbears some character, is just how successful these goblinoids are, something they likely owe to Eberron, as Bira mentions. I don’t know about you, but my settings have been sprouting goblinoid empires left and right since I read this book.

Next time, we reach a section that’s lighter on Pathos and heavier on fun, with Hags: Dark Sisterhood.
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
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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.
Also, a few groups of the original Dhakaani goblins hid themselves beneath the earth when they saw madness spreading through the other goblins. Thus, you can have Fallout-style Vaults or Earthdawn-style Kaers full of goblins and technologies now thought lost to the ages..
 

Numanoid

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Ok seriously, what made them think this was a good idea?

(If you don't see it, look at the pattern made by the four paths leading from the command center)

 

Talisman

The Man of Talis
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Ok seriously, what made them think this was a good idea?
I could be pedantic and point out that a swastika's arms are bent to the right; when bent to the left it's a sauwastika (no, really).

I could be generous and assume the map-maker didn't notice, which is quite possible.

But that's still something that should have been caught. It's kind of fitting thematically for hobgoblins, but . . . yeesh.
 

KoboldLord

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Thus ends Goblinoids. I think the most significant change, besides finally giving bugbears some character, is just how successful these goblinoids are, something they likely owe to Eberron, as Bira mentions. I don’t know about you, but my settings have been sprouting goblinoid empires left and right since I read this book.
Possibly it also owes some inspiration to Order of the Stick?
 

NobodyImportant

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Ok seriously, what made them think this was a good idea?

(If you don't see it, look at the pattern made by the four paths leading from the command center)

I don’t believe that was intentional. A swastika isn’t a very complex symbol, and it’s shockingly easy to make one by accident. For instance:
Spoiler: Show



 

KingJosh

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Ok seriously, what made them think this was a good idea?

(If you don't see it, look at the pattern made by the four paths leading from the command center)

Ok, I get that a swastika is something sane people want to avoid...but this isn’t reeeeally a swastika? I mean, I can kinda see it, but the arms are much longer and *very* rounded. The center is bigger, too.

Seriously, someone upthread mentioned the the battle camp map looked like a swastika, but when I looked it up myself all I could think was “that’s just a wheel with bent spokes.” I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying it’s not *that* strong a resemblance. IMHO.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
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I don’t believe that was intentional. A swastika isn’t a very complex symbol, and it’s shockingly easy to make one by accident. For instance:
Spoiler: Show



To be fair, I think that's mean to be a Manji, which is a Buddhist symbol which is very similar in design to the Swastika.

In any case, YEAH HAGS, BRING ON THE HAGS.
 

Narcisista

Social Justice NPC
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It's also good defensive design the diverging path funelling attackers into missile fire and the gates creating kill zones when close (although the walls should be more extended for when the gates are breached).

Either way the arms seem to be in the wrong orientation.

To be fair, I think that's mean to be a Manji, which is a Buddhist symbol which is very similar in design to the Swastika.

In any case, YEAH HAGS, BRING ON THE HAGS.
Not similar, the same, though the chinese Wan Zi and pre-Buddhist.
 
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