Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hobgoblins, Half-elves, and Half-giants

Genetics doesn't work the same in Centerra.  The race of your children is mostly determined by where they were born, for example.  (Accents are the shibboleths and the grounds for discrimination, not skin color.)

And of course, ogres are made from children via a specific diet and certain treatment.  

But making ogres from children is just the tip of the iceberg.

by tsvetomir georgiev


Goblins are right horrible little bastards, and everything that joins them at their table will also become a right horrible little bastard, too.

It doesn't take long.  A few months of goblin food will do it.  If you join them in in their songs, the process will hasten even further.

Goblins sometimes do it intentionally.  They you in a pit full of goblins.  They feed you their horrible food (usually at least 5% goblin secretion by weight).  They force you to play their horrible games, such as stomp-rat, piss-glug, and wrestle-worm.

And you'll dwindle.  First one inch, then another.  You'll be six inches shorter before you're done.  Your nose will lengthen and fresh rows of sharp teeth will grow in behind each other, like a shark's.  Your hair will flee from you.

Your eyes will yellow and become beady.  Your skin becomes a sickly shade of green.  And your mindset will become goblinish--rapacious, curious, hasty, loud, quiet.  You will not be pleasant to be around, and the only people who will tolerate you will be goblins and other goblin-men.

There are many goblin-men (and goblin-women) in Goblintown.  (Stats as normal humans, plus darkvision and the personalities of goblins, including the lack of self-preservation.)

Humans are not the only thing that goblins can transform thus.  Goblins can make everything horrible.  (Daniel Dean has said this before.)

Expect to see long-nosed goblin dogs skulking around Goblintown, They sneak into rooms and shit in your boots.  They piss in any open container of drinkable water.  Packs of them will bite open your packs, swallow valuables until they gag, and then run off with bellies of silver.  And they never bark, only ever mustering a wheezing laugh or mad yowling.

There are goblin pigs, which are a bit like greenish, long-nosed pigs, except for their remarkable flexibility and their habit of shitting in their own mouths.

There are goblin bats who--to be perfectly honest--just shit on everything.  They'll follow you quietly until combat breaks out and then they'll try to shit in your eyes (10% chance per bat per turn, blind until you wipe it out + disease chance).

And you'll find all sorts of other goblin-animals in Goblintown.  Goblin hippos lounge in the filth-fountains.  Goblin geese will whack the shit out of your kneecaps.  They're all shitty, hairless (although not featherless), greasy, and slightly smaller than usual.

Setting Note: I never liked hobgoblins as "militant goblinoids who got their shit together".  I always felt that orcs could fill that niche better.

a classically smug elf
from Lord of the Rings

Elves (and by this I mean low elves) surround themselves in beauty.  This requires them to insulate themselves from the rest of the world.  

And insulation requires walls, of course.  Some walls are temporal, some are spatial, and some are literal walls.  (But even the literal walls are subtle--an enchanted forest that diverts all travelers from the elven city at its heart, and thwarts all attempts to map it.  This is pretty bog-standard as far as elven isolation magic goes.)

But even elves sometimes need to interact with their neighbors.  

This is a repulsive idea.  Everything that is not an elf or of elven manufactures is usually repulsive at beast, and nauseating at worst.  (If the average party of gore-spattered adventurers bursts into an elven wedding, expect half of the elves to cast disintegrate spells and the other half to spend their first turn vomiting into their silken napkins.)

So that is what elven slaves are for--except they aren't slaves.  They're loyal little brothers and little sisters to the elves that they are forbidden to meet, less their ruin their older siblings delicate appetites.  (It takes very little to ruin an elf's appetite.)

These pseudo-slaves are usually elevated into pseudo-elfhood through the administration of elven hormones and genetic activators.  (Of course, the elves don't know the science behind their own elevation.  They only know that making certain types of wine from certain types of plants turns elven children into elven adults.  The plants of course, were genetically engineers millennia ago for this very purpose, although the purity and potency is a tiny fraction of what was originally intended.)

So elves give their loyal slaves elf-drugs to make them more elfy.  When administered to a prepubescent human slave, the result is the creation of a half-elf.  Confusingly, they are also called elf-men and elf-women.

Like all responsible pet owners, elves spay and neuter their little siblings.  This makes them easier to control and explains why elves are always buying human babies (or stealing them).  It also means that if you want to play a male half-elf in one of my games, you're not going to have any testicles.  (We can discuss the plausibility of a quest to recover them from the elves.)

A half-elf looks a lot like an elf, minus the extra foot of height and twitching xenophobia.  Unlike elves, they can be PCs.

They are agile, beautiful (by human standards), and wise.  In fact, most people think that half-elves are actually elves, never suspecting that their more agile, more beauteous, more genocidal masters lived deeper in the forest, disgusted by the possibility of having to talk to a human king.  (The hair!  The pores on their faces!  The smell of defecation!)

Sidebar: Dragons also breed clans of loyal humans called drakencults!


Little is known of this particular transformation, but we do know that it requires at least two things (a) large volumes of giant food consumed over a year, at a minumum, and (b) marriage to a giant.

Other possibilities (the consumption of giantish breast milk, beating a giant in a contest of strength) are rumored but not confirmed.

Half-giant Stats
(posted here not because they are good, but because I don't want to lose them)
Str +1 or Str 14, whichever is higher.
Once per day, can treat Str as if it were 20.
Can zone out and build buildings as long as you have enough raw materials.  Can only ever build buildings (towers but also things like bridges) and earthworks (trenches) due to weird racial compulsions.  More giants working together can build exponentially larger buildings.  In one 8-hour building frenzy, the giants can build X * Y * 100 square feet of wooden house, or X * Y * 5 square feet of stone house, where X is the number of giants and Y is also the number of giants, but Y maxes out at 5.  Usable once per day.



    1. It's been for a while over here(gotta love that ATU 650A)

  2. The half-giant stats are indeed good. Sounds obvious but is it a reference to the jotunn builder of the walls of Asgard?

  3. Well, and the cyclopian assistants of Hephaestus, I assume. The answer "reeeeealy big people" is a common response to the question "who built the mountains?"

  4. Agreed that orcs are better for what hobgoblins usually do. Several of my campaigns have featured whispered rumor that a massive army of orcs roams far to the north - but what if they turn their wrath here? (I have good hopes of this actually happening in my current campaign.)

  5. This is really good.

    I have a half-baked idea of half-elves performing body modification out of assimilationist impulse. necks elongated with braces, ears cut to points, corsets and fasting and Olympian level physical conditioning to appeal to elves that do not care.