Friday, July 16, 2010


Hobogoblins are small, ugly humanoids of somewhat apish proportion, who live as itinerant vagrants or tramps, on the fringes of human society in the New World. They occasionally claim to be seeking work, but most often beg, scavenge, and steal to make a living, hopping freight trains to move from place to place. Mostly they’re considered pests, but they can be dangerous when the situation is to their advantage, so the prudent tend to avoid places where they congregate.

Where hobogoblins came from is a matter of debate. The most widely held theory is that they have always been on the margins of civilization in the New World, but documentary evidence of their existence is scant before the modern era, except for some Native legends of malicious, subterranean folk. Some have suggested they stowed away on ships from Ealderde like rats, but this ignores the considerable evidence that the Old World goblin was long ago driven to extinction. A third idea, not widely held, is that hobogoblins were spontaneously generated by the human mind, and that this is the reason for the belief they’ve always been here, because, in a sense, they have.

Whatever their origins, hobogoblins are now common in the New World landscape. They may be be found skulking around rail-yards, squatting in abandoned buildings, or camping in ramshackle, “jungles”--shantytowns--on the edges of cities, or sometimes in poorly kept city parks. Other the occasional knife, they are seldom armed with more than improvised weapons---pipes or boards for clubs, and thrown rocks as missiles. They also bite.

Hobogoblins can be helpful, particularly to those who can speak their cant. They gather a great deal of information, living on societies fringe, and watching, and their shamans know rituals for warding off vicious dogs, finding shelter from the elements, and calling up freight-trains. No one should ever mistake them for trustworthy, however, and one should deal with them only with caution.

Random Hobogoblin Names (1d100):
01-02 Violets M'Gurk 03-04 Burlap 05-06 Whiskey Bazoo 07-08 Coffin Nell 09-10 Hang-dog Legee 11-12 Fleabitis 13-14 Nimble Jek 15-16 Greenyteeth 17-18 Rotpizzle 19-20 Smolderblunt 21-22 Old Kid Slaug 23-24 Grimey Low 25-26 Dry Gulch 27-28 The Right Reverend Sinister 29-30 Grinless 31-32 One-Eye Elrood 33-34 Jabber Obscuro 35-36 Crooknose 37-38 Silent Zed 39-40 Gentleman Distemper 41-42 Spectacles 43-44 Mad Heck 45-46 Tusker Duke 47-48 Mumbles 49-50 Chauncey Throttlebottom 51-52 Goofus 53-54 Young Hairback 55-56 Ol' Rheumy 57-58 Lack Thumb Hari 59-60 Quicklip 61-62 The Grumbler 63-64 Handsome Bloat 65-66 Furious 67-68 Flash Bastard 69-70 Seldom Gently 71-72 Tobacco Sweetback 73-74 Unreasonable the Lesser 75-76 Bullneck 77-78 Wormy Ned  79-80 Boneyard Meech 81-82 Blundercuss 83-84 Ruckus Quietus 85-86 Thar'n'back 87-88 Brazen Dingus 89-90 Jenkin Miserable 91-92 Little Lord Flapjack 93-94 Bleeding-Gums 95-96  H. Hiram Horribilis  97-98 Simple 99-00 Lonelyhearts Ginny Finn.

Art by Chris Huth.


Gothridge Manor said...

I get a Mickey Spillane meets a bad movie on the Sy-Fy (hate the way they spell that now) channel. Sounds like it would be a blast. Rituals to ward off dogs and Wormy Ned, how can you not want to play in this.

Tom Fitzgerald said...

Ha! Chauncey.

James said...

Superb! Are you running the Setting, yet? What system are you using?

Patrick W. Rollens said...

The hobogoblins remind me of the indie RPG "Underworld," which was a fantasy game set in the abandoned subway tunnels under New York City. Complete with elves and dwarves and everything. I sold it off before I ever got to play it.

Unknown said...

Awesome. I especially like the name table.

Trey said...

@Tim - Thanks. Unlike a Syfy movie, this campaign doesn't kill someone every 8 minutes, nor does it employ any bad CGI. ;)

@Tom - Indeed.

&James - I'm not running it yet. My group has been playing infrequently of late, and we're in the mdist of the module. I guess that's good though, because I haven't 100% decided on the system. I can say that some of the go-to's of my younger years are out due to my dislike of cruch these days. I'm thinking a retro-clone (S&W or Labryinth Lord, leaning LL at the moment) modified to sort of engineer an old schoolish d20 modern. I'll talk about it more here as it gets closer. After all this blogging I'm itching to play it!

@Patrick - I remember hearing of Underworld back in the day, but I've never seen it. The Shadowrun-ish "different setting...with elves!" is a thing I sort of wanted to avoid. Immediately, I've got hobogoblins, moonshining ogres, and (maybe) even Okie-by-way of praire-dog halfings, but I've tried to really integrate them into the setting.

@Risus - Thanks! I had a google doc that over a period of months, I'd just add a name to as it occured to me.

Brutorz Bill said...

Seems like a really fun Campaign.
Have you seen the old GURPS Goblins? Your hobogoblins remind me a bit of the goblins from it.

Trey said...

GURPS Goblins is one of the few GURPS books I don't own. When it came out it didn't seem "serious" enough for me at the time. Now I wish I had it, as if heard good things.