Goblins

Phys rep requirements: Pointed ears, and all visible skin should be light green.
Role in the Empire: Spies, saboteurs and thieves.
Maximum age: 50
Adult age: 10
How common they are: Uncommon

History in the Eternal Empire:

The Goblins weren’t an official part of the Eternal Empire; however, being the sneaky gits they are, the Elves found it useful to pay them to find out information and to act as spies. It was a convenient and lucrative relationship. The Goblins, when they weren’t infiltrating various nooks and crannies of the Empire, lived out in the mountains, on the fringes of the Empire.

After the Fall:

When the Empire fell, Goblins were one of the first species to swarm in, looking for opportunities and taking advantage of the chaos. They were attracted to the towns, where they survive on their wits as street urchins or as traders and merchants; common occupations include butchers, knife-grinders and being honest street-stall sellers, though the goblin market in Wavemouth is particularly famous. While humans dominate the towns and villages, Goblin clans have been building their presence in the back-streets, hidden alleyways and forgotten corridors. They still keep their ear to the ground (or dividing wall) and are extremely knowledgeable and full of gossip; though for other species, this information comes at a reasonable price, of course. They mostly ignore human politicking, particularly that Empress of theirs with her so-called grand army, as it didn’t much affect them.

Psychology & outlook:

Goblins value cunning and creativity over pretty much everything else; they are wily, with healthy levels of self-preservation and are devious, nasty and underhanded when they need to be. However, they have a strong sense of family; they look out for each other, more than any of the other species, and they take it as a personal insult should anyone pick on one of their fellow Goblins. They work together, covering a wide range of skills to complement each other and broaden the skills that they can sell; they even have a secret language of hand-signals to help them coordinate during covert missions. Goblins tend to wear clothes that allow them to blend in with multiple surroundings when possible, the better to hide. They usually have a preference for weapons that can be hidden if needed and that aren’t too pretentious, but will fight with various hand weapons and even pole-arms if they leave their house expecting violence to break out. Goblins tend not to go in for status symbols; it makes them a target and if someone spots a Goblin wearing something particularly shiny, they tend to get lynched by an angry mob, presuming they’ve nicked it. Anyway, the Goblins are close-knit enough that everyone who matters knows who the leaders are. As for manners, respect your elders unless you can back your argument up and don’t be cheeky.

Those with magical ability demonstrate their skills to their fellow Goblins by rubbing things together to see if they go boom or not; their other claim to fame is being battle hexers in support of their fighters. Most Goblins enjoy craftwork, especially if it involves stuff that may suddenly explode.

Back in the mountains, they would have been based in clans and would have followed strong tribal traditions, such as respecting the Boss and worshipping animal totems. Nowadays, those who live in the towns have broken into smaller gangs and they pay less attention to the old ways; however, they still pay heavy lip service to Cobra, the god of respect, cunning, poisons and stealth despite not otherwise being very religious. Some of the fighters keep to the tribal tradition of applying war-paint before battle to make themselves look more fierce; red stripes are a common theme, as there is a belief that this will make them run faster and fight better. In a fight, Goblins like to attack with superior numbers or in surprise ambushes. While they are not renowned for their ballistic skills, they can be best described enthusiastic and optimistic archers. However, most Goblins prefer fighting with various hand weapons and pole-arms; they are also fond of using shields. To this day, there are some Goblins trying to re-unite their species by bringing the mountain clans down to the cities.

Stereotypes (and what isn’t): 

Goblins are seen by most of the other species as being sneaky, lying thieves who steal anything that isn’t nailed down (or maybe take the nails as well); however, what most of them don’t know is that to accuse a Goblin of being a thief is a great insult and an insulted Goblin is a vicious and spiteful Goblin who will one day get his revenge. What is true is that Goblins will happily loot any corpses they find (the dead person not having any further use for their stuff) or will pick up anything they find just left lying around that looks lost and lonely and shiny; they are savvy opportunists-but they do not pick pockets or steal from people. Goblins are possessive and will hold on to their stuff till death do them part, which means if you want something from a Goblin, you need to make a good trade or prise it from their cold, dead fingers. They might be considered amoral, untrustworthy and motivated almost entirely by greed, but Goblins just want to get rid of their bad reputation with the other species as being untrustworthy, mercenary, information-selling gits.

Humans in particular tend to view them as evil and mischievous; some of them even scare their children with stories that Goblins will come and snatch them if they’re naughty. Why Goblins would want a screaming, spoilt Human brat and what they would do with one if they had it is unclear; possibly cork its mouth with food to shut it up. According to the stories, Goblins eat only Human teeth, raw meat, roots and fungi spiked with poisons and potions (mainly for the giggles apparently) and are scared of light. There are also rumours that there is a Goblin King, who is chosen for his cunning, ability to give entertaining and eloquent speeches and his decent singing voice. Goblins have no idea where these stories have come from; they tend not to be mischievous, as it’s usually not worth it for them to play practical jokes and they have a great sense of worth. As for their diet, none of the other species are sure, as no-one has been brave enough to examine what precisely the Goblins eat closely enough to identify it.

Attitude towards other species:

Wood Elves

“They look like the old Elves of the Empire; yeah, they lived with the rest of us outside the Empire, but they kept to themselves and tended to be snooty about it. We don’t trust them, they really don’t trust us. In fact, they tend to dislike us, as they blame us for passing on information on them to the High Elves and getting some of them killed. Definitely wasn’t me, that’s all I can say, I wasn’t alive back then.”

Humans

“Are like sheep, in that they’re dangerous when there’s a big herd of them backing each other up, but otherwise they’re usually harmless and docile; there is always the occasional wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing of a psychopathic Human fighter to keep things interesting though. They were kept well under the thumb of the Elves; they were used as slaves to farm food and acquire things that the Elves wanted so their masters didn’t have to lift a finger.”

Fae

“Useless in a word. They can’t look out for themselves so they steal things and then pass the blame on to us instead, who are known to be thieving, sneaking liars by the other species. They also can’t seem to give a straight answer, which is annoying in the extreme.”

Orcs

“They’re strong and good fighters. We lived together outside Imperial lands, both considered too vicious for the precious Empire and their pets. They’re raiders and enough of them are smart enough to pick their fights, so it’s best not to annoy them too much.”

Dwarves

“They make amazing armour, so they do. And weapons. Dwarves themselves are a quiet bunch, bit surly; they really don’t trust us. They’re very into their traditions, so it takes ages for them to change their perceptions and opinions; that’s why some of them still see us as spies for the Elves, even though the High Elves are long gone. But we’ll work with them; it’s worth it for their craftsmanship.”