The Shadow-Slayers, The Hidden Army
Self Name: Chaln (singular), Chalna (plural), Chalni (attributive)
Emotional Affiliation: Fanaticism, Zealotry, Mendacity, Viciousness

Goblins are a vicious and much feared race. Guerrilla warriors who set forth from a handful of magically hidden cities. Ruthless killers, their assassins and murderers are the terror of the world and of their mortal enemies, the orcs. They have hidden communities in the world, in isolated valleys, forested groves, and concealed amongst the roofs and cellars of other races.



Goblins are stand about four and a half to five feet tall, and their bodies tend to be slight, lean and lightweight. Goblins have an over-sized head with backward sloping brows and huge pointed ears. Their dark eyes are deep-set and sharp, and their faces seem altogether too small for their heads. Hooked noses sit above down-turned mouths with small tusks protruding over the upper lip. A goblin's teeth are pointed and the shape of their jaw makes it impossible for them to smile. As a result their features are perpetually drawn into a wicked grimace. Their skin is a mossy-green mottled with darker shades on the top, but lower layers showing through where the skin is thin are rosy pink, giving them a sickly look. Goblins have sparse, coarse black hair, and though most men shave their heads, women will often wear a topknot.

Small and flexible, a goblin can hide in places where even a small orcish child couldn't, and the speed with which they turn thought into action is lightning. Striking from out of the shadows, a goblin descending on its prey, despite its sometimes absurd appearance, is utterly terrifying - baring its pointed yellow teeth in a predatory snarl, its eyes wide and staring with savagery, displaying whites all the way around the pupil, its gnarled body's every limb primed to rip and tear as gouge at its quarry, and the promise of a half dozen more of its kind still hidden somewhere close at hand.


There is little to a goblin that one might not glean from its compact frame, quick hands, and glowering features. The fingernails and toenails of a goblin are hard and hoary, more like a claw than a nail, and many goblins keep these filed sharp for attacking the eyes and other soft parts of their foes - indeed they favour blinding a foe if they can, by throwing powdered glass, rock-salt, or sand in the eyes or simply gouging them with their nails. They do have exceptional hearing and unequalled night-vision, but probably most remarkable is their ability to track by taste. They can pick up the flavour of a foe like a bloodhound picks up the scent, and their sensitive tongues can detect poisons and toxins in their food before they swallow, allowing them to taste most anything and then spit it out again without doing any harm. A goblin will often stick out its tongue and taste the air to see who has passed nearby recently. For this reason most goblins embrace being perpetually dirty outside of their bastions, in order to overpower their own scent in favour of the stench of rot, and also to further camouflage their skin with streaks of filth.



The goblin mindset is summed up with a single word: Mean. Fiercely intelligent, and once highly cultured, the goblins have been reforged by their eventual defeat in their centuries-old war against the orcs, into creatures who have bent their every asset upon punishing the people who broke their society. Now they have turned their intellects, cunning and versatility towards stealth and killing. Goblins are suspicious and wary, always expecting attack no matter how safe they may seem. When the situation calls for it they can be ruthless and deliberately savage, using fear and blood as weapons as sure as any knife. Through misdirection and provocation, they sew the kind of chaos and impotent rage that only gives them more places to hide. And goblins can hide. Devious in the extreme, a goblin might live hidden in the very eaves of their prey's home, undetected, for weeks or even months before he strikes, and once they have none will know they were ever there.

The Exquisite Art of Death

An average goblin begins learning to kill within a few months of learning to walk, before it has even mastered language. A goblin parent is an unforgiving taskmaster, knowing that the many enemies of their race will show no mercy, and that they do their offspring an injustice by doing less than what they can expect from a foe. As a result goblins grow up tough, independent and bitter. A goblin is trained to improvise, to take a life with its hands, feet, teeth and anything that comes to hand, especially the long, curved, poisoned khukuri that they favour. A goblin is as proficient at killing his enemy with a chair or tree limb as he is with a weapon. In fact, goblins consider killing something of an art, and the more inventive and unexpected the goblin makes his quarry's death, the more admired and respected he is amongst his peers. What few other races truly grasp is that every goblin born to goblin parents is a fully trained killer of remarkable skill and stealth. So efficient are they, that it is seldom that a killing can be attributed to a goblin attack unless the perpetrators wish it so. And so focused are goblins on concealing a possible link to them, that the remains of a victim of a goblin attack un-disposed of are regarded as an unfinished job - or a meal.

When he comes of age a goblin chooses a trade, now considered able to defend himself and take a life should he need or want to. Most goblins then go into those crafts and trades that make goblin society function. Those who prove to have great merit might even be invited into the ranks of the priesthood, where they become part of the large council that rules the goblin nation. Some few who have shown a more than average flair for death and violence will be invited into one of the many assassin cults that lurk in the shadow of the temples, where they will master the exquisite art and then leave the city to wreak ruin upon their foes.


If goblins can be said to be incomparably cruel to other races, they are equally fanatically loyal to one an other, and a goblin rarely has any cause to distrust another. Betrayal and crime amongst goblins is swiftly and brutally punished, but their numbers are so few that doing harm to a fellow goblin is almost anathema to the goblin mind; torture, mutilation and exile are preferable to death as penalties. Thanks to shared hardships, goblins are highly social creatures, and while they will always look after themselves and their families first, they are given to great generosity to those around them. Those fellow goblins that is. Even a friend of a different race would often be left to starve while a goblin stranger gorged himself. Goblins recognize that they are physically inferior creatures, and so work in teams of between four and nine goblins, and though the most expert will usually take the leading role in a given situation these groups seldom have any set hierarchy within them. Only the best, most proven and accomplished goblins will work alone.

Of course, alongside their focus on killing, goblin society must still function. Knowledge of death and anatomy has led to the rise on some enormously skilled goblin surgeons, and this means that when an assassin is injured in the course of his duty he is likely to recover. It also means that more goblins live in to their old age than any race other than the elves. Goblins have a culture of skilled tradesmen, that respects scholarly pursuits and is ruled over by learned and experienced priests of the two goblin gods. Goblins make some of the finest and most skilled sorcerers, and though they offer asylum to rogue sorcerers to help keep their cities and bivouacs secret, Zaguristra still cannot afford to censure them for this affront, so worthy is their contribution to the art.

The Rule of Temples

Goblin society is ruled over by the wisest and most learned amongst their number. The priests of the two remaining gods might venerate the grimmer natures of their old gods, venerating the old gold of knowledge as god of secrets and the old god of the cycle of life as merely god of death, but the priests themselves look ahead to a day when the goblins will again rebuild their society. The goblin nation is not ruled by a king, overlord or high priest, but rather every fully trained priest gathers in a council several hundred strong. Each faith takes a side of the great council hall, with a third set of pews left symbolically empty, where they debate and exchange ideas, and then vote amongst themselves. While ranking priests might have the power to set the agenda, no individual's vote counts for more than that of another. While they strive to be enlightened and civic-minded, some terrible decisions have been made in this council, and when a terrible decision needs to be enacted they call on the assassin cults from below the temple to send their best, and then ask no further questions. Once a matter is in the hands of the cults, the council will never be persuaded speak of it again.

Assassin Cults

  • Cult of the Red Mantis: The Red Mantises are fanatics. Like the scythe-armed insects they take their name from, they strike out suddenly and viciously. As far as the Red Mantises are concerned, the only good orc is a dead orc - they seek not to drive out or overthrow the empire, but to drown it in the blood of its own children. Their red-painted khkuris are much feared, as is their fearless zealotry. A splinter of the cult is even more maniacal: the Red Mantis Queens hold that goblins will never be free or safe as long as other races can threaten them. They seek goblin domination - or elven, dwarven, dryad and orcish genocide.
  • Cult of the Mire Shark: Named for a fearsome, ugly fish that takes the legs off the unwary with its snapping jaws, the Mire Sharks are saboteurs and liberators. They seek to free goblins from orcish slavery, breaking their chains and leading uprisings. The way some see it, a bloody massacre is as good as a group of ragtag slaves, in terms of motivating resistance to the Padishar Empire.
  • Cult of the Six-Eyed Spider: Modelling themselves on the stealthy and hideously deadly swamp-spider, the Six-Eyes operate primarily as scouts. They are known for their climbing skill and patience, often hanging from trees for days at a time, motionless, observing troop movements and enemy traffic. They are not shy about striking, as lethally as their namesake when they see the opportunity.
  • Cult of the Black Choker: As relentless and meticulous as the anacondas they idolise, Black Chokers like to get close to their victims. Whether through stealth, infiltration or impersonation they get right up to their victims before deploying fingers or garrottes to choke the life out of them. These tactics also make them good spies, entering fortified sites or their target's confidence to extract information.


Goblins no longer possess any communities large enough to be called 'cities' - at least on this plane of reality. Those who are familiar with goblin architecture only from their enclaves in dwarven, orcish and dryad settlements often expect their villages to be ramshackle and run down. When living amongst other races, goblin abodes are crowded, dirty tunnel-warrens; clusters of conical tents and crude wooden shanty-towns built amongst roofs and gables; or makeshift treehouses. In their own lands, however, goblins build neat round cottages with thatch and thornbranch roofs on the banks of ponds; entire intricate treetop villages connected by walkways and rope bridges; and graceful stilt-houses in the middle of defensible bogs. There are even a few grand temples and palaces, laid out in meticulous grids, rising in stepped plazas, made of square-cut stone that would satisfy any dwarven artisan.

And then, there are the magical refuge-cities…

Linguistic Traits


Word/Name List

Achradesh, Arovathri, Charayavoon, Chaloron, Chuunthen, Chulach, Emjarmir, Paibok, Rathra, Saloth, Samachandrn, Suramar, Tansugarn, Thairn, Vidurata, Xuwicha, Yuthvon

Arun, Bhori, Balroh, Capechha, Chay, Chhan, Chiman, Chimir, Chiet, Dar, Jao, Junchhon, Machara, Meng, Malun, Nath, Nal, Nhean, Norodan, Niran, Prak, Phirun, Ranarid, Rithisak, Maung, Muul, Non, Rachi, Sangea, Samran, Sen, Sim, Sovhan, Sutshakn, Toarh, Uth, Vai, Vansak, Yok-Chen

Aun, Bana, Chaeo, Chanda, Chanchisna, Challyan, Chanari, Chhiri, Chunthe, Lamai, Lian, Mei, Mechala, Mhiss, Mian, Moni, Naresu, Noi, Sien, Sihan, Teva, Tulaya, Vana, Vhadma