An Analytical Study on the Wood Goblin Social Structure

By Brightblade in Dark Ages


Many of you may have seen them. They’re ugly, stinky, mottled green skin creatures called the wood goblin or goblin for short. Some love them, some hate them and most of you probably see them as nothing more than a pest that has to be eliminated no matter what. In the years of research and study, I have slay countless goblins and in the process observed (in secrecy) their daily life functions as well as their crude (but functional) society.

The government system of the wood goblins, or goblins as I shall call them from now on, are centered on a paternal figure. They have a tribal society, which resembles very much the tribal government of humans 10,000 years ago. In this paternal society, female goblins have no place but is delegated to menial task of providing food, foraging, caring for the young (baby goblins are called cubs or goblings), and of course reproduction. The highest position a female goblin can attain is as the tribal chief’s wife, she holds no real power over the warriors but through her husband’s channel, and she commands respect by other member goblins of the tribe. The goblin chief usually has multiple females serving him as his mistress. The tribal chief is usually the biggest, strongest, smartest (for a goblin) and meanest (not to mention the smelliest) goblin in the tribe. Contest on tribal chieftain is settled by combat to the death. The tribal chief has absolute power over everything within the domain of his tribe. A circle of goblin shamans that he consults with quite frequently then assists him. The goblin chief usually led raiding parties which can be as large as over 100 goblins, but this is quiet rare as big armies are sometimes hard to control. The tribe's warrior class backs the chief's power. Warriors commands more respect than anyone else except for the chief and his shamans.

The tribal warriors are selected from birth and train till they are ripe of age (around 12 years), where they will need to pass a test of coming of age. The test is a secret handed down from generation to generation and a goblin will keep that secret even to his grave. The training for tribal warriors are crude and often brutal, they are taught how to fight using various wooden spear and blades, and sometimes a lucky one or two can get to train with a stolen steel sword or other weapons. Mortality rate in warrior is high and many are not expected to live up to 30 years of age due to sickness, poor medical treatment and getting slaughtered in battle by adventurers (a.k.a. Aislings). Stronger warriors often bully the weaker goblins; they order them around or hit them whenever they wish. There is no justice system to speak of as all civil matters are brought to the tribal chief or his shamans for judgement, and more often than not, their judgements are often unfair.

The tribal shamans are often selected from cubs, which bear the mark of the shaman; these marks are black crescent moon shaped mole that appears on the forehead of the child. The child is then separated from his parents to live with the conclave of shamans. Shaman cannot be a female, and strangely enough the mark does not appear on female goblins. Young goblin shamans are trained as herbalist, and on voodoo magic as well as elemental based magic. Goblin shamans get to live the longest as they have rudimentary knowledge of healing and magical brews that artificially prolong their life. The average life expectancy of a goblin shaman is around 80 years.

A tribe’s power is measured on how many warriors it has and how big their domain is and how many successful raids it has conducted on the ‘hoo-mans’. The more warriors they have, the more powerful the whole tribe becomes and the more territory they occupy. Tribal wars are frequent and brutal, often ending with the death of a tribal chief or the total annihilation of the less powerful tribe. Upon the death of a chieftain in battle with another tribe, a successor is selected, if none suitable are found, the defeated tribe is assimilated by the larger tribe along with its previous territory and all of its loot and treasures (if any). Goblins are an evil and cowardly lot by nature, but it is not unheard of warriors bravely sacrificing themselves to overwhelm the defenses of their enemies.

Goblins communicate with each other via a series of snarls, grunts and growls forming a series of human-language-sounding noise, but some can speak broken human language especially when trying to insult or taunt their hated enemies. Most tribes have their own traditional language.